The musketeers’ servants drag Milady to the spot where she will be executed. On her way there, Milady begs for her life and promises to handsomely reward the servants if they will set her free. The musketeers make sure to rotate which servants are in charge of dragging Milady so that she doesn’t have time to corrupt them. Eventually, the group comes to a river. Here, Milady’s hands and feet and bound and she is placed in a boat. Throughout this entire process Milady mocks her captors and pleads for her life. At one point, d’Artagnan considers letting her go free, but Athos quickly steps in and shuts that idea down.
This chapter is a difficult one to stomach, both for the characters and the reader. Although Milady is evil, her death is a gruesome scene that even her executioners do not want to go through with. Undoubtedly, Milady’s feminine beauty contributes to the tragedy of the scene in the eyes of the characters. They have a difficult time seeing through her outer layer to the evil that hides within her.
Once she is in the boat, d’Artagnan, Athos, and Lord De Winter all offer her their respective pardons. The executioner gets in the boat and takes it across to the other side of the river. The musketeers all get on their knees and pray. When Milady reaches the other side of the river she tries to run away, as she’s managed to undo the bind on her feet. However, she quickly slips and falls. The executioner quickly catches up to her and chops off her head. He then throws her corpse in the river. Several days later, the musketeers end up back in Paris talking to M. de Tréville. When M. de Tréville asks if they enjoyed their leave, only Athos is able to speak up and say that he did.
Milady fights until her last breath, but even she cannot escape imminent death. In just a few moments, the life of a woman who brought about great suffering is ended. Even so, the musketeers do not feel triumphant. In a moment of dark humor, only Athos admits to enjoying Milady’s death. Athos’s reaction suggests that there is more to his relationship with Milady than what he told d’Artagnan. However, the reader never finds out for sure if this is the case.