Despite Monsieur Bonacieux’s fears, he is not taken to be executed. Instead, his carriage is parked and then he is led inside a nearby building and taken up some stairs. He is then taken to an elaborately furnished room. At this point, Monsieur Bonacieux realizes that his captors are not planning to kill him. He is then moved into yet another room where he sees a map of La Rochelle and a man he does not recognize. The man is Cardinal de Richelieu and when Monsieur Bonacieux learns his identity, he is both afraid and in awe.
Monsieur Bonacieux’s complete ignorance of his situation is emphasized by the fact that he does not recognize the cardinal—one of the two most important people in France.
The cardinal begins asking Monsieur Bonacieux about his wife’s activities. Monsieur Bonacieux tells him that he knows about the cardinal’s plan to trap the Duke of Buckingham with a fake letter from the queen. This upsets the cardinal, who insults Monsieur Bonacieux for even suggesting he could be responsible for such a thing. The cardinal then tells Monsieur Bonacieux that his wife is currently missing, but that he plans to catch her soon.
Again, Monsieur Bonacieux does not hesitate to betray his wife. However, his newfound loyalty to the cardinal does not pay off; the cardinal insults him and treats him disrespectfully. Despite his tone, the cardinal is careful with his words; he wants to appear as a moral actor in Monsieur Bonacieux’s eyes.
Next, the cardinal questions Monsieur Bonacieux about some of the locations his wife often frequents. In response, Monsieur Bonacieux mentions the addresses of two linen drapers that she often visits while working for the queen. The cardinal is pleased with this information, and he asks his guards to go and get Count Rochefort. Shortly after, a man walks into the room and Monsieur Bonacieux realizes that it is the same man who kidnapped his wife. He relates this information to the cardinal, who promptly orders his guards to lock up Rochefort. Realizing the power of his actions, Monsieur Bonacieux quickly corrects himself and says that he was mistaken, and that Rochefort didn’t kidnap his wife.
Monsieur Bonacieux consistently makes himself out to be the least intelligent person in the room. As it turns out, he does have information about Madame Bonacieux’s activities, he just didn’t know he did. Additionally, this scene clears up one of the major mysteries of the first third of the novel. The man who kidnapped Madame Bonacieux, Count Rochefort, is also the man from Meung. Finally, d’Artagnan’s nemesis gets a proper name.
Because he wants to speak to his soldiers in private, the cardinal sends Monsieur Bonacieux out of the room. One of his guards then informs him that the duke and the queen met with one another at the Louvre. This information was gathered by one of the queen’s attendants who is secretly a spy for the cardinal. The cardinal is also told that the queen gave the duke a box, which contains diamond tags that were originally gifted to the queen by the king. This makes the cardinal happy because he knows he will be able to use this information against the queen. He thanks his guard for the information and then tells him to send Monsieur Bonacieux back in.
Here, the contents of the queen’s box are revealed. She gave the duke diamond tags, which are studs that would be worn as part of an elaborate outfit. The cardinal knows that the king would be hurt if he learned this information because it feels like a double betrayal of his trust. Not only did the queen give the duke a gift; she gave the duke a gift that was first given to her by the king. If this information were to get out, it would create exactly the scandal that the queen was trying to avoid.
When Monsieur Bonacieux returns, the cardinal mocks him for thinking that his wife was actually visiting linen drapers when in reality she was involved in some sort of plot. Monsieur Bonacieux apologizes to the cardinal for his mistake and then proceeds to suck up to him. This pleases the cardinal, who knows he will be able to use Monsieur Bonacieux in the future, although he does find him pathetic. To keep Monsieur Bonacieux on his good side, the cardinal gives him a hundred pistoles. Monsieur Bonacieux is ecstatic at this sudden turn of events, and he swears his loyalty to the cardinal. Monsieur Bonacieux is then dismissed and allowed to return home.
Here, the cardinal catches Monsieur Bonacieux up to speed. The linen drapers Madame Bonacieux visited are almost certainly agents of the queen, and the cardinal knows it right away. Although the cardinal has no respect for Monsieur Bonacieux, he realizes that he’s found a man who has no problem with betraying his wife.
After Monsieur Bonacieux leaves, the cardinal finally turns his attention to Rochefort. Rochefort tells the cardinal that he’s confirmed the information Monsieur Bonacieux gave the cardinal, but that he’s yet to locate Madame Bonacieux. In response, the cardinal tells Rochefort that they now have a new ally on their side: Monsieur Bonacieux. Both men agree that he will prove useful.
Like the cardinal, Rochefort is an intelligent and resourceful man. The two men are almost exact replicas of one another, although Rochefort is not quite as diabolical, and he does not share the cardinal’s social standing. Their relationship is similar to M. de Tréville’s treatment of d’Artagnan and the musketeers.
Later, after Rochefort leaves the cardinal’s residence, the cardinal calls for one of his servants. He gives the man a letter to bring to Milady. The letter contains instructions for a job that the cardinal wants done. He tells Milady to find the Duke of Buckingham and cut off two of the diamond studs that he is sure to be wearing.
This moment marks the first reappearance of Milady since the beginning of the novel. Like Rochefort, Milady is evidently an agent of the cardinal, which explains their meeting in the first chapter of the novel. In just a matter of minutes, the cardinal already has a scheme to punish the queen for giving the duke her diamond tags.