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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 November 1675 to LPBS, 180 Aylsham Drive, UXBRIDGE UB10 8UF or the LPBS orders e-mail address by 3rd May 2024.

Game Report for October 1675

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

October is bright and sunny in Paris, with just a hint of cold in the mornings. Hence Parisians tend to wrap up when out and about early in the day - particularly those carrying cold steel to their arranged meeting places. Yes, with the boys back in Paris there are affairs of honour that need to be settled. Quietly. Without witnesses.

First up this month is Zeold von Tu with two appointments. He's arranged the first to meet Jon Dichateme, but the gentleman does not show up. On to his meeting with Jean d'Aubergine. They are an evenly matched pair, both using their regimental rapiers. Come Asiouar seconds Tu, while Thomas de la Lune backs up Aubergine. An unsuccessful parry from Tu is followed by an exchange of lunges. Then there's a slash from Aubergine and a more damaging cut from Tu. As Tu recovers his balance, Aubergine gets in another lunge. Tu responds with a slash before stepping back and hurling his weapon at his opponent. The blade whistles harmlessly across the courtyard and Aubergine lunges to prompt Tu's surrender. His behaviour does Tu's social standing no good at all.

QOC Captain Yve Stanbul has several duels to fight, but he won't start with Jean-Paul LeMon as this is held over pending LeMon's availability. Dragoon Guard Michael Chevalier-Cavalier is thus Stanbul's first adversary. This is another even fight, but with sabres this time - both are cavalrymen - and no seconds. Chevalier-Cavalier launches into a furious slash. Stanbul uses the same attack, but waits a beat before starting. Thus, Chevalier-Cavalier's hits come just before Stanbul's. After the slashes and cuts have been exchanged, Chevalier-Cavalier's next slash is enough for Stanbul and he concedes the fight. His injuries mean Stanbul is unable to duel Come Asiouar.

For Chevalier-Cavalier there is another Carabiner to face: Justin Thyme, who greets him with a sneer. "Ah, the traitorous scumbag has turned up. Can I save the State a Trial, monsieur?" Thyme is the smaller of the two duellists, but Chevalier-Cavalier's injuries and Thyme's superior skill redress the balance. Thyme catches Chevalier-Cavalier napping with a slash. He swings round to deliver a cut as well, just as Chevalier-Cavalier gets in a slash of his own. The additional injuries are too much for the Dragoon and he surrenders. Thyme accepts his surrender rather than following up on his threat.

Armand Alsace is another man with a series of duels. In his case it's because he's Lieutenant-Colonel of the 53rd Fusiliers and keeps bumping into Crown Prince Cuirassiers. He decides to take on the top man, Ben e'Volence, first. However, there is no sign of the Minister of War. Private Thierry Boule is next on the list. Boule may be lowly in rank, but he's one beefy bloke. And has a sabre to pit against Alsace's rapier. Expecting a lunge, Boule parries, only to be hit by a slash. Still, that doesn't do much damage from a rapier. Certainly not as much as his own slash inflicts on Alsace. A cut from the Fusilier evens things up, but Boule's cut is savage. The two men recover their ground and Alsace lunges for the first time. Boule hits him with another slash and Alsace concedes. He planned to meet CPC Captain Beau Nidle next, but is now too battered.

A duelling Musketeer kicks out rather than use his sword.Louis Joseph Reignaux is a Cardinal's man and has two fights scheduled with those pesky King's Musketeers. First, Lt-Col Frank X Change. The two are well matched, though Change has slightly more expertise. He has just one second, Louis Severin Descartes, in attendance - Claude de Nord appears to have better things to do than second a colleague. It's a rapier fight, so Change parries the expected lunge. What he doesn't expect is for Reignaux to close in and apply his boot. The kicking leaves Change hopping about, but he recovers to inflict a lunge on his opponent. He gets a lunge in return and attacks with a cut, but it's the second lunge from Reignaux that proves his undoing. Change surrenders, hoping he's done enough damage to give Reignaux's next adversary a chance.

That Musketeer is the suddenly-not-so-busy Claude de Nord, who rolls up with his second, "Tiny" Thierry Toothpick. Nord wields a cavalry sabre and is much more skilled than Reignaux, whose injuries definitely put him at a disadvantage. The man with the rapier lunges; the man with the sabre slashes; and, after two hits each, it's Reignaux who concedes defeat. Toothpick is pleased this hasn't taken long. "We've a trial to get to and Pierre Cardigan to execute!"

And finally, we have the beefy Camille de Polignac versus the even beefier Terence Cuckpowder. Bernard de Lur-Saluces seconds Polignac and Zavier Ulric Turenne is with Cuckpowder. Cuckpowder's superior expertise shows in the disdainful way he parries Polignac's rapier lunge with his sabre. He rides out the cut and clobbers his opponent with a slash and a cut that leave him in urgent need of medical attention. That didn't take long either.

The greatest show

Once everybody's been bandaged up (and leeches applied), it's time for court to convene. Cue spectators packing in for the latest show. Lt-Col Michael Chevalier-Cavalier of the Dragoon Guards is the man on trial, charged with treason by the Commissioner of Public Safety, Claude de Nord (also commander of the King's Musketeers). The Minister of State, Beau Reese Jean Seine sits in judgement.

Before the trial: a pouch of coins is handed from one anonymous figure to anotherJust before things get started, there is a blast of trumpets outside the door. In marches a group of short people in bright orange uniforms. "Make way," they shout, "Make way for the Deputy Commissioner" and Thierry Toothpick is carried into the court by two rather tall fellows in the same tangerine get-up. Unfortunately, as he comes in, his head hits the door frame and he unceremoniously tumbles to the floor, his feathered hat falls off and he drops his 'official' Deputy's baton. Much scrambling and confusion arises amongst the Tangerines as they mill around and struggle to sort their boss out and hoist him back upon the shoulders of his tall bearers.

    "The Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety, Captain Toothpick", announces one of the Tangerines, "A seat for the Deputy!" Toothpick is hurried to a seat next to CPS Nord where a fuss is made to find a collection of cushions so that he can see over the table properly. "Is it my turn to speak yet?" He keeps asking. "When is it my go to give the evidence? It's all written down, you know. Tell Minister Seine I'm very meticulous at keeping notes, very suitable to be actual Commissioner he should know!"

Ignoring this distraction, CPS Nord opens proceedings, "My Lords," he intones. "Chevalier-Cavalier has been charged with Treason, slander and libel. We are here today to consider a grave matter that cannot be allowed to fester any longer. Indeed, whilst to some it might be considered trivial, the falsehoods and lies spread by Cavalier do in fact attack the very foundations of our society. They eat away at the soul of this country and insult our government, King and God. Even whilst we are at war he continues to seek to destroy the confidence of the people of France in the government and crown.

    "On several occasions, and I will not bore the court with further details as I am sure you are aware of what has been said, Chevalier-Cavalier has spoken and repeatedly published in the Paris press unfounded claims of some preposterous conspiracy by a secret organisation called the Dominion. In particular, Count Ben e'Volence, the War Minister. These accusations are abhorrent at any time but when we are at the front defending our country? Extensive enquiries have found no evidence and I expect he will say that is because I am involved. Today will be the last time he will slander me, indeed he will no doubt repeat some of these scandalous lies if allowed to do so today.

    "My first witness is Frank X Change who will recount his observations of the common people and how they have been affected by these lies."

The second in command of the King's Musketeers strides to the witness stand with a large bundle of documents. "With your leave, your honour," he begins , "I would like to say that the current commander of the Dragoon Guards is a fine upstanding fellow who can be trusted to faithfully and loyally command his regiment; that M. Chevalier-Cavalier, is faithful and loyal to His Majesty, to France and to God, and that at worst he is a confused and misinformed chap." He pauses and turns to the next page as a confused hush descends.

    "Sadly, I cannot say any of that," he adds. In the hubbub from the public benches the voice of Justin Thyme can clearly be heard: "yes, I always knew there was something wrong with him. His eyes were too close, sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself, are too close together."

Letting the crowd quieten down, Change continues, "Over the last few months, I heard of communications from the scoundrel. In April I first heard that he was spreading rumours about 'dominion', a word which means control. As His Majesty appoints his most senior Ministers and they act on his behalf, the dominion referred to is the rightful King and Government of France. And any attempt to undermine the Government is treason.

    "The following reflects what is being discussed in Paris - I can confirm that I spent a whole afternoon frequenting the inns and gathering statements. In May the accused was seen at the Front handing letters to Paris to his groom. It seems one was the letter addressed to then Field Marshal Gain which was found pinned to a postern outside a Parisian brothel. At the time, it appeared an attempt to smear Count de Gain, but it now looks like a failed effort to recruit the faithful Count into a conspiracy. Indeed, I would not be surprised if the letter was posted by him to make public the criminal acts of Chevalier-Cavalier.

    "Clearly the accused was not aware that he was already exposed. On his return to Paris in August, he again wrote to Count de Gain and again his missive was made public. By now word on the streets was that Chevalier-Cavalier was either the world's worst conspirator, or that for some reason he was seeking to discredit Count de Gain and His Majesty's Government.

    "As part of my evidence gathering, I checked up on the owners of Dominos outfitters and Dom 'n' Ian Carriages, who publicised their businesses over the summer. I can confirm that these are both legitimate and long-established family businesses. The proprietors of both were aware of the many rumours of Chevalier-Cavalier and his dominion letters. They posted their advertisements to boost trade in a quiet summer. I do not believe that they are implicated in this dominion conspiracy. Indeed, the owners of Dom 'n' Ian are concerned that this trial should make it clear that they are nothing to do with dominion.

    "Amongst members of the Army I met in the inns there are many who expressed concern at how Chevalier-Cavalier came to be commander of the Dragoon Guards. Within two months of him joining the Dragoon Guards, the Colonel, Sir Philippe F'Loppe, disappeared at the Front in mysterious circumstances. The soldiers say that the only persons gaining from the loss of Sir Philippe were the enemies of France and Michael Chevalier-Cavalier. There is concern among the ranks that this has not been properly investigated. This has resulted in consternation among the residents of Paris worried that such a man is in command of a Regiment based in the city and near the King and Ministers.

    "Your honour, I have here a bundle of sworn statements made by the those I met which back up the evidence I have given." And he passes most of his documents to the clerk for Minister Seine. As he leaves the stand, CPS Nord calls his second witness, "Tiny" Thierry Toothpick. A stool is quickly brought for Toothpick to stand on and be visible over the sides.

    "Your Grace, Monsieur Minister, Count Seine and Commissioner de Nord," says Toothpick with a little bow at each title. "I'm delighted to be here today to give evidence against this absolute psychopathic villain Pierre Cardigan. The fact that the rogue has been able to remain at liberty for so long after he heinously murdered past Commissioner Sheikh Yadik Al-Abowt, is a total travesty, indeed if I..." At this point, he suddenly stops and takes a long, hard stare at the prisoner "What?" he exclaims. "Just one goddamn moment here..." And rushes across to the Dock to stab his Deputy's baton into the ribs of the accused.

    "THIS IS NOT CARDIGAN," he screams. "Who the hell is this? I can see the squinty eyes and the rat-faced features, yes, they're the same, but this is most definitely not Cardigan! You blundering fool, de Nord, you've arrested the wrong man!!"

    "Your Grace," he continues, turning to MoS Count Seine, "I've been duped, we've all been duped, today's trial was supposed to be for that notorious murderer and threat to France, Pierre Cardigan and yet we have this fellow instead. Who is he? Some two-bit rent-boy, by the look of him... What did he do, run off with his client's money before servicing him? You see, Your Grace, this is what happens when a buffoon like Nord is entrusted with the nation's security, he can barely button his own tunic and is clearly not up to the task of actual Commissioner." The diminutive Deputy flounces back to his seat next to CPS de Nord and a brief, hushed discussion takes place with various papers produced and shuffled and several pats upon the head delivered to his Deputy by the Commissioner before the two men finally shake hands and Toothpick turns back to face Minister of State Count Seine.

"Guilty, guilty, guilty!" cries the prosecutor, pounding his fist on the bench    "Your Grace," he says again, "I apologise. It appears I was under some misunderstanding that today's trial was that of Count Cardigan and not whoever this person is. However, I'm reassured that I'll not have to wait long for that, so I'm happy to resume giving my evidence on behalf of the Prosecution." He stands on his chair to declaim, "Clearly whoever this is in the dock today, this simpering sodomite is 100% guilty of whatever crime he stands accused of, especially if it's stealing a client's money without delivering the goods - that is a most serious offence. Our judicial system is second to none and anyone who finds themselves up in Court must be a total rogue, otherwise we wouldn't have arrested him".

Then, looking directly at the accused, he cries out, "GUILTY, you are guilty, Sir, with or without a name. There can only be the ultimate penalty for the crime or crimes, it matters not how many, that you've committed". He turns back to address the Minister, his tiny face flushed red, stamps his feet and jumps up and down a few times. "DEATH, Your Grace, it has to be death and being your most loyal servant, I can do it for you - me and my lads here. Hand the rascal over to me once you've sentenced him and we'll do the rest." With that he sits back down again and awaits the verdict.

As Minister Seine hides his head in his hands, Nord calls his third witness: Dr. Antoine Faquin. A portly gentleman trudges forward and introduced himself. "My name is Dr Antoine Faquin and I am the personal physician to the King. I studied at the conservatoire of medicine in Paris and my areas of expertise are in the fields of neuro deficiencies and phycological anomalies. I am also an expert witness in the following ailments: rheumatism, gout, intestinal infections and fistula. I can assure the court His Majesty is in rude health and I concern myself with his staff and advisors.

    "I have been asked to study the letters and behaviours of Chevalier-Cavalier. First, his written words display tendencies of paranoia and delirious hysteria, normally observed in young girls and the criminally insane. Secondly, his ramblings could have a detrimental effect on the common man of Paris. The feeble minded being vulnerable to such nonsense. Thirdly, he appears to be a man on a downward spiral and may grow more desperate with passing of time.

    "Is there a remedy for this sickness? Not really, but if he cannot control himself I would recommend one of the three options: Incarceration in an asylum; Banishment from France; or Execution."

And that, apparently, is the whole of Nord's case. Michael Chevalier-Cavalier is thus called on to speak in his defence, but instead summons Special Investigator Jacques Smith who was hired by the Chevalier-Cavalier family to investigate the charges.

    "My Lord, these are TRUMPED up charges against my client," he asserts. "In fact, as I will explain, the real threat to France and the true traitors are those very people who are trusted to keep out streets safe and Le Roi protected.

    "This started last year with my client's cousin Kit C-C stumbling across some papers in the effects of his late schoolfriend Petit Garçon-Riche. It pointed to the DOMINION, a cartel of evildoers who wish to overthrow the Monarchy and establish a REPUBLIC - ridiculous I know, as if this would ever happen! Kit went to the front to obtain evidence, but he was silenced. However, not before he told my client that one of the conspirators was none other than our CPS and commander of the very regiment who are responsible for keeping Le Roi and our streets safe. His code name was The NORSEMAN (ON) - du Nord - a man of little military skill and poor social skills. His fate was sealed when he recruited my Client into the King's Musketeers and let slip minor details of the plot. My Client immediately left the King's Musketeers and went to the front to get evidence.

    "The next member of the evil trio goes by the Codename MINI and is none other than the Deputy CPS - a man who SLIPS UNDER the radar but has infiltrated Paris with a number of Diminutive Dutchmen (aka the Tangerine Team). They are the gophers.

    "This just leaves the puppet-master behind the whole plot, the DOGE (DO) and this is none other than our Minister of War. I will not detail the recent scandal in which his MAKE AQUITAINE GREAT AGAIN (MAGA) movement used public money to DRAIN THE SWAMP in his lands using illegal immigrants (cheap Spanish labour) instead of the French artisans that he billed the Exchequer for. Luckily, he has been forced to pay back this money leaving him in a POOR state, financially and mentally, with a number of lawsuits pending.

"My client's cousin Kit died for the evidence I now bring to court," he concludes and beckons to the door. A large crate is wheeled in - the sulphurous smell is atrocious, leaving the Ladies and Gentlemen in the gallery reaching for the perfumed handkerchiefs and pot pourri bouquets; some faint and need reviving. The lid is thrown back to reveal a mass of scorched and melted hard cheese, streaked with black powder.

    "My Lord," resumes Smith "this was recovered from the southern battlefields, where Nord has been perfecting a bomb - a round of Dutch edam stuffed with Gunpowder. The DOMINION plan to serve these "loaded cheeses" at the next Royal Cheese and Wine Party to blow the Royal Line into oblivion. The sudden disappearance of the master cheesemaker van Goudameer is not a coincidence. Who better to doctor the Edam Rounds triumphantly brought back by Nord as Booty fit for a King than a master cheesemaker? Though we know not whether through bribery or under duress."

Smith draws himself up to make his conclusion, "My Lord, I call on you to throw out these TRUMPED up and false accusations against my Client and immediately arrest the true traitors who threaten the Realm, who I publicly name as
    The DOge - Ben e'Volence
    MINI - Tiny Thierry Toothpick

During this speech, Count Ben e'Volence remains a figure of composure and subtle amusement, despite being the target of some of the most fantastical claims. The unveiling of the crate elicits from The Minister of War not fear, but a soft chuckle and a shake of his head in disbelief at the theatricality before him. He interrupts proceedings, his voice cutting through the murmured speculation, silencing the chamber with its commanding presence. "My Lords," e'Volence begins, his tone laced with authority yet underscored by an unshakable calm. "It appears we've been led astray from the true essence of this trial. Let us not be mistaken, I am not the subject under scrutiny here today."

His sharp gaze sweeps the room, challenging and direct. "To resort to such desperate measures, to fling accusations as one might fling mud, speaks more of the accuser than the accused. It is the tactic of a desperate man, a craven dog," he declares, his words heavy with censure, casting a pall over the allegations and those who presented them.

Allowing a brief pause for reflection, e'Volence continues, his voice now imbued with a colder timbre. "I wish to remind the court of my service and devotion to the King - marked by 27 Mentions in Dispatches, three battlefield titles for valour and a substantial contribution of 10,000 crowns to our kingdom's coffers. These are not the deeds of a traitor, but the honours of a true servant to our crown."

With a light, ironical smile, he addresses the more ludicrous claims. "As to the absurdity of presenting Dutch cheese to the King of France," e'Volence adds, a twinkle of mockery in his eyes, "What folly. What expertise could the Dutch possibly possess in cheese-making that would interest us, when their offerings are deemed by even the lice on Chevalier-Cavalier's body to be so inferior that they're fit only for the cesspit?"

With that, Count Ben e'Volence resumes his seat, his statements resonating like a clarion call throughout the courtroom before fading to silence. Like the man himself.

After the trial: a pouch of coins is handed from one anonymous figure to anotherMinister Seine follows up: "There appears to be some confusion, Monsieur Chevalier-Cavalier, you are the defendant here not the prosecution. In any case it is normal practice for the defendant to be given a week's privacy in the cells to prepare their defence. The Minister of War has not been charged with anything and as such has had no time to defend against your accusations. Perhaps we can return to the actual charges from the Commissioner of Public Safety? I believe that is the normal procedure."

The only other witness is Louis Severin Descartes, called as a character witness for Chevalier-Cavalier. However, he seems not to have much opinion of the accused. After some waffle about service, nobility and being "ver' ver' drunk", he concludes, "at last, I hardly know him, but it seems unfathomable to me that an officer of the Dragoons would be an enemy of the crown - I am sure there is an enormous misunderstanding here!"

The Minister of State lifts his head. "Is it all over?" he enquires. On being reminded that he still needs to deliver the verdict, he states "Guilty - fined 1,000 crowns!" (Completely coincidentally, this is the same amount that was donated to Chevalier-Cavalier earlier.) As Seine stumbles, dazed by all he has heard, back to his chambers, Justin Thyme can be heard shouting "more, more, that's not enough, check his boots for coin!"

A few recruits

The theatre of the trial out of the way, it's time for the serious business of the month. Newly arrived in Paris, Gaston de Boum doesn't know what all the fuss is about and makes his way to the Gascons' HQ to join the regiment. He is, of course, accepted and looks to buy himself the rank of Major and take command. Sadly, despite his borrowing, he hasn't budgeted for the cost of this (it's those horses) and has to settle for being the most junior of the regiment's Captains.

Jon Dichateme signs up for the Fourth Arquebusiers, courtesy of the regiment's commander, Jean d'Aubergine. He takes the rank of Subaltern.

Things are not straightforward for Thibault Pinot-Noir. First, CO Justin "Join the QOCs" Thyme turns down his application for the Queen's Own Carabiniers. Then he is rejected by Archduke Leopold's Cuirassiers. However, Ben e'Volence is only too happy to welcome him to the Crown Prince Cuirassiers with a golden handshake that's measured in hundreds of crowns. Pinot-Noir becomes a Captain of the Cuirassiers.

Hugh Jeneaux is another man new to Paris, yet he already has influence. This assists him in signing up with Archduke Leopold's boys where his large loan lets him buy the rank of Major (and second in command).

Party, party, party (reprise)

October in Paris seems to be rather similar to September in that, should they have the standing/connections, socialites can spend most of their month partying - first with Beau Reese Jean Seine, then Louis Renault and finally Ben e'Volence - before having a week to themselves.

However, let's see what everybody else is up to in week one. Starting four weeks' practice in the gyms are Bernard de Lur-Saluces with his daggers and Jacques de Gain with his rapier. Now he's a cavalryman, Thibault Pinot-Noir gets to improve his sabre skill for free and does so for three weeks. Ben e'Volence, Beau Nidle and Elroi le Flingue all practise sabre with a second week of this to come.

Frequenting the Bawdyhouses is Armand Alsace. While Subalterns Jon Dichateme and Thierry Boule (recently elevated from trooper) attend to their duties in their respective regiments.

Going courting are Jean d'Aubergine (who's clearly flush as he's just repaid his loans and bought the rank of Colonel), Louis Severin Descartes, Percival Puffington (newly a Captain) and Zeold von Tu - we may find out who was successful later in the month. So, too, are Gaston de Boum, Hugh Jeneaux and Ian Dediette. But they all turn up on the same doorstep and none of them will stand down - duels required.

Spending a quiet week in their clubs are new Lt-Col Stephane Etrange and Thomasina Tancenjin in the Frog & Peach. In Hunter's are Neville Moore and Vera Cruz and Thomas de la Lune and Katy Did. While Jean Jeanie and Jacky Tinne and Pierre Cardigan and Justine Caisse are staying out of the way of the party in the Fleur. Until Pierre is accosted...

This party is hosted by the Minister of State and commander of the Royal Foot Guards, Beau Reese Jean Seine - with Chris Pacquette at his side. It's open to all Ministers and soldiers, which encompasses most Parisian socialites. But not Hugo Furst. He has no military standing and certainly is no Minister, so is relegated to kicking his heels in the foyer.

The guest list starts with Alvin Charles. Next is Botte Le Chimiste, pondering who might have sent him an anonymous message. Come Asiouar follows. Claude de Nord brings Madelaine de Proust. Camille de Polignac escorts Morgane Le Fay to the gaming tables. Wagering 600 crowns a time, he places five bets. He wins the first, but loses the second, then wins again. He cuts the fourth when he sees the house's roll and loses the last to end up out of pocket. The other guests admire his style, though.

Members of enemy regiments exchange insultsPartygoers are still arriving. Felipe Savant is accompanied by Pet Ulante. Frank X Change has Frances Forrin on his arm. Grenville d'Arkrite follows. Bette Noire is with Greg de Bécqueur. Henri DuShite is on his own. As is Hector William Boone. Jacques Hatt brings Cath de Thousands. Justin Thyme escorts Guinevere d'Arthur. Louis Joseph Reignaux is next. As second in command of the Cardinal's Guard (having bought the rank of Lt-Colonel) he is pounced on by the two King's Musketeers in attendance: Claude de Nord and Frank X Change. This one will run and run. Louis Renault accompanies Maggie Nifisent. Martin Chevalier-Cavalier comes alone and quickly has the attention of QOCs Come Asiouar and Justin Thyme. Arms investor Martin de Garnache's plus-one is Fifi. Rick Shaw brings Therèse Le Vert. Terence Cuckpowder is alone. "Tiny" Thierry Toothpick and Sue Briquet are together. Yve Stanbul escorts Sheila Kiwi and joins Come and Justin in exchanging insults with Michael. Zavier Ulric Turenne brings Laura de Land.

Highlight of the party, though, is CPS Claude leaving the event to get Pierre Cardigan's attention. By serving a warrant on him - much to the delight of "Tiny" Thierry.

Louis's lunch

Thus the second week of October sees Count Cardigan languishing in the Bastille (and Justine languishing at home). Cardigan's usual haunt - the Fleur - is occupied only be Henri DuShite and Camille de Polignac and Morgane. Camille is, of course, at the gaming tables where he places his customary five 600-crown bets. His luck seems to be following the same pattern as last week when he loses his first wager and cuts the second. However, he then wins three in a row to finish well ahead in cash and kudos.

The Frog & Peach sees Stephane Etrange and Thomasina settling in. Jean d'Aubergine arrives at his new club with Frea de Ath on his arm - yes, he was one of last week's courting successes. Another one is Percival Puffington, who can now be found in Red Phillips showing Viv Ayschus a good time. Talking of courting, this week's winners are Hugh Jeneaux (a tactical change of target here), Thierry Boule (stepping in where others have failed) and Terence Cuckpowder. Louis Severin Descartes is the sole loser, but is not going to let that put him off.

After missing out last week, Ian Dediette takes his needs to the Bawdyhouses. He looks a likely mark to the footpads, but has made sure to spend all his cash. Beau Nidle is the second visitor to the red light district in his brand new Major's uniform.

Weapons practice continues and is joined by Beau Reese Jean Seine, Jon Dichateme, Neville Moore and Zavier Ulric Turenne, all of whom forsake further parties to spend three weeks with their rapiers. Jacques Hatt, Jean Jeanie and Thomas de la Lune forego Louis Renault's bash to get their first week (of two) with their blades - rapier for Jean and Thomas, sabre for Jacques. And Zeold von Tu spends one week with his rapier.

A Musketeer raises a glass in toastWhich leaves us with Louis Renault's memorial dinner for the fallen. Louis and Maggie's guests start with Armand Alsace. Then Alvin Charles. Botte Le Chimiste is third. Come Asiouar is the fourth unaccompanied male, but Claude de Nord breaks the pattern by bringing Madelaine. Elroi le Flingue has Violet on his arm. Felipe Savant escorts Pet. Frank X change accompanies Frances. Grenville d'Arkrite is a loner. Greg de Bécqueur is with Bette. Gaston de Boum has no companion. Neither does Hugo Furst. Nor Hector William Boone. Justin Thyme brings Guinevere. Louis Joseph Reignaux gets the challenges going - again swapping insults with the two Musketeers. The arrival of Michael Chevalier-Cavalier provokes another round of shouting between him and the QOC three (once Yve arrives). In comparison. Martin de Garnache and Fifi are quiet and retiring. Rick Shaw brings Therèse. Thierry Toothpick has Sue on his arm and several orange-clad minions in tow. Yve Stanbul and Sheila are last on the list.

Ben's bash

The third week sees the biggest event of the month when Ben e'Volence holds his bash at the Fleur. But first, what are those not attending up to? Well, Armand Alsace joins the gym crowd to practise rapier lunges for two weeks. And Terence Cuckpowder pops into his local gym for this month's work-out with his sabre.

Louis Joseph Reignaux hits the bawdyhouses. Louis Severin Descartes continues his unsuccessful courting. And Gaston de Boum lucks out on his second courtship.

Over at Red Phillips, Percival Puffington and Viv are in residence again. Ian Dediette pops in this week to check it over. Stephane Etrange and Thomasina return to the Frog & Peach again. "Tiny" Thierry Toothpick and Sue are in Hunter's, checking out Thierry's new club. And Zeold von Tu goes gambling at Bothwell's. He places four 500-crown wagers and comes out even after losing two and winning two. This earns him a little status amongst the gambling crowd.

To the main event, then. Ben is paying for the drinks, but not indulging himself, and has not brought his mistress. Everyone is welcome with the sole exception of the 53rd Fusiliers - presumably why Armand Alsace isn't there, but what's everybody else's excuse? Perhaps they were put off by Michael Chevalier-Cavalier parading outside with a mob of urchins and large placard advising attendees "Don't Touch the Cheese". Anyway, despite the possible fee for attending, the guest list is lengthy. It kicks off with Alvin Charles. Botte Le Chimiste is next. Then Beau Nidle. Come Asiouar follows. Camille de Polignac brings Morgane and his dice. To much acclaim he wins all five of his bets this week, going home with a substantial pile of cash.

Elroi le Flingue brings Violet and joins Alvin and Botte as he's the third member of Grand Duke Max's Dragoons in attendance. Felipe Savant escorts Pet. Frank X Change has Frances on his arm. Grenville d'Arkrite makes it four GDMD officers. Greg de Bécqueur has Bette on his arm. Henri DuShite is alone. As is Hugo Furst. Hugh Jeneaux arrives on his own, but is quickly surrounded by all of Grand Duke Max's men as he's in Archduke Leopold's Cuirassiers. Challenges are exchanged.

Hector William Boone is another man without an escort. Jean d'Aubergine accompanies Freda. Jacques Hatt has Cath with him. Justin Thyme brings Guinevere and insists that he pay his host 100 crowns - anything less would be an "insult"! Jean Jeanie is with Jacky. Louis Renault has Maggie on his arm. Martin de Garnache escorts Fifi. It's Therèse who's with Rick Shaw. Thierry Boule shows off his conquest, Belle Epoque. Thomas de la Lune accompanies Katy. Thibault Pinot-Noir brings Angelina di Griz. Sheila accompanies Yve Stanbul once more and their drinks are paid for by Yve's boss, Louis Renault.

Other members in the Fleur are Claude de Nord, escorting Madelaine, and jailbird Pierre Cardigan with Justine.

Every man for himself!

A hand rolls dice towards youWith no parties at the end of the month, socialites visit their own clubs, deal with their regimental duties or get in a week's sword practice. The Fleur sees Claude de Nord and Madelaine, Camille de Polignac and Morgane, Greg de Bécqueur and Bette and Pierre Cardigan and Justine. Plus Terence Cuckpowder, who rolls up with Kathy Pacific on his arm - bad luck, Jon Dichateme. First for losing your lady and second for having to fight a duel with Terence! Camille does his usual gambling thing, but with less success this time. Even losing two bets and cutting three, he still only loses two-thirds of what he made last week. Jean d'Aubergine is hanging around the club's entrance. He's hoping Ben e'Volence will let him Toady for a second time, but Ben isn't in.

Bothwell's gets a visit from Martin de Garnache and Fifi. Hunter's sees Thierry Toothpick and Sue again. Yve Stanbul and Sheila adjourn to Blue Gables. Stephane Etrange and Thomasina complete their month in the Frog & Peach. While Red Phillips is almost busy. Ian Dediette is there again. So are Percival Puffington and Viv. And Thierry Boule arrives with Belle.

Swelling numbers at the gyms are Frank X Change and his rapier, Hugh Jeneaux, who badly needs some practice with his sabre, Justin Thyme with his sabre, rapier-carrying Louis Joseph Reignaux, Louis Renault and his rapier and Rick Shaw plus sabre. The Bawdyhouses see outings from Alvin Charles, Botte Le Chimiste, Come Asiouar, Grenville d'Arkrite, Henri DuShite, Hugo Furst, Hector William Boone and Michael Chevalier-Cavalier.

In the courting stakes, Louis Severin Descartes's perseverance pays off as he finally wins the heart he's been after all month. Felipe Savant doesn't as his intended is out with her beau. And Zeold von Tu is at home with his lady. Gaston de Boum has to call off his courting as he's run out of cash. Oops!

And Ben e'Volence is at the Louvre, where His Majesty has requested his services as Deputy Keeper of the Secondary Royal Footstool. Or some such. It certainly doesn't involve any face time with the King.

In other news, Gaz Moutarde departs Paris on a "slow boat to the Orient". Where he will seek fresh adventures.


Meanwhile, the Frontier regiments are assaulting a Dutch fortress and making heavy weather of it. Brigadier-General Balzac Slapdash is assigned to number 3 regiment which is decimated by volleys of grapeshot. When it turns out that Slapdash was never in range of the guns, he is immediately cashiered and will have to serve as a Private next month.