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A Gentleman of France by Stanley John Weyman

Many French words in the text have accents, etc. which have been omitted.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. THE SPORT OF FOOLS CHAPTER II. THE KING OF NAVARRE CHAPTER III. BOOT AND SADDLE CHAPTER IV. MADEMOISELLE DE LA VIRE CHAPTER V. THE ROAD TO BLOIS CHAPTER VI. MY MOTHER'S LODGING CHAPTER VII. SIMON FLEIX CHAPTER VIII. AN EMPTY ROOM CHAPTER IX. THE HOUSE IN THE RUELLE D'ARCY CHAPTER X. THE FIGHT ON THE STAIRS CHAPTER XI. THE MAN AT THE DOOR CHAPTER XII. MAXIMILIAN DE BETHUNE, BARON DE ROSNY CHAPTER XIII. AT ROSNY CHAPTER XIV. M. DE RAMBOUILLET CHAPTER XV. VILAIN HERODES CHAPTER XVI. IN THE KING'S CHAMBER CHAPTER XVII. THE JACOBIN MONK CHAPTER XVIII. THE OFFER OF THE LEAGUE CHAPTER XIX. MEN CALL IT CHANCE CHAPTER XX. THE KING'S FACE CHAPTER XXI. TWO WOMEN CHAPTER XXII. 'LA FEMME DISPOSE' CHAPTER XXIII. THE LAST VALOIS CHAPTER XXIV. A ROYAL PERIL CHAPTER XXV. TERMS OF SURRENDER CHAPTER XXVI. MEDITATIONS CHAPTER XXVII. TO ME, MY FRIENDS! CHAPTER XXVIII. THE CASTLE ON THE HILL CHAPTER XXIX. PESTILENCE AND FAMINE CHAPTER XXX. STRICKEN CHAPTER XXXI. UNDER THE GREENWOOD CHAPTER XXXII. A TAVERN BRAWL CHAPTER XXXIII. AT MEUDON CHAPTER XXXIV. ''TIS AN ILL WIND' CHAPTER XXXV. 'LE ROI EST MORT' CHAPTER XXXVI. 'VIVE LE ROI!'

A GENTLEMAN OF FRANCE.

CHAPTER I. THE SPORT OF FOOLS.

The death of the Prince of Conde, which occurred in the spring of 1588, by depriving me of my only patron, reduced me to such straits that the winter of that year, which saw the King of Navarre come to spend his Christmas at St. Jean d'Angely, saw also the nadir of my fortunes. I did not know at this time--I may confess it to-day without shame--wither to turn for a gold crown or a new scabbard, and neither had nor discerned any hope of employment. The peace lately patched up at Blois between the King of France and the League persuaded many of the Huguenots that their final ruin was at hand; but it could not fill their exhausted treasury or enable them to put fresh troops into the field.

The death of the Prince had left the King of Navarre without a rival in the affections of the Huguenots; the Vicomte de Turenne, whose turbulent; ambition already began to make itself felt, and M. de Chatillon, ranking next to him. It was my ill-fortune, however, to be equally unknown to all three leaders, and as the month of December which saw me thus miserably straitened saw me reach the age of forty, which I regard, differing in that from many, as the grand climacteric of a man's life, it will be believed that I had need of all the courage which religion and a campaigner's life could supply.

I had been compelled some time before to sell all my horses except the black Sardinian with the white spot on its forehead; and I now found myself obliged to part also with my valet de chambre and groom, whom I dismissed on the same day, paying them their wages with the last links of gold chain left to me. It was not without grief and dismay that I saw myself thus stripped of the appurtenances of a man of birth, and driven to groom my own horse under cover of night. But this was not the worst. My dress, which suffered inevitably from this menial employment, began in no long time to bear witness to the change in my circumstances; so that on the day of the King of Navarre's entrance into St. Jean I dared not face the crowd, always quick to remark the poverty of those above them, but was fain to keep within doors and wear out my patience in the garret of the cutler's house in the Rue de la Coutellerie, which was all the lodging I could now afford.


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