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My Sword's My Fortune A Story of Old France   By:

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I. I Go to Paris II. La Boule d'Or III. I Enter the Astrologer's House IV. I Meet the Cardinal V. The Reception at the Luxembourg VI. Was I Mistaken? VII. The Cardinal takes an Evening Walk VIII. The Plot is Discovered IX. I Meet with an Exciting Adventure X. Pillot to the Rescue XI. A Scheme that Went Amiss XII. I have a Narrow Escape XIII. I again Encounter Maubranne XIV. I Fall into a Trap XV. Under Watch and Ward XVI. I become a Prisoner of the Bastille XVII. Free! XVIII. The Fight on the Staircase XIX. I Lose all Trace of Henri XX. News at Last XXI. The Death of Henri XXII. The Mob Rises XXIII. The Ladies Leave Paris XXIV. Captain Courcy Outwitted XXV. I Miss a Grand Opportunity XXVI. "Vive le Roi!" XXVII. The King Visits Raoul XXVIII. "Remember the Porte St. Antoine" XXIX. Mazarin Triumphant


"The air was filled with the clatter of steel."

"The nobleman caught and fixed him."

"Keep this in remembrance of this day."

[Transcriber's notes:

Gaps in the source book's page numbering indicate that four illustrations were missing. Physical damage seems to indicate that the frontispiece may also have been missing. Since there was no list of illustrations in the book, it is not known what their captions were. Short transcriber's notes indicate the locations of the missing illustrations.]


I Go to Paris.

"Let the boy go to Paris," exclaimed our guest, Roland Belloc. "I warrant he'll find a path that will lead him to fortune."

"He is young," said my father doubtfully.

"He will be killed," cried my mother, while I stood upright against the wall and looked at Roland gratefully.

It was in 1650, in the days of the Regency, and all France was in an uproar. Our most gracious monarch, Louis XIV., was then a boy of twelve, and his Queen Mother, Anne of Austria, ruled the country. She had a host of enemies, and only one friend, Cardinal Mazarin, a wily Italian priest, who was perhaps the actual master of France.

Roland Belloc, who was the Cardinal's man, had been staying for a day or two in my father's company. He was a real soldier of fortune, strong as a bull, a fine swordsman, and afraid of no man living. He told us many startling tales of Paris.

According to him, everything in the city, from the throne to the gutter, was in a state of unrest: no man knew what an hour would bring forth. One day people feasted and sang and danced in feverish merriment: the next the barricades were up, and the denizens of the filthy courts and alleys, eager for pillage, swarmed into the light.

"Mazarin is like a wild boar," said he, "with a pack of hounds baying round him. There is the Duke of Orleans, the king's uncle, who snaps and runs away; Condé is waiting to get a good bite; while the priest, De Retz, is the most mischievous of all."

"It is almost as bad as war," said my father.

"It is war, and nothing else. But," with a laugh, "the green scarf of Mazarin will be uppermost at the finish. What do you say, Albert? Are you willing to don the Cardinal's colours?"

"I know little of these things, monsieur, but my sympathies are for the Queen Mother."

"Of course they are!" cried he, giving me a resounding slap on the back; "so are mine, but Anne of Austria would never hold her own without the Cardinal. Come, De Lalande, let the youngster go. You will not regret it, I promise. He may not get Vançey back, but there are other estates to be won by a strong arm. Shake yourself, boy, and come out into the daylight. You are moping here like a barn owl."

"The simile is good, Roland, for he lives in a barn... Continue reading book >>

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