Study Guide

The Three Musketeers Chapter Forty-Eight: A Family Affair

By Alexandre Dumas

Chapter Forty-Eight: A Family Affair

  • That evening the four have three things to decide: what to say to de Winter, what to say to the lady in Tours, and which lackeys should perform which task.
  • Athos boasts of Grimaud’s discretion, Porthos of Mousqueton’s strength, Aramis claims that Bazin is a true gentleman, and D’Artagnan talks of Planchet’s bravery.
  • Athos points out that whomever they send ought to have all four qualities.
  • The matter is tabled for the moment as the friends turn to composing their letters. The first letter is to the Lord de Winter, and after several false starts its composition is turned over to Aramis. In the course of writing the letter, Aramis and Porthos learn that Milady is branded with a fleur-de-lis and that Athos and D’Artagnan have seen the brand. They learn that her first husband is still alive, but Athos keeps quiet that the husband is none other than him!
  • The letter to Lord de Winter informs him, in guarded terms, that Milady has tried to have him killed twice, that her marriage in England was her second time getting hitched, and that she will soon be arriving in England. The letter also says that her left shoulder contains some evidence of her past history.
  • The letter is written so that it will not compromise the four friends.
  • It is decided that the lackeys will receive money both before and after their trips.
  • The second letter is written to Aramis’s dear cousin, and recounts a dream in which the Duke was killed. Aramis addresses the letter to a seamstress named Mademoiselle Michon. His friends laugh at him.
  • Aramis argues that only Bazin can carry the letter, since Bazin is the only one his "cousin" knows.
  • D’Artagnan consents, as long as Planchet gets to go to England.
  • The friends send for Planchet, and D’Artagnan outlines the plan. Planchet is told he has eight days to get there and talk to de Winter, and eight days to return. He will be expected at eight o’clock exactly. Porthos, Aramis, and Athos threaten Planchet will a terrible death if he should somehow cause D’Artagnan to come to harm.
  • Planchet leaves the next morning; before he leaves, D’Artagnan asks him verbally to tell de Winter to watch over the Duke in case of assassination. D’Artagnan says this is so important he cannot write it down. Planchet promises to complete his mission.
  • Bazin leaves for Tours the next day and is given eight days to complete his mission.
  • Meanwhile, the friends have nothing to do but wait.
  • Bazin returns on the eighth day and reports an answer from Aramis’s cousin. "Marie Michon" writes that everything will be okay.
  • Bazin rests on some hay and dreams that Aramis will become a pope.
  • D’Artagnan, Porthos, and Aramis now have nothing to do but wait nervously for Planchet’s return. Athos alone remains calm.
  • Planchet shows up right at eight o’clock. (Athos is impressed and tells Planchet that he will hire him if he ever wants to leave D’Artagnan!)
  • Planchet swears that he would never want to leave his current master.
  • Planchet slips a note into his master’s hand.
  • The friends go home; the note says "Thank you; be easy."
  • Athos burns the paper.
  • The friends go to bed, everyone confessing that it will be the first good night’s rest they will have had in sixteen days.