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Full text of "Richelieu : a tale of France"

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http://www.archive.org/details/richelieutaleoff01james 



**>' 



RICHELIEU, 

A TALE OF FRANCE. 



I advise you that you read 
The Cardinal's malice and his potency 
Together: to consider further, that 
What his high hatred would effect, wants not 
A minister in his power. 

SHAKSPEARE. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. I, 



LONDON . 

HENRY COLBURN, NEW BURLINGTON STREET. 

1829. 



-> a.- 



DEDICATION. 




My Dear Sir, 
Your name is too great a one to be trifled 
with, and therefore, I do not put it at the head 
of this page. Should your anticipations in fa- 
vour of this work be realized, and its success be 
equal to my utmost hopes, I dedicate it to you 
in testimony both of my gratitude for your 
kindness, and my admiration for your genius ; 
but should the hand of criticism cut it short 
hereafter, or the frost of neglect wither it in 
the bud, I take a humbler tone, and beg you 
only to accept my thanks for your good wishes 
and kind encouragement. If it should succeed, 
you will, I am sure, receive the work with some 
pleasure on my account ; — if it fail, you will 

;*x5o<H 



VI DEDICATION. 

still accept it a3 the only means I have of ex- 
pressing my feeling of obligation towards you ; 
and, at all events, you will understand my 
motive for not prefixing your name to the 
Dedication of a book, the fate of which is yet 
doubtful. 

The Author. 



* * 



PREFACE 



DEARLY BELOVED READER, 

Although I call the following pages mine, 
and upon the strength of them write myself 
Author, yet I must in truth confess, that I 
have very little to do with them, and still less to 
do with the story they record ; and therefore I 
am fain to treat the world with something of 
my own exclusive composition, in the shape of 
a preface. The facts of the case are as follow : 
I one day possessed myself of a bundle of ma- 
nuscript notes — no matter when or how, *o 
that they were honestly come by, for that is 
all that you, or I, or Sir Richard Birnie, have 
to do with the matter. Now I say they were 



Vlll PREFACE. 

honestly come by, and the onus probandi must 
rest upon the other party. So no more of that. 
My dear Mr. Colburn, where was I? I 
quite forget — Oh, now I have it ! Having 
one day possessed myself of a bundle of manu- 
script notes, — honestly come by, — I proceeded to 
read them, and although the hand was small 
and crooked, with all the frs shaped like Lao- 
coons, and every g like a pair of spectacles, 
yet there was something in the tale there 
written, that made me read it through before 
I rose off my chair, although I did not then 
know, what I have since discovered, that every 
word of it was true. Now this is an advan- 
tage which you, my dear reader, have over me 
in perusing this history for the first time ; for 
unquestionably even upon my pure ipse dixit r 
you will believe that the whole of the three 
volumes which follow, is neither more nor less 
than a plain and simple narration of facts. 



PREFACE. IX 

Nevertheless, in case there should be in the 
world any person so sceptical as to doubt the 
assertion, even of a novelist, I will refer my 
reader to the well-known authorities of the 
day, and merely observe, that though there 
may be some discrepancy in the dates and some 
difference in the names, yet every individual 
circumstance recorded in these pages, will be 
found to be collaterally verified by contempo- 
rary writers of good repute, who, however, did 
not know so much of the detail of the events in 
question as are disclosed in the old manuscript 
alluded to, nor were they, like the writer of 
that document, acquainted with the real causes 
of those movements which shook the whole of 
France, and which, originating in the heart of 
the Court, could only be detected by one who 
was himself a resident there. To you, my dear 
reader, whose confidence in my word I know- 
to be as unbounded as the conscience of a tailor, 
a 5 



X PREFACE. 

or the stomach of an alderman, I have only to 
remark, that the Hero of my tale is by no means 
a fabulous person. 

My story opens with the latter years of the 
reign of Louis XIII. King of France — a pe- 
riod memorable in English annals from the 
civil wars which then raged between Charles I. 
and his rebellious Parliament, and no less me- 
morable in the history of France, as the most 
terrific portion of Richelieu's bloody domination. 
At the death of Henry IV. the Regency of 
the kingdom during her son's minority, was 
seized upon by Mary de Medicis, a woman of 
considerable talent and of vast ambition, whose 
primary object seems to have been, so to secure 
the sovereign power to herself, that Louis du- 
ring her life should remain in a state of tute- 
lage. 

In such projects, but still more in her obsti- 
nate partiality for the celebrated Marechal 



PREFACE. xi 

cTAncre and his wife, originated a thousand 
factions and civil wars, which kept the coun- 
try in a continual state of tumult during the 
King's minority. These factions, and the cir- 
cumstances which they engendered, necessarily 
gave rise to various rapid changes in the Queen's 
ministry, and amidst these, for the first time, 
appeared on the political stage Richelieu, then 
Bishop of Lucon. His prospects yet doubtful, 
and his ambition still in its infancy, Richelieu 
made mildness and courtesy his first steps to- 
wards pre-eminence. He contented himself with 
an inferior station in the Council : his urbanity 
and his talents proved equally agreeable and 
useful; and no one beheld in the calm and 
polished Bishop of Lucon, any promise of the 
aspiring and remorseless Cardinal de Richelieu. 
A circumstance, however, occurred almost in 
the outset of his career, which had nearly thrown 
him for ever from the destined scene of his as- 



Xll PREFACE. 

grandizement. This was the fall of the Mare- 
chal d'Ancre, and the arrest of the Queen- 
mother. 

On the marriage of Louis XIII., the jealous 
eye of Mary de Medicis soon perceived her son's 
first affection towards his young wife, and, fear- 
ful of an influence which might spring up to 
counteract her own, she found means to de- 
stroy, without remorse, the domestic happiness 
of her child, in order to secure her own domi- 
nion over him. But while she fomented every 
disagreement between Louis and his wife, and 
watched the least symptom of reviving affection 
with the suspicious anxiety of uncertain power, 
she blindly suffered near his person a favourite 
who combined with the genius to form great de- 
signs, the most consummate art to conceal them. 
Monsieur de Luynes, it appears, from the first 
moment of his intimacy with the King, pro- 
jected his master's deliverance from the tyranny 
of Mary de Medicis; but lest he should be sus- 



PREFACE. Xlll 

pected of such designs, he hid them beneath 
the mask of levity and thoughtlessness. It 
would be little appropriate here to enter more 
largely into the details of these proceedings. 
Suffice it that in the end the Queen's favourite 
was shot as he entered the palace of the Louvre, 
and she herself was instantly arrested and exiled 
to Blois. Amongst others of her council who 
shared in the fall of the Queen, was Richelieu, 
and for some time he remained in exile at Avig- 
non. 

The Queen's party, however, was still strong 
in France ; and in her misfortunes, the factious 
and discontented, who had formerly opposed her 
measures merely because she held the reins of 
government, now supported her against the 
hand to which those reins had been transferred. 
A civil war seemed inevitable, and in order to 
avert such an event, the King's advisers found 
themselves obliged to negociate with the Prin- 
cess, whom they had dispossessed ; but Mary 



XIV PREFACE. 

rejected all intercession, and it was not till the 
return of Richelieu that any compromise could 
be effected. That minister, however, with the 
deep diplomatic skill for which he was conspi- 
cuous, instantly availed himself of the weak 
point in the character of his mistress, and 
through the medium of her confessor, won her 
to his purpose. A reconciliation was now speed- 
ily effected between Mary and her son, and 
Richelieu having become the friend of the one 
and the confident of the other, saw himself 
placed more surely than ever in the road to 
political eminence. Many circumstances com- 
bined to accelerate his progress. The death of 
the Duke de Luynes, the religious wars still 
raging in the heart of the kingdom, and the re- 
newed differences between the King and his 
mother, — all gave the rising minister the means 
of increasing his power, and the opportunity of 
displaying the vast energies of his extraordinary 
mind. All was subdued before him ; the Queen- 



PREFACE. XV 

mother was exiled ; the Protestants were crush- 
ed ; and the King himself became the slave of 
Richelieu. 

But power so acquired was only to be main- 
tained at the expense of much blood. Con- 
spiracy after conspiracy was formed to cast off 
his dominion, and more than one insurrection 
burst forth in opposition to his tyranny ; but 
each in turn was overthrown, and the blood of 
the conspirators only served to cement the fabric 
of his greatness. Usurped power must still 
have some object for suspicion, and after having 
quelled all his more powerful adversaries, the 
jealousy of Richelieu turned towards the young 
Queen, persecuting her with such uncalled for 
virulence as to induce many to believe that his 
hatred proceeded from some more private and 
personal cause than was apparent. 

In the mean time, Louis himself, seldom call- 
ed upon, except as a state puppet, to sign some 
ordonnance, or hold some council under the di- 
rection of Richelieu, lingered on in inactivity, 



XVI PREFACE. 

yielding one privilege after another to the grasp- 
ing ambition of his minister, without the dig- 
nity of royalty or the peace of private life. It 
is true that, on more than one occasion, he was 
roused by circumstances to put forth the native 
energies of his mind, but this was most fre- 
quently on some trifling occurrence. And 
though the momentary flashes of a vigorous in- 
tellect would show that nature had been origin- 
ally bountiful to him, yet he never evinced any 
steady determination of purpose. Richelieu 
spared no pains to secure the power he had ac- 
quired ; and that he might leave the King no 
means of extricating himself, plunged the king- 
dom in wars and negociations which he well 
knew that none but himself could conduct with 
success. But here indeed his genius showed 
itself resplendent. The government of a world 
seemed in his hands, and yet he managed the 
complicated machine steadily and firmly, with 
a clear, discerning eye, and a calm, unshrinking 



PREFACE. XVli 

heart. Nevertheless, whether it was that the 
multitude of his other avocations diverted his 
attention from the minor regulations of the 
kingdom, or whether, as some believe, he en- 
couraged a disorganized state of the interior for 
political purposes, it must be acknowledged 
that all contemporary accounts represent the 
internal police of France during his administra- 
tion, as in a strangely deranged condition— a 
condition little to have been expected from the 
vigour of his government, and the severe exacti- 
tude of his disposition. 

But so it was. The partizans of the various 
factions which had long been embodied as armies, 
were fain, after his measures had dispersed them 
as considerable bodies, to take refuge in the 
less cultivated parts of the country — the moun- 
tains, the forests, or the wastes ; and as they 
had before lived by anarchy, they now contrived 
to subsist by plunder. The nobles being called 
from their strong holds to expensive cities, and 



XV111 PREFACE. 

compelled by Richelieu's jealousy to show them- 
selves continually at his luxurious Court, could 
no longer maintain the host of retainers which 
had formerly revelled at their expense, and 
these also were obliged to join themselves to the 
various bands of freebooters that infested the 
country. Occasionally a merciless execution of 
some of these banditti awed the rest for a time, 
but upon examining history, even to the end of 
Richelieu's life, we find that while he governed 
the nobles with a rod of iron, saw every attempt 
at conspiracy with a prophet's foresight, and 
repressed it with a giant's strength, he over- 
looked or forgave those crimes which did not 
affect his political situation. 

Such was the state of France at the opening 
of the following history : and now having at- 
tempted to prepare my reader's mind for what 
is to follow, I have only farther to refer him to 
the notes at the end of the third volume, in con- 
firmation of my assertion, that this tale is en- 



PREFACE. XIX 

tirely true. The manuscript from which it is 
rendered in its present form, possessed that air of 
fact which from the first left very little doubt on 
my mind that the narrative was authentic ; but 
not content with this, I examined the best autho- 
rities, and had the pleasure of finding that every 
material circumstance was perfectly unquestion- 
able, and from the acquaintance of the original 
writer with all the most minute points, I cannot 
now divest myself of the idea that he must have 
been, in some degree, an actor in what he nar- 
rates. 

Be that as it may, I feel sure that whoever 
peruses it to the end will be perfectly convinced 
of its truth ; and in the hope that many will do 
so, I leave them to commence their journey, 
wishing them all a safe and happy arrival at its 
conclusion. 



ERRATA. 



VOL. I. 

Page 49, line 5, for ' illuminated,' read ' illumined. 

— 115, — M>,for * shas hent,' read ' has sent.' 

— 182, — 15, for ' the side,' read ' your side.' 

VOL. II. 

Page 65, line 5,/or 'end,' read « beginning.' 

— 185, — 15, for ' whom,' read ' as.' 

VOL. III. 

Page 216, line 18, for 'wave,' read ' waive.' 

— 342, — 17,/or • laid,' read « lain.' 



RICHELIEU. 



CHAPTER I. 

Which shows what a French forest was in the year of 
our Lord 1642, and by whom it was inhabited. 



The vast Sylva Lida, which in the days of 
Charlemagne stretched far along the banks of 
the Seine, and formed a woody screen round 
the infant city of Paris, has now dwindled to a 
few thousand acres in the neighbourhood of St. 
Germain en Laye. Not so in the time of Louis 
the Thirteenth. It was then one of the most 
magnificent forests of France, and extending 
as far as the town of Mantes, took indifferently 
the name of the Wood of Mantes, or the Forest 

VOL. I. b 



2 RICHELIEU. 

of Laye. That portion to the North of St. 
Germain has been long cut down: yet there 
were persons living, not many years since, who 
remembered some of the old trees still standing, 
bare, desolate, and alone, like parents who had 
seen the children of their hopes die around 
them in their prime. 

Although much improvement in all the arts 
of life, and much increase of population had 
taken place during the latter years of Henry 
the Fourth, and under the regency of Mary 
de Medicis ; yet at the time of their son 
Louis the Thirteenth, the country was still 
but thinly peopled, and far different from the 
gay, thronged land, that it appears to-day. 
For besides that it was in earlier days, there had 
been many a bitter and a heavy war, not only 
of France against her enemies, but of France 
against her children. Religious and political 
differences had caused disunion between man 
and man, had banished mutual confidence and 
social intercourse, and raised up those feuds 
and hatreds, which destroy domestic peace, and 



RICHELIEU. 3 

retard public improvement. A midst general dis- 
trust and civil wars, industry had received no en- 
couragement ; and where stand at present many 
a full hamlet and busy village, where the vine- 
yard yields its abundance, and the peasant ga- 
thers in peace the bounty of Nature, were then 
the green copses of the forest, the haunt of the 
wild boar and the deer. The savage tenants 
of the wood, however, did not enjoy its shelter 
undisturbed ; for, in those days of suspicion, 
hunting was a safer sport than conversation, 
and the boughs of the oak a more secure cover- 
ing than the gilded ceilings of the saloon. 

To our pampered countrymen, long nur- 
tured in that peculiar species of luxury called 
comfort, the roads of France even now must 
seem but rude and barbarous constructions, 
when compared with the smooth, joltless cause- 
ways over which they are borne in their own 
land; but in the time of Louis the Thirteenth, 
when all works of the kind were carried on 
by the Seigneur through whose estates they 
passed, few but the principal roads between one 
B 2 



4 RICHELIEU. 

great town and another were even passable for 
a carriage. Those, however, which traversing 
the wood of Mantes, served as means of access 
to the royal residence of St. Germain, were of a 
superior kind, and would have been absolutely 
good, had the nature of the soil afforded a 
steady foundation : but this was not always to 
be found in the forest, and the engineer had 
shown no small ingenuity in taking advantage 
of all the most solid parts of the land, and 
in avoiding those places where the marshy or 
sandy quality of the ground offered no secure 
basis. By these circumstances, however, he 
was obliged to deviate sadly from those prin- 
ciples of direct progression, so dear to all 
Frenchmen ; and the road from St. Germain to 
Mantes, as well as that which branched off from 
it to join the high-road to Chartres, instead of 
being one interminable, monotonous, straight 
line, with a long row of trees, like a file of gre- 
nadiers, on each side, went winding in and out 
with a thousand turnings amongst the old oaks 
of the forest, that seemed to stand forward, and 



RICHELIEU. 5 

stretch their broad branches across it, as if will- 
ing to shelter it from the obtrusive rays of the 
sun. Sometimes, climbing the side of a hill, 
it would suddenly display a wide view over 
the leafy ocean below, till the eye caught the 
towers and spires of distant cities breaking the 
far grey line of the horizon. Sometimes, de- 
scending into the depths of the forest, it would 
almost seem to lose itself amongst the wild 
groves and savannas, being itself the only trace 
of man's laborious hand amidst the wilderness 
around. 

In the heart of the wood, at that point where 
the two roads (which I have mentioned) diva- 
ricated from each other, stood the hut of a 
Woodman, and the abreuvoir where many a gay 
lord of the Court would stop when his hunting 
was over, and give his horse time to drink. 
There, too, many a traveller would pause to 
ask his way through the forest ; so that Philip, 
the woodman, and his young family, were 
known to almost all whom business or pleasure 
brought through the wood of Mantes ; and al- 



6 RICHELIEU. 

though during the course of this true history, 
princes and heroes may become the subjects of 
discourse, it is with Philip that we must com- 
mence our tale. 

It was at that season of the year, when the 
first leaves of summer begin to leave the bran- 
ches from which they sprang, like the bright 
and tender hopes of early years, that fade 
and fall before the autumn of life has fully 
commenced. The sun had abated but little of 
his force, and the days scarcely seemed to have 
contracted their span. 

The time of day, too, was like the period of 
the year, " falling gently into the sear," so that 
it was only a scarce perceptible shadow, stealing 
over the landscape, which told that the great 
power of light was quitting that quarter of the 
globe, to bestow the equal blessing of his smile 
on other nations and on distant climes. That 
shadow had been the signal for Philip the 
woodman to return towards his home, and he 
issued forth from one of the forest paths, near 



RICHELIEU. 

his dwelling, singing as he came the old hunt- 
ing-song of Le bon roi Dagobert.* 

" King Dagobert in days of yore 
Put on his hose wrong side before. 
Says St. Eloi, the king's old squire, 
■ I would not offend, most gracious Sire, 
But may your slave be soundly switch' d, 
If your Majesty is not oddly breech'd,' 

For you 've got the wrong side before.' 
Says the Ring, ' I do not care a groat ; 
One's breeches are scarcely worth a thought ; 
A beggar 's a king when he 's at his ease, 
So turn them about which way you please, 

And be quick, you s 

* This song of Le bon roi Dagobert is in the original 
very long, and contains a great deal of witty ribaldry, 
unfit to be inserted here. The above is a somewhat free 
translation of the first verse, which stands thus in the 
French : 

" Le bon roy Dagobert 

Mettoit ses culottes a renvers. 

Le bon St. Eloi 

Lui dit, Oh mon Roy ! 

Que votre Majeste 

Est bien mal culotte\ 

Eh bien, dit ce bon Roy, 

Je consens qu'on lesmete a Pendroit.'' 



8 RICHELIEU, 

Now St. Hubert, in all probability, is the 
only person who correctly knows how it hap- 
pened, that the very unmeaning and inappli- 
cable ditty of Le bon roi Dagobert, should 
have been appropriated exclusively to the noble 
exercise of hunting, to which it has no reference 
whatever ; but so it has been, and even to the 
present day where is the chasseur who cannot, 
as he returns from the chace, blow the notes, or 
sing the words of Le bon roi Dagobert ? 

Philip, as woodman, had heard it echoed and 
re-echoed through the forest from his very in- 
fancy ; and now, without even knowing that he 
did so, he sang it as a matter of habit, although 
his mind was occupied upon another subject : as 
men are always naturally inclined to employ 
their corporeal faculties on some indifferent ob- 
ject, when their mental ones are intensely en- 
gaged in things of deeper interest. 

Philip advanced slowly along the road, with 
his brow knit in such a manner as to evince 
that his light song had no part in his thoughts. 
He was a man perhaps nearly fifty, still hale 



RICHELIEU. 9 

and athletic, though a life of labour had 
changed the once dark locks of his hair to grey. 
His occupation was at once denoted hv his 
dress, which consisted simply of a long-bodied 
blue coat of coarse cloth, covered over, except 
the arms, with what is called in Britanny, a 
Peau de bicque, or goat-skin : a pair of lea- 
ther breeches, cut off above the knee, with 
thick gaiters to defend his legs from the 
thorns, completed his dress below ; and a 
round broad-brimmed hat was brought far 
over his eyes, to keep them from the glare of 
the declining sun. His apparel was girded 
round him by a broad buff belt, in the left 
of which hung his woodman's knife ; in the 
right he had placed the huge axe, which he 
had been using in his morning's occupation : 
and thus accoutred, Philip would have been 
no insignificant opponent, had he met with any 
of those lawless rovers, who occasionally fre- 
quented the forest. 

As he approached his dwelling, he suddenly 
stopped, broke off his song, and turning round, 
b5 



10 RICHELIEU. 

listened for a moment attentively ; but the 
only noise to be heard was the discordant cry 
of the jay in the trees round about ; and the 
only living things visible were a few wild birds 
overhead, slowly winging their flight from the 
distant fields and vineyards towards their forest 
home. 

Philip proceeded, but he sang no more ; and 
opening the cottage door, he spoke without 
entering. " Charles, 1 ' demanded he, " has the 
young gentleman returned, who passed by this 
morning to hunt ?" 

" No, father," answered the boy coming for- 
ward ; " nobody has passed since you went — I 
am sure no one has, for I sat on the old tree all 
the morning, carving you a sun-dial out of the 
willow branch you brought home yesterday ; v 
and he drew forth one of those ingenious little 
machines, by means of which the French shep- 
herds tell the time. 

"Thou art a good boy," said his father, laying 
his hand on his head, " thou art a good boy." 
But still, as the Woodman spoke, his mind 



RICHELIEU. 11 

seemed occupied by some anxiety, for again he 
looked up the road and listened. " There are 
strange faces in the forest," said Philip, not ex- 
actly soliloquizing, for his son was present, but 
certainly speaking more to himself than to the 
boy. " There are strange faces in the forest, and 
I fear me some ill deed is to be done. But here 
they come, thank God ! — No ! what is this ?" 

As he spoke, there appeared, just where the 
road turned into the wood, a sort of procession, 
which would have puzzled any one of later 
days, more than it did the Woodman. It con- 
sisted of four men on horseback, and four 
on foot, escorting a vehicle, the most elegant 
and tasteful that the age produced. The peo- 
ple of that day had doubtless very enlarged 
notions, and certainly the carriage I speak of 
would have contained any three of modern con- 
struction (always excepting that in which his 
most gracious Majesty the King of England 
appears on state occasions, and also that of the 
Lord Mayor of London City.) 

Indeed the one in question was more like a 



12 RICHELIEU. 

state carriage than any other ; broad at the top, 
low in the axle, all covered over with painting 
and gilding, with long wooden shafts for the 
horses, and green taffeta curtains to the win- 
dows: and in this guise it came on, swaying 
and swaggering about over the ruts in the road, 
not unlike the bloated Dutch pug of some over- 
indulgent dame, waddling slowly on, with its 
legs far apart, and its belly almost trailing on 
the ground. 

When the carriage arrived at the abreuvoir, 
by the side of which Philip had placed himself, 
the footmen took the bridles from the horses' 
mouths to give them drink, and a small white 
hand, from within, drew back the taffeta cur- 
tain, displaying to the Woodman one of the 
loveliest faces he had ever beheld. The lady 
looked round for a moment at the forest scene, 
in the midst of whose wild ruggedness they 
stood, and then raised her eyes towards the sky, 
letting them roam over the clear deepening ex- 
panse of blue, as if to satisfy herself how much 
daylight still remained for their journey. 



RICHELIEU. 13 

" How far is it to St. Germain, good friend F" 
said she, addressing the Woodman, as she finish- 
ed her contemplations ; and her voice sounded 
to Philip like the warble of a bird, notwith- 
standing a slight peculiarity of intonation, 
which more refined ears would instantly have 
decided as the accent of Roussillon, or some 
adjacent province : the lengthening of the i, 
and the swelling roundness of the Spanish u, 
sounding very differently from the sharp preci- 
sion peculiar to the Parisian pronunciation. 

" I wish, Pauline, that you would get over 
that bad habit of softening all your syllables," 
said an old lady who sat beside her in the car- 
riage. " Your French is scarcely comprehen- 
sible." 

" Dear Mamma !" replied the young lady 
playfully, " am not I descended lineally from 
Clemence Isaure, the patroness of song and chi- 
valry ? And I should be sorry to speak aught 
but my own langue cToc — the tongue of the 

first knights and first poets of France. 

But hark ! what is that noise in the wood ?" 



14 RICHELIEU. 

" Now help, for the love of God !" cried the 
Woodman, snatching forth his axe, and turning 
to the horsemen who accompanied the carriage ; 
" murder is doing in the forest. Help, for the 
love of God V" 

But as he spoke, the trampling of a horse's 
feet was heard, and in a moment after, a stout 
black charger came down the road like light- 
ning ; the dust springing up under his feet, and 
the foam dropping from his bit. 

Half falling from the saddle, half supported 
by the reins, appeared the form of a gallant 
young Cavalier ; his naked sword still clasped 
in his hand, but now fallen powerless and 
dragging by the side of the horse ; his head 
uncovered and thrown back, as if conscious- 
ness had almost left him, and the blood flow- 
ing from a deep wound in his forehead, and 
dripping amongst the thick curls of his dark 
brown hair. 

The charger rushed furiously on ; but the 
Woodman caught the bridle as he passed, and 
with some difficulty reined him in ; while one 



RICHELIEU. 15 

of the footmen lifted the young gentleman to 
the ground, and placed him at the foot of a tree. 

The two ladies had not beheld this scene un- 
concerned; and were descending from the car- 
riage, when four or five servants in hunting 
livery were seen issuing from the wood at the 
turn of the road, contending with a very supe- 
rior party of horsemen, whose rusty equipments 
and wild anomalous sort of apparel, bespoke 
them free of the forest by not the most honour- 
able franchise. 

" Ride on, ride on !" cried the young lady 
to those who had come with her : " Ride on 
and help them ;" and she herself advanced to 
give aid to the wounded Cavalier, whose eyes 
seemed now closed for ever. 

He was as handsome a youth as one might 
look upon : one of those forms which we are 
fond to bestow upon the knights and heroes that 
we read of in our early days, when unchecked 
fancy is always ready to give her bright con- 
ceptions " a local habitation and a name." The 
young lady, whose heart had never been taught 



16 RICHELIEU. 

to regulate its beatings by the frigid rules of so- 
ciety, or the sharp scourge of disappointment, 
now took the wounded man's head upon her 
knee, and gazed for an instant upon his counte- 
nance, the deadly paleness of which appeared 
still more ghastly from the red streams that 
trickled over it from the wound in his forehead. 
She then attempted to staunch the blood, but 
the trembling of her hands defeated her purpose, 
and rendered her assistance of but little avail. 

The elder lady had hitherto been giving her 
directions to the footmen, who remained with 
the carriage, while those on horseback rode on 
towards the fray. " Stand to your arms, Mi- 
chel V cried she. " You take heed to the coach. 
You three, draw up across the road, each with 
his arquebuse ready to fire. Let none but the 
true men pass. — Fie ! Pauline ; I thought you 
had a firmer heart." She continued, approach- 
ing the young lady, " Give me the handker- 
chief. — That is a bad cut in his head, truly ; 
but here is a worse stab in his side." And she 
proceeded to unloose the gold loops of his hunt- 



RICHELIEU. 17 

ing-coat, that she might reach the wound. But 
that action seemed to recall, in a degree, the 
senses of the wounded Cavalier. 

" Never ! never P' he exclaimed, clasping his 
hand upon his side, and thrusting her fingers 
away from him, with no very ceremonious cour- 
tesy, — " never, while I have life." 

u I wish to do you no harm, young Sir, but 
good," replied the old lady ; — " I seek but to 
stop the bleeding of your side, which is draining 
your heart dry."' 1 

The wounded man looked faintly round, 
his senses still bewildered, either by weak- 
ness from loss of blood, or from the stun- 
ning effects of the blow on his forehead. 
He seemed, however, to have caught and com- 
prehended some of the words which the old lady 
addressed to him, and answered them by a 
slight inclination of the head, but still kept his 
hand upon the breast of his coat, as if he had 
some cause for wishing it not to be opened. 

The time which had thus elapsed more than 
sufficed to bring the horsemen, who had accom- 



18 RICHELIEU. 

parried the carriage, (and who, as before stated, 
had ridden on before) to the spot where the ser- 
vants of the Cavalier appeared contending with a 
party, not only greater in number, but superior 
in arms. 

The reinforcement which thus arrived, gave 
a degree of equality to the two parties, though 
the freebooters might still have retained the ad- 
vantage, had not one of their companions com- 
manded them, in rather a peremptory manner, 
to quit the conflict. This personage, we must 
remark, was very different, in point of costume, 
from the forest gentry with whom he herded 
for the time. His dress was a rich livery suit 
of Isabel and silver ; and indeed he might have 
been confounded with the other party, had not 
his active co-operation with the banditti (or 
whatever they might be) placed the matter 
beyond a doubt. 

Their obedience, also, to his commands 
showed, that if he were not the instigator of 
the violence we have described, at least his in- 
fluence over his lawless companions was singu- 



RICHELIEU. 19 

Jarly powerful ; for at a word from him they 
drew off from a combat in which they were be- 
fore engaged with all the hungry fury of wolves 
eager for their prey ; and retreated in good order 
up the road, till its windings concealed them 
from the view of the servants to whom they 
had been opposed. 

These last did not attempt to follow, but 
turning their horses, together with those who 
had brought them such timely aid, galloped up 
to the spot where their master lay. When 
they arrived, he had again fallen into a state 
of apparent insensibility, and they all . flocked 
round him with looks of eager anxiety, which 
seemed to speak more heartfelt interest than 
generally existed between the murmuring vassal 
and his feudal lord. 

One sprightly boy, who appeared to be his 
page, sprang like lightning from the saddle, and 
kneeling by his side, gazed intently on his 
face, as if to seek some trace of animation. 
" They have killed him !" he cried at length, 
" I fear me they have killed him !" 



^O RICHELIEU. 

" No, he is not dead,"" answered the old lady ; 
" but I wish, Sir Page, that you would prevail 
on your master to open his coat, that we may 
staunch that deep wound in his side." 

" No, no ! that must not be," cried the boy 
quickly ; " but I will tie my scarf round the 
wound." So saying, he unloosed the rich scarf 
of blue and gold, that passing over his right 
shoulder crossed his bosom till it nearly reached 
the hilt of his sword, where forming a large knot 
it covered the bucklings of his belt. This he 
bound tightly over the spot in his masters side 
from whence the blood flowed ; and then asked 
thoughtfully, without raising his eyes, " But 
how shall we carry him to St. Germain ?" 

il In our carriage, 1 ' said the young lady ; "we 
are on our way thither, even now." 

The sound of her voice made the Page start, 
for since his arrival on the spot, he had scarcely 
noticed any one but his master, whose danger- 
ous situation seemed to occupy all his thoughts: 
but now there was something in that sweet 
voice, with its soft Languedocian accent, which 



RICHELIEU. 21 

awakened other ideas, and he turned his full 
sunny face towards the lady who spoke. 

" Good heavens !" exclaimed she, as that 
glance showed her a countenance not at all un- 
familiar to her memory : " Is not this Henry de 
La Mothe, son of our old farmer Louis ?" 

" No other indeed. Mademoiselle Pauline,' 1 
replied the boy ; " though, truly, I neither 
hoped nor expected to see you at such a mo- 
ment as this." 

" Then who" — demanded the young lady, 
clasping her hands with a look of impatient 
anxiety — " in the name of heaven, tell me who 
is this!" 

For an instant, and but for an instant, a look 
of arch meaning played over the boy's counte- 
nance ; but it was like a flash of lightning on a 
dark cloud, lost as quickly as it appeared, leav- 
ing a deep gloom behind it, as his eye fell upon 
the inanimate form of his master. " That, 
Madam," said he, while something glistened 
brightly, but sadly, in his eye, " that is Claude 
Count de Blenau." 



%% RICHELIEU. 

Pauline spoke not, but there was a deadly 
paleness come upon her face, which very plainly 
showed, how secondary a feeling is general be- 
nevolence, compared with personal interest. 

"Is it possible ?" exclaimed the elder lady, 
her brow darkening thoughtfully. " Well, 
something must be done for him." 

The Page did not seem particularly well 
pleased with the tone in which the lady spoke, 
and, in truth, it had betrayed more pride than 
compassion. 

" The best thing that can be done for him, 
Madame la Marquise," answered he, " is to 
put him in the carriage and convey him to 
St. Germain as soon as possible, if you should 
not consider it too much trouble ." 

" Trouble !" exclaimed Pauline ; " trouble ! 
Henry de La Mothe, do you think that my mo- 
ther or myself would find any thing a trouble, 
that could serve Claude de Blenau, in such a 
situation ?" 

" Hush, Pauline !" said her mother. " Of 
course we shall be glad to serve the Count — 



RICHELIEU. 23 

Henry, help Michel and Regnard to place your 
master in the carriage. — Michel, give me your 
arquebuse ; I will hold it till you have done. — 
Henry, support your master's head." 

But Pauline took that post upon herself, not- 
withstanding a look from the Marchioness, if 
not intended to forbid, at least to disapprove. 
The young lady, however, was too much agi- 
tated with all that had occurred to remark her 
mother's looks, and following the first impulse 
of her feelings, while the servants carried him 
slowly to the carriage, she supported the head 
of the wounded Cavalier on her arm, though 
the blood continued to flow from the wound 
in his forehead, and dripped amidst the rich 
slashing of her Spanish sleeves, dabbling the 
satin with which it was lined. 

" Oh Mademoiselle !" said the Page, when 
their task was accomplished, " this has been a 
sad day's hunting. But if I might advise," he 
continued, turning to the Marchioness, '.' the 
drivers must be told to go with all speed." 

" Saucy as a page !" said the old lady, " is a 



RICHELIEU. 



proverb, and a good one. Now, Monsieur La 
Mothe, I do not think the drivers must go with 
all speed ; for humbly deferring to your better 
opinion, it would shake your master to death." 

The Page bit his lip, and his cheek grew 
somewhat red, in answer to the high dame's re- 
buke, but he replied calmly, " You have seen, 
Madam, what has happened to-day, and depend 
on it, if we be not speedy in getting out of this 
accursed forest, we shall have the same good 
gentry upon us again, and perhaps in greater 
numbers. Though they have wounded the 
Count, they have not succeeded in their ob- 
ject ; for he has still about him that which they 
would hazard all to gain." 

" You are in the right, boy," answered the 
lady ; " I was over-hasty. Go in, Pauline. 
Henry, your master's horse must carry one of 
my footmen, of whom the other three can mount 
behind the carriage — thus we shall go quicker. 
You, with the Count's servants, mix with my 
horsemen, and keep close round the coach ; and 
now bid them, on, with all speed." Thus say- 



RICHELIEU. 25 

ing, she entered the vehicle ; and the rest hav- 
ing disposed themselves according to her orders, 
the whole cavalcade was soon in motion on the 
road to St. Germain. 



VOL. I. 



26 RICHELIEU. 



CHAPTER II. 

In which new characters are brought upon the stage, 
and some dark hints given respecting them. 



The sun had long gone down, and the large 
clear autumn moon had risen high in his stead, 
throwing a paler, but a gentler light upon the 
wood of Laye, and the rich wild forest-scenery 
bordering the road from St. Germain to Mantes. 
The light, unable to pierce the deeper re- 
cesses of the wood, fell principally upon those 
old and majestic trees, the aristocracy of the 
forest, which, raising their heads high above 
their brethren of more recent growth, seemed to 
look upon the beam in which they shone, as the 
right of elder birth, and due alone to their 
aspiring height. The deep shadows of their 
branches fell in long sombre shapes across the 



RICHELIEU. 27 

inequalities of the road, leaving but glimpses 
every now and then, to light the footsteps of 
whatever being might wander there at that hour 
of silence. 

On one of those spots where the full beams 
fell, stood the cottage of Philip, the woodman : 
and the humble hut with its straw thatch, 
the open space of ground before it, with a 
felled oak which had lain there undisturbed 
till a coat of soft green moss had grown thick 
over its rugged bark, the little stream dammed 
up to afford a sufficient supply of water for the 
horses, and the large square block of stone to 
aid the traveller in mounting, all were displayed 
in the clear moonlight as plainly as if the full 
day had shone upon them. 

Yet, however fair might be the night, there 
were very few who would have chosen the 
beams of the moon to light them across the 
wood of Mantes. In sooth, in those days sun- 
shine was the best safeguard to travellers. For 
France swarmed with those who gathered in 
their harvest at night, and who (to use their 
c 2 



28 RICHELIEU. 

own phrase) had turned their swords into reap- 
ing-hooks. 

Two grand objects fully occupied the mind 
of that famous minister, the Cardinal de 
Richelieu (who then governed the kingdom 
with almost despotic sway): the prosecution 
of those mighty schemes of foreign policy, 
which at the time shook many a throne, and 
in after years changed more than one dynas- 
ty ; and the establishment of his own power 
at home, which, threatened by factions, and at- 
tacked by continual conspiracies, was supported 
alone by the terror of his name, and the favour 
of a weak and irresolute monarch. These more 
immediate calls upon his attention gave him but 
little time to regulate the long-neglected police 
of the country ; and indeed it was whispered, 
that Richelieu not only neglected, but know- 
ingly tolerated many of the excesses of the 
times ; the perpetrators of which were often 
called upon to do some of those good services 
which statesmen occasionally require of their 
less circumspect servants. It was said too, that 



RICHELIEU. 29 

scarce a forest in France but sheltered a band 
of these free rovers, who held themselves in 
readiness to merit pardon for their other of- 
fences, by offending in the State's behalf when- 
ever it should be demanded, and in the mean 
time took very sufficient care to do those things 
on their own account for which they might be 
pardoned hereafter. 

We may suppose then, it rarely happened 
that travellers chose that hour for passing 
through the wood of Mantes, and that those 
who did so were seldom of the best description. 
But on the night I speak of, two horsemen 
wound slowly along the road towards the cot- 
tage of the Woodman, with a sort of sauntering, 
idle pace, as if thoughtless of danger, and en- 
tirely occupied in their own conversation. 

They were totally unattended also, although 
their dress bespoke a high station in society, and 
by its richness might have tempted a robber to 
inquire farther into their circumstances. Both 
were well armed with pistol, sword, and dagger, 
and appeared as stout cavaliers as ever mounted 



30 RICHELIEU. 

horse, having, withal, that air of easy confidence, 
which is generally the result of long familiarity 
with urgent and perilous circumstances. 

Having come near the abreuvoir, one of the 
two gave his horse to drink without dismount- 
ing, while the other alighted, and taking 
out the bit, let his beast satisfy its thirst at 
liberty. As he did so, his eye naturally 
glanced over the ground at the foot of the 
tree. Something caught his attention ; and 
stooping down to examine more closely, " Here 
is blood, Chavigni !" he exclaimed ; " surely, 
they have never been stupid enough to do it 
here, within sight of this cottage." 

" I hope they have not done it at all, Lafe- 
mas," replied the other. " I only told them to 
tie him, and search him thoroughly ; but not to 
give him a scratch, if they could avoid it." 

" Methinks, thou hast grown mighty cere- 
monious of late, and somewhat merciful, Mas- 
ter Chavigni," replied his companion ; " I re- 
member the time, when you were not so scru- 
pulous. Would it not have been the wiser way, 



RICHELIEU. 31 

to have quieted this young plotter at once, 
when your men had him in their hands P* 1 

" Thou wert born in the Fauxbourg St. An- 
toine, I would swear, and served apprenticeship 
to a butcher/' replied Chavigni. " Why, thou 
art as fond of blood, Lafemas, as if thou hadst 
sucked it in thy cradle ! Tell me, when thou 
wert an infant Hercules, didst thou not stick 
sheep, instead of strangling serpents ?" 

" Not more than yourself, lying villain I" an- 
swered the other in a quick deep voice, making 
his hand sound upon the hilt of his sword. 
" Chavigni, you have taunted me all along the 
road ; you have cast in my teeth things that 
you yourself caused me to do. Beware of your- 
self ! Urge me not too far, lest you leave your 
bones in the forest !" 

" Pshaw, man ! pshaw P cried Chavigni, 
laughing : " Here 's a cool-headed j udge ! Here's 
the calm placid Lafemas ! Here's the Cardi- 
nal's gentle hangman, who can condemn his 
dearest friends to the torture with the same 
meek look that he puts on to say grace over a 



32 RICHELIEU. 

Beccafico, suddenly metamorphosed into a 
bully and a bravo in the wood of Mantes. — 
But hark ye, Sir Judge !" he added, in a 
prouder tone, tossing back the plumes of his 
hat, which before hung partly over his face, and 
fixing his full dark eye upon his companion, 
who still stood scowling upon him with ill-re- 
pressed passion — " Hark ye, Sir Judge! Use 
no such language towards me, if you seek not 
to try that same sharp axe you have so often 
ordered for others. Suffice it for you to know, 
in the present instance, that it was not the 
Cardinal's wish that the young man should be 
injured. We do not desire blood, but when 
the necessity of the State requires it to be shed. 
Besides, man," and he gradually fell into his 
former jeering tone — " besides, in future, under 
your gentle guidance, and a touch or two of 
the peine forte et dure, this young nightingale 
may be taught to sing, and, in short, be forced 
to tell us all he knows. Now do you under- 
stand r 

" I do, I do," replied Lafemas. " I thought 



RICHELIEU. 33 

that there was some deep, damnable wile that 
made you spare him ; and as to the rest, I 
did not mean to offend you. But when a man 
condemns his own soul to serve you, you should 
not taunt him, for it is hard to bear." 

" Peace! peace!" cried Chavigni, in a 
sharp tone ; " let me hear no more in this 
strain. Who raised you to what you are ? 
We use you as you deserve ; we pay you for 
your services ; we despise you for your mean- 
ness ; and as to your soul," he added with a 
sneer, " if you have any fears on that head — 
why you shall have absolution. Are you not 
our dog, who worries the game for us ? We 
house and feed you, and you must take the 
lashes when it suits us to give them. Re- 
member, Sir, that your life is in my hand ! 
One word respecting the affair of Chalais men- 
tioned to the Cardinal, brings your head to the 
block ! And now let us see what is this blood 
you speak of? 11 

So saying, he sprang from his horse, while 
Lafemas, as he had been depicted by his com- 
» c 5 



34 RICHELIEU. 

panion, hung his head like a cowed hound, and 
in sullen silence pointed out the blood, which had 
formed a little pool at the foot of the tree, and 
stained the ground in several places round about. 

Chavigni gazed at it with evident symptoms 
of displeasure and uneasiness ; for although, 
when he imagined that the necessities of the 
State required the severest infliction on any 
offender, no one was more ruthless than himself 
as to the punishment, no one more unhesitating 
as to the means — although, at those times, no 
bond of amity, no tie of kindred, would have stay- 
ed his hand, or restrained him in what he errone- 
ously considered his political duty; yet Chavigni 
was far from naturally cruel ; and, as his after 
life showed, even too susceptible of the strongest 
and deepest affections of human nature. 

In his early youth, the Cardinal de Riche- 
lieu had remarked in him a strong and pene- 
trating mind ; but above all, an extraordinary 
power of governing and even subduing the 
ardent passions by which he was at times ex- 
cited. As son to the Count de Bouthilliers, 



RICHELIEU. 35 

one of the oldest members of the Privy Council, 
the road to political preferment was open to 
Chavigni ; and Richelieu, ever fearful of aught 
that might diminish his power, and careful to 
strengthen it by every means, resolved to bind 
the young Count to his cause by the sure ties 
of early habit and mutual interest. With this 
view he took him entirely under his own pro- 
tection, educated him in his own line of policy, 
instilled into him, as principles, the deep stern 
maxims of his own mighty and unshrinking 
mind, and having thus moulded him to his wish, 
called him early to the council-table, and in- 
trusted him with a greater share of his power 
and confidence than he would have yielded to 
any other man. 

Chavigni repaid the Cardinal with heartfelt 
gratitude, with firm adherence, and uncompro- 
mising service. In private life, he was honour- 
able, generous, and kind ; but it was his axiom, 
that all must yield to State necessity, or (as he 
said) in other words, to the good of his country ; 
and upon the strength of this maxim, which, in 



36 RICHELIEU. 

fact, was the cause of every stain that rests upon 
his memory, he fancied himself a patriot ! 

Between Chavigni and the Judge Lafemas, 
who was the Jeffreys of his country, and had 
received the name of Le Bourreau du Cardinal* 
existed a sort of original antipathy ; so that the 
Statesman, though often obliged to make use of 
the less scrupulous talents of the Judge, and 
even occasionally to associate with him, could 
never refrain for any length of time from break- 
ing forth into those bitter taunts which often 
irritated Lafemas almost to frensy. The ha- 
tred of the Judge, on his part, was not less 
strong, even at the times it did not show itself ; 
and he still brooded over the hope of exercising 
his ungentle functions upon him who was at 
present, in a degree, his master. 

But to return, Chavigni gazed intently on 
the spot to which Lafemas pointed. " I be- 
lieve it is blood, indeed, " said he, after a mo- 
ment's hesitation, as if the uncertainty of the 
light had made him doubt it at first : " they 
shall rue the day that they shed it contrary to 



RICHELIEU. 37 

my command. It is blood surely, Lafemas : is 
it not?" 

" Without a doubt," said Lafemas ; " and it 
has been shed since mid-day.'' 

" You are critical in these things, I know," 
replied the other with a cool sneer ; " but we 
must hear more of this, Sir Judge, and ascertain 
what news is stirring, before we go farther. 
Things might chance, which would render it 
necessary that one or both of us should return 
to the Cardinal. We will knock at this cottage 
and inquire. — Our story must run, that we have 
lost our way in the wood, and need both rest 
and direction. " 

So saying, he struck several sharp blows with 
the hilt of his sword against the door, whose 
rickety and unsonorous nature returned a grum- 
bling indistinct sound, as if it too had shared 
the sleep of the peaceable inhabitants of the 
cottage, and loved not to be disturbed by such 
nocturnal visitations. u So ho !" cried Cha- 
vigni ; " will no one hear us poor travellers, 
who have lost our way in this forest !" 



38 RICHELIEU. 

In a moment after, the head of Philip, the 
woodman, appeared at the little casement by 
the side of the door, examining the strangers, on 
whose figures fell the full beams of the moon, 
with quite sufficient light to display the courtly 
form and garnishing of their apparel, and to 
show that they were no dangerous guests. 
" What would ye, Messieurs?"" demanded he, 
through the open window : " it is late for tra- 
vellers." 

" We have lost our way in your wood," re- 
plied Chavigni, " and would fain have a little 
rest, and some direction for our farther pro- 
gress. We will pay thee well, good man, for 
thy hospitality." 

" There is no need of payment, Sir," said the 
Woodman, opening the door. " Come in, I 
pray, Messieurs. — Charles (" he added, calling 
to his son, " get up and tend these gentlemen's 
horses. Get up, I say, Sir Sluggard !" 

The boy crept sleepily out of the room be- 
yond, and went to give some of the forest-hay 
to the beasts which had borne the strangers 



RICHELIEU. 39 

thither, and which gave but little signs of 
needing either rest or refreshment. In the 
mean while, his father drew two large yew-tree 
seats to the fire-side, soon blew the white ashes 
on the hearth into a flame, and having invited 
his guests to sit, and lighted the old brazen 
lamp that hung above the chimney, he bowed 
low, asking how he could serve them farther ; 
but as he did so, his eye ran over their persons 
with a half-satisfied and inquiring glance, which 
made Lafemas turn away his head. But Cha- 
vigni answered promptly to his offer of service : 
" Why now, good friend, if thou couldst give us 
a jug of wine, 'twould be well and kindly done, 
for we have ridden far.'' 1 

" This is no inn, Sir," replied Philip, " and 
you will find my wine but thin : nevertheless, 
such as it is, most welcomely shall you taste." 

From whatever motive it proceeded, Philip's 
hospitality was but lukewarm towards the 
strangers ; and the manner in which he rinsed 
out the tankard, drew the wine from a barrique 
standing in one corner of the room, half co- 



40 RICHELIEU. 

vered with a wolf-skin, and placed it on a table 
by the side of Chavigni, bespoke more churlish 
rudeness than good- will. But the Statesman 
heeded little either the quality of his reception 
or of his wine, provided he could obtain the in- 
formation he desired ; so, carrying the tank- 
ard to his lips, he drank, or seemed to drink, 
as deep a draught as if its contents had been 
the produce of the best vineyard in Medoc. 
" It is excellent," said he, handing it to Lafe- 
mas, " or my thirst does wonders. Now, good 
friend, if we had some venison-steaks to broil 
on your clear ashes, our supper were complete. 1 ' 

" Such I have not to offer, Sir," replied Phi- 
lip, " or to that you should be welcome too." 

" Why, I should have thought," said Cha- 
vigni, " the hunters who ran down a stag at 
your door to-day, should have left you a part, 
as the woodman's fee." 

" Do you know those hunters, Sir?" de- 
manded Philip, with some degree of emphasis. 

" Not I, in truth," replied Chavigni ; though 
the colour rose in his cheek, notwithstanding 



RICHELIEU. 41 

his long training to courtly wile and political 
intrigue, and he thanked his stars that the 
lamp gave but a faint and glimmering light : 
" Not I, in truth ; but whoever ran him down 
got a good beast, for he bled like a stag of ten. 
I suppose they made the curee at your door?" 

" Those hunters, Sir," replied Philip, " give 
no woodman's fees ; and as to the stag, he is as 
fine a one as ever brushed the forest dew, but 
he has escaped them this time." 

u How ! did he get off with his throat cut ?" 
demanded Chavigni, " for there is blood enough 
at the foot of yon old tree, to have drained the 
stoutest stag that ever was brought to bay.' 1 

" Oh ! but that is not stag's blood !" in- 
terrupted Charles, the woodman's son, who had 
by this time not only tended the strangers' 
horses, but examined every point of the quaint 
furniture with which it was the fashion of the 
day to adorn them. " That is not stag's blood ; 
that is the blood of the young Cavalier, who 
was hurt by the robbers, and taken away by — " 

At this moment the boy's eye caught the 



4$ RICHELIEU. 

impatient expression of his father's counte- 
nance. 

" The truth is, Messieurs," said Philip, tak- 
ing up the discourse, " there was a gentleman 
wounded in the forest this morning. I never 
saw him before, and he was taken away in 
a carriage by some ladies, whose faces were 
equally strange to me." 

" You have been somewhat mysterious upon 
this business, Sir Woodman,'" said Chavigni, his 
brow darkening as he spoke ; " why were you 
so tardy in giving us this forest news, which 
imports all strangers travelling through the 
wood to know ?" 

" I hold it as a rule," replied Philip boldly, 
" to mind my own business, and never to men- 
tion any thing I see ; which in this affair I 
shall do more especially, as one of the robbers 
had furniture of Isabel and silver ;" and as he 
spoke he glanced his eye to the scarf of Cha- 
vigni, which was of that peculiar mixture of 
colours then called Isabel, bordered by a rich 
silver fringe. 



RICHELIEU. 43 

u Fool r muttered Chavigni between his 
teeth; "Fool! what need had he to show 
himself?" 

Lafemas, who had hitherto been silent, now 
came to the relief of his companion : taking 
up the conversation in a mild and easy tone, 
" Have you many of these robbing fraternity 
in your wood ¥* said he ; "if so, I suppose we 
peril ourselves in crossing it alone." And, 
without waiting for any answer, he proceeded, 
" Pray, who was the cavalier they attacked T* 

" He was a stranger from St. Germain," an- 
swered the Woodman ; " and as to the robbers, 
I doubt that they will show themselves again, 
for fear of being taken." 

"They did not rob him then ?" said the Judge. 
Now nothing that Philip had said bore out 
this inference ; but Lafemas possessed in a 
high degree the talent of cross-examination, 
and was deeply versed in all the thousand 
arts of entangling a witness, or leading a 
prisoner to condemn himself. But there was a 
stern reserve about the Woodman which baf- 



44 RICHELIEU. 

fled the Judge's cunning : i( I only saw the last 
part of the fray, v replied Philip, " and therefore 
know not what went before." 

" Where was he hurt ?" asked Lafemas; " for 
he lost much blood. 1 ' 

" On the head and in the side," answered the 
Woodman. 

" Poor youth !" cried the Judge in a pitiful 
tone. " And when you opened his coat, was 
the wound a deep one ? v 

" I cannot judge," replied Philip, " being no 
surgeon." 

It was in vain that Lafemas tried all his 
wiles on the Woodman, and that Chavigni, who 
soon joined in the conversation, questioned him 
more boldly. Philip was in no communicative 
mood, and yielded them but little information 
respecting the events of the morning. 

At length, weary of this fruitless interroga- 
tion, Chavigni started up — u Well, friend !" 
said he, " had there been danger in crossing 
the forest, we might have stayed with thee till 
daybreak ; but, as thou sayest there is none, we 



RICHELIEU. 45 

will hence upon our way." So saying he strode 
towards the door, the flame-shaped mullets of 
his gilded spurs jingling over the brick-floor 
of Philip's dwelling, and calling the Woodman's 
attention to the knightly rank of his departing 
guest. In a few minutes all was prepared for 
their departure, and having mounted their 
horses, the Statesman drew forth a small silk 
purse tied with a loop of gold, and holding 
it forth to Philip, bade him accept it for his 
services. The Woodman bowed, repeating that 
he required no payment. 

" I am not accustomed to have my bounty 
refused," said Chavigni proudly ; and dropping 

the purse to the ground, he spurred forward 

his horse. 

" Now, Lafemas," said he, when they had 

proceeded so far as to be beyond the reach of 

Philip's ears, " what think you of this ?" 

" Why, truly," replied the Judge, " I deem 

that we are mighty near as wise as we were 

before." 

ci Not so," said Chavigni. " It is clear 



46 RICHELIEU. 

enough these fellows have failed, and De 
Blenau has preserved the packet ; I under- 
stand it all. His Eminence of Richelieu, 
against my advice, has permitted Madame de 
Beaumont and her daughter Pauline to return 
to the Queen, after an absence of ten years. 
The fact is, that when the Cardinal banished 
them the Court, and ordered the Marchioness 
to retire to Languedoc, his views were not so 
extended as they are now, and he had laid out 
in his own mind a match between one of his 
nieces and this rich young Count de Blenau ; 
which, out of the royal family, was one of the 
best alliances in France. The boy, however, 
had been promised, and even, I believe, affi- 
anced by his father, to this Pauline de Beau- 
mont ; and accordingly his Eminence sent away 
the girl and her mother, with the same sang- 
froid that a man drives a strange dog out of 
his court-yard ; at the same time he kept the 
youth at Court, forbidding all communication 
with Languedoc : but now that the Cardinal 
can match his niece to the Duke D'Enghien, 



RICHELIEU. 47 

De Blenau may look for a bride where he lists, 
and the Marquise and her daughter have been 
suffered to return. To my knowledge, they 
passed through Chartres yesterday morning on 
their way to St. Germain. " 

" But what have these to do with the present 
affair ?" demanded Lafemas. 

" Why thus has it happened, 31 continued 
Chavigni. " The youth has been attacked. 
He has resisted, and been wounded. Just then, 
up come these women, travelling through the 
forest with a troop of servants, who join with 
the Count, and drive our poor friends to cover. 
This is what I have drawn from the discourse 
of yon surly Woodman ." 

" You mean, from your own knowledge of 
the business," replied Lafemas, " for he would 
confess nothing.'' 

" Confess, man !" exclaimed Chavigni. — 
" Why he did not know that he was before a 
confessor, and still less before a Judge, though 
thou wouldest fain have put him to the ques- 
tion. I saw your lip quivering with anxiety to 



48 RICHELIEU. 

order him the torture ; rack, and thumb- screw, 
and oubliette were in your eye, every sullen an- 
swer he gave." 

" Were it not as well to get him out of the 
way ?" demanded Lafemas. " He remarked 
your livery, Chavigni, and may blab." 

" Short-sighted mole !" replied his compa- 
nion. " The very sulkiness of humour which 
has called down on him thy rage, will shield 
him from my fears — which might be quite as 
dangerous. He that is so close in one thing, 
depend upon it, will be close in another. Be- 
sides, unless he tells it to the trees, or the 
jays, or the wild boars, whom should he tell it 
to ? I would bet a thousand crowns against 
the Prince de Conti's brains, or the Archbishop 
Coadjutor's religion, or Madame de Chevreuse's 
— reputation, or against any thing else that 
is worth nothing, that this good Woodman sees 
no human shape for the next ten years, and 
then all that passes between them will be, 
' Good day, Woodman !' — ' Good day, Sir !'— and 
he mimicked the deep voice of him of whom 



RICHELIEU. 49 

they spoke. But, notwithstanding this appear- 
ance of gaiety, Chavigni was not easy; and even 
while he spoke, he rode on with no small pre- 
cipitation, till, turning into a narrow forest path, 
the light of the moon, which had illuminated 
the greater part of the high road, was cut off en- 
tirely by the trees, and the deep gloom obliged 
them to be more cautious in proceeding At 
length, however, they came to a little savanna, 
surrounded by high oaks, where Chavigni en- 
tirely reined in his horse, and blew a single 
note on his horn, which was soon answered by 
a similar sound at some distance. 



VOL. I. 



50 RICHELIEU. 



CHAPTER III. 

Which shows what a French forest was at night, and who 
inhabited it. 



Those whom either the love of sylvan sports, 
or that calm meditative charm inherent to wood 
scenery, has tempted to explore the deeper re- 
cesses of the forest, must be well aware that 
many particular glades and coverts will often 
lie secret and undiscovered, amidst the mazes 
of the leafy labyrinth, even to the eyes of 
those long accustomed to investigate its most 
intricate windings. In those countries where 
forest hunting is a frequent sport, I have more 
than once found myself led on into scenes com- 
pletely new, when I had fancied that long expe- 
rience had made me fully acquainted with every 



RICHELIEU. 51 

rood of the woodland round about, and have 
often met with no small trouble in retracing the 
spot, although I took all pains to observe the 
way thither, and fix its distinctive marks in my 
memory. 

In the heart of the forest of St. Germain, at 
a considerable distance from any of the roads, 
or even by-paths of the wood, lay a deep dingle 
or dell, which probably had been a gravel-pit 
many centuries before, and might have furnished 
forth sand to strew the hails of Charlemagne, for 
aught I know to the contrary. However, so 
many ages had elapsed since it had been em- 
ployed for such purpose, that many a stout oak 
had sprung, and flourished, and withered round 
about it, and had left the ruins of their once 
princely forms crumbling on its brink. At the 
time I speak of, a considerable part of the dell 
itself was filled up with tangled brush- wood, 
which a long hot season had stripped and with- 
ered ; and over the edge hung a quantity of dry 
shrubs and stunted trees, forming a thick screen 
over the wild recess below. 
D 2 



Q% RICHELIEU. 

One side, and one side only, was free of access, 
and this was by means of a small sandy path 
winding down into the bottom of the dell, be- 
tween two deep banks, which assumed almost 
the appearance of cliffs as the road descended. 
This little footway conducted, it is true, into 
the most profound part of the hollow, but then 
immediately lost itself in the thick underwood, 
through which none but a very practised eye 
would have discovered the means of entering 
a deep lair of ground, sheltered by the steep 
bank and its superincumbent trees on one side, 
and concealed by a screen of wood on every other. 

On the night I have mentioned, this well con- 
cealed retreat was tenanted by a group of men, 
whose wild attire harmonized perfectly with the 
rudeness of the scene around. The apparel of 
almost every class was discernible among them, 
but each vesture plainly showed, that it had 
long passed that epoch generally termed " better 
days ;" and indeed, the more costly had been 
their original nature, the greater was their pre- 
sent state of degradation. So that what had 



RICHELIEU. 53 

once been the suit of some gay cavalier of the 
court, and which doubtless had shone as such 
in the circles of the bright and the fair, having 
since passed through the hands of the page, who 
had perhaps used it to personate his master, and 
the fripier, who had tried hard to restore it to 
a degree of lustre, and the poor petitioner who 
had bought it and borne it second-hand to 
court, and lost both his labour and his money — 
having passed through these, and perhaps a 
thousand other hands, it had gradually ac- 
quired that sort of undefinable tint, which 
ought properly to be called old-age colour, and 
at present served, and only served, to keep its 
owner from the winds of heaven. At the same 
time the buff jerkin which covered the broad 
shoulders of another hard by, though it had 
never boasted much finery, had escaped with 
only a few rusty stains from its former intimacy 
with a steel cuirass, and a slight greasy gloss 
upon the left side, which indicated its owner's 
habit of laying his hand upon his sword. 

Here, too, every sort of offensive weapon 



54 RICHELIEU. 

was to be met with. The long Toledo blade 
with its basket hilt and black scabbard tipped 
with steel; the double-handed heavy sword, 
which during the wars of the League had often 
steaded well the troops of Henry the Fourth, 
when attacked by the superior cavalry of the 
Dukes of Guise and Mayenne, and which had 
been but little used since ; the poniard, the sti- 
letto, the heavy petronel, or horse pistol, and 
the smaller girdle pistol, which had been but 
lately introduced, were all to be seen, either 
as accompaniments to the dress of some of the 
party, or scattered about on the ground, where 
they had been placed for greater convenience. 

The accoutrements of these denizens of the 
forest were kept in countenance by every other ac- 
cessory circumstance of appearance ; and a torch 
stuck in the sand in the midst, glared upon fea- 
tures which Salvator might have loved to trace. 
It was not alone the negligence of personal 
appearance, shown in their long dishevelled 
hair and untrimmed beards, which rendered 
them savagely picturesque, but many a furious 



RICHELIEU. 55 

passion had there written deep traces of its un- 
bounded sway, and marked them with that 
wild undefinable expression, which habitual 
vice and lawless licence are sure to leave be- 
hind in their course. 

At the moment I speak of, wine had been 
circulating very freely amongst the robbers ; 
such indeed they were. Some were sleeping, 
either with their hands clasped over their k 
and their heads drooping down to meet them, 
or stretched more at their ease under the b 
snoring loud in answer to the wind, that whis- 
tled through the branches. Some sat gazing 
with a wise sententious look on the empty 
gourds, many of which, fashioned into bottles, 
lay scattered about upon the ground : and fcw< 
or three, who had either drunk less of the potent 
liquor, or whose heads were better calculated 
to resist its effects than the rest, sat clustered 
together singing and chatting by turns, arrived 
exactly at that point of ebriety, where a man's 
real character shows itself, notwithstanding all 
his efforts to conceal it. 



56 RICHELIEU. 

The buff' jerkin we have spoken of, covered the 
shoulders of one among this little knot of choice 
spirits, who still woke to revel after sleep had 
laid his leaden mace upon their companions; 
and it may be remarked, that a pair of broader 
shoulders are rarely to be seen than those so 
covered. 

Wouvermans is said to have been very much 
puzzled by a figure in one of his pictures, which, 
notwithstanding all his efforts, he could never 
keep down (as painters express it). What- 
ever he did, that one figure was always salient, 
and more prominent than the artist intended ; 
nor was it till he had half blotted it out, 
that he discovered its original defect was being 
too large. Something like Wouvermans 1 figure, 
the freebooter I speak of, stood conspicuous 
amongst the others, from the Herculean pro- 
portion of his limbs; but he had, in addition, 
other qualities to distinguish him from the rest. 
His brow was broad, and of that peculiar 
form to which physiognomists have attached the 
idea of a strong determined spirit ; at the same 



RICHELIEU. 57 

time, the clear sparkle of his blue Norman eye 
bespoke an impetuous, but not a depraved mind. 

A deep scar was apparent on his left cheek ; 
and the wound which had been its progenitor, 
was most probably the cause of a sneering turn 
in the corner of his mouth, which, with a bold 
expression of daring confidence, completed the 
mute history that his face afforded, of a life 
spent in arms, or well, or ill, as circumstances 
prompted, — an unshrinking heart, which dared 
every personal evil, and a bright but unprincipled 
mind, which followed no dictates but the pas- 
sions of the moment. 

He was now in his gayest mood, and holding 
a horn in his hand, trolled forth an old French 
ditty, seeming confident of pleasing, or per- 
haps careless whether he pleased or not. 

" Thou 'rt an ass, Robin, thou 'rt an ass, 
To think that great men be 
More gay than I that lie on the grass 

Under the greenwood tree. 
I tell thee no, I tell thee no, 
The Great are slaves to their gilded show. 

D 5 



58 RICHELIEU. 

Now tell me, Robin, tell me, 

Are the ceilings of gay saloons 
So richly wrought as yon sky we see, 

Or their glitter so bright as the moon's ? 
I tell thee no, I tell thee no, 
The Great are slaves to their gilded show. 

Say not nay, Robin, say not nay ! 

There is never a heart so free, 
In the vest of gold, and the palace gay, 

As in buff 'neath the forest tree. 
1 tell thee yea, I tell thee yea, 
The Great were made for the poor man's prey.'' 

So sang the owner of the buff jerkin, and his 
song met with more or less applause from his 
companions, according to the particular humour 
of each. One only amongst the freebooters 
seemed scarcely to participate in the merriment. 
He had drunk as deeply as the rest, but he ap- 
peared neither gay, nor stupid, nor sleepy ; 
and while the tall Norman sang, he cast, from 
time to time, a calm sneering glance upon the 
singer, which showed no especial love, either for 
the music, or musician. 

" You sing about prey," said he, as the other 
concluded the last stanza of his ditty — " You 



RICHELIEU. 59 

sing about prey, and yet you are no great falcon, 
after all ; if we may judge from to-day." 

" And why not, Monsieur Pierrepont Le 
Blanc?" demanded the Norman, without dis- 
playing aught of ill-humour in his countenance : 
" though they ought to have called you Mon- 
sieur Le Noir — Mr. Black, not Mr. White. — 
Nay, do not frown, good comrade ; I speak but 
of your beard, not of your heart. What, art 
thou still grumbling, because we did not cut the 
young Count's throat outright ?" 

" Nay, not for that," answered the other," but 
because we have lost the best man amongst us, 
for want of his being well seconded." 

" You lie, Parbleu !" cried the Norman, 
drawing his sword, and fixing his thumb upon a 
stain, about three inches from the point. t; Did 
not I lend the youth so much of my iron tooth- 
pick ? and would have sent it through him, if 
his horse had not carried him away. But I know 
you, Master Buccaneer — You would have had 
me stab him behind, while Mortagne slashed his 
head before. That would have been a fit task 



60 RICHELIEU. 

for a Norman gentleman, and a soldier ! I whose 
life he saved too !" 

" Did you not swear, when you joined our 
troop," demanded the other, " to forget every 
thing that went before ?" 

The Norman hesitated ; he well remembered 
his oath, against which the better feelings of his 
heart were perhaps sometimes rebellious. He 
felt, too, confused at the direct appeal the other 
had made to it ; and to pass it by, he caught at 
the word forget, answering with a stave of the 
song — 

" Forget ! forget ! let slaves forget 
The pangs and chains they bear ; 
The brave remember every debt 

To honour, and the fair. 
For these are bonds that bind us more, 
Yet leave us freer than before. 

" Yes, let those that can do so, forget : but I 
very well remember, at the battle at Perpignan, 
I had charged with the advance guard, when 
the fire of the enemy's musketeers, and a masked 
battery which began to enfilade our line, soon 
threw our left flank into disorder, and a charge 
of cavalry drove back De Coucy's troop. 



RICHELIEU. 61 

Mielleraye's standard was in the hands of the 
enemy, when I and five others rallied to rescue 
it. A gloomy old Spaniard fired his petronel 
and disabled my left arm, but still I held the 
standard-pole with my right, keeping the stan- 
dard before me ; but my Don drew his long 
Toledo, and had got the point to my breast, just 
going to run it through me and standard and 
all, as I Ve often spitted a duck's liver and a 
piece of bacon on a skewer; when, turning 
round my head, to see if no help was near, I 
perceived this young Count de Blenau's bande- 
rol, coming like lightning over the field, and 
driving all before it ; and blue and gold were then 
the best colours that ever I saw, for they gave 
me new heart, and wrenching the standard-pole 
round — But hark, there is the horn !" 

As he spoke, the clear full note of a hunting- 
horn came swelling from the south-west ; and in 
a moment after, another, much nearer to them, 
seemed to answer the first. Each, after giving 
breath to one solitary note, relapsed into 
silence ; and such of the robbers as were 
awake, having listened till the signal met 



62 RICHELIEU. 

with a reply, bestirred themselves to rouse 
their sleeping companions, and to put some 
face of order upon the disarray which their 
revels had left behind. 

" Now, Sir Norman," cried he that they dis- 
tinguished by the name of Le Blanc ; "we 
shall see how Monseigneur rates your slackness 
in his cause. Will you tell him your long story 
of the siege of Perpignan ?" 

" Pardie !" cried the other, " I care no more 
for him, than I do for you. Every man that 
stands before me on forest ground is but a man, 
and I will treat him as such." 

" Ha ! ha ! ha !" exclaimed his companion ; 
" it were good to see thee bully a privy coun- 
sellor ; why, thou darest as soon take a lion by 
the beard. 1 ' 

" I dare pass my sword through his heart, 
were there need," answered the Norman ; " but 
here they come, — stand you aside and let me 
deal with him. 1 ' 

Approaching steps, and a rustling; sound in 
the thick screen of wood caready mentioned, as 



RICHELIEU. 63 

the long boughs were forced back by the pas- 
sage of some person along the narrow pathway, 
announced the arrival of those for whom the 
robbers had been waiting. 

u Why, it is as dark as the pit of Acheron 1" 
cried a deep voice amongst the trees. " Are we 
never to reach the light I saw from above? Oh, 
here it is. — Chauvelin, hold back that bough, it 
has caught my cloak." As the speaker uttered 
the last words, an armed servant, in Isabel and 
silver, appeared at the entrance of the path, 
holding back the stray branches, while Cha- 
vigni himself advanced into the circle of rob- 
bers, who stood grouped around in strange pic- 
turesque attitudes, some advancing boldly, as if 
to confront the daring stranger that thus in- 
truded on their haunts, some gazing with a 
kind of curiosity upon the being so different 
from themselves, who had thus placed himself 
in sudden contact with them, some lowering 
upon him with bended heads, like wolves when 
they encounter a nobler beast of prey. 

The Statesman himself advanced in silence ; 



04 RICHELIEU. 

and, with something of a frown upon his brow, 
glanced his eye firmly over every face around, 
nor was there an eye amongst them that did 
not sink before the stern commanding fire of 
his, as it rested for a moment upon the counte- 
nance of each, seeming calmly to construe the 
expression of the features, and read into the 
soul beneath, as we often see a student turn 
over the pages of some foreign book, and col- 
lect their meaning at a glance. 

" Well, Sirs," said he at length, " my 
knave tells me, that ye have failed in executing 
my commands." 

The Norman we have somewhat minutely 
described heretofore, now began to excuse him- 
self and his fellows ; and was proceeding to set 
forth that they had done all which came with- 
in their power and province to do, and was also 
engaged in stating, that no man could do more, 
when Chavigni interrupted him. " Silence !" 
cried he, with but little apparent respect for 
these lords of k the forest, " I blame ye not for 
not doing more than ye could do ; but how 
dare ye, mongrel bloodhounds, to disobey my 



RICHELIEU. 65 

strict commands ? and when I bade ye abstain 
from injuring the youth, how is it ye have 
mangled him like a stag torn by the wolves?' 1 ' 

The Norman turned with a look of subdued 
triumph towards him who had previously cen- 
sured his forbearance. " Speak, speak, Le 
Blanc!" cried he; "answer Monseigneur. — 
Well," continued he, as the other drew back, 
" the truth is this, Sir Count : we were divided 
in opinion with respect to the best method of 
fulfilling your commands, so we called a coun- 
cil of war — " 

" A council of war !" repeated Chavigni, his 
lip curling into an ineffable sneer. " Well, pro- 
ceed, proceed ! You are a Norman, I presume 
— and braggart, I perceive. — Proceed, Sir, pro- 
ceed!" 

Be it remarked, that by this time the influ- 
ence of Chavigni's first appearance had greatly 
worn away from the mind of the Norman. The 
commanding dignity of the Statesman, though 
it still, in a degree, overawed, had lost the 
effect of novelty; and the bold heart of the 
freebooter began to reproach him for truckling 



66 RICHELIEU. 

to a being who was inferior to himself, accord- 
ing to his estimate of human dignities — an esti- 
mate formed not alone on personal courage, but 
also on personal strength. 

However, as we have said, he was, in some 
measure, overawed ; and though he would have 
done much to prove his daring in the sight 
of his companions, his mind was not yet suffi- 
ciently wrought up to shake off all respect, and 
he answered boldly, but calmly, " Well, Sir 
Count, give me your patience, and you shall 
hear. But my story must be told my own 
way, or not at all. We called a council of war, 
then, where every man gave his opinion, and 
my voice was for shooting Monsieur de Blenau's 
horse as he rode by, and then taking advantage 
of the confusion among his lackeys, to seize 
upon his person, and carrying him into St. Her- 
man's brake, which lies between Le Croix de 
bois and the river — You know where I mean, 
Monseigneur ?" 

" No, truly," answered the Statesman ; " but, 
as I guess, some deep part of the forest, where 



RICHELIEU. 67 

you could have searched him at your ease — 
The plan was a good one. Why went it not 
forward ?" 

" You shall hear in good time," answered 
the freebooter, growing somewhat more familiar 
in his tone. " As you say, St. Herman's brake 
is deep enough in the forest — and if we had once 
housed him there, we might have searched him 
from top to toe for the packet — ay, and looked 
in his mouth, if we found it no where else. 
But the first objection was, that an arquebuse, 
though a very pretty weapon, and pleasant ser- 
viceable companion in broad brawl and battle, 
talks too loud for secret service, and the noise 
thereof might put the Count's people on their 
guard before we secured his person. However, 
they say * a Norman cow can always get over 
a stile," 1 so I offered to do the business with 
yon arbalete ;" and he pointed to a steel cross- 
bow lying near, of that peculiar shape which 
seems to unite the properties of the cross-bow 
and gun, propelling the ball or bolt by means 
of the stiff arched spring and cord, by which 



68 RICHELIEU. 

little noise is made, while the aim is rendered 
more certain by a long tube similar to the bar- 
rel of a musket, through which the shot passes. 
" When was I ever known to miss my aim ?" 
continued the Norman. " Why, I always shoot 
my stags in the eye, for fear of hurting the 
skin. However, Mortagne — your old friend, 
Monsieur de Chavigni — who was a sort of band 
captain amongst us, loved blood, as you know, 
like an unreclaimed falcon ; besides, he had 
some old grudge against the Count, who turned 
him out of the Queen's anteroom, when he was 
Ancient in the Cardinal's guard. He it was 
who over-ruled my proposal. He would have 
shot him willingly enough, but your gentleman 
would not hear of that ; so we attacked the 
Count's train, at the turn of the road — boldly, 
and in the face. Mortagne was lucky enough 
to get a fair cut at his head, which slashed 
through his beaver, and laid his skull bare, but 
went no farther, only serving to make the youth 
as savage as a hurt boar; for I had only time 
to see his hand laid upon his sword, when its 



RICHELIEU. 69 

cross was knocking against Mortagne's ribs be- 
fore, and the point shining out between his 
blade-bones behind. It was done in the twink- 
ling of an eye." 

" He is a gallant youth/ 1 said Chavigni ; 
u he always was from a boy ; but where is 
your wounded companion?" 

" Wounded !" cried the Norman. " Odds 
life ! heV dead. It was enough to have killed 
the Devil. There he lies, poor fellow, wrapped 
in his cloak. Will you please to look upon 
him, Sir Counsellor F" and snatching up one of 
the torches, he approached the spot where the 
dead man lay, under a bank covered with with- 
ered brush-wood and stunted trees. 

Chavigni followed with a slow step and gloomy 
brow, the robbers drawing back at his approach ; 
for though they held high birth in but little 
respect, the redoubted name and fearless bearing 
of the Statesman had power over even their 
ungoverned spirits. He, however, who had 
been called Pierrepont Le Blanc by the tall 
Norman, twitched his companion by the sleeve 



70 RICHELIEU. 

as he lighted Chavigni on. " A cowed hound, 
Norman !" whispered he — " thou hast felt the 
lash — a cowed hound !" 

The Norman glanced on him a look of fire, 
but passing on in silence, he disengaged the 
mantle from the corpse, and displayed the face 
of his dead companion, whose calm closed eyes 
and unruffled features might have been sup- 
posed to picture quiet sleep, had not the ashy 
paleness of his cheek, and the drop of the under- 
jaw, told that the soul no longer tenanted its 
earthly dwelling. The bosom of the unfortu- 
nate man remained open, in the state in which 
his comrades had left it, after an ineffectual 
attempt to give him aid ; and in the left side 
appeared a small wound, where the weapon of 
his opponent had found entrance, so trifling in 
appearance, that it seemed a marvel how so 
little a thing could overthrow the prodigious 
strength which those limbs announced, and rob 
them of that hardy spirit which animated them 
some few hours before. 

Chavigni gazed upon him, with his arms 
crossed upon his breast, and for a moment his 



RICHELIEU. 71 

mind wandered far into those paths, to which 
such a sight naturally directs the course of our 
ideas, till, his thoughts losing themselves in the 
uncertainty of the void before them, by a sud- 
den effort he recalled them to the business in 
which he was immediately engaged. 

" Well, he has bitterly expiated the disobe- 
dience of my commands ; but tell me," he said, 
turning to the Xorman, who still continued to 
hold the torch over the dead man, " how is it 
ye have dared to force my servant to show him- 
self, and my liveries, in this attack, contrary to 
my special order ?* 

<; That is easily told," answered the Nor- 
man, assuming a tone equally bold and pe- 
remptory with that of the Statesman. " Thus 
it stands, Sir Count : you men of quality often 
employ us nobility of the forest to do what 
you either cannot, or dare not do for your- 
selves ; then, if all goes well, you pay us scan- 
tily for our pains ; if it goes ill, you hang us 
for your own doings. But we will have none 
of that. If we are to be falcons for your game, 
we will risk the stroke of the heron's bill, but 



72 RICHELIEU. 

we will not have our necks wrung after we have 
struck the prey. When your lackey was pre- 
sent, it was your deed. Mark ye that, Sir 
Counsellor ?" 

" Villain, thou art insolent !" cried Chavigni, 
forgetting, in the height of passion, the fearful 
odds against him, in case of quarrel at such a 
moment. " How dare you, slave, to — " 

" Villain ! and slave P cried the Norman, in- 
terrupting him, and laying his hand on his 
sword. " Know, proud Sir, that I dare any 
thing. You are now in the green forest, not at 
council-board, to prate of daring." 

Chavigni 's dignity, like his prudence, be- 
came lost in his anger. " Boasting Norman 
coward P cried he, " who had not even courage, 
when he saw his leader slain before his face — " 

The Norman threw the torch from his hand, 
and drew his weapon ; but Chavigni 1 s sword 
sprang in a moment from the scabbard. He 
was, perhaps, the best swordsman of his day ; 
and before his servant (who advanced, calling 
loudly to Lafemas to come forth from the wood 



RICHELIEU. 73 

where he had remained from the first) could ap- 
proach, or the robbers could show any signs of 
taking part in the fray, the blades of the states- 
man and the freebooter had crossed, and, maugre 
the Norman's vast strength, his weapon was in- 
stantly wrenched from his hand, and, flying over 
the heads of his companions, struck against the 
bank above. 

Chavigni drew back, as if to pass his sword 
through the body of his opponent ; but the one 
moment he had been thus engaged, gave time 
for reflection on the imprudence of his conduct, 
and calmly returning his sword to its sheath, 
u Thou art no coward, after all," said he, ad- 
dressing the Norman in a softened tone of 
voice ; "but trust me, friend, that boasting 
graces but little a brave man. As for the rest, 
it is no disgrace to have measured swords with 
Chavigni." 

The Norman was one of those men so totally 
unaccustomed to command their passions, that, 
like slaves who have thrown off their chains, 
each struggles for the mastery, obtains it for a 

VOL. I. E 



74 RICHELIEU. 

moment, and is again deprived of power by 
some one more violent still. 

The dignity of the Statesman's manner, the 
apparent generosity of his conduct, and the 
degree of gentleness with which he spoke, acted 
upon the feelings of the Norman, like the waves 
of the sea when they meet the waters of the 
Dordogne, driving them back even to their very 
source with irresistible violence. An unwonted 
tear trembled in bis eye. " Monseigneur, I 
have done foul wrong," said he, " in thus urg- 
ing you, when you trusted yourself amongst us. 
But you have punished me more by your for- 
bearance, than if you had passed your sword 
through my body." 

" Ha ! such thoughts in a freebooter !" cried 
Chavigni. " Friend, this is not thy right trade. 
But what means all this smoke that gathers 
round us? — Surely those bushes are on fire; — 
see the sparks how they rise !" 

His remark called the eyes of all upon that 
part of the dingle, into which the Norman had 
incautiously thrown his torch, on drawing his 



RICHELIEU. 75 

sword upon the Statesman. Continued sparks, 
mingled with a thick cloud of smoke, were rising 
quickly from it, showing plainly that the fire 
had caught some of the dry bushes thereabout ; 
and in a moment after a bright flame burst 
forth, speedily communicating itself to the old 
withered oaks round the spot, and threatening 
to spread destruction into the heart of the forest. 
In an instant all the robbers were engaged in 
the most strenuous endeavours to extinguish the 
fire; but the distance, to which the vast strength 
of the Norman had hurled the torch among the 
bushes, rendered all access extremely difficult. 
No water was to be procured, and the means 
they employed, that of cutting down the smaller 
trees and bushes with their swords and axes, in- 
stead of opposing any obstacle to the flames, 
seemed rather to accelerate their progress. From 
bush to bush, from tree to tree, the impetuous 
element spread on, till, finding themselves almost 
girt in by the fire, the heat and smoke of which 
were becoming too intense for endurance, the 
robbers abandoned trieir useless efforts to extin- 
E £ 



76 RICHELIEU. 

guish it, and hurried to gather up their scatter- 
ed arms and garments, before the flames reached 
the spot of their late revels. 

The Norman, however, together with Chavigni 
and his servant, still continued their exertions; 
and even Lafemas, who had come forth from his 
hiding-place, gave some awkward assistance; 
when suddenly the Norman stopped, put his hand 
to his ear, to aid his hearing amidst the cracking 
of the wood and the roaring of the flames, and 
exclaimed, " I hear horse upon the hill — follow 
me, Monseigneur. St. Patrice guide us ! this is 
a bad business : — follow me !" So saying, three 
steps brought him to the flat below, where his 
companions were still engaged in gathering to- 
gether all they had left on the ground. 

" Messieurs !" he cried to the robbers, "leave 
all useless lumber ; I hear horses coming down the 
hill. It must be a lieutenant of the forest, and 
the gardes champkres, alarmed by the fire — 
Seek your horses, quick! — each his own way. 
We meet at St. Herman^ brake — You, Mon- 
seigneur, follow me, I will be your guide ; but 



RICHELIEU. 77 

dally not, Sir, if, as I guess, you would rather 
be deemed in the Rue St. Honore, than in the 
Forest of St. Germain." 

So saying, he drew aside the boughs, dis- 
closing a path somewhat to the right of that by 
which Chavigni had entered their retreat, and 
which apparently led to the high sand-cliff' 
which flanked it on the north. The Statesman, 
with his servant and Lafemas, followed quickly 
upon his steps, only lighted by the occasional 
gleam of the flames, as they flashed and flick- 
ered through the foliage of the trees. 

Having to struggle every moment with the low 
branches of the hazel and the tangled briars that 
shot across the path, it was some time ere they 
reached the bank, and there the footway they 
had hitherto followed seemed to end. " Here 
are steps/' said the Norman, in a low voice ; 
u hold by the boughs, Monseigneur, lest your 
footing fail. Here is the first step." 

The ascent was not difficult, and in a few 
minutes they had lost sight of the dingle and 
the flames by which it was surrounded ; only 



78 RICHELIEU. 

every now and then, where the branches opened, 
a broad red light fell upon their path, telling 
that the fire still raged with unabated fury. A 
moment or two after, they could perceive that 
the track entered upon a small savanna, on 
which the moon was still shining, her beams 
showing with a strange sickly light, mingled as 
they were with the fitful gleams of the flames 
and the red reflection of the sky. The whole 
of this small plain, however, was quite suffi- 
ciently illuminated to allow Chavigni and his 
companion to distinguish two horses fastened by 
their bridles to a tree hard by ; and a momen- 
tary glance convinced the Statesman, that the 
spot where he and Lafemas had left their beasts, 
was again before him, although he had arrived 
there by another and much shorter path than 
that by which he had been conducted to the 
rendezvous. 

" We have left all danger behind us, Mon- 
seigneur," said the robber^ after having care- 
fully examined the savanna, to ascertain thaf 
no spy lurked amongst the trees around. 



RICHELIEU. 79 

" The flies are all swarming round the flames. 
There stand your horses — mount, and good 
speed attend you ! Your servant must go with 
me, for our beasts are not so nigh." 

Chavigni whispered a word in the robber's 
ear, who in return bowed low, with an air of 
profound respect. " I will attend your Lord- 
ship — " replied he, w — and without fear."" 

" You may do so in safety," said the States- 
man, and mounting his horse, after waiting a 
moment for the Judge, he took his way once 
more towards the high road to St. Germain. 



80 RICHELIEU. 



CHAPTER IV. 

In which the learned reader will discover that it is 
easy to raise suspicions without any cause, and that 
royalty is not patent against superstition. 



We must now return to the principal person- 
age of our history, and accompany him on his 
way towards St. Germain, whither he was wend- 
ing when last we left him. 

There are some authors fond of holding their 
readers in suspense, of bringing them into un- 
expected situations, and surprising them into 
applause. All such things are extremely ap- 
propriate in a novel or romance; but as this is a 
true and authentic history, and as eke I detest 
what theatrical folks call " claptrap, 1 ' I shall 



RICHELIEU. 81 

proceed to record the facts in the order in 
which they took place, as nearly as it is pos- 
sible to do so, and will, like our old friend 
Othello, " a round unvarnished tale deliver. ,, 

The distance to St. Germain was consider- 
able, and naturally appeared still longer than it 
really was, to persons unacquainted with one 
step of the road before them, and apprehensive 
of a thousand occurrences both likely and un- 
likely. Nothing, however, happened to inter- 
rupt them on the way ; and their journey passed 
over, not only in peace, but pretty much in 
silence also. Both the ladies who occupied the 
inside of the carriage, seemed to be very suffici- 
ently taken up with their own thoughts, and no 
way disposed to loquacity, so that the only 
break to the melancholy stillness which hung 
over them, was now and then a half-formed sen- 
tence, proceeding from what was rapidly passing 
in the mind of each, or the complaining creak of 
the heavy wheels, as they ground their unwill- 
ing way through the less practicable parts of 
the forest road. 

E 5 



82 RICHELIEU. 

At times, too, a groan from the lips of their 
wounded companion interrupted the silence, as 
the roughness of the way jolted the ponderous 
vehicle in whicli he was carried, and re-awak- 
ened him to a sense of pain. 

Long ere they had reached St. Germain, 
night had fallen over their road, and nothing 
could be distinguished by those within the car- 
riage, but the figures of the two horsemen who 
kept close to the windows. The interior was 
still darker, and it was only a kind of inarticu- 
late sob from the other side, which made the 
Marchioness inquire, " Pauline ! you are not 
weeping ?" 

The young lady did not positively say whe- 
ther she was so or not, but replied in a voice 
which showed her mother's conjecture to be 
well founded. 

" It was not thus, Mamma," she said, " that 
I had hoped to arrive at St. Germain. 

" Fie, fie ! Pauline," replied the old lady ; 
" I have long tried to make you feel like a wo- 
man, and you are still a child, a weak child. 



RICHELIEU. 83 

These accidents, and worse than these, occur to 
every one in the course of life, and they must 
be met with fortitude. Have you flattered 
yourself that you would be exempt from the 
common sorrows of humanity ?" 

" But if he should die ?" said Pauline, with 
the tone of one w T ho longs to be soothed out of 
their fears. The old lady, however, applied no 
such unction to the wound in her daughter's 
heart. Madame de Beaumont had herself been 
reared in the school of adversity ; and while her 
mind and principles had been thus strengthened 
and confirmed, her feelings had not been ren- 
dered more acute. In the present instance, 
whether she spoke it heedlessly, or whether she 
intended to destroy one passion by exciting 
another, to cure Pauline's grief by rousing her 
anger, her answer afforded but little consolation. 
" If he dies," said she dryly, " why I suppose 
the fair lady, whose picture he has in his bosom, 
would weep, and you " 

A deep groan from their wounded companion 
broke in upon her speech, and suggested to the 



84 RICHELIEU. 

Marchioness that he might not be quite so in- 
sensible as he seemed. Such an answer, too, 
was not so palatable to Pauline as to induce 
her to urge the conversation any farther ; so that 
Silence again resumed her empire over the party, 
remaining undisturbed till the old lad} F , drawing 
back the curtain, announced that they were en- 
tering St. Germain. 

A few minutes more brought them to the 
lodging of the Count de Blenau ; and here the 
Marchioness descending, gave all the necessary 
directions in order that the young gentleman 
might be carried to his sleeping-chamber in 
the easiest and most convenient method, while 
Pauline, without proffering any aid, sat back in 
a dark corner of the carriage. Nor would any 
thing have shown that she was interested in 
what passed around her, but when the light of 
a torch glared into the vehicle, discovering a 
handkerchief pressed over her eyes to hide the 
tears she could not restrain. 

As soon as the Count was safely lodged in his 
own dwelling, the carriage proceeded towards 



RICHELIEU. 85 

the palace, which showed but little appearance 
of regal state. However the mind of Pauline 
might have been accustomed to picture a court 
in all the gay and splendid colouring which 
youthful imagination lends to anticipated plea- 
sure, her thoughts were now far too fully occu- 
pied, to admit of her noticing the lonely and 
deserted appearance of the scene. But to Ma- 
dame de Beaumont it was different. She, who 
remembered St. Germain in other days, looked 
in vain for the lights flashing from every win- 
dow of the palace; for the servants hurrying 
along the different avenues, the sentinels parad- 
ing before every entrance, and the gay groups 
of courtiers and ladies, in all the brilliant cos- 
tume of the time, which used to crowd the ter- 
race and gardens to enjoy the cool of the even- 
ing after the sun had gone down. 

All that she remembered had had its day ; 
and nothing remained but silence and solitude. 
A single sentry, at the principal gate, was all 
that indicated the dwelling of a king; and it 
was not till the carriage had passed under the 



86 RICHELIEU. 

archway, that even an attendant presented himself 
to inquire who were the comers at that late hour. 

The principal domestic of Madame de Beau- 
mont, who had already descended from his 
horse> gave the name of his lady with all cere- 
mony, and also tendered a card (as he had been 
instructed by the Marchioness), on which her 
style and title were fully displayed. The royal 
servant bowed low, saying that the Queen, his 
mistress, had expected the Marchioness before ; 
and seizing the rope of a great bell, which hung 
above the staircase, he rang such a peal that the 
empty galleries of the palace returned a kind of 
groaning echo to the rude clang which seemed 
to mock their loneliness. 

Two or three more servants appeared, in an- 
swer to the bell's noisy summons; yet such was 
still the paucity of attendants, that Madame de 
Beaumont, even while she descended from her 
carriage, and began to ascend the " grand esca 
Her," had need to look, from time to time, at the 
splendid fresco paintings which decorated the 
walls, and the crowns and fleurs-de-lis with which 



RICHELIEU. 87 

all the cornices were ornamented, before she 
could satisfy herself that she really was in the 
royal chateau of St. Germain. 

Pauline's eyes, fixed on the floor, wandered 
little to any of the objects round, yet, perhaps, 
the vast spaciousness of the palace, contrasted 
with the scarcity of its inhabitants, might cast 
even an additional degree of gloom over her 
mind, saddened, as it already was, by the occur- 
rences of the day. Doubtless, in the remote 
parts of Languedoc, where Pauline de Beau- 
mont had hitherto dwelt, gay visions of a court 
had come floating upon imagination like the 
lamps which the Hindoos commit to the waters 
of the Ganges, casting a wild and uncertain 
light upon the distant prospect ; and it is pro- 
bable, that even if St. Germain had possessed 
all its former splendour, Pauline would still 
have been disappointed, for youthful imagina- 
tion always outrivals plain reality ; and besides, 
there is an unpleasing feeling of solitude com- 
municated by the aspect of a strange place, 
which detracts greatly from the first pleasure of 



88 RICHELIEU. 

novelty. Thus there were a thousand reasons 
why Mademoiselle de Beaumont, as she followed 
the attendant through the long empty galleries 
and vacant chambers of the palace, towards the 
apartments prepared for her mother and her- 
self, felt none of those happy sensations which 
she had anticipated from her arrival at court ; 
nor was it till, on entering the antechamber of 
their suite of rooms, she beheld the gay smiling 
face of her Lyonaise waiting-maid, that she felt 
there was any thing akin to old recollections 
within those cold and pompous walls, which 
seemed to look upon her as a stranger. 

The soubrette had been sent forward the day 
before with a part of the Marchioness de Beau- 
mont's equipage ; and now, having endured a 
whole day's comparative silence with the patience 
and fortitude of a martyr, she advanced to the 
two ladies with loquacity in her countenance, as 
if resolved to make up, as speedily as possible, 
for the restraint under which her tongue had la- 
boured during her short sojourn in the palace; 
but the deep gravity of Madame de Beaumont, 



RICHELIEU. 89 

and the melancholy air of her daughter, checked 
Louise in full career ; so that, having kissed her 
mistress on both cheeks, she paused, while her 
lip, like an overfilled reservoir whose waters are 
trembling on the very brink, seemed ready to 
pour forth the torrent of words which she had 
so long suppressed. 

Pauline, as she passed through the anteroom, 
wiped the last tears from her eyes, and on en- 
tering the saloon, advanced towards a mirror 
which hung between the windows, as if to as- 
certain what traces they had left behind. The 
soubrette did not fail to advance, in order to 
adjust her young lady's dress, and finding her- 
self once more in the exercise of her functions, 
the right of chattering seemed equally restored ; 
for she commenced immediately, beginning in 
a low and respectful voice, but gradually in- 
creasing as the thought of her mistress was 
swallowed up in the more comprehensive idea 
of herself. 

" Oh, dear Mademoiselle," said she, " I am 
so glad you are come at last. This place is 



90 RICHELIEU. 

so sad and so dull ! Who would think it was 
a court ? Why, I expected to see it all filled 
with lords and ladies, and instead of that, I 
have seen nothing but dismal-looking men, who 
go gliding about in silence, seeming afraid to 
open their lips, as if that cruel old Cardinal, 
whom they all tremble at, could hear every word 
they say. I did see one fine-looking gentleman 
this morning, to be sure, with his servants all 
in beautiful liveries of blue and gold, and horses 
as if there were fire coming out of their very 
eyes ; but he rode away to hunt, after he had 
been half an hour with the Queen and Made- 
moiselle de Hauteford, as they call her." 

" Mademoiselle who ?" exclaimed Pauline, 
quickly, as if startled from her reverie by some- 
thing curious in the name. 4k Who did you 
say, Louise ?" 

" Oh, such a pretty young lady !" replied the 
waiting- woman. " Mademoiselle de Hauteford 
is her name. I saw her this morning as she 
went to the Queen's levee. She has eyes as blue 
as the sky, and teeth like pearls themselves ; but 



RICHELIEU. 91 

withal she looks as cold and as proud as if she 
were the Queen's own self." 

While the soubrette spoke, Pauline raised 
her large dark eyes to the tall Venetian mirror 
which stood before her, and which had never 
reflected any thing lovelier than herself, as has- 
tily she passed her fair small hand across her 
brow, brushing back the glossy ringlets that hung 
clustering over her forehead. But she was tired 
and pale with fatigue and anxiety ; her eyes, 
too, bore the traces of tears, and with a sigh 
and look of dissatisfaction, she turned away 
from the mirror, which, like every other in- 
vention of human vanity, often procures us dis- 
appointment as well as gratification. 

Madame de Beaumont's eyes had been fixed 
upon Pauline; and translating her daughter's 
looks with the instinctive acuteness of a mother, 
she approached with more gentleness than was 
her wont. " You are beautiful enough, my 
Pauline," said she, pressing a kiss upon her 
cheek ; " you are beautiful enough. Do not 
fear/' 



92 RICHELIEU. 

" Nay, Mamma," replied Pauline, " I have 
nothing to fear, either from possessing or from 
wanting beauty ." 

" Thou art a silly girl, Pauline," continued 
her mother, " and take these trifles far too 
much to heart. Perhaps I was wrong concern- 
ing this same picture. It was but a random 
guess. Besides, even were it true, where were 
the mighty harm ? These men are all alike, 
Pauline — Like butterflies, they rest on a thou- 
sand flowers before they settle on any one. We 
all fancy that our own lover is different from his 
fellows ; but, believe me, my child, the best 
happiness a woman can boast, is that of being 
most carefully deceived. 1 ' 

" Then no such butterfly love for me, Mam- 
ma," replied Pauline, her cheek slightly co- 
louring as she spoke. " I would rather not 
know this sweet poison — love. My heart is still 
free, though my fancy may have — have — " 

" May have what, Pauline ?" demanded her 
mother, with a doubtful smile. u My dear 



RICHELIEU. 93 

child, thy heart, and thy fancy, I trow, have 
not been so separate as thou thinkest. 11 

" Nay, Mamma," answered Pauline, lt my 
fancy, like an insect, may have been caught in 
the web of a spider; but the enemy has not 
yet seized me, and I will break through while I 
can.' , 

" But, first, let us be sure that we are right," 
said Madame de Beaumont. " For as everv 
rule has its exception, there be some men, 
whose hearts are even worthy the acceptance of 
a squeamish girl, who, knowing nothing of the 
world, expects to meet with purity like her own. 
At all events^ love, De Blenau is the soul of 
honour, and will not stoop to deceit. Injus- 
tice, you must not judge without hearing him." 

" But," said Pauline, not at all displeased 
with the refutation of her own ideas, and even 
wishing, perhaps, to afford her mother occasion 
to combat them anew, — " but — " 

The sentence, however, was never destined to 
be concluded ; for, as she spoke, the door of the 
apartment opened, and a form glided in, the 



94 RICHELIEU. 

appearance of which instantly arrested the 
words on Pauline's lips, and made her draw 
back with an instinctive feeling of respect. 

The lady who entered had passed that ear- 
lier period of existence when beauties and graces 
succeed each other without pause, like the flow- 
ers of spring, that go blooming on from the vio- 
let to the rose. She was in the summer of 
life, but it was the early summer, untouched 
by autumn ; and her form, though it possessed 
no longer the airy lightness of youth, had ac- 
quired in dignity a degree of beauty which 
compensated for the softer loveliness that years 
had stolen away. , Her brown hair fell in a 
profusion of large curls round a face, which, 
if not strictly handsome, was highly pleasing : 
and even many sorrows and reverses, by min- 
gling an expression of patient melancholy with 
the gentle majesty of her countenance, pro- 
duced a greater degree of interest than the fea- 
tures could have originally excited. 

Those even who sought for mere beauty 
of feature, would have perceived that her 



RICHELIEU. 95 

eyes were quick and fine ; that her skin was 
of the most delicate whiteness, except where it 
was disfigured by the use of rouge ; and that her 
small mouth might have served as model to a 
statuary, especially while her lips arched with a 
warm smile of pleasure and affection, as advanc- 
ing into the apartment, she pressed Madame de 
Beaumont to her bosom, who on her part, bend- 
ing low, received the embrace of Anne of Austria 
with the humble deference of a respectful subject 
towards the condescension of their sovereign. 

" Once more restored to me, my dear Ma- 
dame de Beaumont I" said the Queen. " His 
Eminence of Richelieu does indeed give me 
back one of the best of my friends — And this is 
your Pauline." — She added, turning to Mademoi- 
selle de Beaumont, " You were but young, my 
fair Demoiselle, when last I saw you. You 
have grown up a lovely flower from a noble 
root ; but truly you will never be spoiled by 
splendour at our court ." 

As she spoke, her mind seemed naturally to 
return to other days, and her eye fixed intently on 



96 RICHELIEU. 

the ground, as if engaged in tracing out the 
plan of her past existence, running over all the 
lines of sorrow, danger and disappointed hope, 
till the task became too bitter, and she turned 
to the Marchioness with one of those long deep 
sighs, that almost always follow a review of the 
days gone by, forming a sort of epitaph to the 
dreams, the wishes, and the joys, that once were 
dear, and are now no more. 

" When you met me, De Beaumont," said 
the Queen, " with the proud Duke of Guise 
on the banks of the Bidasoa — quitting the king- 
dom of my father, and entering the king- 
dom of my husband — with an army for my 
escort, and princes kneeling at my feet — little, 
little did ever you or I think, that Anne of Aus- 
tria, the wife of a great king, and daughter of a 
long line of monarchs, would, in after years, be 
forced to dwell at St. Germain, without guards, 
without court, without attendants, but such as 
the Cardinal de Richelieu chooses to allow her. — 
The Cardinal de Richelieu !" she proceeded 
thoughtfully ; " the servant of my husband ! — 



RICHELIEU. 97 

but no less the master of his master, and the 
king of his king." 

" I can assure your Majesty, 11 replied Madame 
de Beaumont, with a deep tone of feeling which 
had no hypocrisy in it, for her whole heart was 
bound by habit, principle, and inclination, to 
her royal mistress — u I can assure your Majesty, 
that many a tear have I shed over the sorrows 
of my Queen ; and when his Eminence drove me 
from the court, I regretted not the splendour of 
a palace, I regretted not the honour of serving 
my sovereign, I regretted not the friends I left 
behind, or the hopes I lost, but I regretted that 
I could not be the sharer of my mistress's mis- 
fortunes. — But your Majesty has now received a 
blessing from Heaven," she continued, willing 
to turn the conversation from the troubled course 
of memory to the more agreeable channels of 
hope — " a blessing which we scarcely dreamed 
of, a consolation under all present sorrows, and 
a bright prospect for the years to come. 

" Oh, yes, my little Louis, you would say,'" 

VOL. I. F 



98 RICHELIEU. 

replied the Queen, her face lightening with all a 
mother's joy as she spoke of her son. " He is 
indeed a cherub ; and sure am I, that if God 
sends him years, he will redress his mother's 
wrongs by proving the greatest of his race." 

She spoke of the famousLouis the Fourteenth, 
and some might have thought she prophesied. 
But it was only the fervour of a mother's hope, 
an ebullition of that pure feeling, which alone, of 
all the affections of the heart, the most sordid 
poverty cannot destroy, and the proudest rank 
can hardly check. 

" He is indeed a cherub," continued the Queen; 
" and such was your Pauline to you, De Beau- 
mont, when the Cardinal drove you from my side: 
a consolation not only in your exile, but also in 
your mourning for your noble lord. Come near, 
young lady ; let me see if thou art like thy father ." 
Pauline approached ; and the Queen laying her 
hand gently upon her arm, ran her eye rapidly 
over her face and figure, every now and then 
pausing for a moment, and seeming to call me- 
mory to her aid, in the comparison she was 



RICHELIEU. 99 

making between the dead and the living. 
But suddenly she started back, " SainteViergeT 
cried she, crossing herself, " your dress is all 
dabbled with blood. What bad omen is this ?" 

" May it please your Majesty/' said the Mar- 
chioness, half smiling at the Queen's supersti- 
tion, for her own strong mind rejected many of 
the errors of the day, " that blood is only an 
omen of Pauline's charitable disposition ; for in 
the forest hard by, we came up with a wounded 
cavalier, and, like a true demoiselle errante, 
Pauline rendered him personal aid, even at the 
expense of her robe." 

" Nay, nay, De Beaumont," said the Queen, 
" it matters not how it came ; it is a bad omen : 
some misfortune is about to happen. I remem- 
ber the day before my father died, the Conde de 
Saldana came to court with a spot of blood 
upon the lace of his cardinal ; and on that fatal 
day which " 

The door of the apartment at this moment 
opened, and Anne of Austria, filled with her 
own peculiar superstition, stopped in the midst 
f2 



100 RICHELIEU. 

of her speech and turned her eye anxiously to- 
wards it, as if she expected the coming of some 
ghastly apparition. The figure that entered, 
however, though it possessed a dignity scarcely 
earthly, and a calm still grace — an almost in- 
animate composure, rarely seen in beings agi- 
tated by human passions, was, nevertheless, no 
form calculated to inspire alarm. 

" Oh, Mademoiselle de Hauteford !" cried the 
Queen, her face brightening as she spoke, " De 
Beaumont, you will love her, for that she is one 
of my firmest friends.'" 

At the name of De Hauteford, Pauline drew 
up her slight elegant figure to its full height, 
with a wild start, like a deer suddenly fright- 
ened by some distant sound, and drawing her 
hand across her forehead, brushed back the two 
or three dark curls which had again fallen over 
her clear fair brow. 

" De Hauteford ! w cried Anne of Austria ^as 
the young lady advanced, " what has happened? 
You look pale — some evil is abroad." 

" I would not have intruded on your Ma- 



RICHELIEU. 101 

jesty, of on these ladies, 1 ' said Mademoiselle de 
Hauteford with a graceful but cold inclination 
of the head towards the strangers, " had it not 
been that Monsieur Seguin, your Majesty's 
Surgeon, requests the favour of an audience im- 
mediately. Nor does he wish to be seen by the 
common attendants ; in truth, he has followed 
me to the antechamber, where he waits your 
Majesty's pleasure." 

" Admit him, admit him !" cried the Queen. 
" What can he want at this hour ?" 

The surgeon was instantly brought into the 
presence of the Queen by Mademoiselle de 
Hauteford; but, after approaching his royal 
mistress with a profound bow, he remained in 
silence glancing his eye towards the strangers 
who stood in the apartment, in such a manner 
as to intimate that his communication required 
to be made in private. 

" Speak, speak, Seguin !" cried the Queen, 
translating his look and answering it at once ; 
" these are all friends, old and dear friends. " 

" If such be your Majesty's pleasure," re- 



102 RICHELIEU. 

plied the Surgeon, with that sort of short dry 
voice, which generally denotes a man of few 
words. * I must inform you at once, that young 
Count de Blenau has been this morning attack- 
ed by robbers, while hunting in the forest, and 
is severely hurt.' 1 

While Seguin communicated this intelligence, 
Pauline (she scarce knew why) fixed her eye 
upon Mademoiselle de Hauteford, whose clear 
pale cheek, ever almost of the hue of alabaster, 
showed that it could become still paler. The 
Queen too, though the rouge she wore concealed 
any change of complexion, appeared manifestly 
agitated. " I told you so, De Beaumont/' she 
exclaimed — <c that blood foreboded evil : I never 
knew the sign to fail. This is bad news truly, 
Seguin/' she continued. " Poor De Blenau ! 
surely he will not die. 1 ' 

" I hope not, Madam," replied the Surgeon ; 
" I see every chance of his recovery." 

u But speak more freely," said the Queen. 
" Have you learnt any thing from him ? These 
are all friends, I tell you." 



RICHELIEU. 103 

u The Count is very weak, Madam," answered 
Seguin, " both from loss of blood and a stunning 
blow on the head ; but he desired me to tell 
your Majesty, that though the wound is in his 
side, his heart is uninjured V 

" Oh, I understand, I understand, 1 ' exclaimed 
the Queen. " De Blenau is one out of a thou- 
sand ; I must write him a note; follow me, Se- 
guin. Good night, dear Madame de Beaumont. 
Farewell, Pauline ! — Come to my levee to-mor- 
row, and we will talk over old stories and new 
hopes. — But have a care, Pauline — No more 
blood upon your robe. It is a bad sign in the 
house of Austria."" 

The moment the Queen was gone, Pauline 
pleaded fatigue, and retired to her chamber, 
followed by her maid Louise, who, be it re- 
marked, had remained in the room during the 
Royal visit. 

u This is a strange place, this St. Germain," 
said the waiting-woman, as she undressed her 
mistress. 

iC It is indeed F replied Pauline. * I wish I 



104 RICHELIEU. 

had never seen it. But of one thing let me 
warn you, Louise, before it is too late. Never 
repeat any thing you may see or hear, while 
you are at the court ; for if you do, your life 
may answer for it." 

" My life ! Mademoiselle Pauline," exclaimed 
the soubrette, as if she doubted her ears. 

" Yes indeed, your life !" replied the young 
lady : " So beware." 

" Then I wish I had never seen the place 
either, 1 ' rejoined the maid ; " for what is the 
use of seeing and hearing things, if one may 
not talk about them ? — and who can be always 
watching one's tongue ?" 



RICHELIEU. 105 



CHAPTER V. 

A Chapter of mighty import, which may be read or not, 
as the Reader thinks fit, the Book being quite as well 
without it. 



With the happy irregularity of all true sto- 
ries, we must return, for a moment, to a very 
insignificant person, — the Woodman of Mantes- 
Indeed, I have to beg my reader's pardon for 
saying so much about any one under the rank 
of a Chevalier at least ; but all through this 
most untractable of all histories, I have been 
pestered with a set of shabby fellows in very 
indifferent circumstances. Woodcutters, rob- 
bers, gentlemen's servants, and the like, who 
make themselves so abominably useful, that 
though we wish them at the Devil all the time, 
we can no way do without them. Let the sin 
F 5 



106 RICHELIEU. 

not be attributed to me ; for I declare, upon my 
conscience, that when first I undertook to record 
this tale 3 1 attempted a thorough reform; I super- 
seded a great number of subordinate characters, 
put others upon the retired list, and dismissed 
a great many as useless sinecurists ; but when I 
had done, all was in confusion ; and then, after 
considering matters for half an hour, and turn- 
ing over a page or two in the book of Nature, 
I found, that the most brilliant actions and the 
greatest events were generally brought about 
from the meanest motives and most petty causes: 
I perceived, that women and valets de-chambre 
govern the world : I found that saur-kraut had 
disagreed with Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, 
made her insolent to Queen Anne, made Queen 
Anne threaten to box her ears, made England 
resign her advantages over France — placed the 
Bourbon dynasty on the throne of Spain, and 
changed the face of Europe even to the present 
day. So, if saur kraut did all this, surely I may 
return to Philip, the woodman of Mantes. * 

Chavigni, as we have seen, cast his purse 



RICHELIEU. 107 

upon the ground, and rode away from the cot- 
tage of the Woodman, little heeding what so 
insignificant an agent might do or say. Yet 
Philip's first thought was one which would have 
procured him speedy admission to the Bastille, 
had Chavigni been able to divine its nature. 
" The young Count shall know all about it," 
said Philip to himself. " That's a great rogue 
in Isabel and silver, for all his fine clothes, or 
I 'm much mistaken." 

His next object of attention was the purse ; and 
after various pros and cons, Inclination, the best 
logician in the world, reasoned him into taking it. 
"For," said Philip, " dirty fingers soil no gold ;" 
and having carefully put it into his pouch, the 
Woodman laid his finger upon the side of his 
nose, and plunged headlong into a deep medita- 
tion concerning the best and least suspicious me- 
thod of informing the young Count de Blenau of 
all he had seen, heard, or suspected. We will not 
follow the course of this cogitation, which, as 
it doubtless took place in the French tongue, 
must necessarily suffer by translation, but taking 



108 RICHELIEU. 

a short cut straight through all the zig-zags of 
Philip's mind, arrive directly at the conclusion, 
or rather at the consequences, which were these. 
In the first place, he commanded his son Charles 
to load the mule with wood, notwithstanding 
the boy's observation, that no one would buy 
wood at that time of the morning, or rather the 
night; for, to make use of Shakspeare's lan- 
guage, the Morn, far from being yet clad in 
any russet mantle, was snugly wrapped up in 
the blanket of the dark, and snoring away, fast 
asleep, like her betters. 

Precisely in the same situation as Aurora, 
that is to say, soundly sleeping, till her ordi- 
nary hour of rising, was Joan, the Woodman's 
wife. Philip, however, by sundry efforts, con- 
trived to awaken her to a sense of external 
things ; and perceiving that, after various yawns 
and stretches, her mind had arrived at the point 
of comprehending a simple proposition, " Get 
up, Joan, get up !" cried he. " I want you to 
write a letter for me ; writing being a gift that, 
by the blessing of God, I do not possess." 



RICHELIEU. 109 

The wife readily obeyed ; for Philip, though 
as kind as the air of spring, had a high notion 
of marital privileges, and did not often suffer 
his commands to be disputed within his little 
sphere of dominion. However, it seemed a sort 
of tenure by which his sway was held, that Joan, 
his wife, should share in all his secrets ; and 
accordingly, in the present instance, the good 
Woodman related in somewhat prolix style, not 
only all that had passed between Chavigni and 
Lafemas in the house, but much of what they 
had said before they even knocked at his door. 

" For you must know, Joan," said he, 
" that I could not sleep for thinking of all 
this day's bad work ; and, as I lay awake, I 
heard horses stop at the water, and people 
speaking, and very soon what they said made 
me wish to hear more, which I did, as I have 
told you. And now, Joan, I think it right, as a 
Christian and a man, to let this young cavalier 
know what they are plotting against him. So 
sit thee down ; here is a pen and ink, and a 
plain sheet out of the boy's holy catechism, — 



110 RICHELIEU. 

God forgive me ! But it could not go to a 
better use. 11 

It matters not much to tell all the various 
considerations which were weighed and discussed 
by Philip and his wife in the construction of 
this epistle. Suffice it to say, that like two 
unskilful players at battledoor and shuttlecock, 
they bandied backwards and forwards the same 
objections a thousand times between them, for 
ever letting them drop, and taking them up 
again anew, till such time as day was well risen 
before they finished. Neither would it much 
edify the world, in all probability, to know the 
exact style and tenor of the composition when 
it was complete, although Philip heard his wife 
read it over with no small satisfaction, and 
doubtless thought it as pretty a piece of ora- 
tory as ever was penned. 

It is now unfortunately lost to the public, 
and all that can be satisfactorily vouched upon 
the subject is, that it was calculated to convey 
to the Count de Blenau all the information 
which the Woodcutter possessed, although that 



RICHELIEU. Ill 

information might be clothed in homely lan- 
guage, without much perfection, either in writ- 
ing or orthography. 

When it had been read, and re-read, and 
twisted up according to the best conceit of the 
good couple, it was intrusted to Charles, the 
Woodman's boy, with many a charge and di- 
rection concerning its delivery, For his part, 
glad of a day's sport, he readily undertook the 
task, and driving the laden mule before him, set 
out, whistling on his way to St. Germain's. He 
had not, however, proceeded far, when he was 
overtaken by Philip with new directions ; the 
principal one being to say, if any one should 
actually see him deliver the note, and make in- 
quiries, that it came from a lady. " For," said 
Philip, — and he thought the observation was a 
shrewd one, — " so handsome a youth as the 
young Count must have many ladies who write 
to him." 

Charles did not very well comprehend what 
it was all about, but he was well enough con- 
tented to serve the young Count, who had 



112 RICHELIEU. 

given him many a kind word and a piece of sil- 
ver, when the hunting-parties of the court had 
stopped to water their horses at the abreuvoir. 
The boy was diligent and active, and soon 
reached St. Germain. His next task was to 
find out the lodging of the Count de Blenau : 
and, after looking about for some time, he ad- 
dressed himself, for information, to a stout, 
jovial-looking servant, who was sauntering down 
the street, gazing about at the various hotels, 
with a look of easy nonchalance, as if idleness 
was his employment. 

« Why do you ask, my boy ?" demanded the 
man, without answering his question. 

" I want to sell my wood, 11 replied the 
Woodman's son, remembering that his errand 
was to be private. " Where does he lodge, 
good Sir? 11 

" Why, the Count does not buy wood in this 
hot weather," rejoined the other. 

" I should suppose the Count does not buy 
wood, himself, at all, 11 replied the boy, putting 
the question aside with all the shrewdness of 



RICHELIEU. 113 

a French peasant ; u but, perhaps, his cook 
will." 

" Suppose I buy your wood, my man," said 
the servant. 

" Why, you are very welcome, Sir," answer- 
ed Charles; " but if you do not want it, I 
pray you, in honesty, show me which is the 
Count de Blenau's hotel." 

" Well, I will show thee," said the servant ; 
" I am e'en going thither myself, on the part of 
the Marquise de Beaumont, to ask after the 
young Count's health." 

" Oh, then, you are one of those who were 
with the carriage yesterday, when he was 
wounded in the wood," exclaimed the boy. 
" Now I remember your colours. Were you 
not one of those on horseback ?" 

" Even so," answered the man ; " and if I 
forget not, thou art the Woodman's boy. But 
come, prithee, tell us what is thy real errand 
with the Count. We are all his friends, you 
know ; and selling him the wood is all a tale." 

Charles thought for a moment, to determine 



114 RICHELIEU. 

whether he should tell the man all he knew or 
not; but remembering the answer his father had 
furnished him with, he replied, " The truth 
then is, I carry him a note from a lady." 

" Oh, ho ! my little Mercury !" cried the 
servant ; " so you are as close with your secrets 
as if you were an older politician. This is the 
way you sell wood, is it ?" 

"I do not know what you mean by Mer- 
cury,*" rejoined the boy. 

" Why he was a great man in his day," re- 
plied the servant, " and, as I take it, used to 
come and go between the gods and goddesses ; 
notwithstanding which, Monsieur Rubens, who 
is the greatest painter that ever lived, has 
painted this same Mercury as one of the late 
Queen's* council, but nevertheless he was a 
carrier of messages, and so forth." 

" Why, then, thou art more Mercury than I, 

* Alluding, no doubt, to the picture of the reconcili- 
ation of Mary de Medicis and her son Louis XIII. in 
which Mercury seems hand in glove with the cardi- 
nals and statesmen of the day. 



RICHELIEU. 115 

for thou earnest a message, and I a letter," an- 
swered Charles, as they approached the hotel of 
the Count, towards which they had been bend- 
ing their steps during this conversation. Their 
proximity to his dwelling, in all probability, 
saved Charles from an angry answer ; for his 
companion did not seem at all pleased with hav- 
ing the name of Mercury retorted upon him- 
self; and intending strongly to impress upon the 
Woodman's boy that he was a person of far too 
great consequence to be jested with, he assumed 
a tone of double pomposity towards the servant 
who appeared on the steps of the hotel. " Tell 
Henry de La Mothe, the Count's page," said 
the servant, " that the Marquise de Beaumont 
shas ent to inquire after his master's health/' 

The servant retired with the message, and in 
a moment after Henry de La Mothe himself 
appeared, and informed the messenger that his 
master was greatly better. He had slept well, 
he said, during the night ; and his surgeons 
assured him that the wounds which he had re- 
ceived were likely to produce no farther harm 



116 RICHELIEU. 

than the weakness naturally consequent upon 
so great a loss of blood as that which he had 
sustained. Having given this message on his 
master's account, Henry, on his own, began to 
question the servant concerning many little par- 
ticulars of his own family ; his father being, as 
already said, Fermier to Madame de Beaumont. 

Charles, the Woodman's son, perceiving that 
the conversation had turned to a subject too 
interesting soon to be discussed, glided past the 
Marchioness's servant, placed the note he carried 
in the hand of the Count's Page, pressed his 
finger on his lip, in sign that it was to be given 
privately, and detaching himself from them, 
without waiting to be questioned, drove back 
his mule through the least known parts of the 
forest, and rendered an account to his father of 
the success of his expedition. 

" Who can that note be from ?" said the 
Marchioness de Beaumont's servant to Henry 
de La Mothe. " The boy told me, it came from 
a lady." 

" From Mademoiselle de Hauteford, pro- 



RICHELIEU. 117 

bably," replied the Page, thoughtfully. " I 
must give it to my master without delay, if he 
be strong enough to read it. We will talk 
more anotherday, ' good friend;" — and he left 
him. 

" From Mademoiselle de Hauteford V said 
the man. " Oh, ho P" — and he went home to 
tell all he knew to Louise, the soubrette. 



118 RICHELIEU. 



CHAPTER VI. 

The Marquis de Cinq Mars, the Count de Fontrailles, 
and King Louis the Thirteenth, all making fools of 
themselves in their own way. 



There are some spots on the earth which 
seem marked out as the scene of extraordinary 
events, and which, without any peculiar beauty, 
or other intrinsic quality to recommend them, 
acquire a transcendent interest, as the theatre 
of great actions. Such is Chantilly, the history 
of whose walls might furnish many a lay to the 
poet, and many a moral to the sage ; and even 
now, by its magnificence and its decay, it offers 
a new comment on the vanity of splendour, and 
proves, by the forgotten greatness of its lords, 
how the waves of time are the true waters of 
oblivion. 



RICHELIEU. 119 

Be that as it may, Montmorency, Conde, are 
names so woven in the web of history, that no- 
thing can tear them out, and these were the 
lords of Chantilly. But amongst all that its 
roof has sheltered, no one, perhaps, is more 
worthy of notice than Louis the Thirteenth : 
the son of Henry the Fourth and Mary de 
Medicis, born to an inheritance of high talents 
and high fortune, with the inspiring incitement 
of a father's glory, and the powerful support 
of a people's love. 

It is sad that circumstance — that stumbling 
block of great minds — that confounder of deep- 
laid schemes — that little, mighty, unseen con- 
troller of all man's actions, should find pleasure 
in bending to its will, that which Nature origi- 
nally seemed to place above its sway. Endued 
with all the qualities a throne requires, brave, 
wise, clear-sighted, and generous ; with his mo- 
ther's talents and his father's courage, the events 
of his early life quelled every effort of Louis's 
mind, and left him but the slave of an ambitious 
minister ! a monarch but in name ! the shadow 



120 RICHELIEU. 

of a King ! How it was so, matters not to this 
history — it is recorded on a more eloquent page. 
But at the time of my tale, the brighter part of 
life had passed away from King Louis; and now 
that it had fallen into the sear, he seemed to 
have given it up as unworthy a farther effort. 
He struggled not even for that appearance of 
Royal state which his proud Minister was un- 
willing to allow him ; and, retired at Chantilly, 
passed lus time in a thousand weak amusements, 
which but served to hurry by the moments of a 
void and weary existence. 

It was at this time, that the first news of the 
Cardinal de Richelieu's illness began to be 
noised abroad. His health had long been de- 
clining; but so feared was that redoubtable Mi- 
nister, that though many remarked the increased 
hollowness of his dark eye, and the deepening 
lines upon his pale cheek, no one dared to 
whisper what many hoped — that the tyrant of 
both King and people was falling under the 
sway of a still stronger hand. 

The morning was yet in its prime. The 



RICHELIEU. 121 

grey mist had hardly rolled away from the old 
towers and battlements of the Chateau of Chan- 
tilly, which, unlike the elegant building after- 
wards erected on the same spot, offered then 
little but strong fortified walls and turrets. — The 
heavy night-dew lay still sparkling upon the 
long grass in the avenues of the Park, when two 
gentlemen were observed walking near the Pa- 
lace, turning up and down the alley, then called 
the Avenue de Luzarches, with that kind of 
sauntering pace which indicated their conversa- 
tion to be of no very interesting description. 

Perhaps, in all that vast variety of shapes 
which Nature has bestowed upon mankind, and 
in all those innate differences by which she has 
distinguished man's soul, no two figures or two 
minds could have been found more opposite 
than those of the two men thus keeping a will- 
ing companionship — the Count de Fontrailles, 
and the Marquis de Cinq Mars, Grand Ecuyer, 
or, as it may be best translated, Master of the 
Horse. 

Cinq Mars, though considerably above the 
VOL. I. G 



122 RICHELIEU. 

common height of men, was formed in the most 
finished and elegant proportion, and possessed 
a native dignity of demeanour, which charac- 
terized even those wild gesticulations in which 
the excess of a bright and enthusiastic mind 
often led him to indulge. 

On the other hand, Fontrailles, short in sta- 
ture, and mean in appearance, was in counte- 
nance equally unprepossessing. He had but one 
redeeming feature, in the quick grey eye, that, 
with the clear keenness of its light, seemed to 
penetrate the deepest thoughts of those upon 
whom it was turned. 

Such is the description that history yields of 
these two celebrated men ; and I will own that 
my hankering after physiognomy has induced 
me to transcribe it here, inasmuch as the mind 
of each was like his person. 

In the heart of Cinq Mars dwelt a proud 
nobility of spirit, which, however he might be 
carried away by the fiery passions of his nature, 
ever dignified his actions with something of 
great and generous. But the soul of Fontrailles, 



RICHELIEU. 123 

ambitious, yet mean, wanted all the wild ardour 
of his companion, but wanted also all his better 
qualities ; possessing alone that clear, piercing 
discernment, which, more like instinct than 
judgment, showed him always the exact mo- 
ment of danger, and pointed out the means of 
safety. 

And yet, though not friends, they were often 
(as I have said) companions ; for Cinq Mars 
was too noble to suspect, and Fontrailles too 
wary to be known — besides, in the present in- 
stance, he had a point to carry, and therefore 
was doubly disguised. 

s< You have heard the news, doubtless, Cinq 
Mars," said Fontrailles, leading the way from 
the great Avenue de Luzarches into one of the 
smaller alleys, where they were less liable to be 
watched; for he well knew that the conversation 
he thus broached would lead to those wild starts 
and gestures in his companion, which might call 
upon them some suspicion, if observed. Cinq 
Mars made no reply, and he proceeded. " The 
Cardinal is ill !" and he fixed his eye upon the 
G 2 



124 RICHELIEU. 

Master of the Horse, as if he would search his 
soul. But Cinq Mars still was silent, and, ap- 
parently deeply busied with other thoughts, 
continued beating the shrubs on each side of 
the path with his sheathed sword, without even 
a glance towards his companion. After a mo- 
ment or two, however, he raised his head with 
an air of careless abstraction : " What a desert 
this place has become !" said he ; " look how all 
these have grown up, between the trees. One 
might really be as well in a forest as a royal 
park now-a-days." 

u But you have made me no answer," rejoin- 
ed Fontrailles, returning perseveringly to the 
point on which his companion seemed unwill- 
ing to touch : " I said, the Cardinal is ill." 

" Well, well ! I hear,"" answered Cinq Mars, 
with a peevish start, like a restive horse forced 
forward on a road he is unwilling to take. 
" What is it you would have me say ? — That 
I am sorry for it i Well, be it so — I am sorry 
for it — sorry that a trifling sickness, which will 



RICHELIEU. 125 

pass away in a moon, should give France hope? 
of that liberation, which is yet far off. 11 

" But, nevertheless, you would be sorry were 
this great man to die," said Fontrailles, putting 
it half as a question, half as an undoubted propo- 
sition, and looking in the face of the Marquis, 
with an appearance of hesitating uncertainty. 

Cinq Mars could contain himself no more. 
" What !" cried he vehemently, " sorry for the 
peace of the world ! — sorry for the weal of my 
country ! — sorry for the liberty of my King ! 
Why, I tell thee, Fontrailles, should the Car- 
dinal de Richelieu die, the people of France 
would join % in pulling down the scaffolds and 
the gibbets, to make bonfires of them !*' 

" Who ever dreamed of hearing you say so ?'* 
said his companion. " All France agrees with 
you, no doubt ; but we all thought that the 
Marquis de Cinq Mars either loved the Cardi- 
nal, or feared him, too much to see his crimes.' 1 

u Fear him !" exclaimed Cinq Mars, the blood 
mounting to his cheek, as if the very name of 



126 RICHELIEU. 

fear wounded his sense of honour. He then 
paused, looked into his real feelings, shook his 
head mournfully, and after a moment's interval 
of bitter silence added, "True! true! Who 
is there that does not fear him ? Nevertheless r 
it is impossible to see one's country bleeding for 
the merciless cruelty of one man, the prisons 
filled with the best and bravest of the land to 
quiet his suspicions, and the King held in worse 
bondage than a slave to gratify the daring am- 
bition of this insatiate churchman, and not to 
wish that Heaven had sent it otherwise." 

" It is not Heaven's fault, Sir," replied Fon- 
trailles; "it is our own, that we do suffer ft. 
Had we one man in France who, with sufficient 
courage, talent, and influence, had the true spi- 
rit of a patriot, our unhappy country might 
soon be freed from the bondage under which 
she groans." 

" But where shall we find such a man ?" 
asked the Master of the Horse, either really 
not understanding the aim of Fontrailles, or 
wishing to force him to a clearer explanation of 



RICHELIEU. 127 

his purpose. " Such an undertaking as you 
hint at," he continued, " must be well consi- 
dered, and well supported, to have any effect. 
It must be strengthened by wit — by cou- 
rage — and by illustrious names. — It must have 
the power of wealth, and the power of reputa- 
tion. — It must be the rousing of the lion with 
all his force, to shake off the toils by which he 
is encompassed." 

" But still there must be some one to rouse 
him, 11 said Fontrailles, fixing his eyes on Cinq 
Mars with a peculiar expression, as if to denote 
that he was the man alluded to. 4t Suppose 
this were France," he proceeded, unbuckling 
his sword from the belt, and drawing a few 
lines on the ground with the point of the 
sheath : " show me a province or a circle that 
will not rise at an hour's notice to cast off the 
yoke of this hated Cardinal. Here is Nor- 
mandy, almost in a state of revolt ; — here is 
Guienne, little better ; — here is Sedan, our 
own; — here are the Mountains of Auvergne, filled 
with those whom his tyranny has driven into 



128 RICHELIEU. 

their solitude for protection ; and here is Paris 
and its insulted Parliament, waiting but for 
opportunity." 

u And here," said Cinq Mars, with a melan- 
choly smile, following the example of his com- 
panion, and pointing out with his sword, as if 
on a map, the supposed situations of the various 
places to which he referred — " And here is 
Peronne, and Rouen, and Havre, and Lyons, 
and Tours, and Brest, and Bordeaux, and every 
town or fortress in Prance, filled with his 
troops and governed by his creatures ; and 
here is Flanders, with Chaunes and Mielleray, 
and fifteen thousand men, at his disposal ; and 
here is Italy, with Bouillon, and as many more, 
ready to march at his command V 

" But suppose I could show," said Fon- 
trailles, laying his hand on his companion's arm, 
and detaining him as he was about to walk on 
— "but suppose I could show, that Mielleray 
would not march, — that Bouillon would de- 
clare for us, — that England would aid us with 
money, and Spain would put five thousand 



RICHELIEU. 129 

men at our command, — that the King's own 
brother—" 

Cinq Mars waved his hand : " No ! no ! no P 
said he, in a firm, bitter tone : " Gaston of Or- 
leans has led too many to the scaffold already. 
The weak, wavering Duke is ever the execu- 
tioner of his friends. Remember poor Mont- 
morency r 

" Let me proceed,' 1 said Fontrailles ; " hear 
me to an end, and then judge. I say, suppose 
that the King's own brother should give us his 
name and influence, and the King himself should 
yield us his consent. 1 ' 

" Ha I 11 exclaimed Cinq Mars, pausing 
abruptly. — The idea of gaining the King had 
never occurred to him ; and now it came like a 
ray of sunshine through a cloud, brightening 
the prospect which had been before in shadow. 
" Think you the King would consent ?" 

" Assuredly J 1 ' replied his companion. "Does 

he not hate the Cardinal as much as any one ? 

Does not his blood boil under the bonds he 

cannot break ? And would he not bless the 

g 5 



130 RICHELIEU. 

man who gave him freedom ? Think, Cinq 
Mars!" he continued, endeavouring to throw 
much energy into his manner, for he knew that 
the ardent mind of his companion wanted but 
the spark of enthusiasm to inflame — " think, 
what a glorious object ! to free alike the people 
and their sovereign, and to rescue the many 
victims even now destined to prove the tyrant's 
cruelty !— Think, think of the glorious reward, 
the thanks of a King, the gratitude of a 
nation, and the blessings of thousands saved 
from dungeons and from death !" 

It worked as he could have wished. The 
enthusiasm of his words had their full effect on 
the mind of his companion. As the other went 
on, the eye of Cinq Mars lightened with all the 
wild ardour of his nature ; and striking his 
hand upon the hilt of his sword, as if longing 
to draw it in the inspiring cause of his Coun- 
try's liberty, " Glorious indeed !" he exclaimed, 
— " glorious indeed V 9 

But immediately after, fixing his glance upon 
the ground, he fell into meditation of the many 



RICHELIEU. 181 

circumstances of the times ; and as his mind's 
eye ran over the difficulties and dangers which 
surrounded the enterprise, the enthusiasm which 
had beamed in his eye, like the last flash of an 
expiring fire, died away, and he replied with a 
sigh, " What you have described, Sir, is indeed 
a glorious form — But it is dead — it wants a 
soul. The King, though every thing great and 
noble, has been too long governed now to act for 
himself. The Duke of Orleans is weak and un- 
decided as a child. Bouillon is far away — " 

" And where is Cinq Mars r" demanded Fon- 
trailles, — " where is the man whom the King 
really loves ? If Cinq Mars has forgot his own 
powers, so has not France ; and she now tells 
him — though by so weak a voice as mine — that 
he is destined to be the soul of this great body 
to animate this goodly frame, to lead this con- 
spiracy, if that can be so called which has a 
King at its head, and Princes for its support." 

In these peaceable days, when we are taught 
to pray against privy conspiracy, both as a 
crime and misfortune, the very name is start- 



132 RICHELIEU. 

Jing to all orthodox ears ; but at the time I 
speak of, it had no such effect. Indeed, from 
the commencement of the wars between Henri 
Quatre and the League, little else had existed 
but a succession of conspiracies, which one after 
another had involved every distinguished person 
in the country, and brought more than one no- 
ble head to the block. Men's minds had be- 
come so accustomed to the sound, that the ex- 
plosion of a new plot scarcely furnished mat- 
ter for a day's wonder, as the burghers of a 
besieged city at length hardly hear the roar- 
ing of the cannon against their walls; and so 
common had become the name of conspirator, 
that there were very few men in the realm 
who had not acquired a just title to such an 
appellation. 

The word " conspiracy," therefore, carried 
nothing harsh or disagreeable to the mind of 
Cinq Mars. What Fontrailles proposed to him, 
bore a plausible aspect. It appeared likely to 
succeed ; and, if it did so, offered him that re- 
ward for which, of all others, his heart beat — 



RICHELIEU. 133 

Glory ! But there was one point on which he 
paused : " You forget," said he, — " you forget 
that I owe all to Richelieu, — you forget that, 
however he may have wronged this country, 
he has not wronged me ; and though I may 
wish that such a being did not exist, it is not 
for me to injure him." 

" True, most true V replied his wily compa- 
nion, who knew that the appearance of frank 
sincerity would win more from Cinq Mars than 
aught else : " if he has done as you say, be 
still his friend. Forget your country in your 
gratitude — though in the days of ancient virtue 
patriotism was held paramount. We must 
not hope for such things now — so no more of 
that. But if I can show that this proud Mi- 
nister has never served you ; if I can prove 
that every honour which of late has fallen upon 
you, far from being a bounty of the Cardinal, 
has proceeded solely from the favour of the 
King, and has been wrung from the hard Church- 
man as a mere concession to the Monarch's whim; 
if it can be made clear that the Marquis Cinq 



134 RICHELIEU. 

Mars would now have been a Duke and Con- 
stable of France, had not his kind friend the 
Cardinal whispered he was unfit for such an 
office : — then will you have no longer the ex- 
cuse of friendship, and your Country's call 
must and shall be heard." 

" I can scarce credit your words, Fontrailles," 
replied Cinq Mars. " You speak boldly, — but 
do you speak truly ?" 

" Most truly, on my life {"replied Fontrailles. 
" Think you, Cinq Mars, if I did not well 
know that I could prove each word I have 
said, that thus I would have placed my most 
hidden thoughts in the power of a man who 
avows himself the friend of Richelieu ?" 

" Prove to me, — but prove to me, that I 
am not bound to him in gratitude," cried Cinq 
Mars vehemently, — " take from me the bonds 
by which he has chained my honour, and I 
will hurl him from his height of power, or 
die in the attempt." 

" Hush !" exclaimed Fontrailles, laying his fin- 
ger on his lip as they turned into another alley, 



RICHELIEU. 135 

" we are no longer alone. Govern yourself, 
Cinq Mars, and I will prove every tittle of what 
I have advanced ere we be two hours older." 

This was uttered in a low tone of voice ; for 
there was indeed another group in the same 
avenue with themselves. The party, which was 
rapidly approaching, consisted of three persons, 
of whom one was a step in advance, and, though 
in no degree superior to the others in point of 
dress, was distinguished from them by that in- 
describable something which constitutes the idea 
of dignity- He was habited in a plain suit of 
black silk with buttons of jet, and every part of 
his dress, even to the sheath and hilt of his cou- 
teau de chasse, corresponding. On his right hand 
he wore a thick glove, of the particular kind 
generally used by the sportsmen of the period, 
but more particularly by those who employed 
themselves in the then fashionable sport of bird- 
catching ; and the nets and snares of various 
kinds carried by the other two, seemed to evince 
that such had been the morning's amusement of 
the whole party. 



136 RICHELIEU. 

The King, for such was the person who ap- 
proached, was rather above the middle height, 
and of a spare habit. His complexion was very 
pale ; and his hair, which had one time been of 
the richest brown, was now mingled throughout 
with grey. But still there was much to inte- 
rest, both in his figure and countenance. There 
was a certain air of easy self-possession in all 
his movements-; and even when occupied with 
the most trivial employment, which was often 
the case, there was still a degree of dignity in 
his manner, that seemed to show his innate feel- 
ing of their emptiness, and his own conscious- 
ness of how inferior they were, both to his situa- 
tion and his talents. His features at all times 
appeared handsome, but more especially when 
any sudden excitement called up the latent ani- 
mation of his dark-brown eye, recalling to the 
minds of those who remembered the days gone 
before, that young and fiery Prince who could 
not brook the usurped sway even of his own 
highly talented mother, but who had now be- 
come the slave of her slave. The consciousness 



RICHELIEU. 137 

of his fallen situation, and of his inability to call 
up sufficient energy of mind to disengage him- 
self, generally cast upon him an appearance of 
profound sadness : occasionally, however, flashes 
of angry irritability would break across the 
cloud of melancholy which hung over him, and 
show the full expression of his countenance, 
which at other times displayed nothing but the 
traces of deep and bitter thought, or a mo- 
mentary sparkle of weak, unthinking merriment. 
So frequent, however, were the changes to be 
observed in the depressed Monarch, that some 
persons even doubted whether they were not 
assumed to cover deeper intentions. It might 
be so, or it might not ; but at all events, between 
the intervals of these natural or acquired ap- 
pearances, would often shine out strong gleams 
of his mother's unyielding spirit, or his father's 
generous heart. 

The rapid pace with which he always pro- 
ceeded, soon brought the King close to Cinq 
Mars and Fontrailles. " Good-morrow, Mon- 
sieur de Fontrailles," said he, as the Count 



138 RICHELIEU. 

bowed low at his approach. " Do not remain 
uncovered. 'Tis a fine day for forest sports, 
but not for bare heads ; though I have heard 
say, that if you were in the thickest mist of all 
Holland, you would see your way through it. 
— What ! mon Grand Ecuyer" he continued, 
turning to Cinq Mars; " as sad as if thou hadst 
been plotting, and wert dreaming even now of 
the block and axe ?" And with a kind and fami- 
liar air, he laid his hand upon his favourite's 
arm : who on his part started, as if the Monarch 
had read his thoughts and foretold his doom. 

A single word has sometimes lost or won an 
empire. Even less than a single word, if we 
may believe the history of Darius's horse, who, 
being a less loquacious animal than Balaam's 
ass, served his master without speaking. How- 
ever, Fontrailles fixed his eye on Cinq Mars, 
and seeing plainly the effect of Louis's speech, 
he hastened to wipe it away. " To calculate petty 
dangers in a great undertaking, 1, said he, " were 
as weak as to think over all the falls one may 



RICHELIEU. 139 

meet with in the chase, before we get on horse- 
back." 

Both Cinq Mars and the King were passion- 
ately fond of the noble forest sport, so that the 
simile of Fontrailles went directly home, more 
especially to the King, who, following the idea 
thus called up, made a personal application of 
it to him who introduced it. " Jesu, that were 
folly indeed !" he exclaimed, in answer to the 
Count's observation. " But you are not fond 
of the chase either, Monsieur de Fontrailles, if 
I think right ; I never saw you follow boar or 
stag, that I can call to mind," 

" More my misfortune than my fault, Sire," 
replied Fontrailles. " Had I ever been fa- 
voured with an invitation to follow the royal 
hounds, your Majesty would have found me as 
keen of the sport as even St. Hubert is said to 
have been of yore." 

a Blessed be his memory !" cried the King. 
" But we will hunt to-day ; we will see you 
ride, Monsieur de Fontrailles. What say you, 



140 RICHELIEU. 

Cinq Mars ? The parties who went out to turn 
a stag last night (I remember now) presented 
this morning, that in the bosquet at the end of 
the forest, near Argenin, is quartered a fat stag 
of ten, and another by Boisjardin ; but that by 
Argenin will be the best, for he has but one 
refuite by the long alley. — Come, gentlemen, 
seek your boots, — seek your boots ; and as our 
Grand Veneur is not at Chantilly, you, Cinq 
Mars, shall superintend the chase. Order the 
Maitre valet de chiens to assemble the old pack 
and the relais at the Carrefour d' Argenin, and 
then we will quickly to horse." So saying, he 
turned away to prepare for his favourite sport ; 
but scarcely had gone many paces ere he 
slackened his pace, and allowed the two gentle- 
men to rejoin him. " What think you, friend ?" 
said he, addressing Cinq Mars ; " they tell me, 
the Cardinal is sick. Have you heard of it?" 
" I have heard a vague report of the kind," 
replied Cinq Mars, watching his master's coun- 
tenance, " but as yet nothing certain. May I 
crave what information your Majesty possesses ?" 



RICHELIEU. 141 

*• Why, he is sick, very sick," replied Louis, 
" and perchance may die. May his soul find 
mercy ! Perchance he may die, and then — " 
And the King fell into deep thought. 

It is possible that at that moment his mind 
was engaged in calculating all that such an event 
as the death of Richelieu would produce ; for, 
gradually, as if he dreamed of ruling for himself, 
and as hope spread out before him many a fu- 
ture year of power and greatness, his air be- 
came more dignified, his eye flashed with its 
long repressed fire, and his step acquired a new 
degree of firmness and majesty. 

Fontrailles watched the alteration of the 
King's countenance, and, skilful at reading the 
mind's workings by the face, he added, as if 
finishing the sentence which Louis had left un- 
concluded, — but taking care to blend what he 
said with an air of raillery towards the Master 
of the Horse, lest he should offend the irritable 
Monarch — " And then," said he, " Cinq Mars 
shall be a Duke. Is it not so, Sire?" 

Louis started. His thoughts had been en- 



142 RICHELIEU. 

gaged in far greater schemes ; and yet rewarding 
his friends and favourites, always formed a 
great part of the pleasure he anticipated in 
power, and he replied, without anger, " Most 
likely it will be so — Indeed," he added, " had 
my wishes, as a man, been followed," — and he 
turned kindly towards the Master of the Horse, 
— " it should have been so long ago, Cinq Mars. 
But Kings, you know, are obliged to yield their 
private inclinations to what the State requires." 

Fontrailles glanced his eye towards the Grand 
Ecuyer, as if desiring him to remark the King's 
words. Cinq Mars bent his head, in token that 
he comprehended, and replied to the King : " I 
understand your Majesty ; but, believe me, Sire, 
no honour or distinction could more bind Cinq 
Mars to his King, than duty, gratitude, and 
affection do at this moment." 

" I believe thee, friend, — I believe thee, from 
my soul," said Louis. " God forgive us that 
we should desire the death of any man ! and 
surely do not I that of the Cardinal, for he is 
a good Minister, and a man of powerful mind. 



RICHELIEU. 143 

But, withal, we may wish that he was more 
gentle and forgiving. Nevertheless, he is a 
great man. See how he thwarts and rules half 
the Kings in Europe — See how he presses the 
Emperor, and our good brother-in-law, Philip 
of Spain; while the great Gustavus, this north- 
ern hero, is little better than his general." 

" He is assuredly a great man, Sire," replied 
Cinq Mars. "But permit me to remark, that 
a great bad man is worse than one of less ta- 
lents, for he has the extended capability of 
doing harm ; and perhaps, Sire, if this Minister 
contented himself with thwarting Kings abroad, 
he would do better than by opposing the will of 
his own Sovereign at home." 

The time, however, was not yet come for 
Louis to make even an attempt toward liberat- 
ing himself from the trammels to which he had 
been so long accustomed. Habit in this had 
far more power over his mind than even the 
vast and aspiring talents of Richelieu. No man 
in France, perhaps, more contemned or hated 
the Cardinal than the royal slave whom he had 



144 RICHELIEU. 

so long subjugated to his burdensome sway. 
Yet Louis, amidst all his dreams for the future, 
looked with dread upon losing the support of 
a man whom he detested, but upon whose 
counsels and abilities he had been accustomed 
to rely with confidence and security. 

Cinq Mars saw plainly the state of his mas- 
ter's mind; and as he entered the Palace, he 
again began to doubt whether he should at all 
lend himself to the bold and dangerous mea- 
sures which Fontrailles had suggested. 



RICHELIEU. 145 



CHAPTER VII. 

In which is shown how a great King hunted a great 
beast, and what came of the hunting. 



While the King's mind, as he returned to 
the Chateau de Chantilly, was agitated by 
vague hopes and fears, which, like the forms 
that we trace in the clouds, rolled into a thou- 
sand strange and almost palpable shapes be- 
fore his mind's eye, and yet were but a vapour 
after all ; and while the thoughts of Cinq Mars 
ran over all the difficulties and dangers of the 
future prospect, reverted to the obligations 
Richelieu had once conferred upon him, or 
scanned the faults and crimes of the Minister, 
till the struggle of patriotism and gratitude left 
nothing but doubt behind : the imagination of 

VOL. I. H 



146 RICHELIEU. 

Fontrailles was very differently occupied. It 
was not that he pondered the means of en- 
gaging more firmly the wavering mind of Cinq 
Mars. No, for he had marked him for his 
own ; and, from that morning's conversation, 
felt as sure of his companion as the ant-lion 
does of the insect he sees tremble on the edge 
of his pit. Neither did he revolve the proba- 
ble issue of the dangerous schemes in which he 
was engaging both himself and others ; for he 
was confident in his powers of disentangling 
himself, when it should become necessary to his 
own safety so to do, and he was not a man to 
distress himself for the danger of his friends. 
The occupation of his mind as they approached 
the Castle, was of a more personal nature. The 
truth is, that so far from discomposing himself 
upon the score of distant evils, the sole trou- 
ble of his thoughts was the hunting-party into 
which he had entrapped himself. Being by no 
means a good horseman, and caring not one 
sous for a pastime which involved far too much 
trouble and risk to accord in any degree with 



RICHELIEU. 147 

his idea of pleasure, Fontrailles had professed 
himself fond of hunting, merely to please the 
King, without ever dreaming that he should be 
called upon to give farther proof of his venera- 
tion for the Royal sport. 

He saw plainly, however, that his case admit- 
ted of no remedy. Go he must ; and, having 
enough philosophy in his nature to meet inevit- 
able evils with an unshrinking mind, he prepar- 
ed to encounter all the horrors of the chase, as 
if they were his principal delight. 

He accordingly got into his boots with as 
much alacrity as their nature permitted, for, 
each weighing fully eight pounds, they were 
somewhat ponderous and unmanageable. He 
then hastily loaded his pistols, stuck his cou- 
teau de chasse in his belt, and throwing the 
feather from his hat, was the first ready to 
mount in the court-yard. 

" Why, how is this, Monsieur de Fon- 
traijjes ?" said the King, who in a few minutes 
joined him in the area where the horses were 
assembled. " The first at your post ! You are, 

H'2 



148 RICHELIEU. 

indeed, keen for the sport. Some one, see for 
Cinq Mars. — Oh ! here he comes : Mount, gen- 
tlemen, mount ! Our Ordinaries of the chase, 
and Lieutenants, await us at the Carrefour (TAr- 
genin, — Mount, gentlemen, mount ! Ha ! have 
you calculated your falls for to-day, Monsieur 
de Fontrailles, as you spoke of this morning ?" 
And the King's eyes glistened with almost child- 
ish eagerness for his favourite pastime. 

In the mean while, Cinq Mars had approach- 
ed with a slow step and a gloomy countenance, 
showing none of the alacrity of Fontrailles, or 
the enthusiastic ardour of the King. " There 
are other dangers than falls to be met with in 
chase, my liege,"" said the Master of the Horse, 
with a bitter expression of displeasure in his 
manner ; " and that Claude de Blenau could 
inform your Majesty." 

" I know not what you mean, Cinq Mars," 
answered the King. " De Blenau is a gallant 
cavalier ; as staunch to his game as a beagle of 
the best ; and though he shows more service to 



RICHELIEU. 149 

our Queen than to ourself, he is no less valued 
for that/' 

" He is one cavalier out of ten thousand — " 
replied Cinq Mars, warmly: " my dearest 
companion and friend ; and whilst Cinq Mars 
has a sword to wield, De Blenau shall never 
want one to second his quarrel.'' 

M Why, what ails thee, Cinq Mars?" de- 
manded the King with some surprise. u Thou 
art angry, — what is it now ?" 

" It is, Sire," replied the Master of the Horse, 
" that I have just had a courier from St. Ger- 
main, who bears me word, that, three days 
since past, the Count, as your Majesty and I 
have often done, was hunting in the neighbour- 
hood of Mantes, and was there most treacher- 
ously attacked by an armed band, in which 
adventure he suffered two wounds that nearly 
drained his good heart of blood. Shall this be 
tolerated, Sire ?" 

" No, indeed ! no, indeed !" replied the King 
with much warmth. " This shall be looked to. 



150 RICHELIEU. 

Our kingdom must not be overrun with robbers 
and brigands." 

" Bobbers !" exclaimed Cinq Mars, indig- 
nantly. " I know not — they may have been 
robbers ; but my letters say, that one of them 
wore colours of Isabel and silver. 1 ' 

" Those are the colours of Chavigni's livery,'"' 
replied the King, who knew the most minute 
difference in the bearing of every family in 
the kingdom, with wonderful precision. " This 
must be looked to, and it shall, or I am not de- 
serving of my name. But now mount, gentle- 
men, mount! we are waited for at the ren- 
dezvous." 

The Carrefour cTArgenin, at which the King 
and his attendants soon arrived, was a large 
open space in the forest, where four roads cross- 
ed. Each of these, but one, cut into a long 
straight avenue through the wood, opened a 
view of the country beyond, forming a separate 
landscape, as it were, framed, or to use the 
French term, encadre, by the surrounding trees. 
The sun had not yet risen sufficiently to shine 



RICHELIEU. 151 

upon any of these forest roads ; but the sweeping 
hills and dales beyond, were to be seen through 
the apertures, richly lighted up by the clear 
beams of the morning ; though occasionally a 
soft wreath of mist, lingering in the bosom of 
some of the hollows, would roll a transient sha- 
dow over the prospect. Louis had chosen this 
spot for the rendezvous, perhaps as much on 
account of its picturesque beauty, as for any 
other reason. Deprived, as he was, of courtly 
splendour and observance, his mind, unpervert- 
ed by the giddy show and tinsel pomp that 
generally surrounds a royal station, regarded 
with a degree of enthusiasm the real loveliness 
of Nature ; and now it was some time before even 
the preparations for his favourite sport could 
call his attention from the picturesque beauty of 
the spot. 

The policy of Richelieu, which had led him 
to deprive the King of many of the external 
marks of sovereignty, as well as of the real 
power, taught him also to encourage all those 
sports which might at once occupy Louis's 



152 RICHELIEU. 

mind, and place him at a distance from the 
scene of government. Thus, the hunting equi- 
page of the King was maintained in almost 
more than royal luxury. 

The first objects that presented themselves, 
in the Carre/our cFArgenin, were a multitude 
of dogs and horses, grouped together with the 
lieutenants of the forest, and the various offi- 
cers of the hunt, under those trees which would 
best afford them shade as the sun got up. Vari- 
ous piqueurs and valets were seen about the 
ground, some holding the horses, some laying 
out the table for the royal dejeune, and some 
busily engaged in cutting long straight wands 
from the more pliable sort of trees, and peeling 
off the bark for a certain distance, so as to leave 
a sort of handle or hilt still covered, while the 
rest of the stick, about three feet in length, 
remained bare. These, called " batons de 
chasse," were first presented to the King, who, 
having chosen one, directed the rest to be dis- 
tributed among his friends and attendants, for 
the purpose of guarding their heads from the 



RICHELIEU. 153 

boughs, which in the rapidity of the chase, 
while it continued in the forest, often inflicted 
serious injuries. 

The Maitre valet de chiens, and his ordi- 
naries, each armed with a portentous-looking 
horn, through the circles of which were passed 
a variety of dog couples, were busily occupied 
in distributing the hounds into their different 
relays, and the grooms and other attendants 
were seen trying the girths of the heavy hunt- 
ing saddles, loading the pistols, or placing them 
in the holsters, and endeavouring to distinguish 
themselves fully as much by their bustle as 
by their activity. 

However, it was an animated scene, and those 
who saw it could not wonder that Louis pre- 
ferred the gay excitement of such sports, to the 
sombre monotony of a palace without a court, 
and royalty without its splendour. 

After examining the preparations with a cri- 
tical eye, and inquiring into the height, age, 
size, and other distinctive signs of the stag 
which was to be hunted, Louis placed himself 
H 5 



j54 RICHELIEU. 

at the breakfast-table which had been prepared 
in the midst of the green, and motioning Cinq 
Mars and Fontrailles to be seated, entered into 
a lively discussion concerning the proper spots 
for placing the relays of horses aud dogs. At 
length it was determined that six hounds and 
four hunters should be stationed at about two 
leagues and a half on the high road; that twelve 
dogs and four piqueurs, with an ordinary of 
the chase, should take up a position upon the 
side of a hill under which the stag was likely to 
pass ; and that another relay should remain at 
a spot called Le Croix de bois, within sight 
of which the hunt would be obliged to come, if 
the animal, avoiding the open country, made for 
the other extremity of the forest. 

It fell upon Cinq Mars to communicate these 
directions to the officers of the hunt, which he 
did in that sort of jargon, which the sports of 
the field had made common in those days, but 
which would now be hardly intelligible. He 
was engaged in giving general orders, that the 
horses should be kept in the shade and ready 



RICHELIEU. 155 

to be mounted at a moment's notice, in case the 
King, or any of his suite should require them, 
and that the ordinary should by no means let 
slip any of the dogs of the relay upon the stag, 
even if it passed his station, without especial 
orders from the piqueurs of the principal hunt 
— when suddenly he stopped, and pointing with 
his hand, a man was discovered standing in one 
of the avenues, apparently watching the Royal 
party. 

The circumstance would have passed without 
notice, had it not been for the extraordinary 
stature of the intruder, who appeared fully as 
tall as Cinq Mars himself. Attention was far- 
ther excited by his disappearing as soon as he 
was observed ; and some grooms were sent to 
bring him before the King, but their search was 
in vain, and the matter was soon forgotten. 

The minute relation of a Royal hunt in 
France, anno 1642, would afford very little ge- 
neral interest. Enough has been said to show 
how different were the proceedings of that time 
from our method of conducting such things in 



156 RICHELIEU. 

the present day ; and those who want farther 
information on the subject may find it in a very 
erudite treatise, " De la Chasse, &c." by Le 
Mercier, in the year fifty-six of the same cen- 
tury. We must, however, in a more general 
manner, follow the King over the field, though 
without attempting to describe all the minute 
occurrences of the day, or the particulars of eti- 
quette usual on such occasions. 

The stag, poor silly beast, who had been doz- 
ing away his time in a thicket at about half a 
mile distance, was soon roused by the very un- 
wished appearance of the huntsmen, and taking 
his path down the principal avenue, bounded 
away towards the open country, calculating, 
more wisely than the beast recorded by our old 
friend iEsop, that the boughs might encumber 
his head gear. The horns sounded loud, the 
couples were unloosed, the dogs slipped, and 
away went man and beast in the pursuit. For 
a moment or two, the forest was filled with 
clang, and cry, and tumult: — as the hunt 
swept away, it grew fainter and fainter, till the 



RICHELIEU. 157 

sound, almost lost in the indistinct distance, 
left the deep glades of the wood to resume 
their original silence. 

They did not, however, long appear solitary, 
for in a few minutes after the hunt had quitted 
the forest, the same tall figure, whose appa- 
rition had interrupted Cinq Mars in his oratory 
concerning the relays, emerged from one of the 
narrower paths, leading a strong black horse, 
whose trappings were thickly covered with a 
variety of different figures in brass, represent- 
ing the signs of the zodiac, together with sun- 
dry triangles, crescents, and other shapes, such as 
formed part of the astrological quackery of that 
day. The appearance of the master was not 
less singular in point of dress than that of the 
horse. He wore a long black robe, somewhat 
in the shape of that borne by the order of Black 
Friars, but sprinkled with silver signs. This, 
which made him look truly gigantic, was bound 
round his waist by a broad girdle of white lea- 
ther, traced all over with strange characters, that 
might have been called hieroglyphics, had they 



158 RICHELIEU. 

signified any thing ; but which were, probably, 
as unmeaning as the science they were intended 
to dignify. 

To say the truth, the wearer did not seem 
particularly at his ease in his habiliments ; for 
when, after having looked cautiously around, 
he attempted to mount his horse, the long dra- 
pery of his gown got entangled round his feet 
at every effort, and it was not till he had vented 
several very ungodly execrations, and effected a 
long rent in the back of his robe, that he ac- 
complished the ascent into the saddle. Once 
there, however, the dexterity of his horseman- 
ship, and his bearing altogether, made him 
appear much more like the captain of a band 
of heavy cavalry than an astrologer, notwith- 
standing the long snowy beard which hung 
down to his girdle, and the profusion of white 
locks that, escaping from his fur cap, floated 
wildly over his face, and concealed the greater 
part of its features. 

The horseman paused for a moment, seem- 
ingly immersed in thought, while his horse, 



RICHELIEU. 159 

being a less considerate beast than himself, kept 
pawing the ground, eager to set off. " Let me 
see," said the horseman ; f4 the stag will soon be 
turned on the high road by the carriers for 
Clermont, and must come round under the hill, 
and then I would take the world to a cliapon de 
Maine* that that fool Andrieu lets slip his relay, 
and drives the beast to water. If so, I have 
them at the Croix de bois. At all events, one 
must try." And thus speaking, he struck his 
horse hard with a thick kind of truncheon he 
held in his hand, and soon was out of the forest. 
In the mean while the King and his suite fol- 
lowed close upon the hounds ; the Monarch and 
Cinq Mars, animated by the love of the chase, 
and Fontrailles risking to break his neck rather 
than be behind. The road for some way was 
perfectly unobstructed, and as long as it re- 
mained so, the stag followed it without devia- 
tion ; but at length a train of carriers' waggons 
appeared, wending their way towards Clermont. 
The jingling of the bells on the yokes of the 
oxen, and the flaunting of the red and white 



160 RICHELIEU. 

ribbons on their horns, instantly startled the 
stag, who, stopping short in his flight, stood at 
gaze for a moment, and then darting across the 
country, entered a narrow track of that unpro- 
ductive sandy kind of soil, called in France 
landes, which bordered the forest. It so hap- 
pened, — unfortunately, I was going to say, but 
doubtless the stag thought otherwise — that a 
large herd of his horned kindred were lying 
out in this very track, enjoying the morning 
sunshine, and regaling themselves upon the first 
fruits that fell from some chesnut-trees, which 
in that place skirted the forest. 

Now the stag, remembering an old saying, 
which signalizes the solace of " company in dis- 
tress," proceeded straight into the midst of the 
herd ; who being fat burghers of the wood, and 
like many other fat burghers somewhat selfish 
withal, far from compassionating his case, re- 
ceived him with scanty courtesy, and, in short, 
wished him at the devil. However, no time was 
to be lost ; the dogs were close upon his steps ; 
6i sauve qui peat!" was the word among the 



RICHELIEU. 161 

stags, and away they all went, flying in every 
direction. 

The hunters had as little cause to be pleased 
with this manoeuvre as the stags ; for the hounds 
being young, were deceived by a strong family 
likeness between one of the herd and the one 
they had so long followed, and all of the dogs but 
four, yielding up the real object of pursuit, 
gave chase to the strange stag, who, darting off 
to the left, took his way towards the river. Cinq 
Mars and most of the piqueurs, misled by see- 
ing the young hounds have so great a majority, 
followed also. It was in vain the King called 
to him to come back, that he was hunting the 
wrong beast, and was as great a fool as a 
young hound ; he neither heeded nor heard, 
and soon was out of sight. 

" Sa christi /" cried Louis, u there they go, 
just like the world, quitting the true pursuit to 
follow the first fool that runs, and priding them- 
selves on being in the right, when they are most 
in error ; but come, Monsieur de Fontrailles, 
we will follow the true stag of the hunt." 



162 RICHELIEU. 

But Fontrailles too was gone. The separa- 
tion of the hounds had afforded an opportunity 
of quitting the sport not to be neglected, and 
he had slunk away towards the Palace by the 
nearest road, which, leading through a narrow 
dell, skirted the side of the hill opposite to that 
over which the King's stag had taken his course. 
However, he still heard from time to time the 
dogs give tongue, and the hunting cry of the 
King; who, without considering that no one 
followed, gave the exact number of mots on his 
horn, followed by the haloo, and the " II dit 
vrai ! il dit vrai !'' which the piqueurs ordina- 
rily give out, to announce that the dog who 
cried was upon the right scent. Still Fon- 
trailles pursued his way, when suddenly he per- 
ceived the stag, who, having distanced the King, 
was brought to bay under the bank over which 
his road lay. 

At that season of the year, the stag is pecu- 
liarly dangerous, but Fontrailles did not want 
personal courage, and, dismounting from his 
horse, he sprang to the bottom of the bank ; 



RICHELIEU. 168 

where, drawing his couteau de chasse, he pre- 
pared to run in upon the beast ; but remem- 
bering at the moment that the King could 
not be far distant, he paused, and waiting till 
Louis came up, held the stirrup and offered 
his weapon to the Monarch, who instantly run- 
ning in, presented the knife with all the dex- 
terity of an experienced sportsman, and in a 
moment laid the stag dead at his feet. 

It was now the task of Frontrailles to keep off 
the hounds, while the King, anxious to have all 
the honours of the day to himself, began what 
is called in France the " section" and " curte 
aux chiens" without waiting for piqueurs or 
ordinaries. Nevertheless, he had only time to 
make the longitudinal division of the skin, and 
one of the transverse sections from the breast to 
the knee, when the sound of a horse's feet made 
him raise his head from his somewhat unkingly 
occupation, thinking that some of the other 
hunters must be now come up. 

(i Que Diable /" cried the King, viewing the 
strange figure of the Astrologer we have already 



164 RICHELIEU. 

noticed in this profound chapter, "Je veux 
dire, Vive Dieu ! What do you want ? and 
who are you ?" 

" A friend to the son of Henri Quatre," re- 
plied the stranger, advancing his horse closer 
to the King, who stood gazing on him with no 
small degree of awe — for be it remembered, 
that the superstitious belief in all sorts of ne- 
cromancy was at its height both in England 
and France. 

"A friend to the son of Henri Quatre! and 
one who comes to warn him of near-approach- 
ing dangers.'" 

'* What are they, friend ?" demanded the 
King, with a look of credulous surprise : " Let 
me know whence they arise and how they may 
be avoided, and your reward is sure." 

" I seek no reward,*" replied the stranger, 
scornfully. " Can all the gold of France change 
the star of my destiny ? No ! Monarch, I come 
uncalled, and I will go unrewarded. The 
planets are still doubtful over your house, 
and therefore I forewarn you ere it be too late — 



RICHELIEU. 165 

A Spaniard is seeking your overthrow, and a 
woman is plotting your ruin — A Prince is 
scheming your destruction, and a Queen is be- 
traying your trust. 

'* How !" exclaimed Louis. " Am I to 
believe — " 

" Ask me no questions," cried the stranger, 
who heard the trampling of horses' feet ap- 
proaching the scene of conference. " In this roll 
is written the word of fate. Read it, O King ! 
and timely guard against the evil that menaces. 1 ' 
So saying, he threw a scroll of parchment be- 
fore the King, and spurred on his horse to de- 
part ; but at that moment, the figure of Cinq 
Mars, who by this time had run down the stag 
he had followed, presented itself in his way, 
" What mumming is this ?" cried the Master 
of the Horse, regarding the stranger. 

" Stop him ! Cinq Mars," cried Fontrailles, 
who foresaw that the stranger's predictions 
might derange all his schemes. " He is an im- 
postor : do not let him pass ! v And at the same 
time he laid his h?nd upon the Astrologer's bri- 



166 RICHELIEU. 

die. But in a moment, the stranger spurring 
on his charger, overturned Fontrailles, shiver- 
ed the hunting sword, which Cinq Mars had 
drawn against him, to atoms with one blow of 
his truncheon, and scattering the grooms and 
huntsmen like a flock of sheep, was soon out of 
reach of pursuit. 

" What means all this ?" exclaimed Cinq 
Mars; — "explain Fontrailles! Sire, shall we 
follow yon impostor ?" 

But Louis's eyes were fixed with a strained 
gaze upon the scroll, which he held in his hand, 
and which seemed to absorb every faculty of his 
soul. At length he raised them, mounted his 
horse in silence, and still holding the parchment 
tight in his hand, rode on, exclaiming, " To 
Chantilly." 



RICHELIEU. 167 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Showing how the green-eyed monster got hold of a 
young lady's heart, and what he did with it. 



Who is there that has not dreamed and had 
their dream broken ? Who is there that has 
not sighed to see spring flowers blighted, or 
summer sunshine yield to wintry clouds ; or 
bright hopes change to dark sorrows, and gay 
joys pass away like sudden meteors, that blaze 
for one splendid moment, and then drop pow- 
erless into the dark bosom of the night ? 

If memory^ instead of softening all the traces, 
gave us back the original lines of life in their 
native harshness, who could live on to old 
age ? for the catalogue of broken hopes, and 



168 RICHELIEU. 

disappointed wishes, and pleasures snatched 
from us never to return, would be more than 
any human mind could bear. It would harden 
the heart to marble, or break it in its youth. 
It is happy too, that in early years our mind 
has greater power of resistance, for the no- 
velty of sorrow gives it a double sting. 

The fatigues of her journey had long worn 
off, and left Pauline de Beaumont all the glow 
of wild youthful beauty, which had adorned 
her in her native hills. Her cheek had reco- 
vered its fine soft blush in all its warmth, and 
her eyes all their dark brilliancy. But the 
cheerful gaiety which had distinguished her, the 
light buoyancy of spirit, that seemed destined 
to rise above all the sorrows of the world, had 
not come back with the rose of her cheek, or 
the lustre of her eye. She loved to be alone, 
and instead of regretting the gloom and still- 
ness which prevailed in the court of Anne of 
Austria, she often seemed to find its gaiety 
too much for her, and would retire to the suite 
of apartments appropriated to her mother and 



RICHELIEU. 169 

herself, to enjoy the solitude of her own 
thoughts. 

At first, Madame de Beaumont fancied that 
the melancholy of her daughter was caused by 
the sudden change from many loved scenes, en- 
deared by all the remembrances of infancy, to 
others in which, as yet, she had acquired no in- 
terest. But as a second week followed the first, 
after their arrival at St. Germain's, and the 
same depression of spirits still continued, the 
Marchioness began to fear that Pauline had 
some more serious cause of sorrow ; and her 
mind reverted to the suspicions of De Blenau's 
constancy, which she had been the first to ex- 
cite in her daughter's bosom. 

The coming time is filled with things that we 
know not, and chance calls forth so many unex- 
pected events, that the only way in life is to 
wait for Fate, and seize the circumstances of the 
day ; by the errors of the past to correct our 
actions at present, and to leave the future to a 
wiser judgment and a stronger hand. Madame 
de Beaumont took no notice of her daughter's 

vol. I. I 



170 RICHELIEU. 

melancholy, resolving to be guided in her con- 
duct by approaching circumstances ; for clouds 
were gathering thickly on the political horizon 
of France, which, like a thunder-storm de- 
pending on the fickle breath of the wind, might 
break in tempests over their head, or be wafted 
afar, and leave them still in peace. 

It was one of those still evenings, when the 
world, as if melancholy at the sun's decline, 
seems to watch in silence the departure of his 
latest beams. All had sunk into repose, not 
a cloud passed over the clear expanse of sky, 
not a noise was stirring upon earth ; and Pauline 
felt a sensation of quiet, pensive melancholy 
steal over all her thoughts, harmonizing them 
with the calmness of the scene, as it lay tran- 
quilly before her, extending far away to the 
glowing verge of heaven, una wakened by a 
sound, unruffled by a breath of air. 

The window at which she sat looked towards 
St. Denis, where lay the bones of many a race of 
Kings, who had, in turn, worn that often con- 



RICHELIEU. 171 

tested diadem, which to the winner had gene- 
rally proved a crown of thorns. But her 
thoughts were not of them. The loss of early 
hopes, the blight of only love, was the theme 
on which her mind brooded, like a mother 
over the tomb of her child. The scene before 
her — its vast extent — the dying splendour of the 
sun — the deep pureness of the evening sky — the 
sublimity of the silence — all wrought upon her 
mind ; and while she thought of all the fairy 
hopes she had nourished from her youth, while 
she dreamed, over again, all the dreams she had 
indulged of one on whose fame, on whose ho- 
nour, on whose truth, she had fondly, rashly, 
raised every wish of her future life ; and while 
new-born fears and doubts came sweeping away 
the whole, — the tears rose glistening in her eyes, 
and rolled, drop after drop, down her cheeks. 

" Pauline P said a voice close behind her. 

She started, turned towards the speaker, and 

with an impulse stronger than volition, held out 

her hand to Claude de Blenau. " Pauline,' 1 

I 2 



172 RICHELIEU. 

said he, printing a warm kiss on the soft white 
hand that he held in his, " dear, beautiful Pau- 
line, we have met at last." 

From the moment he had spoken, Pauline 
resolved to believe him as immaculate as any 
human being ever was since the first meeting of 
Adam and Eve ; but still she wanted him to tell 
her so. It was not coquetry ; but she was afraid 
that after what she had seen, and what she had 
heard, she ought not to be satisfied. Common 
propriety, she thought, required that she should 
be jealous till such time as he proved to her 
that she had no right to be so. She turned 
pale, and red, and drew back her hand without 
reply. 

De Blenau gazed on her for a moment in 
silent astonishment ; for, young, and ardent, and 
strongly tinged with that romantic spirit of gal- 
lantry which Anne of Austria had introduced 
from Spain into the court of France, the whole 
enthusiasm of his heart had been turned towards 
Pauline de Beaumont ; and he had thought of 
her the more, perhaps, because forbid to think 



RICHELIEU. 173 

of her. Nor had the romance he had worked 
up in his own mind admitted a particle of the 
cold ceremonies of courtly etiquette ; he had 
loved to figure it as something apart from the 
world . A life with her he loved, of ardour, and 
passion, and sunshiny hours, unclouded by a 
regret, unchilled by a reserve, but all boundless 
confidence, and unrestrained affection — Such 
had been the purport of his letters to Pauline de 
Beaumont, and such had been the colouring of 
her replies to him. And who is there that has 
not dreamed so once ? 

De Blenau gazed on her for a moment in 
silence. " Do you not speak to me, Pauline ?" 
said he at length. " Or is it that you do not 
know me ? True, true ! years work a great 
change at our time of life. But I had fancied 
— perhaps foolishly fancied — that Pauline de 
Beaumont would know Claude de BJenau 
wheresoever they met, as well as De Blenau 
would know her." 

While he spoke, Pauline knew not well what 
to do with her eyes; so she turned them towards 



174 RICHELIEU. 

the terrace, and they fell upon Mademoiselle de 
Hauteford, who was walking slowly along before 
the Palace. Less things than that have caused 
greater events in this world than a renewal of 
all Pauline's doubts. Doubts did I call them ? 
Before Mademoiselle de Hauteford, with all the 
graceful dignity for which she was conspicuous, 
had taken three steps along the terrace, Pau- 
line's doubts had become almost certainties ; and 
turning round, with what she fancied to be great 
composure, she replied, " I have the pleasure of 
knowing you perfectly, Monsieur de Blenau ; I 
hope you have recovered entirely from your late 
wounds." 

" Monsieur de Blenau ! — The pleasure of 
knowing me!" exclaimed the Count. "Good 
God, is this my reception ? Not three months 
have gone, since your letters flattered me with 
the title of 'Dear Claude.' — My wounds are 
better, Mademoiselle de Beaumont, but you 
seem inclined to inflict others of a more painful 
nature." 

Pauline strove to be composed, and strove to 



RICHELIEU. 175 

reply, but it was all in vain ; Nature would have 
way, and she burst into tears and sobbed aloud. 
" Pauline, dearest Pauline !" cried De Blenau, 
catching her to his bosom unrepulsed : " This 
must be some mistake — calm yourself, dear girl, 
and, in the name of Heaven, tell me, what means 
this conduct to one who loves you as I do ?" 

" One who loves me, Claude !" replied Pau- 
line, wiping the tears from her eyes ; (i Oh no, 
no — But what right had I to think that you 
would love me? None, none, I will allow. Sepa- 
rated from each other so long, I had no title to 
suppose that you would ever think of the child 
to whom you were betrothed, but of whom you 
were afterwards commanded not to entertain a 
remembrance — would think of her, after those 
engagements were broken by a power you could 
not choose but obey. But still, De Blenau, 
you should not have written those letters filled 
with professions of regard, and vows to retain 
the engagements your father had formed for 
you, notwithstanding the new obstacles which 
had arisen. You should not, indeed, unless you 



176 RICHELIEU. 

had been very sure of your own heart ; for it was 
cruelly trifling with mine," and she gently dis- 
engaged herself from his arms. — " I only blame 
you," she added, " for ever trying to gain my 
affection, and not for now being wanting in love 
to a person you have never seen since she was a 
child." 

" Never seen you !" replied De Blenau with a 
smile : " Pauline, you are as mistaken in that, 
as in any doubt you have of me. A year has not 
passed since last we met. Remember that sum- 
mer sunset on the banks of the Rhone: remem- 
ber the masked Cavalier who gave you the ring 
now on your finger : remember the warm hills of 
Languedoc, glowing with a blush only equalled 
by your cheek, when he told you that that token 
was sent by one who loved you dearly, and would 
love you ever — that it came from Claude de 
Blenau, who had bid him place the ring on your 
finger, and a kiss on your hand, and renew the 
vow that he had long before pledged to you. — 
Pauline, Pauline, it was himself." 

" But why, dear Claude," demanded Pauline 



RICHELIEU. 177 

eagerly, forgetting coldness, and pride, and sus- 
picion, in the memory his words called up, 
" why did you not tell me ? why did you not 
let me know that it was you ?" 

" Because if I had been discovered," answered 
the Count, " it might have cost me my life, 
years of imprisonment in the Bastille, or worse 
— the destruction of her I loved ? The slight- 
est cry of surprise from you might have be- 
trayed me." 

u But how did you escape, without your 
journey being known?" demanded Pauline; 
" they say in Languedoc, that the Cardinal has 
bribed the evil spirits of the air to be his spies 
on men's actions." 

" It is difficult indeed to say how he acquires 
his information," replied De Blenau ; " but, how- 
ever, I passed undiscovered. It was thus it 
happened : I had gone as a volunteer to the 
siege of Perpignan, or rather, as one of the 
Arriere-ban of Languedoc, which was led 
by the young and gallant Due d'Enghien, to 
whom, after a long resistance, that city de- 
i 5 



178 RICHELIEU. 

livered its keys. As soon as the place had sur- 
rendered, I asked permission to absent myself 
for a few days. His Highness granted it im- 
mediately, and I set out. — For what think you, 
Pauline ? what, but to visit that spot, round 
which all the hopes of my heart, all the dreams 
of my imagination, had hovered for many a 
year. — But to proceed, taking the two first 
stages of my journey towards Paris, I sudden- 
ly changed my course, and embarking on the 
Rhone, descended as far as the Chateau de 
Beaumont. You remember, that my page, 
Henry La Mothe, is the son of your mother's 
fermier, old La Mothe, and doubtless know 
full well his house among the oaks, on the bor- 
ders of the great wood. It was here I took up 
my abode, and formed a thousand plans of 
seeing you undiscovered. At length, fortune 
favoured me. Oh ! how my heart beat as, 
standing by one of the trees in the long avenue, 
Henry first pointed out to me two figures 
coming slowly down the path from the Cha- 
teau — yourself and your mother, — and as, ap- 



RICHELIEU. 179 

proaching towards me, they gradually grew 
more and more distinct, my impatience almost 
overpowered me, and I believe I should have 
started forward to meet you, had not Henry re- 
minded me of the danger. You passed close 
by. — O Pauline! I had indulged many a 
waking dream. I had let fancy deck you in 
a thousand imaginary charms — but at that mo- 
ment, I found all I had imagined, or dreamed, 
a thousand times excelled. I found the beau- 
tiful girl, that had been torn from me so many 
years before, grown into woman's most surpass- 
ing loveliness ; and the charms which fancy and 
memory had scattered from their united stores, 
faded away before the reality, like stars on the 
rising of the sun. But this was not enough. 
I watched my opportunity. I saw you, as you 
walked alone on the terrace, by the side of the 
glittering Rhone, — I spoke to you, — I heard 
the tones of a voice to be remembered for 
many an after hour, and placing the pledge 
of my affection on your hand, I tore myself 
away." 



180 RICHELIEU. 

De Blenau paused. Insensibly, whilst he was 
speaking, Pauline had suffered his arm again to 
glide round her waist. Her hand somehow be- 
came clasped in his, and as he told the tale of 
his affection, the tears of many a mingled emo- 
tion rolled over the dark lashes of her eye, and 
chasing one another down her cheek, fell upon 
the lip of her lover, as he pressed a kiss upon 
the warm sunny spot which those drops be- 
dewed. 

De Blenau saw that those tears were not 
tears of sorrow, and had love been with him an 
art, he probably would have sought no farther ; 
for in the whole economy of life, but more es- 
pecially in that soft passion Love, holds good 
the homely maxim, to let ivell alone. But De 
Blenau was not satisfied; and like a foolish 
youth, he teased Pauline to know why she 
had at first received him coldly. In good 
truth, she had by this time forgotten all about 
it ; but as she was obliged to answer, she soon 
again conjured up all her doubts and suspicions. 
She hesitated, drew her hand from that of the 



RICHELIEU. 181 

Count, blushed deeper and deeper, and twice 
began to speak without ending her sentence. 

" I know not what to think," said she at 
length, " De Blenau : I would fain believe you 
to be all you seem, — I would fain reject every 
doubt of what you say." 

Her coldness, her hesitation, her embarrass- 
ment, alarmed De Blenau's fears, and he too 
began to be suspicious. 

u On what can you rest a doubt ?" demanded 
he, with a look of bitter mortification ; and per- 
ceiving that she still paused, he added sadly, 
but coldly, " Mademoiselle de Beaumont, you 
are unkind. Can it be that you are attached 
to another ? Say, am I so unhappy ?" 

" No, De Blenau, no !" replied Pauline, strug- 
gling for firmness : "but answer me one ques- 
tion, explain to me but this one thing, and I am 
satisfied.''' 

" Ask me any question, propose to me any 
doubts," answered the Count, " and I will reply 
truly, upon my honour." 

" Then tell me," said Pauline, But just as 



182 RICHELIEU. 

she was about to proceed, she felt some difficulty 
in proposing her doubts. She had a thousand 
times before convinced herself they were very 
serious and well founded ; but all jealous sus- 
picions look so very foolish in black and white, 
or what is quite as good, in plain language, 
though they may seem very respectable when 
seen through the twilight of passion, that Pau- 
line knew not very well how to give utterance 
to hers. " Then tell me," said Pauline, with no 
small hesitation— " then tell me, what was the 
reason you would suffer no one to open your 
hunting coat, when you were wounded in the 
forest — no, not even to staunch the bleeding of 
the side ?" 

" There was a reason, certainly," replied De 
Blenau, not very well perceiving the connexion 
between his hunting-coat and Pauline's coldness; 
M there was a reason certainly ; but how in the 
name of Heaven does that affect you, Pauline ?" 

" You shall see by my next question," an- 
swered she. " Have you or have you not re- 
ceived a letter, privately conveyed to you from 



RICHELIEU. 18 

a lady ? and has not Mademoiselle de Haute- 
ford visited you secretly during your illness? 1 " 

It was now De Blenau's turn to become em- 
barrassed ; he faltered, and looked confused, 
and for a moment his cheek, which had hitherto 
been pale with the loss of blood, became of the 
deepest crimson, while he replied, " I did not 
know that I was so watched." 

" It is enough, Monsieur de Blenau," said 
Pauline rising, her doubts almost aggravated to 
certainties. " To justify myself, Sir, I will tell 
you that you have not been watched. Pauline 
de Beaumont would consider that man unworthy 
of her affection, whose conduct would require 
watching. What I know, has come to my ears 
by mere accident. In fact," and her voice trem- 
bled the more, perhaps, that she strove to pre- 
serve its steadiness — " in fact, I have become 
acquainted with a painful truth through my 
too great kindness for you, in sending my own 
servant to inquire after your health, and not 
to watch you, Monsieur de Blenau." 

" Stop, stop, Pauline ! in pity, stop," cried 



184 RICHELIEU. 

De Blenau, seeing her about to depart. " Your 
questions place me in the most embarrassing of 
situations. But, on my soul, I have never suf- 
fered a thought to stray from you, and you 
yourself will one day do me justice. But at 
present, on this point, I am bound by every 
principle of duty and honour, not to attempt an 
exculpation." 

' " None is necessary, Monsieur de Blenau," 
replied Pauline. " It is much better to under- 
stand each other at once. I have no right 
to any control over you. You are of course 
free, and at liberty to follow the bent of your 
own inclinations. Adieu ! I shall always wish 
your welfare." And she was quitting the apart- 
ment, but De Blenau still detained her, though 
she gently strove to withdraw her hand. 

" Yet one moment, Pauline," said he. " You 
were once kind, you were once generous, you 
have more than once assured me of your affec- 
tion. Now, tell me, did you bestow that affec- 
tion on a man destitute of honour ? on a man 



RICHELIEU. 185 

who would sully his fame by pledging his faith 
to what was false ?" Pauline's hand remained 
in his without an effort, and he went on. "I 
now pledge you my faith, and give you my 
honour, however strange it may appear that a 
lady should visit me in private, I have never 
loved or sought any but yourself. Pauline, do 
you doubt me now ?" 

Her eyes were fixed upon the ground, and 
she did not reply, but there was a slight motion 
in the hand he held, as if it would fain have 
returned his pressure had she dared. " I could, 1 ' 
he continued, " within an hour obtain permis- 
sion to explain it all. But oh, Pauline, how 
much happier would it make me to find, that 
you trust alone to my word, that you put full 
confidence in a heart that loves you !" 

" I do ! I do I" exclaimed Pauline, with all 
her own wild energy, at the same time placing 
her other hand also on his, and raising her eyes 
to his face : " Say no more, De Blenau. I be- 
lieve I have been wrong ; at all events, I cannot, 



186 RICHELIEU. 

I will not doubt, what makes me so happy to 
believe. 1 ' And her eyes, which again filled with 
tears, were hidden on his bosom. 

De Blenau pressed her to his heart, and again 
and again thanked the lips that had spoken such 
kind words, in the way that such lips may best be 
thanked. — " Dearest Pauline," said De Blenau, 
after enjoying a moment or two of that peculiar 
happiness which shines but once or twice even 
in the brightest existence, giving a momentary 
taste of heaven, and then losing itself, either in 
human cares, or less vivid joys. — The heart is a 
garden, and youth is its spring, and hope is its 
sunshine, and love is a thorny plant, that grows 
up and bears one bright flower, which has no- 
thing like it in all the earth — 

" Dearest Pauline/' said De Blenau, "I leave 
you for a time, that I may return and satisfy 
every doubt. Within one hour all shall be ex- 
plained." 

A s he spoke, the door of the apartment open- 
ed, and one of the servants of the Palace en- 
tered, with a face of some alarm. " Monsieur 



RICHELIEU. 187 

de Blenau, 1 ' said he, * I beg a thousand pardons 
for intruding, but there have been, but now, at 
the Palace gate, two men of the Cardinal's guard 
inquiring for you: so I told them that you 
were most likely at the other side of the Park, 
for — for — " and after hesitating a moment, he 
added, " They are the same who arrested Mon- 
sieur de Vitry." 

De Blenau started. " Fly, fly, Claude P ex- 
claimed Pauline, catching him eagerly by the 
arm — " Oh fly, dear Claude, while there is yet 
time. I am sure they seek some evil towards 
you." 

" You have done well," said De Blenau to 
the attendant. " I will speak to you as I come 
down.— Dearest Pauline," he continued when the 
man was gone — " I must see what these gentle- 
men want. Nay, do not look frightened ; you 
are mistaken about their errand. I have no- 
thing to fear, believe me. Some trifling busi- 
ness, no doubt. In the mean time, I shall not 
neglect my original object. In half an hour all 
your doubts shall be satisfied." 



188 RICHELIEU. 

" I have none, Claude,"" replied Pauline; " in- 
deed I have none, but about these men." 

De Blenau endeavoured to calm her, and 
assured her again and again that there was no 
danger. But Pauline was not easy, and the 
Count himself had more suspicions concerning 
their object than he would suffer to appear. 



RICHELIEU. 189 



CHAPTER IX. 

Containing a great deal that would not have been said 
had it not been necessary. 



In front of the Palace of St. Germain's, but 
concealed from the park and terrace by an angle 
of the building, stood the Count de Chavigni, 
apparently engaged in the very undignified oc- 
cupation of making love to a pretty-looking 
soubrette, no other than Louise, the waiting- 
maid of Mademoiselle de Beaumont. But, 
notwithstanding the careless nonchalance with 
which he affected to address her, it was evident 
that he had some deeper object in view than the 
trifling of an idle hour. 

" Well, ma belle" said he, after a few words 
of a more tender nature, "you are sure the Sur- 



190 RICHELIEU. 

geon said, though the wound is in his side, his 
heart is uninjured ? w 

° Yes, exactly," said Louise, " word for 
word ; and the Queen answered, ( I understand 
you.' But I cannot think why you are so curi- 
ous about it." 

" Because I take an interest in the young 
Count," replied Chavigni. " But his heart 
must be very hard if it can resist such eyes 
as yours." 

if He never saw them," said Louise, " for I 
was not with my Lady when they picked him 
up wounded in the forest." 

" So much the better," replied Chavigni, 
" for that is he turning that angle of the Palace: 
I must speak to him ; so farewell, belle Louise, 
and remember the signal. — Go through that 
door, and he will not see you. r> 

Speaking thus, Chavigni left her, and a few 
steps brought him up to De Blenau, who at that 
moment traversed the angle in which he had 
been standing with Louise, and was hurrying on 
with a rapid pace in search of the Queen. 



RICHELIEU. 191 

" Good morrow, Monsieur de Blenau," said 
Chavigni : " you seem in haste.'" 

" And am so, Sir," replied De Blenau proud- 
ly ; and added, after a moment's pause, " Have 
you any commands for me ?" for Chavigni stood 
directly in his way. 

" None in particular,'' answered the other 
with perfect composure — " only if you are seek- 
ing the Queen, I will go with you to her Ma- 
jesty ; and as we go, I will tell you a piece of 
news you may perhaps like to hear." 

" Sir Count de Chavigni, I beg you would 
mark me," replied De Blenau. " \ r ou are one of 
the King's Council — a gentleman of good re- 
pute, and so forth ; but there is not that love 
between us that we should be seen taking our 
evening's walk together, unless, indeed, it were 
for the purpose of using our weapons more 
than our tongues. ,, 

u Indeed, Monsieur de Blenau," rejoined 
Chavigni, his lip curling into a smile which 
partook more of good humour than scorn, 
though, perhaps, mingled somewhat of each — 



192 RICHELIEU. 

"indeed you do not do me justice; I love 
you better than you know, and may have an 
opportunity of doing you a good turn some 
day, whether you will or not. So with your 
leave I walk with you, for we both seek the 
Queen. ,, 

De Blenau was provoked. " Must I tell 
you, Sir," exclaimed he, " that your company 
is disagreeable to me? — that I do not like the 
society of men who herd with robbers and 
assassins ?" 

" Psha !" exclaimed Chavigni, somewhat 
peevishly. " Captious boy, you'll get yourself 
into the Bastille some day, where you would 
have been long ago, had it not been for me." 

" When you tell me, Sir, how such obliga- 
tions have been incurred," answered the Count, 
" I shall be happy to acknowledge them. 1 ' 

" Why, twenty times, Monsieur de Blenau, 
you have nearly been put there," replied Cha- 
vigni, with that air of candour which it is very 
difficult to affect when it is not genuine. " Your 
hot and boiling spirit, Sir, is always running 



RICHELIEU. 193 

you into danger. Notwithstanding all your late 
wounds, a little bleeding, even now, would not 
do you any harm. Here the first thing you do 
is to quarrel with a man who has served you, is 
disposed to serve you, and of whose service you 
may stand in need within five minutes. 

" But to give you proof at once that what I 
advance is more than a mere jest — Do you think- 
that your romantic expedition to Languedoc 
escaped me ? Monsieur de Blenau, you start, 
as if you dreamed that in such a country as 
this, and under sucli an administration, any 
thing could take place without being known 
to some member of the government. No, no, 
Sir ! there are many people in France, even 
now, who think they are acting in perfect secu- 
rity, because no notice is apparently taken of 
the plans they are forming, or the intrigues they 
are carrying on ; while, in reality, the hundred 
eyes of Policy are upon their every action, and 
the sword is only suspended over their heads, 
that it may eventually fall with more severity." 

16 You surprise me, I own," replied De Ble- 

VOL. I. K 



194 RICHELIEU. 

nan j " by showing me that you are acquainted 
with an adventure, which I thought buried in 
my own bosom, or only confided to one equally 
faithful to me." 

st . You mean your Page," said Chavigni, with 
the same easy tone in which he had spoken all 
along. " You have no cause to doubt him. He 
has never betrayed you (at least to my know- 
ledge). But these things come about very sim- 
ply, without treachery on any part. The stag 
never flies so fast, nor the hare doubles so 
often, but they leave a scent behind them for 
the dogs to follow, — and so it is with the ac- 
tions of man ; conceal them as he will, there is 
always some trace by which they may be disco- 
vered ; and it is no secret to any one, now-a- 
days, that there are people in every situation 
of life, in every town of France, paid to give 
information of all that happens ; so that the 
schemes must be well concealed indeed, which 
some circumstance does not discover. I see, 
you shake your head, as if you disapproved 
of the principle. 



RICHELIEU. 195 

" De Blenau, you and I are engaged in dif- 
ferent parties. You act firmly convinced of 
the rectitude of your own cause — Do me the 
justice to believe that I do the same. You 
hate the Minister — I admire him, and feel fully 
certain that all he does is for the good of the 
State. On the other hand, I applaud your cou- 
rage, your devotion to the cause you have 
espoused, and your proud unbending spirit — 
and I would bring you to the scaffold to- 
morrow, if I thought it would really serve 
the party to which I am attached." 

The interesting nature of his conversation, 
and the bold candour it displayed, had made 
De Blenau tolerate Chavigni's society longer 
than he had intended, and even his dislike to 
the Statesman had in a degree worn away before 
the easy dignity and frankness of his manner. 
But still, he did not like to be seen holding any 
kind of companionship with one of the Queen's 
professed enemies; and taking advantage of the 
first pause, he replied — 

" You are frank, Monsieur de Chavigni, but 
K 2 



196 RICHELIEU. 

my head is well where it is. And now may I ask 
to what does all this tend ?" 

" You need not hurry the conversation to a 
conclusion," replied Chavigni. " You see that 
we are in direct progress towards that part of 
the Park where her Majesty is most likely to be 
found.'" But seeing that De Blenau seemed 
impatient of such reply, he proceeded : " How- 
ever, as you wish to know to what my conver- 
sation tends, I will tell you. If you please, it 
tends to your own good. The Cardinal wishes 
to see you " 

He paused, and glanced his eye over the 
countenance of his companion, from which, how- 
ever, he could gather no reply, a slight frown 
being all the emotion that was visible. 

Chavigni then proceeded. " The Cardinal 
wishes to see you. He entertains some suspi- 
cion of you. If you will take my advice, you 
will set out for Paris immediately, wait upon 
his Eminence, and be frank with him — Nay, do 
not start ! I do not wish you to betray any 



RICHELIEU. 197 

one's secrets, or violate your own honour. But 
be wise, set out instantly."" 

" I suspected something of this," replied De 
Blenau, " when I heard that there were stran- 
gers inquiring for me. But whatever I do, I 
must first see the Queen :" and observing that 
Chavigni was about to offer some opposition, 
he added decidedly, " It is absolutely necessary 
— on business of importance." 

" May I ask," said Chavigni, " is it of im- 
portance to her Majesty or yourself?" 

" I have no objection to answer that at 
once," replied De Blenau : " it concerns my- 
self alone." 

" Stop a moment," cried Chavigni, laying 
his hand on the Count's arm, and pausing in 
the middle of the avenue, at the farther extre- 
mity of which a group of three or four persons 
was seen approaching. " No business can be 
of more importance than that on which I ad- 
vise you to go. — Monsieur de Blenau, I would 
save you pain. Let me, once more, press you 



198 RICHELIEU. 

to set out without having any farther conversa- 
tion with her Majesty than the mere etiquette 
of taking leave for a day." 

De Blenau well knew the danger which he 
incurred, but still he could not resolve to go, 
without clearing the doubts of Pauline, which 
five minutes' conversation with the Queen would 
enable him to do. "It is impossible," replied 
he, thoughtfully ; " besides, let the Cardinal 
send for me. I do not see why I should 
walk with my eyes open into the den of a 
lion." 

"Well then, Sir," answered Chavigni, with 
somewhat more of coldness in his manner, " I 
must tell you, his Eminence has sent for you, 
and that, perhaps, in a way which may not suit 
the pride of your disposition. Do you see those 
three men that are coming down the avenue ? 
they are not here without an object. — Come, once 
more, what say you, Monsieur le Comte? Go 
with me, to take leave of the Queen, for I must 
suffer no private conversation. Let us then 
mount our horses, and ride as friends to Paris. 



RICHELIEU. 199 

There, pay your respects to the Cardinal, and 
take Chavigni's word, that, unless you suffer 
the heat of your temper to betray you into any 
thing unbecoming, you shall return safe to St. 
Germain's before to-morrow evening. If not, 
things must take their course." 

" You offer me fair, Sir," replied the Count, 
" if I understand you rightly, that the Cardi- 
nal has sent to arrest me ; and of course, I can- 
not hesitate to accept your proposal. I have 
no particular partiality for the Bastille, I can 
assure you." 

" Then you consent ?" said Chavigni. De 
Blenau bowed his head. " Well then, I will 
speak to these gentlemen," he added, " and they 
will give us their room." 

By this time the three persons, who had con- 
tinued to advance down the avenue, had approach- 
ed within the distance of a few paces of Chavigni 
and the Count. Two of them were dressed in 
the uniform of the Cardinal's guard ; one as a 
simple trooper, the other being the Lieutenant 
who bore the lettre de cachet for the arrest of 



200 RICHELIEU. 

De Blenau. The third, we have had some occa- 
sion to notice in the wood of Mantes, being no 
other than the tall Norman, who on that oc- 
casion was found in a rusty buff jerkin, con- 
sorting with the banditti. His appearance, 
however, was now very much changed for the bet- 
ter. The neat trimming of his beard and mus- 
taches, the smart turn of his broad beaver, 
the flush newness of his long-waisted blue silk 
vest, and even the hanging of his sword, which 
instead of offering its hilt on the left hip, ever 
ready for the hand, now swung far behind, with 
the tip of the scabbard striking against the 
right calf, — all denoted a change of trade and 
circumstances, from the poor bravo who won 
his daily meal at the sword's point, to the well- 
paid bully, who fattened at his lord's second 
table, on the merit of services more real than 
apparent. 

De Blenau's eye fixed full upon the Norman, 
certain that he had seen him somewhere before, 
but the change of dress and circumstances em- 
barrassed his recollection. 



RICHELIEU. 201 

In the mean while, Chavigni advanced to the 
Cardinal's officer. " Monsieur Chauville," said he, 
"favour me by preceding me to his Eminence 
of Richelieu. Offer him my salutation, and in- 
form him, that Monsieur le Comte de Blenau 
and myself intend to wait upon him this af- 
ternoon." 

Chauville bowed, and passed on, while the 
Norman, uncovering his head to Chavigni, in- 
stantly brought back to the mind of De Blenau 
the circumstances under which he had first 
seen him. 

" You have returned, I see," said Chavigni. 
u Have you found an occasion of fulfilling my 
orders ?" 

" To your heart's content, Monseigneur,' 1 
replied the Norman ; " never was such an Astro- 
loger, since the days of Intrim of Blois." 

" Hush !" said Chavigni, for the other spoke 
aloud. " If you have done it, that is enough. 
But for a time, keep yourself to Paris, and 
avoid the Court, as some one may recognise 
you, even in these fine new feathers." 
K 5 



20% RICHELIEU. 

" Oh, I defy them," replied the Norman, in 
a lower tone than he had formerly spoken, but 
still so loud that De Blenau could not avoid 
hearing the greater part of what he said — " I 
defy them ; for I was so wrapped up in my 
black robes and my white beard, that the Devil 
himself would not know me for the same mortal 
in the two costumes. But I hope, Monsieur 
le Comte, that my reward may be equal to the 
risk I have run, for they sought to stop me, 
and had I not been too good a necromancer for 
them, I suppose I should have been roasting at 
a stake by this time. But one wave of my 
magic wand sent the sword of Monsieur de 
Cinq Mars out of his hand, and opened me a 
passage to the wood ; otherwise I should have 
fared but badly amongst them." 

" You must not exact too much, Monsieur 
Marteville," replied Chavigni. " But we will 
speak of this to-night. I shall be in Paris in a 
few hours ; at present, you see, I am occupied ;" 
and leaving the Norman, he rejoined De Ble- 
nau, and proceeded in search of the Queen. 



RICHELIEU. 203 

u If my memory serves me right," Monsieur 
de Chavigni," said De Blenau, in a tone of some 
bitterness, " I have seen that gentleman be- 
fore, and with his sword shining at my breast." 

" It is very possible," answered Chavigni, 
with the most indifferent calmness. " I have 
seen him in the same situation with respect to 
myself." 

" Indeed !" rejoined De Blenau, with some 
surprise ; " but probably not with the same 
intention,"" he added. 

" I do not know," replied the Statesman, 
with a smile. " His intentions in my favour 
were to run me through the body." 

" And is it possible, then," exclaimed De 
Blenau, " that with such a knowledge of his 
character and habits, you can employ and pa- 
tronize him ?" 

" Certainly," answered Chavigni, " I wanted 
a bold villain. Such men are very necessary 
in a State. Now, I could not have better proof 
that this man had the qualities required, than 
his attempting to cut my throat. But you do 



204 RICHELIEU. 

him some injustice ; he is better than you sup- 
pose — is not without feeling — and has his own 
ideas of honour."" 

De Blenau checked the bitter reply which 
was rising to his lips, and letting the conversa- 
tion drop, they proceeded, in silence, in search 
of the Queen. They had not gone much far- 
ther, when they perceived her leaning famili- 
arly on the arm of Madame de Beaumont, and 
seemingly occupied in some conversation of 
deep interest. However, her eye fell upon the 
Count and Chavigni as they came up, and, sur- 
prised to see them together, she abruptly paused 
in what she was saying. 

" Look there, De Beaumont," said she : 
" something is not right. I have seen more 
than one of these creatures of the Cardinal 
hanging about the Park to-day. I fear for 
poor De Blenau. He has been too faithful to 
his Queen to escape long." 

" I salute your Majesty," said Chavigni, as 
soon as they had come within a short distance 
of the Queen, and not giving De Blenau the 



RICHELIEU. 205 

time to address her : "I have been the bearer of 
a message from his Eminence of Richelieu to 
Monsieur de Blenau, your Majesty's Chamber- 
lain, requesting the pleasure of entertaining him 
for a day in Paris. The Count has kindly ac- 
cepted the invitation ; and I have promised that 
the Cardinal shall not press his stay beyond 
to-morrow. We only now want your Majesty's 
permission and good leave, which in his Emi- 
nence's name I humbly crave for Monsieur de 
Blenau;' 

u His Eminence is too condescending,' 1 re- 
plied the Queen. '* He knows that his will is 
law ; and we, humble Kings and Queens, as 
in duty, do him reverence. I doubt not that 
his intentions towards our Chamberlain are as 
mild and amiable, as his general conduct to- 
wards our self. " 

" The truth is, your Majesty," said De Blenau, 
" the Cardinal has sent for me, and (however 
Monsieur de Chavigni's politeness may colour 
it) in a way that compels my attendance." 

" I thought so," exclaimed the Queen, drop- 



206 RICHELIEU. 

ping the tone of irony which she had assumed 
towards Chavigni, and looking with mingled 
grief and kindness upon the young Cavalier, 
whose destruction she deemed inevitable from 
the moment that Richelieu had fixed the ser- 
pent eyes of his policy upon him — " I thought 
so. Alas, my poor De Blenau ! all that attach 
themselves to me seem devoted to persecution." 

" Not so, your Majesty," said Chavigni, with 
some degree of feeling; " I can assure you, 
Monsieur de Blenau goes at perfect liberty. 
He is under no arrest ; and, unless he stays 
by his own wish, will return to your Majesty's 
court to-morrow night. The Cardinal is far 
from wishing to give unnecessary pain." 

" Talk not to me, Sir Counsellor," replied 
the Queen, angrily : " Do I not know him ? I, 
who of all the world have best cause to estimate 
his baseness ? Have I not under his own hand, 
the proof of his criminal ambition ? but no more 

of that " And breaking off into Spanish, as 

was frequently her custom when angry, she con- 



RICHELIEU. 207 

tinued, " No se si es la misma vanidad, la so- 
bervia, 6 la arrogancia, Que todo esto, segun 
creo es el Cardenal. v 

4 ' It is useless, Madam," said De Blenau, as 
soon as the Queen paused in her angry vituper- 
ation of the Minister, " to distress you farther 
with this conversation. I know not what the 
Cardinal wants, but he may rest assured that 
De Blenau's heart is firm, and that no human 
means shall induce him to swerve from his 
duty ; and thus I humbly take my leave." 

" Go then, De Blenaii," said the Queen : 
" Go, and whether we ever meet again or not, 
your faithful services and zealous friendship 
shall ever have my warmest gratitude ; and 
Anne of Austria has no other reward to be- 
stow." Thus saying, she held out her hand to 
him. De Blenau in silence bent his head re- 
spectfully over it, and turned away. Cha- 
vigni bowed low, and followed the Count, to 
whose hotel they proceeded, in order to prepare 
for their departure. 



208 RICHELIEU. 

In the orders which De Blenau gave on their 
arrival, he merely commanded the attendance of 
his Page. 

" Pardon me, Monsieur de Blenau, if I ob- 
serve upon your arrangements," said Chavigni, 
when he heard this order. " But let me remind 
you, once more, that you are not going to a pri- 
son, and that it might be better if your general 
train attended you, as a gentleman of high sta- 
tion about to visit the Prime Minister of his 
Sovereign. They will find plenty of accommo- 
dation in the Hotel de Bouthiliers." 

u Be it so, then," replied De Blenau, scarce- 
ly able to assume even the appearance of civility 
towards his companion. " Henry de La Mothe," 
he proceeded, " order a dozen of my best men 
to attend me, bearing my full colours in their 
sword-knots and scarfs. Trick out my horses 
gaily, as if I were going to a wedding, for 
Claude de Blenau is about to visit the Cardinal; 
and remember," he continued, his anger at the 
forced journey he was taking overcoming his 
prudence, " that there be saddled for my own 



RICHELIEU. 209 

use the good black barb that carried me so 
stoutly when I was attacked by assassins in the 
wood of Mantes ;" and as he spoke, his eye 
glanced towards the Statesman, who sitting in 
the window seat, had taken up the Poems of 
Rotrou, and apparently inattentive to all that 
was passing, read on with as careless and easy 
an air, as if no more important interest occu- 
pied his thoughts, and no contending passions 
struggled in his breast. 



210 RICHELIEU. 



CHAPTER X. 

Shows how the Count de Blenau supped in a place that 
he little expected. 



Though the attendants of the Count de 
Blenau did not expend much time in preparing 
to accompany their master, the evening was 
nevertheless too far spent, before they could 
proceed, to permit the hope of reaching Paris 
ere the night should have set in. It was still 
quite light enough, however, to show all the 
preparations for the Count's departure to the 
boys of St. Germain's, who had not beheld for 
many a good day such a gay cavalcade enliven 
the streets of that almost deserted town. 

Chavigni and De Blenau mounted their horses 



RICHELIEU. 211 

together ; and the four or five servants which 
the Statesman had brought with him from 
Paris, mingling with those of De Blenau, fol- 
lowed the two gentlemen as they rode from the 
gate. Having the privilege of the Park, Chavigni 
took his way immediately under the windows 
of the Palace, thereby avoiding a considerable 
circuit, which would have occupied more time 
than they could well spare at that late hour of 
the evening. 

The moment Pauline de Beaumont had seen 
her lover depart, the tears, which she had strug- 
gled to repress in his presence, flowed rapidly 
down her cheeks. The noble, candid manner 
of De Blenau had nearly quelled all suspicion 
in her mind. The graces of his person, the 
tone of his voice, the glance of his eye, had 
realized the day-dreams which she had nou- 
rished from her youth. 

Fame had long before told her that he was 
brave, high-spirited, chivalrous ; and his pic- 
ture, as well as memory, had shown him as 
strikingly handsome; but still it did not speak, 



212 RICHELIEU. 

it did not move ; and though Pauline had often 
sat with it in her hand, and imagined the ex- 
pressions of his various letters as coming from 
those lips, or tried in fancy to animate the mo- 
tionless eyes of the portrait, still the hero of her 
romance, like the figure of Prometheus ere he 
had robbed the Sun of light to kindle it into 
active being, wanted the energy of real life. 
But at length they had met, and whether it 
was so in truth, or whether she imagined it, 
matters not, but every bright dream of her fancy 
seemed fulfilled in De Blenau; and now that she 
had cause to fear for his safety, she upbraided 
herself for having entertained a suspicion. 

She wept then — but her tears were from a 
very different cause to that which had occasioned 
them to flow before. However, her eyes were 
still full, when a servant entered to inform her 
that the Queen desired her society with the 
other ladies of her scanty Court. Pauline en- 
deavoured to efface the marks which her weep- 
ing had left, and slowly obeyed the summons, 
which being usual at that hour, she knew was 



RICHELIEU. 213 

on no business of import ; but on entering the 
closet, she perceived that tears had also been 
in the bright eyes of Anne of Austria. 

The circle, which consisted of Madame de 
Beaumont, Mademoiselle de Hauteford, and 
another Lady of honour, had drawn round the 
window at which her Majesty sat, and which, 
thrown fully open, admitted the breeze from 
the Park. 

" Come hither, Pauline," said the Queen as 
she saw her enter, " What ! have you been 
weeping too ? Nay, do not blush, sweet girl ; 
for surely a subject need not be ashamed of 
doing once what a Queen is obliged to do every 
day. Why, it is the only resource that we wo- 
men have. But come here : there seems a gay 
cavalcade entering the Park gates. These are 
the toys with which we are taught to amuse 
ourselves. Who are they, I wonder ? Come 
near, Pauline, and see if your young eyes can 
toll" 

Pauline approached the window, and took 
her station by the side of the Queen, who, rising 



214 RICHELIEU. 

from her seat, placed her arm kindly through 
that of Mademoiselle de Beaumont, and leaning 
gently upon her, prevented the possibility of 
her retiring from the spot where she stood. 

In the mean while the cavalcade approached. 
The gay trappings of the horses, and the rich 
suits of their riders, with their silk scarfs and 
sword-knots of blue and gold, soon showed to 
the keen eyes of the Queen's ladies that the 
young Count de Blenau was one of the party ; 
while every now and then a horseman in Isabel 
and silver appearing amongst the rest, told 
them, to their no small surprise, that he was 
accompanied by the Count de Chavigni, the 
sworn friend of Richelieu, and one of the prin- 
cipal leaders of the Cardinal's party. The 
Queen, however, evinced no astonishment, and 
her attendants of course did not attempt to 
express the wonder they felt at such a com- 
panionship. 

The rapid pace at which the two gentlemen 
proceeded, soon brought them near the Palace ; 
and Chavigni, from whose observant eye no- 



RICHELIEU. 215 

thing passed without notice, instantly perceived 
the Queen and her party at the window, and 
marked his salutation with a profound inclina- 
tion, low almost to servility, while De Blenau 
raised his high-plumed hat and bowed, with the 
dignity of one conscious that he had deserved 
well of all who saw him. 

Chavigni led the way to Marly, and thence 
to Ruel, where night began to come heavily 
upon the twilight; and long before they entered 
Paris, all objects were lost in darkness. '* You 
must be my guest for to-night, Monsieur de 
Blenau," said Chavigni, as they rode on down 
the Rue St. Honore, " for it will be too late to 
visit the Cardinal this evening. ,, 

However, as they passed the Palais Royal 
(then called the Palais Cardinal), the blaze of 
light, which proceeded from every window of 
the edifice, told that on that night the superb 
Minister entertained the Court; — a Court, of 
which he had deprived his King, and which he 
had appropriated to himself. De Blenau drew 
a deep sigh as he gazed upon the magnificent 



216 RICHELIEU. 

edifice, and compared the pomp and luxury which 
every thing appertaining to it displayed, with 
the silent, desolate melancholy which reigned 
in the royal palaces of France. 

Passing on down the Rue St. Honore, and 
crossing the Rue St. Martin, they soon reached 
the Place Royale, in which Chavigni had fixed 
his residence. Two of De Blenau's servants 
immediately placed themselves at the head of 
his horse, and held the bridle short, while 
Henry de La Mothe sprang to the stirrup* 
But at that moment a gentleman who seemed 
to have been waiting the arrival of the travel- 
lers, issued from the Hotel de Bouthiliers, and 
prevented them from dismounting. 

" Do not alight, gentlemen," exclaimed he ; 
" his Eminence the Cardinal de Richelieu has 
sent me to request that Messieurs De Blenau 
and Chavigni will partake a small collation at 
the Palais Cardinal, without the ceremony of 
changing their dress." 

De Blenau would fain have excused himself, 
alleging that the habit which he wore was but 



RICHELIEU. 217 

suited to the morning, and also was soiled with 
the dust of their long ride. But the Cardinal's 
officer overbore all opposition, declaring that 
his Eminence would regard it as a higher com- 
pliment, if the Count would refrain from setting 
foot to the ground till he entered the gates of 
his Palace. 

" Then we must go back," said Chavigni. 
" We are honoured by the Cardinal's invita- 
tion. Monsieur de Blenau, pardon me for 
having brought you so far wrong. Go in, 
Chatenay," he added, turning to one of his 
own domestics, " and order flambeaux." 

In a few moments all was ready ; and pre- 
ceded by half a dozen torch-bearers on foot, 
they once more turned towards the dwelling of 
the Minister. As they did so, De Blenau's feel- 
ings were not of the most agreeable nature, but 
he acquiesced in silence, for to have refused his 
presence would have been worse than useless. 

The Palais Royal, which, as we have said, 
was then called the Palais Cardinal, was a 
very different building when occupied by the 

VOL. I. L 



218 RICHELIEU. 

haughty Minister of Louis the Thirteenth, 
from that which we have seen it in our days. 
The unbounded resources within his power 
gave to Richelieu the means of lavishing on the 
mansion which he erected for himself, all that 
art could produce of elegant, and all that 
wealth could supply of magnificent. For seven 
years the famous Le Mercier laboured to per- 
fect it as a building ; and during his long ad- 
ministration, the Cardinal himself never ceased 
to decorate it with every thing rare or luxu- 
rious. The large space which it occupied was 
divided into an outer and an inner court, round 
which, on every side, the superb range of build- 
ings, forming the Palace, was placed in exact 
and beautiful proportion, presenting every way 
an external and internal front, decorated with 
all the splendour of architectural ornament. 

The principal fagade lay towards the Rue 
St. Honore, and another of simpler, but per- 
haps more correct design, towards the gardens, 
which last were themselves one of the wonders 
of Paris at the time. Extending over the space 



RICHELIEU. 219 

now occupied by the Rue de Richelieu, the 
Rue de Valois, and several other streets, they 
contained, within themselves, many acres of 
ground, and were filled with every plant and 
flower that Europe then possessed, scattered 
about amongst the trees, which, being plant- 
ed long before the formality of the Dutch taste 
was introduced in France, had in general been 
allowed to fall into natural groups, unpervert- 
ed into the long avenues and straight alleys 
which disfigure so many of the royal parks 
and gardens on the Continent. 

The right wing of the first court was prin- 
cipally occupied by that beautiful Theatre, so 
strongly connected with every classic remem- 
brance of the French stage, in which the first 
tragedies of Rotrou and Corneille were pro- 
duced, — in which many of the inimitable come- 
dies of Moliere were first given to the world, 
and in which he himself acted till his death. 

In the wing immediately opposite, was the 
Chapel, built in the Ionic order, and orna- 
mented in that pure and simple manner which 
L 2 



220 RICHELIEU. 

none knew better how to value than the Cardinal 
de Richelieu. 

The two courts were divided from each other 
by a massive pile of building, containing the 
grand saloon, the audience-chamber, and the 
cabinet of the high council. On the ground- 
floor was the banqueting-room and its ante- 
chamber ; and a great part of the building 
fronting the gardens was occupied by the famous 
gallery of portraits, which Richelieu had taken 
care should comprise the best pictures that 
could be procured of all the greatest characters 
in French history. 

The rest of the Palace was filled with various 
suites of apartments, generally decorated and 
furnished in the most sumptuous manner. 
Great part of these the Cardinal reserved either 
for public entertainments, or for his own private 
use ; but what remained was nevertheless fully 
large enough to contain that host of officers 
and attendants by which he was usually sur- 
rounded. 

On the evening in question almost every part 



RICHELIEU. 221 

of that immense building was thrown open to 
receive the multitude that interest and fear ga- 
thered round the powerful and vindictive Mi- 
nister. Almost all that was gay, almost all that 
was beautiful, had been assembled there. All 
to whom wealth gave something to secure — all 
to whom rank gave something to maintain — all 
whom wit rendered anxious for distinction — all 
whom talent prompted to ambition. Equally 
those that Richelieu feared or loved, hated or 
admired, were brought there by some means, 
and for some reason. 

The scene which met the eyes of De Blenau 
and Chavigni, as they ascended the grand stair- 
case and entered the saloon, can only be qua- 
lified by the word princely. The blaze of 
jewels, the glare of innumerable lights, the splen- 
did dresses of the guests, and the magnificent 
decorations of the apartments themselves, all 
harmonized together, and formed a coup-d'ail 
of surpassing brilliancy. 

The rooms were full, but not crowded ; for 
there were attendants stationed in various parts 



222 RICHELIEU. 

for the purpose of requesting the visitors to pro- 
ceed, whenever they observed too many collected 
in one spot. Yet care was taken that those 
who were thus treated with scant ceremony 
should be of the inferior class admitted to the 
Cardinal's fete. Each officer of the Minister's 
household was well instructed to know the just 
value of every guest, and how far he was to be 
courted, either for his mind or influence. 

To render to all the highest respect, was the 
general order, but some were to be distinguished. 
Care was also taken that none should be ne- 
glected, and an infinite number of servants 
were seen gliding through the apartments, of- 
fering the most costly and delicate refreshments 
to every individual of the mixed assembly. 

De Blenau followed Chavigni through the 
grand saloon, where many an eye was turned 
upon the elegant and manly figure of him, who 
on that night of splendour and finery, presumed 
to show himself in a suit, rich indeed and well- 
fashioned, but evidently intended more for the 
sports of the morning than for the gay evening 



RiCHELIEU. 223 

circle in which he then stood. Yet it was re- 
marked, that none of the ladies drew back as 
the Cavalier passed them, notwithstanding his 
riding-dress and his dusty boots ; and one fair 
demoiselle, whose rank would have sanctioned 
it, had it been done on purpose, was unfor- 
tunate enough to entangle her train on his 
spurs. The Count de Coligni stepped forward 
to disengage it, but De Blenau himself had al- 
ready bent one knee to the ground, and easily 
freeing the spur from the robe of Mademoiselle 
de Bourbon, he remained for a moment in the 
same attitude. " It is but just," said he, " that 
1 should kneel, at once to repair my awkward- 
ness, and sue for pardon." 

" It was my sister's own fault, De Blenau,' 1 
said the Duke d'Enghien, approaching them, 
and embracing the young Count. u We have 
not met, dear friend, since the rendering of Per- 
pignan. But what makes you here ? Does 
your proud spirit bend at last to ask a grace of 
my Lord Uncle Cardinal V 

" No, your Highness," replied De Blenau ; 



224 RICHELIEU. 

" no farther grace have I to ask, than leave to 
return to St. Germain's as soon as I may." 

" What !" said the Duke, in the abrupt heed- 
less manner in which he always spoke, " does 
he threaten you too with that cursed bugbear 
of a Bastille ? a bugbear, that makes one man 
fly his country, and another betray it ; that 
makes one man run his sword into his heart, 
and another marry ;" — alluding without cere- 
mony to his own compelled espousal of the Car- 
dinars niece. " But there stands Chavigni," he 
continued, " waiting for you, I suppose. Go 
on, go on ; there is no stopping when once you 
have got within the Cardinal's magic circle — Go 
on, and God speed your suit ; for the sooner 
you are out of that same circle the better/ ' 

Quitting the young hero, who had already, 
on more than one occasion, displayed that 
valour and conduct which in after-years pro- 
cured for him the immortal name of the Great 
Conde, the Count de Blenau passed another 
group, consisting of the beautiful Madame de 
Montbazon and her avowed lover, the Duke of 



RICHELIEU. 225 

Longueville, who soon after, notwithstanding 
his unconcealed passion for another, became the 
husband of Mademoiselle de Bourbon. For be 
it remarked, in those days a bitter quarrel exist- 
ed between Love and Marriage, and they were 
seldom seen together in the same society. It is 
said indeed, that in France, a coolness remains 
between them to this day. Here also was the 
Duke of Guise, who afterwards played so con- 
spicuous a part in the revolution of Naples, 
and by his singular adventures, his gallantry 
and chivalrous courage, acquired the name of 
I'Hero de la Fable, as Conde had been called 
PHero de VHistoire. Still passing on, De 
Blenau rejoined Chavigni, who waited for him 
at the entrance of the next chamber. 

It was the great hall of audience, and at the 
farther extremity stood the Cardinal de Riche- 
lieu himself, leaning for support against a gilt 
railing, which defended from any injurious 
touch the beautiful picture of Raphael, so well 
known by the title of " La Belle Jardiniere. " 
He was dressed in the long purple robes of his 
l5 



226 RICHELIEU. 

order, and wore the peculiar hat of a Cardinal ; 
the bright colour of which made the deadly 
hue of his complexion look still more ghastly. 
But the paleness of his countenance, and a cer- 
tain attenuation of feature, was all that could 
be discerned of the illness from which he suf- 
fered. The powerful mind within seemed to 
conquer the feebleness of the body. His form 
was erect and dignified, his eye beaming with 
that piercing sagacity and haughty confidence 
in his own powers, which so distinguished his 
policy ; and his voice clear, deep, and firm, but 
of that peculiar quality of sound, that it seemed 
to spread all round, and to come no one knew 
from whence, like the wind echoing through an 
empty cavern. 

It was long since De Blenau had seen the 
Cardinal; and on entering the audience-chamber, 
the sound of that voice made him start. Its 
clear hollow tone seemed close to him, though 
Richelieu was conversing with some of his im- 
mediate friends at the farther end of the room. 

As the two cavaliers advanced, De Blenau 



RICHELIEU. 227 

had an opportunity of observing the manner in 
which the Minister treated those around him : 
but far from telling aught of dungeons and of 
death, his conversation seemed cheerful, and his 
demeanour mild and placid. u And can this 
be the man," thought the Count, " the fabric of 
whose power is cemented by blood and torture ?" 
They had now approached within a few 
paces of the spot where the Cardinal stood ; and 
the figure of Chavigni catching his eye, he ad- 
vanced a step, and received him with unaffected 
kindness. Towards DeBlenau, his manner was 
full of elegant politeness. He did not embrace 
him as he had done Chavigni ; but he held him 
by the hand for a moment, gazing on him with a 
dignified approving smile. Those who did not 
well know the heart of the subtle Minister, would 
have called that smile benevolent, especially 
when it was accompanied by many kind inqui- 
ries respecting the young nobleman's views and 
pursuits. De Blenau had been taught to judge 
by actions, not professions ; and the Cardinal 
had taken care to imprint his deeds too deeply 



228 RICHELIEU. 

in the minds of men to be wiped out with soft 
words. To dissemble was not De Blenau's forte; 
and yet he knew, that to show a deceiver he 
cannot deceive, is to make him an open enemy 
for ever. He replied, therefore, calmly and 
politely ; neither repulsed the Cardinal's ad- 
vances, nor courted his regard; and after a 
few more moments of desultory conversation, 
prepared to pursue his way through the various 
apartments. 

w There are some men, Monsieur le Comte, 1 ' 
said the Cardinal, seeing him about to pass on, 
" whom I might have scrupled to invite to 
such a scene as this, in their riding-dress. But 
the Count de Blenau is not to be mistaken. ,, 

" I felt no scruple," answered De Blenau, 
" in presenting myself thus, when your Emi- 
nence desired it; for the dress in which the 
Cardinal de Richelieu thought fit to receive me, 
could not be objected to by any of his circle.' 1 

The Cardinal bowed ; and De Blenau add- 
ing, that he would not intrude farther at that 
moment, took his way through the suite of 



RICHELIEU. 229 

apartments to Richelieu's left hand. Cha- 
vigni was about to follow, but a sign from the 
Cardinal stopped him, and the young Count 
passed on alone. 

Each of the various rooms he entered was 
thronged with its own peculiar grouj s. In one, 
was an assembly of famous artists and sculp- 
tors ; in another, a close convocation of philo- 
sophers, discussing a thousand absurd theories 
of the day ; and in the last he came to, was a 
buzzing hive of poets and beaux esprit s ; each 
trying to distinguish himself, each jealous of 
the other, and all equally vain and full of them- 
selves. 

In one corner was Scuderi, haranguing upon 
the nature of tragedy, of which he knew no- 
thing. In another place, Voiture, throwing off 
little empty couplets and bon-mots, like a child 
blowing bubbles from a tobacco-pipe; and far- 
ther on was Rotrou, surrounded by a select 
party more silent than the rest, to whom he 
recited some of his unpublished poems, mark- 
ing strongly the verse, and laying great em- 



230 RICHELIEU. 

phasis upon the rhyme. De Blenau stopped for 
a moment to listen while the poet proceeded : — 

" L'aube desia se leve, et le mignard Zephire, 
Parfumant l'horizon du doux air qu'il respire, 
Va d'un son agreable esveiller les oiseaux 
Pour saluer le jour qui paroist sur les eaux." 

But though the verses he recited were highly 
poetic, the extravagant affectation of his manner 
soon neutralized their effect upon De Blenau ; 
and passing on down a broad flight of steps, 
De Blenau found himself in the gardens of the 
Palace. These, as well as the whole front of the 
building, were illuminated in every direction. 
Bands of musicians were dispersed in the dif- 
ferent walks, and a multitude of servants were 
busily engaged in laying out tables for supper 
with all the choicest viands of the season, and 
in trimming the various lamps and tapers which 
hung from the branches of the trees or were 
displayed on fanciful frames of wood, so placed 
as to give the fullest light to the banquets which 
were situated near them. 

Scattered about in various parts of the garden, 
but more especially near the Palace, were dif- 



RICHELIEU. 231 

ferent groups of gentlemen, all speaking of 
plays, assemblies, or fetes, and all taking care 
to make their conversation perfectly audible, 
lest the jealous suspicion ever attendant on 
usurped power, should attribute to them schemes 
which, it is probable, fear alone prevented them 
from attempting. 

Nevertheless, the gardens, as we have said, 
containing several acres of ground, there were 
many parts comparatively deserted. It was to- 
wards these more secluded spots that DeBlenau 
directed his steps, wishing himself many a league 
away from the Palais Cardinal and all its splen- 
dour. Just as he had reached a part where few 
persons were to be seen, some one struck him 
slightly on the arm, and turning round, he per- 
ceived a man who concealed the lower part of 
his face with his cloak, and tendered him what 
seemed to be a billet. 

At the first glance De Blenau thought he 
recognised the Count de Coligni, a reputed lover 
of Mademoiselle de Bourbon, and imagined that 
the little piece of gallantry he had shown that 



RICHELIEU. 

lady on his first entrance, might have called 
upon him the wrath of the jealous Coligni. But 
no sooner had he taken the piece of paper, than 
the other darted away amongst the trees, giving 
him no time to observe more, either of his per- 
son or his dress. 

Approaching a spot where the number of 
lamps gave him sufficient light to read, De Ble- 
nau opened the note, which contained merely 
these words. " Beware of Chavigni ; — they will 
seek to draw something from you which may 
criminate you hereafter." 

As he read, De Blenau heard a light step ad- 
vancing, and hastily concealing the note, turned 
to see who approached. The only person near 
was a lady, who had thrown a thick veil over 
her head, which not only covered her face, but 
the upper part of her figure. She passed close 
by him, but without turning her head, or by 
any other motion seeming to notice him ; but as 
she did so, De Blenau heard a low voice from 
under the veil, desiring him to follow. Gliding 
on, without pausing for a moment, the lady led 



RICHELIEU. 

the way to the very extreme of the garden. De 
Blenau followed quick upon her steps, and as 
he did so, endeavoured to call to mind where he 
had seen that graceful and dignified figure be- 
fore. At length the lady stopped, looked round 
for a moment, and raising her veil, discovered 
the lovely countenance of Mademoiselle de 
Bourbon. 

u Monsieur de Blenau," said the Princess, 
" I have but one moment to tell you, that the 
Cardinal and Chavigni are plotting the ruin of 
the Queen ; and they wish to force or persuade 
you to betray her. After you had left the 
Cardinal, by chance I heard it proposed to ar- 
rest you even to-night ; but Chavigni said, that 
he had given his word that you should return 
to St. Germain's to-morrow. Take care, there- 
fore, of your conduct while here, and if you 
have any cause to fear, escape the moment you 
are at liberty. Fly to Flanders, and place your- 
self under the protection of Don Francisco de 
Mello." 

" I have to return your Highness a thousand 



234 RICHELIEU. 

thanks," replied De Blenau ; " but as far as 
innocence can give security, I have no reason 
to fear." 

" Innocence is nothing here," rejoined the lady. 
" But you are the best judge, Monsieur de Ble- 
nau. I sent Coligni to warn you, and taking 
an opportunity of escaping from the supper- 
table, came to request that you will offer my 
humble duty to the Queen, and assure her that 
Marie de Bourbon is ever hers. But here is 
some one coming — Good God, it is Chavigni !" 

As she spoke, Chavigni came rapidly upon 
them. Mademoiselle de Bourbon drew down 
her veil, and De Blenau placed himself between 
her and the Statesman, who, affecting an excess 
of gaiety, totally foreign to his natural cha- 
racter, began to rally the Count upon what he 
termed his gallantry. " So, Monsieur de Ble- 
nau," cried he, " already paying your devoirs 
to our Parisian dames. Nay, I must offer my 
compliments to your fair lady on her conquest ;" 
and he endeavoured to pass the Count towards 
Mademoiselle de Bourbon. 



RICHELIEU. 235 

De Blenau drew his sword. " Stand off, 
Sir," exclaimed he, u or by Heaven you are a 
dead man V And the point came flashing so near 
Chavigni's breast, that he was fain to start back 
a step or two. The lady seized the opportunity 
to pass him, for the palisade of the garden had 
prevented her escaping the other way. Cha- 
vigni attempted to follow, but De Blenau caught 
his arm, and held him with a grasp of iron. 

" Not one step, Sir f cried he. " Monsieur 
de Chavigni, you have strangely forgot your- 
self. How is it you presume, Sir, to interrupt 
my conversation with any one ? And let me 
ask, what affair it is of yours, if a lady chose to 
give me five minutes of her company even 
here ! You have slackened your gallantry not 
a little." 

" But was the Cardinal's garden a place fitted 
for such love stories ?" demanded Chavigni, 
feeling, at the same time, very sure that the 
conversation he had interrupted had not been 
of love ; for in those days politics and faction 
divided the heart of a Frenchwoman with gal- 



236 RICHELIEU. 

lantry, and, instead of quarrelling for the em- 
pire of her breast, these apparently opposite 
passions went hand in hand together ; and ex- 
empt from the more serious dangers incurred 
by the other sex in similar enterprises, women 
were often the most active agents and zealous 
partisans in the factions and conspiracies of the 
times. 

It had been Chavigni's determination, on ac- 
companying De Blenau to the Palais Cardinal, 
not to lose sight of his companion for a moment, 
in order that no communication might take 
place between him and any of the Queen's party 
till such time as the Cardinal had personally 
interrogated him concerning the correspondence 
which they supposed that Anne of Austria 
carried on with her brother, Philip of Spain. 
Chavigni, however, had been stopped, as we 
have seen, by the Cardinal himself, and detained 
for some time in conversation, the principal 
object of which was, the Count de Blenau him- 
self, and the means of either persuading him by 
favour, or of driving him by fear, not only to 



RICHELIEU. 237 

abandon, but to betray the party he had es- 
poused. The Cardinal thought ambition would 
do all ; Chavigni said that it would not move 
De Blenau ; and thus the discussion was con- 
siderably prolonged. 

As soon as Chavigni could liberate himself, 
he had hastened after the Count, and found 
him as we have described. To have ascertained 
who was his companion, Chavigni would have 
risked his life ; but now that she had escaped 
him, the matter was past recall ; and willing 
again to throw De Blenau off his guard, he made 
some excuses for his intrusion, saying he had 
thought that the lady was not unknown to 
him. 

" Well, well, let it drop," replied De Ble- 
nau, fully more desirous of avoiding farther 
inquiries than Chavigni was of relinquishing 
them. " But the next time you come across 
me on such an occasion, beware of your heart's 
blood, Monsieur de Chavigni." And thus say- 
ing, he thrust back his sword into the scab- 
bard. 



238 RICHELIEU. 

Chavigni, however, was resolved not to lose 
sight of him again, and passing his arm through 
that of the Count, " You are still too hot, 
Monsieur de Blenau," said he ; " but never- 
theless let us be friends again ." 

" As far as we ever were friends, Sir," replied 
De Blenau. " The open difference of our prin- 
ciples in every respect, must always prevent our 
greatly assimilating.*" 

Chavigni, however, kept to his purpose, and 
did not withdraw his arm from that of De 
Blenau, nor quit him again during the whole 
evening. 

Whether the Statesman suspected Mademoi- 
selle de Bourbon or not, matters little ; but on 
entering the banquet-room, where the principal 
guests were preparing to take their seats, they 
passed that lady with her brother and the 
Count de Coligni, and the eye of Chavigni 
glanced from the countenance of De Blenau to 
hers. But they were both upon their guard, 
and not a look betrayed that they had met 



RICHELIEU. 239 

since De Blenau's spur had been entangled in 
her train. 

At that moment the Master of the ceremonies 
exclaimed with a loud voice, " Place au Comte 
de Blenau," and was conducting him to a seat 
higher than his rank entitled him to take, when 
his eye fell upon the old Marquis de Brion ; and 
with the deference due not only to his station 
but to his high military renown, De Blenau 
drew back to give him precedence. 

" Go on, go on, mon cher De Blenau" said 
the old soldier ; and lowering his voice to a 
whisper, he added, " honest men like you and I 
are all out of place here ; so go on, and never 
mind. If it were in the field, we would strive 
which should be first ; but here there is no 
knowing which end of the table is most honour- 
able.* 

" Wherever it were, I should always be 
happy to follow Monsieur de Brion," replied 
De Blenau ; " but as you will have it, so let it 
be." And following the Master of the ceremonies, 



240 RICHELIEU. 

he was soon placed amongst the most distin- 
guished guests, and within four or five seats of 
the Cardinal. Like the spot before a heathen 
altar, it was always the place either of honour 
or sacrifice ; and De Blenau scarcely knew which 
was to be his fate. At all events, the distinc- 
tion which he met with, was by no means pleas- 
ing to him, and he remained in silence during 
greater part of the banquet. 

Every thing in the vast hall where they sat 
was magnificent beyond description. It was 
like one of those scenes in fairy romance, where 
supernatural powers lend their aid to dignify 
some human festival. All the apartment was 
as fully illuminated as if the broad sun had 
shone into it in his fullest splendour ; yet not 
a single light was to be seen. Soft sounds of 
music also occasionally floated through the air, 
but never so loud as to interrupt the con- 
versation. 

At the table all was glitter, and splendour, 
and luxury ; and from the higher end at which 
De Blenau sat, the long perspective of the hall, 



RICHELIEU. 241 

decked out with all a mighty kingdom's wealth 
and crowded with the gay, the bright, and the 
fair, offered an interminable view of beauty and 
magnificence. 

I might describe the passing of the banquet, 
and the bright smiles that were given, and the 
bright things that were said. I might enlarge 
upon the crowd of domestics, the activity of the 
seneschals and officers, and tell of the splendour 
of the decorations. I might even introduce the 
famous court fool, L'Angeli, who stood behind 
the chair of his young lord the Duke d'Enghien. 
But no — a master's hand has given to the 
world so many splendid pictures of such scenes, 
that mine would seem but a feeble imitation. 
Let such things rest with Scott, whose magic 
wand has had power to call up the spirit of the 
past with as much truth, as if it were again 
substantially in being. 

To pursue our theme, however. The Cardi- 
nal de Richelieu, who held in his hand the fate 
of all who sat around him, yielded to his guests 
the most marked attention, treating them with 

vol. I. M 



242 RICHELIEU. 

the profound humility of great pride ; trying 
to quell the fire of his eye, till it should be- 
come nothing but affability ; and to soften the 
deep tones of his voice, from the accent of com- 
mand to an expression of gentle courtesy ; but 
notwithstanding all his efforts, a degree of that 
haughtiness with which the long habit of des- 
potic rule had tinged his manners, would occa- 
sionally appear, and still show that it was the 
lord entertaining his vassals. His demeanour 
towards De Blenau, however, was all suavity 
and kindness. He addressed him several times 
in the most marked manner during the course 
of the banquet, and listened to his reply with 
one of those approving smiles, so sweet upon 
the lips of power. 

De Blenau was not to be deceived, it is true. 
Yet though he knew that kindness to be as- 
sumed on purpose to betray, and the smile to 
be as false as Hell, there was a fascination in 
the distinction shown him, against which he 
could not wholly guard his heart. His brow 
unbent of its frown, and he entered into the 



RICHELIEU. 243 

gay conversation which was going on around ; 
but at that moment he observed the Cardinal 
glance his eye towards Chavigni with a mean- 
ing smile. 

De Blenau marked it. " So,'"* thought he, 
" my Lord Cardinal, you deem me your own." 
And as the guests rose, De Blenau took his 
leave, and returned with Chavigni to the 
Place Rovale. 



M * 



244 RICHELIEU. 



CHAPTER XI. 

Containing a Conference, which ends much as it began. 



The music of the Cardinal's fete rang in 
De Blenau's ears all night, and the lights danced 
in his eyes, and the various guests flitted be- 
fore his imagination, like the figures in some 
great phantasmagoria. One time he seemed 
wandering in the gardens with Pauline de 
Beaumont, and offering up all the dearest trea- 
sures of his heart, when suddenly the lady 
raised her veil, and it was Mademoiselle de 
Bourbon. Then again he was seated on the 
Cardinal's right hand, who poured out for him 
a cup of wine : he raised it to his lips, and 
was about to drink, when some one dashed it 



RICHELIEU. 245 

from his hand, exclaiming, " It is poison !" 
then, turning round to see who had thus in- 
terposed, he beheld a figure without a head, 
and the overthrown cup poured forth a stream 
of blood. The next moment it was all the 
Cardinal's funeral, and the fool L'Angeli ap- 
peared as chief mourner. At length, however, 
towards the approach of morning, the uneasy 
visions died away, and left him in deep sleep, 
from which he rose refreshed, and prepared to 
encounter the events of a new day. 

Alas ! that man should still rise to sorrow 
and to danger, and that the kindest gift of 
Heaven should be the temporary forgetfulness 
of existence. Sorrow ! how is it that thy coarse 
thread is so intimately mingled with the web of 
life, that he who would tear thee out must rend 
the whole fabric ? Oh life, thou long sad 
dream ! when shall we rise from all thy phantom 
agonies to that bright waking which we fondly 
hope? 

De Blenau prepared his mind, as a man arm- 
ing for a battle ; and sent to notify to Chavigni, 



246 RICHELIEU. 

that he was about to visit the Cardinal. In a 
few minutes after, the Statesman himself ap- 
peared, and courteously conducted the young 
Count to his horse, but did not offer to accom- 
pany him to the Minister. " Monsieur de 
Blenau," said he, " it is better you should go 
alone. After your audience, you will doubt- 
less be in haste to return to St. Germain's ; but if 
you will remain to take your noon meal at my 
poor table, I shall esteem myself honoured.''' 

De Blenau thanked him for his courtesy, but 
declined, stating that he was anxious to return 
home before night, if he were permitted to do 
so at all. " My word is passed for your safety ," 
replied Chavigni ; " so have no doubt on that 
head. But take my counsel, Monsieur le 
Comte : moderate your proud bearing towards 
the Cardinal. Those who play with a lion, 
must take good care not to irritate him." 

On arriving at the Palais Cardinal, De Ble- 
nau left his attendants in the outer court, and 
following an officer of the household, proceeded 
through a long suite of apartments to a large 



RICHELIEU. 247 

saloon, where he found several others waiting 
the leisure of the Minister, who was at that 
moment engaged in conference with the Ambas- 
sador from Sweden. 

De Blenaus own feelings were not of the 
most comfortable nature ; but on looking round 
the room, he guessed, from the faces of all those 
with whom it was tenanted, that such sensations 
were but too common there. One had placed 
himself at a window, and gazed upon the stones 
of the court-yard with as much earnestness as 
if they had inspired him with the deepest inte- 
rest. Another walked up and down his own 
corner with irregular steps and downcast 
look. Another leaned back in his seat, with 
his chin resting on his breast, and regarded in- 
tently a door in the other side of the saloon. 
And another sat bending his hat into so many 
shapes, that he left it, in the end, of no shape at 
all. But all were marked, by the knitted brow 
and anxious eye, for men whose fate was hang- 
ing on the breath of another. 

There was nothing consolatory in their looks, 



£48 RICHELIEU. 

and De Blenau turned to the portraits which 
covered the walls of the saloon. The first that 
his eye fell upon was that of the famous Mont- 
morency. He was represented as armed in 
steel, with the head uncovered ; and from his 
apparent age it seemed that the picture had not 
been painted long before the unfortunate con- 
spiracy, which, by its failure, brought him to 
the scaffold. There was also an expression of 
grave sadness in the countenance, as if he had 
presaged his approaching fate. De Blenau 
turned to another; but it so happened that each 
picture in the room represented some one of the 
rr^any whom Richelieu's unsparing vengeance 
had overtaken. Whether they were placed in 
that waiting-room in order to overawe those 
whom the Minister wished to intimidate; or 
whether it was that the famous gallery, which 
the Cardinal had filled with portraits of all the 
principal historical characters of France, would 
contain no more, and that in consequence the 
pictures of the later dates had been placed in 
this saloon, without any deeper intent, matters 



RICHELIEU. 

not ; but at all events they offered no very plea- 
sant subject of contemplation. 

De Blenau, however, was not long kept in 
suspense; for, in a few minutes, the door on 
the other side of the room opened, and the 
Swedish Ambassador passed out. The door 
shut behind him, but in a moment after an 
attendant entered, and although several others 
had been waiting before him, De Blenau was the 
first summoned to the presence of the Cardinal. 

He could not help feeling as if he wronged 
those he left still in doubt as to their fate : 
but following the officer through an ante-room, 
he entered the audience closet, and immedi- 
ately perceived Richelieu seated at a table, 
over which were strewed a multitude of papers 
of different dimensions, some of which he was 
busily engaged in examining; — reading them he 
was not, for his eye glanced so rapidly over 
their contents, that his knowledge of each could 
be but general. He paused for a moment as 
"De Blenau entered, bowed his head, pointed to 
a seat, and resumed his employment. When 
M 5 



250 RICHELIEU. 

he had done, he signed the papers, and gave 
them to a dulHooking personage, in a black silk 
pourpoint, who stood behind his chair. 

" Take these three death-warrants," said he, 
" to Monsieur Lafemas, and then these others 
to Poterie at the Bastille. But no— stop," he 
continued after a moment's thought ; " you had 
better go to the Bastille first, for Poterie can 
put Caply to the torture, while you are gone to 
Lafemas ; and you can bring me back his con- 
fession as you return. 1 ' 

De Blenau shuddered at the sang froid with 
which the Minister commanded those things that 
make one's blood curdle even to imagine. But 
the attendant was practised in such commis- 
sions^; and taking the packets, as a mere matter 
of course, he bowed in silence, and disappearing 
by a door on the other side, left De Blenau alone 
with the Cardinal. 

" Well, Monsieur de Blenau," said Richelieu, 
looking up with a frank smile, " your pardon for 
having detained you. There are many things 
upon which I have long wished to speak to you, 



RICHELIEU. 251 

and this caused me to desire your company. 
But I have no doubt that we shall part perfectly 
satisfied with each other." 

The Cardinal paused, as if for a reply. " I 
hope so too, my Lord,' 1 said De Blenau. " I can, 
of course, have no cause to be dissatisfied with 
your Eminence ; and for my own part, I feel my 
bosom to be clear. 1 ' 

" I doubt it not, Monsieur le Comtek re- 
plied the Minister, with a gracious inclination of 
the head — " I doubt it not ; I know your spirit 
to be too frank and noble to mingle in petty 
faction and treasonable cabal. No one more 
admires your brave and independent bearing 
than myself. You must remember that I have 
marked you from your youth. You have been 
educated, as it were, under my own eye ; and 
were it now necessary to trust the welfare of 
the State to the honour of any one man, I would 
confide it to the honour of De Blenau/' 

" To what, in the name of Heaven, can this 
lead ?" thought De Blenau ; but he bowed with- 
out reply, and the Cardinal proceeded. 



RICHELIEU. 

" I have, for some time past," he continued, 
" been thinking of placing you in one of those 
high stations, to which your rank and considera- 
tion entitle you to aspire. At present, none are 
vacant ; but as a forerunner to such advance- 
ment, I propose to call you to the Council, and 
to give you the government of Poitou." 

De Blenau was now, indeed, astonished. The 
Cardinal was not a man to jest : and yet what he 
proposed, as a mere preliminary, was an offer 
that the first noble in France might have ac- 
cepted with gladness. The Count was about 
to speak. But Richelieu paused only for a mo- 
ment, to observe the effect of what he said upon 
his auditor ; and perhaps over-rating the ambi- 
tion of De Blenau, he proceeded more boldly. 

" I do not pretend to say, notwithstanding 
my sense of your high merit, and my almost 
parental feelings towards you, that I am wholly 
moved to this by my individual regard ; but the 
truth is, that the State requires, at this moment, 
the services of one, who joins to high talents 
a thorough knowledge of the affairs of Spain," 



RICHELIEU. 253 

" So!" thought De Blenau, " I have it now. 
The government of Poitou, and a seat at the 
Council, provided I betray the Queen and sell 
my own honour." Richelieu seemed to wait an 
answer, and De Blenau replied : " If your Emi- 
nence means to attribute such knowledge to me, 
some one must have greatly misled you. I pos- 
sess no information on the affairs of Spain what- 
ever, except from the common reports and 
journals of the time." 

This reply did not seem to affect Richelieu's 
intentions. " Well, well, Monsieur de Blenau," 
said he, with a smile, " you will take your seat 
at the Council, and will, of course, as a good 
subject and an honourable man, communicate 
to us whatever information you possess, on 
those points which concern the good of the 
State. We do not expect all at once; and 
every thing shall be done to smooth your way, 
and facilitate your views. Then, perhaps, if 
Richelieu live to execute the plans he has 
formed, you, Monsieur de Blenau, following his 
path, and sharing his confidence, may be ready 



254 RICHELIEU. 

to take his place, when death shall at length 
call him from it." 

The Cardinal counted somewhat too much on 
De Blenau's ambition, and not sufficiently on 
his knowledge of the world ; and imagining that 
he had, the evening before, discovered the weak 
point in the character of the young Count, he 
thought to lead him to any thing, by holding 
out to him extravagant prospects of future 
greatness. The dish, however, was somewhat 
too highly flavoured ; and De Blenau replied, 
with a smile, — 

■* Your Eminence is exceeding good to think 
at all of me, in the vast and more important 
projects which occupy your mind. But, alas ! 
my Lord, De Blenau would prove but a poor 
successor to Richelieu.— No, my Lord Car- 
dinal," he continued, " I have no ambition ; 
that is a passion which should be reserved for 
such great and comprehensive minds as yours. 
I am contented as I am. High stations are 
always stations of danger." 

" I had heard that the Count de Blenau was 



RICHELIEU. 255 

no way fearful, 1 ' said Richelieu, fixing on him a 
keen and almost scornful glance. " Was the 
report a mistake? or is it lately he has become 
afraid of danger F" 

De Blenau was piqued, and lost temper. " Of 
personal danger, my Lord, I am never afraid," 
replied he. "But when along with risk to my- 
self is involved danger to my friends, danger to 
my country, danger to my honour, and danger to 
my soul," and he returned the Cardinal's glance 
full as proudly as it had been given, " then, 
my Lord Cardinal, I would say, it were no 
cowardice, but true courage to fly from such 
peril — unless," he added, remembering the 
folly of opposing the irritable and unscrupulous 
Minister, and thinking that his words had, per- 
haps, been already too warm — u unless, indeed, 
one felt within one's breast the mind of a Riche- 
lieu." 

While De Blenau spoke, the Cardinal's brow 
knitted into a frown. A flush too came over 
his cheek ; and untying the ribbon which 
served as a fastening, he took off the velvet cap 



256 RICHELIEU. 

he generally wore, as if to give himself air. He 
heard him, however, to the end, and then an- 
swered drily, " You speak well, Monsieur de 
Blenau, and, I doubt not, feel what you say. 
But am I to understand you, that you refuse to 
aid us at the Council with your information and 
advice ?" 

" So far, your Eminence is right," replied the 
Count, who saw that the storm was now about 
to break upon his head ; " I must, indeed, de- 
cline the honours which you offer with so boun- 
tiful a hand. But do not suppose that I do so 
from unwillingness to yield you any informa- 
tion ; for, truly, I have none to give. I have 
never meddled with politics. I have never 
turned my attention to State affairs ; and there- 
fore still less could I yield you any advice. 
Your Eminence would be woefully disappointed, 
when you expected to find a man well ac- 
quainted with the arts of government, and deep 
read in the designs of foreign states, to meet with 
one, whose best knowledge is to range a batta- 
lion, or to pierce a boar ; a soldier, and not a 



RICHELIEU. 257 

diplomatist ; a hunter, and not a statesman. 
And as to the government of Poitou, my Lord, 
its only good would be the emolument, and al- 
ready my revenues are far more than adequate 
to my wants." 

" You refuse my kindness, Sir," replied the 
Cardinal, with an air of deep determined haugh- 
tiness, very different from the urbanity with 
which he had at first received De Blenau ; " I 
must now speak to you in another tone. And 
let me warn you to beware of what you say ; 
for be assured, that I already possess sufficient 
information to confound you if you should 
prevaricate." 

" My Lord Cardinal," replied De Blenau, 
somewhat hastily, " I am not accustomed to 
prevaricate. Ask any questions you please, 
and, so long as my honour and my duty go with 
them, I will answer you." 

" Then there are questions," said the Cardi- 
nal, " that you would think against your duty 
to answer ?" 

" I said not so, your Eminence," replied De 



258 RICHELIEU. 

Blenau. " In the examination I find I am to 
undergo, give my words their full meaning, if 
you please, but no more than their meaning." 

" Well then, Sir, answer me as a man of 
honour and a French noble," said the Cardinal — 
" Are you not aware of a correspondence that 
has been, and is now, carried on between Anne 
of Austria and Don Francisco de Mello, Gover- 
nor of the Low Countries ?" 

* I know not whom you mean, Sir, by Anne 
of Austria," replied De Blenau. " If it be her 
Majesty, your Queen and mine, that you so 
designate, I reply at once that I know of no 
such correspondence, nor do I believe that it 
exists." 

" Do you mean to say, Monsieur de Blenau," 
demanded the Cardinal, fixing his keen sunken 
eyes upon the young Count with that basilisk 
glance for which he was famous — " Do you 
mean to say, that you yourself have not for- 
warded letters from the Queen to Madame de 
Chevreuse, and Don Francisco de Mello, by a 
private channel ? — Pause, Monsieur de Blenau, 






RICHELIEU. 259 

before you answer, and be well assured that I 
am acquainted with every particular of your 
conduct."" 

" Your Eminence is, no doubt, acquainted 
with much more intricate subjects than any of 
my actions," replied the Count. " With regard 
to Madame de Chevreuse, her Majesty has no 
need to conceal a correspondence with her, which 
has been fully permitted and sanctioned, both 
by your Eminence and the still higher authority 
of the King ; and I may add, that to my certain 
knowledge, letters have gone to that lady by 
your own courier. On the other point, I have 
answered already ; and have only to say once 
more, that I know of no such correspondence, 
nor would I, assuredly, lend myself to any such 
measures; which I should conceive to be trea- 
sonable." 

" I have always hitherto supposed you to be 
a man of honour, " said the Cardinal coolly ; 
" but what must I conceive now, Monsieur le 
Comte, when I tell you that I have those very 
letters in my possession ?" 



260 RICHELIEU. 

" You may conceive what you please, Sir," 
replied De Blenau, giving way to his indigna- 
tion ; " but I will dare any man to lay before 
me a letter from her Majesty to the person you 
mention, which has passed through the hands of 
De Blenau." 

The Cardinal did not reply, but opening an 
ebony cabinet, which stood on his right hand, 
he took from one of the compartments a small 
bundle of papers, from which he selected one, 
and laid it on the table before the Count, who 
had hitherto looked on with no small wonder 
and expectation. " Do you know that writing, 
Sir ?" demanded the Cardinal, still keeping his 
hand upon the paper, in such a manner as to 
allow only a word or two to be visible. 

De Blenau examined the line which the Car- 
dinal suffered to appear, and replied — '* From 
what little I can see, I should imagine it to be 
the hand-writing of her Majesty. But that 
does not show that I have any thing to do 
with it." 

" Put there is that in it which does," an- 



RICHELIEU. 



261 



swered Richelieu, folding down a line or two of 
the letter, and pointing out to the Count a 
sentence which said, " This will be conveyed 
to you by the Count de BJenau, who you know 
never fails." 

" Now, Sir F continued the Cardinal, " once 
more let me advise you to give me all you pos- 
sess upon this subject. From a feeling of per- 
sonal regard, I have had too much patience 
with you already." 

" All I can reply to your Eminence,' 1 an- 
swered the Count, not a little embarrassed, " is, 
that no letter whatever has been conveyed by 
me, knowingly, to the Governor of the Low 
Countries." 

De Blenau's eyes naturally fixed on the pa- 
per, which still lay on the table, and from which 
the Cardinal had by this time withdrawn his 
hand ; and feeling that both life and honour 
depended upon that document, he resolved to 
ascertain its authenticity, of which he enter- 
tained some doubt. 

" Stop," said he hastily, " let me look at the 



262 RICHELIEU. 

super scription," and before Richelieu could re_ 
ply, he had raised it from the table and turned 
to the address. One glance was enough to 
satisfy him, and he returned it to the Cardinal 
with a cool and meaning smile, repeating the 
words — c< To Madame de Chevreuse." 

At first the Cardinal had instinctively stretch- 
ed out his hand to stop De Blenau in his pur- 
pose, but he instantly recovered himself, nor 
did his countenance betray the least change of 
feeling. "Well, Sir," replied he, "you said 
that you would dare any one to lay before you 
a letter from the Queen to the person I men- 
tioned. Did I not mention Madame de Chev- 
reuse, and is not there the letter ?" 

" Your Eminence has mistaken me," replied 
De Blenau, bowing his head, and smiling at the 
Minister's art ; "I meant, Don Francisco de 
Mello. I had answered what you said in re- 
gard to Madame de Chevreuse, before." 

" I did mistake you then, Sir," said the 
Cardinal ; u but it was from the ambiguity of 
your own words. However, passing over your 



RICHELIEU. 263 

boldness, in raising that letter without my per- 
mission ; I will show you that I know more of 
your proceedings than you suspect. I will tell 
you the very terms of the message you sent to 
the Queen, after you were wounded in the 
wood of Mantes, conveying to her, that you 
had not lost the packet with which you were 
charged. Did not Seguin tell her, on your 
part, that though the wound was in your side, 
your heart was not injured ?" 

" I dare say he did, my Lord,' 1 replied De 
Blenau, coolly ; " and the event has proved 
that he was quite right, for your Eminence must 
perceive that I am quite recovered, which, of 
course, coukl not have been the case, had any 
vital part been hurt. But I hope, your Emi- 
nence, that there is no offence, in your eyes, 
either in having sent the Queen, my mistress, 
an account of my health, or in having escaped 
the attack of assassins." 

A slight flush passed over Richelieu's cheek. 
" You may chance to fall into less scrupulous 
hands than even their's," replied he. " I am 



264 RICHELIEU. 

certainly informed, Sir, that you, on the part 
of the Queen, have been carrying on a treason 
able intercourse with Spain — a country at war 
with France, to whose crown you are a born 
subject and vassal ; and I have to tell you, that 
the punishment of such a crime is death. Yes, 
Sir, you may knit your brow. But no consi- 
deration shall stay me from visiting, with the 
full severity of the law, such as do so offend ; 
and though the information I want be but small, 
depend upon it, I shall not hesitate to employ 
the most powerful means to wring it from you." 
De Blenau had no difficulty in comprehend- 
ing the nature of those means, to which the 
Cardinal alluded ; but his mind was made up to 
suffer the worst. " My Lord Cardinal,''' re- 
plied he, " what your intentions are, I know 
not ; but be sure, that to whatever extremes 
you may go, you c^n wring nothing from 
me but what you have already heard. I once 
more assure you, that I know of no treasonable 
correspondence whatsoever; and firm in my own 



RICHELIEU. 265 

innocence, I equally despise all attempts to 
bribe or to intimidate me. 1 ' 

" Sir, you are insolent !" replied the Cardinal 
rising: " Use no such language to me ! — Are 
you not an insect I can sweep from my path in 
an instant ? Ho, a guard there without ! We 
shall soon see, whether you know aught of Phi- 
lip of Spain. " 

Had the Cardinal's glance been directed to- 
wards De Blenau, he would have seen, that at 
the name of Philip of Spain, a degree of pale- 
ness came over his cheek ; but another object 
had caught Richelieu's eye, and he did not ob- 
serve it. It was the entrance of the attendant 
whom he had despatched with the death-war- 
rants, which now drew his notice; and well 
pleased to show De Blenau the dreadful means 
he so unscrupulously employed to extort con- 
fession from those he suspected, he eagerly de- 
manded, " What news ?" 

" May it please your Eminence," said the 
attendant, " Caply died under the torture. In 

vol. I. N 



%66 RICHELIEU. 

truth, it was soon over with him, for he did not 
bear it above ten minutes."" 

" But the confession, the confession !" ex- 
claimed Richelieu. " Where is the proces 
verbal?" 

" He made no confession, Sir,'" replied the 
man. " He protested, to the last, his inno- 
cence, and that he knew nothing." 

" Pshaw !" said Richelieu ; " they let him 
die too soon ; they should have given him wine 
to keep him up. Foolish idiot," he continued, 
as if meditating over the death of his victim ; 
" had he but told what he was commanded, he 
would have saved himself from a death of hor- 
ror. Such is the meed of obstinacy." 

" Such," thought De Blenau, " is, unhap- 
pily, often the reward of firmness and integrity. 
But such a death is honourable in itself." 

No one could better read in the face what was 
passing in the mind than Richelieu, and it is pro- 
bable that he easily saw in the countenance of 
De Blenau, the feelings excited by what had just 
passed. He remembered also the promise given 



RICHELIEU. 267 

by Chavigni ; and if, when he called the Guard, 
he had ever seriously proposed to arrest De 
Blenau, he abandoned his intention for the mo- 
ment. Not that the high tone of the young 
Count's language was either unfelt, or forgiven, 
for Richelieu never pardoned ; but it was as 
easy to arrest De Blenau at St. Germain's as in 
Paris ; and the wily Minister calculated, that by 
giving him a little liberty, and throwing him off 
his guard, he might be tempted to do those 
things which would put him more completely 
in the power of the government, and give the 
means of punishing him for his pride and ob- 
stinacy, as it was internally termed by a man 
long unaccustomed to any opposition. 

De Blenau was principally obnoxious to the 
Cardinal, as the confidant of the Queen, and 
from being the chief of her adherents both 
by his rank, wealth, and reputation. Anne of 
Austria having now become the only apparent 
object which could cloud the sky of Riche- 
lieu's political power, he had resolved either 
to destroy her, by driving her to some crimi- 
N 2 



268 RICHELIEU. 

nal act, or so to entangle her in his snares, 
vs to reduce her to become a mere instru- 
ment in his hands and for his purposes. To 
arrest De Blenau would put the Queen upon 
her guard ; and therefore, the Minister, with- 
out hesitation, resolved to dissemble his re- 
sentment, and allow the Count to depart in 
peace ; reserving for another time the venge- 
ance he had determined should overtake him at 
last. Nor was his dissembling of that weak na- 
ture which those employ, who have all the will 
to deceive, without the art of deceiving. 

Richelieu walked rapidly up and down the 
closet for a moment, as if striving to repress 
some strong emotion, then stopped, and turning 
to De Blenau with some frankness of manner, 
" Monsieur le Comte," said he, " I will own 
that you have heated me, — perhaps I have 
given way to it too much. But you ought to 
be more careful of your words, Sir, and remem- 
ber that with men whose power you cannot re- 
sist, it is sometimes dangerous even to be in the 
right, much more to make them feel it rudely. 



RICHELIEU. 269 

However, it is all past, and I will now detain 
you no longer ; trusting to your word, that the 
information which I have received, is without 
foundation. Let me only add, that you might 
have raised yourself this day to a height which 
few men in France would not struggle to at- 
tain. But that is past also, and may, perhaps, 
never return." 

"I am most grateful, believe me," replied De 
Blenau, " for all the favours your Eminence in- 
tended me ; and I have no doubt, that you will 
soon find some other person, on whom to be- 
stow them, much more worthy of them than 
myself." 

Richelieu bowed low, and fixed his eyes upon 
the Count without reply — a signal that the 
audience was over, which was not lost upon 
De Blenau, who very gladly took his leave of 
the Minister, hoping most devoutly never to see 
his face again. The ambiguity of his last sen- 
tence, however, had not escaped the Cardinal. 

" So, Monsieur de Blenau !" said he, as soon 
as the Count had left him, " you can make 



270 RICHELIEU. 

speeches with a double meaning also ! Can you 
so ? You may rue it though, for I will find 
means to bend your proud spirit, or to break 
it ; and that before three days be over. Is every 
thing prepared for my passage to Chantilly ?" 
he continued, turning to the attendant. 

" All is prepared, please your Eminence, 11 re- 
plied the man ; " and as I passed, I saw Mon- 
sieur de Chavigni getting into his chaise to set 
out. 11 

" We v/ill let him be an hour or two in 
advance," said the Cardinal. " Send in the 
Marquis de Goumont ;" and he again applied 
himself to other affairs. 



RICHELIEU. 271 



CHAPTER XII. 

'• An entire new comedy, with new scenery, dresses, and 
decorations." 



The little village of Mesnil St. Loup, all 
insignificant as it is, was at the time of my tale 
a place of even less consequence than it appears 
now-a-days, when nine people out of ten have 
scarcely ever heard of its existence. 

It was, nevertheless, a pretty-looking place ; 
and had its little auberge, on the same scale 
and in the same style as the village to which it 
belonged, — small, neat, and picturesque, with its 
high pole before the door, crowned with a gay 
garland of flowers, which served both for sign 
and inscription to the inn ; being fully as com- 
prehensible an intimation to the peasantry of 



272 RICHELIEU. 

the day, that " Bon vin et bonne chere" were 
to be obtained within, as the most artful flou- 
rish of a modern sign-painter. 

True it is, that the little cabaret of Mesnil 
St. Loup was seldom troubled with the pre- 
sence of a traveller ; but there the country peo- 
ple would congregate after the labours of the 
day, and enjoy their simple sports with a relish 
that luxury knows not. The high road from 
Paris to Troyes passed quite in another di- 
rection ; and a stranger in Mesnil St. Loup 
was a far greater stranger than he could pos- 
sibly have been anywhere else, except perhaps 
in newly discovered America. For there was 
nothing to excite either interest or curiosity ; 
except it were the little church, which had 
seen many a century pass over its primitive 
walls, remaining still unaltered, while five or 
six old trees, which had been its companions 
for time out of mind, began to show strong 
signs of decay, in their rifted bark and falling 
branches, but still formed a picturesque group, 
with a great stone cross and fountain under- 



RICHELIEU. 273 

neath them, and a seat for the weary traveller 
to rest himself in their shade. 

Thus, Mesnil St. Loup was little known to 
strangers, for its simplicity had no attractions 
for the many. Nevertheless, on one fine even- 
ing, somewhere about the beginning of Septem- 
ber, the phenomenon of a new face showed itself 
at Mesnil St. Loup. The personage to whom 
it appertained, was a horseman of small mean 
appearance, who, having passed by the church, 
rode through the village to the auberge, and 
having raised his eyes to the garland over the 
door, he divined from it, that he himself would 
find there good Champagne wine, and his horse 
would meet with entertainment equally adapted 
to his peculiar taste. Thereupon, the stranger 
alighted and entered the place of public reception, 
without making any of that bustle about him- 
self, which the landlord seemed well inclined to do 
for him ; but on the contrary sat himself down 
in the most shady corner, ordered his bottle of 
wine, and inquired what means the house af- 
forded of satisfying his hunger, in a low quiet 
> 5 



274 RICHELIEU. 

tone of voice, which reached no farther than the 
person he addressed. 

" As for wine," the host replied, " Monsieur 
should have such wine that the first merchant 
of Epernay might prick his ears at it ; and in 
regard to eatables, what could be better than 
stewed eels, out of the river hard by, and a 
civet de Heme ? — Monsieur need not be afraid," 
he added ; " it was a real hare he had snared 
that morning himself, in the forest under the 
hill. Some dishonourable innkeepers," be ob- 
served — " innkeepers unworthy of the name, 
would dress up cats and rats, and such animals, 
in the form of hares and rabbits ; even as the 
Devil had been known to assume the appearance 
of an Angel of light ; but he scorned such prac- 
tices, and could not only show his hare's skin, 
but his hare in the skin. Farther, he would 
give Monsieur an ortolan in a vine leaf, and a 
dish of stewed sorrel." 

The stranger underwent the innkeeper's ora- 
tion with most exemplary patience, signified his 
approbation of the proposed dinner, without 



RICHELIEU. 275 

attacking the hare's reputation ; and when at 
length it was placed before him, he ate his meal 
and drank his wine, in profound silence, without 
a word of praise or blame to either one or the 
other. The landlord, with all his sturdy lo- 
quacity, failed in more than one attempt to draw 
him into conversation ; and the hostess, though 
none of the oldest or ugliest, could scarce win a 
syllable from his lips, even by asking if he were 
pleased with his fare. The taciturn stranger 
merely bowed his head, and seemed little in- 
clined to exert his oratorical powers, more than 
by the simple demand of what he wanted ; so 
that both mine host and hostess gave him up in 
despair — the one concluding that he was " an 
odd one," and the other declaring that he was 
as stupid as he was ugly. 

This lasted some time, till one villager after 
another, having exhausted every excuse for stay- 
ing to hear whether the stranger would open his 
lips, dropped away in his turn, and left the 
apartment vacant. It was then, and not till 
then, that mine host was somewhat surprised, by 



276 RICHELIEU. 

hearing the silent traveller pronounce in a most 
audible and imperative manner, " Gaultier, come 
here.'" The first cause of astonishment was to 
hear him speak at all ; and the next to find his 
own proper name of Gaultier so familiar to 
the stranger, forgetting that it had been vocife- 
rated at least one hundred times that night in 
his presence. However, Gaultier obeyed the 
summons with all speed, and approaching the 
stranger with a low reverence, begged to know 
his good will and pleasure. 

" Your wine is good, Gaultier," said the 
stranger, raising his clear grey eyes to the rosy 
round of Gaultier's physiognomy. Even an inn- 
keeper is susceptible of flattery ; and Gaultier 
bent his head down towards the ground, as if 
he were going to do kou-tou. 

" Gaultier, bring me another bottle," said the 
stranger. This phrase was better than the for- 
mer ; that sort of substantial flattery that goes 
straight to an innkeeper's heart. Truly, it is a 
pity that innkeepers are such selfish beings. 
And yet it is natural too ; — so rapidly does man- 



RICHELIEU. 277 

kind pass by them, that theirs can be, at best, 
but a stage-coach sort of affection for their fel- 
low-creatures — The coachman shuts the door — 
Drive on ! — and it is all over. Thus, my dear 
Sir, the gaieties, the care, and the bustle in 
which you and I live, render our hearts but as 
an inn, where many a traveller stays for an 
hour, pays his score, and is forgotten. — I am 
resolved to let mine upon lease. 

The bottle of wine was not long in making 
its appearance ; and as Gaultier set it on the 
table before the stranger, he asked if he could 
serve him farther. 

" Can you show me the way to the old Cha- 
teau of St. Loup ?" demanded the stranger. 

" Surely, I can, Sir," replied the innkeeper ; 
" that is to say, as far as knowing where it is. 
But I hope Monsieur does not mean to-night." 

" Indeed do I," answered the stranger; " and 
pray why not ? The night is the same as the 
day to an honest man. 11 

" No doubt, no doubt !" exclaimed Gaultier, 
with the greatest doubt in the world in his own 



£78 RICHELIEU. 

mind. — " No doubt ! But, Holy Virgin ! Jesu 
preserve us !•" — and he signed the cross most de- 
voutly — " we all know that there are spirits, 
and demons, and astrologers, and the Devil, 
and all those sort of things ; and I would not 
go through the Grove where old Pere Le Rouge, 
the sorcerer, was burnt alive, not to be prime 
minister, or the Cardinal de Richelieu, or any 
other great man, — that is to say, after nightfall. 
In the day I would go anywhere, or do any 
thing, — I am no coward, Sir, — I dare do any 
thing. My father served in the blessed League 
against the cursed Huguenots — so I am no 
coward ; — but bless you, Sir, I will tell you 
how it happened, and then you will see — " 

" I know all about it," replied the stranger, 
in a voice that made the innkeeper start, and 
look over his left shoulder ; " I know all about 
it; but sit down and drink with me, to keep 
your spirits up, for you must show me the way 
this very night. Pere Le Rouge was a dear 
friend of mine, and before he was burnt for a 
sorcerer, we had made a solemn compact to meet 



RICHELIEU. 279 

once every ten years. Now, if you remember 
aright, it is jus*, ten years, this very day, since 
he was executed ; and there is no bond in Hell 
fast enough to hold him from meeting me to- 
night at the old chateau. So sit you down and 
drink P — And he poured out a full cup of wine 
for the innkeeper, who looked aghast at the 
portentous compact between the stranger and 
Pere Le Rouge. However, whether it was that 
Gaultier was too much afraid to refuse, or had 
too much esprit de corps not to drink with any 
one who would drink with him, can hardly be 
determined now ; but so it was, that sitting 
down, according to the stranger's desire, he 
poured the whole goblet of wine over his 
throat at one draught, and, as he afterwards 
averred, could not help thinking that the 
stranger must have enchanted the liquor, for 
no sooner had he swallowed it, than all his fears 
of Pere Le Rouge began to die away, like morn- 
ing dreams. However, when the goblet was 
drained, Gaultier began more justly to estimate 
the danger of drinking with a sorcerer; and 



RICHELIEU. 

that the stranger was such, a Champenois 
aubergiste of 1642 could never be supposed to 
doubt, after the diabolical compact so unscru- 
pulously confessed. Under this impression, he 
continued rolling his empty cup about upon 
the table, revolving at the same time his own 
critical situation, and endeavouring to deter- 
mine what might be his duty to his King and 
Country under such perilous circumstances. 
Rolling the cup to the right — he resolved in- 
stantly to denounce this malignant enchanter 
to the proper authorities, and have him forth- 
with burnt alive, and sent to join Pere Le Rouge 
in the other world, by virtue of the humane and 
charitable laws in that case especially made and 
provided. Then rolling the cup to the other side 
— his eye glanced towards the stranger's bottle, 
and resting upon the vacuum which their united 
thirst had therein occasioned, his heart over- 
flowed with the milk of human kindness, and 
he pitied from his soul that perverted taste 
which could lead any human being from good 
liquor, comfortable lodging, and the society of 



RICHELIEU. 281 

an innkeeper, to a dark wood and a ruined castle, 
an old roasted sorcerer, and the Devil perhaps 
into the bargain. 

" Would you choose another bottle, Sir ?" 
demanded Gaultier ; and as his companion 
nodded his head in token of assent, was about 
to proceed on this errand — with the laud- 
able intention also of sharing all his newly 
arisen doubts and fears with his gentle help- 
mate, who, for her part, was busily engaged in 
the soft domestic duties of scolding the stable- 
boy and boxing the maid's ears. But the 
stranger stopped him, perhaps divining, and 
not very much approving, the aforesaid com- 
munication. He exclaimed, " La Bourgeoisc /" 
in a tone of voice which overpowered all other 
noises : the abuse of the dame herself — the tears 
of the maid — the exculpation of the stable-boy 
— the cackle of the cocks and hens, which were 
on a visit in the parlour — and the barking of a 
prick-eared cur included. The fresh bottle soon 
stood upon the table; and while the hostess 
returned to her former tender avocations, 



RICHELIEU. 

the stranger, whose clear grey eye seemed 
reading deeply into Gaultier's heart, continued 
to drink from the scanty remains of his own 
bottle, leaving mine host to fill from that which 
was hitherto uncontaminated by any other touch 
than his own. This Gaultier did not fail to do, 
till such time as the last rays of the sun, which 
had continued to linger fondly amidst a flight 
of light feathery clouds overhead, had entirely 
left the sky, and all was grey. 

At that moment the stranger drew forth his 
purse, let it fall upon the table with a heavy 
sort of clinking sound, showing that the louis- 
d'ors within had hardly room to jostle against 
each other. It was a sound of comfortable 
plenty, which had something in it irresistibly 
attractive to the ears of Gaultier ; and as he 
stood watching while the stranger insinuated 
his finger and thumb into the little leathern 
bag, drawing forth first one broad piece and 
then another, so splendid did the stranger's 
traffic with the Devil begin to appear in the 
eyes of the innkeeper, that he almost began to 



RICHELIEU. 283 

wish that he had been brought up a sorcerer 
also. 

The stranger quietly pushed the two pieces 
of gold across the table till they got within the 
innkeeper's sphere of attraction, when they be- 
came suddenly hurried towards him, with irre- 
sistible velocity, and were plunged into the 
abyss of a large pocket on his left side, close 
upon his heart. 

The stranger looked on with philosophic 
composure, as if considering some natural phe- 
nomenon, till such time as the operation was 
complete. " Now, Gaultier," cried he, " put 
on- your beaver, and lead to the beginning of 
the Grove. I will find my way through it alone. 
But hark ye, say no word to your wife." 

Gualtier was all complaisance, and having 
placed his hat on his head, he opened the door 
of the auberge, and brought forth the stran- 
ger's horse, fancying that what with a bottle of 
wine, and two pieces of gold, he could meet 
Beelzebub himself, or any other of those gentle- 
men of the lower house, with whom the Cure 



284 RICHELIEU. 

used to frighten the little boys and girls when 
they went to their first communion. However, 
the stranger had scarcely passed the horse's 
bridle over his arm, and led him a step or two 
on the way, when the cool air and reflection 
made the innkeeper begin to think differ- 
ently of the Devil, and be more inclined to 
keep at a respectful distance from so grave 
and antique a gentleman. A few steps more 
made him as frightened as ever ; and before 
they had got to the end of the village, Gaultier 
fell hard to work, crossing himself most labori- 
ously, and trembling every time he remembered 
that he was conducting one sorcerer to meet 
another, long dead and delivered over in form, 
with fire and fagot, into the hands of Satan. 

It is probable that he would have run, but 
the stranger was close behind, and cut off his 
retreat. 

At about a mile and a half from the little 
village of Mesnil, stood the old Chateau of St. 
Loup, situated upon an abrupt eminence, com- 
manding a view of almost all the country round. 



RICHELIEU. 285 

The valley at its foot, and the slope of the hill 
up to its very walls, were covered with thick 
wood, through which passed the narrow deserted 
road from Mesnil, winding in and out with a 
thousand turns and divarications, and twice com- 
pletely encircling the hill itself, before it reached 
the castle gate, which once, in the hospitable 
pride of former days, had rested constantly 
open for the reception equally of the friend and 
the stranger, but which now only gave entrance 
to the winds and tempests — rude guests, that 
contributed, even more than Time himself, the 
great destroyer, to bring ruin and desolation on 
the deserted mansion. Hard by, in a little 
cemetery, attached to the Chapel, lay many of 
the gay hearts that had once beat there, now 
quiet in the still cold earth There, mouldering 
like the walls that overshadowed them, were 
the last sons of the brave and noble race of Mes- 
nil, without one scion left to dwell in the halls 
of their forefathers, or to grieve over the deso- 
lation of their heritage. There, too, lay the 
vassals, bowed to the will of a sterner Lord, and 



%86 RICHELIEU. 

held in the surer bondage of the tomb; and 
yet perhaps, in life, they had passed on, hap- 
pier than their chief, without his proud anxiety 
and splendid cares ; and now, in death, his 
bed was surely made as low, and the equal wind 
that whispered over the grave of the one, of- 
fered no greater flattery to the monument of 
the other. But, beyond all these, and removed 
without the precincts of consecrated ground, 
was a heap of shards and flints — the Sorcerer's 
grave ! Above it, some pious hand had raised 
the symbol of salvation — a deed of charity, 
truly, in those days, when eternal mercy was 
farmed by the Church, like a turnpike on the 
high road, and none could pass but such as paid 
toll. But, however, there it rose, — a tall white 
cross, standing, as that symbol should always 
stand, high above every surrounding object, 
and full in view of all who sought it. 

As the aubergiste and his companion climbed 
the hill, which, leading from the village of Mes- 
nil, commanded a full prospect of the rich 



RICHELIEU. 287 

woody valley below, and overhung that spot 
which, since the tragedy of poor Fere Le Rouge, 
had acquired the name of the Sorcerer's Grove, 
it was this tall white cross that first caught 
their attention. It stood upon the opposite 
eminence, distinctly marked on the back-ground 
of the evening sky, catching every ray of light 
that remained, while behind it, pile upon pile, 
lay the thick clouds of a coming storm. 

" There, Monsieur," cried Gaultier, "there 
is the cross upon the Sorcerer's grave !" And 
the fear which agitated him while he spoke, 
made the stranger's lip curl into a smile of bitter 
contempt. But as they turned the side of the 
hill, which had hitherto concealed the castle 
itself from their sight, the teeth of Gaultier 
actually chattered in his head, when he beheld 
a bright light shining from several windows of 
the deserted building. 

" There !" exclaimed the stranger, " there, 
you see how well Pere Le Rouge keeps his ap- 
pointment. I am waited for, and want you no 



288 RICHELIEU. 

farther. I can now find my way alone. I 
would not expose you, my friend, to the dan- 
gers of that Grove. " 

The innkeeper's heart melted at the stranger's 
words, and he was filled with compassionate 
zeal upon the occasion. " Pray don't go," cried 
Gaultier, almost blubbering betwixt fear and 
tender-heartedness; " pray don't go! Have pity 
upon your precious soul ! Youll go to the Devil, 
indeed you will ! — or at least to purgatory for a 
hundred thousand years, and be burnt up like an 
overdone rabbit. You are committing murder, 
and conspiracy, and treason,*" — the stranger 
started, but Gaultier went on — " and heresy, 
and pleurisy, and sorcery, and you will go to 
the Devil, indeed you will — and then you'll re- 
member what I told you." 

46 What is fated, is fated !" replied the stran- 
ger, in a solemn voice, though Gaultier's speech 
had produced that sort of tremulous tone, ex- 
cited by an inclination either to laugh or to cry. 
" I have promised, and I must go. But let me 
warn you," he continued, sternly, " never to men- 



RICHELIEU. 289 

tion one word of what has passed to-night, it' 
you would live till I come again. For if you 
reveal one word, even to your wife, the ninth 
night after you have done so, Pere Le Rouge will 
stand on one side of your bed, and I on the 
other, and Satan at your feet, and we will carry 
you away body and soul, so that you shall never 
be heard of again." 

When he had concluded, the stranger waited 
for no reply, but sprang upon his horse, and 
galloped down into the wood. 

In the mean time, the landlord climbed to a 
point of the hill, from whence he could see both 
his own village, and the ruins of the castle. 
There, the sight of the church steeple gave 
him courage, and he paused to examine the 
extraordinary light which proceeded from the 
ruin. In a few minutes, he saw several figures 
flit across the windows, and cast a momentary 
obscurity over the red glare which was stream- 
ing forth from them upon the darkness of the 
night. "There they are!" cried he, "Pere 
Le Rouge, and his pot companion ! — and surely 

VOL. I. O 



290 RICHELIEU. 

the Devil must be with them, for I see more 
than two, and one of them has certainly a tail — 
Lord have mercy upon us !" 

As he spoke, a vivid flash of lightning burst 
from the clouds, followed instantly by a tre- 
mendous peal of thunder. The terrified inn- 
keeper startled at the sound, and more than ever 
convinced that man's enemy was on earth, took 
to his heels, nor ceased running till he reached 
his own door, and met his better angel of a wife, 
who boxed his ears for his absence, and vowed he 
had been gallanting. 



END OF THE FIRST VOLUME. 



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