The Three Musketeers Chapter Six: His Majesty King Louis XIII Summary
Tréville pretends to be very ashamed of his Musketeers in public, but he congratulates them in private. It’s important that he tell the King his version of events, so that evening he heads to the Louvre. (Today the Louvre is a museum, but it was once a royal palace.)
That evening, the King is gambling. And winning, so he’s happy. He spies Tréville and tells him to start controlling his crazy Musketeers.
Tréville pretends to be surprised, and claims that his Musketeers are gentle creatures devoted to the King. He claims that the Cardinal’s guards are the ones at fault.
Further conversation between the two is delayed until the King starts losing.
He tells someone to sub in for him and then goes off to chat with Tréville.
The King asks Tréville for his version of the day’s events. Tréville tells the King that three of his Musketeers were going to hang out with a young Gascon when they were interrupted by five Guardsmen who were clearly in the area to fight some duels. He doesn’t outright accuse the guards of being there to fight duels, but the implication is clear, and the King, bright man that he is, seizes upon it.
Periodically, Tréville flatters the King.
Since the Musketeers and D’Artagnan won, Tréville is perfectly at liberty to point out that one of the men was wounded and that D’Artagnan is basically a boy.
The King is pumped to have scored such a decisive victory over the Cardinal’s men. Tréville takes the opportunity to recommend D’Artagnan to the King.
The King asks for the full story behind D’Artagnan and is impressed to learn that the Gascon was able to injure Jussac, who is considered to be one of France’s finest swordsmen.
The King consents to meeting D’Artagnan tomorrow at noon, and instructs Tréville to bring all four together. He also tells them to come by the back stairs so the Cardinal doesn’t know.
That night, the Musketeers aren’t too impressed about the summons because they’ve met the King a few times, but D’Artagnan is excited.
At eight the next morning, D’Artagnan shows up at Athos’s house. Athos had agreed to meet Porthos and Aramis for tennis. D’Artagnan, having nothing else to do, tags along.
Athos tries to play but he’s still too wounded. D’Artagnan doesn’t know how to play tennis, but makes himself useful as a ball boy.
When one of the balls almost smacks him in the face, D’Artagnan decides that it’s too risky to involve himself in the game since he wants his to look good for the King. He extricates himself from the courts.
Unfortunately, one of the Guardsmen is watching, and he makes a snarky comment to D’Artagnan along the lines of, "You’re afraid of tennis balls."
D’Artagnan demands a retraction, which the Guardsman does not give.
They decide to fight.
The man’s name is Bernajoux. The two exit the court. (Side note: Bernajoux is shocked that D’Artagnan isn’t scared of his name.)
Bernajoux wants to find a more private place in which to duel (remember, dueling is illegal!) but D’Artagnan says that he’s in a hurry so they need to just fight in the street.
The two start fighting. D’Artagnan scores a hit on Bernajoux’s shoulder and immediately gives him the chance to stop fighting. Bernajoux cries out that the wound doesn’t matter and rushes forward…right onto D’Artagnan’s sword.
Rather than surrender, however, he rushes over to the hotel of M. de la Trémouille. D’Artagnan, unaware of the severity of his opponent’s injuries, rushes after him, but is stopped by two of Bernajoux’s friends, who rush out from the tennis court.
Porthos, Aramis, and Athos also then show up, making the fight two against four. The Guardsmen call on the hotel de la Trémouille for help. All the servants of the hotel rush out to aid the Guardsmen. On their end, the Musketeers start shouting for help, and various soldiers of other companies run to their aid.
Pandemonium and lots of great sword fights ensue.
The Musketeers are in a better position, and so the Cardinal’s supporters quickly withdraw into the hotel. Bernajoux is already inside receiving medical attention for his critical wounds.
Everyone left outside debates setting fire to the hotel to punish the servants for daring to fight Musketeers.
D’Artagnan and his buddies remember, however, that they have an important appointment. They calm everyone down and head out to Tréville’s hotel, where the man himself is already waiting for them. He’s heard the latest news and wants to get to the King as soon as possible before the Cardinal tells his version of events. Tréville plans to pass off yesterday and today’s events with one simple story.
When they reach the palace, a servant tells Tréville that the King is out hunting.
Tréville finds out that the King and the Cardinal have already interacted, and then advises his men to simply go home and wait for news.
After getting back to his hotel, Tréville sends a servant to M. de la Trémouille with a message requesting that he kick out all the Cardinal’s Guardsmen. The message also says something to the effect of, how dare your men try to mess with the King’s Musketeers?
Trémouille sends a message back saying that the Musketeers started the fight. He’s prejudiced because one of his men is related to Bernajoux.
Tréville realizes that the servants are going to get very tired if they have to keep running back and forth between Tréville and Trémouille, and decides to end this foolishness by confronting Trémouille face-to-face.
When Tréville shows up, Trémouille continues to maintain that the whole fight was the fault of the Musketeers.
Tréville proposes that they let Bernajoux tell the full story. He’s badly wounded, but the man can still talk.
Since this proposal is so fair and just, Trémouille agrees.
Tréville lets Trémouille do the questioning. Bernajoux tells the whole truth. Tréville, happy to hear it, takes off and sends for Athos, Aramis, Porthos, and D’Artagnan to join him at lunch.
D’Artagnan turns out to be the guest of honor as everyone congratulates him on his mad fighting skills.
Finally, Tréville announces that it’s time for them to pay a visit to the King. They wait in the King’s antechamber with other nobles who are eager to say hi and ask for a favor.
After some time, the King finally returns from his hunting trip.
He’s not happy. He didn’t catch anything.
All the nobles still press forward and try to be seen by the King. The three Musketeers do the same, but D’Artagnan is too intimidated by his first real, actual brush with royalty.
(It doesn’t matter anyway since the King ignores them all on his way to his bedroom.)
Athos has a dismal outlook on the situation. Tréville tells him to be patient. If Tréville doesn’t come out in ten minutes, his men are to return to the hotel.
The four men wait twenty minutes before leaving.
When Tréville enters the King’s room, the King complains of boredom and disappointment with the day’s hunt.
The King starts chastising Tréville again for the behavior of the Musketeers.
His Majesty finds it hard to believe that the Musketeers weren’t being reckless earlier. He tells Tréville to prove that Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan did not unfairly ambush Bernajoux and then try to burn Trémouille’s hotel.
Tréville asks the King where he’s getting this information. The King then talks about some guy who watches over him when he sleeps and handles all his affairs.
He’s clearly talking about the Cardinal, but Tréville asks if the King is possibly referring to God, because He’s the only guy who could possibly be higher than the King.
The King gently corrects Tréville and explicitly refers to the Cardinal as the source of information.
Tréville retorts by pointing out that Cardinals are not immune from error.
The King tells Tréville that the real source of information is the Duke, Monsieur de la Trémouille.
Tréville requests that the King question the Duke alone with no witnesses, and that he (Tréville) get to see the King right after the interview.
Tréville agrees to stand by Trémouille’s testimony.
The King sends a servant to find Monsieur de la Trémouille.
The two men say their good-byes; Tréville has a sleepless night. He meets up with the Musketeers and D’Artagnan at six-thirty in the morning and the five of them go anxiously to see the King.
Soon they see Trémouille coming out of the King’s room. Trémouille goes straight up to Tréville and apologizes. He has told the King the truth of what happened – that it was all the fault of his men. Tréville replies in a very kind, gentleman-like way.
The King overhears the whole conversation and compliments the two of them.
Finally, the King asks to see the Musketeers (and D’Artagnan).
The King begins to scold them. They have, after all, incapacitated (read: took out) seven of the Cardinal’s guards in two days. In the King’s opinion, that’s way too much fighting.
The King then asks D’Artagnan to come closer, proclaiming him a mere boy and not quite a man. The King is astonished D’Artagnan was the one to have debilitated Jussac and Bernajoux.
Athos notes that D’Artagnan saved his life.
The King, very impressed, says that a lot of equipment must have been damaged in the course of all this sword fighting. He then asks if Gascons are always poor.
Tréville says no, but points out that the King owes his position to the loyalty of Gascons.
The King dispatches his servant to get forty pistoles. We have no idea how much money that is, but we’ll probably find out soon.
While the servant goes hunting for some spare money, the King asks D’Artagnan for his life story.
D’Artagnan tells everything, and it all jives with Trémouille’s testimony.
The King asks the men to stop with all the fighting, because they’ve done quite enough. Then he hands over the gold.
Dumas then tells his readers that there was no shame in accepting money those days. The money is split evenly between the four adventurers.
The King then dismisses the men.
As everyone clears out, the King suggests to Tréville that he place D’Artagnan with the Guards of Monsieur Dessessart (who happens to be Tréville’s brother-in-law). It would be bad form for D’Artagnan to be accepted straight away into the Musketeers.
The King is really pleased that he can be fake and snarky around the Cardinal now. For example, he asks the Cardinal constantly how Jussac and Bernajoux are doing.
Yes, this is kind of like two guys playing a "mine is bigger than yours" contest, except it’s more along the lines of "my soldiers can beat up your soldiers."