Note (on this and all my writings): the following text is merely a "rough draft" of what the final product shall be. The final "smooth draft" (if I may so call it) will perhaps read somewhat differently; however, the main ideas shall remain!
THE MISADVENTURES of JOHN AND FRANK!
An Upcoming Swashbuckling, Comic Adventure Novel
By: Ted Anthony Roberts
(c)copyright 2017 by Ted Anthony Roberts and The Swashbuckling Press
"Really, you cannot be serious, John!" says a large, pudgy, and yet slightly muscular man, who appears to be around thirty years in age.
"Oh, but I am, Frank!" says his friend, who's a foot taller than his fellow comrade; and, is thin. He also appears to be in his thirties.
"You mean to tell me,” states Frank, with great disbelief, “that this Duchess has actually asked for a rendezvous with you?"
"And why not, you doubter?" says his friend, while pulling from his person a rather delicate and perfumed handkerchief. "Here's the proof! You think that this thing is mine? As you may or may not have known,” he adds, assuring his friend, “Madame Duchess de Levy is an acquaintance of mine. A new acquaintance – but, an acquaintance nonetheless!"
"Well, I must confess," says the other, with slight admiration, and while shaking his head a bit, "that this really does shock me. You, a mere guard in Charles II’s service, having a rendezvous with a Duchess!"
"Well, believe it, you animal!" forcefully implies John, with a devilish grin. "This isn't the dark ages, you know! We're living in the latter part of the seventeenth century; and, this modern woman – as are all the carefree ladies of these days – simply adores a handsome soldier!"
The other merely laughs lightly as a reply.
"You may laugh now, Frank, but after tonight, you'll laugh no longer!"
"Why?" asks the other, while still laughing a bit. And adds, with a bit of sarcasm: "Are you taking me with you on your rendezvous?"
"Yes!" pronounces John, with a certain boldness.
At this, Frank stops his laughing completely, and starts glaring at his friend with even more disbelief. “What!” he barely stammers out.
“That’s right, Frank − you’re coming with me!”
“But, John,” he protests, “whatever for?” Then, while leaning forward toward his friend, he says to him, in a certain strange way: “Isn’t that the sort of thing that should be between a man and his lover only?”
“Even though this woman loves me,” John begins, “I think that she’s a little off in her head!”
“Alright,” confesses Frank, while knitting his brows in slight confusion, “now you’ve really lost me! Whatever are you talking about, man?”
“Well, my friend, I have had a rather odd encounter this morning.”
“An odd encounter?” asks Frank, with a sneer. “You’re a poet, John – you always have odd encounters!”
“I’m being serious, Frank! This encounter got my poetical mind working really hard.”
“I can’t wait to hear this one!” admits Frank, rolling his eyes about, and while beginning to smile once again. “Alright, John, you've got my curiosity up. what happened?”
“Well, I was standing near
“Yes,” says Frank, all ears. “The Porker’s
“Well, some man, of whom I have never met before, had approached me; and, he begun a conversation. At first, I noticed that he was walking along the street very slowly toward my direction, so I thought that he was perhaps engaged into the same type of activity like as myself . . . you know, composition.”
“Yes,” says Frank, again, still all attention, “go on...”
“And, when he approached me, he began his conversation, thus:
“‘Good morning, dear sir,’ he said to me, in a French accent, ‘can you help me with a little problem that I seem to be having?’
“‘Well, I can certainly try,’ I answered him.
“‘Everyone seems to have a motto!’ he oddly announced to me. ‘I am tired of hearing that. However, for the sake of conversation, I am trying to think of one myself . . . Do you have a motto?’ asked he of me, laughingly.
“‘A motto?’ I replied, my eyes widening in surprise, for I was truly taken aback by his question. But, then, my eyes turned into grinning eyes, after the example that my mouth was then taking, whilst I answered: ‘Why, sure; I do, in fact, have a motto!’
“‘You do?’ surprisingly asked the stranger, and with an excitable look upon his face.
“‘Yes; it expounds as: My motto is not to have a motto!’
“‘Bravo!’ yelled the man toward me, while beginning to clap wildly. ‘Truly a great motto! A treasure of a mind you have there.’
“‘So, you really hate people's mottos, eh?’ I asked the man, after he was finished showering me with these complements.
“‘Mottos do not bother me as much as something else does,’ declared he.
“‘Oh?’ I asked.
“‘Tis true,’ was his answer. ‘But what truly does bother me are philosophies!’
“‘And, do you have your own philosophy?’ I asked him, with a sinister smile.
“This time the stranger widened his eyes. But, then, and following my example, he began smiling as well, while saying: ‘Yes, I do, as a matter of fact, have a philosophy!’
“‘Great!’ I said, highly amused. ‘And, what is it?’
“‘This: My philosophy is not to have a philosophy!’
“‘Well said,’ I announced, ‘but you steal my saying!’
“‘It was so great, it could not be improved.’
“‘You flatter me.’ I replied, in doubt.
“‘I flatter a great poet!’
“‘Ah! You know of my poetry, then?’
“‘No doubt,’ was his declaration. ‘You are, indeed, a master! I have read several of your compositions.’
“‘Truly? Well, that is why you shower me with complements, then!’
“‘You've found me out! So much the better. Yes, it is because of you that I, myself, have traveled the long road of poetry. But, I can never out-do you on flowery words – just like your saying just now!’
“‘But there really was nothing to it,’ I added, with true consent.
“‘Oh, but you are too modest, sir! Can you not see your own genius?’
“‘Genius, you say?’ was my mechanical response.
“‘Admirably and deservedly so!’
“‘Surely, you give me too much credit,’ I replied, beginning to feel a little ill at my ease.
“‘No, I don't! But, no matter; I am just glad to finally meet you – the greatest poet in
“‘I think that you go too far, sir,’ I said, beginning to knit my brows.
“‘Well, if you think so, then I will keep my enthusiasm to myself . . . shall we collaborate?’
“‘Upon what?’ I asked, again taken aback.
“‘On poetry, of course!’
“‘You mean that you and I write a piece together?’
“‘Exactly, so!’ said he, grinning from ear to ear.
“‘Well . . . nothing inspires me at this time.’
“‘It will come to you as, in time, it comes to all great poets!’
“‘Well, perhaps sometime we could, perhaps, collaborate upon some poetry or other − perhaps!’ I said, truly stammering.
“‘Great! How about tomorrow?’
“‘Tomorrow?" I replied, almost in a shout. ‘Well . . . if not at that time, then some other time . . . perhaps. I will let you know . . . I tell you what, just tell me your address, and I will appear at your lodgings when I am ready.’
“‘Wonderful! I live at the hotel of the Duke de Chantilet; over on
“‘Well, in that case, perhaps we will meet soon. Take care!’ I said, beginning to walk away, without even bothering to ask whom to call upon; that is, to whom I was just speaking.
“‘Adieu, great poet!’ he called out to me, as I scurried away.
“‘Adieu,’ I said back to him, while still walking briskly.
“‘Goodnight, sweet Prince,” I heard him yelling in the distance, “parting is such sweet sorrow!’
“And?” Frank asked, after hearing this strange story, and nearly yelling out the question, and looking truly perplexed. “What’s the big deal about that? So, you met a crazy man − what of it?”
“Didn’t you hear me, Frank? His address is the home of the Duke de Chantilet. That’s where my rendezvous is supposed to be held at midnight with the Duchess!”
Frank looks confused.
“Look, my friend,” continues John, “that encounter with the French stranger was a little too odd for me. I think the fellow was merely trying to size me up – for what reason I cannot say! However, if he lives at the same home as my lady Duchess de Levy, then there could be some danger involved.”
“Oh, what an imagination you poets have!” yells Frank, rolling his eyes about, once again; but, this time in disbelief.
“Well, you can laugh and believe not; but, you are still coming with me!”
“Says who?” demands Frank, his brows frowning.
“Says your best friend – me! Come on, Frank, I really need your help.”
Silence ensues for a moment. But, then, after breathing a heavy sigh, Frank finally gives in to his friend’s wishes: “Oh, alright, you scared goat!”
Late that night, we see the form of two men sneaking around a large home on
“Hey, watch it, Frank!” yells out John, with slight pain. “You’re tripping over me.”
“Well, I can’t see a thing!” says Frank, in response. “Where’s the moon at tonight, anyway? There's only one streetlight near here, and it's only shining in the middle of the property.”
“Quiet, you animal!” is the reply. “Do you want everyone to hear you?”
“Well, what exactly is it that you want me to do here, anyway?”
“I'm going to need you for your great sword expertise, as crazy as that notion may sound!”
Frank begins to laugh. “John, I’m the worst swordsman in our regiment!”
“Well, no one will know it unless you tell them! Now, quiet about that; and, if I run into trouble – you know, like fall into an ambush – the assailants won’t know that you are a clumsy cow!”
Frank laughs again. “Clumsy cow! That was a good one.”
“Quiet, you beast! You’re being just too loud. Now, stay right here, and keep an eye out. I’m supposed to meet her by that tree in about five minutes.”
“Good luck, lover boy!” says Frank, with a giggle.
“Do you have to talk so loudly?”
“Sorry, John; but, I’m not good at talking quietly.”
“Well, too bad this isn’t one of your belching contests at the Porker’s
Again, Frank laughs. “Belching contest! That’s a good one.”
“Oh, never mind! Just stay here, and try to be quiet. But, if you see anything suspicious, then please, by all means, do something!”
“You want me to belch?”
“Oh−oh! You're in a rare mood tonight!” At this, John walks away from a giggling Frank, and advances toward the tree.
This tree, being a large oak, is set dead in the middle of the front of the property. The single streetlamp, which is set at the road − which runs along the side of the home − dully illuminates that single spot on the property. That is, it shines slightly on the tree; a perfect spot for John to meet his lady.
As midnight approaches, John waits patiently for the Duchess to arrive. Trying hard not to look into Frank’s direction, so as not to arouse any suspicions of his presence, John keeps busy by watching the front door of the mansion – even though it is hard not to look into Frank’s direction, for he seems to be making small noises every so often, which is infuriating John to no avail.
At about one minute after midnight, John gets tapped upon the shoulder, which causes him to jump slightly. Spinning around, he finds that he is face to face with the lovely Duchess de Levy!
“Oh, my dear!” he says to her, almost breathless. “You have startled me. Why didn’t you come from your home? I’ve been watching the front door, and I didn’t see you come out.”
“I’ve been walking for a while," she says to him, in a slithering voice, whilst looking up at the sky, "taking in the lovely night air.”
“Stop toying with my emotions!” she suddenly bursts out, with a heaving sigh, turning her back toward him, and acting as if she's about to cry.
“By speaking about people’s toilet habits?” he asks, slightly confused.
Suddenly spinning around once again, she throws herself into his arms, while looking into his eyes, rather amorously. “How strong you are, you handsome devil!”
“Well," he replies, adding a mischievous grin to his face, "I can’t complain myself.”
Suddenly, they both hear a small giggle coming from Frank’s direction.
“What was that?” asks the Duchess, alarmed, spinning her head toward the noise.
Knowing who it is, John tries to clear the air. “Pay no attention, my dear; it’s just an owl that I had heard earlier.”
“I need you to kill my husband!” she quickly shouts, turning back to him, and almost in a scream. But, then, just as quickly as she looked back at him, she suddenly turns her back toward him once more, and starts sniffling, as if she is really crying this time.
“I’m not so sure that sounds like a good first date, my dear,” he says to her, his brows frowning . . . Then, with a grin, he adds: “Shouldn’t we at least kiss first?”
“How can you even think of kissing at a time like this?" She yells out, without bothering to turn around to him. "When my life is in such danger?”
“Danger?" he inserts, beginning to look worried. "What kind of danger?”
Spinning around, she throws herself into his arms once again. “Oh, you are so handsome,” she exclaims, “it is so hard not to look at you!”
Again, giggling is heard from the shadows, and coming from Frank’s direction.
“Shut up, you mangled trash of an owl!” screams out the Duchess toward Frank.
“Such passion, my dear,” says John, with widened, passionate eyes. “Kiss me before I lose it!”
She suddenly plants a huge kiss upon his lips, while they both begin hearing loud belches coming from Frank’s direction.
Breaking their embrace, she asks: “Was that the owl?”
“Actually,” says John, “I think that’s our cue that somebody is coming!”
“I’m not going to ask you how you know this, but if that is the case, then we must part ways. I will contact you with your instructions.”
“But I didn’t say that I was going to...”
With her slipping away, he’s not able to finish his sentence, and it dies upon his lips as she disappears into the night – not even walking near her home, but instead disappears somewhere upon a lonely London street. And, while still looking into this direction, John receives a tap upon his shoulder from someone behind. After jumping once again, he spins around.
Expecting to see Frank, he is surprised that it’s not his friend at all, but instead he is facing his unknown French poet from this morning.
“Ah, it is you, Monsieur John Smith!” says the Frenchman.
“Oh, how do you do, mister . . . mister?”
“Paul du Voy’s the name.”
“Ah, Mister du Voy!” says John, bowing.
“A bit late for composition, do you not think, Monsieur Smith?”
“Composition?” asks John, taken aback. “Oh, on poetry! No, sir, I’m not here for that . . . in fact, I was just passing through, and found that I just admired this tree!” he says, patting the tree lightly with his left hand, and looking at it with great interest. "That streetlight, just yonder, throws a brilliant ray of . . . of . . . pertinence upon it!"
"Pertinence? What an odd description! It makes no sense to me."
"Oh, but it makes a lot of sense! In fact, I am in the middle of composing a poem about a tree that is similar to this one. I call the poem: "The Pertinent Tree!"
"I see..." says the Frenchman, a bit confused. But, then, while stroking his moustache with his hand, and squinting his eyes somewhat, and while he scrutinizes the tree from top to bottom, he begins to slowly stammer out these words: "Well, I think that I can see what you are talking about."
"You do?" asks John, somewhat shocked, while taking his eyes off from the tree, and landing his gaze upon du Voy.
"Why, yes, certainly! In fact, I think that I am experiencing some of its pertinence now..."
With that, John again takes a look at this bold tree in front of him, but with some confusing looks.
“Surely, we both can see it now, monsieur," continues du Voy, whilst his eyes continues to gaze the tree. "It’s one of your famous English oaks, and it is truly mighty! But, you mean to say," he adds, while looking back at John, "that you came all the way over to this hôtel just to admire our oak tree?
At this, John − once again − is taken aback!
"Oh, I just knew it!” shouts du Voy.
“Knew what?” John asks, nervously.
“I, too, have to come to this tree at various times to get inspiration for my poetry. I see that great minds think alike – do they not, monsieur?”
“Oh, I agree!” John says, with a sigh of relief. “But, now that I’ve been inspired," he adds, while starting to walk away, "I think that I must be heading along to my own apartment.”
“Not so fast, monsieur!" calls out du Voy.
With that, John stops dead in his tracks, his eyes widening again.
"Why waste the evening?" asks du Voy. "Since you are inspired, and are already here, then perhaps we can go ahead and collaborate!”
Suddenly, more giggles are heard coming from Frank. At this, both men slowly turn their heads into that direction, and stare for a moment into the darkness, until the Frenchman suddenly cries out: “Shut up, you loathsome owl!”
Not daring to look back at Monsieur du Voy, John merely starts jetting out of the yard, while yelling back: “I’ve got to go! Take care, Monsieur du Voy!”
As John advances along the
“Hold up!” yells out Frank toward him.
At this, John finally stops his walking; and when both of them are face to face, Frank asks: “What was that all about? She wants you to kill her husband? What kind of love-making was that?”
“Look, my friend, I’ve told you that there was something fishy going on!” says John to him. “And, the proof was given to you this night.”
“And you were right about that Frenchman, too.”
“Monsieur du Voy?”
“Yes. He’s a strange character.”
“He must have been listening in to our conversation the whole time; what took you so long to belch?”
“Well, I didn’t notice him until that time. He’s a sneaky fellow.”
“Let’s get back to my apartment, and we can discuss it further there.”
Upon advancement into John’s apartment, both John and Frank are shocked to see what they find inside – it’s Monsieur du Voy! And, he is sitting casually in John’s favorite sitting chair.
“Monsieur du Voy!” John yells out upon seeing him. “What are you doing here?”
“Why, Monsieur Smith,” says du Voy, “Are we not supposed to compose a work this night?”
“Aren’t you a strange man!” bellows out Frank toward him.
“Not as strange as your belches, Monsieur Frank Jones!”
“How do you know my name?” asks Frank, confused.
Rising to his feet, Monsieur du Voy advances slightly toward the two curious men. “Oh, I know a great many things, gentlemen. Such as the Duchess hiring Monsieur Smith to do a rather bad murder.”
“So, you’re really not a poet, are you Mister du Voy?” asks John.
“Of course I am, Monsieur Smith! Poetry is my passion. But, I am also secretary to the Duke de Levy, and one of his most dedicated confidents.”
John turns to look at Frank, who also has a bewildered look on his face. “Isn’t it time for another belch, Frank?” he asks him.
“I’m afraid that the time of the owl is over, my friends,” continues du Voy, while John looks back at him. “And, I trust that you gentlemen will not make good on the Duchess’s request either, for the Duke would really be put out over such a matter.”
“Does the Duke even know about all of these things?” asks John of him.
“What a silly question! Who do you think sent me over here?”
Again, John and Frank exchange a look with each other, then back to du Voy.
“Well, what is he expecting of us?” continues John’s questions.
“Of course, monsieur, first of all – not to try and kill him! But, he will also be willing to pay handsomely for any additional information that you can give him concerning his bad wife.”
At this, Monsieur du Voy pulls from his person a small bag of jingling coins. He then tosses it at a shocked John Smith.
“You will find the contents quite pleasant, monsieur,” says du Voy, with a sly smile upon his lips. He then advances the door; and, as he is leaving, he adds: “I trust to hear from you gentlemen within the next few days. I will come back here day after tomorrow to hear of anything new . . . Adieu.”
After which, he leaves, while shutting the door behind him.
Standing alone in the apartment for at least two minutes, neither John nor Frank move or make a sound – which is a unique trick for Frank! Neither, during this period of silence, even look at each other, for they are both in shock.
Suddenly, and breaking them from their spells, they hear a knock on the front door. Finally, after moments of silence and stillness, they both turn to look at the door, as if a horrid expression is written upon it. Knocking again, John decides to open it up. Standing before them, if this evening wasn’t stressful enough already, is none other than the Duchess herself.
“Oh, I didn’t know you weren’t alone, Monsieur John!” she says in surprise, while looking over at a bewildered Frank.
“This is my best friend, Frank Jones,” he says to her, in introduction.
“How do you do, Monsieur Jones,” she says to him, with a slight bow.
“Not really sure, my lady,” he says, in a worried tone.
Turning back to John, she says: “I need to speak to you in private, my dear.”
“Privacy!” yells John, with a new found boldness, and while beginning to walk into the living area. “Well, whatever you need to say to me, you can say in front of Frank!”
“What’s gotten into you, John?” she asks, in a very worried manner. Shutting the front door behind her, she advances into the living area where John has just plopped himself down into his easy chair, and places himself in a very relaxed manner.
Frank remains where he is – just watching this entire scene in amazement.
“What’s going on, John? ” she continues. “I demand you to speak!”
“You demand me to speak? And, you ask what has gotten into me?”
She starts bursting into tears.
“Oh, come off from it!” yells out John to her. “I’m not buying it.”
Stopping her sobbing suddenly, she then looks hard at John. Then, as if by magic, a calm has enveloped her entire person. She then takes on a sinister grin.
“I know what this is about,” she announces. “You’ve seen Monsieur du Voy, haven’t you? Admit it!”
“Yes, I’ll admit it. He was just here before you.”
“So, that explains it! And I suppose that he told you certain things, in order to turn you against me.”
“And you took his word over mine?”
“Well, he didn’t exactly ask me to kill anybody!”
“Oh, so that’s what your trouble is! It’s not like you haven’t killed anyone before!”
“Well, actually, I haven’t. I’m sorry, my lady, but Frank and I don’t exactly come from the same snobby world that you come from – and murder isn’t a part of ours!”
“Oh, you self-righteous...” But, then, she suddenly stops her perusal of that subject, and starts to change her tone once again. “Alright, John, perhaps I have underestimated you.”
Advancing toward the couch, at the opposite end of the living area, she sits herself down across from John. Only Frank remains standing. There’s a moment of uncomfortableness while each person is busying themselves with extreme thoughts.
“I should have been honest with you from the start,” she says to John, finally breaking the silence.
“Naturally,” inserts John, nonchalantly.
“And I should have told you all that has taken place in my life, which would lead me to the fact that my husband really must die.”
“Would you believe that he is trying to kill me?”
“Trying? If that’s true, then why doesn’t he just do it? I mean, how hard can it be?”
“Well, it’s not easy to kill a Duchess without a thorough investigation, much as it is hard to kill a Duke!”
“Of course! So, you would need some stupid soldier boy to do it for you, while you think of an alibi for yourself.”
“It’s not like that, John!” she bursts out with a bit of passion, while leaning forward on the couch. “If you would have followed the plans that I have laid out, no one would have ever suspected you! But, enough of that, I was telling you my reasons.”
“I’m still listening,” inserts John, calmly.
“Whether you believe me or not, the person that you must really watch out for is that sneaky du Voy!”
“Oh? And why is that?”
“Yeah – why is that?” asks Frank, who wants to get at least one word into the conversation.
“Because,” she says, answering them both, “he is in this for selfish reasons. He is after my husband’s fortune.”
“And you’re not?” asks John, a little amused.
“Whether I am or not, can’t you see what du Voy stands to gain if both of us are out of the way? He’s amusing himself by watching both me and my husband plan each other’s demise. And he’s helping this along, and making sure that nothing prevents both of us from succeeding!”
“That’s an amusing story, my dear,” says John, “but where is your proof?”
“Well, first of all, while dealing with du Voy, did you yet speak with my husband concerning the matter as du Voy has pointed out?”
“How could we have? We only spoke of it this evening.”
“Alright, but how will you inform my husband about matters? Is it directly to him, or through du Voy?”
At this, John falls completely silent, while he and Frank look at each other once again.
“You see,” continues the Duchess, “you can’t trust him, either.”
“Well,” says John, while looking back at her, “all I know is that once this mess is all over with, I won’t care who knows what, or who does what. I’m out of this as of this moment. You, your husband, and du Voy, can all jump off
“I’m afraid that you are in this matter whether you want to be or not! Do you really think that du Voy will allow you and Frank to live once all of this is over with? You two are witnesses!”
Once more, John and Frank exchange a look – but this time with worried expressions.
“Well, thank you very much,” screams out John toward the lady, facing her again, “for getting us involved into these affairs!”
“You mean, for getting me involved into these affairs!” suddenly screams Frank toward John. “I wouldn’t have gotten involved if it hadn’t been for you dragging me in!”
“It wouldn’t have mattered, Monsieur Jones,” says the Duchess to him, “for du Voy would kill any close friends or family that John comes into contact with on a daily basis.”
“This guy must be a monster!” bellows out John.
“You have no idea!” confirms the lady. “Look, John, in order to prove to you what I am saying is the truth, please do me a favor and go to my hôtel in the morning to have your own audience with my husband. Ask him yourself, and you will see if du Voy’s story is accurate or not.”
“Alright, I will!”
“But, if you do so, then my life will be in even more danger than it is right now!”
John is silent at that.
“I’m not now asking you not to go, I’m just saying that if you do, then it will no longer be safe for me to go back home again, and then I will need a place to stay.”
“Well, that does make sense. But if I and Frank are in danger, then we must get to the bottom of all this! Frank,” he says, addressing his friend, “let’s put her up at your place until after we talk to Mister Levy. It's possible that your apartment isn't know about just yet.”
“What!” screams Frank, almost in non-belief. “Now you want to involve my apartment into this scandalous affair? What would my neighbors think?”
“They would die from shock that you would actually have a lady staying with you in your apartment!”
“Oh, that’s cold!” says Frank, with a grimace.
THE ADVENTURES OF MONSIEUR DE LA DONAREE THE MUSKETEER is available for purchase. Please click HEREfor more information on this novel, and to read the Introduction & first three chapters! The following two links lead to Amazon.com:
CAPTAIN SKULL: FROM THE MEMOIRS OF SIR CHARLES OF RILEY is available for purchase. Please click HEREfor more information on this novel, and to read the first three chapters! The following two links lead to Amazon.com: