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LPBS Masthead: Roland as a Musketeer

Les Petites Bêtes Soyeuses

Being a correspondence game of En Garde! run by Pevans since April 1986 and now published as part of To Win Just Once.

If you'd like to play, you'll need to subscribe to TWJO (follow the link for details). You will need a copy of the rules to En Garde! - or at least access to a copy. The additional rules for LPBS are available as a PDF document. (You will need Adobe Reader to view this: it is available free from Adobe.)

Orders for October 1670 to LPBS, 180 Aylsham Drive, UXBRIDGE UB10 8UF or the LPBS orders e-mail address by Friday, 24th August 2018.

Game Report for September 1670

Sections: Duels, Trials, Appointments and Regiments, What happened in Paris, What happened at the front.

Paris is full of expectation as the soldiers return from the summer campaign. There will be parties, carousing and, no doubt, over-indulgence. But first, there is a serious matter to deal with. The settling of a grudge between the man at the top of Parisian society, retiring Minister of War Bill de Zmerchant, and General Sebastian de la Creme. Creme is the larger of the two men, but is less proficient with his sabre than Zmerchant is with his, gulp, two-hander. Minister of State Pierre le Sang attends as Creme's second. The grey and haggard Zmerchant appears to be in pain even before the duel starts. "It's this damned gout," he explains, "the pain is relentless."

Creme starts with a furious lunge, prodding Zmerchant with the almost blunt tip of his blade. Zmerchant returns the favour with the completely blunt end of his massive weapon. First blood to Creme. However, the following exchange of cuts produces far more serious injuries. First Crème strikes home, then Zmerchant, doing no more damage despite his heavier sword. The two regain their positions and balance, Zmerchant wincing as he puts his weight onto his swollen foot.

Creme attacks again with a slash, opening another wound on his adversary. Zmerchant prefers to continue with his furious lunges, though the lunge bit still doesn't do any damage. The cut hits just as Creme starts a furious lunge of his own. Zmerchant's blow deflects the lunge, tipping the balance back in his favour. However, Creme's second cut is the final blow. Zmerchant collapses to the ground, but looks up with a smile. "The pain's gone," he murmurs and breathes his last. RIP.

War! Who is the Minister?

Now that that's out of the way, there are a lot of jobs to be sorted out. Top of the heap is appointing a new Minister of War. Two men have put themselves forward for the post: Baron Sebastian de la Creme (he does get around) and Baron Terence Cuckpowder. There is a parting shot from the previous incumbent, Viscount Bill de Zmerchant, who has called in his last favour to endorse Cuckpowder - a final jibe at Creme, perhaps. However, this effort is surpassed by Pierre le Sang's support for Creme. The Minister of State uses some of his influence for his preferred candidate. His Majesty carefully weighs up the pros and cons of each candidate ... for several seconds. "He's the man!" he cries, pointing at Cuckpowder. "I like the cut of his jib."

Creme's consolation prize is an appointment as Minister without Portfolio. Le Sang clearly wants more Ministers in his Government, but doesn't have jobs for them. He appoints Beau Reese Jean Seine, Jean Ettonique, Swindelle d'Masses and Uther Xavier-Beauregard as Ministers without a Portfolio between them. The King further rewards the new Ministers with elevation: Ettonique becomes an Earl, Creme a Marquis and Masses a Knight. Cuckpowder is also elevated to the rank of Marquis.

Moving on to matters military, Xavier Money is after new recruits for the Grand Duke Max Dragoons. He signs up Greg de Bécqueur and L'Inconnu, both of whom take positions as Captain. Captain de Bécqueur is one of a few Parisians to benefit from some anonymous largesse this month - very helpful when you're a young man freshly arrived in the big city (though usually the donor wants to be known...). Money also makes him regimental Adjutant - looks like he's on the fast track.

Frele d'Acier resigns from his position in the Dragoon Guards (see Press) and joins the Archduke Leopold Cuirassiers. He buys the rank of Major with his eye on further purchases to gain his own command in due course.

As one man leaves another arrives: Percy Urbain Fanci-Free applies to join the Dragoon Guards. He is promptly accepted by the regiment's commander, Etienne Brule. A Captaincy is the limit of his ambition. For the time being.

A new arrival in Paris, Frederick von Bismarch, sets his sights on the King's Musketeers. He is the first applicant for a while to meet Duncan d'Eauneurts's requirements for the regiment and is thus accepted. As another beneficiary of an anonymous donation, von Bismarch goes for a Majority. However, there's no vacancy at this rank, so he has to settle for the rank of Captain.

The freshly promoted Field Marshal, Uther Xavier-Beauregard, appoints General Jacques de Gain to command First Army in preference to General Was Nae Me. Nor does he make General Me commander of Second Army, preferring to leave it vacant. The General has also applied to command Third Army, but this formation is not active for the next campaign. The Field Marshal makes Jean d'Ice his Aide, rejecting the solicitations of Georges Hommemince.

Quick to get his feet under the table at his new command (same as his old command), General Gain makes Alan de Frocked Army Quartermaster-General, appoints Arthur 'Dekka' Dent the Adjutant of First Army and Felix Anton Gauchepied'er his Aide.

Xavier-Beauregard turns down Leonard de Hofstadt's application to be Adjutant-General. Likewise, the new Minister of War, Terence Cuckpowder, rejects Hofstadt as either Inspector-General. Instead, Cuckpowder offers the Infantry position to Bernard de Lur-Saluces, but he has the rank of General and can't take the post - it remains empty. Cuckpowder then appoints Chopine Camus as Inspector-General of Cavalry. Camus makes no decisions on the Cavalry Brigadiers, so his staff do the work for him.

Lieutenant-General Hofstadt finally finds a role as commander of First Division. He leaves the Adjutant's position empty (refusing Robert d'Lancier's application) and engages Captain Bastian de LaGarde as his Aide. Lancier gets the Adjutant position in Second Division, however.

Other appointments are filled by default, apart from the Regimental Adjutant's position in Princess Louisa's Light Dragoons, which Arthur 'Dekka' Dent leaves empty.

The commander of the Royal Foot Guards, (brevet) Brigadier-General Amant d'Au takes a look at Paris and decides "it's a silly place." Accordingly, he volunteers the regiment for a further season on active service. While Lt-Colonel Jean Jeanie appears to be aware of this plan, it comes as a complete surprise to the regiment's other officers, including Captain Bastian de LaGarde and Major Beau Reese Jean Seine. They were expecting to spend their time in the fleshpots. Fabien Petanque is of the same mind as Au, but nobody pays attention to him as he's just a Subaltern in the Picardy Musketeers, so he has to volunteer for a Frontier regiment.

It was him

The event in Paris this month is Was Nae Me's party at Bothwell's in the second week of the month. Nearly everybody is there, so let's start with it. The host and hostess are Was, of course, and Vera Cruz. Their guest list starts (alphabetically) with Arthur 'Dekka' Dent, who escorts Ulla Leight. Alan de Frocked brings Madelaine de Proust. Alain SansSous didn't get anywhere when he went courting, so he's on his own, but is happier with his finances after receiving a gift from Terence Cuckpowder. Having been busy with his rapier beforehand, Bernard de Lur-Saluces has no plus-one. Balzac Slapdash has Mary Huana on his arm. Inspector-General of Cavalry Chopine Camus brings Sheila Kiwi. Chris Knight is on his own as his courting was unsuccessful. Charles Louis Desapear arrives with Emma Roides. CPS Duncan d'Eauneurts is the second rapier-practiser to arrive. He brings nothing but a warrant or two. His first action is to spot the commander of his enemy regiment and exchange challenges with Alan. This argument is joined by the next arrival, Florent Sans de Machine (accompanied by Charlotte de Gaulle) alongside his CO.

Georges Dueppre is unaccompanied: he met the other Georges, Hommemince, when he went courting the week before and neither would stand down. Greg de Bécqueur missed the young lady he had his eye on - she was out with her current beau - so he's on his own as well. Not surprisingly, Georges H is alone too. Minister Jean Ettonique expected to have a lady on his arm, but his courting of Katy Did went so badly that Alison Wunderlandt heard about it and gave him the heave-ho. Jean indulges his passion for gambling with a series of 250-crown wagers. Having won the first three bets, he cuts the next two and then wins again to finish the week with a good profit.

L'Inconnu escorts Anna Rexique to the party. In his new Lt-Colonel's uniform and having successfully re-scheduled his loans, Padamus Da Grim is fresh (?) from a week's sabre practice. Percy Urbain Fanci-Free is another single man. New Minister Swindelle d'Masses is accompanied by Lucy Fur, but is distracted by the sight of two regimental enemies. Swindelle exchanges challenges with Jean and Percy. The new War Minister, Terence Cuckpowder, brings Fifi. Xavier Money has Betty Kant on his arm. Many of those attending find the presence of commoner Charles deplorable. Arthur, Alain, Balzac, Chris, Florent, Georges H, L'Inconnu and Padamus line up to challenge Charles's effrontery. Alain takes exception to Xavier as well. Having searched the party in vain for his intended prey, the CPS spots Greg. "You'll do," he growls and has the unfortunate Dragoon dragged off to the Bastille.

The second, and quieter, event this month is Xavier Money's GDMD do at the end of September, Betty acting as hostess. First through the door is the Commissioner of Public Safety. Duncan is still unaccompanied and still looking for the man named on the warrant he's clutching. GDMD Captain Greg looks very nervous when he arrives, but he's already done his time - in fact he regales the other guests with tales of conditions in the Bastille. PLLD Lt-Col Georges H is not the man Duncan is looking for. Neither is GDMD Captain L'Inconnu - the only guest to bring an escort, Anna. Duncan shows no interest in GDMD Lt-Col Padamus, either, so everybody breathes more easily. Duncan's main topic of conversation is how clever he's been, re-investing the profit from his Arms investments - in Arms, of course.

Clubbing round-up

Apart from these events, what else happens in Paris's clubs this month? The Fleur de Lys remains relatively quiet. The Minister of State, Pierre le Sang, and the Minister of War, Uther Xavier-Beauregard, are both to be found here all month - though at separate tables. They are accompanied by their ladies: Guinevere d'Arthur and Henrietta Carrotte, respectively. Sebastian de la Creme Toadies to Pierre and Guinevere once he's made a visit to the bawdyhouses (where he shows no interest in the pleasures of the flesh). Richard Shapmes and Kathy Pacific are the other couple in the Fleur, dashing the hopes of other young men who wished to attract Mlle Pacific. Frele d'Acier and Pierre Cardigan are the last of the Fleur's members to make an appearance. Both materialise in week 1, both accompanied (by Freda de Ath and Edna Bucquette, respectively) and both then working out with their sabres for the rest of the month.

Not counting Was's party, Bothwell's is just as popular as the Fleur. Was is there all month, with Vera, as are Leonard de Hofstadt and Frances Forrin, who don't Toady to Was. Swindelle and Lucy, who do, are in Bothwell's in their own right the rest of the time. Alan de Frocked pops in with Madelaine in week 1, as do Charles Louis Desapear and Emma. Jean Ettonique makes an appearance at the end of September, bringing his new conquest, Katy - she accepted his suit once Alison had got rid of him. However, Jean is mainly here to try his luck on the tables again. He places another six 250-crown bets. After losing the first one, he cuts. Then he cuts, cuts again and cuts once more before losing the final bet. Not only does this leave him well out of pocket, it's more than he won two weeks earlier. He gets some satisfaction from renewing his mutual challenge with Swindelle.

The man in residence at Hunter's is Frederick von Bismarch, taking in the atmosphere with a quiet glass of wine. For the whole month. Xavier and Betty take a table in the first week before returning for their party (Xavier practised sabre between parties). Percy Urbain Fanci-Free is also in the club, at the end of September. He brings Fifi - last seen on the arm of War Minister Cuckpowder - whose affections he gained the week before. (Terence has gone off with his sabre, which didn't go down well with the Mademoiselle.) The only other visitor to Hunter's is Hercule D'Engin, who turns up in week 2 looking for Xavier. This gets him nowhere with either of this month's parties.

Blue Gables is where Arthur 'Dekka' Dent (with Ulla), Florent Sans de Machine (with Charlotte) and L'Inconnu (with Anna) are to be found at the start of September - each at a separate table. They all head to the party in week 2 and Robert d'Lancier (plus Ava Crisp) takes over. Luckily for Robert, Ava doesn't know that he spent the previous week on another woman's doorstep. He spends most of his time at the gaming tables, wagering 100 crowns at a time. He cuts the first bet, but wins the next two. Another cut is followed by two losses and a third win, leaving him with the same balance he had at the start of his visit (bolstered by the substantial loan the moneylenders were prepared to advance him). However, his status has gone up a bit. Florent, Charlotte, L'Inconnu and Anna are back in Blue Gables the following week. Florent and Charlotte stay for the last week - while the other two go to Xavier's do - and Richard re-appears, but without Ava.

The other clubs stand empty all month, but not so the Bawdyhouses. As well as Sebastian de la Creme, Henri Dubois and Percy Urbain Fanci-Free take a drink to start September. Both of these make sure there's no suggestion that they go without female company. Was's party leaves even the red light district empty, but it's busy again the week after. Alain SansSous, Bernard de Lur-Saluces and Padamus Da Grim get their oats, while Hercule D'Engin doesn't. His courting having failed all month (she's just not into him), Augustin Fourier arrives at the Bawdyhouses, drowns his sorrows and then heads home. Chris Knight is another man for whom the course of love doesn't run smoothly so, after a week with his sabre, he finds some female company here. Even Felix Anton Gauchepied'er is in one of the Bawdyhouses where they cater to his rather different companionship requirements. After meeting Georges Hommemince twice on Angelina's doorstep, Georges Dueppre gives up and heads for the red light district. As he departs, sated, the footpads take him for an easy target, but find nothing of value on him. Having checked out his options the week before, Hercule returns and this time indulges in a little female company, spending just a little of what he's borrowed this month.

Iron men of the month are Jacques de Gain and Jean d'Ice, practising rapier the whole month. Balzac Slapdash spends three weeks practising sabre, as do Chopine Camus, Frele d'Acier, Henri Dubois and Pierre Cardigan. Arthur 'Dekka' Dent manages to fit in two weeks' practice with sabre, along with Terence Cuckpowder. For Alan de Frocked, it's two weeks with his rapier. Ditto Bernard de Lur-Saluces and Charles Louis Desapear. Duncan d'Eauneurts practises twice with his rapier, in between patrolling parties for a victim.

Felix Anton Gauchepied'er puts in two weeks throwing knives around. Then he and his constant companion, Trissy, head for the Louvre wearing colourful summer dresses and dragging a small handcart. It's loaded with books and documents and covered by a sheet upon which is written "Evidence against the despot Dunkie D'eaunerts". The pair wait outside the main entrance, asking all who go inside to tell the King that they've come to see him - except for anyone in a Palace Guard uniform, with whom they flirt outrageously. To these gentlemen they proffer leaflets showing diagrams of 'male appendage' sizes across Europe, ranging  from 'supersize' to Spanish, Average Austrian and through to the Below par Belgians. On the back of the leaflet is a small (very small) diagram of the "Baby Carrot Dunkie" appendage with a warning that, if you have one like this, you should seek urgent medical assistance to prevent you developing Little Man's Syndrome. The duo offer to check any Guardsman who wants to find out where he rates on the scale. However, after a couple of hours of this, a squad of guards marches out and prods them away at halberd-point.

That leaves one man unaccounted for. Etienne Brule spends his September on the doorstep of a certain young lady, undeterred by the fact that she's out on the town with her current beau.

Beating off the Spaniards

After last season's campaign, the French army is back on a defensive footing. Smarting from being bottled up for three months, the Spanish forces in Franche-Comté make a raid into French territory. This has the intended effect - on the Frontier regiments, anyway. PM Subaltern Fabien Petanque has been assigned to Frontier regiment 1. Despite the regiment holding firm, Subaltern Petanque is the unfortunate victim of a Spanish musketball. RIP.

What the Spanish force isn't expecting is to run up against the Royal Foot Guards. Some well-disciplined volleys stop the attackers in their tracks and a charge clears them from the field. Regimental commander Amant d'Au stays out of the fighting, directing the skirmish to good effect. He takes 600 crowns as his share of the ensuing booty. Lieutenant-Colonel Jean Jeanie receives two Mentions in Despatches as he is in the thick of it. He acquires a little bit more loot than his boss. Major Beau Reese Jean Seine sticks to 600 crowns' worth of booty. Captain Bastian de LaGarde takes a bullet to the head early on in the fight and is hors de combat for the rest of the engagement. Luckily, it's only a scratch - despite the copious bleeding - but his only reward this month is the new parting in his hair.

The final action this month is the dismissal of Duncan d'Eauneurts as Commissioner of Public Safety. The problem is that he's been in the job for six months and hasn't convicted anyone. The good news for Greg de Bécqueur is that he now won't be on trial at the start of October as there's no-one to prosecute him.