The Baldwin Library
THE KNIGHT OF THE
AUGUSTE DRAWS HIS SWORD.
THE KNIGHT OF THE
I -OW did children use to be naughty ?"
asked little Fred, coming out of a
"Do you want to be naughty after
some new old fashion ?" laughed his sister.
"Don't, Susey-only tell me what they could
have had to be naughty about, when they had
I think you are always worst when you have
no lessons," returned Susan.
"Well," said Fred, who was of an inquiring
turn, "I should like to know what sort of a story
any one would have made of a boy long ago,
when they wore swords, and shot with bows and
4 The Knight of the Feathery Sword.
"I think, Susan," said mamma, that I could
at least find you a contemporary story of a boy in
the sword-wearing days. It is French."
Fred made a -sort of howl of disgust.
"It is," added mamma, "a little play, and if
Susan likes to translate it, perhaps you and your
cousins could act it next week. It comes from
one of the first books that were written really for
children,-only a hundred years ago. It was
just before the French Revolution, when the
nobility in France never appeared in full dress
without their swords, and moreover they thought
there was an immense distance between them
and every one of lower station."
Had they lessons then ?"
Oh, yes-or nobody would have written the
story," said Susan; "but pray go on, mamma."
"I was only going to tell you to fancy the
scene a fine large house, built round a court. The
windows are many and tall, the floors polished,
and not carpeted, the chairs stand stiff round the
wall, and there is very little furniture. There is
a grand staircase to the reception-rooms, and it is
a sort of measure of welcome, how far the family
go down it to meet a guest or to lead him back,
The Knight of tke Feathery Sword. 5
rdconduire, as they call it. The lady mother if
full dressed for the day would be in a hoop with
a rich brocade petticoat, a train of satin over it,
a powdered head with a lace cap on the summit
of her hair drawn over a cushion, and high-heeled
shoes. The boys would have tail coats, and be
altogether a good deal like small footmen in very
full livery. You will observe that the conceited
young Auguste considers his visitors as too far be-
neath him to be worth going to meet, though they
are evidently as well educated and better mannered
than himself. In fact I should guess Renaud to
be intended to be a gentleman's son, and the
Dupr6s the children of a notary or lawyer in
some way dependent on Auguste's father.
THE KNIGHT OF THE FEATHERY
AUGUSTE, } Children of Mme. d'Orval.
DUPRE THE ELDER, Visitors.
DUPRi THE YOUNGER,
NANETTE, A maid.
6 The Knight of the Feathery Sword.
SCENE. A salon in a house at Paris.
Auguste. My birthday It was as well to re-
mind me, I never should have thought of it!
Well, I shall get something from my mamma.
What will she give me? Nanette had something
under her. apron when she went to her, and
would not let me come in too. But that I must
be on my good behaviour on such a day, I'd
soon have made her show me what it was. But
hush, here comes mamma.
Enter MME. D'ORVAL (bringing in a sword
Mme. d'Orval. Many happy returns of the day,
my boy, and something more-
Auguste (bowing). 0 mamma! What is that?
Mme. d'Orval. Something that will become
Auguste. For me! O let me have it, dear
mamma, I will be so good-so attentive.
Mme. d'Orval. I dare say. But take care!
Men wear swords, not boys. The wearer must
be composed and well-behaved. It is not for
the sword to do honour to the man, but for the
man to do honour to the sword.
The Knight of the Feathery Sword. 7
Auguste. Oh I shall do honour to mine!
Mine. d' Orval. Only by your good behaviour,
Auguste. Oh yes, mamma, you shall see.
(Trying to put it on, but without success till his
mother helps him.)
Mme. d'Orval. There, it sits well.
Auguste. Yes, yes, I knew it would.
Mme. d'Orval. Only do not forget. (She is
going out but returns.) I am sending for your
playfellows. Try to show yourself really a gentle-
Auguste (paces gravely about, often looking
round him at his sword.) There, now I am a
finished gentleman. Let the little mean fellows
come! They shall not presume any longer now
I have a sword. If they take it ill, then out with
the sword! Stay! let me see if it has a good blade.
(Draws his sword and looks round furiously.)
Do you laugh at me, Sir? One! two! What,
you would defend yourself? Die, you rascal.
Enter HENRIETTE, running.
Henriette. Ah! Auguste, are you mad, what
are you doing with that thing ?
8 The Knight of the Feathery Sword.
Auguste (sheathing it). What a gentleman
Henriette. Whom do you want to fall upon?
Auguste. The first who fails in respect to me.
Henriette. What, me?
Auguste. I should advise you to take care!
You might get nothing worse than a cuff, but as
to those little common fellows-sword in hand-
(He is going to draw it.)
Henriette. 0 don't, brother. Only tell me what
kind of respect you require.
Auguste. Low bows in the first place.
Henriette (makes him the lowest curtsey). Your
most obedient servant, my lord brother.
Auguste. I say, Henriette, I wont be laughed
Henriette. I am quite serious. I only want to
know how to treat you, and it would be well if
your friends knew.
Auguste. As to that, I shall let them know that
I am to be minded and have my own way !
Henriette. Indeed! and if they like theirs?
Auguste. Trumpery rogues! with neither
courage nor sword!
Henriette. Well, mamma could not have made
The Knight of the Feathery Sword. 9
you a better present, if it is to bring out such
Auguste. But, sister, don't tell mamma.
Henriette. What, not let her know what a hero
she has for a son ? Was it not just what she told
you was its use-to make yourself respected?
Come, what did she say ?
Auguste (sulkily). Why, that a man should do
honour to his sword, not the sword to the man.
Henriette. And there's something very much
Auguste (taking it off and looking at it.) In-
deed ? I see nothing wanting to it.
HPnriette. What, not a blue and silver sword-
Auguste. Right, Henriette; you have got
plenty of ribbons.
Henriette. Ay! only promise not to treat me
some day to a fine sword-stroke.
Auguste. There's my hand on it. Make haste.
They will soon be here, and I want them to see
me in my glory.
Henriette. Let me have it, then.
Auguste. There, put it on the table in my
room that I may find it when I want it.
So The Knight of the Feathery Sword.
Nanette. Master Renaud and the two Masters
Dupr6s are below.
Auguste. Let them come up. Am I to go
downstairs after them?
Nanette. My lady desired me to tell you to
Auguste. No, it is fitter they should come up
Henriette. But if mamma desires?
Auguste. As if they were worth the trouble!
I'm coming. What are you doing there? And
my sword-knot? Run, and let me find it ready
on my table (going), you understand.
Henriette (alone). Little rogue, how saucy he is.
Luckily I have the sword, and here comes
mamma. (Enter Mme. d'Orval.) Ah mamma,
I was just going to you.
Mme. d' Orval. What are you doing with your
Henriette. I promised to put a knot to it, but
I only did so to get it safely from him. I found
him full of bravado, and I am really afraid what
he may do to his playfellows with it.
Mme. d'Orval. Foolish little fellow, I'll take
TheKnight of the Feathery Sword. 11
care that such exploits should not be much to his
glory. Give me the sword.
Henriette. Here it is: I hear him coming.
Mme. d'Orval. Run and make his knot, and
bring it to me when it is ready.
AUGUSTE enters, walking first, with his hat on;
the two DUPRgS and RENAUD behind, bare-
Dupre (aside to RENAUD). How polite!
Renaud (aside to DUTPR). It seems to be the
fashion to receive company with the hat on, and
to walk first.
Auguste. What's that?
Duprd. Nothing, M. d'Orval.
Auguste. Something not meant for me to
Auguste. I will know.
Renaud. If you had a right to ask.
Dupre. Gently, Renaud; this is not becoming
in a strange house.
Renaud. It is less becoming to be rude in
12 The Knight of the Feathery Sword.
Auguste (haughtily). Rude? I rude? What,
because I am walking before you ?
Renaud. Of course. When you pay us a visit,
we give you the precedence.
Auguste. That is only from duty. But from
me to you-
Renaud. Well, if you think it beneath you to
treat us properly, why did you invite us?
Auguste. I did not invite you. It was my
Renaud. Then let us go and thank her for her
kindness, and tell her that her son thinks it
beneath him to be civil to us. (Going.)
Auguste. You can't take a joke. I am glad to
see you. My mother asked you to please me,
for it is my birthday. Stay, I entreat-
Dupre the younger. Your birthday, M. d'Orval ?
Dupre. I wish you joy.
Renaud. So do I: (aside) and also somewhat
Duprd the younger. Have you very pretty
Auguste. 0, of course.
Dupre the younger. Plenty of sugar-plums?
Auguste. I get sugar-plums every day.
The Knight of the Featnery Sword. 13
Duprd the younger. Money, money (counting
on his fingers.) Two or three crowns?
Auguste. Better still. Nobody here present
has a right to wear one but me
Duprd the younger. If I had got it, I could
wear it as well as you.
Auguste (with infinite contempt). Poor little
fellow! What are you two muttering there?
You ought to be playing with me.
Duprc. Then give us the opportunity.
Renaud. The one at home should find amuse-
ment for his guests.
Auguste. What means that ?
[Enter HENRIETTE withaplateof cakes, curtseying.
Henriette. Good morning, gentlemen; I hope I
see you well.
Renaud. At your service, mademoiselle. (They
kiss her hand.)
Henriette. Brother, mamma sends this for your
friends till the orgeat is ready, when I will pour
Renaud. That will be a great honour, made-
Auguste. We don't want you here (aside). Ah,
my knot ?
14 The Knight qf the Feathery Sword.
Henriette. You will find it in your room.
Auguste (sits down). Come, take chairs and
sit. (The boys look at one another and seat them-
selves. AUGUSTE helps himself largely, gives a
little bit to the youngest, and leaves nothing for
the other two.) They will bring some more
presently, and then you shall have some.
Renaud. We expect nothing.
Duprd. If these are gentleman's manners-
Auguste. As if one was to put oneself out for
low fellows like you! I told you there was more
coming; do you understand?
Auguste (rising). What do you mean ? Do you
know who I am ?
Renaud. A very ill-mannered boy.
Auguste. This to me, a nobleman !
Renaud. And a very rude nobleman.
Auguste (striking him). I'll teach you. (He
runs out; RENAUD would have followed, but he
shuts the door.)
Dupre. There! he will tell his mother a fine
Renaud. His mother is a lady! I should tell
The Knzght of the Feathery Sword. 15
her, if he did not. She did not send for us to be
Dupre the younger. She will send us home in
Renaud. No, we will all go to Mme. d'Orval.
[Re-enter AUGUSTE, with his sheathed sword. The
two DuPR~s hide, one in a corner, the other
lehinda chair, RENAUD stands firm,AuGUSTE
Auguste. I'll teach you,'you impertinent fellow!
[Draws the sword. Out comes, instead of a blade,
a long turkey's feather: the two DUPRES
laugh and come out.
Duprd. Why don't you prove your sword ?
Renaud. No, don't tease him further.
Duprd the younger. So that's what he alone has
a right to wear !
Duprd. He can't hurt anyone. Good morning
to the Knight of the Feathery Sword.
Renaud. No, no, he is grieved enough. Wait,
and we will make it up with him.
[Enter MME. D'ORVAL and HENRIETTE. The
boys low low; AUGUSTE turns aside, crying
Mme. d'Orval. What did I hear?
16 The Knight of the Feathery Sword.
Duprd. Indeed, Madame, this was not our
Mme. d'Orval. Certainly not; it was my own
precaution on finding how little my son under-
stood the true use of a sword, or the mode of
showing himself a gentleman.
Renaud. Pray forgive him, madame; perhaps I
Mme. d'Orval. On the contrary, you have
shown yourself by far the -fittest to wear this
sword. Accept it from me, as soon as I have
restored the blade. For you, sir, you must keep
your birthday alone. You shall never have a
sword till you have shown that you deserve it.