Study Guide

The Three Musketeers Chapter Forty: The Cardinal

By Alexandre Dumas

Chapter Forty: The Cardinal

  • The Cardinal stares at D’Artagnan for a bit, then questions him about his family and his past. He says that D’Artagnan had an interesting incident at Meung, demonstrating that he knows exactly what happened.
  • The Cardinal knows that D’Artagnan lost his letter of introduction to Tréville, but that Tréville put him in Dessessart’s company anyway.
  • The Cardinal is one well-informed man. He continues to explicate D’Artagnan’s past adventures, including his recent trip to England and his meeting with the Queen.
  • The Cardinal then chastises D’Artagnan for not visiting him after Cavois extended an invitation.
  • D’Artagnan apologizes, saying he feared the Cardinal’s displeasure.
  • The Cardinal points out that D’Artagnan is both intelligent and courageous, and that he admires those traits. He only punishes those who disobey—he points out that when D’Artagnan ignored his first invitation, Constance Bonacieux was abducted.
  • The Cardinal then shifts gears to a discussion of D’Artagnan’s future. The Cardinal offers D’Artagnan the rank of ensign in the Cardinal’s Guards, and a separate company to command after the campaign at La Rochelle.
  • D’Artagnan refuses, saying that he has no reason to leave the Majesty’s Guards. The Cardinal is astonished, pointing out that both Guards serve the King and France.
  • Finally D’Artagnan says simply that his friends are Musketeers and Guards, and all his enemies work for the Cardinal. There is simply no way he can accept the Cardinal’s offer.
  • Shocked, the Cardinal ends their interview with a warning—D’Artagnan better watch out for his life. If anything happens to D’Artagnan later, remember that the Cardinal’s protection was once offered to him.
  • With these ominous sayings, the meeting is over.
  • D’Artagnan almost turns back but thinks of Athos’s principles and continues on. When D’Artagnan tells his three friends that he refused the post of ensign in the Cardinal’s service, Aramis and Porthos immediately congratulate him, but Athos "fell into a profound reverie and said nothing." Later he tells D’Artagnan that it was perhaps the wrong move.
  • As you can imagine, there is a big celebration that night.
  • The next day, they prepare for war.
  • Everyone goes to the palace so the King can review the troops. As they’re traveling, the lawyer’s wife spots Porthos and is excited because he looks so good.
  • (She and Porthos said their real good-bye the previous night.)
  • Aramis wrote a long letter, probably destined for Tours.
  • Athos drank a bottle of wine.
  • D’Artagnan is spotted by Milady, who points him out to two "ill-looking men."
  • The two men join D’Artagnan’s company.