Porthos goes to Madame Coquenard’s house where he is expected for dinner. He is excited for the dinner not only because he expects a great meal, but also because he thinks he’ll get a look inside a chest owned by Madame Coquenard’s husband that is said to contain a great deal of money and valuable objects. However, when Porthos arrives at Madame Coquenard’s house, things do not go as expected. The house itself is unimpressive and the meal that is served is incredibly lackluster. Although Porthos is repulsed by the meal, Madame Coquenard’s husband acts as though he is being spoiled.
Here, Porthos begins to doubt that the Coquenards are as rich as he thought they were. Although the Coquenard chest is said to contain a great fortune, their living conditions and food suggest otherwise. Porthos is unsure whether this is because their wealth has been exaggerated or they are stingy. Regardless, he has a difficult time sitting through the meal. This is in sharp contrast to Madame Coquenard’s husband, and their competing reactions are played for comic effect.
After dinner, Madame Coquenard invites Porthos to a private room so they can talk. Porthos tells Madame Coquenard that he needs money so that he can go to war. Madame Coquenard doesn’t want to give him too much money and would rather obtain the supplies he needs herself. However, she eventually agrees to give Porthos 800 livres. Additionally, she plans to obtain a horse and a mule for him. Porthos is satisfied with this deal and so he returns home, still starving.
Although the sum Porthos requests is not insignificant, it shouldn’t prove a huge challenge for someone like Madame Coquenard, assuming she is as rich as she says she is. The deal the two of them strike seems unlikely to turn out in Porthos’s favor. After all, thus far Madame Coquenard’s promises have not come to fruition.