The Three Musketeers HTML version

The Ballet Of La Merlaison
On the morrow, nothing was talked of in Paris but the ball which the aldermen of the city
were to give to the king and queen, and in which their Majesties were to dance the
famous La Merlaison-- the favorite ballet of the king.
Eight days had been occupied in preparations at the Hotel de Ville for this important
evening. The city carpenters had erected scaffolds upon which the invited ladies were to
be placed; the city grocer had ornamented the chambers with two hundred
FLAMBEAUX of white wax, a piece of luxury unheard of at that period; and twenty
violins were ordered, and the price for them fixed at double the usual rate, upon
condition, said the report, that they should be played all night.
At ten o'clock in the morning the Sieur de la Coste, ensign in the king's Guards, followed
by two officers and several archers of that body, came to the city registrar, named
Clement, and demanded of him all the keys of the rooms and offices of the hotel. These
keys were given up to him instantly. Each of them had ticket attached to it, by which it
might be recognized; and from that moment the Sieur de la Coste was charged with the
care of all the doors and all the avenues.
At eleven o'clock came in his turn Duhallier, captain of the Guards, bringing with him
fifty archers, who were distributed immediately through the Hotel de Ville, at the doors
assigned them.
At three o'clock came two companies of the Guards, one French, the other Swiss. The
company of French guards was composed of half of M. Duhallier's men and half of M.
Dessessart's men.
At six in the evening the guests began to come. As fast as they entered, they were placed
in the grand saloon, on the platforms prepared for them.
At nine o'clock Madame la Premiere Presidente arrived. As next to the queen, she was the
most considerable personage of the fete, she was received by the city officials, and placed
in a box opposite to that which the queen was to occupy.
At ten o'clock, the king's collation, consisting of preserves and other delicacies, was
prepared in the little room on the side of the church of St. Jean, in front of the silver
buffet of the city, which was guarded by four archers.
At midnight great cries and loud acclamations were heard. It was the king, who was
passing through the streets which led from the Louvre to the Hotel de Ville, and which
were all illuminated with colored lanterns.