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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 February 1670 to LPBS, 180 Aylsham Drive, UXBRIDGE UB10 8UF or the LPBS orders e-mail address by Friday, 8th December 2017.

Game Report for January 1670

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

The new year starts just like any other - with Parisian socialites scuttling about to settle matters of honour. Who is this little fellow beetling along with one hand clenched on the hilt of his nondescript foil? Nobody knows, as this gentleman - if he is a gentleman - is known only as 'X1'. His appointment is with the far more recognisable Bernard de Lur-Saluces. Lur-Saluces brings his rapier plus Inigo Montoya, his Aide, as his second. Lur-Saluces is not a big man, but he clearly outweighs 'X1', and has more skill with his chosen weapon. The fight doesn't last long: 'X1' lunges furiously, but Lur-Saluces dodges the thrust and replies with a lunge of his own. This attack finds its target and 'X1' surrenders at once. Charles Louis Desapear is thus denied his meeting with 'X1', who is now too injured to fight again.

Buoyed by his success, Lur-Saluces heads to his next encounter, with Montoya in attendance. His new adversary is Florent Sans de Machine, who looks positively beefy in comparison and has a matching rapier. This time, Lur-Saluces attacks with a lunge. Machine doesn't slow down, despite being run through and attacks with his own lunge. Lur-Saluces rides this blow with similar aplomb, but his jump is mis-timed, allowing Machine to catch him with another lunge before he can re-take his guard. Lur-Saluces concedes the duel. He still has one match on his appointment card, but this is postponed by the unavailability of Jacques ZeLad. Charles Louis Desapear's other fight is deferred for the same reason.

In another Parisian courtyard no less a figure than the Commissioner of Public Safety, Duncan d'Eauneurts, is preparing for his meeting, practising his sabre passes with his second, Was Nae Me. His opponent is the rapier-wielding Jean d'Ice, who arrives with Leonard de Hofstadt to second him. Ice is probably classed as a mediumweight, which suggests he's over-matched by the heavyweight Eauneurts, even before his unhealed wounds are taken into account. Eauneurts opens with a gentle (given it's from a sabre) lunge. This misses its mark as Ice dodges. His lunge in response is partly deflected by the slash coming from Eauneurts. The weighty sabre does its job and Ice surrenders promptly, in need of further bandages.

Attack: a Musketeer lunges ferociously at youEtienne Brule prefers the seclusion of the Bois de Boulogne for his rendezvous. He plans to meet Swindelle d'Masses first, but Masses is still too badly wounded from previous months' encounters to make it to the appointed place. Instead, Terence Cuckpowder arrives for his first fight. The two men look evenly matched in build, though both are carrying old injuries - along with their sabres. The advantage is probably with Cuckpowder as he has the greater expertise. An opening lunge from Brule is met by a slash from Cuckpowder, reducing the lunge's effectiveness. Another slash follows almost immediately and Brule surrenders, surprised by the ferocity of the attack.

Bill de Zmerchant's challenge to Jacques Diabolick receives the support of Paris and their duel is quickly organised. The two men are really close in build and skill. The main difference is the massive two-handed sword with which Zmerchant opposes Diabolick's rapier. Ranso Mware is on hand as Diabolick's second. Reckoning that the big blade will be slow to get into action, Diabolick pauses before dodging the attack he expects. However, Zmerchant takes even longer to get his weapon moving, giving him time to catch Diabolick with the slash. This brings an immediate surrender from his battered adversary.

Joining regiments, mostly

Lieutenant-General Richard Shapmes uses his substantial influence to produce a vacancy in the ranks of France's Provincial Military Governors. However, he makes no move to occupy the position himself.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jacques Diabolick is nowhere near as influential as Lt-Gen Shapmes, but he can still call in more than enough favours to persuade his commander to vacate the Colonelcy of the Picardy Musketeers. He quickly becomes Colonel Diabolick.

New arrival Robert d'Lancier takes out a loan and then applies to Colonel Gaston le Somme for admission to the Royal Marines. He is quickly accepted. However, the Marines have a sufficiency of Captains and Lancier must make do with the rank of Subaltern.

A Musketeer's be-feathered hat lies on top of a pair of leather gauntletsGuido Spoons is also a new face in Paris and his regiment of choice is the Crown Prince Cuirassiers. Having gained admission, he is able to buy a Captaincy, using some of the substantial funds he borrowed on arrival in the big city.

The third newbie, Simon Alfred Devereux, makes his way to the Dragoon Guards' barracks, his pockets jingling with his borrowings. Colonel Etienne Brule is pleased to accept him and Devereux decks himself out in a Captain's uniform.

However, Colonel Amant d'Au, commander of the Royal Foot Guards, does not want new recruits. Raoul Bernard de Chenin Blanc's plea for entry is refused for the second month running.

The ranks of Government ministers are somewhat thinner this month as the appointments of Amant d'Au, Frele d'Acier and Jean Jeanie - all Ministers without Portfolio - ran out at the end of December.

Having repaid his loans, King's Musketeers' commander Duncan d'Eauneurts takes the rest of the regiment to join first Battalion in action on the frontier. Major Inigo Montoya volunteers his squadron of Grand Duke Max's Dragoons and Major Roméo Boudreaux marches to the frontier alongside his Battalion of the Picardy Musketeers.

They are rather swamped, though, by the mobilisation of the whole Horse Guards Brigade, led by Brigadier Terence Cuckpowder. Only DG Captains Henri Dubois and Simon Alfred Devereux don't seem to be expecting this.

January at the races

The main social event this January is the horse race sponsored by Sebastian de la Creme. Taking Di Lemmere to cheer him on, Sebastian enters his own race and waits to see who his competition will be. The first horseman to join him is Bill de Zmerchant, who cuts a decent figure on horseback, stirrup cup in hand. So, too, does Chopine Camus, who has Sheila Kiwi as his supporter. Then Gaz Moutarde trots up and his small build clearly makes him the favourite. Jacques Diabolick is next to arrive, with his companion, Mary Huana. The hefty Louis Oeuf Ur Terribles looks out of place on a horse - he is in the Marines, after all - but is loyally supported by Sue Briquet. It has to be said that, against this field, Sebastian does not look like a winner.

Joining the party, but not the race, are Raoul Bernard de Chenin Blanc, accompanied by Helen Highwater, Was Nae Me, escorting Vera Cruz, and Xavier Monet, accompanied by Betty Kant. They join the riders' ladies in the grandstand as the horsemen line up at the start. Gaz makes a swift getaway past the grandstand and is the early leader as the runners enter the first corner. Bill is just behind him, with Chopine on his tail. There's a bit of a gap then to Jacques and Louis, neck and neck and just ahead of the slow starting Sebastian.

A moustachioed officer sits on top of what is clearly a pantomime horseRound the corner they go and then rumble down the back straight. Gaz maintains a good pace to enter the final corner a length ahead of anyone else. Bill has settled in at much the same pace, maintaining his position that length behind Gaz. However, Chopine has applied his whip to good effect and is alongside Bill as they round the corner. Louis has also got a good pace out of his mount and leads the second half of the horses. Jacques is only half a length behind, but Sebastian has floundered and is now a good length back from the pair of them.

Having negotiated the corner at some speed, the riders charge down the final straight towards the finish line. The confident Gaz eases up a bit, waving to the rest of the party as he comes up to the grandstand. What he doesn't see is that Chopine has maintained his pace and is catching him on the outside. It's not quite enough, though and the two cross the line in a dead heat. Behind them, Bill ambles towards the line, satisfied with third. However, Jacques has finally got the measure of his steed. Flat out, horse and rider hurtle along the final straight in a surprising turn of speed, catching Bill on the line to share third place. Louis canters in fifth with Sebastian bringing up the rear, despite persuading his horse to go a bit faster in the final part of the race.

The pot for first and second places is shared by the joint winners and Louis donates a further hundred crowns "on behalf of the Royal Marines". The cash for coming third is split between Bill and Jacques. Time for the riders to join the rest of the party for a drink or two - another drink, in Bill's case. Raoul and Xavier have both indulged themselves with some betting action. Raoul wins, but Xavier doesn't. The big loser, however, is Guido Spoons, who comes along expecting to join in the fun, but doesn't meet Sebastian's entry criteria. Guido's bad month continues when he doesn't impress the young lady whose affections he seeks. Three times.

What party?

Meanwhile, back in the Fleur, Uther Xavier-Beauregard is holding open house; for the whole month. This first week, he and Henrietta Carrotte are joined by Beau Reese Jean Seine, who has Maggie Nifisent on his arm, and Charles Louis Desapear, accompanied by Emma Roides. There are a few other members in the Fleur this week. Jean Jeanie brings Jacky Tinne. Pierre Cardigan escorts Edna Bucquette. Pierre le Sang is with Guinevere d'Arthur. And Richard Shapmes accompanies Kathy Pacific.

Numbers in the Fleur are reduced in week 2. Uther and Henrietta have just Charles and Emma as their guests. Pierre le Sang and Richard return with their respective ladies and Sebastian de la Crème rolls up with Di to report his lack of success at the races. The same group - except Charles and Emma - are back for week 3 and then again to finish the month. This last week sees a few more in the Fleur: Jean Jeanie brings Jacky out for another drink and Bill de Zmerchant appears to show off his latest conquest, Ada Andabettoir (at whose place he passed the previous two weeks).

Bothwell's club has members in attendance right through the month. These start with Gaston le Somme, bringing Bess Ottede for a quiet drink. Jean d'Ice does the same with his lady, Ava Crisp. Leonard de Hofstadt enters with Frances Forrin and they, too, pass a quiet week. The following week Chopine Camus and Was Nae Me both show up after the horse race, escorting Sheila and Vera, respectively. Was and Vera settle in for the rest of the month, seeing only Charles Louis Desapear and Emma when they visit in week 3. Raoul Bernard de Chenin Blanc expected to finish his month in Bothwell's, but his application to join was denied as he just doesn't have the social standing required.

Three musicians play: harpsichord, cello and luteHunter's isn't quite as busy, but still has at least one couple visit each week. This is Florent Sans de Machine and Charlotte de Gaulle in the first week. The following week it's Louis Oeuf Ur Terribles, accompanied by Sue, following their visit to the Prix d'Or. Louis and Sue attend Hunter's for the rest of the month, seeing only Jacques Diabolick and Mary when they pop by in week 3. Luckily Mary doesn't know about Jacques' visit to another young lady's residence earlier in the month.

Ranso Mware turns up at Blue Gables to finish his month, but otherwise the club is empty. 'X1' and Anna Rexique are the pair keeping the Frog & Peach in business. This club is also the venue for Xavier Money and Betty for the middle two weeks. And for Robert d'Lancier's gambling in week 3. He places a series of 30-crown wagers, winning three, losing five and cutting the last one when the house rolls a natural. This leaves him somewhat out of pocket and it doesn't do his reputation any good either. Especially as he also lost some cash to the footpads after his week 2 visit to the bawdyhouses. This followed his lack of success courting. Having failed to get the rank of Captain, Robert's last week is spent carrying out his regimental duties. Surely things can only get better...

There is a lot of activity in the gyms this month - exercising to keep the cold at bay, perhaps. Amant d'Au, Balzac Slapdash and Jacques de Gain are all there all month. Balzac and Jacques use their rapiers, while Amant is throwing some knives around. Bernard de Lur-Saluces is with them for three of those weeks, practising with his rapier before adjourning to the bawdyhouses. Beau Reese Jean Seine spends three weeks with his rapier, as do Florent Sans de Machine, Jean d'Ice and Leonard de Hofstadt. Gaston le Somme and Pierre Cardigan manage three weeks' sabre practice as well. Several others fit in a couple of weeks' work-out around their other activities. It's sabre for Chopine Camus. Gaz Moutarde practises with cutlass (having spent a week with his mistress). Jean Jeanie has his rapier. Raoul Bernard de Chenin Blanc works with his rapier. And it's rapier practice for Ranso Mware: just two weeks of it before the lure of the bawdyhouses becomes too much.

Let it snow...

The French troops on the borders are bolstered this month by the full strength of the King's Musketeers and the whole of the Horse Guards Brigade. Not that it's good weather for military operations. When the weather is fine, the Horse Guards are at least able to exercise their horses, but there's no reward for Brigadier Terence Cuckpowder or his Brigade Major Swindelle d'Masses.

This makes it a quiet month for the Dragoon Guards, though they do run into some Spanish patrols from time to time. Colonel Etienne Brule is brevetted to Brigadier-General and sends his monthly donation to Minister of State le Sang. Lieutenant-Colonel Frele d'Acier is Mentioned in Despatches twice after his encounter with a Spanish patrol ("That deserves a promotion," "Shame there's no vacancy"). The same happens to Major Jean Ettonique, but his Mentions bring him elevation to Baron. He also has the presence of mind to garner over 200 crowns' worth of loot from the Spaniards he defeated. There is nothing for Captains Henri Dubois and Simon Alfred Devereux, however.

The King's Musketeers, deployed in north-eastern France, refuse to be kept out of the action. They use the cover of snowfall to ambush a contingent of Dutch infantry. Good musketry sees the Dutch off the field and good scavenging sees 400 crowns into the pockets of the regiment's commanding officer, Duncan d'Eauneurts, with a further 300 going to Lt-Col Felix Antoine Gauchepied'er. Inevitably, the flamboyant one gets his name into the Despatches ("Does the man not have the correct uniform?") and is further rewarded with a Knighthood.

A line of pikemen prepares

Leading the first Battalion of the Picardy Musketeers and attached to Frontier regiment 1, Major Roméo Boudreaux gains promotion to Lt-Colonel. Major Inigo Montoya and his squadron of Dragoons are with Frontier regiment 3, which suffers heavy losses after its encampment is smothered by a heavy snowfall. Major Montoya is mentioned in Despatches ("Excellent digging") for his part in rallying the Frontier troops. Bdr-General Sebastian Adis II takes command of a battalion of the Royal North Highlanders, who relish the challenging conditions. Success against Dutch troops - alongside the King's Musketeers - brings Adis Mention ("He's a hero or I'm a Dutchman!") and over 400 crowns' worth of booty.

The two Battalions of the Cardinal's Guard escorting His Eminence in Rome have little to do, but enjoy the warmer weather. Commanding officer Lt-Col Alan de Frocked makes the acquaintance of his Spanish counterpart and introduces him to his favourite dice game. By the end of the month he's a hundred crowns to the good. ?