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The King’s forty pistoles come to an end, and Athos supports everyone for a while. Then Porthos supports the four friends, then Aramis.
Then Porthos, Aramis, and Athos hit up Tréville for some advances on their pay. D’Artagnan, being a lowly Guard, doesn’t get paid at all.
When they start starving, they scrape together some money that they give to Porthos to gamble with. He loses the money.
Finally, they start hitting up all their friends. Porthos, Aramis, Athos, and D’Artagnan—along with their servants—visit various friends for dinner.
This mooching method can only last for so long, however. D’Artagnan is convinced that four "young, brave, enterprising, and active men" should be able to do better than this.
D’Artagnan is concocting plans for the four of them when someone knocks at the door. D’Artagnan wakes Planchet up and tells him to answer it. The narrator tells us that it’s long past morning. Planchet was sleeping because there was no food to eat.
A man with the "appearance of a tradesman" walks in and requests a private conversation with D’Artagnan.
They stare awkwardly at each other before the man asks if he can share a secret.
D’Artagnan crosses his heart, hopes to die before repeating the secret.
Turns out the man’s wife works as the Queen’s seamstress. The Queen’s cloak bearer happens to be the man’s wife’s godfather.
It’s okay to be confused at this point. The main thing to get out of the conversation is that the man’s wife has been kidnapped—and he has a suspect.
The man is moreover convinced that the issue is politics, not sex.
We learn that the delicate issue at hand is the Queen’s illicit relationship with the Duke of Buckingham.
The Cardinal is angry about this, not because of any real moral reasons that you might attribute to a churchman, but because he’s been hot for the Queen himself. He was so hot for her, in fact, that he once dressed up as a clown and danced the saraband for her. (We looked up "saraband", and thanks to dictionary.com, and found this: 1.) A fast, erotic dance of the 16th century of Mexico and Spain. 2.) A stately court dance of the 17th and 18th centuries, in slow triple time. 3.) The music for either of these dances.)
The book doesn’t tell us which kind of saraband the Cardinal used to woo the Queen, but we’re guessing neither was very effective.
Although we give the Cardinal props for trying, the truth remains that he is out for some revenge.
The Queen is convinced that someone has written to the Duke of Buckingham using her name.
The bad guys have kidnapped the man’s wife in order to use the woman against the Queen.
Although the man knows who abducted his wife, he doesn’t know the abductor’s name. All he knows is that the man is an agent of the Cardinal.
After getting a description of the abductor, D’Artagnan identifies the abductor as the Man from Meung.
Finally we learn the visitor’s name—Monsieur Bonacieux. (The visitor also happens to be D’Artagnan’s landlord, and politely reminds the young Gascon that he’s three months behind on rent!)
But Monsieur Bonacieux strikes a deal with D’Artagnan—if D’Artagnan agrees to save Madame Bonacieux, he gets fifty pistoles and never has to pay rent again.
Their conversation is cut short when they both spot the Man from Meung standing across the street.
D’Artagnan immediately draws his sword and runs outside, on the way bumping into Athos and Porthos, (who want to live up to that Inseparables title).
They stay out of D’Artagnan’s way and go into his apartment to wait for his return.