Study Guide

The Man in the Iron Mask Chapter Forty-One: In Which the Squirrel Falls – in Which the Adder Flies

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Chapter Forty-One: In Which the Squirrel Falls – in Which the Adder Flies

  • It is two o'clock in the afternoon and the King is anxious about D'Artagnan's whereabouts. The King questions Colbert, who has no idea where the captain is.
  • Eventually D'Artagnan himself walks into the room.
  • He is in a bad mood. Somebody (i.e., Colbert) has ordered the Musketeers to search Fouquet's home. D'Artagnan is adamant that only the King has the authority to issue commands to the Musketeers.
  • Colbert replies that he acted for the good of the King.
  • D'Artagnan continues to berate Colbert. The King hesitates, unsure of what to do . D'Artagnan pretends he is about to leave.
  • But the King wants details of the arrest. D'Artagnan relates the full story, sparing no detail and admitting his unwillingness to arrest the former minister.
  • D'Artagnan further admits that Fouquet would never attempt escape while D'Artagnan was his guard, but that D'Artagnan would deliberately do a poor job guarding Fouquet.
  • Understandably, the King is not pleased.
  • The King calls Colbert back into the room and has him shake hands with D'Artagnan, who is surprised to see Colbert's face change into that of a noble and intelligent man.
  • D'Artagnan and Colbert leave the room together. D'Artagnan chides his companion for his actions towards Fouquet.
  • Colbert explains himself by saying that Fouquet has been holding him back from greatness.
  • D'Artagnan asks Colbert to intercede with the King on Fouquet's account, but Colbert points out that the King has his own grudges against the man.
  • The King calls for D'Artagnan to select twenty of his men as a guard for Fouquet, who is destined for the Bastille.
  • As for D'Artagnan, the King orders him to take possession of Belle-Isle, using as many troops as necessary.
  • Colbert tells D'Artagnan that such a deed is worth a marshal's baton, but then points out that it will come at the cost of his two friends' lives.
  • D'Artagnan is determined not to hurt his friends. He assembles his men and hits the road.

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