Ted Anthony Roberts

Swashbuckling Author

 

THE ADVENTURES OF

MONSIEUR DE LA DONAREE

THE MUSKETEER

 

A Swashbuckling, Romantic Adventure

by: Ted Anthony Roberts

 

©copyright 2019 & 2017 by Ted Anthony Roberts

 

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WHAT IS DONAREE THE MUSKETEER ALL ABOUT?

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SEE THE TABLE OF CONTENTS FROM NOVEL

Introduction and first three chapters are available to read:

 

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Read Chapter 2: "The Life of a Musketeer!"

 

Read Chapter 3: "A Mysterious Note!"

 

 

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What is Donaree the Musketeer All About?

 

 

Alright! Donaree is upon us - and is now available in high quality Trade Paperback, and for Kindle ebook as well! Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can still download free software from Amazon that allows you to read my book on your PC.

AND JUST WHAT IS THE ADVENTURES OF DONAREE ALL ABOUT? 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!

Product Details:

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (November 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449913172
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449913175
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds

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Reviews for Donaree the Musketeer

 

 

READ WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT DONAREE:

"Wonderful read!! Long live Donaree!!! ... Being a fan of Dumas' Musketeer novels, Robin Hood and Ivanhoe I was really looking forward to this. Mr. Roberts writes in the style of the classics and spins an enjoyable tale. I hope to see more Donaree adventures in the future..."  ~ Kevin G. Kamphaus. Review from Amazon.com

 

"En garde, monsieur! For anyone who likes the style of literature made famous by Alexandre Dumas, this is a fun romp in the world of the Musketeers and I would heartily recommend that people with an interest in the works of Dumas purchase this."Harry Hayfield. Review from Amazon.com

 

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

 

"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. Review from MySpace.

"Swashbuckling is still alive! Written in pure swashbuckling spirit and enthusiasm, this novel is also treated with an undeniable sense of humor! The author managed to keep the story light and interesting while giving the main character great substance, presence and depth. I will recommend it to any reader willing to spend some highly entertaining time. Who would've thought that swashbuckling was still alive and well? Find out!
All for one, one for all! " ~ Artist, Nicole Marques. Review from Amazon.com www.myspace.com/nicolemarque
 
 
"Swashbuckles! Three Musketeers meets Princess Bride?
Swashbuckling fun in hose and with giant feathers in hats, see publisher's blurb for hints, no spoilers here! Just know that it is great fun without horror or erotica, and I LOVED it!" ~  Jan. Review from Amazon.com 
 
 
"Fun adventure tale for fans of The Three Musketeers...
Light-hearted and engaging, with a happy ending. I think this is geared to younger readers. Some things you have to suspend your belief, such as the rescue of Madame Rose by Donaree stepping upon arrows on the side of tower of imprisonment, but it's all pretty fun! I recommended it if you like swashbuckling stories!" ~  Sandra Chang. Review from Amazon.com  
 
 
"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 R.F.Taylor: Rianna

 

"Well done. Chapter One entices the reader craving more. I will look for The Adventures of Monsieur de La Donaree the Musketeer on the web. Keep up the excellent writing..." ~ Ferf

 

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Table of Contents for Donaree the Musketeer

 

Introduction and first three chapters available to read - just click on the blue links: 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Dedication        .           .           .           .           .           4

The Introduction           .           .           .           .        5

Chapter 1: Duel            .           .           .           .        16

Chapter 2: The Life of a Musketeer       .           .     22

Chapter 3: A Mysterious Note  .           .           .       31

Chapter 4: A Duel for a Clue    .           .           .           42

Chapter 5: Captain D’Artagnan .           .           .           63

Chapter 6: Plans and Journey    .           .           .           74

Chapter 7: The Search for Madame de La Rose .           82       

Chapter 8: In Showing How the Best Worked Plans

Can Often Go Amiss    .           .           .           .   95

Chapter 9: An Account of What Had Passed Before, During,

and After Donaree’s Tragic Affair         .           .   105

Chapter 10: Monsieur Duvowl’s Attempt

at Becoming a Servant Once Again       .           .    117

Chapter 11: As We Shall See, After Only Three Days of Rest,

Monsieur Donaree is Finally Able

to Continue His Travels .           .           .           .  127

Chapter 12: England     .           .           .           .           139

Chapter 13: Monsieur Franchesco        .           .           146

Chapter 14: The Port Royal Inn            .           .          157

Chapter 15: The Wooded Area            .           .           168

Chapter 16: The Encampment   .           .           .          176

Chapter 17: The San Marcos Castle     .           .           189

Chapter 18: The Limp of a Failure         .           .          204

Chapter 19: Safety        .           .           .           .          215

Chapter 20: Captain Marlando  .           .           .           222

Chapter 21: First Safety, Now Danger  .           .            231

Chapter 22: A Delicious Breakfast, With an

Interesting Conversation on the Side      .           .  239

Chapter 23: Ship Ho! Ship Ho! .           .           .           247

Chapter 24: The Other Ship      .           .           .           257

Chapter 25: The Vengeance of a Madman        .            268

Chapter 26: A Personal Message

for the Count de Franc  .           .           .              277

Chapter 27: What the Count de Franc Had Guessed

When He Saw Charles of Finford

at the Coastline .           .           .           .               290

Chapter 28: A Personal Adventure of Sir Roland            299

Chapter 29: The Shadow of a Nobleman          .             311

Chapter 30: The Conclusion      .           .           .           321

The Epilogue    .           .           .           .           .           336

 

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The Introduction!

 

“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!”

 

THE INTRODUCTION

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, said, 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 sweet rewarding pleasure, a historical background to this 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 of a time when 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 their 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 later adapted 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 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, have their own special corps of Musketeers, whose main purpose, among other duties (such as fighting in sieges and campaigns), is to act as 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 his 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, can 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 name only, but 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 with 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, also, 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 of 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 whilst marching along, or to appear majestic upon his prancing mounts. 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 courage and fearlessness, which is not seen very often in too 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 King's 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!

 

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Chapter 1: "Duel!"

 

 

 

Chapter 1

Duel

 

"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, whilst 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 them 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's a necessary thing that both men should do. Now, if either of these gentlemen were to keep their 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 over 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 their ability, then one could lose their 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 a 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 ground, 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 ...

 

 

 

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Chapter 2: "The Life of a Musketeer!"

 

 

 

Chapter 2

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 are calling 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 that 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 earlier, 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 is hardly known to anyone in Paris. When he signed on as a cadet, he signed his name Donaree. Therefore, everyone called him Monsieur Donaree, until it was learned that he is of a noble birth; and now he is known as Monsieur de La Donaree. But Paul is his first name. So, since an only child, and able to collect the Château Donaree after his father’s death, his full name is Monsieur Paul, Vicomte de La Donaree. But this "vicomte" (that is: viscount), is practically unknown to anyone. On the day of his father’s death, Donaree will automatically collect the family inheritance, the Château, and the title of count.

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.

 

 

 

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Chapter 3: "A Mysterious Note!"

 

 

 

Chapter 3

A Mysterious Note

 

"This party is getting a bit wild," says Donaree to a very beautiful woman. "Would you care to step out onto the balcony with me?"      

"What do you have in mind, sir?" asks she in return, with a smile.

"Red wine is very good – but there is no comparison to the taste of beautiful red lips!" Donaree returns the lady’s smile with one of his own.

"You have convinced me, sir," says she, holding out her arm to the Musketeer. He takes her arm into his own, and they both proceed out onto the balcony.

The air is crisp and cool, the stars show brightly in the heavens, and the moon is so enticingly beautiful that the couple cannot help but to indulge themselves into a kiss. But first, they look into one another’s eyes, and smile boldly with eager anticipation.

"Madame de La Rose," Donaree says, addressing the lady before him, "how can any man resist you?"        

"If my lover had heard you say that, sir, he would have some words to exchange with you!"      

"Oh? And what would I say to myself?"

"Well, you would say," she continues, while taking his arms and placing them around her waist, "you would say in your conceited way..." She laughs a little, while Donaree’s eyes bulge at the statement. ‘"I, the greatest Musketeer, am the luckiest of all men, for I have Madame de La Rose as my lover!’"

"Why, your lover must indeed be conceited!"        

"Because he thinks himself the greatest of all Musketeers?" she asks, increasing her smile.

"No, because he thinks he is the luckiest of all men for having you as his lover!"

"What!" she screams, bulging her eyes, as well.

He bellows out with a hearty laugh. "Touché, my sweet! It seems that you are correct about your lover: he is the happiest of all men, for he has, indeed, the most beautiful of women to love him. For that statement, I will most certainly agree."

"Well, that is better," she concludes.

They then proceed to kiss. Still in their embrace, their lips begin to slowly move in toward each other. Closer and closer their heads come together, their lips parting, while anticipating the moment when their lips will finally meet ... then, bump! Suddenly, an image of the older man appears – that is, the older man who had bumped into Donaree, intentionally, and who had challenged him to a duel. The entire scenery around Donaree begins to change. No longer is Madame Rose standing before him; no longer is he on a balcony; no longer is he even in the same location he was in just two seconds earlier. Instead, his body is located in the midst of a Paris street. The sun is still up, and yet getting ready to go down; and the streets are completely crowded: filled with merchants, buyers, peasants, beggars, and soldiers – including Donaree and the older man.

"Why don’t you watch where you are going!" the older man screams. "Do you want to get yourself thrashed for running into people like that?"

"Excuse me?" roared Donaree. "But you, sir, bumped into me!"

"Are you calling me a liar?"

Finally, Donaree awakens from his dream ... His eyes open, and he starts looking around himself. It's somewhat dark, but a few candles flicker on the wall, and the fireplace is aglow with bright colored flames. His attention now turns to the left, and he sees, hanging on the chair beside him, his stockings, his hat, his sword (enclosed in its shoulder-belt), his cape and his gloves; sitting next to the chair, on the centerpiece rug, are his boots. He then pulls his pocket-watch out and looks at the time.

"7:30?" he says, knitting his brows slightly. "I have slept the entire day; how unusual ... It must have been because I only got a few hours sleep last night, and that I stayed up for so many hours."

After saying this, he stands up out of his chair, and, just as he's putting his watch away, there is a knock at the front door; so, his gaze now turns to this direction.

"Who can that be?" he silently exclaims. "I’m not expecting anyone tonight."

Another knock then sounds, but the pounding is much more furious than at first.

Sitting on a small table beside his chair is a half empty glass of Burgundy wine, which he had poured for himself just this morning. He takes this and finishes the delicious taste in one gulp, then proceeds toward the door. But before he has time to even reach the antechamber, a third and more anxious knock occurs.

"Whoever this is," thinks Donaree, to himself, "they seem to be quite impatient."

He opens the door.

Standing before him is a person who, evidently, does not want to be recognized, for their entire personage is covered with a dark cloak that blends into the shadows that the night is producing. Donaree stares at this strange form only for a second. 

"Yes?" he asks, somewhat confused.

A gloved hand, just as dark as the form, extends a note out toward the curious Musketeer. He slowly takes it.          

"Who is this from?" he asks the stranger. "Is this from Captain d’Artagnan?"

From pure accident, the hood of the cloak falls slightly from the face of the stranger, revealing the structure of a very pretty girl. Donaree, wide-eyed with surprise, instantly recognizes her as the maid of his lady love.

"Missy?" he says.      

Startled to the point of fear, she quickly runs off into the direction of the street.

"Missy!" he yells.

But she doesn’t look back, not even once, and keeps running; and soon the darkness of the night devours her.

He shuts the front door, walks directly to the fireplace for lighting, leans upon the mantle, and looks curiously at the mysterious piece of paper.

"It’s Madame de La Rose’s letter, alright: I recognize the seal. But why would my love send her maid all the way over here to deliver this letter in such a costume that I would not recognize her?"

He brings the letter close to his face, smells the perfumed scent that the letter produces, and smiles at such a familiar aroma. Then, finally, he breaks the seal.  

Upon reading the letter, confusion springs from his imagination.  

"I need your help!"

There is no signature, but he does recognize such a dear handwriting – even though it is a bit shaky in its appearance.

"What on earth could be wrong?" he whispers, as his eyebrows begin to frown.

Slowly he folds the letter, and puts it into his pocket. A troubled feeling then starts to intensify within this man. Wasting no time, Donaree quickly slides his bare feet into his boots; and, as he slips the shoulder-belt, equipped with sword, over his head and onto his shoulder, he places the weapon at its respectful location to his left side. Leaving all candles and fires burning, he then, after grabbing his hat and gloves, heads out immediately.

He briskly walks down the streets of the famous city of lights; it isn’t until he is nearly three blocks from his apartment, however, when he begins to notice that the coolness of the evening is penetrating the sleeves of his silk shirt, causing goose-bumps to form on his arms. He then realizes that he forgot to wear his cloak.

"It is a chilly night," he says, "but I’m not turning back to get my cloak. Something is wrong, and I intend to find out what!"

He quickens his pace, passes a few streets, makes a left turn, and then finally faces the front of a beautiful two story home – which is the abode of his lady love.

This château has the very look of comfort. The steep, dark brown shingled roof, and the gold trimmed windows, gives the impression that it had been built for admiration and for show by the wealthy, perhaps a century ago. This dwelling is made of cut stones, varying in hues of pinks, greys and blues, with small white rocks interspersing – merely adding to its richness. And the look is made complete with perfectly trimmed hedges that sit on both sides of the entryway. Six large steps lead to the porch, and were built in a half-circle formation. One could take a short walk on each foothold, but tonight Donaree pays no attention to any of the great qualities of this château, and he does not try to be supple as he climbs these extraordinary stairs, for he is missing every other step as he bounds up to the great stone porch.      

Upon reaching the entrance, he knocks on the front door. There is no answer, so he knocks a second time. He then hears someone slowly throw the bolt; and after only a moments pause, the door handle starts to turn. Finally, but very slowly, the door begins to open, and suddenly stops only three inches from where it originally stood.

Donaree looks on with pure curiosity.

A pretty eye starts looking at him through the small opening of the doorway. Two eyes, or rather three, join in a state of staring, until the one eye from behind the door recognizes the huge soldier. Upon this, the girl immediately swings open the door, throws herself into the Musketeer’s arms, and starts screaming a cry of relief.

"Ah! Monsieur de La Donaree – how happy I am to see you."

"You weren’t so happy to see me a few moments ago," says he, seeing that it is again Missy the maid: a girl of eighteen years, with blonde flowing hair, and who has the prettiest of blue eyes.

"But you do not understand," she says, "I had to hurry back to be by the side of my mistress."

"Missy, let me speak with Madame Rose."

"I wish I could let you, but you see, she is not here – she has left without me!"

"Well, where did she go?"

"Oh, if I knew that, I would not be so upset!"

He pulls her from his body. "Missy," he says, holding the girl by the shoulders, and looking straightway into her eyes, "I have a feeling that you are not telling me everything."

Tears begin flowing. "Oh, monsieur, you must help my mistress."

"But how can I help her if you do not tell me what has happened? Now, calm yourself, Missy, and start from the beginning."

He now hands her his handkerchief, a very expensive one, and she wipes glittering tears from such a sad face.

"Well, monsieur," she begins, calming herself, but still choked from grief, "it was not thirty minutes ago when someone knocked at the front door. Naturally, I answered it, and found standing in front of me two men that I could hardly see in the darkness; but, from the voice which I heard, I did not recognize them."

She pauses for a moment, as if thinking over what she is going to say next.

"Yes," Donaree says, "go on."                                   

"Well, it occurred so quickly, monsieur, that it is really hard to say what exactly happened, or for what reason. They asked for my mistress; of course, I obeyed and, leaving them at the doorway, I fetched her. And, sir, I am sorry to say, out of respect for my mistress, that I did not stay with her when she talked with them."

"Leaving her alone with two men whom you knew not?" asks Donaree, a little uneasy.

"But, Monsieur Donaree, I have said that I left out, but I failed to mention that Madame de La Rose gave me a sign to leave. Perhaps they had need of a private conversation. Only a moment later my mistress walked into the adjoining room where I was cleaning, and, most unfortunately, she was in eyesight of those two men, who were still standing at the doorway. Although the men were watching her, all they could see was her back, she being very careful to keep her back toward them. And, as she reached for her cloak with one hand, with the other, shaking in her nervousness, quickly wrote down those four words, which I’m sure that you have read. The look she gave me then was, without any mistake, a plea for me to seal her note and to deliver it safely to you. She then looked me straight in the eye – and, monsieur, her eyes were tear stricken!"  

At the words ‘tear stricken’, a jolt travels through Donaree’s body.

Continuing, the maid says: "Then madame whispered: ‘Missy, I have to trust that you will deliver this message to Monsieur Donaree. Adieu.’"

"Adieu?" Donaree screams.

"That is what I said: ‘But why goodbye, madame?’"

"‘I have no time to talk, Missy,’ she insisted. ‘Now do as I bid, please!’ Sealing the letter as fast as lightning, madame blocking their view for me, I then scooted to the side until my presence could not seen by those men; I darted out the back door, delivered the letter to you, and quickly returned. But it was too late – madame was nowhere to be seen!"

Donaree’s head falls to his chest. "No!" he moans, in a deep sigh.

There is now a moment of silence, with Donaree’s head still bowed low, and Missy feeling a deep sob coming on. The unhappy girl, once again, starts to weep. She throws her hands to her face to cover the flowing tears. Donaree, upon hearing her, regains himself, lifts his head, and feels sorry for the young maid.

"Please, Missy, do not cry," he says to her, while pulling her hands away from her face, "I will find Madame de La Rose and bring her back to us – I swear! I will follow her to the ends of the earth, and back again. Do you believe this, Missy?"

"Oh, yes, Monsieur Donaree, I believe that you would. But where could you possibly look for her?"

"That’s a good question, Missy, and I will have to think of something. It will help, though, if you can give me a description of the abductors; if, of course, they are abductors. Are you positive that she went unwillingly?"

"Monsieur, there can absolutely be no doubt," the girl cries, "Their mere actions delivered a positive act of abduction!"

"It’s apparent, alright. Now, think, Missy, and explain the features of those men."

"Oh, monsieur, I don’t know if I could do that. The night shaded them in the doorway, and, being so frightened, I have become blinded by fear."

"But you recognized me when I knocked at your door."

"But you are so easy to recognize, sir. Your clothes; your form; and your plume hanging from your hat – there is not another like it in the whole of Paris!"

"Really?" he says, while glancing to his side, and looking at this magnificent plume.

"Yes, really."

"Hum." Donaree says; and he then turns back to Missy, after being momentarily distracted, and also shaking his head a bit. "Well," he continues, returning to the matter at hand, "is there anything that you could add that may help in any way?"

"Come to think of it, I did see, beyond the two men standing in the doorway, the form of a carriage hitched with four horses. I could see this because it was near a street lamp."

"Is there anything else?"

"No, that is all, I am sorry to say."

"Very well; thank you, Missy. You go back inside now, bolt your door, and do not answer to anyone, save I or Madame Rose. Do you understand?"

"You’re not going to leave me here alone, are you?"

"I must search for Madame Rose, Missy. You want her back, don’t you?"

"Of course I do, but I am so scared."

"I know. But I must look for her."

"Yes, yes, you are right," she says, agreeing with the logic. "Please be careful, monsieur!"

"I shall."

He then turns on his heel and walks away.

Missy, willingly following Donaree’s advice, quickly bolts the front door. She then runs to her room, locks her own door, and sits in the corner of her bed with her covers completely over her – and having an expression of horror upon her face.

 

 

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