Massacres of the South HTML version

Chapter 5
Meantime the date of Cavalier's departure drew near. A town was to be named in
which he was to reside at a sufficient distance from the theatre of war to prevent
the rebels from depending on him any more; in this town he was to organise his
regiment, and as soon as it was complete it was to go, under his command, to
Spain, and fight for the king. M. de Villars was still on the same friendly terms
with him, treating him, not like a rebel, but according to his new rank in the
French army. On the 21st June he told him that he was to get ready to leave the
next day, and at the same time he handed him an advance on their future pay--
fifty Louis for himself, thirty for Daniel Billard, who had been made lieutenant-
colonel in the place of Ravanel, ten for each captain, five for each lieutenant, two
for each sergeant, and one for each private. The number of his followers had
then reached one hundred and fifty, only sixty of whom were armed. M. de
Vassiniac, major in the Fimarcn regiment, accompanied them with fifty dragoons
and fifty of the rank and file from Hainault.
All along the road Cavalier and his men met with a courteous reception; at
Macon they found orders awaiting them to halt. Cavalier at once wrote to M. de
Chamillard to tell him that he had things of importance to communicate to him,
and the minister sent a courier of the Cabinet called Lavallee to bring Cavalier to
Versailles. This message more than fulfilled all Cavalier's hopes: he knew that he
had been greatly talked about at court, and in spite of his natural modesty the
reception he had met with at Times had given him new ideas, if not of his own
merit, at least of his own importance. Besides, he felt that his services to the king
deserved some recognition.
The way in which Cavalier was received by Chamillard did not disturb these
golden dreams: the minister welcomed the young colonel like a man whose worth
he appreciated, and told him that the great lords and ladies of the court were not
less favourably disposed towards him. The next day Chamillard announced to
Cavalier that the king desired to see him, and that he was to keep himself
prepared for a summons to court. Two days later, Cavalier received a letter from
the minister telling him to be at the palace at four o'clock in the afternoon, and he
would place him on the grand staircase, up which the king would pass.
Cavalier put on his handsomest clothes, for the first time in his life perhaps taking
trouble with his toilet. He had fine features, to which his extreme youth, his long
fair hair, and the gentle expression of his eyes lent much charm. Two years of
warfare had given him a martial air; in short, even among the most elegant, he
might pass as a beau cavalier.
At three o'clock he reached Versailles, and found Chamillard waiting for him; all
the courtiers of every rank were in a state of great excitement, for they had
learned that the great Louis had expressed a wish to meet the late Cevenol chief,
whose name had been pronounced so loud and so often in the mountains of
Languedoc that its echoes had resounded in the halls of Versailles. Cavalier had
not been mistaken in thinking that everyone was curious to see him, only as no
one yet knew in what light the king regarded him, the courtiers dared not accost