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Milady - Richelieu's evil agent!

 

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 CYRANO DE BERGERAC (poet, swordsman, musician)

MILADY (The Real Evil Agent of the Cardinal from the pages of History)

GATIEN DE COURTILZ DE SANDRAS (Author of the Memoirs of D'Artagnan)

RALPH NEVILL (English Translator of the Memoirs of D'Artagnan)

ACTUAL MUSKETEER LETTERS (A rare look into the Musketeer past)

DONAREE THE MUSKETEER (New Musketeer Novel by Ted Anthony Roberts)

MUSKETEER STORIES (Started novels by Ted Anthony Roberts)

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (His views on Le Vicomte de Bragelonne)

 

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~ The Countess Carlisle: Milady ~

 

 

D'ARTAGNAN AND MILADY

BY LLOYD SANDERS

From: The Living Age

 

The sources whence the great Alexandre Dumas drew the immortal series of novels, Les Trois Mousquetaires [The Three Musketeers], Vingt Arts Apres [Twenty Years After], and Le Vicomte de Bragelonne [Ten Years Later, Louise de La Valliere, and The Man in the Iron Mask], are not to be approached in a spirit of detraction. Historical romance depends, after all, on history, and the degree of indebtedness becomes a small matter when compared with the merit of treatment. Dumas may have rifled his authorities with a rapacious hand; he may have set the laws of time and space at defiance in dealing with the downfall of Charles I, and have converted Conde into a Court functionary of Louis XIV when he was actually in the service of Spain. But he invariably manufactured a fine fabric out of his homespun materials. What is more, Dumas' historical personages are essentially conceived in the spirit of historical justice. His Louis XIII and Richelieu come much nearer reality than the corresponding figures in Alfred de Vigny's Cinq Mars; he gives us the real Anne of Austria, more or less of the real Mazarin, and certainly the real Louis XIV of the golden prime. He was fortunate in having to help him a collaborator of genuine learning in Auguste Maquet; and when the dramatic version of Les Mousquetaires was produced, the unexpected announcement of Maquet as part-author was no more than an act of proper gratitude. Still the vitalizing force in the whole achievement was Dumas' own.

For the backbone of Les Trois Mousquetaires, Dumas, or Maquet as his assistant, took the so-called Memoires de Monsieur d'Artagnan.* Their author, Courtilz de Sandras, was an old hand at the literary vamp. Thus we have from him, Memoires de M. de B., secretaire de M. de C. de R. [Monsieur de Count of Rochefort]; initials defying identification, but suggesting all sorts of mysteries. His [Courtilz’s] Life of Turenne purports to have been written by Du Buisson, captain of the regiment of Verdelin, a creature entirely of Courtilz's imagination. But his favorite trick was to take a person recently dead, and to envelop him in adventures, authentic if possible, and when that source ran dry, in escapades characteristic of his times. By way of background to his hero, he interpolated chapters on public events, written in a gossiping, anecdotal manner, and showing a surprising familiarity with the utterances of kings and ministers, even when delivered in the closest secrecy. In this style Courtilz perpetuated some memoirs of Richelieu and Mazarin by M. le C. de R., obviously the Coritte de Rochefort, who, next to Father- Joseph, was the elder Cardinal's best known familiar, and who figures of course in Les Trois Mousquetaires. His masterpiece in artifice, if not in audacity, was the Memoires de Monsieur d’Artagnan, which appeared in 1702, twenty-nine years after their alleged author had fallen at Maestricht.

* An English translation of these Memoirs by Mr. Ralph Nevill was published in 1898-99.

The real d'Artagnan was, as Browning would have said, a person of some importance in his day. He was Charles de Batz-Castelmore, son of Bertrand de Batz, seigneur of Castelmore, and of Francoise de Montesquiou. His father belonged to the smaller and invariably indigent nobility of Gascony; and his mother being of higher lineage, he assumed the territorial surname of d'Artagnan, which distinguished the younger branch of her house. 'They say of me,' Courtilz makes him remark, 'that I am not a d'Artagnan, except on the female side, and that I am really a Castelmore.' An elder brother, who kept to the name of Castelmore, died in 1712, Governor of Navarreins, and if Saint-Simon is to be believed, over a hundred years old. Contemporary writers naturally do not concern themselves with d'Artagnan's beginnings, but there is no reason for discrediting the statement of Courtilz that he entered the Musqueteers through the influence of their captain, de Treville, a fellow Gascon. Whatever his fortunes under Louis XIII and Richelieu, or Riphelieu and Louis XIII, may have been, he was well regarded by Mazarin during the Regency of Anne of Austria. Mme. de Motteville unceremoniously terms him 'one of the Cardinal's creatures'; and though Courtilz probably embroiders his facts, Mazarin seems to have sent d'Artagnan on secret missions, and, as was his wont, to have been mightily chary in rewarding him either with promotion or money.

'He caused himself to be well regarded both in war and at Court,' says Saint-Simon, 'where he became so highly esteemed by the King that would in all likelihood have made a considerable fortune had he not been killed before Maestricht in 1673. . . . This captain of Musketeers made the name of d'Artagnan to be known; the King always liked it.’*

*Memoires Saint-Simon, vol. vil., p. 388 (edition of 1857).

After the death of Mazarin, when Louis XIV promptly emancipated himself from ministerial guidance, d'Artagnan became a personage. Thus, when Louis XIV came to exercise his first great act of authority, the arrest of Nicholas Fouquet, the profligate Superintendent of Finance, in 1661, it was to his trusty d'Artagnan, still a lieutenant only, that he had recourse. There are several versions of the story, and Dumas, with a novelist's license, exaggerates them all in Le Vicomte de Bragelonne. The gray horse on which Fouquet is said to have tried to escape from Nantes and d'Artagnan's pursuit on the black one are unhistoric. Even the sagacious Mme. de Motteville seems to have been misled about an attempted exchange of carriages and a flight by a winding road. Though the stroke had to be postponed for several days because d'Artagnan had an attack of fever, Fouquet made no resistance, and d'Artagnan escorted him as far as Amboise, protecting him by the way from hostile demonstrations.*

Fouquet once caught, had to be caged, and d'Artagnan was entrusted with his keeping at Vincennes, whence he was transferred to the Bastille. We can all well believe that he performed his duties most carefully. The disgraced man had many sympathizers, and among them was Mme. de Sevigne. She went masked, she tells us,* with several ladies, to a house commanding a view of the arsenal.

“I saw him coming from afar. M. d'Artagnan was by his side; fifty musketeers thirty or forty paces behind him. He seemed as though in a dream. For my own part, when I perceived him, my legs trembled, and my heart beat so hard that I felt overcome. As he drew near us to enter his cell, M. d'Artagnan nudged him and told him we were there. So he bowed to us.”

The official account of Fouquet's arrest is to be found in the Appendix to Saint-Simon's Memoires, vol. xii.

*In a letter to Pompone. dated November 27. 1664. Lettres. 1. 451 (edition of 1862).

That is like d'Artagnan, always courteous, even where an enemy was concerned. His wearisome guardianship ended in December, 1664, when he escorted Fouquet to Pignerol, lending him furs for the crossing of the Alps, with Saint-Mars, who had taken part in his arrest, as his permanent custodian.

D'Artagnan it was who, in 1671, ten years after the arrest of Fouquet, escorted another prisoner, his fellow Gascon, the Due de Lauzun, to Pignerol. Compromised through his own eccentricities, the jealousy of Louvois, the Minister, and the cupidity of Mme. de Montespan, the favorite of Louis XIV was thunderstruck when the blow fell, though he was probably not unaware of its origin. Lauzun would then have been the husband of Mademoiselle de Montpensier (La Grande Mademoiselle), the King's cousin, had he not perversely insisted that the marriage should be celebrated at the King's Mass, and so give the princes of the blood time to pour deterrent remonstrances into the royal ear. From Mademoiselle's slipshod but amusing Memoires we learn that d'Artagnan, while studiously polite, neglected no precautions.

With the company of Musketeers, he took M. de Lauzun to Pignerol; he put into the coach with him one of his nephews, who was an officer in the Guards' regiment, and Maupertuis, ensign of Musketeers, who never left him. They were very civil to him, but extremely vigilant in looking after him.*

*Memoires de Mademoiselle de Montpensier (Petltot 45, p. 336).

The journey over, and Lauzun consigned to Pignerol, where, in spite of the Argus-eyed Saint-Mars, he succeeded in communicating with Fouquet through the flue of a chimney, first' the little d'Artagnan,' and then d'Artagnan himself took furtive occasions to give their news to the broken-hearted Mademoiselle. The uncle assured her that he admired the spirit of M. de Lauzun, whose servant he had been before his misfortune; and that even if he had not been his servant on his own account, he would have become so through the honor in which Lauzun was held by his acquaintances. D'Artagnan continued that he had left Lauzun in good health, in so far as a man could be who was banished from his King, and that Lauzun had talked so many times and in such a moving way of the honor and regard in which he held the royal person, that he had been much touched. Mademoiselle asked if these words had been repeated to his Majesty. D'Artagnan replied, Yes; and that he had nothing more to say to her except that Lauzun Moved all he ought to love; that his heart was full of nothing else, and that he felt his absence from those dear to him acutely.' He added immediately afterward, 'He has given me no message; he knew that it was not right that I should undertake a commission of that sort.'

This eminently discreet and yet heartening information was very gratifying to Mademoiselle. She had, besides, a particular regard for d'Artagnan, who was, she considered, a man of very great merit, an honest man and faithful to his friends. His conduct, she thought, was the more creditable because he had quarreled with Lauzun at the battle of Hesdin, and had failed to accept Lauzun's explanation that he was merely obeying the King's commands when he came to cross-purposes with d'Artagnan. They had not spoken for two years, and reconciliation had only been effected fifteen days before Lauzun's arrest, after d'Artagnan had heard that his enemy, despite their difference, persisted in speaking well of him.

The King himself had confirmed out of his own mouth these instances of Lauzun's generosity, when he gave d'Artagnan the command to take him to Pignerol; it was, Mademoiselle reflected, a piece of unexampled equity, coming as it did at a moment when his Majesty had urgent reasons to complain of the prisoner's conduct. One can imagine the irascible, emotional Gascons, the magniloquent King, and the poor lady anxious to catch hold of any comforting symptom in the crisis!

When d'Artagnan fell before Maestricht, Mademoiselle, while regretting him for his staunchness to his friends, added again that he was a very brave man. But of his military career we do not get a very definite notion. We snatch glimpses of him in the accounts of Turenne's campaigns, when the Household troops were ordered to the wars, but it is little more than a case of 'mentioned in dispatches.' Altogether we may reasonably suppose that he owed his professional prosperity rather to Court favor than to exploits on the Flanders front. Even so, he had to serve for many years as a lieutenant-captain of the Gray Musketeers under the elder Maupertuis, until his chief-—who was over eighty and neglectful of his duty — allowed him to purchase the captaincy for 150,000 livres. The King made amends for this long wait by creating him a Chevalier of the Order of the Saint-Esprit, the French equivalent for our Garter; and but for his death at Maestricht, he would have become Captain of the Guards.

The campaign, in which d'Artagnan smelled powder for the last time, opened on May 1, 1673, when Louis XIV, commanding in person, left Paris to chastise the Dutch. He marched straight to Maestricht, the principal town in Brabant, and invested the place on June 10. On June 23, the Musketeers distinguished themselves by seizing a half-moon and holding it in spite of heavy losses, until the pioneers had dug a trench. Next day the Dutch reoccupied it, and d'Artagnan, with a few men, was ordered to support the counter-attack. For a while it succeeded, but in the end the position was lost. When the Musketeers retired, their popular captain was missing. A search party, with Saint-Leger at its head, braved the enemy's fire, and found d'Artagnan well to the front, killed by a musket ball. They brought in his body. The Gazette de France recorded his death, and added that the King was sensibly grieved, both because of the Sieur d'Artagnan's valor and the trust his Majesty had in him.

Such was the d'Artagnan of fact; who, by the way, is to be distinguished from a cousin, who became a French marshal, and took the name of Montesquiou. Saint-Simon contrasts the rectitude of our friend with the tortuousness of his relative, who courted Madame de Maintenon and the Due du Maine by back-stairs means.* How much Courtilz knew about the Captain of Musketeers it is difficult to say; probably but little. He gives a fairly correct account of the arrest of Fouquet, and, while exaggerating the incident, mentions Mme. de Sevign6's successful attempt to get a sight of the prisoner.** But he antedates d'Artagnan's captaincy by a good many years, making it a favor extorted from Mazarin; and appoints him Governor of Lille, a post he cannot have held consistently with his duties in Paris.

* Memoires. vol. vii. p. 387.

** Courtilz's Memoires were published in 1702; Mme. de Sevigne's letters to Pompone only appeared in print in 1756.

Courtilz's general idea seems to have been to take a well-known character, a Hodson of Hodson's Horse, or a General Burnaby, and write a novel in the first person about him. The military adventures are fairly reasonable; thus d'Artagnan penetrates in disguise to a besieged garrison to tell it relief is at hand; caught on his way back, he would certainly have been shot as a spy by Conde, if he had winked an eyelid at the wrong moment. Escapes of the kind were not uncommon in little warfare against fortifications. But Courtilz outrages probability almost as boldly as Dumas himself in the diplomatic missions on which he dispatches d'Artagnan. Thus he would have us believe that, after the death of Cromwell, Mazarin sent d'Artagnan to England with the object of arranging a marriage between one of his beautiful nieces and Charles II, or, failing Charles, with Richard Cromwell. 'Queen Dick' had unfortunately, as Mazarin would have known very well, a wife alive at the time in Dorothy, the daughter of Richard Mayor of Hursley.

The real value of the Memoires de Monsieur d'Artagnan, as Dumas perceived, consists in their reflection of the life of the Musketeers. They bring back the happy-go-lucky existence of the 'cape and sword' period; its tavern-brawls, its duels, its impecuniosity relieved either by a lucky game at cards or sponging on some dame of degree; they are in fact, in Dumas' own words, 'sketches made on barrack doors and the walls of inns.' Courtilz makes a great point of the rivalry between the Musketeers of Louis XIII and those of Richelieu, and the consequent bloodshed when they met in the streets. The wonderful yellow pony on which d'Artagnan rode up from his native Bear n figures in Courtilz's pages; so does the quarrel with Rochefort, who is called Rosnay in the Memoires. Thence, too, Dumas extracted the raw material, so to speak, of d'Artagnan's landlady, dear little Mme. Bonacieux, and her curmudgeon of a husband. The fateful game of tennis and its consequences, M. de Treville's inquiry, the audience with Louis XIII, are all drawn from Courtilz. Above all, Dumas went to the Memoires for the original of the sinister Milady.

Courtilz's Milady is a maid-of-honor of Henrietta Maria, the fugitive Queen of England. His d'Artagnan has a love affair with her, and outwits a rival much on the lines adopted by Dumas, though in point of ingenuity the Memoires are not to be compared with Le Trois Mousquetaires. At that point Courtilz drops Milady; but Dumas, with the Memoires of La Rochefoucauld to help him, develops her into a spy of Richelieu, and, for the time being at any rate, into an historical character.* She becomes in fact the Lady Carlisle, who, to serve the Cardinal and avenge herself on Buckingham, cut off from the Duke's dress the diamond pendants, or, as Dumas has it, a pendant, which had been given him by Anne of Austria.

* Memoires de La Rochefoucauld (Petitot 51. pp. 342-1).

Les Trois Mousquetaires sticks pretty close to history in its account of how Buckingham foiled his enemies by having a facsimile of the pendant manufactured and sent to the Queen, while a proclamation closing the ports prevented Lady Carlisle from taking her theft to Richelieu. Only La Rochefoucauld provokingly says nothing about d'Artagnan's part in the complication, nor about the ball at which Anne of Austria confounded the Cardinal by appearing with the diamonds on her. That is pure Dumas. La Rochefoucauld concludes somewhat tamely with:

"Thus the Queen escaped the vengeance of this infuriated woman (Lady Carlisle), and the Cardinal lost what seemed a safe means of exposing her and opening the King's eyes as to all his doubts, since the pendants came from him and he had given them to the Queen."

Lady Carlisle was, in some ways, not so complete a she-villain as Milady, the poisoner of Mme. Bonacieux. Still as S. R. Gardiner severely remarks, she followed up the excitement of a youth of pleasure with the excitement of a middle age of treachery, divulging Court secrets to Pym and Essex at one time, at another promoting Royalist risings against the Commonwealth. But with her later baseness Dumas had no concern.

Dumas took from Courtilz de Sandras the names of d'Artagnan's three companions, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. In the Memoires de Monsieur d'Artagnan they appear as three Gascon brothers. They are merely friends of the autobiographer, who help him out of his difficulties; no attempt is made to invest them with individuality and they soon fade out of the narrative. Dumas took these shadows of shades and gave them flesh and blood. They are more or less types of the manat-arms, as the novelist understood him.

In the case of Athos, otherwise the Comte de la Fere, we must not allow ourselves to be deceived by the ' manuscript in folio, numbered 4772 or 4773,' which Dumas asserts in the preface to Les Trots Mousquetaires that Paulin Paris, the famous antiquary and editor, discovered for him in the Bibliotheque Royale. The affected vagueness as to the catalogue puts us on our guard at once, and no Memorial of some of the events which were enacted in France toward the end of the reign of King Louis XIII and the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV has ever been discovered by the numerous French critics of Dumas. Athos — the worthy but slightly tedious Athos — whom d'Artagnan only once ventured to tutoyer, is to be found rather in the pages of Brantome's Hommes Illustres and of the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard. He is to be taken as a survival of a nobler age, and it is in that sense that Dumas puts into his mouth the eloquently turgid address to the Vicomte de Bragelonne when that youth girded on the ancestral sword.

Porthos, on the other hand, with his gros bon sens and his gigantic strength, is a figure of more modern type. Dumas had a model before him in his own father, the mulatto General, whose physical force was great, while he himself in his ebullient youth had been a fine man of his hands. Already in La Reine Margot he had produced a Hercules in Coconnas with his many inches and broad shoulders, and Coconnas has his place — a small one — in history. But Dumas does not revel over the comrade of the unhappy La Mole, as he does over the associate of Athos and Aramis. In his simplicity — his loyal engagement in enterprises he did not in the least understand — Porthos is the true hero of the Musqueteers series. The lament over his death in Le Vicomte de Bragelonne, in spite of its touch of bombast, comes nearer genuine pathos than anything that Dumas ever wrote. And Porthos is so thoroughly human in his huge appetite, his enjoyment of his wealth and his craving for a dukedom. The detail of the baudrier or cross-belt, so magnificent in front and disguised by a cloak as to its poverty behind, comes from Courtilz. In the general vanity of the man we may get an echo of Marshal de Bassompierre, with whose Memoires Dumas was well acquainted. Still Porthos as a whole is just himself, and his only begetter is Dumas.

Aramis — the subtle Aramis — reveals his own origin in Vingt Ans Apres, namely, de Retz, the Coadjutor to the Archbishop of Paris, who afterwards became the famous Cardinal. He says to Athos:

He is a swashbuckler, and so am I; he gads about the streets, and so do I; his cassock sits heavy on him, and I, I think, have had enough of mine. I sometimes imagine that he is Aramis and I am the Coadjutor, so perfect is the analogy between us. This Sosius (Dumas apparently means Socicles or Dromio) bores me and depresses me.*

* Vingl Arts Apres [Twenty Years After], vol. li, ch. xix, p. 124.

In personal appearance there was little in common between the shortsighted, bow-legged little Cardinal and the handsome, effeminate Aramis, who pinched the lobes of his ears to give them a rosy tint. But they were of the same race in their laxity of morals, their contempt for their orders, and the vastness of their ambitions. It is remarkable how Aramis grows under the cunning hand of Dumas. In Les Trois Mousquetaires we are chiefly interested in his amours with Mme. de Longueville and Mme. de Chevreuse. He continues to play a minor part in Vingt Ans Apres [Twenty Years After], except in the audacious scene of his impersonation of Bishop Juxon during the last hours of Charles I. But in Le Vicomte he dominates the book, dragging the unsuspecting Porthos in his wake. And if Aramis trod devious paths to become General of the Jesuits, so did de Retz to win his Cardinal's hat. De Retz aimed besides at even more exalted things; no less than the overthrow of Mazarin and the installment of himself as Minister. The activities of Aramis continued, however, after Cardinal de Retz had been effectively snuffed out by the wily Italian. Dumas perceived in the machinations of Fouquet, notably in his fortification of Belle-Ile as a place of refuge, a capital atmosphere for his man of close designs and crooked counsels.

~ LLOYD SANDERS

 

The Countess Carlisle

 

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The Three Musketeers (Oxford World's Classics)The Three Musketeers (Oxford World's Classics) by Alexandre Dumas
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Beginning of the d'Artagnan romances (the feats and fortunes of a gascon adventurer) by Alexandre Dumas. Perhaps the greatest cloak & Dagger story ever written!
Twenty Years After (Oxford World's Classics)Twenty Years After (Oxford World's Classics) by Alexandre Dumas père
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2nd of the d'Artagnan romances.
Louise de la Vallière (Oxford World's Classics)Louise de la Vallière (Oxford World's Classics) by Alexandre Dumas
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3rd of the d'Artagnan romances.
The Vicomte de Bragelonne (Oxford World's Classics)The Vicomte de Bragelonne (Oxford World's Classics) by Alexandre Dumas père
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4th of the d'Artagnan romances.
The Man in the Iron Mask (Oxford World's Classics)The Man in the Iron Mask (Oxford World's Classics) by Alexandre Dumas père
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Last of the d'Artagnan romances by Dumas.

 

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  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (November 30, 2009)
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READ WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT DONAREE:

"Nicely done. I really enjoyed the history in the introduction and the duel is well written. Best of luck with the novel!" ~ Author David Lee Summers, author of five books: Vampires of the Scarlet Order, The Solar Sea, and the "Old Star" science fiction series: The Pirates of Sufiro, Children of the Old Stars, and Heirs of the New Earth. www.davidleesummers.com

"Very exciting read! Felt like I was there witnessing the action!" ~ Candle Artist Jfay,
www.studio3bonline.com

"I really enjoyed the humour and really laughed, not at Monsieur de la Donaree but with Monsieur de la Donaree! I dont know if you wrote it in this spirit but if you had a bit of Molière in you, I would not be surprised! He knew how to study people and would turn situations into a comic play! I laughed out loud, this is a gem! Not only de la Donaree is a fine sword, he has also a fine nose when it comes to pinpoint personalities, I'm talking about the Inkeeper and his situation with the wife here!! The second part is indeed in pure swashbuckling spirit, in rhythm and enthusiasm! And the end is a cliff-hanger! The beginning is "cocasse" (funny) as they might have said then in Gascony, and witty! Indeed Alexandre Dumas had a sense of humour too and satirically created at least one of his character ( in another book) to a character made up by Molière in one of his comic play. And Molière also took his inspiration from Dumas' s Musketeers and "The Man in the Iron Mask." I liked it! I had fun while reading this chapter about Monsieur de la Donaree, as while following the spirit of the Musketeers you gave a contemporary touch to the text!" ~ Artist Nicole Marques,
www.myspace.com/nicolemarques

"Hurrah, Ted! I gleefully await the next installment! LOVE the romantic stuff! Bring it on! There are few things in this world I like better than a hot Viscount. Keep going, Ted! Bravo! Keep writing! I can't wait to read more! But it is par for the course as I am also a writer. Keep in touch!" ~ Author Genella de Grey, author of "Remember Me."
www.genelladegrey.com

"Wow - What a wonderful beginning. As a whole, you have a unique way of writing & you captivated me by a few sentences peaking my interest to continue. For instance: ...hazed by the early morning mist...I love it! I look forward to reading the next chapter. You've gained my interest. That was impresive & informative. You've still got the hook in & I'm dangling to hear more. Thanks for the sneak peak." ~ Aspiring Author R.F.Taylor: Rianna

"Well done. Chapter One entices the reader craving more. I will look for The Adventures of Monsieur de La Donaree the Musketeer on the web. Keep up the excellent writing..." ~
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