John Bloundelle-Burton

Traitor and True

The doors of the Taverne Gabrielle, in the Rue des Franc Bourgeois in the Marais, stood open to all passers-by, and also to the cool wind blowing from the south-east. This evening, perhaps because it was summer-time, and perhaps, also, because it was supper-time for all in Paris from his Splendid Majesty down to the lowest who had any supper to eat, the appropriately named tavern--since directly opposite to it was the hôtel which Henri IV. had built for the fair Gabrielle d'Estrées--was not so full as it would be later on.

Indeed, it was by no means full, and the landlord, with his family, was occupying the time during which he scarcely ever had a demand for a pint of wine, or even a pigeolet, to have his own supper.

There were, however, some customers present--since when was there ever a time that the doors of a cabaret which is also an eating-house, and that one of good fame in a populous neighbourhood, did not have some customers beneath its roof at every hour of the day from the moment the doors opened until they closed? And the Taverne Gabrielle was no exception to this almost indisputable fact.

In one corner of the great, square room there sat an ancient bourgeois with his cronies sipping a flask of Arbois; in another a young man in the uniform of the Régiment de Perche was discussing a savoury ragout with a demoiselle who was masked; close by the open door, with the tables drawn out in front of it, though not too near to it to prevent free ingress and egress, were two men who, in an earlier period than that of Le Dieudonné, might have been termed marauds, swashbucklers, bretteurs, or heaven knows what.
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