Chapter Five: The King’s Musketeers and the Cardinal’s Guards
Historical Context Lesson: When dueling, you always bring along a "second." This person is someone you trust enough to witness the fight, ensure that it’s fair, and call for a doctor in case you start bleeding.
Being a newbie in town, D’Artagnan has no one he can ask to serve as his second. On his way to meet Athos, he comes up with a game plan for his upcoming fights. He decides to befriend Athos, frighten Porthos, and, as for Aramis, he figures he’ll probably be dead by two o’clock so he doesn’t have to come up with a plan of action. But if he is alive, he decides to just slap Aramis in the face.
He takes heart when he thinks of his father and runs to meet Athos.
Athos is already waiting. He tells D’Artagnan that his two seconds are late.
D’Artagnan confesses that he has no seconds, and that he doesn’t even know anyone in Paris except for Tréville.
Athos, talking out loud, says that if he kills D’Artagnan, he’s going to be known as a "boy-slayer." That’s definitely some bad press.
D’Artagnan disagrees. After all, Athos is still wounded.
Athos warns D’Artagnan that he can swordfight with either hand.
D’Artagnan thanks Athos for the information.
Athos complains about his shoulder and D’Artagnan offers his mother’s remedy, convinced that it will cure Athos’s wound.
There’s more dialogue, and it basically boils down to this: D’Artagnan impresses Athos.
Finally, Porthos appears.
D’Artagnan is surprised.
Then Aramis appears.
D’Artagnan is even more surprised.
Athos asks if D’Artagnan has been living in a hole. The three are famous for being absolutely inseparable, cradle-to-grave-BFFs.
Porthos comes up and asks what’s going on.
Athos points to D’Artagnan as his adversary.
Porthos rightfully says, "But I’m fighting him!"
D’Artagnan says, "Not until one o’clock!"
Aramis comes up and says, "But I’m also fighting him!"
D’Artagnan says, "But not until two o’clock!"
Aramis asks Athos for the cause of the fight.
Athos says that he can’t even remember, something about his shoulder getting hurt. He then asks Porthos for his reasons for fighting D’Artagnan.
Not wanting to confess the real reason, Porthos evades the question.
Athos sees D’Artagnan smile as he (Athos) says they disagreed about fashion.
Aramis says that their disagreement was about God, and signals D’Artagnan to stay silent.
Athos again observes that D’Artagnan is hiding something, even as the Gascon says he and Aramis disagreed about a passage of St. Augustine.
Athos grows more impressed by the second with D’Artagnan.
Now that everyone is present, D’Artagnan apologizes to all three men. They don’t take it well. Rapidly, D’Artagnan tells them they’re misinterpreting him. He is apologizing just in case he doesn’t make it to the one o’clock and two o’clock fights. Then he draws his sword.
The two barely start fighting when the Cardinal’s Guards show up, commanded by a man named Jussac.
Aramis and Porthos yell for the combatants to sheath their swords, but it’s too late. There’s clearly a duel going on, and Jussac calls them on it. (Remember, it’s illegal to duel. Not that that stops anyone.)
Jussac attempts to arrest them. Aramis "regretfully" declines. Jussac threatens a fight.
The Musketeers take a knee so they can map out a game plan. Athos points out that it’s three against five, and that the three of them are probably going to die, since he really, really doesn’t want to lose again.
D’Artagnan pipes up and says, "Heyo! What about me? There’s four of us!"
Porthos points out that D’Artagnan hardly counts as a Musketeer. Or a friend.
D’Artagnan offers ye olde underdog excuse: that he has heart. Even though he isn’t a Musketeer, he says, he has the proper spirit.
Jussac tells D’Artagnan to beat it; the Guards will let him go.
Meanwhile, the three Musketeers feel kind of upset because D’Artagnan is still a boy.
Athos points out that when they lose, the story will be told as if it was four of them, instead of two men, a wounded man, and a boy.
D’Artagnan asks again if he can fight.
Athos asks for his name. D’Artagnan gives it, and the four of them press forward to fight the Cardinal’s guards.
(Mind you, this all takes place in the most polite ways.)
Finally, we get a swordfight!
Being the hot-headed young man he is, D’Artagnan charges straight for Jussac. Aramis fights two at once, and the other two Musketeers have one adversary each.
D’Artagnan fights like "a furious tiger" and his street-fighting style gives him an edge over Jussac, who is a great swordsman in his own right.
Frustrated, Jussac finally begins making mistakes. He thrusts at D’Artagnan, who blocks the blow and then spears Jussac, who falls "like a dead mass."
D’Artagnan then looks around to see how the Musketeers are doing.
Aramis has killed one of his opponents and is engaged with the other one. Porthos and his adversary each have minor wounds and are still going at it.
Athos is wounded once more by his opponent (named Cahusac) and is now fighting with his left hand. He looks over at D’Artagnan in a clear "I’m a man so I’m not actually asking for help but I would seriously appreciate it" kind of way.
D’Artagnan runs over to engage Cahusac. Athos sinks down to the ground for a much-needed rest, then tells D’Artagnan to only disarm Cahusac because he wants the honor of actually killing the Guard.
Momentarily, D’Artagnan succeeds in disarming Cahusac. The man runs to retrieve his sword, but D’Artagnan beats him to it.
Cahusac runs to the dead Guard (the one killed by Aramis) and grabs his sword. On his way back to D’Artagnan, he runs into Athos, who is now ready to fight again.
Athos and D’Artagnan together fight Cahusac, who soon dies.
At the same moment, Aramis forces his opponent to yield.
Porthos continues to fight his adversary (with a lot of trash talk thrown in for good measure). The man’s name is Bicarat.
(The men really need to wrap it up, however. Remember, dueling is illegal. Everyone is in danger of getting arrested!)
Athos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan surround Bicarat and tell him to quit.
Bicarat wants to keep fighting, even as Jussac yells at him to stop. Finally, Jussac commands him to stop.
Magic words! Bicarat immediately stops and then breaks his sword over his knee so that he won’t have to surrender it.
The Musketeers and D’Artagnan salute Bicarat for his bravery, and then take the wounded to the convent. They leave the dead guy.
The Musketeers and D’Artagnan then go visit Tréville, but it turns into a bit of a parade as they relate the story to every Musketeer they pass.
D’Artagnan is overjoyed to be hanging out with three such awesome men. He’s hopeful that he can one day be a Musketeer just like them.