The Adventures of Monsieur de La Donaree the Musketeer is a fictional, swashbuckling, romantic tale which is set in seventeenth century Europe. Monsieur Donaree is a relatively new member of King Louis XIV.’s personal bodyguard who is alarmed to find out that the love of his life, the beautiful Madame Charlotte de La Rose, has been mysteriously abducted and carried off to England. Donaree’s adventures to find her take him, not only into England, but also to the open sea to face Pirates, and even on toward the coast of Spain. The story is paced with adventurous sword-play, high-drama, un-guessable mystery, occasional comedy, and even romance! The adventures of Donaree recaptures the exciting novels of the greatest swashbuckling writers of the past, mixed with the lavish swashbuckling movies of the first part of the twentieth century, and it spins them all together with modern experimental ideas.
Even though the Introduction gives necessary historical information which properly places the Musketeers into their relatively unknown place in history, the first chapter starts off with an intense duel – which causes the victor, who does not kill his opponent, to wonder what had caused the painstaking battle to be fought in the first place. He was insulted, it is true, but he cannot figure the reason of the bout. However, as Monsieur Donaree will find out, his mysterious challenger will haunt him for the rest of his adventure; and it will take him a while to put the pieces of the puzzle together of how this mysterious duel was actually an attempt to stop him from pursuing his advancements to find his lady.
But why is this?
His clues lead him from Paris to London, where he faces more foes and more danger once he arrives. But to his relief, he also finds that there is a friend to be had in England as well. And this new friend, whose name is Sir Roland, will be the key character who is needed for the much anticipated rescue of Madame Rose. But once she is safe and sound, Monsieur Donaree is horrified to find that Sir Roland’s long-time Spanish Sea Captain friend, the infamous captain John Marlando, of whom Roland innocently entrusts with the safe passage for his new friends back to France, is also involved somehow with the mysterious abduction of the lady! Once they had been safe, but now they are back into the grips of harm’s way, and are set at sea with no more than an hundred unfriendly, rough sailors. And as if this is not enough, they are also boarded en-route (not to France as they had thought, but to Marlando’s castle in Spain) with a band of Pirates.
Don't miss the exciting conclusion!
READ WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT DONAREE:
"Nicely done. I really enjoyed the history in the introduction and the duel is well written. Best of luck with the novel!" ~ Author David Lee Summers, author of five books: Vampires of the Scarlet Order, The Solar Sea, and the "Old Star" science fiction series: The Pirates of Sufiro, Children of the Old Stars, and Heirs of the New Earth. www.davidleesummers.com
"Very exciting read! Felt like I was there witnessing the action!" ~ Candle Artist Jfay, www.studio3bonline.com
"I really enjoyed the humour and really laughed, not at Monsieur de la Donaree but with Monsieur de la Donaree! I dont know if you wrote it in this spirit but if you had a bit of Molière in you, I would not be surprised! He knew how to study people and would turn situations into a comic play! I laughed out loud, this is a gem! Not only de la Donaree is a fine sword, he has also a fine nose when it comes to pinpoint personalities, I'm talking about the Inkeeper and his situation with the wife here!! The second part is indeed in pure swashbuckling spirit, in rhythm and enthusiasm! And the end is a cliff-hanger! The beginning is "cocasse" (funny) as they might have said then in Gascony, and witty! Indeed Alexandre Dumas had a sense of humour too and satirically created at least one of his character ( in another book) to a character made up by Molière in one of his comic play. And Molière also took his inspiration from Dumas' s Musketeers and "The Man in the Iron Mask." I liked it! I had fun while reading this chapter about Monsieur de la Donaree, as while following the spirit of the Musketeers you gave a contemporary touch to the text!" ~ Artist Nicole Marques, www.myspace.com/nicolemarques
"Hurrah, Ted! I gleefully await the next installment! LOVE the romantic stuff! Bring it on! There are few things in this world I like better than a hot Viscount. Keep going, Ted! Bravo! Keep writing! I can't wait to read more! But it is par for the course as I am also a writer. Keep in touch!" ~ Author Genella de Grey, author of "Remember Me." www.genelladegrey.com
"Wow - What a wonderful beginning. As a whole, you have a unique way of writing & you captivated me by a few sentences peaking my interest to continue. For instance: ...hazed by the early morning mist...I love it! I look forward to reading the next chapter. You've gained my interest. That was impresive & informative. You've still got the hook in & I'm dangling to hear more. Thanks for the sneak peak." ~ Aspiring Author Rianna F.Taylor
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THE ADVENTURES OF
MONSIEUR DE LA DONAREE
A Swashbuckling, Romantic Adventure
by: Ted Anthony Roberts
“Here I come, Madame de La Rose, be on a lookout for me . . . . Here I come, Monsieur Abductor, be on your guard, for, verily, I come for you as well!”
It is the year of our Lord 1667 A.D., the place is Paris, France, and it is a time of chivalry, betrayal, romance, intrigue, and of great adventure! And yet, while the exploration of this colorful world of swashbuckling cavaliers is soon to be experienced, it is proper and conclusive to invite knowledge to the reader of a subject that not too many individuals know of its origin and history. Therefore, with this unfortunate mishap of historical neglect in mind, and also confident that the subject will be introduced in as short but informative manner as possible, I shall boldly paint a gallant portrait, because of these before mentioned historically misguided individuals, in order to answer a somewhat difficult, and a sometimes confusing question, which asks: “Who and what are Musketeers?” And to provide, as a most sweet rewarding pleasure, a historical background to this said subject.
With this in mind, dear reader, please make yourself comfortable, in which-ever manner that pleases thee, and forget presently your modern world of ready conveniences, and I shall tell you of a day when action-ready and honorable men wore elaborate costumes – and a long sword hung at their side!
* * *
In the mid to late 1400’s A.D., the invention of the gun brought in a new age of warfare; and the operators of this unique invention were also given names to accompany the new weapon. Therefore, naturally, the men who wielded the musket firearm, which instrument came only a few hundred years later, became known as musketeers. However, the basic function of this infantry musketeer was to act only as a foot soldier. Being surrounded, boxed in, and protected by pikemen (wielders of pikes – which were long spears), these musketeers, along with these pikemen, would create a formation called a phalanx – which was nothing more than a small unit of soldiers forming a square, whose mobility remained unmovable throughout the battle.
But this unique phalanx formation was first used and created by ancient Greek soldiers, who called themselves the Hoplites. By lowering their spears, the Hoplites would actually walk forward in tight formation and literally stab their enemies while they marched! Then, as history informs us, this formation was used by Roman soldiers, who copied the ever so ingenious Hoplites. But when the formation was practiced and nearly perfected by the famous Swiss Pikemen of the Middle Ages, the Swiss had decided to keep the formation steady without marching; and they stood their ground while charging knights were dismounted from their steeds by these long pikes, before the knight could even get near the foot soldier. And so the musketeer is, as was also the archer before him, protected by the phalanx formation of the pikemen – who surround them, ever so protectingly, with their long pikes; and who stand their ground, as shown by the Swiss.
At the turn of the seventeenth century, the formation of musket and pike had drastically changed for the better. In similarity to the archer a few hundred years beforehand, three units of infantry musketeers stood in the middle of the pikemen squares; after one unit would fire their muskets, they would retire to the end of the line to reload while the next unit would move forward. By the time the third unit had discharged, the first unit would be ready to fire again.
Of course, this method has improved in this latter half of the seventeenth century – the time frame that is presently being visited. The musketeers now have three units who fire simultaneously. This formation proceeds as thus: one musketeer stands; one bends down; and the third man kneels. A whole line of muskets can fire in this fashion, delivering a large volley of musket balls at a tremendous rate, all at the same time.
And just who are these musketeers firing at? Field guns and huge cannon can crush large units of infantry from a distance; however, there are fast moving targets which cannot easily be picked off by cannon ball. These targets are cavalrymen: horsemen – the knights of yesterday, who found it difficult to ride in heavy armor; which, anyway, a bullet can penetrate. Therefore, stripped of most armor, the cavalrymen charge these phalanx units of pikemen and musketeers with the use of pistol and sword in hopes of demolishing, little by little, this strong formation. The musketeers, on this wise, try to pick off the cavalry, who are a menace to the infantry. And while the musketeer may be unprotected, if a shot has gone off and has missed the approaching target, the pikeman will therefore defend the musketeer, by pointing his pike toward the horseman.
By the end of this century (a great help to the student of this study), the bayonet had been invented. Being placed onto the nozzle of the musket, and serving as a spear, the musketeer had become his own pikeman, and was then able to protect himself from the cavalry. Therefore, an age old practice of warfare, the pikeman – and the usage of his service – was then destroyed. He did not even last to the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Infantry musketeers are common to all military branches of Europe. As long as a foot soldier carries and operates a musket firearm onto a battlefield, he is referred to as a musketeer. However, the French nation, of whom we are visiting in this tale, has their own special corps of Musketeers, whose main purpose, among other duties (such as fighting in sieges and campaigns), is to act as a bodyguard for their sovereign king. Serving in this position, being the foremost of his Guards, the Musketeers will protect the king whenever he chooses to leave the palace, and to accompany him, acting as escort, wherever he decides to go. They are the corps d’élite of France: they have become known as the ‘Mousquetaires du Roi’ (the King’s Musketeers). These men are young daredevils who are brave, courageous, quick-witted, hot-headed, short on their fuses, masters behind their demon blades, and crack-shots on their muskets; they are loved by some, hated by many, and are ever seeking adventures to satisfy their hunger for dangerous excitement! The best, and only the best, wear the famous tunic of this legendary band.
They were first formed in the year 1600 by King Henri IV., and were handed, instead of the musket, a carbine firearm; whereupon they were called the ‘Carabiniers du Roi’ (the King’s Carabineers). It was not, however, until Louis XIII. came to power (Henri’s son), that the band, who were re-formed in 1622 and handed the new flintlock musket, had become known as Musketeers. These first Musketeers were composed of 100 men, and a gentleman by the name of Monsieur de Montalet had become their capitaine-lieutenant, for the king himself held the position of capitaine-commandant.
In 1634, the famous Monsieur de Tréville was announced capitaine-lieutenant. And before they were disbanded in 1646, they had become 150 strong, having a sous-lieutenant, a cornet, two sergeant-majors, a quartermaster-sergeant, a trumpeter, and a farrier. All the men together composed one company, and their pay consisted of a low 35 sous a day.
Their headquarters, styled ‘Musketeer Headquarters,’ was a large hôtel that was located in the rue de Tournon – a very busy street in Paris. The rue de Tournon is set near the rue de Vaugirard, the rue du Vieux-Colombier, the Place Saint-Sulpice and, most importantly, it is situated very closely to the palace and beautiful gardens of the Luxembourg. The entire courtyard of the hôtel resembled a small army camp, and was filled (from six o’clock in the morning at summer and eight o’clock in winter) with loud, boastful Musketeers.
In 1657, after a decade of silence from when they were disbanded, King Louis XIV., the present king of this tale, had re-established the band of Musketeers, and then appointed Cardinal Mazarin’s nephew, the Duc de Nevers, as his capitaine-lieutenant. The company was then given the permanent name of ‘Grand Musketeers.’ In November of that same year, the entire company was provided with grey horses, whereupon they became known as ‘Mousquetaires Gris’ (Grey Musketeers). In 1660, a second company of these Guards were then formed for the king of Cardinal Mazarin’s foot Musketeers, the band having a lower status than the first company, and were given, just three years later, black horses to stride – giving them the title, naturally, as ‘Mousquetaires Noirs’ (Black Musketeers).
Being absent most of the time, and caring little of what became of his soldiers, the Duke de Nevers gave them a happy break when he stepped aside and gave the commanding position to his sous-lieutenant, of whom the soldiers already felt was their true leader. And so, in this year of 1667, Monsieur Charles d’Artagnan took the reins of capitaine-lieutenant.
If the name d’Artagnan sounds familiar, it is no wonder, for he is the hero of the famous romance classic ‘The Three Musketeers,’ by Alexandre Dumas. D’Artagnan indeed existed in the flesh, and it is the true historical personage of whom this tale is referring, and not the fictional counter-part that Dumas gave the world.
Becoming a Musketeer is not an easy task. The easiest way to gain admittance into the corps is to serve at least two years in a company less favorable – such as being a regular Guard. But even then, after serving this two year apprenticeship, one must be well skilled, having fought in some campaign, so as to achieve the experience and knowledge firsthand of the art of war. But the fastest way to enter the corps is to perform an outstanding act of bravery or derring-do! Being a Musketeer is the highest honor a common soldier can receive in all France, and baring their mantle is the root of popularity and respect. Today, several hundred soldiers fill the ranks, and they are loud, strong, courageous, feared and respected. Even the late Armand-Jean Du Plessis, Cardinal Richelieu, a political genius who ruled France from behind the throne – a man who had countries trembling before him – had nothing but true admiration, despite his hate, for these men who fear neither life, nor death!
As their officers live in rooms that are provided in Musketeer Headquarters, the rest, hundreds of men, were told to find lodgings elsewhere; they found them in civilian apartments and rent houses. Their reputation and manners, however, are as fiery as their name – for most are gentlemen in word only, not in deed! Most of these soldiers are merely overgrown children who stay up to very late hours of the night getting drunk on their wine, singing songs of battle, and getting fresh with the local bar maids. These disturbances were causing a rather large commotion, and the situation demanded reparation, so new lodgings were then provided for these soldiers in the Faubourg Saint-Germain. A bit small: it’s one room for two soldiers, and two beds are provided. But Musketeers always have their servants; so, two Musketeers sleep in one bed and their servants sleep in the other. If a soldier wishes to find lodgings elsewhere, he may – but at his own expense.
Then, there are Musketeers who ignore the edict against dueling, who constantly draw their swords in the name of love or insult. This is a terrible problem, too. The king gave this edict for he feels dueling to be in bad taste. The punishment for this crime, however, is most severe . . . . How severe? Well, the genius Cardinal de Richelieu, who enforced this law many years back, has left us a perfect example: a cavalier, who had been found guilty of dueling, was sentenced to have his head kindly removed! A fine example, thanks to the Red Minister. But, alas, during the 1620’s and 1630’s, Cardinal Richelieu would secretly tell his Guards to fight the Musketeers, and King Louis XIII. would secretly encourage his Musketeers to fight the Cardinal’s Guards. This was almost a comical situation that often ended in bloodshed! But not so with King Louis XIV., this day’s king, who does not go so far with this type of secrecy; but he does, however, follow the Minister’s tactics on punishment. Despite the soldiers who constantly disturb the peace, however, there are some – though only a handful, who are not so unruly.
The uniform of a Musketeer is so elaborate that it catches the eye of every person that is near. This uniform begins with a magnificent mantle which possesses the breath-taking color of sky-blue. As it hangs from his shoulders, the mantle ends just below the hips, covering the chest, the back, and both arms of the Musketeer. This sky-blue fabric, being the foundation, exhibits four large crosses (one on the chest, one on the back, and one on each arm) that are displayed in beautiful silver thread. As the cross represents the king, it terminates into golden fleur-de-lis, showing the power of God and Country. And giving this mantle a delicately finished touch is a sheer, thin silver lace that completely covers its exterior; which, with the slightest movement of the cavalier, catches the glint of the sun. Underneath this blue covering is worn a silk white shirt.
The hat, which is a darker blue, flows with yellow plumes; the pants, being the same color as the hat, has two strips of yellow that travels down each side of the legs; the boots, baring the before said darker blue, are decorated with needful silver buckles; and, finally, the dark blue gloves are also part of the uniform, which is made to match the mantle. So, the complete color of this Musketeer’s garb is sky-blue, blue, yellow, silver and gold.
At few and various times some Musketeers do not wear their military dress, if belief will ensure that an excuse can offer escape, which gives young nobles a chance to display their expensive non-military clothing to ladies of distinction. But the only time all will bare this uniform in sequence will be occasions such as battles, sieges, campaigns, wars, or even for a simple parade, so the cavalier can gain respectable looks while marching along, or to appear majestic upon his prancing mount. It is the style of this day and age to be as boastful with color and clothing, as it is with loud, courageous speech.
Almost the entire army of France (eighty to ninety percent) is composed of Gascons. Gascony, being a large province, is located in Southern France, and it produces men of such courage and fearlessness that is not too often seen in many places in Europe. Even Captain d’Artagnan himself is a Gascon; and his career, especially his past career, is painted so full of adventures and bravado that it is a life, as is well thought, that only a Gascon can have – such Gasconade adventures! But the hero of this romance, our own Monsieur de La Donaree, is not of Gascon descent; and being of the few ten or twenty percent of the soldiers who thus remain, advancing from the western, northern and eastern parts of France (being separate from that country brash breed), are the men who wish to prove their worth, and to show all of Paris – and indeed all of France – that one does not have to come from southern upbringing to be brave and fearless, and can be a major contribution to this (as it is often called) Gascon army of France.
Therefore, in conclusion, it can be well said that a large part of France’s history can be attributed to the Musketeers. But as history can sometimes be cruel, it usually forgets the role that the Musketeers has taken a part in. But this story, as it unfolds with plot, suspense, a few surprises, and outright adventure, is a way to remedy that!
“En garde!” is cried, as two long, flat blades slowly cross, and come to a freezing halt. The French duelists glare into each other’s eyes, and their gaze turns into a seemingly unbreakable stare. As one adversary’s heart starts to beat with a mad passion, sweat begins forming on his brow, while his teeth grit with anxiety. His opponent, however, stands as a statue: firm and majestic, with an unconcerned look in his eyes. This expression, which is quite hard to miss, only increases the other man’s agitation, as it grows immensely within his shaking frame. His nervous body is slightly bent forward, and his left arm lightly lingers behind him in the air. But the other man stands upright and tall: his left arm is bent at the elbow, while his fisted hand rests upon his side.
After what seems an eternity of waiting for the nervous fellow, the confident swordsman finally announces: “Begin!”
Immediately, in this split second, the restless man takes a ferocious lunge at his victim – missing him by only a hair’s width! His target, though, parries very well. The two steel swords are now unleashed with lightning speed; causing, as they fly and hit, a very loud clanking-sound, of which can be heard a considerably long distance away. The two men who wield these swords continue staring into one another’s eyes, being careful not to miss or lose a single expression or thought that may appear within them – which could become extremely helpful for the defense of one’s skin in anticipating what the other opponent’s next move may be. But this battle tactic, for the tense fellow, is executed in vain, because the other duelist, as we observe, remains a cold, hard statue – with a very unreadable expression in his eyes. And for the swordsman of confidence, this tactic is easily accomplished, no doubt, for the nervous and anxious expressions of his dueling partner, which vary tremendously, is written deeply in his eyes, and it is manifested all over his face. However, bravado is greatly displayed on both sides; even though one man is nervous, he nevertheless shows great amounts of courage.
All around the duelists can be seen the breaking of a new day. On the horizon, the sun is beginning to slowly rise – revealing, little by little, an open grass valley with a great amount of beautiful trees. Off in the distances can be seen many rolling hills and far away trees, as though painted onto a great canvas background – giving the illusion of flowing mountains, hazed by the early morning mist. Numerous birds sing with great enthusiasm, as though thanking God for giving them another beautiful day to live and to be free. Late night clouds of grey quickly disappear, giving room to their fluffier and brighter cousins who obviously love the morning more than they. The few, various small animals that live in and around these scenes begin their day with their usual chores of gathering food. And, finally, the valley is totally covered with the brightness of the sun, letting all living things know that this truly is the beginning of a new day.
But though we see and admire all these wonders of nature, we must return to our two duelists, who are both hopeful of winning the day – and we do so with great anticipation! Even though we were temporarily caught away into the distant places of greenery and sunshine, we heard, though miles away, the desperate clanking of the two swords that are engaged in vicious combat. We return, therefore, with eager attention to their pursuits and advancements, and we continue to look onto this spectacle with the greatest of interest!
Slashing! Slashing! Slashing! The swords fly so fast, that there are no blades to be seen – for speed has made them nearly invisible. The bodies of the two men sway back and forth at a tremendous rate, while the duelists are careful not to lose any concentration, as they try to execute their skills in swordsmanship to the best of their abilities. Their techniques are incredible, and their skills are superb!
Keeping the right foothold, at this time, is very important. If an opponent steps forward or backward in the wrong way, it may cause him to trip to the ground. However, the greatest attention is not needed for the correct position of the feet – neither is it recommended to be set onto the blur of the flying steel; but a satisfied victory can be accomplished by maintaining a concentrated stare, as mentioned before, to the head – but particularly to the eyes – for it is a necessary thing that both men should do. Now, if either of these gentlemen were to keep his eyes locked onto the fast moving streaks of the two blades, trying to watch their every move (which anyway would be impossible), he would lose great advantage over his rival, and have almost no control of his own sword. So, as we can certainly see, in this art of fencing, watching two masters at work, if one were not skilled on his weapon (trained to perfection), and if one does not concentrate to the utmost of his ability, he could lose his life on a single and, more than likely, unseen mistake.
A thrust is given – one man lunges his sword forward; a parry is the other’s natural response: a maneuver against a thrust which eludes the advancement of the invading blade; then forms a riposte – the latter man’s thrust that directly follows his parry. The breathtaking duel seems to have no finish, but soon it must draw to a close, and a victor must be found. But who will this victor be? It may be obvious that the confident man shall prevail; although his shaken opponent just might overcome all his feelings, and advance to become the winner.
The clock ticks on . . . the swords clank on . . . and the man, who has from the very beginning entertained nervous thoughts into his conscience, begins to lose what little nerve he had. As a matter of course, he pulls all his strength together, in this moment of sureness (feeling that it is the right time), and lets his sword loose – aiming its sharp point toward his opponent’s heart, in a hope that it will find its mark with accuracy, and sink its long tooth into the other man’s chest.
He gives his thrust!
And, as if his efforts are of an apprentice swordsman, his target merely steps out of the way, causing the owner of this run-away sword to hit dirt. But just an instant before his body reaches the ground, he somehow maneuvers himself in such a way that, as he makes contact with the earth, he is facing his opponent. But upon impact, his right hand, which is holding his sword (with the pommel heading downwards), strikes a rather wide rock that is a bit hidden in the grass – which causes the weapon to immediately leave his grip – and it ricochets into the opposite direction from him. It then begins rolling swiftly on the ground, and comes to a dead stop near the feet of his most dreaded adversary!
The man, who has just unwillingly reached the ground, suddenly holds his breath in fear, and begins glaring in the eye of the other – who has, at this time, such an advantage over his victim. As the sweat pours from his face, as he tugs strenuously at the grass near his hands, the off-nerved fellow begins to shake heavily.
“You’ve dropped your sword.” the other nonchalantly responds.
Then with one quick movement, he slides his foot underneath the sword, slipping it near the hilt, and practically throws it, with his foot, into the hands of his surprised opponent. Without a word, the man jumps to his feet, and begins dueling again; but this time he has a sloppy technique, and has horrible accuracy. Losing his head completely, he looks as if he stares death in the face. His lips quiver; his throat is choked; and, just as he has instantly predicted to himself, he falls with a sword thrust through his body!
“Just get it over with quickly.” he mumbles, while pleading with the victor. He then closes his eyes, and clutches his wound.
The winner of the match begins cleaning his blood-stained sword by sticking its sharp point in and out of the ground several times. And after the blade is clean, he sheaths it.
Then he turns to the fallen man, and says: “It has pained me to wound you in the first place; I intend not to further dishonor myself by doing away with you entirely. You have insulted me, it is true – but it was a matter that I should have dismissed all together. Instead, I lost my head to anger. Fortunately, though, you are still alive, and the wound is not too deep. As a token of my anger you have received this wound from my blade, but as a token of my apologies for giving it to you, receive from my purse the money for the bill that you will most certainly have from a doctor.”
Opening his doublet, he reaches in, grabs, and throws several coins on the ground beside the confused man. Without another word, the champion departs from the battle scene, leaving behind a hurt, devastatingly off-nerved, and extremely confused man.
And now, let us walk with the victor, following his departure, and let us see where his steps will lead him . . . .
The Life of a Musketeer
After having had such a harsh ordeal with such an aggressive duel, the victor, afterwards, heads straight toward his apartment. The confrontation had gone by so quickly, that it sort of leaves his head spinning; leaving him also wondering what had caused such a painstaking battle, and for what reason the two men had try to kill one another. Being somewhat confused, ascertaining the scenario of the earlier bout, he cannot easily or readily guess the answer. So, all the way to his apartment, he constantly tries to unravel the small puzzle in his mind.
By the time he reaches his destination, a nearby clock strikes the morning hour of 6:30 A.M. He walks into his apartment, shuts the door behind him, and heads straight toward a chair – which he practically falls into! Immediately, upon this descent, his mind, as it did on the way there, becomes clouded with extreme thoughts. Why has this man, who seems to him to be a noble, challenged him to combat? He does not even know the man. But he does know, or at least he thinks he knows, that he did not wrong him in any way to cause him to jump to such anger.
As his thoughts progress, he begins to see and to remember what had led up to the situation. Just by merely walking the streets the evening before, his rival bumped into him, which seemed to be intentional. And not apologizing for this apparent blunder, he instead started cursing him whom he bumped.
“Excuse me!” roared the challenged. “But you, sir, bumped into me.”
“Are you calling me a liar?” bellowed back the other, with bitter disdain and sarcasm. “I say that you ran into me, and without saying you are sorry. Instead, you call me a liar!”
“I resent that.” said the challenged, with ever increasing anger.
Without another word, the challenger immediately tore off his left glove and struck it across the face of his opponent. On pure instinct, the other began to draw his sword.
“No, not right here, if you please! I will not run the risk of being arrested for merely having the pleasure of killing you.”
“Pleasure, is it? Where and when?”
“The Luxembourg gardens, at dawn.”
“You can count on your life that I will be there!”
“Why, you have laughable bravery. You are far too young for such quarrelsome boasts. Already, in my forty three years, I have killed twenty men in duels.”
“Remembering the good old days, are you? Well, cherish them, my friend: for they say that the memory, in such a ripe old age as yours, is the first thing that will go.”
The ‘elder’ knitted his brows heavily to this menacing gesture.
“I am not as young as you may think, my ripe old friend,” the young man continued, “let not this youthful appearing exterior fool your aging eyes. My years upon this earth may appear brief to one as ancient as yourself, but I am not the timid adolescent you think me to be: twenty two years am I.”
“Cub!” the challenger screeched. “Your youthful vain tongue will be the first member to leave your baby body.”
“Until tomorrow then, my ancient friend,” said the ‘cub,’ bowing, “I pray your heart will not fail you before then. The night is closing in, and your rest is needed so you will be able to walk onto the battlefield.”
The challenger quickly tore himself away from the young man, in fear that his anger may overtake him – causing him not to wait for morning to destroy this unbearable youth.
But what had followed the next day, seemed to the young man to be incredible: the apparently brave individual of whom had challenged him the evening before, had turned the very next morning, it would seem, into a shaken and nervous person. This condition of the other is what confuses the mind of the young man the most. It was, and still is, completely beyond his understanding. But one thing is for certain, that even though he appeared beside himself with grief, he fully intended to go on through with the duel. But he, as we have learned in Chapter 1, had lost the combat, and this apparent disaster has slightly touched the younger man. Not only did the young man’s strong anger, which had flourished since the night before, totally cease, but he begins even to pity the older gentleman. By throwing the coins at his feet, however, he feels a bit reconciled with the wound which he had delivered him.
But what was the reason the duel happened in the first place? The bump, without doubt, was intentional from the older man. The reasoning of this challenge, however, is a total mystery.
“Maybe time will reveal the answer.” the young man says to himself. “But it is now apparent that he wanted me dead for some reason; of which I cannot figure why. I know not too many people in Paris, for it has not been long since my arrival here – less than three years.”
After about an hour of these observations, the young man, a bit tired from the strain of the morning bout, falls asleep; and, unlike his nature, sleeps the entire day without stirring.
* * *
Now, while this young man sleeps, I (the story-teller) would like for you (the reader), who at this time is standing in the young man’s apartment with me, to start walking around and to observe the contents of his living quarters, so we can see exactly who this young man is, who has struck an apparent cord in our lives. It is most curious to learn of him deeply, for he will, for the remainder of this extraordinary tale, fill our lives with ever increasing excitement until the dramatic and anticipated climatic ending is reached – which we shall boldly witness together. So, for the moment, dear reader, please take my hand into your own, and let us walk side by side to see what we can learn . . . .
His apartment, which is located on the rue des Fossoyeurs, only two blocks from St. Sulpice, consists of a small anteroom, a salon, and a huge bedroom. This apartment is extremely beautiful, nice and spacious, with even the front door being trimmed in golden fleur-de-lis. You will think you are in royal quarters while just stepping into the antechamber. Placed in the center of the salon is a beautiful royal-blue centerpiece rug, with two large matching chairs sitting upon it – one of which the young man is asleep in. The chairs face a rock-based fireplace, which has an oak mantle framing it. In the east-side of the room is a small Swiss desk, with a little chair sitting in front. This desk is holding a feather pen that sits in an ink-well, and blank writing paper is set beside it. The bedroom holds a large-sized bed, which also is set upon another rug – this one being embroidered in golden thread. A huge chest, a sitting chair, and a small window decorate the north-side bedroom wall; and, also, there is a closet full of clothes that are very expensive in their appearance. The anteroom contains small benches for waiting, and two oil paintings, of a war-like nature, are hung upon its walls. The entire living quarters, in a collective sum, possesses a flare in the utmost of luxury.
And who is this young man who lives in this fine apartment? Who is this young man of which we are visiting in this tale? This, dear friends, as you already know, is Monsieur de La Donaree. And how does the hero of this tale appear? His eyes are dark, yet mild; his face is handsome, with a serene and honest look; his skin complexion is mild, slightly tanned; above his medium sized lips he wears a small, thin, narrow and neatly trimmed moustache; below his lips resides a narrow beard that ends just below the chin; his thick, wavy, light brown hair falls casually to his shoulders, and has been cared for with proper attention – a care in which his whole person, in every detail, receives full advantage. The man is quite large in size: his arms produce well shaped muscles; his chest is well developed; and his shoulders are broad and straight – quite a strong man! His birth gave him a serious nature, but he often laughs at life’s pleasures.
Monsieur Donaree, who had become a Musketeer only two months ago, and being no ordinary man or soldier, as we will later observe, was born, as fortune has so kindly smiled upon his person, with great riches adhered to his name. His family, apprehending great wealth, had bought nobility to the name of Donaree in the early half of the sixteenth century. But money, even if it were in considerably small amounts, did always seem to flow from the purses of this affluent family.
Donaree was born on the twenty-fifth of November, 1645, at Normandy, France, in a town called Rouen, which is approximately seventy miles north-west of Paris. Normandy (being the birth place of the Normans who conquered and besieged the Saxons of Old England) is extreme in its natural beauty, and is an excellent place to visit during spring, while the true green colors pour from its grasses, and grows in abundance from its varied trees.
Donaree’s childhood, which he considers a satisfactory one, can be thought somewhat, if not tremendously, different compared to a normal child of the realm. His upbringing was very rich, as only a handful of children can experience. As most children were responsible for feeding the few farm animals their families could afford, and helping around their homes with daily chores, Donaree’s father had his son constantly train for battle. His father would teach him how to act properly in the king’s court and in his majesty’s presence, as also he filled his head with a vast amount of schooling. In France at this time, many citizens of the country are very poor in finances, and they are not able to send their children to the few schools which poorly support the local towns and villages. If one of these said towns or villages is lucky enough, a tutor will start a local school for those who are able to afford to send their children thereunto. But, the times being as they are, many families cannot afford such high living (high living as it appears to the poor), and work around the farm, anyway, will go un-attended; therefore, many children grow without the knowledge of reading or writing. This, however, was not the case for Donaree. Instead of sending him to a local school, however, Donaree’s father had sent for a tutor to come all the way from Paris to teach his only child in poetry, geometry, mathematics, Latin, the sciences, astronomy and history. Imagine the effect this had on a young man: it left him quiet and thoughtful. This is the reason why he rarely speaks unless spoken to, and his thinking is of the utmost importance. His intelligence extends further than that of a regular soldier, and all together his education reaches to that of a Prince of the royal blood.
Not only did Donaree’s father send for a school tutor, but he also sent for a fencing instructor as well. This instructor, being the best to be had in Paris, was known even to give a few lessons to King Louis XIII. at times. As he was taught from childhood, Donaree has learned some moves (inventing some himself) that can outwit some of the greatest fencers in the known world. To this day, there is yet to be anyone to match his blade! Perhaps he is the best swordsman in France – perhaps the best in Europe. But one thing can truthfully be said about Donaree’s upbringing and character, and blessed is he because of the result, that even though he has received things no ordinary person could within their lifetime, he has resulted into a generous and God-fearing man; and he feels that he is not above others.
His first name ‘Paul’ is hardly known to anyone in Paris. When he signed on as a cadet, he simply signed his name Donaree; and because of this, everyone called him Monsieur Donaree – until it was learned that he is of noble birth, causing all to recall him Monsieur de La Donaree. His full name, however, is Monsieur Paul, Vicomte de La Donaree. But this “vicomte” (that is: viscount), is practically unknown to anyone. And since he is an only child, he will be able to collect the Château Donaree and the entire fortune after his father’s death.
The only thing that separates Donaree from other men is the fact that he was born rich and is well educated. Donaree is not at all talkative, and most of the time he keeps to himself – but not too much so, for he does have a lady friend – a very beautiful lady friend: Madame Charlotte de La Rose; a woman of such extreme beauty that even Louis XIV. has taken notice of her! But Donaree, lucky as he is, was the one man who has stolen her heart; and many, many men envy him for it. The one thing she loves most about Donaree is the fact that he is not a cruel man in any form or fashion, and that he always keeps his anger in check . . . most of the time, that is.
The man, unbelievably, is not at all lazy, and has no servant to tend to him. He merely considered that a servant would only be in his way, so he gave the idea no more thought. He also has a hobby which he does in his spare time: he collects old weaponry of any sort and displays them all over the whole of his apartment.
Donaree has very high morals in life, which shows from his person and living quarters – he loves nothing but the very best. Thus, Monsieur Paul, Viscount de La Donaree is a generous man who enjoys the riches and opportunities of an adventurous and happy life.
EXCLUSIVE: I AM PRESENTING CHAPTER 3 OF "THE ADVENTURES OF MONSIEUR DE LA DONAREE THE MUSKETEER" IN MY SHORT STORIES SECTION - PLEASE SWING AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK BY EITHER LEAVING A REPLY, OR BY SENDING ME A MESSAGE!