July 31, 2017 at 3:00 am #10029
Although it was the fourth thing on my list, the fact that I am now joining a gym has made me think that the story about a Musketeer who becomes incredibly strong and muscular might be quite an interesting way of keeping myself motivated, especially as next weekend will not only see me enter a gym as a fully paid up member for the first time, but also formally debut my Stuart era (1603 – 1714) living history persona at a community carnival, therefore it only seems reasonable that I introduce him formally as part of that element
“As I look back on my life, it seems fitting that I should start this journey with a word of thanks to the man who has been by my side throughout the whole journey, therefore I dedicate this book to my faithful manservant, Planchet!”
“Oh, master” said Planchet, and with that bowed, grimacing as the pain hit him, “you honour me as you have done throughout the time I have known you!”
As Henri struggled out of his chair and helped his manservant and friend regain his natural upright position he smiled and said “I made a promise when you reunited me with my horse all those years ago, that I would look after you” and added with a slight chuckle “Why should I stop now?” and with that got back into his chair and heaved the mighty tome that was to become his memoirs onto his lap. As he did he gestured Planchet to sit on the chair beside him and as he licked his quill said “Tell me, when did we first meet up? Remember, at that inn in Meung?”
Planchet closed his eyes and as he remembered that day he replied “June 21st, master, 1625″
As Henri wrote the date down he chuckled to himself “A century ago today!” and with that closed his eyes and whispered “Alexei, thank you” and with that started on his memoirs casting his mind back all that time. A time when he was just a young man, a spry twenty year old, dressed in a uniform of his grandparent’s making. And what a uniform it was! Boots made from the finest leather that money could buy, breeches that were so blue that on a sunny day they resembled the sky, a slightly darker blue jacket, an even darker blue waistcoat, a brown overcoat and a white shirt all crowned off with a hat that for some reason that Henri could ever understand seemed to have been bent at a right angle on the right hand side but seeing as no one ever objected he just accepted it as that. And what was underneath these clothes? Henri was never one was being boastful about himself and always replied “A kind, considerate Cavalier who always tries to do his best for people” however deep inside of himself he always wished for one thing. One of his heroes was Porthos, the legendary Titan of a Musketeer. That man did feats that Henri always believed would be quite frankly impossible for mortal man. He had been known to rip iron bars out of cells, been able to bend tongs into perfect circles and make corkscrews out of shovels and it had even been suggested that he had lifted a bull over his head to prevent the death of an infant. What Henri would have done for just a fraction of that strength, but he knew that there was only one person who gave out strength and that on that day, the Lord God had decided that Henri’s strength should be his mind, after all how many people could calculate at the drop of a hat the amount of tax owed to the monarch given only the size of a piece of land, but on occasions Henri would stand in front of his looking glass, wearing nothing but his breeches and sigh “It is said that Porthos’s arm is as big as the average man’s thigh. Oh, how I wish I could be of a similar size and strength”
But Henri was brave, courageous and honourable, as was proved that day in 1625 when he and Planchet first met and as Henri put quill to paper he recounted “It was a sunny day, was it not, mon amis, and although the sun was setting when I arrived in Meung, I was confident that I would have a pleasant stay and be assured of a good night’s sleep before carrying on to Paris to become a Musketeer!”
“However” smiled his manservant, “that wasn’t to be was it?” to which Henri chuckled “It wasn’t”August 3, 2017 at 6:19 am #10041
“I can still remember that evening like it was yesterday” smiled Henri as he recounted the day in question
“Hello? Anyone here?” called Henri as he entered the stable attached to the inn. As a voice called back “With you shortly, monsieur”, Henri led his horse in and noticed a black stallion already boxed and so, being the friendly type of person he was, he introduced his horse to the resident saying “Pardonez moi, may I introduce my horse, Ochre!”
The black stallion took one look at Henri’s horse and snorted his disgust causing Henri to place his hands over his steed’s ears and chastise the stallion for “having the manners of a gong farmer!”. This description caused the stable lad to chuckle saying “It is said that the owner of a horse and their horse share the same manners, in which case your description is correct” and with that he emerged from the stable box floor and struck terror in Henri. This stable lad could only have been a year or so older than Henri, but he was a good foot taller, at least forty pounds heavier and seemed to be…
“…a Titan” breathed Henri
“Forgive me” the stable boy smiled and he reached over the stable box to shake Henri and as he gently took Henri’s hand he said “Planchet, monsieur, stable boy!” and with that released his hand causing Henri to look at his hand and exclaim “But, you could have crushed my hand, and yet, you held it as if I were a baby!”
“Not all men who are big are always strong!” he smiled and in doing so put Henri’s mind at ease
“Did you really think I was a Titan?” asked Planchet, as his master took a pause to drink a glass of wine.
“Bigger than Porthos” came the reply, “and stronger too. Prior to meeting you the biggest man I had ever met was my grandfather, Captain Dumas, he was only a few inches taller and me and twenty pounds heavier. To me, you were a literal Titan” and with that resumed his story a little later on when Planchet had explained that the owner of the black stallion was, in his humble opinion…
“… the biggest bully ever to ride a horse, monsieur”
“Did he have a black moustache?” asked Henri and as Planchet nodded, both Henri and Ochre, now standing in his stable box snorted their disapproval.
“That man owes me and my horse an apology!” grumped Henri and with that thanked the stable lad and stomped off in a bad mood. As he did Planchet tickled Ochre around the ears and said “Would you care for a good brushing?” to which the horse neighed his approval.
August 7, 2017 at 4:26 am #10069
“Do you believe in providence, Planchet?” asked Henri as he took another sip, “I know there has been a lot of discussion about it, but generally speaking it’s the fact that something happens because God wanted it to happen?”
Planchet nodded and as he did Henri replied “When I first started on this journey, I wasn’t entirely convinced, but thinking about it now, what happened that night does sound like it. I’ll admit meeting up with the owner of that stallion, getting a good hiding from him and winding up nearly dead does not sound like providence, but I cannot think that without what happened that night, we would never have met!”
“Perhaps, master” replied Planchet and with that remembered the scene the following morning when Henri, now without a Louis to his name came to the stable to deliver his faithful steed some very bad news.
“There is no easy way of putting this Ochre, but, you’re going to have to stay here for a while!”
As Henri took off the saddle, Ochre looked at him with a puzzled expression.
“I cannot afford the bill for the damage from the fight last night with that Black Moustache and so, oh Ochre, I’m so sorry, you have to stay here as security to ensure that I pay the bill” and with that Henri started to sniff adding “Oh, I promised myself I wouldn’t cry over this, but, oh, Planchet, please promise me that you’ll look after him. He’s the closest thing I have to a brother!” and with that Henri collapsed into Planchet’s chest crying his eyes out. As the stable lad gently patted the Cavalier, he replied “I shall look after him as if he was my own son” and with that raised Henri from his chest and said “You are a good man, monsieur, your defence last night proved it, you will soon find the money to pay the bill and on that day, I swear by the Lord God, I shall personally return your horse to you!”
As Henri sniffed, he hoisted the saddle on top of his hat and walked slowly from the stable, turning every few steps. As Ochre and Planchet stood at the entrance, Planchet waved and then praying whispered “Please, Lord, help that honourable man on his way to Paris!”
“Then that was your doing!” exclaimed Henri all of a sudden as Planchet finished telling his tale, “You are the reason I had so many offers of lifts on the way! Oh, providence is a mighty thing!” and with that they both looked upwards and nodded their appreciation.
August 9, 2017 at 1:32 am #10078
- This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Harry Hayfield.
“Did you pray for good weather as well?” asked Henri, “because that’s what I had the entire journey. Actually, no, not the entire journey. The day I reached the outskirts of Paris it absolutely poured down with rain and so I had to walk along the side of the road” and as he remembered he sighed saying “And that’s how I met her!”
“MONSIEUR, I DEMAND AN APOLOGY!”
As the carriage driver woahed his horses, he looked at Henri and could barely stifle a giggle. Not only was he holding half a sword, but he looked so bedraggled the driver exclaimed “Go away, you bumpkin!”
“HOW DARE YOU?” roared Henri, “I am a gentleman, you splashed me with your carriage and I expect an apology” and as his eyes narrowed he grunted “Or do I have to duel you to get that apology?”
“Is something the matter, Pierre?” said a voice from inside the carriage and with that the door opened
“Oh, Planchet” moaned Henri, as he remembered the scene, “she was beautiful, like an angel sent from above!”
Nodding Planchet replied, “Yes, she was, I still miss Juliette as well, master!”
Henri’s smile faded and as he bowed his head, he took his hat off and placed it on his chest and said quietly “Your death at the hands of Milady was revenged my love, one day we shall be reunited!” and as he did so, a tear fell down his cheek and he sniffed. Seeing that his master was getting upset at the loss of his wife all those years ago, Planchet asked “And that was the day that you joined the Musketeers, oui?”
“Not quite!” replied Henri, smiling again, “I did have a small problem to overcome”
Friend or foe, stranger?”
“Friend, monsieur” replied Henri and asked for confirmation that he had indeed found the headquarters.
“Yes” replied the guard and then looked at Henri with an expression of amazement adding “but errand boys use the back entrance!”
“Errand boys?” asked Henri
“You’ve come to deliver that saddle, haven’t you?” replied the guard
“It’s mine, actually” Henri replied, and as he placed it on the ground he added “sans horse though!”
“So, if you have not come to deliver a saddle, why have you come?” asked the guard
Henri stood to attention and announced, “I wish to speak to Captain Treville and inform him that Henri de Ceredigion, grandson of Musketeer Dumas, has arrived to begin his training to follow his grandfather’s footsteps!” and with that puffed out his chest,
“And do you have an appointment?” asked the guard
“Not exactly!” said Henri, still puffing out his chest, “but if you just tell the Captain…”
“Ah” said the guard, “no one sees the Captain without an appointment!”August 11, 2017 at 4:29 pm #10089
“You were denied even seeing the Captain?” asked Planchet
“It did seem that way!” replied Henri, “but then I realised this was nothing more than simple red tape, you know the tape used to bind official documents and after a little discussion we managed to get things sorted and so I went to get a new sword, after all I didn’t want what happened on the outskirts of Paris to happen again did I?” and with that Henri chuckled to himself
After about half an hour of looking Henri found a weapons shop and was greeted by a very friendly looking shopkeeper who seemed only too happy to help Henri find a sword and as Henri walked him he was amazed at the various swords and weapons on display. The choice was just so overwhelming Henri didn’t know where to begin, so the shopkeeper made some suggestions.
As Henri placed his saddle on the ground, the shopkeeper went into the backroom and a few moments later bought out a sword that took Henri’s breath away. It was almost as long as he was tall and the hilt was so golden it almost shone and sensing a sale, the shopkeeper introduced Henri to “the Aramis model, monsieur, named in honour of that fine Musketeer. Note, monsieur, the hilt. That is purest gold from the mountains of Wales, monsieur, there is no purer gold in the world!”
Henri smiled as he weighed the sword in his hands and concluded it would be just the sword for him and so attached to his belt and said “Monsieur, thank you!”
“Delighted to do business with you, monsieur” replied the shopkeeper, “that will be two hundred louis”
“How much?” gasped Henri and with that detached the sword and handed it back making up an excuse of “I do not believe that I could do justice to such a sword, do you have another model?”
The shopkeeper smiled and went back into the backroom and came out with another sword. This one was a little shorter than the Aramis model, reaching down to Henri’s knees, and the hilt wasn’t quite as golden, but as Henri unsheathed it the metal shone brilliantly.
“May I introduce the Porthos model” said the shopkeeper, “named after the strongest of the Musketeers. Indeed, not even the famed Titan himself could bend that blade!”
“And that costs?” asked Henri, expecting the worst
“Eighty louis” came the reply which caused Henri to sigh.
“I can tell that you are having problems, monsieur” said the shopkeeper, “so tell me which sword would you like?”
“The Aramis sword” Henri replied
“And how much money do you have?” the shopkeeper asked
“I’m not sure” replied Henri and with that took out a bag and emptied the contents on to the shop counter. As the coins, gathered from people taking pity on the poor lad or gained through being employed by a local farmer on his way to Paris, displayed themselves the shop keeper frowned.
“And what” he asked in an annoyed tone of voice, “am I supposed to do with that?” and sorted the coins into a large bronze coin and several smaller silver ones.
“Give me a sword!” declared Henri, “I need a sword to become a Musketeer!”
“Trade the saddle?” asked the shopkeeper, but Henri shook his head defiantly and then had an idea and said, “Monsieur, where I come from I was always helping people out, therefore, may I work for you, just long enough to earn a sword. Any sword, I don’t care which sword! I swear by my…” and with that unsheathed his sword, remembering only when it was out that it was in two halves.
“Oh, dear” said the shopkeeper, “the Athos model” and with that tutted, “I still do not understand why that pig of a Musketeer lent his name to that sword. It was always breaking eventually. They did say that the steel was too brittle” and then addressing Henri said, “I can see why you need a sword, lad! You have an honest face so therefore I am prepared to do this for you. If you give me your money, you can trade in your old sword for a louis and if you promise to work as hard as possible I will give you one of those swords in that barrel over there. That will be your pay for the work, a whole five louis!”
“Five louis?” asked Henri, “and what type of sword does that get me?” and with that examined the swords in the barrel. They were all covered in rust with blotches on them and didn’t look all that sharp, but Henri knew that when you have a gift horse being presented to you, the last thing you do is look it in the mouth and so accepted the shopkeeper’s terms and a few moments later, he was sitting down outside the back of the shop with a stone at his feet and a whole collection of swords, spears and even the occasional axe that needed a jolly good clean. As he put an apron over his clothes, Henri picked up a sword that was covered in rust and said, “What a shame, a potential Musketeer reduced to this” and with that set about his work.
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