Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
Monsieur Beaucaire
Booth Tarkington (1869–1946)
Monsieur Beaucaire, by Booth Tarkington (1900). In this sparkling and graceful story the author presents a supposed episode in the life of Louis-Philippe de Valois, cousin of Louis XV. of France, who is masquerading as Monsieur Beaucaire. This accomplished prince, bent upon adventure and desirous of having perfect freedom in the choice of a bride, goes to England in the suite of the Marquis de Mirepoix disguised as a barber. Arrived at Bath he assumes the rôle of gamester and, while amusing himself, falls in love with the beautiful Lady Mary Carlisle. The Duke of Winterset, who is paying his addresses to this lady, is trapped by Beaucaire while cheating at cards, and fearful of exposure consents to introduce the supposed barber as his friend, the Duke de Chatreaurien, at Lady Malbourne’s ball, where he charms all by his grace and elegance, and is favored by a rose from Lady Mary. His social success is assured from that time and his suit for the hand of the fair Mary prospers until he is suddenly set upon by the jealous Duke of Winterset and his confederates. Brutally attacked by them in the presence of his lady love, who has but just assented to his proposal Beaucaire is accused of being a low-born lackey. After displaying his skilled swordsmanship against overwhelming odds, he is borne off by his servants wounded and too faint to justify himself in the eyes of Lady Mary, who now turns coldly from him. The climax of the tale is reached one week later in the Assembly Room, where a brilliant throng gathers to greet the ambassador of Louis XV. and other French nobles. Here, Beaucaire, hailed as the Duke of Orleans by his respectful countrymen, confronts those who have scorned and derided him and tells his story in the presence of the humiliated beauty and the disgraced Duke of Winterset. Then, after announcing his intention of wedding his sweet cousin in France, whose devotion he has previously failed to appreciate, Beaucaire takes leave of the chagrined Lady Mary, who regrets her lamentable mistake.  1

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