Back in France, the siege of La Rochelle is still going on. The citizens of La Rochelle are all praying for the Duke of Buckingham to come and save them. However, the cardinal has other plans. He expects that the duke will be killed any day now. However, he is starting to get concerned that it hasn’t happened yet. He wonders what has happened to Milady.
The cardinal knows that the siege will end as soon as the English aren’t around to support the citizens of La Rochelle. Of course, he doesn’t know that Milady has been detained by Lord de Winter and that his plan is unlikely to come to fruition.
One day, the cardinal walks near the beach and spots the four musketeer friends. Immediately, he is suspicious of them because they are so happy. In an attempt to learn what the musketeers are talking about, the cardinal tries to sneak up on them. However, before he can get too close, Grimaud points him out to the musketeers. When the musketeers see the cardinal, they stand up and show him respect. The cardinal behaves aggressively toward the musketeers because he is angry at being seen and is convinced that they are causing trouble.
The cardinal assumes that whatever is making the musketeers happy is likely not good for him. Although his intuition is correct, he never learns the truth because the musketeers take the proper precautions. The musketeers treat the cardinal with respect even in the face of his insults because they do not want to reveal the nature of their meeting.
When the musketeers feign ignorance, the cardinal asks them about a letter they were reading before he arrived. Rather than show the cardinal the letter, Athos hurls an insult about the cardinal and his alleged affairs. Because he doesn’t want to pick a fight with the musketeers, the cardinal decides to continue on his way, although he is furious.
Athos realizes that the musketeers’ tactic of acting polite will not work. As such, he goes the complete opposite direction and says something to the cardinal, which no one has ever said before and lived. However, because the cardinal is on his own, there is nothing he can do about it.
Once the cardinal is gone, Athos explains to his companions that his reaction was the only way to keep the cardinal from seeing the letter other than killing him. They then return to their conversation. Apparently, the letter contains the location of Madame de Bonacieux. She is currently living in a town called Bethune. To ensure that the cardinal cannot get his hands on the letter, the musketeers make Grimaud eat it. Meanwhile, the cardinal rides away from the beach and thinks about how he could get the four musketeers to work for him one day.
As it turns out, Athos’s reaction was the only way to protect Madame de Bonacieux, who is apparently alive and doing well. Her current location suggests that she was indeed the person in the carriage who d’Artagnan rode out to meet earlier in the story. As the musketeers celebrate, the cardinal reacts in a surprising fashion. Although he is angry, his anger is not because of Athos’s insult; rather, he is annoyed that the musketeers are better men than his guards.