Page:Yule Logs.djvu/252

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THE KING OF SPAIN'S WILL


By JOHN BLOUNDELLE-BURTON


CHAPTER I

I CAN tell you there was a pretty bustle around Paris that night when the news came of the downfall of the old Fox—the fox being none other than Cardinal Alberoni, who had just been turned out of Spain for his intrigues, King Philip V. having had enough of him. Not that the man, who had been a gardener's son, and a sort of buffoon once to the Duke of Parma, was so wondrous old, since in this year of grace 1719 he was but fifty-five. Only, when a man is a scheming knave, who has passed his full prime, and is also a fox—why, one generally calls him an old one.

Now, the news of Alberoni's disgrace at Madrid came first to us at Versailles, just about four of the afternoon, what time we of the Grey Musketeers were going off duty, our place till midnight being taken by those of the cavalry regiment of Vermandois, which had arrived a week ago from Blois—came at the hands of the Comte St. Denis de Pile, who had been sent off post-haste to Paris with the information, and also with another piece of intelligence, at which, I protest, not one of us could help laughing, serious enough though the thing was. This news being none other than that the crafty old Italian, who was on his way to Marseilles, there to embark with all his wealth for his native land, had absolutely carried off in his possession the will of the late King of Spain, Charles II.,

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