List Of Contents | Contents of St. Martin's Summer, by Rafael Sabatini
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went to find solace in talk with Valerie.  But however impossible
he might find it to digest the affront he had swallowed, no word of
the matter did he utter to the girl, lest it should cause her fears
to reawaken.



Garnache spent a sleepless night at Grenoble, on guard throughout
the greater part of it since nothing short of that would appease
the fears of Valerie.  Yet it passed without any bellicose
manifestation on the part of the Condillacs such as Valerie feared
and such as Garnache was satisfied would not - could not, indeed -
take place.

Betimes next morning he dispatched Rabecque to the Auberge de
France for the promised carriage, and broke his fast in the
common-room what time he awaited his man's return.  The chamber
was again occupied by the stranger of yesternight, who sat apart,
however, and seemed no longer disposed to interfere with the
Parisian.  Garnache wondered idly, might this be due to the
circumstance that that same stranger was supported now by one
single companion, and was therefore less valorous than when he had
been in the company of three.

At another table were two gentlemen, sprung he knew not whence,
quiet in dress and orderly in manner, to whom he paid little heed
until one of them a slender, swarthy, hawk-faced fellow - looking
up suddenly, started slightly at sight of the Parisian and addressed
him instantly by name.  Garnache paused in the act of rising from
table, half-turned, and sharply scrutinized the swarthy gentleman,
but failed to recognize him.  He advanced towards him.

"I have the honour to be known to you, monsieur?" he half-stated,

"Parbleu, Monsieur de Garnache!" exclaimed the other with a ready
smile, the more winning since it lighted up a face that at rest was
very sombre.  "Lives there a Parisian to whom you are not known?  I
have seen you often at the Hotel de Bourgogne."

Garnache acknowledged the courtesy by a slight inclination of the

"And once," continued the other, "I had the honour to be presented
to you by Monsieur le Duc himself.  My name is Gaubert - Fabre
Gaubert."  And as he introduced himself he rose out of respect for
Garnache, who had remained standing.  Garnache knew him not at all,
yet never doubted that his tale was true; the fellow had a very
courtly, winning air; moreover, Garnache was beginning to feel
lonely in the wilds of Dauphiny, so that it rejoiced him to come
into the company of one whom he might regard as something of a
fellow-creature.  He held out his hand.

"I am honoured in that you should have borne me in your memory,
monsieur," said he.  He was about to add that he would be overjoyed
if it should happen that Monsieur Gaubert was travelling to Paris,
since he might give himself the pleasure of his company on that
tedious journey; but he checked himself betimes.  He had no reason
to suspect this gentleman; and yet, all things considered, he
bethought him suddenly that he would do well to observe the greatest
circumspection.  So with a pleasant but meaningless civility touching
Monsieur Gaubert's presence in those parts, Garnache passed on and
gained the door.  He paused in the porch, above which the rebus-like
sign of the Sucking Calf creaked and grated in each gust of the
chill wind that was blowing from the Alps.  The rain had ceased, but
the sky was dark and heavy with great banks of scudding clouds.  In
the street the men of his escort sat their horses, having mounted
at his bidding in readiness for the journey.  A word or two he
exchanged with the sergeant, and then with a great rumble the clumsy
carriage from the Auberge de France heralded its approach.  It rolled
up the street, a vast machine of wood and leather, drawn by three
horses, and drew up at the door of the inn.  Out sprang Rabecque,
to be immediately sent by his master to summon mademoiselle.  They
would set out upon the instant.

Rabecque turned to obey; but in that same moment he was thrust
rudely aside by a man with the air of a servant, who issued from
he inn carrying a valise; after him, following close upon his heels,
with head held high and eyes that looked straight before him and
took no heed of Garnache, came the foreigner of yesternight.

Rabecque, his shoulders touching the timbers of the porch, against
which he had been thrust, remained at gaze, following with
resentful eye the fellow who had so rudely used him.  Garnache, on
the other side, watched with some wonder the advent of the
ingenuous-looking stranger, but as yet with no suspicion of his

Not until the servant had thrown open the door of the coach and
deposited within the valise he carried, did Garnache stir.  Not,
indeed, until the foreigner's foot was on the step preparatory to
mounting did Garnache speak.

"Hi! monsieur," he called to him, "what is your pleasure with my

The stranger turned, and stared at Garnache with a look of wonder
that artfully changed to one of disdainful recognition.

"Ah?" said he, and his eyebrows went up.  "The apologetic gentleman!
You said?"

Garnache approached him, followed a step not only by Rabecque, but
also by Monsieur Gaubert, who had sauntered out a second earlier.
Behind them, in the porch, lounged now the foreigner's friend, and
behind him again was to be seen the great face and staring, somewhat
startled eyes of the landlord.

"I asked you, monsieur," said Garnache, already at grips with that
quick temper of his, "what might be your pleasure with my coach?"

"With your coach?" echoed the other, his superciliousness waxing
more and more offensive.  "Voyons! on ! my apologetic friend, do
all things in Grenoble belong to you?"  He turned to the post-boy,
who looked on stolidly.  "You are from the Auberge de France, are
you not?" quoth he.

"I am, monsieur," replied the man.  "This carriage was ordered last
night by a gentleman lodging at the Veau qui Tete?"

"Perfectly," replied the stranger, in a tone of finality.  "It was
ordered by me." And he was about to turn away, when Garnache
approached him by yet another step.

"I will ask you to observe, monsieur," said he and for all that his
tone and words were civil, that they were forcedly so was obvious
from their quiver - "I will ask you to observe that the carriage
was fetched by my own man there, who rode hither in it."

The stranger looked him up and down with a curling lip.

"It seems, sir," said he, with a broad sneer, "that you are one of
those impertinent fellows who will be for ever thrusting themselves
upon gentlemen with an eye to such profit as they can make."  He
produced a purse and opened it.  "Last night it was my supper you
usurped.  I suffered that.  Now you would do the same by my coach,
and that I shall not suffer.  But there is for your pains, and to
be quit of your company."  And he tossed a silver coin at the

There was an exclamation of horror in the background, and Monsieur
de Gaubert thrust himself forward.

"Sir, sir," he exclaimed in an agitated voice, "you cannot know
whom you are addressing.  This is Monsieur Martin Marie Rigobert
de Garnache, Mestre-de-Champ in the army of the King."

"Of all those names the one I should opine might fit him best, but
for his ugliness, is that of Marie," answered the foreigner,
leering, and with a contemptuous shrug he turned again to mount
the carriage.

At that all Garnache's self-control deserted him, and he did a
thing deplorable.  In one of his blind accesses of fury, heedless
of the faithful and watchful Rabecque's arresting tug at his
sleeve, he stepped forward, and brought a heavy hand down upon the
supercilious gentleman's shoulder.  He took him in the instant in
which, with one foot off the ground and the other on the step of
the carriage, the foreigner was easily thrown' off his balance; he
dragged him violently backward, span him round and dropped him
floundering in the mire of the street-kennel.

That done, there fell a pause - a hush that was ominous of things
impending.  A little crowd of idlers that had gathered was quickly
augmenting now, and from some there came a cry of "Shame!" at
Garnache's act of violence.

This is no moment at which to pause to moralize.  And yet, how
often is it not so?  How often does not public sympathy go out to
the man who has been assaulted without thought of the extent to
which that man may have provoked and goaded his assailant.

That cry of "Shame!" did no more than increase the anger that was
mastering Garnache.  His mission in Grenoble was forgotten;
mademoiselle above-stairs was forgotten; the need for caution and
the fear of the Condillacs were forgotten; everything was thrust
from his mind but the situation of the moment.

Amid the hush that followed, the stranger picked himself slowly
up, and sought to wipe the filth from his face and garments.  His
servant and his friend flew to his aid, but he waved them aside,
and advanced towards Garnache, eyes blazing, lips sneering.

"Perhaps," said he, in that soft, foreign tone of his, laden now
with fierce mock-politeness, "perhaps monsieur proposes to
apologize again."

"Sir, you are mad," interposed Gaubert.  "You are a foreigner, I
perceive, else you would - "

But Garnache thrust him quietly aside.  "You are very kind, Monsieur
Gaubert," said he, and his manner now was one of frozen calm - a
manner that betrayed none of the frenzy of seething passion
underneath.  "I think, sir," said he to the stranger, adopting
something of that gentleman's sardonic manner, "that it will be a
more peaceful world without you.  It is that consideration restrains
me from apologizing.  And yet, if monsieur will express regret for
having sought, and with such lack of manners, to appropriate my
carriage - "

"Enough!" broke in the other.  "We are wasting time, and I have a
long journey before me.  Courthon," said he, addressing his friend,
"will you bring me the length of this gentleman's sword?  My name,
sir," he added to Garnache, "is Sanguinetti."

"Faith," said Garnache, "it sorts well with your bloody spirit."

"And will sort well, no doubt, with his condition presently," put
in hawk-faced Gaubert.  "Monsieur de Garnache, if you have no friend
at hand to act for you, I shall esteem myself honoured."  And he

"Why, thanks, sir.  You are most opportunely met.  You should be
a gentleman since you frequent the Hotel de Bourgogne.  My thanks."

Gaubert went aside to confer with Monsieur Courthon.  Sanguinetti
stood apart, his manner haughty and impressive, his eye roaming
scornfully through the ranks of what had by now become a crowd.
Windows were opening in the street, and heads appearing, and across
the way Garnache might have beheld the flabby face of Monsieur de
Tressan among the spectators of that little scene.

Rabecque drew near his master.

"Have a care, monsieur," he implored him.  "If this should be a

Garnache started.  The remark sobered him, and brought to his mind
his own suspicions of yesternight, which his present anger had for
the moment lulled.  Still, he conceived that he had gone too far
to extricate himself.  But he could at least see to it that he was
not drawn away from the place that sheltered mademoiselle.  And so
he stepped forward, joining Courthon and Gaubert, to insist that
the combat should take place in the inn - either in the common room
or in the yard.  But the landlord, overhearing this, protested
loudly that he could not consent to it.  He had his house to think
of.  He swore that they should not fight on his premises, and
implored them in the same breath not to attempt it.

At that Garnache, now thoroughly on his guard! was for putting off
the encounter.

"Monsieur Courthon," said he - and he felt a flush of shame mounting
to his brow, and realized that it may need more courage to avoid an
encounter than to engage in one - "there is something that in the
heat of passion I forgot; something that renders it difficult for
me to meet your friend at present."

Courthon looked at him as he might look at an impertinent lackey.

"And what may that be?" he inquired, mightily contemptuous.  There
was a snigger from some in the crowd that pressed about them, and
even Monsieur Gaubert looked askance.

"Surely, sir," he began, "if I did not know you for Monsieur de
Garnache - "

But Garnache did not let him finish.

"Give me air," he cried, and cuffed out to right and left of him
at the grinning spectators, who fell back and grinned less broadly.
"My reason, Monsieur de Courthon," said he, "is that I do not
belong to my self at present.  I am in Grenoble on business of the
State, as the emissary of the Queen-Regent, and so it would hardly
become me to engage in private quarrels."

Courthon raised his brows.

"You should have thought of that before you rolled Monsieur
Sanguinetti in the mud," he answered coldly.

"I will tender him my apologies for that," Garnache promised,
swallowing hard, "and if he still insists upon a meeting he shall
have it in, say, a month's time."

"I cannot permit - " began Courthon, very fiercely.

"You will be so good as to inform your friend of what I have said,"
Garnache insisted, interrupting him.

Cowed, Courthon shrugged and went apart to confer with his friend.

"Ah!" came Sanguinetti's soft voice, yet loud enough to be heard
by all present.  "He shall have a caning then for his impertinence."
And he called loudly to the post-boy for his whip.  But at that
insult Garnache's brain seemed to take fire, and his cautious
resolutions were reduced to ashes by the conflagration.  He stepped
forward, and, virulent of tone and terrific of mien, he announced
that since Monsieur Sanguinetti took that tone with him, he would
cut his throat for him at once and wherever they should please.

At last it was arranged that they should proceed there and then to
the Champs aux Capuchins, a half-mile away behind the Franciscan

Accordingly they set out, Sanguinetti and Courthon going first, and
Garnache following with Gaubert; the rear being brought up by a
regiment of rabble, idlers and citizens, that must have represented
a very considerable proportion of the population of Grenoble.  This
audience heartened Garnache, to whom some measure of reflection had
again returned.  Before such numbers it was unthinkable that these
gentlemen - assuming them to be acting on behalf of Condillac -
should dare to attempt foul measures with him.  For the rest he had
taken the precaution of leaving Rabecque at the Sucking Calf, and he
had given the sergeant strict injunctions that he was not to allow
any of his men to leave their posts during his absence, and that the
troopers were to hold themselves entirely at the orders of Rabecque.
Comparatively easy therefore in his mind, and but little exercised
by any thought of the coming encounter, Garnache walked briskly

They came at last to the Champs aux Capuchins -a pleasant stretch
of verdure covering perhaps half an acre and set about by a belt of

The crowd disposed itself on the fringe of the sward, and the

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