Saturday, January 28, 2012

Historical Fiction - Scaramouche

Scaramouche is an interesting story set in France in the period of the French Revolution.  I am finding it a little difficult to follow the English translated from the French so I am reading the story slowly. First sentence in the book tells us the protagonist Andre-Louis, a lawyer from the village of Gavrillac, was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. 

Early in the story, his friend Philippe de Vilmorir, a divinity student, has gotten himself killed in a duel with the Marquis de la Tour Azyr.   The background to his death is very simple. A vassal of Lord Gavrillac was stealing pheasants from the property of the Marquis and the gamekeeper on the property killed him. Philippe, with his sense of justice, wanted reparation for the vassal's widow.  Philippe's meeting with Lord Gavrillac did not go well.   Lord Gavrillac, Godfather to Andre-Louis, wants his niece Aline to marry the Marquis and certainly did not think that the family of a thieving vassal deserved reparation.   Philippe was more hopeful about his meeting scheduled with the Marquis himself.  To Andre-Louis' shock, Philippe ended up being killed in an unfair duel with the Marquis.  The Marquis admitted that he was bothered by the oratorical skills of Phillipe.  Suddenly, Philippe's fight for justice becomes a fight against the wealthy nobility.  That in turn becomes Andre-Louis' fight and his weapon is his oratory skills.

I am on page 96 and Scaramouche, described as a villainous-looking fellow, has appeared in the story.  It took me a while but to figure out that Scaramouche and his company of 12 which included Climene, Leandre, Harlequin, and Rhodomont were actors.

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