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Saint Martin's Summer   By: (1875-1950)

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ST. MARTIN'S SUMMER

By Rafael Sabatini

Originally published in 1921

CONTENTS

I. THE SENESCHAL OF DAUPHINY II. MONSIEUR DE GARNACHE III. THE DOWAGER'S COMPLIANCE IV. THE CHATEAU DE CONDILLAC V. MONSIEUR DE GARNACHE LOSES HIS TEMPER VI. MONSIEUR DE GARNACHE KEEPS HIS TEMPER VII. THE OPENING OF THE TRAP VIII. THE CLOSING OF THE TRAP IX. THE SENESCHAL'S ADVICE X. THE RECRUIT XI. VALERIE'S GAOLER XII. A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE XIII. THE COURIER XIV. FLORIMOND'S LETTER XV. THE CONFERENCE XVI. THE UNEXPECTED XVII. HOW MONSIEUR DE GARNACHE LEFT CONDILLAC XVIII. IN THE MOAT XIX. THROUGH THE NIGHT XX. FLORIMOND DE CONDILLAC XXI. THE GHOST IN THE CUPBOARD XXII. THE OFFICES OF MOTHER CHURCH XXIII. THE JUDGMENT OF GARNACHE XXIV. SAINT MARTINS EVE

SAINT MARTIN'S SUMMER

CHAPTER I. THE SENESCHAL OF DAUPHINY

My Lord of Tressan, His Majesty's Seneschal of Dauphiny, sat at his ease, his purple doublet all undone, to yield greater freedom to his vast bulk, a yellow silken undergarment visible through the gap, as is visible the flesh of some fruit that, swollen with over ripeness, has burst its skin.

His wig imposed upon him by necessity, not fashion lay on the table amid a confusion of dusty papers, and on his little fat nose, round and red as a cherry at its end, rested the bridge of his horn rimmed spectacles. His bald head so bald and shining that it conveyed an unpleasant sense of nakedness, suggesting that its uncovering had been an act of indelicacy on the owner's part rested on the back of his great chair, and hid from sight the gaudy escutcheon wrought upon the crimson leather. His eyes were closed, his mouth open, and whether from that mouth or from his nose or, perhaps, conflicting for issue between both there came a snorting, rumbling sound to proclaim that my Lord the Seneschal was hard at work upon the King's business.

Yonder, at a meaner table, in an angle between two windows, a pale faced thread bare secretary was performing for a yearly pittance the duties for which my Lord the Seneschal was rewarded by emoluments disproportionately large.

The air of that vast apartment was disturbed by the sounds of Monsieur de Tressan's slumbers, the scratch and splutter of the secretary's pen, and the occasional hiss and crackle of the logs that burned in the great, cavern like fireplace. Suddenly to these another sound was added. With a rasp and rattle the heavy curtains of blue velvet flecked with silver fleurs de lys were swept from the doorway, and the master of Monsieur de Tressan's household, in a well filled suit of black relieved by his heavy chain of office, stepped pompously forward.

The secretary dropped his pen, and shot a frightened glance at his slumbering master; then raised his hands above his head, and shook them wildly at the head lackey.

"Sh!" he whispered tragically. "Doucement, Monsieur Anselme."

Anselme paused. He appreciated the gravity of the situation. His bearing lost some of its dignity; his face underwent a change. Then with a recovery of some part of his erstwhile resolution:

"Nevertheless, he must be awakened," he announced, but in an undertone, as if afraid to do the thing he said must needs be done.

The horror in the secretary's eyes increased, but Anselme's reflected none of it. It was a grave thing, he knew by former experience, to arouse His Majesty's Seneschal of Dauphiny from his after dinner nap; but it was an almost graver thing to fail in obedience to that black eyed woman below who was demanding an audience.

Anselme realized that he was between the sword and the wall. He was, however, a man of a deliberate habit that was begotten of inherent indolence and nurtured among the good things that fell to his share as master of the Tressan household... Continue reading book >>




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