He passed with no distinction, being forty-second in rank, but above his friend des Mazis, who was fifty-sixth. His appointment, therefore, was due to an entire absence of rivalry, the young nobility having no predilection for the arduous duties of service in the artillery. He was eligible merely because he had passed the legal age, and had given evidence of sufficient acquisitions.
In the former line he worked diligently and became expert. With his instructor Duteil he grew intimate and the friendship was close throughout life. He associated on the best of terms with his old friend des Mazis and began a pleasant acquaintance with Gassendi. So faithful was he to the minutest details of his profession that he received marks of the highest distinction.
Nevertheless he found almost, if not altogether, for the first time a real friend in the person of des Mazis, a youth noble by birth and nature, who was assigned to him as a pupil-teacher, and was moreover a foundation scholar like himself.
Des Mazis had a brother in it; the ardent young Corsican would be nearer his native land, and might, perhaps, be detached for service in his home. They were both nominated in September, but the appointment was not made until the close of October.