The Royal Life Guard. A Historical Romance of the Suppression of the French Monarchy - Alexandre Dumas - ebook

The Royal Life Guard. A Historical Romance of the Suppression of the French Monarchy ebook

Alexandre Dumas

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Opis

„The Royal Life Guard – A Historical Romance of the Suppression of the French Monarchy” is a historical romance of the suppression of the French monarchy. France had been changed to a limited monarchy from an absolute one, and King Louis XVI had solemnly sworn to defend the new Constitution. But it had been remarked by shrewd observers that he had not attended the Te Deum at the Paris Cathedral, with the members of the National Assembly: that is, he would tell a lie but not commit perjury. Fans of classic historical fiction will delight in this gem from Alexandre Dumas, author of such masterpieces as „The Count of Monte Cristo” and „The Three Musketeers”. Bringing together fast-paced action and a richly detailed look at life in a bygone era, „The Royal Life Guard” merits a place on your must-read list.

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Liczba stron: 357

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Contents

I. A NEW LEASE OF LIFE

II. THE FEDERATION OF FRANCE

III. WHERE THE BASTILE STOOD

IV. THE LODGE OF THE INVISIBLES

V. THE CONSPIRATORS ACCOUNT

VI. WOMEN AND FLOWERS

VII. THE KING'S MESSENGER

VIII. THE HUSBAND'S PROMISE

IX. OFF AND AWAY

X. ON THE HIGHWAY

XI. THE QUEEN'S HAIRDRESSER

XII. MISCHANCE

XIII. STOP, KING!

XIV. THE CAPTURE

XV. POOR CATHERINE

XVI. THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE

XVII. THE FEUD

XVIII. ON THE BACK TRACK

XIX. THE DOLOROUS WAY

XX. MIRABEAU'S SUCCESSOR

XXI. ANOTHER DUPE

XXII. THE CENTRE OF CATASTROPHES

XXIII. THE BITTER CUP

XXIV. AT LAST THEY ARE HAPPY!

XXV. CORRECTING THE PETITION

XXVI. CAGLIOSTRO'S COUNSEL

XXVII. THE SQUEEZED LEMON

XXVIII. THE FIELD OF BLOOD

XXIX. IN THE HOSPITAL

XXX. THE MOTHER'S BLESSING

XXXI. FORTIER EXECUTES HIS THREAT

CHAPTER I

A NEW LEASE OF LIFE

France had been changed to a limited monarchy from an absolute one, and King Louis XVI. had solemnly sworn to defend the new Constitution. But it had been remarked by shrewd observers that he had not attended the Te Deum at the Paris Cathedral, with the members of the National Assembly: that is, he would tell a lie but not commit perjury.

The people were therefore on their guard against him, while they felt that his Queen, Marie Antoinette, the daughter of Austria, was ever their foe.

But the murders by the rabble had frightened all property holders and when the court bought Mirabeau, the popular orator, over to its cause by paying his debts and a monthly salary the majority of the better classes, who had not fled from France in terror, thought the Royal Family would yet regain their own.

In point of fact, Mirabeau had obtained from the House of Representatives that the King should have the right to rule the army and direct it and propose war, which the Assembly would only have the sanction of. He would have obtained more in the reaction after the Taking of the Bastile but for an unknown hand having distributed full particulars of his purchase by the royalists in a broadside given away by thousands in the streets.

Hence he retired from the senate broken by his victory, though carrying himself proudly.

In face of danger the strong athlete thought of the antagonist, not of his powers.

On going home, he flung himself on the floor, rolling on flowers. He had two passionate loves: for the fair sex, because he was an ugly though robust man, and for flowers.

This time he felt so exhausted that he resisted his attendant feebly, who wanted to send for a doctor, when “Dr. Gilbert” was announced.

A man still young though with a grave expression like one tried in the furnace of personal and political heats, entered the room. He was clothed in the wholly black suit which he introduced from America, where it was popular among Republicans, for he was a friend of Washington and Marquis Lafayette, who like him had returned to make a sister Republic of France to that of the Thirteen United States.

Dr. Gilbert was a friend of Mirabeau, for he wished to preserve the King at the head of the State though he knew it was but the gilded figurehead without which, if knocked off in the tempest, the Ship rights itself and lives through all without feeling the loss.

Nevertheless, Gilbert, who was one of the Invisibles, that Secret Society which worked for years to bring about the downfall of monarchy in Europe, had been warned by its Chief, the Grand Copt Cagliostro, alias Balsamo the Mesmerist, alias Baron Zannone–since he had escaped from the Papal dungeons under cover of his being supposed dead and buried there–that the Queen cajoled him and that royalty was doomed.

“I have come to congratulate you, my dear count,” said the doctor to the orator, “you promised us a victory, and you have borne away a triumph.”

“A Pyrrhic one–another such and we are lost. I am very ill of it. Oh, doctor, tell me of something, not to keep me alive but to give me force while I do live.”

“How can I advise for a constitution like yours,” said the physician, after feeling the nobleman’s pulse: “you do not heed my advice. I told you not to have flowers in the room as they spoil the air, and you are smothered in them. As for the ladies, I bade you beware and you answer that you would rather die than be reft of their society.”

“Never mind that. I suffer too much to think of aught but myself. I sometimes think that as I am slandered so that the Queen hesitated to trust me, so have I been physically done to death. Do you believe in the famous poisons which slay without knowing they are used until too late?”

“Yes; I believe,” for Gilbert frowned as he remembered that his secret brotherhood was allowed to use the Aqua Tofana where an enemy could not be otherwise reached: “but in your case it is the sword wearing out its sheath. The electric spark will explode the crystal chamber in which it is confined. Still I can help you.”

He drew from his pocket a phial holding about a couple of thimblefuls of a green liquid.

“One of my friends–whom I would were yours–deeply versed in natural and occult sciences, gave me the recipe of this brew as a sovereign elixir of life. I have often taken it to cure what the English call the blue devils. And I am bound to say that the effect was instant and salutary. Will you taste it?”

“I will take anything from your hand, my dear doctor.”

A servant was rung up, who brought a spoon and a little brandy in a glass.

“Brandy to mollify it,” said Mirabeau: “it must be liquid fire, then!”

Gilbert added the same quantity of his elixir to the half-dozen drops of eau-de-vie and the two fluids mixed to the color of wormwood bitters, which the exhausted man drank off.

Immediately he was invigorated and sprang up, saying:

“Doctor, I will pay a diamond a drop for that liquor, for it would make me feel invincible.”

“Count, promise me that you will take it only each three days, and I will leave you a phial every week.”

“Give it, and I promise everything.”

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