Study Guide

The Man in the Iron Mask Chapter Two: How Mouston Became Fatter Without Informing Porthos, and the Troubles Which Consequently Befell That Worthy Gentlemen

By Alexandre Dumas

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Chapter Two: How Mouston Became Fatter Without Informing Porthos, and the Troubles Which Consequently Befell That Worthy Gentlemen

  • We learn that since Athos has gone to his estates in Blois, D'Artagnan and Porthos do not actually spend much time together. D'Artagnan spends his time working for the King, and Porthos is usually busy shopping.
  • Realizing he hasn't seen Porthos in two weeks (a huge amount of time considering that in The Three Musketeers, the three friends were inseparable), D'Artagnan heads to Porthos's place.
  • He finds a sad Porthos sitting in his room surrounded by clothes. Porthos is so upset that he doesn't notice D'Artagnan's entrance. Porthos inspects a fabric that his overweight valet Mouston is holding.
  • (If you've read The Three Musketeers, you might remember that the name of Porthos's valet was Mousqueton. Apparently in the twenty-or-so odd years between The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask, Mousqueton shortened his name to Mouston.)
  • D'Artagnan coughs loudly to attract his friend's attention.
  • Porthos brightens visibly when he sees D'Artagnan, convinced that his old friend will be able to help him.
  • D'Artagnan asks for the full story, and meanwhile compliments Porthos on all his beautiful clothes.
  • Porthos calls all of it trash; D'Artagnan exclaims that the fabrics are expensive. We discover that Porthos is upset at having been invited to the party at Vaux because he has nothing to wear.
  • D'Artagnan points out that there are at least fifty suits on the floor of Porthos's bedroom.
  • It turns out that Mouston has been going to the tailor in Porthos's place.
  • Although Porthos loves to be decked out in the latest styles, he hates being measured by the tailor. He claims that being scrutinized and poked and prodded was unbearable for a gentleman of his rank.
  • This arrangement worked for quite some time. Porthos ordered up seven suits a week, all in the latest fashion, and Mouston continued to be fitted for them.
  • As you might have guessed from the title of this chapter, however, Mouston started gaining weight. The latest suits therefore do not fit, and the suits of the correct measurement are hopelessly out of fashion.
  • The party is only two days away, and there is no time to have another suit of clothes made.
  • D'Artagnan tells Porthos not to despair, and to pick one of the fashionable suits to bring to a tailor.
  • Porthos tells D'Artagnan that his agent has been round to all the tailors, but D'Artagnan had the King's tailor, Percerin, in mind.

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