This swashbuckling tale, beloved around the world, follows the fortunes of d'Artagnan, a country boy who travels to Paris to join the Musketeers, save his Queen from scandal, and outwit the devious Cardinal Richelieu. This book has memorable charcters. I can see why its a beloved classic.
The main character, d'Artagnan, born into an impoverished noble family of Gascony, <1> leaves home for Paris to fulfill his greatest dream: becoming a Musketeer of the Guard. Fortunately his father knows Monsieur De Treville, Captain of the Company of Musketeers (and fellow Gascon) and... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The main character, d'Artagnan, born into an impoverished noble family of Gascony, <1> leaves home for Paris to fulfill his greatest dream: becoming a Musketeer of the Guard. Fortunately his father knows Monsieur De Treville, Captain of the Company of Musketeers (and fellow Gascon) and has written a letter of introduction. On the road to Paris, the young Gascon soon gets in a quarrel with a mysterious gentleman, and is set upon by the servants of the nearby inn. When d'Artagnan regains consciousness, he realizes that the gentleman has stolen his letter of introduction. The innkeeper manages to get his hands on much of d'Artagnan's limited money as he recuperates.
In Paris, d'Artagnan goes straight to M. De Treville's hôtel, but lacking his father's letter, is received somewhat coolly. In a series of incidents at the hôtel, d'Artagnan is challenged to duels by three musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. The four men meet and d'Artagnan begins to fight Athos (the first challenger). They are interrupted by Cardinal Richelieu's guards, who threaten to arrest them because duels are forbidden by royal decree. The three musketeers and d'Artagnan unite to defeat the Cardinal's guards. In this manner, the young Gascon earns the respect and friendship of Athos, Porthos and Aramis, and soon becomes a soldier in a regiment of the Royal Guard.
After obtaining lodging and hiring a servant (Planchet), he meets his aging landlord's pretty young wife, Constance Bonacieux, with whom he falls instantly in love. Constance and d'Artagnan help Anne of Austria and the Duke of Buckingham have a rendezvous, and the Queen presents her lover a wooden box containing a set of diamond jewels originally given to her by her husband Louis XIII. Cardinal Richelieu, informed by his spies of the gift, persuades the King to invite the Queen to a ball where she would be expected to wear the diamonds; in hopes of uncovering her love affair.
Constance attempts to get her Husband to go to London and retrieve the diamonds, but he has been recruited as an agent by the Cardinal and refuses. D'Artagnan and his friends are convinced to take on the mission instead. After a series of adventures, they retrieve the jewels and return them to Queen Anne, just in time to save her façade of honour. Athos, Porthos and Aramis are all badly wounded by Cardinalist agents in this endeavor.
The Cardinal's revenge comes swiftly: the next evening, Constance is kidnapped. D'Artagnan brings his friends back to Paris and tries to find her, but fails. Meanwhile, he befriends the Count de Winter, an English nobleman who introduces him to his sister-in-law, Milady de Winter. D'Artagnan quickly develops a crush on the pretty noblewoman, but soon learns that she has no love for him, being an agent for the Cardinal. He does manage to sleep with her, and learns that Milady has a fleur-de-lis burned into her shoulder, marking her as a felon. She had apparently been married to both Athos and the Lord de Winter at different times in her wicked life and was livid that the young Musketeer knew her secret. D'Artagnan is able to escape her home, but is relieved when all the King's Guards are ordered to La Rochelle where a siege of the Protestant-held town is taking place. At least in a military camp he will be harder to retaliate against!
Milady makes several attempts to kill d'Artagnan in and around La Rochelle, but fails. At the same time, d'Artagnan finds out that the Queen has managed to save Constance from the prison where the Cardinal and Milady had thrown her, and that his beloved is now hidden somewhere safe. One of the would-be assassins drops a valuable tip: the name of an inn where Milady was to pay him for his crime.
The Musketeers stake out the Inn, and overhear a conversation where the Cardinal asks Milady to assassinate the Duke of Buckingham (a supporter of the Protestant Rochelleais rebels). The Churchman then writes out a blanket pardon to Milady, effectively giving her permission to kill d'Artagnan. Athos quickly confronts his former Wife and takes the pardon from her. Because of the war between France and England, any attempt by the musketeers to warn the Duke of Buckingham about Milady would be considered treason, but they are able to send Planchet with a letter to Milady's Brother-in-Law, who suspects Milady killed his Brother.
Milady is imprisoned on arrival in England, but soon seduces her hard-hearted Puritan jailer Felton and convinces him not only to help her escape, but also to assassinate the Duke of Buckingham. While the naive Felton knifes the Prime Minister, Milady sails to France. Milady sends a message to the Cardinal and hides in the same North French monastery where Constance had been sent by the Queen. The trusting Constance bares her soul to Milady and the evil woman realizes that her enemy d'Artagnan is expected to arrive at the monastery at any moment. She escapes just before his arrival, but not before taking her revenge: she poisons Constance, who dies minutes later in the arms of her beloved d'Artagnan.
They arrange to track down the whereabouts of Milady to exact punishment, joined by the Lord de Winter. The noblemen find her and try the Countess on numerous charges: the poisoning of Madame Bonacieux; the assassination attempts on d'Artagnan; accomplice to the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham; the corruption of the Lord de Winter's servant, Felton; and the assassination of her late husband Count de Winter. The most damning charge comes when Athos states that Milady, his wife, is a marked criminal with a brand on her shoulder. When the Countess demands that Athos present the one who branded her, a man in the red cloak steps forward. She immediately recognizes him as the executioner of Lille and he recounts Milady's early misdeeds that led to the branding.
After Milady is beheaded the musketeers return to La Rochelle. On their way, they encounter the Count of Rochefort, the Cardinal's close advisor and d'Artagnan's old nemesis, who was traveling to Milady to pay her. Rochefort also has an order to arrest d'Artagnan. He decides to postpone his trip to Milady in order to take d'Artagnan directly to the Cardinal. When the young Gascon is presented before him, the entire story about Milady's assassination attempts, her poisoning of Madame Bonacieux, etc. is told. The Cardinal states that if Milady is indeed guilty, the courts will deal harshly with her. d'Artagnan frankly admits that he and his friends have already dealt with this evil woman. He then presents Richelieu with the blanket pardon written in the Cardinal's own hand. The Cardinal, impressed by d'Artagnan's resourcefulness and having already gotten what he wanted from Milady, offers the young man a lieutenant's commission with the Musketeers— with the name left blank. The Cardinal then presents Rochefort and asks both men to be on good terms.
As the book ends, D'Artagnan offers the officer's commission to each of his friends, but is told that he should insert his own name. Athos intends to retire to his estates, Porthos has decided to marry the widow of a rich lawyer, and Aramis will soon fulfill his dream of entering the Priesthood.
Their lives, however, will cross once again, in Twenty Years After.
“To die among friends. Can a man ask more? Can the world offer less? Who wants to live 'till the last bottle is empty? It's all-for one, d'Artagnan, and one for all.”Athos
“A weak obstacle is sometimes sufficient to overthrow a great design.”
“D’Artagnan: Why is Athos sitting by himself?Aramis: He takes his drinking very seriously. Not to worry, he’ll be his usual charming self by morning.”
“You are very amiable, no doubt, but you would be charming if you would only depart.”
“As it was in the time of the wars between the Catholics and the Huguenots; and as he saw Catholics exterminating Huguenots, and Huguenots exterminating Catholics, all in the name of religion, he had made for himself a sort of mixed belief, which permitted him to be at one time a Catholic, and at another a Huguenot. He had a habit of walking out behind the hedges on the road side, with his carbine at his shoulder, and, when he saw a solitary Catholic coming, the Protestant religion immediately predominated in his mind, he lowered his carbine in the direction of the traveller, and then, when he was at ten paces from him, opened a conversation which almost always ended by the traveller relinquishing his purse to redeem his life. Of course, when he saw a Huguenot coming, he was seized with such an ardent Catholic zeal, that he could not comprehend how it had been possible for him, only a quarter of an hour before, to doubt the superiority of our most holy faith.”Mousqueton, talking about his father
“In general, people ask for advice,” he used to say, “only so as not to follow it; or, if they do follow it, it’s only so as to have someone to blame for having given it.”Highlighted by 7 Kindle customers
Chapter 1 - THE THREE PRESENTS OF D'ARTAGNAN THE ELDER
Chapter 2 - THE ANTECHAMBER OF M. DE TREVILLE
Chapter 3 - THE AUDIENCE
Chapter 4 - THE SHOULDER OF ATHOS, THE BALDRIC OF PORTHOS AND THE HANDKERCHIEF OF ARAMIS
Chapter 5 - THE KING'S MUSKETEERS AND THE CARDINAL'S GUARDS
Chapter 6 - HIS MAJESTY KING LOUIS XIII
Chapter 7 - THE INTERIOR OF "THE MUSKETEERS"
Chapter 8 - CONCERNING A COURT INTRIGUE
Chapter 9 - D'ARTAGNAN SHOWS HIMSELF
Chapter 10 - A MOUSETRAP IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
Chapter 11 - IN WHICH THE PLOT THICKENS
Chapter 12 - GEORGE VILLIERS, DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM
Chapter 13 - MONSIEUR BONACIEUX
Chapter 14 - THE MAN OF MEUNG
Chapter 15 - MEN OF THE ROBE AND MEN OF THE SWORD
Chapter 16 - IN WHICH M. SEGUIER, KEEPER OF THE SEALS, LOOKS MORE THAN ONCE FOR THE BELL, IN ORDER TO RING IT, AS HE DID BEFORE
Chapter 17 - BONACIEUX AT HOME
Chapter 18 - LOVER AND HUSBAND
Chapter 19 - PLAN OF CAMPAIGN
Chapter 20 - THE JOURNEY
Chapter 21 - THE COUNTESS DE WINTER
Chapter 22 - THE BALLET OF LA MERLAISON
Chapter 23 - THE RENDEZVOUS
Chapter 24 - THE PAVILION
Chapter 25 - PORTHOS
Chapter 26 - ARAMIS AND HIS THESIS
Chapter 27 - THE WIFE OF ATHOS
Chapter 28 - THE RETURN
Chapter 29 - HUNTING FOR THE EQUIPMENTS
Chapter 30 - D'ARTAGNAN AND THE ENGLISHMAN
Chapter 31 - ENGLISH AND FRENCH
Chapter 32 - A PROCURATOR'S DINNER
Chapter 33 - SOUBRETTE AND MISTRESS
Chapter 34 - IN WHICH THE EQUIPMENT OF ARAMIS AND PORTHOS IS TREATED OF
Chapter 35 - A GASCON A MATCH FOR CUPID
Chapter 36 - DREAM OF VENGEANCE
Chapter 37 - MILADY'S SECRET
Chapter 38 - HOW, WITHOUT INCOMMODING HIMSELF, ATHOS PROCURES HIS EQUIPMENT
Chapter 39 - A VISION
Chapter 40 - A TERRIBLE VISION
Chapter 41 - THE SEIGE OF LA ROCHELLE
Chapter 42 - THE ANJOU WINE
Chapter 43 - THE SIGN OF THE RED DOVECOT
Chapter 44 - THE UTILITY OF STOVEPIPES
Chapter 45 - A CONJUGAL SCENE
Chapter 46 - THE BASTION SAINT-GERVAIS
Chapter 47 - THE COUNCIL OF THE MUSKETEERS
Chapter 48 - A FAMILY AFFAIR
Chapter 49 - FATALITY
Chapter 50 - CHAT BETWEEN BROTHER AND SISTER
Chapter 51 - OFFICER
Chapter 52 - CAPTIVITY: THE FIRST DAY
Chapter 53 - CAPTIVITY: THE SECOND DAY
Chapter 54 - CAPTIVITY: THE THIRD DAY
Chapter 55 - CAPTIVITY: THE FOURTH DAY
Chapter 56 - CAPTIVITY: THE FIFTH DAY
Chapter 57 - MEANS FOR CLASSICAL TRAGEDY
Chapter 58 - ESCAPE
Chapter 59 - WHAT TOOK PLACE AT PORTSMOUTH AUGUST 23, 1628
Chapter 60 - IN FRANCE
Chapter 61 - THE CARMELITE CONVENT AT BETHUNE
Chapter 62 - TWO VARIETIES OF DEMONS
Chapter 63 - THE DROP OF WATER
Chapter 64 - THE MAN IN THE RED CLOAK
Chapter 65 - TRIAL
Chapter 66 - EXECUTION
Chapter 67 - CONCLUSION
Followed by Twenty Years After.
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