Dated at the beginning of the 1500s, the action starts in the Court of the King of France. He is fretting because at some time in the past, when the English ruled part of France, one of the French Crown Jewels, a beautiful ruby, was taken from France and put among the English Crown Jewels. So Francis, the King, decides on going to England on a visit to the English King, the young Henry the Eighth, finding out where the jewel is, purloining it before leaving, and restoring it to its place among his own Crown Jewels. This all goes pretty well, except that King Henry notices that the jewel is missing, and a chase is made after them.
Come on, I tell you. There, I'm not speaking boastingly, Denis, my lad. I am no master of fence, but I can do precisely what I please with your weapon, disarm you at every encounter, or turn your point whichever way I choose. There: you see." For nettled by his words, and in a futile effort to prove that they were untrue, the lad attacked sharply once again, made about a dozen passes, to find himself perfectly helpless in his adversary's hands, and at last stopped short, lowered his point to the floor, and stood with both hands resting on the hilt.
"You are right, sir," he said. "It's horrible. I thought I could; but I can't fence a bit."
At that moment there was a sharp click of the outer door, and the doctor hurriedly began to sheathe his rapier, but not quickly enough for his action to be unseen. The arras was thrown aside, and a tall handsome young cavalier strode into the ante-chamber and stopped short in astonishment.
"Words and wonder!" he cried. "A duel? or young Denis defending h
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