The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers

by

Alexandre Dumas

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The Three Musketeers: Chapter 48 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The night of their victory in the bastion, the musketeers meet to write the letters and decide who will carry them. D’Artagnan attempts to write the letter meant for Lord de Winter, but quickly realizes that he doesn’t have the skill. Instead, he turns the writing over to Aramis who composes a brilliantly subtle letter. The letter tells Lord de Winter that Milady wants him dead, and it makes a reference to the brand on her shoulder. Because Aramis is writing the letter, Athos and d’Artagnan are forced to admit that they’ve both seen the brand, a fact that is surprising to Porthos and Aramis.
The musketeers need to be careful with how they compose the letters because of what might happen if they are intercepted. They don’t want to put the duke, the queen, or the entire kingdom into further danger. Additionally, d’Artagnan and Athos both admit to the other members of the group that they slept with Milady. Although they do not say this explicitly, it is implied in the fact that they’ve both seen her brand. Despite this admission, neither Porthos nor Aramis suspects that Milady is Athos’s wife.
Themes
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Secrets of the Past Theme Icon
The next letter is addressed to a woman who Aramis refers to only as his cousin. His friends see through the lie and tease him, but Aramis refuses to divulge any other information. The letter itself says that Aramis recently had a concerning dream about the duke being killed. He suspects that its recipient will understand its meaning and report it to the queen.
The musketeers tease Aramis because it is obvious to them that his “cousin” is actually his mistress. Because the letter is actually addressed to Madame de Chevreuse, Aramis assumes that she will have no problem putting his message together.
Themes
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Seduction and Romance Theme Icon
Next, the group decides that Bazin should take the letter to Aramis’s “cousin” because the two of them are already acquainted. Additionally, it is determined that Planchet will carry the letter meant to go to England. D’Artagnan tells Planchet that he must go to England and back in 16 days if he wants to receive pay for the journey. Planchet promises him that he will complete the trip in the allotted amount of time. D'Artagnan also tells Planchet that he should openly inform Lord de Winter that the duke’s life is in danger. Planchet agrees to do so.
The musketeers’ decision to give the letters to their servants shows how much trust they have in them. In particular, Planchet is given a dauting task, but one he promises to complete expeditiously. Although the musketeers have confidence in their servants, they are uncomfortable with the prospect that their futures are entirely out of their own hands.
Themes
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Honor  Theme Icon
Both Planchet and Bazin go off on their respective missions and the musketeers can only wait. After eight days, Bazin returns; his mission was a success, and he has a response from Aramis’s “cousin” that suggests she understood the contents of the letter. For the next eight days, the friends nervously await Planchet’s return. They are worried that Milady could strike at any moment and the sooner Planchet gets back, the better. Planchet returns with not a minute to spare and hands d’Artagnan a note from Lord de Winter. The note promises d’Artagnan that Lord de Winter will take care of Milady. Athos takes the note and burns it so that there is no proof of their scheme. Exhausted, everyone goes to bed. They are relieved to know that the situation is under control for the time being.
As it turns out, the musketeers were right to put their trust in Planchet and Bazin. Both servants completed their task as quickly as possible, meaning that there is a good chance they have disrupted Milady and the cardinal’s plans. The only mystery now is how Lord de Winter will handle Milady. Although he is d'Artagnan’s ally, d’Artagnan does not know him well enough to suspect what he might have in mind for his sister-in-law.
Themes
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Honor  Theme Icon
Literary Devices
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