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قراءة كتاب Won By the Sword : a tale of the Thirty Years' War

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‏اللغة: English
Won By the Sword : a tale of the Thirty Years' War

Won By the Sword : a tale of the Thirty Years' War

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 4

boy off, so that they may not think that he stayed away on his own account. We will see him fitted out. It is a matter that touches the honour of the regiment that the son of our old comrade should make a fair show in the household of the viscount."

"The general has left me a purse for that purpose, colonel."

"It was a kindly thought, but let the lad start with it in his pocket. It is our duty to see that he has everything befitting his father's son."

As soon as the sergeant left, the colonel said, "Now, Campbell, do you go into the anteroom. I shall be ready to go out with you in half an hour."

Orderlies were then despatched to the various officers' lodgings, and in a few minutes they assembled. The colonel told them what had happened, and said that in his opinion it concerned the honour of the regiment to see that their comrade's son was properly equipped.

All those who had known Captain Campbell were greatly pleased with the news, and there was not a dissenting voice when the colonel proposed that there should be a general subscription of two days' pay. He himself, however, and Captain Campbell's friends, gave a much larger amount, and the total was amply sufficient for the equipment of a young man of good family joining the army. Hector was then called in and informed of what had taken place, and heartily congratulated by the officers. He was greatly affected by their kindness and the proof of the estimation in which his father had been held.

"We had always intended to do this," the colonel said, "when the time came for your entering the army, for we felt that it would indeed be a discredit to the regiment were you to go into the world without the equipment that a Scottish gentleman should have. Now, Captain Mackenzie and Captain Home, I will ask you to act as furnishers. You know what is required for a young officer on the staff of a general like Viscount Turenne, who would be called upon to accompany him to court, and must do him no discredit; besides which, he must of course have clothes for a campaign. He will not need arms, for I have kept for him his father's sword and pistols. See that the tailors undertake to get his clothes ready quickly, for he is to accompany Turenne to Italy in four or five days. One suit at least must be finished in two days, for on the third he is to wait upon Turenne, who is staying at the hotel of the Duc de Bouillon, and he may possibly be presented to the cardinal."

The dress of a French gentleman in the reign of Louis XIII differed but slightly from that worn at the same time by the cavaliers of Charles I. It consisted of a loose cloak of cloth, silk, satin, or velvet, according to the occasion and the wealth of the wearer. It generally hung loosely on the shoulders, but two or three of the top buttons were sometimes fastened; the sleeves were loose and open from the elbow. Sometimes the cloak was richly embroidered. Over it fell a collar of rich lace, with Vandyke border. Beneath it was worn a short tightly fitted doublet embroidered in front, with puffed sleeves, and with a belt or sash round the waist. The breeches were very full, reaching to the knee. For walking or riding, loose high boots turned down at the top and trimmed with lace or frillings joined the breeches; while in court dress, silk stockings and shoes with rosettes were worn. The swords hung from a richly embroidered baldrick going over the right shoulder.

Officers of the different regiments were distinguished by the colour of their sashes, which was the only point of regimental uniformity. When on a campaign doublets were usually worn of thick buff leather; armour was still used, but was far less cumbrous than it had been, consisting for the most part solely of shoulder pieces and cuirass, with plates covering the upper part of the arm, thick buff leather gauntlets being considered sufficient protection below the elbow. Four suits were ordered for Hector: one for court, another for general use when in Paris or other large towns, the third for travelling and when in attendance with the general, the fourth for actual service in the field.

Almost as expensive as the suits were the shirts, with their deep lace collars and ruffle; while for service in the field half a dozen plain shirts were purchased. The headdress on ordinary occasions was a broad beaver hat with plumes, and in the field a close fitting helmet with cheek pieces. Visors had been almost entirely given up. On the third day Hector presented himself at the appointed hour at the hotel of the Duc de Bouillon. He was dressed in the second best of his costumes, and wore for the first time his father's sword. In the hall were numbers of soldiers and lackeys. One of the latter came up to him.

"I am here to see the Viscount Turenne by appointment," he said.

The lackey led the way to a large chamber, where several officers and gentlemen were waiting. Here Hector gave his name to a chamberlain, who took it into another apartment. He waited for half an hour, and observed that while the officers, one by one, were taken into the room where the lackey had carried his name, the nobles and gentlemen, who were much more numerous, were shown into another, which was evidently the principal reception room. He guessed at once that it was here that the Duc de Bouillon was receiving visitors, while his brother was engaged in giving interviews to officers, who perhaps desired appointments in his army, or in arranging details of stores, arms, and ammunition required for its use. At last his turn came; and on his name being called, he followed the usher into a small apartment, where Turenne was sitting at a table covered with letters. The general looked at him critically.

"You make a very good figure," he said, "and better, I can tell you, than I did at your age, for I was but weakly, while you are well grown and strong. Among your other exercises you have not neglected the use of your sword. I could tell that as soon as my eyes fell upon you."

"No, general, I have practised for two or three hours a day since I was ten years old, and I think that almost every soldier in the regiment has been my instructor in turn, and the maitre-d'armes of the regiment himself gave me lessons twice a week."

"I have managed your business for you," the viscount said. "I saw the cardinal yesterday and asked for a commission for you. He simply asked for what regiment, and I said that at present I intended to keep you about my own person, as I thought you would make a good officer and would some day do me credit. He was busy at the time, so he simply signed an appointment as a lieutenant and gave it to me to fill in your name. I asked if I should bring you to his levee tomorrow, but he said, 'There is no occasion, viscount, we have both plenty on our hands; neither you nor I can waste time on young lieutenants. You can present him to me when you return from the war.' You know the cardinal by sight, I suppose?"

"Yes, general, I have seen him many times."

"He is a great man," Turenne said thoughtfully, rather as if speaking to himself than to Hector; "the greatest that France has ever known—he is the soul of France. It is well, indeed, that we have at present a king who recognizes how great a man he is, and is wise enough to know that although he himself is somewhat overshadowed, France is made greater and stronger and his own reign more glorious by his genius." Then he broke off with a smile. "I was talking to myself rather than to you. I shall ride to St. Denis at two o'clock today; be here at that time. I will order the horse, that I have purchased for you, to be brought round here."

Hector was about to express his gratitude, but the general at once stopped him. "I need no thanks," he said. "I perceived in the ardour with which you have studied military matters that you would make a good officer, and you remind me of my own boyhood. I always like to help forward officers who I see ready, not only to do their actual business but to go beyond it, in order to acquire knowledge, and I doubt not that I