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An Enemy to the King   By: (1867-1906)

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AN ENEMY TO THE KING

From the recently discovered memoirs of the Sieur de la Tournoire

By Robert Neilson Stephens

Author of "The Continental Dragoon," "The Road to Paris," "Philip Winwood," etc.

1897

CONTENTS.

I. TWO ENCOUNTERS BY NIGHT II. LOVE MAKING AT SHORT ACQUAINTANCE III. THE STRANGE REQUEST OF MLLE. D'ARENCY IV. HOW LA TOURNOIRE WAS ENLIGHTENED IN THE DARK V. HOW LA TOURNOIRE ESCAPED FROM PARIS VI. HOW HE FLED SOUTHWARD VII. HOW HE ANNOYED MONSIEUR DE LA CHATRE VIII. A SWEET LADY IN DISTRESS IX. THE FOUR RASCALS X. A DISAPPEARANCE XI. HOW THE HERO GAVE HIS WORD AND KEPT IT XII. AT THE CHÂTEAU OF MAURY XIII. HOW DE BERQUIN INVITED DEATH XIV. "GOD GRANT I DO NOT FIND YOU FALSE" XV. TO CLOCHONNE, AFTER MADEMOISELLE! XVI. BEHIND THE CURTAINS XVII. SWORD AND DAGGER XVIII. THE RIDE TOWARDS GUIENNE

AN ENEMY TO THE KING

CHAPTER I.

TWO ENCOUNTERS BY NIGHT

Hitherto I have written with the sword, after the fashion of greater men, and requiring no secretary. I now take up the quill to set forth, correctly, certain incidents which, having been noised about, stand in danger of being inaccurately reported by some imitator of Brantome and De l'Estoile. If all the world is to know of this matter, let it know thereof rightly.

It was early in January, in the year 1578, that I first set out for Paris. My mother had died when I was twelve years old, and my father had followed her a year later. It was his last wish that I, his only child, should remain at the château, in Anjou, continuing my studies until the end of my twenty first year. He had chosen that I should learn manners as best I could at home, not as page in some great household or as gentleman in the retinue of some high personage. "A De Launay shall have no master but God and the King," he said. Reverently I had fulfilled his injunctions, holding my young impulses in leash. I passed the time in sword practice with our old steward, Michel, who had followed my father in the wars under Coligny, in hunting in our little patch of woods, reading the Latin authors in the flowery garden of the château, or in my favorite chamber, that one at the top of the new tower which had been built in the reign of Henri II. to replace the original black tower from which the earliest De Launay of note got the title of Sieur de la Tournoire. All this while I was holding in curb my impatient desires. So almost resistless are the forces that impel the young heart, that there must have been a hard struggle within me had I had to wait even a month longer for the birthday which finally set me free to go what ways I chose. I rose early on that cold but sunlit January day, mad with eagerness to be off and away into the great world that at last lay open to me. Poor old Michel was sad that I had decided to go alone. But the only servant whom I would have taken with me was the only one to whom I would entrust the house of my fathers in my absence, old Michel himself. I thought the others too rustic. My few tenants would have made awkward lackeys in peace, sorry soldiers in war.

Michel had my portmanteau fastened on my horse, which had been brought out into the courtyard, and then he stood by me while I took my last breakfast in La Tournoire; and, in my haste to be off, I would have eaten little had he not pressed much upon me, reminding me how many leagues I would have to ride before meeting a good inn on the Paris road. He was sad, poor old Michel, at my going, and yet he partook of some of my own eagerness. At last I had forced down my unwilling throat food enough to satisfy even old Michel's solicitude. He girded on me the finest of the swords that my father had left, placed over my violet velvet doublet the new cloak I had bought for the occasion, handed me my new hat with its showy plumes, and stood aside for me to pass out... Continue reading book >>




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