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Count Hannibal A Romance of the Court of France   By: (1855-1928)

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This eBook was prepared by Les Bowler from the 1922 John Murray edition.

COUNT HANNIBAL A ROMANCE OF THE COURT OF FRANCE. by Stanley J. Weyman.

SORORI SUA CAUSSA CARAE PRO ERGA MATREM AMORE ETIAM CARIORI HOC FRATER.

CONTENTS

I. CRIMSON FAVOURS II. HANNIBAL DE SAULX, COMTE DE TAVANNES III. THE HOUSE NEXT THE GOLDEN MAID IV. THE EVE OF THE FEAST V. A ROUGH WOOING VI. "WHO TOUCHES TAVANNES?" VII. IN THE AMPHITHEATRE VIII. TWO HENS AND AN EGG IX. UNSTABLE X. MADAME ST. LO XI. A BARGAIN XII. IN THE HALL OF THE LOUVRE XIII. DIPLOMACY XIV. TOO SHORT A SPOON XV. THE BROTHER OF ST. MAGLOIRE XVI. AT CLOSE QUARTERS XVII. THE DUEL XVIII. ANDROMEDA, PERSEUS BEING ABSENT XIX. IN THE ORLEANNAIS XX. ON THE CASTLE HILL XXI. SHE WOULD, AND WOULD NOT XXII. PLAYING WITH FIRE XXIII. A MIND, AND NOT A MIND XXIV. AT THE KING'S INN XXV. THE COMPANY OF THE BLEEDING HEART XXVI. TEMPER XXVII. THE BLACK TOWN XXVIII. IN THE LITTLE CHAPTER HOUSE XXIX. THE ESCAPE XXX. SACRILEGE! XXXI. THE FLIGHT FROM ANGERS XXXII. THE ORDEAL BY STEEL XXXIII. THE AMBUSH XXXIV. "WHICH WILL YOU, MADAME?" XXXV. AGAINST THE WALL XXXVI. HIS KINGDOM

CHAPTER I. CRIMSON FAVOURS.

M. de Tavannes smiled. Mademoiselle averted her eyes, and shivered; as if the air, even of that close summer night, entering by the door at her elbow, chilled her. And then came a welcome interruption.

"Tavannes!"

"Sire!"

Count Hannibal rose slowly. The King had called, and he had no choice but to obey and go. Yet he hung a last moment over his companion, his hateful breath stirring her hair.

"Our pleasure is cut short too soon, Mademoiselle," he said, in the tone, and with the look, she loathed. "But for a few hours only. We shall meet to morrow. Or, it may be earlier."

She did not answer, and "Tavannes!" the King repeated with violence. "Tavannes! Mordieu!" his Majesty continued, looking round furiously. "Will no one fetch him? Sacre nom, am I King, or a dog of a "

"I come, sire!" the Count cried hastily. For Charles, King of France, Ninth of the name, was none of the most patient; and scarce another in the Court would have ventured to keep him waiting so long. "I come, sire; I come!" Tavannes repeated, as he moved from Mademoiselle's side.

He shouldered his way through the circle of courtiers, who barred the road to the presence, and in part hid her from observation. He pushed past the table at which Charles and the Comte de Rochefoucauld had been playing primero, and at which the latter still sat, trifling idly with the cards. Three more paces, and he reached the King, who stood in the ruelle with Rambouillet and the Italian Marshal. It was the latter who, a moment before, had summoned his Majesty from his game.

Mademoiselle, watching him go, saw so much; so much, and the King's roving eyes and haggard face, and the four figures, posed apart in the fuller light of the upper half of the Chamber. Then the circle of courtiers came together before her, and she sat back on her stool. A fluttering, long drawn sigh escaped her. Now, if she could slip out and make her escape! Now she looked round. She was not far from the door; to withdraw seemed easy. But a staring, whispering knot of gentlemen and pages blocked the way; and the girl, ignorant of the etiquette of the Court, and with no more than a week's experience of Paris, had not the courage to rise and pass alone through the group.

She had come to the Louvre this Saturday evening under the wing of Madame d'Yverne, her fiance's cousin. By ill hap Madame had been summoned to the Princess Dowager's closet, and perforce had left her. Still, Mademoiselle had her betrothed, and in his charge had sat herself down to wait, nothing loth, in the great gallery, where all was bustle and gaiety and entertainment. For this, the seventh day of the fetes, held to celebrate the marriage of the King of Navarre and Charles's sister a marriage which was to reconcile the two factions of the Huguenots and the Catholics, so long at war saw the Louvre as gay, as full, and as lively as the first of the fete days had found it; and in the humours of the throng, in the ceaseless passage of masks and maids of honour, guards and bishops, Swiss in the black, white, and green of Anjou, and Huguenot nobles in more sombre habits, the country bred girl had found recreation and to spare... Continue reading book >>




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