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Dumas. Vol. Twenty-three
THE WORKS OF
IN THIRTY VOLUMES
ILLUSTRATED WITH A FRONTISPIECE
P. F. COLLIER & SON
I. An Abbess of the Eighteenth Century . 3
II. Decidedly the Family begins to settle
III. What passed Three Nights later at Eight
Hundred Leagues from the Palais
IV. Showing how Chance arranges some Mat-
ters better than Providence . . 32
V. The Journey 87
VI. A EooM IN THE Hotel at Eambouillet . 47
YII. A Servant in the Royal Livery. — Mon-
seigneur le Due d' Orleans . . .52
VIII. The Utility of a Seal .... 62
IX. The Visit . 70
X. In which Dubois proves that his Police
WAS better organized at an Expense of
800,000 Francs than the G-eneral Police
FOR Three Millions 79
XL Eambouillet Again . . . .86
XII. Captain la Jonquiere . . . . .93
XIII. Monsieur Moutonnet, Draper at St. Ger-
XIV. Trust to Signs of Gratitude . . . 105
(A)— Vol. 23
His Excellency the Due d' Orleans .
MONSEIGNEUR, WE ARE BrETONS
MONSEIGNEUR AnDRE ....
The Faubourg Saint Antoine
The Artist and the Politician .
Blood reveals itself ....
What passed in the Rue du Bag while
waiting for graston .... 158
In Bretagne 194
The Sorceress of Savernay. . . 201
The Arrest 212
The Bastille 221
How Life passed in the Bastille while
WAITING FOR DeATH .... 231
How THE Night passed in the Bastille
WHILE waiting FOR THE DaY . . 239
A Companion in the Bastille . . 249
The Sentence 262
The Family Feud 272
State Affairs and Family Affairs . 290
Showing that we must not always
JUDGE Others by Ourselves, above
all if we are called dubois
The Last Interview
The Tragedy of Nantes
The ENij ....
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
AN ABBESS OP THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
ON THE 8th of February, 1719, a carriage, bearing
tlie fleur-de-lis of France, witli the motto of Or-
leans, preceded by two outriders and a page, en-
tered the porch of the Abbey of Chelles, precisely as the
clock struck ten, and, the door having been quickly opened,
its two occupants stepped out.
The first was a man of from forty-five to forty- six years
of age, short, and rather stout, with a high color, easy in
his movements, and displaying in every gesture a certain
air of high breeding and command.
The second, who followed slowly, was short, and re-
markably thin. His face, though not precisely ugly, was
very disagreeable, although bearing the evidences of a keen
iaatellect. He seemed to feel the cold, and followed his
companion, wrapped up in an ample cloak.
The first of the two made his way up the staircase with
the air of a man well acquainted with the locality. Pass-
ing through a large antechamber containing several nuns,
who bowed to the ground as he passed, he ran rather than
walked to a reception-room, which, it must be confessed,
4 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
bore but little trace of tbat austerity which is ordinarily
ascribed to the interior of a cloister.
The other, who followed leisurely, was saluted almost
as humbly by the nuns.
"And now," said the first, "wait here and warm your-
self while I go to her, and in ten minutes I will make an
end of all these abuses you mention: if she deny, and I
want proof, I will call you."
"Ten minutes, monseigneur, " replied the man in the
cloak; "in two hours your highness will not have even
broached the subject of your visit. Oh! the Abbesse de
Chelles is a clever woman!"
So saying, he stretched himself out in an easy- chair,
which he had drawn near the fire, and rested his thin legs
on the fender.
"Yes, yes," replied he who had been addressed as "your
highness"; "I know, and if I could forget it, you take care
to remind me of it often enough. Why did you bring me
here to-day through all this wind and snow?"
"Because you would not come yesterday, monseigneur."
"Yesterday, it was impossible; I had an appointment
with Lord Stair at five o'clock."
"In a house in the Rue des Bons Enfants. My lord does
not live any longer, then, at the English embassy ?' '
"Abbe, I had forbidden you to follow me."
"Monseigneur, it is my duty to disobey you."
"Well, then, disobey; but let me tell stories at my
pleasure, without your having the impertinence to show me
that you know it, just for the sake of proving the efficiency
of your police."
"Monseigneur may rest easy in future — I will believe
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 5
"I will not promise as mucli in return, abb^, for liere I
think yon liave made a mistake."
"Monseignenr, I know what I said, and I repeat it"
"But look I no noise, no light, perfect quiet, your ac-
count is incorrect: it is evident that we are late."
"Yesterday, monseignenr, where you stand there was an
orchestra of fifty musicians; there, where that young sister
kneels so devoutly, was a buffet: what was upon it I can-
not tell, but I know it was there, and in the gallery on the
left, where a modest supper of lentils and cream cheese is
now preparing for the holy sisters, were two hundred peo-
ple, drinking, dancing, and making — "
*'Well, making what?"
"Making love, monseignenr."
"Diablel are you sure of this?"
"Eather more sure than if I had seen it, and that is
why you do well in coming to-day, and would have done
better in coming yesterday. This sort of life does not be-
come an abbess, monseignenr."
"No, it is only fit for an abbd Hal"
"I am a politician, monseignenr."
"Well, my daughter is a political abbess, that is all."
"Oh, let it be so, if it suit you, monseignenr; I am not
so particular in point of morals, you know. To-morrow
there will be another song or two out, but what does that
"Well, well, wait for me, and I will go and scold."
"Take my word for it, monseigneur, if you wish to scold
properly you had better do it here, before me; if you fail
in memory or arguments, sign to me, and I will come to
"Yes, yes, you are right," said the person who had
6 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
undertaken to redress wrongs, and in whom we hope tlio
reader lias recognized Philippe d' Orleans. "Yes, this scan«
dal must be quieted a little, at any rate: the abbess must
not receive more than twice a week. There must be none
of these dances and assemblies, and the cloisters must be
re-established. Mademoiselle d' Orleans passed from gayety
to a religious life; she left the Palais Koyal for Chelles in
spite of all I could do to prevent her; now, for five days in
the week she must be the abbess, and that will leave her
two to play the great lady. ' '
"Ah, monseigneur, you are beginning to see the thing
in its true light."
"Is not this what you wish ?"
"It is what is necessary. It seems to me that an abbess
who has thirty valets, fifteen footmen, ten cooks, eight
grooms, and a mute — who fences, plays the horn and the
violoncello — who is a surgeon and a hair- dresser — who
shoots and makes fireworks — cannot be very dull."
"Has not my daughter been told of my arrival?" said
the duke to an old nun who crossed the room with a bunch
of keys in her hand; "I wish to know whether I shall go to
her, or whether she is coming to me."
"Madame is coming, monseigneur," replied the sister,
"It is well," murmured the regent, somewhat impa-
"Monseigneur, remember the parable of Jesus driving
out the money-changers from the temple. You know it,
or ought to know it, for I taught it you when I was your
preceptor. Now, drive out these musicians, these Phari-
sees, these comedians and anatomists; three only of each
profession will make a nice escort for our return."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER J
•'Do not fear, I am in a preacliing vein."
"Then," replied Dubois, rising, "that is most fortunate,
for here she is. "
At this moment a door leading to the interior of the con-
vent was opened, and the person so impatiently expected
Let us explain who was this worthy person who had
succeeded, by repeated follies, in rousing the anger of
Philippe d' Orleans, the most indulgent man and father in
Mademoiselle de Chartres, Louise- Adelaide d' Orleans,
was the second and prettiest of the regent's daughters.
She had a beautiful complexion, fine eyes, a good figure,
and well-shaped hands. Her teeth were splendid, and her
grandmother, the princess palatine, compared them to a
string of pearls in a coral casket. She danced well, sang
better, and played at sight. She had learned of Cauche-
reau, one of the first artists at the opera, with whom she
had made much more progress than is common with ladies,
and especially with princesses. It is true that she was
most assiduous; the secret of that assiduity will be shortly
All her tastes were masculine. She appeared to have
changed sex with her brother Louis. She loved dogs and
horses ; amused herself with pistols and foils, but cared lit-
tle for any feminine occupation.
Her chief predilection, however, was for music; she sel-
dom missed a night at the opera when her master Gauche-
reau performed; and once, when he surpassed himself in an
air, she exclaimed, "Bravo, bravo, my dear Cauchereaul"
in a voice audible to the whole house.
The Duchesse d' Orleans judged that the exclamation was
8 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
somewliat indiscreet for a princess of tKe blood, and decided
that Mademoiselle Chartres knew enougli of music. Cau-
chereau was well paid, and desired not to return to the
Palais Eoyal. The duchess also begged her daughter to
spend a fortnight at the convent of Chelles, the abbess of
which, a sister of Mar^chal de Yillars, was a friend of hers.
It was doubtless during this retreat that mademoiselle-—
who did everything bj fits and starts — resolved to renounce
the world. Toward the end of the holy week of 1718 she
asked and obtained her father's permission to spend Easter
at Chelles; but at the end of that time, instead of returning
to the Palais, she expressed a wish to remain as a nun.
The duke tried to oppose this, but Mademoiselle de
Chartres was obstinate, and on the 23d of April she took
the vows. Then the duke treated with Mademoiselle de
Villars for the abbey, and, on the promise of twelve thou-
sand francs, Mademoiselle de Chartres was named abbess in
her stead, and she had occupied the post about a year.
This, then, was the Abbess of Chelles, who appeared
before her father, not surrounded by an elegant and profane
court, but followed by six nuns dressed in black and hold-
ing torches. There was no sign of frivolity or of pleasure;
nothing but the most sombre apparel and the most severe
The regent, however, suspected that he had been kept
waiting while all this was preparing.
"I do not like hypocrisy," said he, sharply, '*and can
forgive vices which are not hidden under the garb of vir-
tues. All these lights, madame, are doubtless the remains
of yesterday's illumination. Are all your flowers so faded,
and all your guests so fatigued, that you cannot show me a
single bouquet nor a single dancer?"
THE REQENTS DAUGHTER 9
"Monsieur," said the abbess, in a grave tone, *'tlii3 is
not the place for fetes and amusements."
"Yes," answered the regent, "I see that, if you feasted
yesterday, you fast to-day."
"Did you come here, monsieur, to catechise? At least
what you see should reply to any accusations against me."
"I came to tell you, madame," replied the regent, an-
noyed at being supposed to have been duped, "that the life
you lead displeases me; your conduct yesterday was un be*
coming an abbess; your austerities to-day are unbecoming
a princess of the blood: decide, once for all, between the
nun and the court lady. People begin to speak ill of you,
and I have enemies enough of my own without your sad-
dling me with others from the depth of your convent. ' '
"Alas, monsieur, in giving entertainments, balls, and
concerts, which have been quoted as the best in Paris, I
have neither pleased those enemies, nor you, nor myself.
Yesterday was my last interview with the world; this
morning I have taken leave of it forever; and to-day, while
Btill ignorant of your visit, I had adopted a determination
from which I will never depart."
"And what is it?" asked the regent, suspecting that
this was only a new specimen of his daughter's ordinary
"Come to this window and look out," said the abbess.
The regent, in compliance with the invitation, ap-
proached the window, and saw a large fire blazing in the
middle of the courtyard. Dubois — ^who was as curious as
if he had really been an abbd — slipped up beside him.
Several people were rapidly passing and repassing be-
fore the fire, and throwing various singular- shaped objects
into the fiames.
10 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
**But wliat is that?" asked the regent of Dubois, who
seemed as much surprised as himself.
' ' That which is burning now ?' ' asked the abbd
"Yes," replied the regent.
"Ma foi, monseigneur, it looks to me very much like a
*'It is mine," said the abbess, "an excellent violoncello
"And you are burning it!" exclaimed the duke.
"All instruments are soiu'ces of perdition," said the
abbess, in a tone which betrayed the most profound re-
"Eh! but here is a harpsichord," interrupted the duke.
"My harpsichord, monsieur; it was so perfect that it
enticed me toward earthly things: I condemned it this
"And what are those chests of papers with which they
are feeding the fire?" asked Dubois, whom the spectacle
seemed to interest immensely.
"My music, which I am having burned."
"Your music ?" demanded the regent.
"Yes, and even yours," answered the abbess; "look
carefully, and you will see your opera of 'Panth^e' follow
in its turn. You will understand that, my resolution once
taken, its execution was necessarily general."
"Well, madame, this time you are really mad! To light
the fire with music, and then feed it with bass-viols and
harpsichords, is really a little too luxurious."
"I am doing penance, monsieur."
"Hum, say rather that you are refitting your house,
and that this is an excuse for buying new furniture, since
you are doubtless tired of the old."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 11
"No, monseigneur, it is no such thing."
"Well, then, what is it? Tell me frankly."
"In truth, I am weary of amusing myself, and indeed
I intend to act differently."
"And what are you going to do ?"
"I am going with my nuns to visit my tomb."
"Diable, monseigneur!" exclaimed the abbe, "her wits
are gone at last."
"It will be truly edifying, will it not, monsieur?" con-
tinued the abbess, gravely.
"Indeed," answered the regent, "if you really do this,
I doubt not but people will laugh at it twice as much as
they did at your suppers."
"Will you accompany me, messieurs?" continued the
abbess; "I am going to spend a few minutes in my coffin:
it is a fancy I have had a long time. ' '
' ' You will have plenty of time for that, ' ' said the regent ;
"moreover, you have not even invented this amusement;
for Charles the Fifth, who became a monk as you became
a nun, without exactly knowing why, thought of it before
"Then you will not go with me, monsieur?" said the
"I," answered the duke, who had not the least sym-
pathy with sombre ideas, "I go to see tombs! I go to hear
the De Profundis ! No, pardieu ! and the only thing which
consoles me for not being able to escape them some day is,
that I shall neither see the one nor the other. ' '
"Ah, monsieur," answered the abbess, in a scandalized
tone, "you do not, then, believe in the immortality of the
"1 believe that you are raving mad. Confound this
12 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
abbe, wbo promises me a feast, aud brings me to a
funeral, ' '
"By my faith, monseigneur, " said Dubois, "1 tbink
I prefer tbe extravagance of yesterday; it was more
attractive. ' '
Tlie abbess bowed, and made a few steps toward tbe
door. The duke and Dubois remained staring at each other,
uncertain whether to laugh or to cry.
' ' One word more, ' ' said the duke : ' ' are you decided this
time, or is it not some fever which you have caught from
your confessor ? If it be real, I have nothing to say; but
if it be a fever, I desire that they cure you of it. I have
Morceau and Chirac, whom I pay for attending on me
"Monseigneur," answered the abbess, "you forget that
I know sufficient of medicine to undertake my own cure
if I were ill. I can, therefore, assure you that I am not.
I am a Jansenist; that is all."
"Ah," cried the duke, "this is more of Pere le Doux's
work, that execrable Benedictine ! At least I know a treat-
ment which will cure him. ' '
' ' What is that ?' ' asked the abbess.
And he went out in a rage, followed by Dubois, who
was laughing heartily.
"You see," said the regent, after a long silence, and
when they were nearing Paris, "I preached with a good
grace; it seems it was I who needed the sermon."
"Well, you are a happy father, that is all; I com-
pliment you on your younger daughter, Mademoiselle
de Chartres. Unluckily your elder daughter, the Duch-
esse de Berry — "
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 13
"Oil, do not talk of lier; slie is my ulcer, particularly
wlien I am in a bad temper."
"I liave a great mind to make use of it by finishing
with her at one blow."
"She is at the Luxembourg?"
"I believe so."
"Let us go to the Luxembourg, monseigneur.'*
"You go with me?"
"1 shall not leave you to-night."
*'Well, drive to the Luxembourg."
14 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
DECIDEDLY THE FAMILY BEGINS TO SETTLE DOWN
WHATEVER the regent might say, the Duchesse
de Berry was his favorite daughter. At seven
years of age she had been seized with a disease
which all the doctors declared to be fatal, and when they
had abandoned her, her father, who had studied medicine,
took her in hand himself, and succeeded in saving her.
From that time the regent's affection for his daughter
became almost a weakness. He allowed the haughty and
self-willed child the most perfect liberty; her education
was neglected, but this did not prevent Louis XIV. from
choosing her as a wife for his grandson the Due de Berry.
It is well known how death at once struck a triple blow
at the royal posterity, and within a few years carried off th^
Dauphin, the Due and Duchesse de Bourgogne, and the Duo
Left a widow at twenty years of age, loving her father
almost as tenderly as he loved her, and having to choose
between the society of Versailles and that of the Palais
Royal, the Duchesse de Berry, young, beautiful, and fond
of pleasure, had quickly decided. She took part in all the
fetes, the pleasures and follies of her father.
The Due d' Orleans, in his increasing fondness for his
daughter, who already had six hundred thousand francs
a year, allowed her four hundred thousand more from hig
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 15
private fortune. He gave up the Luxembourg to lier, gave
her a bodyguard, and at length, to the scandal of those who
advocated the old forms of etiquette, he merely shrugged
his shoulders when the Duchesse de Berry passed through
Paris preceded by cymbals and trumpets, and only laughed
when she received the Venetian ambassador on a throne,
raised on three steps, which nearly embroiled France with
the republic of Venice.
About this time the Duchesse de Berry took a fancy to
fall in love with the Chevalier de Eiom.
The Chevalier de Riom was a nephew or grandnephew
of the Dug de Lauzun, who came to Paris in 1715 to seek
his fortune, and found it at the Luxembourg. Introduced
to the princess by Madame de Mouchy, he soon established
the same influence over her as his uncle, the Due de Lau-
zun, had exercised over La Grrande Mademoiselle fifty years
before, and was soon established as her lover, supplanting
Lahaie, who was sent on an embassy to Denmark.
The duchess had the singular moderation of never hav-
ing had more than two lovers; Lahaie, whom she had never
avowed, and Riom, whom she proclaimed aloud.
This was not the true cause of the malice with which
the princess was pursued; it arose rather from the previous
offences of her passage through Paris, the reception of the
ambassador, her bodyguard, and her assumptions.
The duke himself was indignant at Riom's influence
over his daughter. Riom had been brought up by the
Due de Lauzun, who in the morning had crushed the hand
of the Princesse de Monaco with the heel of the boot which,
in the evening, he made the daughter of Gaston d' Orleans
pull off, and who had given his nephew the following in-
struction, which Riom had fully carried out.
16 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"The dangliters of France," said lie, "must be treated
witli a liiglL hand;" and Eiom, trusting to his uncle's ex-
perience, had so well schooled the Duchesse de Berry that
she scarcely dared to give a fete without his permission.
The duke took as strong a dislike to Riom as his careless
character allowed him to take to any one, and, under pre-
text of serving the duchess, had given him a regiment, then
the government of Cognac, then the order to retire to his
government, which almost made his favors look like dis-
favors and disgrace.
The duchess was not deceived; she went to her father,
begged, prayed, and scolded, but in vain; and she went
away threatening the duke with her anger, and declaring
that Riom should not go.
The duke's only reply was to repeat his orders for
Biom's departure the next day, and Riom had respect-
fully promised to obey.
The same day, which was the one preceding that on
which our story opens, Riom had ostensibly set out, and
Dubois himself had told the duke that he had left for
Cognac at nine o'clock.
Meanwhile the duke had not again seen his daughter;
thus, when he spoke of going to finish with her, it was
rather a pardon than a quarrel that he went to seek.
Dubois had not been duped by this pretended resolu-
tion; but Riom was gone, and that was all he wanted; he
hoped to slip in some new personage who would efface all
memory of Riom, who was to be sent to join the Mar^chal
de Berwick in Spain.
The carriage stopped before the Luxembourg, which was
lighted as usual.
The duke ascended the steps with his usual celerity.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 17
Dubois remained in a corner of the carriage. Presently the
dnke appeared at the door with a disappointed air.
"Ah, monseigneur, " said Dubois, "are jou refused ad-
"No, the duchess is not here."
"Where, then — at the Carmelites?"
"No, at Meudon."
"At Meudon, in February, and in such weather; what
can she be doing there?"
"It is easy to know."
"Let us go to Meudon."
"To Meudon!" said the regent, jumping into the car-
riage. "I allow you five-and-twenty minutes to get there."
' ' I would humbly beg to remind monseigneur, ' ' said the
coachman, "that the horses have already gone ten leagues."
"Kill them, but be at Meudon in five-and-twenty min-
There was no reply to be made to such an order; the
coachman whipped his horses, and the noble animals set
out at as brisk a pace as if they had just left the stable.
Throughout the drive Dubois was silent and the regent
thoughtful; there was nothing on the route to arrest the
attention of either, and they arrived at Meudon full of
This time both alighted; Dubois, thinking the inter-
view might be long, was anxious to find a more comfor-
table waiting-place than a carriage.
At the door they found a Swiss in full livery — he stopped
them — the duke made himself known.
"Pardon," said the Swiss, "I did not know that mou'
seigneur was expected."
18 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Expected or not, 1 am here; send word to the
princess. ' '
"Monseigneur is to be at the ceremony?" asked the
Swiss, who seemed embarrassed.
"Yep of course," put in Dubois, stopping the duke,
who was about to ask what ceremony; "and I also."
"Then shall I lead monseigneur at once to the chapel?"
"To the chapel?" asked the duke.
"Yes; for the ceremony is already commenced."
"Ah, Dubois," said the duke, "is she also going to take
"Monseigneur," said Dubois, "I should rather say she
is going to be married."
"Pardieu!" exclaimed the regent, "that would crown
all;" and he darted toward the staircase, followed by
"Does not monseigneur wish me to guide him?" asked
"It is' needless, " cried the regent; "I know the way."
Indeed, with an agility surprising in so corpulent a man,
the regent darted through the rooms and corridors, and ar-
rived at the door of the chapel, which appeared to be closed,
but yielded to the first touch.
Dubois was right.
Kiom, who had returned secretly, was on his knees with
the princess before the private chaplain of the Luxembourg,
while M. de Pons, Kiom's relative, and the Marquis de la
Rochefoucauld, captain of the princess's guard, held the
canopy over their heads; Messieurs de Mouchy and de
Laazun stood, one by the duchess and the other by Riom.
"Certainly fortune is against us, monseigneur," said
Dubois; "we are five minutes too late."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 19
"Mordieu!" cried the duke, exasperated, "we will see."
"Chut," said Dubois; "I cannot permit sacrilege. If
It were any use, I do not say; but this would be mere
' ' Are they married, then ?' ' asked the duke, drawing back.
"So much married, monseigneur, that the devil himself
cannot unmarry them, without the assistance of the Pope. ' '
' ' I will write to Kome ! ' '
"Take care, monseigneur; do not waste your influence;
you will want it all to get me made a cardinal."
"But," exclaimed the regent, "such a marriage is
intolerable. ' '
"Mesalliances are in fashion," said Dubois; "there is
nothing else talked of. Louis XIY. made a mesalliance
in marrying Madame de Maintenon, to whom you pay a
pension as his widow; La Grande Mademoiselle made
a mesalliance in marrying the Due de Lauzun; you did
so in marrying Mademoiselle de Blois, so much so, indeed,
that when you announced the marriage to your mdther, the
princess palatine, she replied by a blow. Did not I do
the same when I married the daughter of a village school-
master ? After such good examples, why should not your
daughter do so in her turn ?' '
"Silence, demon," said the regent.
"Besides," continued Dubois, "the Duchesse de Berry's
passion began to be talked about, and this will quiet the
talk; for it will be known all through Paris to-morrow.
Decidedly, monseigneur, your family begins to settle
down. ' '
The Due d' Orleans uttered an oath, to which Dubois
replied by a laugh, which Mephistopheles might have
20 THE BEQENTS DAUGHTER
"Silence!" cried a Swiss, who did not know wlio it
was tliat was making a noise, and did not wish the pious
exhortation of the chaplain to be lost.
"Silence, monseigneur, " repeated Dubois; "you are dis-
turbing the ceremony. ' '
"If we are not silent," replied the duke, "the next thing
they will do will be to turn us out."
"Silence!" repeated the Swiss, striking the flagstone
with his halberd, while the Duchesse de Berry sent M. de
Mouchy to learn who was causing the disturbance.
M. de Mouchy obeyed the orders of the duchess, and
perceiving two persons who appeared to be concealing
themselves in the shade, he approached them.
"Who is making this noise?" said he; "and who gave
you permission to enter this chapel ?"
' ' One who has a great mind to send you all out by the
window," replied the regent, "but who will content himself
at present with begging you to order M. de Riom to set out
at once for Cognac, and to intimate to the Duchesse de
Berry that she had better absent herself from the Palais
The regent went out, signing to Dubois to follow; and,
leaving M. de Mouchy bewildered at his appearance, re-
turned to the Palais Royal.
That evening the regent wrote a letter, and ringing for
a valet —
"Take care that this letter is despatched by an express
courier to-morrow morning, and is delivered only to the
person to whom it is addressed."
That person was Madame Ursule, Superior of the Ursuline
Convent at Clisson.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 21
WHAT PASSED THREE NIGHTS LATER AT EIGHT HUNDRED
LEAGUES FROM THE PALAIS ROYAL
THREE nights after tliat on wliicli we have seen the
regent, first at Chelles and then at Meudon, a scene
passed in the environs of Nantes which cannot be
omitted in this history; we will therefore exercise our
privilege of transporting the reader to that place.
On the road to Clisson, two or three miles from Nantes,
near the convent known as the residence of Abelard, was
a large dark house, surrounded by thick stunted trees;
hedges everywhere surrounded the inclosure outside the
walls, hedges impervious to the sight, and only inter-
rupted by a wicket gate.
This gate led into a garden, at the end of which was a
wall, having a small, massive and closed door. From
a distance this grave and dismal residence appeared
like a prison; it was, however, a convent, full of
young Augustines, subject to a rule lenient as com-
pared with provincial customs, but rigid as compared
with those of Paris.
The house was inaccessible on three sides, but the
fourth, which did not face the road, abutted on a large
sheet of water; and ten feet above its surface were the
windows of the refectory.
22 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
This little lake was carefully guarded, and was sur-
rounded by high wooden palisades, A single iron gate
opened into it, and at the same time gave a passage to
the waters of a small rivulet which fed the lake, and the
water had egress at the ojDposite end.
In the summer, a small boat belonging to the garden
was seen on the water, and was used for fishing.
Sometimes, also, in summer, on dark nights, the river
gate was mysteriously opened, and a man wrapped in a
large brown cloak silently dropped into the little boat,
which appeared to detach itself from its fastenings, then
glided quietly along, and stopped under one of the barred
windows of the refectory.
Soon a sound was heard imitating the croaking of a frog
or the ciy of the owl so common there, and then a young
girl would appear at the window, and pass her head through
the opening between the bars, which were, however, too
high for the man to reach. A low and tender conversa-
tion was then carried on, and at length, after a different
hour and a different signal had been agreed upon for their
next interview, they separated, the boat disappeared, the
gate shut gently, and the young girl closed the window
with a sigh.
But now it was the month of February, and in the ter-
rible winter of 1719. The trees were powdered with hoar-
frost, and it was at this time impossible to glide quietly
along in the little boat, for the lake was covered with ice.
And yet, in this biting cold, in this dark, starless night, a
cavalier ventured alone into the open country, and along
a crossroad which led to Clisson. He threw the reins on
the neck of his horse, which proceeded at a slow and care-
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 23
Soon, however, in spite of liis instinctive precaution,
tlie poor animal, whicli liad no light to guide him, struck
against a stone and nearly fell. The rider soon perceived
that his horse was lamed, and, on seeing a trail of blood
upon the snow, discovered that it was wounded.
The young man appeared seriously annoyed at the acci-
dent, and while deliberating what course to take, he heard
a sound of horses' feet on the same road; and, feeling sure
that if they were pursuing him he could not escape them,
he remounted his horse, drew aside behind some fallen
trees, put his sword under his arm, drew out a pistol
The cavalcade soon appeared; they were four in num-
ber, and rode silently along, passing the group of trees
which hid the cavalier, when suddenly they stopped. One
who appeared the chief alighted, took out a dark lantern,
and examined the road.
As they could not see far, they returned some steps,
and, by the light of their lantern, perceived the cavalier.
The sound of cocking pistols was now heard.
"Hola!" said the cavalier with the wounded horse,
taking the initiative; "who are you, and what do you
"It is he," murmured two or three voices.
The man with the lantern advanced toward the cavalier.
"Advance one step further and you are a dead man,"
said the cavalier. "Declare your name at once, that 1 may
know with whom I have to deal."
"Shoot no one, Gaston de Chanlay, " replied the man
with the lantern, calmly, "and put up your pistols."
' ' Ah ! it is the Marquis de Pontcalec. ' '
"Yes, it is I."
24 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"And wliat do you come liere for, may I ask?"
"To demand some explanation of your conduct. Ap-
proach and reply, if you please."
"The invitation is singular, marquis. If you wish for
an answer, could you not ask it in other terms?"
"Approach, Gaston," said another voice; "we really
wish to speak with you."
"A la bonne heure, " said Chanlay, "I recognize you
there, Montlouis; but I confess I am not accustomed to
M. de Pontcalec's manner of proceeding."
"My manners are those of a frank and open Breton,
monsieur," replied the marquis, "of one who has noth-
ing to hide from his friends, and is willing to be ques-
tioned as freely as he questions others."
"I join Montlouis," said another voice, "in begging
Gaston to explain amicably. Surely it is not our interest
to quarrel among ourselves. ' '
"Thanks, Du Couedic, " said De Chanlay, "I am of the
same opinion; so here I am." And sheathing his sword
at these words, the young man issued from his retreat and
approached the group.
"M. de Tahouet," said Pontcalec, in the tone of a man
who has a right to issue commands, "watch that no one
approaches. ' '
M. de Tahouet obeyed, and rode round in a circle, keep-
ing both eyes and ears open.
"And now," said the marquis, "let us put out our lan-
tern, since we have found our man."
"Messieurs," said De Chanlay, "all this seems to me
somewhat strange. It appears that you were following
me, that you were seeking for me; now you have found
me, and may put out your lantern. What does it mean ?
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 25
If it is a joke, I confess I think both time and place
"No, monsieur, " replied Pontcalec, in his hard, dry
voice, "it is not a joke; it is an interrogatory."
"An interrogatory?" said De Chanlay, frowning.
"An explanation, rather," said Montlouis.
"Interrogatory or explanation, it matters not," said
Pontcalec; "the thing is too serious to argue about
words. M. de Chanlay, I repeat, reply to our questions."
"You speak roughly. Marquis de Pontcalec," replied
"If I command, it is because I have the right to do
so. Am I, or am I not, your chief?"
' ' Certainly you are ; but that is no reason for forgetting
the consideration which one gentleman owes to another."
"M. de Chanlay, all these objections seem to me like
shuffling. You have sworn to obey — do so now."
"I swore to obey," replied the chevalier, "but not as
"You swore to obey as a slave. Obey, then or submit
to the consequences of your disobedience!"
' ' Monsieur le Marquis ! "
"My dear Gaston," cried Montlouis, "speak, I beg, as
soon as possible: by a word you can remove all suspicion.-^'
"Suspicion!" cried Graston, pale with anger; "am / sus-
"Certainly you are," said Pontcalec, with his ordinary
roughness, "Do you think if we did not suspect you we
should amuse ourselves by following you on such a night
"Oh, that is quite another matter!" said Gaston, coldly;
"tell me your suspicions. I listen."
(B)— Vol. 23
26 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
' ' Chevalier, remember the facts ; we four were conspiring
together, and we did not seek your aid; you offered it, say-
ing that, besides being willing to aid in the public good,
you had a private revenge to serve in this. Am I not
"We received you — welcomed you as a friend, as a
brother; we told you all our hopes, all our plans; nay,
more, you were elected, by chance, the one to strike the
glorious blow. Each one of us offered to take your part,
but you refused. Is it not so ?"
"You have spoken the strictest truth, marquis."
' ' This very morning we drew the lots ; this evening you
should be on the road to Paris. Instead of that, where do
we find you ? on the road to Clisson, where are lodged the
mortal enemies of Breton independence, where lives your
sworn foe, the Marechal de Montesquieu. ' '
' ' Ah ! monsieur, ' ' said Gaston, scornfully.
"Reply by open words, and not by sneers: reply, M. de
Chanlay, and quickly."
"Reply, Graston," said Du Couedic and Montlouis,
"And to what am I to reply?"
"You are to account for your frequent absences during
the last two months — for the mystery which surrounds you
— for refusing, as you do, once or twice weekly, to join our
nightly meetings. We confess, G-aston, all this has made
us uneasy ; by a word you can reassure us. ' '
"You see, monsieur, that you are proved guilty by hid-
ing, instead of pursuing your course."
"I did not pursue my course, because my horse was
wounded ; you may see the stains of blood upon the road. ' '
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 27
"But why did you hide?"
' ' Because I wislied to know first wlio was pursuing me.
Have I not the fear of being arrested, as well as yourselves ?"
"And where are you going?"
"If you had followed my steps as you have done hith-
erto, you would have found that my path did not lead
to Clisson. "
"I^or to Paris."
"I beg," said De Chanlay, "that you will trust me, and
respect my secret — a secret in which not only my own
honor, but that of another, is concerned. You do not
know — perhaps it may be exaggerated — how extreme is
my delicacy on this point."
, "Then it is a love secret," said Montlouis.
. ' ' Yes, and the secret of a first love, ' ' replied Gaston.
"All evasions," cried Pontcalec.
"Marquis!" said Graston, haughtily.
"This is not saying enough, my friend," replied Du
Couedic. "How can we believe that you are going to a
rendezvous in such weather, and that this rendezvous is
not at Clisson — where, except the Augustine Convent, there
is not a single house for two miles around. ' '
" M. de Chanlay, ' ' said the Marquis de Pontcalec, in an
agitated voice, "you swore to obey me as your chief, and
to devote soul and body to oui' holy cause. Monsieur, our
undertaking is serious — our property, our liberties, our lives
and our honor are at stake. Will you reply clearly and
freely to the questions which I put to you in the name of
all, so as to remove all doubts ? If not, Gaston de Chan-
l^Jj -by virtue of that right which you gave me, of your
own free will, over your life — if not, I declare on my honor
I will blow your brains out with my own hand!"
28 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
A solemn silence followed these words; not one voice
was raised to defend Gaston ; he looked at each one in turn,
and each one turned away from him.
"Marquis," said the chevalier at length, in a tone of
deep feeling, "not only do you insult me by suspicions,
but you grieve me by saying that I can only remove those
suspicions by declaring my secret. Stay, ' ' added he, draw-
ing a pocket-book from his coat, and hastily pencilling a
lew words on a leaf which he tore out; "stay, here is the
secret you wish to know; I hold it in one hand, and in
the other I hold a loaded pistol. Will you make me repa-
ration for the insult you have offered me? or, in my
turn, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will blow
my brains out. When I am dead, open my hand and
read this paper; you will then see if I deserved your
suspicions. ' '
And Graston held the pistol to his head with the calm
resolution which showed that he would keep his word.
"Gaston! Gaston!" cried Montlouis, while Du Couedic
held his arm; "stop, in Heaven's name! Marquis, he would
do as he said ; pardon him, and he will tell us all. Is it not
so, Gaston ? You will not have a secret from your brothers,
who beg you, in the names of their wives and children, to
tell it them."
"Certainly," said the marquis, "I not only pardon but
love him ; he knows it well. Let him but prove his inno-
cence, and I will make him every reparation; but, before
that, nothing; he is young, and alone in the world. He
has not, like us, wives and children, whose happiness and
whose fortune he is risking; he stakes only his own life,
and he holds that as cheaply as is usual at twenty years
of age; but with his life he ^isks ours; and yet let him
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 29
say but one word showing a justification, and I will be
the first to open my arms to him."
"Well, marquis," said Gaston, after a few moments*
silence, "follow me, and you shall be satisfied."
' ' And we ?' ' asked Montlouis and Du Couedic.
"Come, also, you are all gentlemen; I risk no more in
confiding my secret to all than to one."
The marquis called Tahouet, who had kept good watch,
and now rejoined the group, and followed without asking
what had passed.
All five went on but slowly, for Gaston's horse was
lame; the chevalier guided them toward the convent, then
to the little rivulet, and at ten paces from the iron gate
"It is here," said he.
"At the convent?"
"Yes, my friends; there is here at this moment a young
girl whom I have loved since I saw her a year ago in the
procession at the Fete Dieu at Nantes; she observed me
also. I followed her, and sent her a letter."
' ' But how do you see her ?' ' asked the marquis.
"A hundred louis won the gardener over to my interest;
he has given me a key to this gate ; in the summer I come
in a boat to the convent wall ; ten feet above the water is
a window, where she awaits me. If it were lighter, you
could see it from this spot; and, in spite of the darkness,
I see it now."
"Yes, I understand how you manage in summer; but
you cannot use the boat now."
"True, but, instead, there is a coating of ice on which
I shall go this evening; perhaps it will break and engulf
30 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
me; so much the better, for then, I hope, your suspicions
would die with me."
' ' You have taken a load from my breast, ' ' said Mont-
louis. "Ah! my poor Gaston, how happy you make me!
for, remember, Du Couedic and I answered for you."
"Chevalier," said the marquis, 'I'^ardon and embrace
"Willingly, marquis; but you have destroyed a por-
tion of my happiness."
"I wished my love to have been known to no one. I
have so much need of strength and courage! Am I not
to leave her to-night forever?"
"Who knows, chevalier? You look gloomily at the
future. ' '
"I know what I am saying, Montlouis."
"If you succeed — and with your courage and sang-froia
you ought to succeed — France is free : then she will owe her
liberty to you, and you will be master of your own fate. ' '
' ' Ah ! marquis, if I succeed, it will be for you ; my own
fate is fixed. "
"Courage, chevalier; meanwhile, let us see how you
manage these love affairs."
"Still mistrust, marquis?"
"Still, my dear Gaston, I mistrust myself. And natu-
rally enough ; after being named your chief, all the respon-
sibility rests on me, and I must watch over you all. ' '
' ' At least, marquis, I am as anxious to reach the foot of
that wall as you can be to see me, so I shall not keep you
Gaston tied his horse to a tree; by means of a plank
thrown across, he passed the stream, opened the gate, and
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 31
then, following tlie palisades so as to get away from the
stream, he stepped upon the ice, which cracked under
"In Heaven's name," cried Montlouis, "be prudent."
"Look, marquis," said Gaston.
"I believe you; f believe you, Gaston."
' ' You give me fresh courage, ' ' replied the chevalier.
"And now, Gaston, one word more. When shall you
"To-morrow, at this time, marquis, I shall probably be
thirty leagues on the way to Paris.
"Come back and let us embrace, and say adieu,"
Gaston retraced his steps, and was embraced cordially
by each of the chevaliers, who did not turn away till they
saw that he had arrived safely at the end of his perilous
d2 THE EEGENT'S DAUGHTER
SHOWING HOW CHANCE ARRANGES SOME MATTERS BETTER
IN SPITE of the cracking of tlie ice, Gaston pursued his
way boldly, and perceived, with a beating heart, that
the winter rains had raised the waters of the little lake,
so that he might possibly be able to reach the window.
He was not mistaken; on giving the signal, the window
was opened, then a head appeared nearly at the level of his
own, and a hand touched his: it was the first time. Gaston
seized it, and covered it with kisses.
' ' Gaston, you have come in spite of the cold, and on the
ice ; I told you in my letter not to do so. ' '
"With your letter on my heart, Hel^ne, I think I can
run no danger; but what have you to tell me? You have
"Alas! since this morning I have done little else."
"Since this morning," said Gaston, with a sad smile,
**that is strange; if I were not a man, I too should have
cried since this morning. ' '
"What do you say, Gaston?"
"Nothing, nothing; tell me, what are your griefs,
' ' Alas 1 you know I am not my own mistress. I am a
poor orphan, brought up here, having no other world than
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 33
the convent. I have never seen any one to whom I can
give the names of father or mother — my mother I believe
to be dead, and my father is absent; I depend upon an
invisible power, revealed only to our superior. This morn-
ing the good mother sent for me, and announced, with tears
in her eyes, that I was to leave. ' '
' ' To leave the convent, Hel^ne ?' '
"Yes; my family reclaims me, Q-aston."
"Your family ? Alas! what new misfortune awaits us?"
"Yes, it is a misfortune, Graston. Our good mother at
first congratulated me, as if it were a pleasure ; but I was
happy here, and wished to remain till I became your wife.
I am otherwise disposed of, but how ?' '
"And this order to remove you?"
' ' Admits of neither disjDute nor delay. Alas ! it seems
that I belong to a powerful family, and that I am the
daughter of some great nobleman. When the good mother
told me I must leave, I burst into tears, and fell on my
knees, and said I would not leave her; then, suspecting
that I had some hidden motive, she pressed me, ques-
tioned me, and — forgive me, Graston — I wanted to confide
in some one. I felt the want of pity and consolation, and
I told her all — that we loved each other — all except the
manner in which we meet. I was afraid, if I told her that,
that she would prevent my seemg you this last time to
"But did you not tell, Hel^ne, what were my plans;
that, bound to an association myself for six months, per-
haps for a year, at the end of that time, the very day I
should be free, my name, my fortune, my very life, were
yours ?' '
"I told her, Gaston; and this is what m.akes me think
S4 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
I am tlie daughter of some powerful nobleman, ' for tlien
Mother Ursula replied: 'You must forget the chevalier,
my child; for who knows that your new family would
consent to your marrying him?' "
' ' But do not I belong to one of the oldest families in
Brittany ? and, though I am not rich, my fortune is inde-
pendent. Did you say this, H^l^ne ?"
"Yes; I said to her, 'Gaston chose me, an orphan, with-
out name and without fortune. I may be separated from
him, but it would be cruel ingratitude to forget him, and
I shall never do so.' "
"H^l^ne, you are an angel. And you cannot then im-
agine who are your parents, or to what you are destined ?' '
"No; it seems that it is a secret on which all my future
happiness depends: only, Gaston, I fear they are high in
station, for it almost appeared as if our superior spoke to
me with deference. ' '
"To you, Hel^ne?"
"So much the better," said Gaston, sighing.
"Do you rejoice at our separation, Gaston?"
"No, H^lene; but I rejoice that you should find a family
when you are about to lose a friend. ' '
"Lose a friend, Gaston! I have none but you; whom
then should I lose?"
"At least, I must leave you for some time, Hdl^ne."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that Fate has endeavored to make our lots
similar, and that you are not the only one who does not
know what the morrow may bring forth."
"Gaston! Gaston! what does this strange language
mean ?' '
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 35
"That I also am subject to a fatality wliicli 1 must obey
— that I also am governed by an irresistible and superior
power. ' '
"You! oh heavens!"
"To a power which may condemn me to leave you in a
week — in a fortnight — in a month; and not only to leave
you, but to leave France."
"Ah, G-aston! what do you tell me?"
"What in my love, or rather in my egotism, I have
dreaded to tell you before. I shut my eyes to this hour,
and yet I knew that it must come ; this morning they were
opened. I must leave you, Hel^ne."
' ' But why ? "What have you undertaken ? what will
become of you ?' '
"Alas! H^l^ne, we each have our secret," said the
chevalier, sorrowfully; "I pray that yours may be less
terrible than mine."
"Were you not the first to say that we must part,
Hel^ne ? Had not you first the courage to renounce me ?
Well; blessings on you for that courage — for I, Hel^ne, I
had it not."
And at these last words the young man again pressed his
lips to her hand, and Heldne could see that tears stood in
"Oh, mon Dieu!" murmured she, "how have we de-
served this misery?"
At this exclamation Gaston raised his head. "Come,"
said he, as if to himself, "courage! It is useless to strug-
gle against these necessities; let us obey without a murmur,
and perhaps our resignation may disarm our fate. Can I
see you again?"
36 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"I fear not — I leave to-morrow."
"And on what road ?"
"Good heavens!" cried Gaston; "and I also."
"You also, Gaston?"
"Yes, Hel^ne; we were mistaken, we need hot part"
"Oh, Gaston! is it true?"
"Hel^ne, we had no right to accuse Providence; not
only can we see each other on the journey, but at Paris we
will not be separated. How do you travel ?"
"In the convent carriage, with post horses and by short
"Who goes with you ?"
"A nun, who will return to the convent when she has
delivered me over to those who await me. ' '
"All is for the best, H^l^ne. I shall go on horseback,
as a stranger, unknown to you; each evening I may speak
to you, or, if I cannot do so, I shall at least see you. It
will be but a half separation. ' '
And the two lovers, with the buoyant hopes of youth,
after meeting with tears and sadness, parted with smiles
and joyous confidence in the future. Gaston recrossed the
frozen lake, and found, instead of his own wounded horse,
that of Montlouis, and, thanks to this kindness, reached
Nantes safely in less than three-quarters of an hour.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 37
THAT very niglit Graston made Ms will, and deposited
it with a notary at Nantes.
He left everything to H^l^ne de Chavernyj
begged her, if he died, not to renounce the world, but to
accept the career opening to her youth and beauty; but as
he was the last of his family, he begged her, in memory
of him, to call her first son Gaston.
He next went to see each of his friends, and once more
told them that he believed the enterprise would be success-
ful. Pontcalec gave him half a piece of gold and a letter,
which he was to present to a certain Captain la Jonqui^re,
their correspondent at Paris, who would put Gaston in com-
munication with the important persons he went to seek. He
then put all the ready money he had into a valise, and, ac-
companied only by an old servant named Owen, in whom
he had great confidence, he set out from Nantes.
It was midday, a bright sun shone on the stream, and
sparkled on the icicles which hung from the leafless trees,
as Gaston made his way along the deserted road, looking
in vain for anything resembling the convent carriage.
The servant appeared much more anxious to quicken
their pace than Gaston himself did, for to him the journey
was fraught with annoyances, and he was so anxious to
arrive at that Paris of which he had heard such wonderful
38 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
tales, tliat, had it been possible, he would willingly have
added wings to their horses' feet.
Graston, however, travelled slowly as far as Oudon, but
the convent carriage proceeded more slowly still. At
Oudon he halted; he chose the Char Couronne, a house
which had some windows overlooking the road, and which,
moreover, was the best inn in the village.
While his dinner was preparing, Gaston, in spite of the
cold, remained in the balcony; but in vain he looked for
the carriage he so much wished to see.
Then he thought that perhaps H^llsne had preceded him,
and was already in the inn. He went at once to a window
at the back, overlooking the courtyard, to inspect the car-
riages standing there.
His attention was arrested by seeing, not the carriage,
but his servant, Owen, speaking earnestly to a man dressed
in gray and wrapped in a sort of military cloak, who, after
a short conversation, mounted his horse and rode off with
the air of a man to whom speed is of the utmost impor-
tance, as Graston heard his steps along the road to Paris.
At this moment the servant raised his eyes, and began
busily brushing the snow from his boots and clothes.
Graston signed to him to approach.
"Who were you talking with, Owen?"
"To a man, M. Gaston."
"Who is that man?"
"A traveller — a soldier, who was asking his way."
"His way; to what place ?"
"But you could not tell him, for you do not know this
place. ' '
"I asked the landlord, monsieur."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 39
"Why could not lie ask Hmself ?"
"Because lie liad tad a quarrel witli him about tlie price
of his dinner, and did not wish to speak to him again. ' '
' ' Hum, ' ' said Gaston.
Nothing was more natural than this, yet Graston became
thoughtful; but he quickly threw ofE his suspicions, accus-
ing himself of becoming timid at a time when he most
needed courage; his brow remained clouded, however, for
the carriage did not appear.
He thought at one moment that H^l^ne might have
chosen another road in order to part from him without
noise or quarrel, but he soon concluded that it was only
some accident which delayed her; he sat down again to
table, though he had finished his dinner, and when Owen
appeared to clear away, "Some wine," said he. Owen had
already removed a half empty bottle.
"Some wine ?" repeated the servant in astonishment, for
Gaston usually drank but little.
"Yes, some wine; is there anything surprising in that?"
"No, monsieur," replied Owen.
And he transmitted the order for a second bottle of wine
to the waiter, Gaston poured out a glass, drank it, then a
Then, thinking it both his duty and his interest to pre-
vent his master's finishing the bottle —
"Monsieur," said he, "I have heard that, if you are rid-
ing, it is bad to drink when it is very cold. You forget that
we have a long way to go, and that it will be getting still
colder, and if we wait much longer we shall get no post-
horses. It is nearly three o'clock now, and at half- past four
it will be dark. ' '
40 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
This behavior surprised Gaston.
"You are in a very great hurry, Owen," said he; "have
you a rendezvous with the man who was asking his way of
' ' Monsieur knows that to be impossible, ' ' replied Owen.
"Since he is going to Eennes, and we to Paris."
However, under the scrutinizing gaze of his master,
Owen turned red, when suddenly, at the sound of wheels,
Gaston ran to the window. It was the dark carriage.
At this sight Gaston darted from the room.
It was then Owen's turn to run to the window to see
what it was that had so much interested his master. He
saw a green and black carriage stop, from which the driver
alighted and opened the door; then he saw a young lady
in a cloak go into the hotel, followed by an Augustine sis-
ter; the two ladies, announcing that they should only
remain to dine, asked for a room.
But to reach this room they had to cross a public saloon,
in which Gaston stood near the fireplace ; a rapid but mean-
ing glance was exchanged between him and H^l^ne, and, to
Gaston's great satisfaction, he recognized in the driver of
the carriage the convent gardener.
He let him pass, however, unnoticed, but, as he crossed
the yard to go to the stable, followed him.
He accosted the gardener, who told him that he was to
take the two ladies to Rambouillet, where Hel^ne would
remain, and then he was to take back Sister Th^r^se to
Gaston, raising his eyes suddenly, saw Owen watching
Mm, and this curiosity displeased him.
"What are you doing there ?" asked he.
' ' Waiting for orders, ' ' said Owen.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 41
"Do you know that fellow?" asked Gaston of tlie gar-
"M. Owen, your servant? Of course I do; we are from
the same place. ' '
' ' So much the worse, ' ' murmured Gaston.
"Oh, Owen is an honest fellow."
"Never mind," said Gaston; "not a word of Hel^ne, I
The gardener promised; and indeed it was his own in-
terest to keep the secret, for had it been discovered that he
had given Gaston the key, he would have lost his place.
After a hasty meal, the carriage was again ordered, and
at the door Gaston met the ladies and handed them in.
Chanlay was not quite unknown to the sister, so she thanked
liim graciously as he handed her in.
"Monsieur," said Owen, behind the chevalier, "our
horses are ready."
"One more glass," said Gaston, "and I shall start."
To Owen's great surprise, Gaston returned to the room
and ordered a third bottle; for Owen had removed the
second, of which Gaston had only drunk his two glasses.
Gaston remained about a quarter of an hour, and then,
having no further motive for waiting, he set out.
When they had ridden a short distance, they saw the
carriage imbedded in a deep rut, where, in spite of the
efforts of the horses and the gardener, it remained station-
ary. Gaston could not leave him in such a dilemma, and
the gardener, recognizing Owen, called to him for aid. The
two riders dismounted, opened the carriage door, took out
the ladies, and succeeded in freeing the carriage, so that
they were able to proceed.
An acquaintanceship was thus established, and the poor
42 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
nun, who was very timid, inquired of Gaston if the road
were safe. Graston reassured her, and said that he and his
servant would escort them, and his offer was at once ac-
cepted with thanks.
Meanwhile Helene had played her part admirably, show-
ing that a young girl, however simple and naive, has the
instinct of dissimulation, which only requires opportunity
to develop itself.
Gaston rode along close to the door, for the road was
narrow, and Sister Ther^se asked him many questions.
She learned that he was called the Chevalier de Livry,
and was the brother of one of the young ladies who had
been in the convent school, but who was now married
They stopped, as previously arranged, at Ancenis.
The gardener confirmed what Gaston had said of his re-
lationship to Mademoiselle de Livry, so that Sister Ther^se
had no suspicion, and was very friendly with him.
She was, in fact, delighted, on starting the next morn-
ing, to find him already mounted, and to receive his accus-
tomed politeness in handing them into the carriage. As he
did so, he slipped a note into Hel^ne's hand, and by a
glance she told him he should receive a reply.
Gaston rode by the side of the carriage, for the road was
bad, and assistance was frequently required, either to free
a wheel, to assist the ladies to alight for the purpose of
walking up a steep ascent, or some of the many accidents
of a journey. "My dear Helene," said Sister Ther^se, sev-
eral times, "what would have become of us without the aid
of this gentleman T '
Before arriving at Angers, Gaston inquired at what hotel
they were going to stay, and, finding that it was the same
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 43
at whicli he intended to put up, he sent Owen on before
to engage apartments.
When they arrived, he received a note, which Helena
had written during dinner. She spoke of her love and
happiness as though they were secure and everlasting.
But Gaston looked on the future in its true light. Bound
by an oath to undertake a terrible mission, he foresaw sad
misfortunes after their present short-lived joy. He remem-
bered that he was about to lose happiness. Just as he had
tasted it for the first time, and rebelled against his fate.
He did not remember that he had sought that conspiracy
which now bound him, and which forced him to pursue a
path leading to exile or the scaffold, while he had in sight
another path which would lead him direct to happiness.
It is true that when Gaston joined the conspiracy he did
not know Helene, and thought himself alone in the world.
At twenty years of age he had believed that the world had
no pleasure for him ; then he had met Heldne, and the world
became full of pleasure and hope: but it was too late; he
had already entered on a career from which he could not
Meanwhile, in the preoccupation of his mind, Gaston had
quite forgotten his suspicions of Owen, and had not noticed
that he had spoken to two cavaliers similar to the one whom
he had seen the first evening ; but Owen lost nothing of what
passed between Gaston and Helene.
As they approached the end of their journey, Gaston be-
came sad ; and when the landlord at Chartres replied to the
question of Sister Ther^se, "To-morrow you may, if you
choose, reach Rambouillet, ' ' it was as though he had said,
"To-morrow you separate forever."
Helene, who loved as women love, with the strength, or
4A THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
rather tlie weakness, to sacrifice everytliing to tliat love,
could not understand Gaston's passive submission to the
decrees of Providence, and she would have preferred to
have seen him make some effort to combat them.
But H^l^ne was in this unjust to Gaston ; the same ideas
tormented him. He knew that at a word from him Helene
would follow him to the end of the world — he had plenty
of gold — it would be easy for Helene one evening, instead of
going to rest, to go with him into a post-chaise, and in two
days they would be beyond the frontier, free and happy,
not for a day or a month, but forever.
But one word, one little word, opposed itself to all this.
That word was honor. He had given his oath, and he
would be disgraced if he did not keep it.
The last evening Helene expected that Gaston would
speak, but in vain, and she retired to rest with the
conviction that Gaston did not love her as she loved
That night Gaston never slept, and he rose pale and
despairing. They breakfasted at a little village. The nun
thought that in the evening she would begin her homeward
journey toward her beloved convent. Heldne thought that
it was now too late to act, even if Gaston should speak.
Gaston thought that he was about to lose forever the woman
whom he loved.
About three o'clock in the afternoon they all alighted to
walk up a steep hill, from the summit of which they could
see before them a steeple and a number of houses. It was
Rambouillet; they did not know it, but they felt that
Gaston was the first to break the silence. ' ' There, ' ' said
he, "our paths separate. Helene, I implore you to preserve
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 45
the recollection of me, and, whatever happens, do not con-
demn or curse me."
"Graston, you only speak of the most terrible things.
I need courage, and you take it from me. Have you noth-
ing joyful to tell me ? I know the present is dark ; but is
the future also as dreadful? Are there not many years,
and therefore many hopes, to look forward to? We are
young, we love one another; are there no means of strug-
gling against the fate which threatens us? Oh, Graston! I
feel in myself a great strength, and if you but say — But
no, I am mad; it is I who suffer, and yet I who console."
' ' I understand you, Hel^ne — you want a promise, do you
not? "Well, judge if I am wretched; I dare not promise.
You tell me to hope, and I can but despair. If I had ten
years, five years, one year, at my own disposal, I would
offer them to you, Hel^ne, and think myself blessed; but
from the moment I leave you we lose each other. From
to-morrow morning I belong no more to myself."
"Oh!" cried Hel^ne, "unhappy that I am! Did you
then deceive me when you said you loved me? are
you pledged to another?"
"At least, my poor H^l^ne," said Gaston, "on this point
I can reassure you. I have no other love. ' '
"Then we may yet be happy, Graston, if my new family
will recognize you as my husband. ' '
' ' Hel^ne, do you not see that every word you utter stabs
me to the heart ?' '
"But at least tell me what it is."
"Fate, which I cannot escape; ties which I dare not
"I know of none such," cried the young girl. *'I am
promised a family, riches, scation and a name; and yet,
46 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
Gaston, saj but one word, and I leave tliem all for you.
"Why, then, will you not do as mucli for me ?' '
Gaston answered not; and at this moment Sister Th^r^se
rejoined them, and they again got into the carriage. When
they neared the town, the nun called Gaston, told him that
perhaps some one might come to meet H^l^ne, and that a
stranger should not be seen with them. Gaston bowed
silently and sadly, and turned to leave them.
H^l^ne was no ordinary woman; she saw Gaston's dis-
"Is it adieu, or au revoir^^ cried she, boldly.
".4m revoir^^^ said Gaston, and he rode off quickly.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 47
A ROOM IN THE HOTEL AT RAMBOUILLET
GASTON went awaj without sajing how tliey were
to meet again ; but Hel^ne thouglit tliat lie would
certainly manage that, and she contented herself
with watching him as long as she could. Ten minutes
later the carriage stopped at the Tigre Royal. A womaa
who was waiting came out hastily, and respectfully assisted
the ladies to alight, and then guided them through the
passages of the hotel, preceded by a valet carrying
A door opened, Madame Desroches drew back to allow
Hel^ne and Sister Ther^se to pass, and they soon found
themselves on a soft and easy sofa, in front of a bright
The room was large and well furnished; but the taste
was severe, for the style called Rococo was not yet intro*
duced. There were four doors: the first was that by
which they had entered; the second led to the dining-
room, which was already lighted and warmed; the third
led into a richly appointed bedroom; the fourth did not
Hel^ne admired the magnificence of all around her — the
quiet and respectful manner of the servants; while Sister
48 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
Ttdr^se rejoiced, wlien slie saw tlie smoking supper, tliat
it was not a fast day.
Presently Madame Desroches returned, and, approacliing
tlie sister, handed her a letter. She opened it, and read as
"Sister Th^r^se may pass the night at Rambouillet, or
leave again at once, according to her own wish. She will
receive two hundred louis offered to the convent by H^l^ne,
and will give up her charge to the care of Madame Des-
roches, who is honored by the confidence of H^lene's
At the bottom of the letter, instead of a signature, was
a cipher, which the sister compared with that on a letter
which she had brought from Clisson. The identity being
"My child," said she, "I leave you after supper."
"So soon!" said H^l^ne, to whom Th^r^se was now the
only link to her past life.
"Yes, my child. It is at my option to sleep here, but
I prefer to return at once; for I wish to be again at home,
where the only thing wanting to my happiness will be your
Hel^ne threw herself on Ther^se's neck, weeping. She
recalled her youth, passed so happily among affectionate
companions, and she again saw the towers and steeples of
her former residence.
They sat down to table, and Sister Ther^se hastily
partook of some refreshment, then embraced Helene, who
wished to accompany her to the carriage; but Madame
Desroches begged her not to do so, as the hotel was full
Helene then asked permission to see the poor gardener
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 4#
who liad been their escort once more. This man had be-
come a friend to her, and she quitted him and Ther^se
Madame Desroches, seeing that Hel^ne felt vainly in her
pocket, said, "Does mademoiselle want anything?"
"Yes," said Helena; "I should wish to give a souvenir
to this good man. ' *
Madame Desroches gave Hdl^ne twenty-five louis, and
she, without counting them, slipped them into the gar-
dener's hand, who overwhelmed her with tears and
At length they were forced to part, and H^l^ne, hearing
the sound of their carriage driving away, threw herself on
a sofa, weeping.
Madame Desroches reminded her that she had eaten
nothing. Hel^ne insisted that she should sup with her.
After her meal she showed H^l^ne her bedroom, saying,
"Will mademoiselle ring when she requires heryemme de
chamhre; for this evening mademoiselle will receive a
"A visit!" cried H^l^ne.
"Yes, mademoiselle; from a relation."
"And is it the one who watches over me?"
"From your birth, mademoiselle."
"Oh, mon Dieu!" cried Hdl^ne; "and he is coming?"
' ' He is most anxious to know you. ' '
"Oh," murmured H^l^ne; "I feel as if I should
Madame Desroches ran to her, and supported her.
"Do you feel so much terror," asked she, "at seeing one
who loves you?"
"It is not terror, it is agitation," said H^l^ne. "I did
(C>— VoL 23
so THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
not know tliat it would be to-niglit; and this important
news quite overcomes me."
"But I liave not told you all: this person is necessa-
rily surrounded by mystery."
"I am forbidden to reply to that question, mademoiselle."
""What necessity can there be for such precautions with
a poor orphan like me ?"
"They are necessary, believe me."
"But in what do they consist?"
"First, you may not see the face of this person; so
that you may not recognize him if you meet him in the
"Then he will come masked."
"No, mademoiselle; but the lights will be extinguished."
"Then we shall be in darkness ?"
"But you will remain with me, Madame Desroches. "
"No, mademoiselle; that is expressly forbidden."
' ' By the person who is coming. ' '
"But do you, then, owe such absolute obedience to this
"More than that, mademoiselle, I owe him the deepest
respect. ' '
"Is he, then, of such high station?"
"He is of the very highest in France."
"And he is my relation?"
"For heaven's sake, Madame Desroches, do not feave me
in uncertainty on this point. ' '
"I have already told you, mademoiselle, that there are
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 51
some questions to whicli I am expressly forbidden to reply,"
and she was about to retire.
' ' Why do you leave me ?' ' asked Hdl^ne.
' ' I leave you to your toilet. ' '
"But, madame — "
Madame Desroches made a low, ceremonious courtesy,
and went out of the room, closing the door behind her.
52 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
A SERVANT IN THE ROYAL LIVERY— MONSEIGNEUR LE
WHILE tlie things which we have related were pass-
ing in the parlor of the hotel Tigre Royal, in
another apartment of the same hotel, seated near
a large fire, was a man shaking the snow from his boots,
and untying the strings of a large portfolio. This man was
dressed in the hunting livery of the house of Orleans: the
coat red and silver, large boots, and a three-cornered hat,
trimmed with silver. He had a quick eye, a long pointed
nose, a round and open forehead, which was contradicted
by thin and compressed lips.
This man murmured to himself some phrases which he
interrupted by oaths and exclamations, which seemed less
the result of words than thoughts.
"Come, come," said he, "M. de Montaran did not de-
ceive me, and our Bretons are hard at the work; but for
what earthly reason can he have come by such short
stages? He left at noon on the 11th, and only arrived
on the evening of the 21st, This probably hides some
new mystery, which will be explained by the fellow
recommended by Montaran, and with whom my people
were in communication on the journey. Hola!"
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 53
And lie rang a silver bell. A man dressed in gray, like
those we liave seen on the route, appeared.
"Ah! it is you, Tapin ?"
"Yes, monseigneur; the affair being important, I thought
it better to come myself. ' '
"Have you questioned the men you placed on the
"Yes, monseigneur; but they know nothing but the
places at which our conspirators stopped; in fact, that is
all they were told to learn. ' '
"I will try to learn from the servant. What sort of
man is he?"
"Oh, a mischievous simpleton, half Norman, half Bre-
ton; a bad fellow."
"What is he about now ?"
"Serving his master's supper."
"Whom, I hope, they have placed as I desired?"
"In a room without curtains?"
"And you have made a hole in the shutter?"
"Well, then, send me the servant, and remain within
The man in the red coat consulted his watch.
"Half-past eight," said he; "at this hour monseigneur
the regent returns to St. Germain's and asks for Dubois; as
Dubois is not there, he rubs his hands and prepares for some
folly. Eub your hands, Philippe d' Orleans, and amuse
yourself at your pleasure, for the danger is not at Paris,
but here. We shall see if you will laugh at my secret
police this time. Ah! here is our man."
6^ THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
Aw this moment Tapin introduced Owen.
"Here is the person you wished to see," said he.
Owen remained standing, trembling, near the door, while
Dubois wrapped himself in a large cloak, which left only the
upper part of his face visible to him on whom he fixed his
' ' Approach, my friend, ' ' said Dubois.
In spite of the cordiality of this invitation, it was given
in so harsh a voice that Owen would have preferred being
at a greater distance from this man, who looked at him so
"Well, fellow," said Dubois, seeing that he did not stir,
**did you not hear me ?"
' ' Yes, monseigneur, ' ' said Owen.
"Then why do you not obey?"
"I did not know you spoke to me."
And Owen then stepped forward.
"You have received fifty louis to speak the truth to
me," continued Dubois.
"Pardon, monseigneur," said Owen, who began to re-
cover his composure; "I have not received them; they
were promised to me, but — "
Dubois took a handful of gold from his pocket, counted
fifty louis, and placed them in a pile on the table.
Owen looked at the pile with an expression of which
one would have supposed his dull countenance inca-
"Good," thought Dubois; "he is avaricious."
In reality, the fifty louis had always appeared very
doubtful to Owen. He had betrayed his master with
scarcely a hope of obtaining his reward; and now the
promised gold was before his eyes.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 56
"May I take them?" asked Owen, spreading his hand
' ' Wait a moment, ' ' said Dubois, who amused himseK by
exciting that cupidity which any but a peasant would have
concealed; "we will make a bargain."
"What is it?" asked Owen.
' ' Here are the fifty louis. ' '
"I see them," said Owen, passing his tongue over hia
lips, like a thirsty dog.
"At every answer you make to a question of mine, I
either add ten louis if it is important, or take them away
if it is unimportant and stupid."
Owen started; he did not like the terms.
"Now," said Dubois, "let us talk. What place have
you come from?"
"Direct from Nantes."
"With the Chevalier Gaston de Chanlay."
These being preliminary questions, the pile remained
"Listen!" said Dubois.
"I am all attention."
"Did your master travel under his own name?"
"He set out in his own name, but changed it on the
journey. ' '
"What name did he take?"
Dubois added ten louis; but as they would not stand on
the others, he commenced a second pile.
Owen uttered a joyful cry.
' ' Oh, ' ' said Dubois, ' ' do not exult yet. We are not near
the end. Is there a M. de Livry at Nantes?"
66 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"No, monseigneur ; but tliere is a Demoiselle de
"Who is she?"
' ' The wife of M. de Montlouis, an intimate friend of my
master. ' '
"Grood," said Dubois, adding ten louis; "and what was
your master doing at Nantes?"
"What most young men do; he hunted, danced, and
Dubois took away ten louis. Owen shuddered.
"Stop," said he, " he did something else."
"Ah! what was that ?"
"I do not know," replied Owen.
Dubois held the ten louis in his hand.
' ' And since his departure, what has he done ?' '
"He passed through Oudon, Ancenis, Le Mans, Nogent,
and Chartres. ' '
Dubois stretched out his hand, and took up another ten
Owen uttered a dolorous cry.
"And did he make no acquaintance on the route ?"
"Yes; with a young lady from the Augustine convent
at Clisson, who was travelling with a sister of the convent,
named Ther^se. "
"And what was the young lady called?"
"Mademoiselle H^l^ne de Chaverny."
"Hel^nel A promising name. Doubtless, she is your
"I do not know,'" said Owen; "he would not have
"He is a shrewd fellow " said Dubois, taking ten louis
from the fifty.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 67
Owen trembled: four sucli answers, and he would have
betrayed his master for nothing.
"And these ladies are going to Paris with him ?"
"No, monseigneur; they stop at Eambouillet. "
"Ah," said Dubois.
The tone of this exclamation gave Owen some hope.
"Come," said Dubois, "all this is not very important,
but one must encourage beginners."
And he added ten louis to the pile.
"Sister Ther^se, " continued Owen, "is already gone
"So that the young lady remains alone?"
' ' No, ' ' answered Owen.
' ' A lady from Paris awaited her. ' '
"Do you know her name ?' '
"I heard Sister Ther^se call her Madame Desroches. "
"Madame Desroches!" cried Dubois, and he began an-
other pile with ten louis.
"Yes," replied Owen, delighted.
"Are you sure ?"
"Of course I am; she is a tall, thin, yellow- looking
woman. ' '
Dubois added ten louis. Owen thought that if he had
made an interval between each adjective he might have
had twenty louis.
"Thin, tall, yellow," repeated Dubois; "just so."
"From forty to forty-five," added Owen.
"Exactly," said Dubois, adding ten louis.
"In a silk dress, with large flowers on it."
58 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Very good," said Dubois.
Owen saw tliat his questioner knew enougli about tlie
lady, and waited.
"And you say tbat your master made acquaintance with
the young lady en route?' ^
"Yes, monsieur, but I think it was a farce."
"What do you mean ?"
"I mean that they knew each other before; and I am
sure of one thing, that my master waited for her three hours
at Oudon. "
"Bravo," said Dubois, adding ten louis; "we shall make
something of you."
"You do not wish to know anything more, then?"
asked Owen, extending his hand toward the two piles
"Stop," said Dubois; "is the young lady pretty?"
' ' Beautiful as an angel, ' ' answered Owen.
' ' And, no doubt, they made an appointment to meet in
"No, monsieur, I think they said adieu forever."
' ' Another farce. ' '
"I do not think so, monsieur; my master was so sad
when they separated."
"And they are not to meet again ?"
"Yes, once more, I think, and all will be over."
"Well, take your money; and remember that, if you
mention one word of this, in ten minutes you will be a
Owen snatched the money, which disappeared in his
"And now," said he, "may I go?"
"No, idiot; from this moment you belong to me, for I
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 59
have bought you, and you will be more useful to me at
Paris than elsewhere.'
"In that case I will remain, monsieur, I promise."
' ' There is no need to promise. ' '
At this moment the door opened, and Tapin appeared,
looking very much agitated.
"What has happened now ?" asked Dubois.
"Something very important, monseigneur; but send
away this man."
"Eeturn to your master," said Dubois, "and if he writes
to any one whatever, remember that I am most anxious to
see his writing. ' '
Owen went out, delighted to be set free.
"Well, Tapin," said Dubois, "what is it?"
"Monseigneur, after the hunt at St. Germain's, his royal
highness, instead of returning to Paris, sent away every one,
and gave orders to proceed to Eambouillet. ' '
"The regent coming to Eambouillet!"
"He will be here in half an hour, and would have been
here now, if hunger had not luckily obliged him to enter
the chateau and procure some refreshment. ' '
"And what is he coming to Eambouillet for?"
"I do not know, monseigneur, unless it be for the young
girl who has just arrived with a nun, and who is now in the
pavilion of the hotel. ' '
"You are right, Tapin; it is doubtless for her; and Ma-
dame Desroches, too. Did you know that Madame Des*
roches was here?"
"No, monseigneur, I did not."
"And are you sure that your information is correct, my
"Oh, monseigneur, it was from L'Eveille, whom I
60 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
placed near his royal highness ; and what he says is gospel
"You are right," said Dubois, who seemed to know
the qualities of this man; "if it be L'Eveilld, there is no
"The poor fellow has lamed his horse, which fell near
Kambouillet. ' '
"Thirty louis for the horse; he may gain what he can
Tapin took the thirty louis.
"You know the situation of the pavilion, do you
"Where is it?"
"One side looks on the second courtyard; the other on a
deserted lane. ' '
"Place men in the courtyard and in the lane, disguised
as stablemen, or how you please; let no one enter the pa-
vilion but monseigneur and myself: the life of his royal
highness is at stake. ' '
"Rest easy, monseigneur."
"Do you know our Breton?"
"I saw him dismount."
"Do your men know him ?"
"They all saw him on the road."
"Well, I recommend him to you.'*
"Shall we arrest him?"
"Certainly not; he must be allowed to go where he
pleases, and act as he pleases, and he must have every op-
portunity to do so. If he were arrested now, he would tell
nothing, and our plans would be disconcerted; no, no, these
plans must hatch."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 61
"Hatch what, monseigneur ?" said Tapin, who appeared
to be on confidential terms with Dubois.
"My archbishop's mitre, M. Lecocq," said Dubois.
*'And now to your work; I go to mine."
Both left the room and descended the staircase, but
separated at the door: Lecocq went along the Rue de Paris;
and Dubois, slipping along by the wall, went to peep through
the hole in the shutter.
62 THE EEGENrS DAUGHTER
THE UTILITY OF A SEAL
GASTON had just supped; for at Ms age, whether a
man be in desj)air or in love, nature asserts her
rights. He was leaning on the table thoughtfully.
The lamp threw a light over his face, and enabled Dubois
to gratify his curiosity.
He looked at him with an attention almost alarming: his
quick eye darted — his lip curled with a smile, which gave
one the idea of a demon smiling at the sight of one of those
victims who seem to have vowed their own perdition.
While looking, he murmured, "Young, handsome, black
eyes, proud lips; — he is a Breton, he is not corrupted, like
the conspirators of Cellamare, by the soft glances of the
ladies at court; — then the other spoke of carrying off, de-
throning, but this one — diable, this one — And yet," con-
tinued he, after a pause, "I look in vain for traces of cun-
ning on that open brow. I see no Machiavelism in the
corners of that mouth, so full of loyalty and honor; yet no
doubt all is arranged to surprise the regent on his visit to
this Clisson demoiselle. Who will say again that Bretons
have dull brains?"
"No," said Dubois, after another pause, "it cannot be
so. It is impossible that this young man with his calm sad
face should be ready in a quarter of an hour to kill a man,
and that man the first prince of the blood. No, I cannot
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 63
believe in sucli sang-froid; and yet the regent lias kept this
amourette secret even from me ; he goes out to hunt at St.
Germain's, announces aloud that he shall sleep at the Palais
Eoyal, then all at once gives counter orders, and drives to
Eambouillet. At Kambouillet, the young girl waits, and
is received by Madame Desroches; who can she be watch-
ing for, if not for the regent? and this young girl is the
mistress of the chevalier — but is she? — Ah! we must
learn. We must find out how far we can depend on Owen,"
and Dubois left his observatory and waited on the staircase.
He was quite hidden in the shade, and he could see Gas-
ton's door in the light.
The door presently opened, and Owen appeared.
He held a letter in his hand, and, after hesitating a
minute, he appeared to have taken his determination, and
mounted the staircase.
"Good," said Dubois, "he has tasted the forbidden fruit,
and he is mine,"
Then, stopping Owen: "Give me the letter which you
were bringing me, and wait here. ' '
"How did you know I had a letter?" asked Owen,
Dubois shrugged his shoulders, took the letter, and dis-
In his room he examined the seal; the chevalier, who
had no wax, had used that on the bottle, and had sealed
it with the stone of a ring.
Dubois held the letter above the candle, and the wax
melted. He opened the letter and read:
"Dear Helene — Your courage has doubled mine;
manage so that I can enter the house, and you shall know^
64 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Oh!" said Dubois, "it seems she does not know them
yet. Things are not so far advanced as I supposed. ' '
He resealed the letter with one of the numerous rings
which he wore, and which resembled that of the chevalier,
and calling Owen —
"Here," said he, "is your master's letter; deliver it
faithfully, bring me the answer, and you shall have ten louis. ' '
"Ah!" thought Owen, "has this man a mine of gold?"
And he went off.
Ten minutes after he returned with the reply.
It was on scented and ornamented paj)er, sealed with the
Dubois opened a box, took out a kind of paste in which
lie was about to take the impression of the seal, when he
observed that from the manner in which it was folded he
could read it without opening. It was as follows:
"The person who sent for me at Bretagne is coming to
meet me here instead of waiting at Paris, so impatient is he,
I am told, to see me. I think he will leave again to-night.
Come to-morrow morning before nine. I will tell you all
that has passed, and then we can arrange how to act. ' '
"This," said Dubois, still taking Hel^ne for the cheva-
lier's accomplice, "makes it clearer. If this is the way they
bring up young ladies at Clisson, I congratulate them and
monseigneur, who, from her age, concludes her to be simple
and ingenuous. Here," said he to Owen, "here is the let-
ter, and your ten louis."
Owen took them.
At this moment ten o'clock struck, and the rolling of a
carriage was heard. Dubois went to the window, and saw
it stop at the hotel door.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 65
In tlie carriage was a gentleman whom Dubois at one©
recognized as Lafare, captain of his royal highness's guards.
"Well," said he, "he is more prudent than I thought; but
where is he? Ah!"
This exclamation was uttered at the sight of a man
dressed in the same red livery which he himself concealed
under his cloak, and who followed the carriage mounted on
a superb Spanish jenet, which, however, he could not have
ridden long, for, while the carriage horses were covered
with foam, this one was quite fresh.
Lafare at once demanded a room and supper; meanwhile
the man dismounted, threw the reins to a page, and went
toward the pavilion.
"Well," said Dubois, "all this is as clear as a mountain
stream; but how is it that the face of the chevalier does not
appear ? Is he too much occupied with his chicken to have
heard the carriage ? Let us see. As to you, monseigneur, " '
continued Dubois, "be assured; I will not disturb your tSte-
d-tets. Enjoy at your pleasure this commencement of in-
genuity, which promises such happy results. Ahl mon-
seigneur, it is certain that you are short-sighted."
Dubois went down, and again took up his post at his
observatory. As he approached it, Gaston rose, after put-
ting his note in his pocket-book.
"Ah," said Dubois, "I must have that pocket-book. I
would pay high for it. He is going out, he buckles on his
sword, he looks for his cloak; where is he going? Let us
see: to wait for his royal highness's exit? No, no, that
is not the face of a man who is going to kill another; I
could sooner believe he was about to spend the evening
under the windows of his sweetheart."
"Ah, if he had that idea it would be a means — *'
66 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
It would be difficult to render the expression which
passed over the face of Dubois at this moment.
"Yes, but if I were to get a sword-thrust in the enter-
prise, how monseigneur would laugh! Bah! there is no
danger; our men are at their post; and, besides, nothing
venture, nothing gain."
Encouraged by this reflection, Dubois made the circuit
of the hotel, in order to appear at one end of the little lane
as Gaston appeared at the other.
As he had expected, at the end of the lane he found
Tapin, who had placed L'Eveille in the courtyard; in two
words he explained his project. Tapin pointed out to Du-
bois one man leaning on the step of an outer door, a second
was playing a kind of jews-harp, and seemed an itinerant
musician, and there was another, too well hidden to be seen.
Dubois, thus sure of support, returned into the lane.
He soon perceived a figure at the other end, and at once
recognized the chevalier, who was too thoughtful even to
notice that he was passing any one.
Dubois wanted a quarrel, and he saw that he must take
the initiative. He turned and stopped before the chevalier,
who was trying to discover which were the windows of the
room in which Hel^ne was.
"My friend," said he, roughly, "what are you doing at
this hour before this house?"
Gaston was obliged to bring back his thoughts to the
materialism of life.
"Did you speak to me, monsieur?" said he.
"Yes," replied Dubois, "I asked what you were doing
"Pass on," said the chevalier; "I do not interfere with
you: do not interfere with me."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 67
"That might be," said Dubois, "if your presence did
not annoy me."
"This lane, narrow as it is, is wide enough for both,
monsieur; walk on one side, and I will walk on the
"I wish to walk alone," said Dubois, "therefore, I beg
you will choose some other window; there are plenty at
Eambouillet to choose from."
"And why should I not look at these windows if I
choose?" asked Chanlay.
' ' Because they are those of my wife, ' ' replied Dubois.
"Of your wife!"
' ' Yes ; of my wife, who has just arrived from Paris, and
of whom I am Jealous, I warn you."
' ' Diable, ' ' murmured Graston ; "he must be the husband
of the person to whom Helene has been given in charge ; ' '
and in order to conciliate a person who might be useful to
"Monsieur," said he, politely, "in that case I am willing
to leave a place where I was walking without any object
"Oh," thought Dubois, "here is a polite conspirator;
I must have a quarrel."
Gaston was going away.
' ' You are deceiving me, monsieur, ' ' said Dubois.
The chevalier turned as though he had been bitten by
a serpent; however, prudent for the sake of Helene, and
for the mission he had undertaken, he restrained himself.
"Is it," said he, "because I was polite that you dis-
believe my word?"
' ' You spoke politely because you were afraid ; but it is
none the less true that I saw you looking at that window. ' '
68 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Afraid — I afraid!" cried Chanlay, facing him; "did
you say that I was afraid?"
"I did," replied Dubois.
"Do you, then, seek a quarrel?"
"It appears so. I see you come from Quimper-
Corentin. ' '
"Paques Dieu!" said Gaston, drawing his sword,
"And you, off with your coat," said Dubois, throw-
ing off his cloak, and preparing to do the same with
"Why so?" asked the chevalier.
"Because I do not know you, monsieur, and because
those who walk at night frequently have their coat pru-
dently lined with a shirt of mail."
At these words the chevalier's cloak and coat were
thrown aside; but, at the moment when Gaston was about
to rush on his adversary, the four men appeared and
"A duel, monsieur," cried they, "in spite of the king's
prohibition!" and they dragged him toward the door.
"An assassination," murmured Gaston, not daring to
cry out, for fear of compromising H^l^ne; "cowards!"
"We are betrayed, monsieur," said Dubois, rolling up
Gaston's cloak and coat, and putting them under his arm;
"we shall meet again to-morrow, no doubt."
And he ran toward the hotel, while they shut up Gaston
in the lower room.
Dubois ran up the staircase and into his room, where he
opened the precious pocket-book. He found in one pocket
a broken coin and a man's name. This coin was evidently
a sign of recognition, and the name was probably that of
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 69
the man to whom Gaston was addressed, and who was
called Captain La Jonqui^re. The paper was oddly folded.
"La Jonqui^re," said Dubois; "we have our eyes on him
already. ' '
He looked over the rest of the pocket-book — there was
"It is little," said Dubois, "but it is enough."
He folded a paper like the other, took the name, and
rang the bell.
Some one knocked; the door was fastened inside. "I
forgot," said Dubois, opening it, and giving entrance
to Monsieur Tapin.
"What have you done with him ?"
"He is in the lower room, and watched."
"Take back his cloak and coat to the place where h^
threw them; make your excuses, and set him free. Take
care that everything is in his pockets, so that he may sus-
pect nothing. Bring me my coat and cloak. ' '
Monsieur Tapin bowed low, and went to obey his orders.
70 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
ALL this passed, as we have said, in the lane under
Helene's windows. She had heard the noise; and,
as among the voices she thought she distinguished
that of the chevalier, she ran anxiously to the window,
when, at the same moment, Madame Desroches appeared.
She came to beg Hel^ne to go into the drawing-room,
Hs the visitor had arrived.
Hel^ne started, and nearly fell ; her voice failed her, and
she followed, silent and trembling.
The room into which Madame Desroches led her was
without any light, except what was thrown on the carpet
by the last remains of a fire. Madame Desroches threw
some water over the flame, and left the room entirely
Begging Hel^ne to have no f^sar, Madame Desroches
withdrew. The instant after, H^l^ne heard a voice behind
the fourth door, which had not yet opened.
She started at the sound, and involuntarily made a few
steps toward the door.
"Is she ready?" said the voice.
"Yes, monseigneur, " was the reply.
"Monseigneur!" murmured H^l^ne; "who is coming,
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 71
"Yes, monseigneur. "
"Is she aware of my arrival?"
"Yes, monseigneur. "
"We shall not be interrupted?"
' ' Monseigneur may rely upon me. ' *
"And no light?"
The steps approached, then stopped.
"Speak frankly, Madame Desroches," said the voice.
"Is she as pretty as they said?"
"More beautiful than your highness can imagine."
"Your highness! who can he be?" thought Hdl^ne,
At this moment the door creaked on its hinges, and
a heavy step approached.
"Mademoiselle," said the voice, "I beg you to receive
and hear me."
"I am here," said Hel^ne, faintly.
"Are you frightened ?"
"I confess it, mon — Shall I say 'monsieur' or 'mou-
"Say 'my friend.' "
At this moment her hand touched that of the unknown.
"Madame Desroches, are you there?" asked Hel^ne,
"Madame Desroches," said the voice, "tell mademoiselle
that she is as safe as in a temple before God."
"Ah! monseigneur, I am at your feet; pardon me."
"Else, my child, and seat yourself there. Madame Des-
roches, close all the doors; and now," continued he, "give
me your hand, I beg."
72 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
H^l^ne's liand again met tliat of tlie stranger, and tbis
time it was not witlidrawn.
' ' He seems to tremble also, ' ' murmured she.
"Tell me, are you afraid, dear child?"
"No," replied Hel^ne; "but when your hand clasps
mine, a strange thrill passes through me."
"Speak to me, Hel^ne," said the unknown, with an
expression of tenderness. "I know ah'eady that you are
beautiful, but this is the first time I have heard your
voice. Speak — I am listening."
"But have you seen me, then?" asked H^l^ne.
"Do you remember that two years ago the abbess had
your portrait taken?"
"Yes, I remember. An artist came expressly from
"It was I who sent him."
"And was the portrait for you ?"
"It is here," said the unknown, taking from his pocket
a miniature, which Hel^ne could feel, though she could
not see it.
"But what interest could you have in the portrait of
a poor orphan?"
"Hel^ne, I am your father's friend."
"My father! Is he alive?"
' ' Shall I ever see him ?' '
"Oh!" said H^l^ne, pressing the stranger's hand, "I
bless you for bringing me this news."
"Dear child!" said he.
"But if he be alive," said H^l^ne, "why has he not
sought out his child?"
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 73
"He liad news of you every montli, and, though at a
distance, watched over you."
"And yet," said H^l^ne, reproachfully, "he has not seen
me for sixteen years. ' '
"Believe me, none but the most important reasons would
have induced him to deprive himself of this pleasure."
"I believe you, monsieur; it is not for me to accuse my
"No; it is for you to pardon him if he accuses himself."
"To pardon him!" cried H^l^ne.
' ' Yes ; and this pardon, which he cannot ask for himself,
I ask in his name. ' '
"Monsieur," said H^l^ne, "I do not understand you."
"Listen, then, and give me back your hand."
"Here it is."
"Your father was an officer in the king's service; at
the battle of Neerwinden, where he charged at the head
of the king's household troops, one of his followers, called
M. de Chaverny, fell near him, pierced by a ball. Your
father wished to assist him, but the wound was mortal, and
the wounded man, who knew that it was so, said, 'Think
not of me, but of my child. ' Your father pressed his hand
as a promise, and the man fell back and died, as though
he only waited this assurance to close his eyes. You are
listening, are you not, Hel^ne?"
"Oh! need you ask such a question?" said the young
"At the end of the campaign, your father's first care
was for the little orphan. She was a charming child, of
from ten to twelve years, who promised to be as beautiful
as you are. The death of M. de Chaverny, her father, left
her without support or fortune; your father placed her at
(D)— Vol. 23
74 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
the convent of the Faubourg Saint Antoine, and announced
that at a proper age he should give her a dowry. ' '
"I thank God," cried H^15ne, "for having made me the
child of a man who so nobly kept his promise. ' '
"Wait, H^l^ne," said the unknown, "for now comes the
time when your father will not receive your praises."
H^l^ne was silent.
The unknown continued: "Your father, indeed, watched
over the orphan till her eighteenth year. She was an adora-
ble young girl, and his visits to the convent became longer
and more frequent than they should have been ; your father
began to love his protegee. At first he was frightened at hia
own love, for he remembered his promise to her dying fa-
ther. He begged the superior to look for a suitable hus-
band for Mademoiselle de Chaverny, and was told that her
nephew, a young Breton, having seen her, loved her, and
wished to obtain her hand."
"Well, monsieur?" asked H^l^ne, hearing that the
unknown hesitated to proceed.
"Well; your father's surprise was great, Hel^ne, when
he learned from the superior that Mademoiselle de Chaverny
had replied that she did not wish to marry, and that her
greatest desire was to remain in the convent where she
had been brought up, and that the happiest day of her life
would be that on which she should pronounce her vows."
' ' She loved some one, ' ' said H^l^ne.
"Yes, my child, you are right — alas! we cannot avoid
our fate — Mademoiselle de Chaverny loved your father.
For a long time she kept her secret, but one day, when
your father begged her to renounce her strange wish to take
the veil, the poor child confessed all. Strong against his
love when he did not believe it returned, he succumbed
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 75^
wten he found lie liad but to desire and to obtain. They
were both so young — your father scarcely twenty-iive, she
not eighteen — they forgot the world, and only remembered
that they could be happy."
"But, since they loved," said Hel^ne, "why did they
' ' Union was impossible, on account of the distance which
separated them. Do you not know that your father is of
high station ?' '
"Alas! yes," said Hel^ne, "I know it."
"During a year," continued he, "their happiness sur-
passed their hopes; but at the end of that time you came
into the world, and then — ' '
' ' Well ?' ' asked the young girl, timidly.
"Your birth cost your mother's life."
"Yes," continued the unknown, in a voice full of emo-
tion, "yes, Hdlene, weep for your mother; she was a noble
woman, of whom, through his griefs, his pleasures, even his
follies, your father retains a tender recollection; he trans-
ferred to you all his love for her. ' '
"And yet," said Hel^ne, "he consented to remove me
from him, and has never again seen me. ' '
"Hel^ne, on this point pardon your father, for it was
not his fault. You were born in 1703, at the most austere
period of Louis XIV. 's reign; your father was already out
of favor with the king, or rather with Madame de Main-
tenon ; and for your sake, as much or more than for his,
he sent you into Bretagne, confiding you to Mother Ursula,
superior of the convent where you were brought up. At
length, Louis XIV. being dead, and eveiything having
changed through all France, it is decided to bring you
76 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
nearer to him. During tlie journey, however, you must
have seen that his care was over you, and when he knew
that you were at Kambouillet, he could not wait till to-
morrow — he is come to you here, Hel^ne. ' '
"Oh, mon Dieu!" cried Hdl^ne, "is this true?"
"And in seeing, or rather in listening to you, he thinks
he hears your mother — the same accent in the voice.
Hel^ne, H^lene, that you may be happier than she was
is his heartfelt prayer!"
"Oh, heavens!" cried H^l^ne, "this emotion, your trem-
bling hand. Monsieur, you said my father is come to
"Here at Eambouillet ?"
"You say he is happy to see me again?"
"Oh, yes, very happy!"
"But this happiness was not enough, is it 'not so? He
wished to speak to me, to tell me himself the story of
my life, that I may thank him for his love, that I may
fall at his feet, that I may ask his blessing. Oh I" cried
Hel^ne, kneeling, "oh, I am at your feet; bless me,
"Helene, my child, my daughter!" cried the unknown,
"not at my feet, but in my arms!"
"My father, my father!" was H^l^ne's only reply.
"And yet," continued he, "I came with a different in-
tention, prepared to deny all, to remain a stranger to you;
but having you so near me, pressing your hand, hearing
your voice, I had not the strength. But do not make me
repent my weakness, and let secrecy — "
"I swear by my mother's grave," cried Hdl^ne.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 77
"That is all I desire," cried the unknown. "Now listen,
for I must leave you. ' '
"It must be so."
"Speak, then, my father. I am ready to obey you."
"To-morrow you leave for Paris; there is a house there
destined for you. Madame Desroches will take you there,
and at the very first moment that I can do so I will come
there to see you."
' ' Soon, I hope, for do not forget that I am alone in the
"As soon as possible;" and, pressing his lips to H^l^ne's
forehead, the unknown imprinted on it one of those kisses as
Bweet to the heart of a father as a kiss of love to the heart
of a lover.
Ten minutes later, Madame Desroches entered with a
light. Helene was on her knees praying; without ris-
ing, she signed to Madame Desroches to place the light
on the chimney-piece, which that lady did, and then
H^l^ne, after praying for some time, rose, and looked
around her as though for some evidence that the whole was
not a dream ; her own emotion, however, assured her that it
was really a great event in her life which had taken place.
Then the thought of Gaston rose to her mind; this father
whom she had so dreaded to see — this father, who himself
had loved so ardently and suffered so deeply, would not
do violence to her love; besides, Gaston was a scion of an
ancient house, and beyond all this she loved him, so that
she would die if she were separated from him, and her
father would not wish her death.
The obstacles on Gaston's side could be but the right.
'78 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
and would doubtless be easily overcome, and Hel^ne fell
asleep to dream of a liappy and smiling future.
Gaston, on his part, set at liberty witli many apologies
from those who pretended to have mistaken him for another
person, went back to fetch his coat and cloak, which he
was overjoyed to find where he had left them; he anxiously
opened his pocketbook; it was as he had left it, and for
greater safety he now burned the address of La Jonqui^re.
He gave his orders for the next day to Owen and retired.
Meanwhile, two carriages rolled away from the door of
the Tigre- Royal; in the first were two gentlemen in trav-
elling costume, preceded and followed by outriders.
In the second was a single traveller, wrapped in a large
cloak; this carriage followed close behind the other as far
as the Barriere de I'Etoile, where they separated, and while
the first stopped at the Palais Eoyal, the other drew up
at the Rue de Valois.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 79
IN WHICH DUBOIS PROVES THAT HIS POLICE WAS BETTER
ORGANIZED AT AN EXPENSE OF 800,000 FRANCS THAN
THE GENERAL POLICE FOR THREE MILLIONS
WHATEVER might have been the fatigues of the
preceding night, the Due d' Orleans still gave
his mornings to business. He generally began
to work with Dubois before he was dressed; then came
a short and select levee, followed again by audiences,
which kept him till eleven or twelve o'clock; then the
chiefs of the councils (La Valliere and Le Blanc) came to
give an account of their espionage; then Torcy, to bring
any important letters which he had abstracted. At half-
past two the regent had his chocolate, which he always
took while laughing and chatting. This lasted half an
hour; then came the audience hour for ladies; after that
he went to the Duchesse d' Orleans, then to the young
king, whom he visited every day, and to whom he always
disjDlayed the greatest reverence and respect.
Once a week he received foreign ministers, and on Sun-
days heard mass in his private chapel.
At six on council days, at five on others, all business
was over; then the regent would go to the opera, or to
Madame de Berry, with whom, however, he had quarrelled
80 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
now, on account of lier marriage with E,iom. Then came
those famous suppers.
They were composed of from ten to fifteen persons, and
the regent's presence among them sometimes added to their
license and freedom, but never restrained it.
At these suppers, kings, ministers, chancellors, ladies
of the court, were all passed in review, discussed, abused;
everything might be said, everything told, everything
done; provided only that it were wittily said, told, or
done. When all the guests had arrived, the doors were
closed and barred, so that it was impossible to reach the
regent until the following morning, however urgent might
be the necessity.
Dubois was seldom of the number, his bad health for-
bade it; and this was the time chosen to pick him to pieces,
at which the regent would laugh as heartily as any one.
Dubois knew that he often furnished the amusement of
these suppers, but he also knew that by the morning the
regent invariably forgot what had been said the night
before, and so he cared little about it.
Dubois, however, watched while the regent supped or
slept, and seemed indefatigable; he appeared to have the
gift of ubiquity.
When he returned from Eambouillet, he called Maitre
Tapin, who had returned on horseback, and talked with
him for an hour, after which he slept for four or five,
then, rising, he presented himself at the door of his royal
highness; the regent was still asleep.
Dubois approached the bed and contemplated him with
a smile which at once resembled that of an ape and a
At length he decided to wake him.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 81
"Hola, monseigneur, wake up!" lie cried.
The duke opened liis eyes, and, seeing Dubois, turned
liis face to tlie wall, saying —
"Ah! is that you, abbe? go to the devil!"
"Monseigneur, I have just been there, but he was too
busy to receive me, and sent me to you."
"Leave me alone; I am tired."
"I dare say, the night was stormy."
"What do you mean?" asked the duke, turning half
"I mean that the way you spent the night does not suit
a man who makes appointments for seven in the morning. ' '
"Did I appoint you for seven in the morning?"
"Yes, yesterday morning, before you went to St. Ger-
"It is true," said the regent.
"Monseigneur did not know that the night would be
"Fatiguing! I left table at seven."
"Well! what afterward?"
"Are you satisfied, monseigneur, and was the young
person worth the journey ?' '
"The journey you took after you left the table at
seven. ' '
"One would think, to hear you, that from St. Grer-
main's here was a long distance."
"No, monseigneur is right; it is but a few steps, but
there is a method of prolonging the distance."
"What is that?"
"Groing round by Eambouillet. "
62 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"You are dreaming, abbd"
"Possibly, monseigneur. I will tell you my dream; it
will at least prove to your bigbness tbat even in my dreams
I do not forget you. ' '
"Some new nonsense."
"Not at all. I dreamed tbat monseigneur started tbe
stag at Le Treillage, and tbat tbe animal, after some
battling, wortby of a stag of bigb birtb, was taken at
"So far, your dream resembles tbe trutb; continue."
"After wbicb, monseigneur returned to St. Germain's,
sat down to table at balf-past five, and ordered tbat tbe
carriage witbout arms sbould be prepared and barnessed,
witb four borses, at balf-past seven."
"Not bad, abbe, not bad; go on."
"At balf-past seven, monseigneur dismissed every one
except Lafare, witb wbom be entered tbe carriage. Am I
" Go on ; go on. ' '
"Tbe carriage went toward Eambouillet, and arrived
tbere at a quarter to ten, but at tbe entrance of tbe town it
stopped, Lafare went on in tbe carriage to tbe Tigre Koyal,
monseigneur following as an outrider."
' ' Here your dream becomes confused, abbd ' '
"No, no, not at all."
"Continue, tben. "
"Well, wbile Lafare pretended to eat a bad supper,
wbicb was served by waiters wbo called bim Excellency,
monseigneur gave bis borse to a page and went to a little
"Demon, wbere were you bidden?"
"I, monseigneur, bave not left tbe Palais Eoyal, wbere
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 83
I slept like a dormouse, and the proof is that I am telling
you my dream."
"And what was there in the pavilion ?"
"First, at the door, a horrible duenna, tall, thin, dry,
"Dubois, I will recommend you to Desroches, and the
first time she sees you, she will tear your eyes out. ' '
"Then inside, mon Dieu! inside."
' ' You could not see that, even in a dream, abbd. ' '
"Monseigneur, you may take away the 300,000 francs
which you allow me for my secret police, if, by their aid, I
did not see into the interior. ' '
"Well, what did you see?"
"Ma foi, monseigneur, a charming little Bretonne, six-
teen or seventeen years old, beautiful, coming direct from
the Augustine convent at Clisson, accompanied to Kam-
bouillet by one of the sisters, whose troublesome presence
was soon dispensed with, was it not?"
"Dubois, I have often thought you were the devil, who
has taken the form of an abbe to ruin me. ' '
' ' To save you, monseigneur, to save you. ' '
"To save me; I do not believe it."
"Well," said Dubois, "are you pleased with her?"
' ' Enchanted, Dubois ; she is charming. ' '
"Well, you have brought her from so far that, if she
were not, you would be quite cheated."
The regent frowned, but, reflecting that probably Dubois
did not know the rest, the frown changed to a smile.
' ' Dubois, ' ' said he, ' ' certainly, you are a great man. ' '
"Ah, monseigneur, no one but you doubts it, and yet
you disgrace me — "
84 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Yes, you hide your loves from me."
"Come, do not be vexed, Dubois."
"There is reason, however, you must confess, men-
seigneur. ' '
"Why did you not tell me you wanted a Bretonne.
Could not I have sent for one?"
"Yes, of course I could."
"Yes, and better. You think you have found a treasure,
perhaps ?' '
"Well, when you know what she is, and to what you
"Do not jest, abb^, I beg."
' ' Ah ! monseigneur, you distress me. ' '
"What do you mean ?"
"That you are taken by a glance, a single night fas-
cinates you, and there is no one to compare to the new-
comer. Is she then very pretty?"
"And discreet? virtue itself, I suppose?"
"You are right."
"Well, I tell you, monseigneur, you are lost."
"Yes; your Bretonne is a jade."
"I forbid you to say another word."
"Monseigneur, you, too, have had a dream — let me
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 85
"Monsieur Josepli, I will send you to tlie Bastille."
' ' As you please, monseigneur, but still you must know
that this girl — "
' ' Is my daughter, abbe. ' '
Dubois drew back stupefied.
"Your daughter; and who is her mother?"
"An honest woman, who had the honor of dying with-
out knowing you."
"And the child?"
"The child has been concealed, that she might not be
sullied by the looks of such creatures as you."
Dubois bowed, and retired, respectfully.
The regent looked triumphant.
"Ah!" said Dubois, who had not quite closed the door,
"I thought this plot would bring me my archbishop's mitre.
If I am careful, it will bring me my cardinal's hat."
86 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
AT THE appointed hour Gaston presented himself at
H^l^ne's domicile, but Madame Desroches made
some difficulty about admitting him; Hel^ne, how-
ever, said firmly that she was quite at liberty to judge for
herself what was right, and that she was quite determined
to see M. de Livry, who had come to take leave of her. It
will be remembered that this was the name which Graston
had assumed during the journey, and which he intended to
retain, except when with those connected with his mission
Madame Desroches went to her room somewhat out of
humor, and even attempted to overhear the conversation,
but Hel^ne bolted the outer door.
"Ah, Gaston," said she, "I have been expecting you.
I did not sleep last night."
"Nor I, Hdlene; but I must admire all this splendor."
"And your head-dress — how beautiful you are like
"You do not appear much pleased."
Gaston made no reply, but continued his investiga-
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 87
"These ricli hangings, these costly pictures, all prove
that jour protectors are opulent, H^l^ne. "
"I believe so," said Hdl^ne, smiling; "yet I am told that
these hangings, and this gilding, which you admire, are old
and unfashionable, and must be replaced by new."
' ' Ah, Hel^ne, you will become a great lady, ' * said Gas-
ton, sighing; "already I am kept waiting for an audience."
' ' My dear Gaston, did you not wait for hours in your lit-
tle boat on the lake ?"
"You were then in the convent. I waited the abbess's
pleasure. ' '
"That title is sacred, is it not ?"
"It gives security, imposes respect and obedience."
"Well, judge of my delight. Here I find the same pro-
tection, the same love, only more powerful, more lasting."
"What!" exclaimed Gaston, surprised.
"I find— "
"Speak, in Heaven's name."
"Gaston, I have found a father."
"A father! Ah, my dear H^l^ne, I share your joy;
what happiness! a father to watch over my Hel^ne, my
"To watch from afar."
"Is he separated from you ?"
"Alas! it seems the world separates us. "
"Is it a secret?"
' * A secret even to me, or you may be sure you should
know all. I have no secrets from you, Gaston. ' '
"A misfortune of birth — a prescription in your family —
some temporary obstacle?"
88 THE REGENTS DAUQHTEh
**I do not know."
"Decidedly, it is a secret; but," said he, smiling, "I
permit you to be discreet with me, if your father ordered it.
However, may I ask some more questions?"
"Are you pleased? Is your father one you can be
"I think so, his heart seems noble and good. His voice
is sweet and melodious. ' '
' ' His voice ! but is he like you ?' *
"I do not know. I have not seen him."
"Not seen him!"
"No, it was dark."
"Your father did not wish to see his daughter; and you,
so beautiful; oh, what indifference!"
"No, Gaston, he is not indifferent; he knows me well;
he has my portrait — ^that portrait which made you so jealous
last spring. ' '
"But I do not understand this."
"It was dark, I tell you."
"In that case one might light these girandoles," said
"That is well, when one wishes to be seen; but when
one has reasons for concealment — ' '
"What!" interrupted Gaston; "what reason can a father
have for hiding from his own daughter?"
"Excellent reasons, I believe, and you should under-
stand them better than I can."
"Oh, Hel^ne!" said Gaston, "with what terrible ideas
you fill my mind."
"You alarm me, Gaston!"
"Tell me — what did your father speak of?"
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 89
"Of his deep love for me."
"He swore to me tliat in future I should be happy; that
there should be no more uncertainty as to my fate, for that
he would despise all those considerations which had induced
him as yet to disown me as a daughter."
' ' "Words, words ; but what proof did he give you ? Par-
don me these questions, Hel^ne. I dread misfortune. I
wish that for a time your angel's innocence could give place
to the sharpness and infernal sagacity of a fiend; you would
then understand me. I should not need to subject you to
this interrogatory, which now is so necessary. ' '
"I do not understand your question, Gaston. I do not
know how to reply to you. ' '
"Did he show you much affection?"
"But, in the darkness, when he wished to speak to
"He took my hand, and his trembled the most."
Gaston clinched his hands with rage.
"He embraced you paternally, did he not?"
"He gave me a single kiss on the forehead, which I
received on my knees."
"Hel^ne!" he cried, "my fears were not gToundless;
you are betrayed — you are the victim of a snare. Hdl^ne,
this man who conceals himself, who fears the light, who
calls you his child, is not your father."
' ' Gaston, you distress me. ' '
"H^l^ne, angels might envy your innocence; but oa
earth all is abused, even angels are insulted, profaned, by
men. This man, whom I will know, whom I will seize and
force to have confidence in your love and honor, shall tell
90 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
me — if lie be not the vilest of beings — wbetlier I am to call
him father, or kill him as a wretch!"
"Gaston, your brain is wandering; what can lead you to
suspect such treachery? And, since you arouse my sus-
picions, since you hold a light over those ignoble labyrinths
of the human heart which I refused to contemplate, I will
speak to you with the same freedom. "Was I not in this
man's power? Is not this house his? Are not the people
by whom I am surrounded devoted to his orders ? Gaston,
if you love me, you will ask my pardon for what you have
thought and said of my father. ' '
Gaston was in despair.
"Do not destroy one of the purest and holiest joys I have
ever tasted. Do not poison the happiness of a life which I
have often wept to think was solitary and abandoned, with-
out other affection than that of which Heaven forbids
us to be lavish. Let my filial ties compensate for the
remorse which I sometimes feel for loving you almost to
"Hel^ne, forgive me," cried Gaston. "Yes, you are
right; I sully your pure joys by my contact, and it may be
the noble affection of your father; but in Heaven's name,
H^l^ne, give some heed to the fears of my experience and
my love. Criminal passions often speculate on innocent
credulity. The argument you use is weak. To show at
once a guilty love would be unlike a skilful corrupter ; but
to win you by a novel luxury pleasing to your age, to ac-
custom you gradually to new impressions, to win you at
last by persuasion, is a sweeter victory than that of vio-
lence. Hel^ne, listen to my prudence of five- and- twenty
years — I say my prudence, for it is my love that speaks,
that love which you should see so humble, so devoted, so
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 91
ready to accept a father whom I knew to be really your
parent. ' '
Hdl^ne made no answer.
"I implore you," continued Gaston, "not to take any
determination now, but to watch everything around you.
Suspect the perfumes which are given you, the wine which
you are offered — everything, H^l^ne. Watch over yourself
— ^you are my happiness, my honor, my life."
' ' My friend, I will obey you ; this will not keep me from
loving my father. ' '
"Adore him, Hel^ne, if I am wrong."
"You are a noble friend, Gaston. We are agreed,
' ' At the slightest suspicion write to me. ' '
"Write! You leave me then?"
"I must go to Paris on business. I shall be at the Hotel
Muids d' Amour, Kue des Bourdonnais. Write down this
address, and do not show it to any one."
"Why so many precautions?"
"Because, if your devoted protector were known, his
plans for aiding you might be frustrated in case of bad
"You are somewhat mysterious, Gaston. I have a father
who conceals himself, and a lover — this word I can hardly
speak — who is going to do the same. ' '
' ' But my intentions you know, ' ' said Gaston, attempting
to force a laugh.
"Ah, Madame Desroches is coming back. She thinks
our interview too long. I am as much under tutelage as at
Gaston imprinted a kiss on the hand Hel^ne held out to
^ THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
him. As Madame Desroclies appeared, H^l^ne made a for-
mal courtesy, whicli Gaston returned by an equally formal
Gaston left for Paris. Owen awaited him with, impa-
tience, and this time could not reproach his master with
being slow, for in three hours they were in Paris.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 93
CAPTAIN LA JONQUIERE
THERE was, as the reader lias learned, in the Rue
des Bourdonnais a hotel where one could lodge,
eat, and drink.
In his nocturnal interview with Dubois, Tapin had re-
ceived the famous name of La Jonqui^re, and had trans-
mitted it to L'Eveille, who had passed it to all the chiefs
of police, who had begun to search for the suspected officer
in all the equivocal houses in Paris. The conspiracy of
Cellamare, which we have related in a history of the Chev-
alier d'Harmental, had taught them that everywhere con-
spirators were to be found.
It was, however, by luck or by cleverness, Maitre Tapin
himself who, in the Rue des Bourdonnais and in the Hotel
Muids d' Amour, found La Jonquidre, who was then a night-
mare to Dubois.
The landlord took Tapin to be an old attorney's clerk,
and replied to his questions politely, that "the Captain
La Jonqui^re was in the hotel, but was asleep."
Tapin asked no more. La Jonqui^re was asleep, there-
fore he was in bed, for it was only six in the morning;
if he were in bed, then he must be stopping at the inn.
Tapin went back to the Palais Royal, and found Dubois,
who had just left the regent. A number of false La Jon-
94: THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
qui^res had already been discovered by liis emissaries.
One was a smuggler, called Captain La Jonci^re, wliom
L'Eveill^ had found and arrested. A second was La
Jonquille, sergeant in the French Guards, and many
"Well," said Dubois, when Tap in had made his re-
port, "you have found the real Captain La Jonqui^re,
"Yes, monseigneur. "
"Is he called La Jonqui^re ?"
" L-a, la; J-o-n, jon; q-u-i-^r-e, qui^re?" continued he,
spelling the word.
"La Jonquiere, " repeated Tapin.
"What is he doing?"
"Waiting and drinking."
"That must be he," said Dubois; "and does he pay?"
He evidently attached great importance to the question.
"Very well, monsieur."
" A la bonne heure, Tapin. You have some sense. ' '
"Monseigneur," said Tapin, modestly, "you flatter me;
it is quite clear, if he had not paid, he could not have been
a dangerous man. ' '
Dubois gave him ten louis as a reward, gave him some
further orders, and set out at once to go to the Eue des
Let us say a word regarding the interior of the hotel.
It was partly hotel, partly public house; the dwelling
rooms were on the first floor, and the tavern rooms on
the ground floor.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 95
The principal of these, the common room, had four oak
tables, and a quantity of red and white curtains; some
benches along the wall, some glasses on a sideboard, some
handsomely framed pictures, all blackened and rendered
nauseous by smoke, completed the tout ensemble of this
room, in which sat a fat man with a red face, thirty-
five or forty years old, and a little pale girl of twelve
This was the landlord and his only daughter and heiress.
A servant was cooking a ragout in the kitchen.
As the clock struck one, a French guard entered, and,
stopping at the threshold, murmured, "Eue des Bourdon-
nais, Muids d' Amour, in the common room, to sit at the
table on the left, and wait."
Then, in accordance with this, the worthy defender of
his country, whistling a tune and twirling his moustache,
seated himself at the place indicated.
Scarcely had he had time to seat himself and strike his
fist on the table, which, in the language of all taverns,
means ' ' Some wine, ' ' than a second guard, dressed exactly
like the first, appeared at the door, murmured some words,
and, after a little hesitation, seated himself by the other.
The two soldiers looked at each other, and both ex-
"Ah!" which in all languages means surprise.
"It is you, Grrippart, " said one.
"It is you, L'Eulevant, " said the other.
"What are you doing in this tavern?"
"I do not know."
"You come here, then?"
y6 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
' ' Under orders. ' '
"That is my case."
"And you are waiting?"
' ' For a man wlao is coming. ' '
" With a watchword ? "
"And on this watchword ?"
"I am to obey as though it were Tapin himself."
"Just so; and, in the meantime, I have a pistole for
' ' I have a pistole also, but I was not told to drink. ' '
"And it being doubtful?"
"In doubt, as the sage says, I do not abstain."
' ' In that case, let us drink. ' '
And he raised his hand to call the landlord, but it was
not necessary, for he was standing near, expecting orders.
' ' Some wine, ' ' cried the two guards.
"Orleans," added one; "I like that."
The landlord brought an inclosed bottle.
The two drinkers filled their glasses, emptied them, and
then placed them on the table, each with a different grimace,
but both intended to express the same opinion.
When the host was gone, one said to the other —
"You know more of this than you have told me ?"
"I know it concerns a certain captain," answered the
"Yes; just so. But I suppose we shall have aid to
"Doubtless; two to one is not enough."
"You forget the man with the watchword."
' ' Ah ! I think I hear something. ' '
"Yes; some one coming downstairs."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 97
And the soldiers, much more occupied by their com-
mission than if they had really been soldiers, kept an eye
turned toward the staircase while they drank.
They were not deceived; the step on the staircase ap-
proached, and they saw, first, some legs, then a body, then
a head descending. The legs were covered with fine silk
stockings and white cashmere breeches, the body with a
tight blue coat, and the head with a three-cornered hat,
jauntily placed over one ear; his epaulets left no doubt
that he held the rank of captain.
This man, who was in fact Captain La Jonqui^re, was
about five feet five, rather fat, and had a sagacious air;
one would almost have supposed that he suspected spies
in the two soldiers, for he turned his back to them at once,
and entered into conversation with his host in a somewhat
assumed tone and manner.
"In truth," said he, "I should have dined here, and this
delicious perfume of stewed kidneys would have tempted
me, but some hons vivants are expecting me at the Galou-
bet de Paphos. Perhaps a young man may come here this
morning, but I could not wait any longer. Should he ask
for a hundred pistoles, say that I shall be back in an hour,
if he will wait. ' '
"Very well, captain," said the host.
"Some wine," said the guard.
"Ah," said the captain, throwing an apparently careless
glance at the drinkers, "here are some soldiers who have
but little respect for an epaulet." Then, turning to the
"Serve these gentlemen; you see they are in a hurry."
' ' Ah, ' ' said one, rising, ' ' as soon as monsieur will permit. ' *
(E)— YoL 23
S8 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Certainly I permit it," said La Jouqui^re; and he
stepped toward tlie door.
"But, captain," said tlie host, stopping him, "you have
not told me the name of the gentleman you expect. ' '
La Jonqui^re hesitated. After a moment —
"Monsieur Gaston de Chanlay, " he replied.
"Gaston de Chanlay," repeated the host. "I hope I
shall remember the name. Gaston — Gascon; ah, I shall
remember Gascon. Chanlay; ah, I shall think of Chan-
"That is it," repeated La Jonqui^re, gravely; "Gascon
And he went out, but not without looking round the
corners of the street and the angles of the houses.
He had not taken a hundred steps in the Kue St. Honor^
before Dubois presented himself at the door. He had passed
La Jonqui^re, but, never having seen him, could not recog-
He presented himself boldly, dressed as a shopkeeper.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 99
MONSIEUR MOUTONNET, DRAPER AT ST, GERMAIN-EN-LAYE
DUBOIS at once accosted tlie host.
"Monsieur," said lie timidly, "does Captain La
Jonqui^re lodge here ? I wish to speak to him. ' '
"Yon wish to speak to him?" said the host, examining
the new-comer from head to foot.
"If possible," said Dubois.
"Are you sure that is the person you want?" asked the
host, who did not think this was the man La Jonqui^re
"I think so," said Dubois modestly.
"A short, fat man?"
"Drinks his brandy neat?"
"That is the man."
"Always ready with his cane if he is not attended
"Ah, that is Captain La Jonquiere!"
"You know him, then?"
"Not in the least," said Dubois.
' ' True, for you must have met him at the door. ' '
"Diable! Is he out?" said Dubois, with a start of ill-
humor badly repressed. "Thank you," and he called
up an amiable smile.
100 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"He lias not been gone five minutes."
"But he is coming back?"
"In an hour."
"Maj I wait for him, monsieur?"
' ' Certainly, if you take something. ' '
"Give me some brandy cherries," said Dubois. "I never
drink wine except with meals. ' '
The two guards exchanged a contemptuous smile.
The host hastened to bring the cherries.
"Ah!" said Dubois; "only five! At St. Grermain-en-
Laye they give six."
"Possibly, monsieur; for at St. Grermain-en-Laye they
have no excise to pay."
"Yes, I forgot that," and he began to eat a cherry,
which he could not, however, accomplish without a grimace.
"Where does the captain lodge?" asked Dubois.
"There is the door of his room; he preferred the
"Yes," murmured Dubois ; "the windows look into the
"And there is a door opening into the Eue des Deux
"Oh, how convenient! And does not the noise annoy
"There is another room above: sometimes he sleeps in
one, sometimes in the other."
"Like Denis the tyrant," said Dubois, who could not
refrain from Latin or historical quotations.
"What?" said mine host.
Dubois bit his lip. At this moment one of the soldiers
called for wine, and the host darted ofi to wait upon him.
Dubois turned to the two guards.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 101
"Thank you," said lie.
"What is it, bourgeois?" asked they.
"France and the regent," replied Dubois.
"The watchword!" cried both, rising.
"Enter this room," said Dubois, showing La Jonqui^re's
room. ' ' Open the door into the Kue des Deux Boules, and
hide behind a curtain, under a table, in a closet, wherever
you can. If, when I come in, I can see so much as an ear,
you will have no pay for six months."
The two men emptied their glasses, and entered the
room, while Dubois, who saw they bad forgotten to pay,
put a piece of twelve sous on the table, then, opening the
window, and calling to the driver of a hackney carriage
standing before the door —
"L'Eveille, " said he, "bring the carriage to the little
door in the Rue des Deux Boules, and tell Tapin to come
up when I knock on the window with my fingers. He has
his orders ; be off. ' '
The host reappeared.
"Hola!" cried he, "where are my men?"
"A sergeant came and called them away."
"But they have not paid."
"Yes, they left a twelve-sou piece on the table."
"Diable! twelve sous; and my wine is eight sous the
"Ah!" said Dubois, "no doubt they thought that as
they were soldiers you would make a reduction. ' '
"At any rate," said the host, consoling himseK, "it is
not all lost; and in our trade one must expect this kind
"You have nothing of the sort to fear with Captain
102 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Oil, no, lie is the best of lodgers; lie pays witliout a
word, and ready money. True, lie never likes anytking. "
' ' Oil, tliat may be his manner, ' ' said Dubois.
"What you tell me of his prompt payment pleases me."
' ' Rave you come to ask for money ? He said he ex-
pected some one to whom he owed a hundred pistoles. ' '
"No; on the contrary, I owe him fifty louis. "
"Fifty louis! Peste!" said the host, "what a pretty
sum! Perhaps I was mistaken, and he said receive, not
pay. Are you the Chevalier GTaston de Chanlay?"
"Does he expect the Chevalier Gaston de Chanlay?"
said Dubois, with a joy he could not conceal,
"He told me so, " said the host. "Is that you ?"
"No; I am not noble. I am called Moutonnet. "
"Nobility is nothing," said the host, "One may be
called Moutonnet and be an honest man."
"Yes; Moutonnet, draper at St. Grermain-en-Laye."
"And you have fifty louis for the captain ?"
"Yes. In turning over some old accounts of my father's,^
I find he owed fifty louis to Captain La Jonqui^re's father,
and I have had no peace till, instead of the father, who is
dead, I had found the son."
"Do you know there are not many debtors like you?"
"The Moutonnets are all the same, from father to son.
When we are owed anything we are pitiless. Listen. There
is an honest fellow who owed Moutonnet and Son one hun-
dred and sixty francs; my grandfather put him in prison,
and there he has been for the three generations, and he has
just died there. I calculated that, during the thirty years
he was there, he cost us twelve thousand francs; but we
maintained the principle. But I beg your pardon for keep-
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 103
ing you with all this nonsense; and here is a new customer
lor you. ' '
"Ahi" said the host, "it is Captain La Jonqui^re him-
self. Captain," continued he, "some one is waiting for
The captain entered suspiciously — he had seen some
strange, and he thought sinister, faces about.
Dubois saluted him politely.
La Jonquiere asked the host if the friend he had ex-
pected had arrived.
"No one but monsieur. However, you lose nothing by
the exchange, since one was to fetch away money, and the
other brings it, ' '
La Jonquiere, surprised, turned to Dubois, who repeated
the same story he had told to the host, and with such suc-
cess that La Jonquiere, calling for wine, asked Dubois to
follow him into his room.
Dubois approached the window, and quietly tapped on
it with his fingers.
"But shall I not be in the way in your room?" asked
"Not at all — not at all. The view is pleasant; as we
drink we can look out and see the passers-by; and there
are some pretty women in the Eue des Bourdonnais. ' '
They entered the room. Dubois made a sign to Tapin,
who appeared in the first room, followed by two men, then
shut the door behind him.
Tapin 's two followers went to the window of the common
room, and drew the curtains, while Tapin placed himself
behind the door of Jonquiere 's room, so as to be hidden
by it when it opened. The host now returned from La
Jonquiere 's room, to write down the receipt for the money
104 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
wliicli La Jonquiere liad just paid him for tlie wine, wlien
Tapin threw a handkerchief over his mouth, and carried
him oft' like a feather to a second carriage standing at the
door. One of the men seized the little girl who was cook-
ing eggs, the other carried off the servant, and soon they
were all on the way to St. Lazare, drawn by two such good
horses that it was evidently not a real hired car.
Tapin remained behind, and taking from a closet a calico
apron and waistcoat, signed to a loiterer who was looking
in at the window, and who quickly transformed himself
into a publican.
At this moment a violent noise was heard in the cap-
tain's room, as of a table thrown down with bottles and
glasses; then oaths, then the clinking of a sword, then
Presently a carriage was heard rolling away up the Kue
de Deux Boules. Tapin looked joyous.
"Bravo!" said he, "that is done."
"It was time, masters," said the pretended publican,
**for here is a customer."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 105
TRUST TO SIGNS OF GRATITUDE
TAPIN at first thouglit that it was the Chevalier de
Chanlay, but it was only a woman who wanted
a pint of wine.
"What has happened to poor M. Bourguignon ?" asked
she. "He has just been taken away in a coach."
"Alas!" said Tapin, "we were far from expecting it.
He was standing there talking, and was suddenly seized
with apoplexy. ' '
' ' Grracious heavens ! ' '
"We are all mortal," said Tapin, throwing up his eyes.
"But why did they take the little girl?"
' ' To attend to her father — it is her duty. ' '
"But the servant?"
"To cook for them."
"Ah, I could not understand it all, so I came to buy a
pint of wine, though I did not want it, that I might find
"Well, now you know."
"Yes, but who are you ?"
"I am Champagne, Bourguignon's cousin. I arrived by
chance this morning; I brought him news of his family,
and the sudden joy overcame him. Ask Grrabigeon," con-
106 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
tinued Tapin, showing his assistant, who was finishing an
omelet commenced by the landlord's daughter.
"Oh, yes, everything passed exactly as M. Champagne
says," replied Grabigeon, wiping away a tear with the
handle of his spoon.
' ' Poor M. Bourguignon ! then you think that we should
pray for him ?"
"There is never any harm in praying," said Tapin,
"Ah, stop a minute; give me good measure."
Monsieur Bourguignon would have groaned in spirit
could he have seen the wine that Tapin gave for her two
"Well," said she, "I will go and tell the neighbors,
who are very anxious, and I promise you my custom, M.
Champagne; indeed, if M. Bourguignon were not your
cousin, I would tell you what I think."
"Oh, tell me, never mind that."
"I perceive that he cheated me shamefully. What you
have given me for two sous, he would hardly have given
me for four; but if there is no justice here there is in
heaven, and it is very providential that you are to con-
tinue his business."
"I believe so," said Tapin, in a half voice, "particu-
larly for his customers."
And he dismissed the woman just as the door opened,
and a young man entered, dressed in a blue cloak.
"Is this the hotel Le Muids d' Amour?" asked he.
"Does Captain La Jonqui^re lodge here?"
*'Is he within?"
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 107
' ' Yes, lie has just returned. ' '
"Tell him, if you please, that the Chevalier Gaston de
Chanlay is here."
Tapin offered the chevalier a chair, and went into La
Graston shook the snow from his boots and cloak, and
proceeded leisurely to examine the pictures on the wall,
never supposing that he had close to him three or four
swords, which, at a sign from the polite host, would leave
their sheaths to be plunged into his breast.
Tapin returned, saying, "Captain La Jonqui^re waits for
M. de Chanlay. ' '
Graston proceeded to the room where sat a man whom the
host pointed out as Captain La Jonqui^re, and — without
being much of a physiognomist — he perceived at once that
he was no bully.
Little, dry, gray- eyed, uneasy in his uniform, such ap-
peared the formidable captain whom Graston had been rec-
ommended to treat with so much consideration.
"This man is ugly, and looks like a sexton," thought
G-aston; then, as the stranger advanced toward him —
"Have I the honor of speaking to Captain La Jon-
qui^re ?" asked Gaston.
"Himself," said Dubois* "and are you M. le Chevalier
Gaston de Chanlay?"
"Have you the sign of recognition?" asked the false
"Here is the half of the gold piece."
''And here the other," said Dubois.
They tried the two, which fitted exactly.
"And now," said Gaston, "the papers;" and he drew
108 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
from his pocket the strangely folded paper on which was
written the name of La Jonqui^re.
Dubois took from his pocket a similar paper, bearing
Gaston's name; they were precisely alike.
"Now," said Gaston, "the pocket-book."
They found that their pocket-books were precisely simi-
lar, and both, though new, contained an almanac for the
year 1700, nineteen years previous.
"And now, monsieur," said Gaston.
"Now we will talk of business: is not that your mean-
"Exactly; are we safe?"
' ' As though in a desert. ' '
They seated themselves by a table, on which were a
bottle of sherry and two glasses.
Dubois filled one, and was about to fill the other, when
Gaston stopped him.
"Peste!" thought Dubois, "he is slender and sober, bad
signs ; Caesar mistrusted thin people who did not drink, and
Brutus and Cassius were such. ' '
"Captain," said Gaston, after a short silence, "when we
undertake, as now, an affair in which we risk our heads, I
think we should know each other, so that the past may
vouch for the future. Montlouis, Talhouet, Du Couedic,
and Pontcalec have told you my name and condition. I
was brought up by a brother, who had reasons for personal
hatred to the regent. This hatred I have imbibed; there-
fore, three years ago, when the league was formed among
the nobility in Bretagne, I entered the conspiracy; now
I have been chosen to come to Paris to receive the in-
structions of Baron de Valef, who has arrived from
Spain, to transmit them to the Due d'Olivares, his Cath-
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 109
olic Majesty's agent in Paris, and to assure myself of
"And what is Captain La Jonqui^re to do in all this?"
asked Dubois, as though he were doubting the chevalier's
"To present me to the Due d'OHvares, I arrived two
hours ago ; since then I have seen M. de Valef , and now I
come to you. Now you know my history. ' '
Dubois listened, and, when Graston had finished —
"As to me, chevalier," said he, throwing himself back
indolently in his chair, "I must own my history is some-
what longer and more adventurous; however, if you wish
to hear it, I obey."
"I think it necessary, in our position, to know each
other," said Gaston.
"Well," said Dubois, "as you know, I am called Cap-
tain La Jonqui^re ; my father was, like myself, a soldier of
fortune ; this is a trade at which one gains in general a good
deal of glory and very little money; my glorious father
died, leaving me, for sole inheritance, his rapier and his
uniform; I girded on the rapier, which was rather too
long, and I wore the uniform, which was rather too large.
From that time," said Dubois, calling the chevalier's at-
tention to the looseness of his coat, "from that time I
contracted the habit of always having plenty of room to
Gaston nodded, as though to express his approbation of
' ' Thanks to my good looks, I was received in the Royal
Italian, which was then recruiting in France. I held a dis-
tinguished post; when — the day before the battle of Mal-
plaquet — I had a slight quarrel with my sergeant about an
110 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
order wliich lie gave me witli tlie end of his cane raised
instead of lowered, as it should have been. ' '
"Pardon me," said Gaston, "but I cannot see what dif-
ference that could make to the order he was giving. ' '
"It made this difference, that in lowering his cane it
struck against my hat, which fell to the ground ; the result
was a duel, in which I passed my sabre through his body.
Now, as I certainly should have been shot if I had waited
to be arrested, I made ofi, and woke the next morning —
devil take me if I know how it happened — in Marlborough's
army. ' '
"That is to say you deserted," said Graston, smiling.
"I had Coriolanus and the great Cond^ for examples,"
said Dubois, "and this appeared to me to be sufficient to
excuse me in the eyes of posterity. I assisted then, I must
tell you, as we are to hide nothing from one another, at the
battle of Malplaquet; but instead of being on one side of
the brook, I was on the other, and instead of having the
village behind me, I faced it. I think this was a lucky
exchange for your humble servant; the Eoyal Italian left
eight hundred men on the field of battle, my company was
cut to pieces, and my own comrade and bedfellow killed by
a cannon-ball. The glory with which my late regiment cov-
ered itself so much delighted Marlborough that he made
me an ensign on the field of battle. With such a protector
I ought to have done well, but his wife, Lady Marlborough,
whom Heaven confound, having been awkward enough to
spill a bowl of water over Queen Anne's dress, this great
event changed the face of things in Europe. In the over-
throw which resulted, I found myself without any other
protector than my own merit and the enemies I had gained
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 111
"And what did you do then?" asked Gaston, some-
what interested in the adventurous life of the pretended
"What could I do? I was forced to enter the service of
his Catholic Majesty, who, to his honor be it said, graciously
acceded to my demand for a commission. In three years I
"Was a captain; but out of our pay of thirty reals a day they
kept back twenty, telling us what an honor it was for us to
lend money to the King of Spain. As the security did not
appear good in my eyes, I asked leave of my colonel to quit
the service and return to my beautiful country, accom-
panied by a recommendation, in order that the Malplaquet
affair might not be too much brought on the tapis. The
colonel referred me to the Prince de Cellamare, who, recog-
nizing in me a natural disposition to obey, without discus-
sion, any orders given in a proper manner and accompanied
by a certain music, employed me actively in the famous
conspiracy which bears his name, when, all at once, the
whole affair blew up, as you know, by the double denun-
ciation of La Fillon and a wretched writer called Buvat;
but his highness, wisely thinking that what is deferred is
not lost, recommended me to his successor, to whom I hope
my services may be useful, and whom I thank most heartily
for procuring me the acquaintance of so accomplished a
cavalier as yourself. Count on me, then, chevalier, as your
most humble and obedient servant."
"I ask nothing of you, captain," replied Gaston, "but to
present me to the duke, the only person to whom my in-
structions permit me to speak openly, and to whom I am to
deliver the Baron de Valef's despatches. I beg, therefore,
that you will present me to his excellency."
"This very day, chevalier," said Dubois, who seemed to
112 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
have decided on his course of action; "in an liour if you
like, in ten minutes if necessary. ' '
"As soon as possible."
"Listen," said Dubois; "I was a little too quick when I
said you should see his excellency in an hour — in Paris one
is never sure; perhaps he does not know of your coming,
and I may not find him at home. ' '
' ' Perhaps even I may be prevented from coming back to
fetch you, ' '
"Peste, chevalier; it is easy to see that this is your first
visit to Paris."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that in Paris there are three distinct bodies of
police, who all unite to torment those honest people who
only desire to substitute what is not for what is. First, the
regent's police, which is not much to be feared; secondly,
that of Messire Voyer d' Argenson — ^this has its days, when
he is in a bad humor, or has been ill received at the con-
vent of the Madeleine du Tresnel; thirdly, there is Dubois's
police; ah! that is a different thing. Dubois is a — "
"A wretch!" cried Graston; "I am well aware of
Dubois smiled his sinister smile.
"Well, to escape these three police?" said Gaston.
"One must be prudent, chevalier."
"Instruct me, captain; for you seem to know more about
it than I, who am a provincial."
"First, we must not lodge in the same hotel."
"Diable!" said Gaston, who remembered the address
given to Hel^ne; "I had a great wish to remain here."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 113
"I will be tlie one to turn out then, chevalier. Take
one of my rooms — this one, or the one above."
"I prefer this."
*'You are right; on the ground floor, a window looking
into one street, a secret door to the other. You have a
quick eye; we shall make something of you."
"Let us return to our business."
"Eight; where was I?"
"You said you might not be able to come back and
"Yes, but in that case take care not to follow any one
without sufficient signs."
"By what sign shall I recognize any one as coming
"First, he must have a letter from me."
"I do not know your writing."
"True; I will give you a specimen."
And Dubois wrote the following lines:
"Monsieur le Chevalier — Follow without fear the
man who brings this note ; he is deputed by me to lead you
to the house where the Due d'Olivares and Captain La
Jonqui^re await you."
"Stay," said he, giving him the note, "if any one comes
in my name, he will give you a similar letter."
"Is that enough?"
"One cannot be too careful; besides the letter, he will
show you the half-coin, and at the door of the house to
which he leads you, ask for the third sign."
"Which will be— "
"It is well," said Gaston, "with these precautions, the
114 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
devil is in it if we are mistaken. Nov?", wliat am I to
"Wait; you will not go out to-day?"
"Well, remain quiet in this hotel, where you will want
for nothing. I will recommend you to the host. ' '
"My dear M. Champagne," said Dubois to Tapin, open-
ing the door, "the Chevalier de Chanlay takes my room;
attend to him as you would to me."
Then, closing it —
"That fellow is worth his weight in gold, Tapin,*' said
he in a low voice, "do not lose sight of him for a moment;
you will answer for him with your head."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 115
HIS EXCELLENCY THE DUG D'ORLEANS
DUBOIS, on leaving tlie chevalier, contemplated tke
chance which had again placed in his hands the
future of the regent and of France. In crossing
the hall he recognized L'Eveille, and signed to him to fol-
low. It was L'Eveille who had undertaken to get the real
La Jonqui^re out of the way. Dubois became thoughtful:
the easiest part of the affair was done ; it now remained to
persuade the regent to put himself in a kind of affair which
he held in the utmost horror — the manoeuvring of intrigue.
Dubois began by asking where the regent was, and how
occupied ? The prince was in his studio, finishing an etch-
ing commenced by Hubert, the chemist, who, at an adjoin-
ing table, was occupied in embalming an ibis, by the Egyp-
tian method, which he professed to have recovered.
A secretary was reading some letters to the regent.
All at once, to the regent's astonishment — for this was
his sanctum — the door opened, and an usher announced
Captain La Jonqui^re.
The regent turned.
"La Jonquiere ?" said he; "who is this?"
Hubert looked surprised that a stranger should be thus
unceremoniously intruded on their privacy.
116 THE hegent's daughter
At tliis moment a long pointed head, appeared at tlie
Tlie regent did not at first recognize Dubois in his dis-
guise: but shortly the pointed nose, which had not its.
match in the kingdom, betrayed him.
A merry look took the place of the astonishment which
the regent's features had at fi.rst displayed.
"Ah, it is you, abbe!" said his highness, laughing, "and
what is the meaning of this disguise ?"
' ' It means that I have changed my skin, and from a fox
have turned into a lion; and now. Monsieur the Chemist
and Monsieur the Secretary, do me the favor to take your
bird and letters elsewhere. ' '
"Why so ?" asked the regent.
"Because I have important business to speak of with
"Go to the devil with your important business ; it is too
late : come to-morrow. ' '
" Monseigneur, " said Dubois, "do not force me to remain
till to-morrow in this villanous disguise."
"Do what you please, but I have decided that the rest
of this day shall be given to pleasure. ' '
"Well, I come to propose a disguise to you also."
"A disguise! what do you mean, Dubois?" asked the
regent, who thought it was probably one of his ordinary
"Ah, it makes your mouth water, Monseigneur Alain.'*
"Speak; what do you want to do?"
"First send away your chemist and secretary."
"You still wish it?"
"Yery well, then."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 117
The regent signed to them to leave : they did so.
"And now," said he, "what is it?"
"I want to present to you, monseigneur, a young man,
a very delightful fellow, just arrived from Bretagne, and
strongly recommended to me."
"The Chevalier Graston de Chanlay. "
"De Chanlay!" said the regent, "the name is not un-
known to me."
"Yes, I think I have heard it formerly; but I do not
remember where or how. What does your 'protege come
to Paris for?"
"Monseigneur, I shall leave him to tell you that him-
"Tell it to me?"
"Yes; that is to say, to the Due d'Olivares, whom you
are about to personate. Ah, my protege is a discreet con-
spirator, and I have had some trouble to get at the truth
of things. He was addressed to Paris, to a certain La Jon-
qui^re, who was to present him to the Due d'Olivares.
Do you understand now?"
"Not at all."
"Well, I have been Captain La Jonqui^re, but I cannot
be both La Jonquiere and his excellency. ' '
"So you reserve that part — "
' ' For you, monseigneur. ' '
"Thank you. So you think that, under a false name,
I will get at the secrets — "
"Of your enemies, monseigneur," interrupted Dubois.
"Pardieu! what a dreadful crime, and how it would dis-
tress you, to change name and dress ; you ■ have never
118 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
before learned secrets by such, means. But remember,
monseigneur, our many disguises, and after being called
M. Alain and Maitre Jean you may well, I tbink, witbout
anything derogatory to your dignity, be called Le Due
"I ask no better than a disguise for amusement, but — "
"But a disguise," continued Dubois, "to preserve tbe
peace of France, to prevent traitors from overthrowing
the kingdom, to prevent assassins from murdering you
. — this, I suppose, is unworthy of you. I understand; ah,
if it were only in pursuit of some little ironmongress in
tbe Pont-Neuf, or the pretty widow of the Eue Saint
Augustine, it might be worth your while."
"If I do what you wish," said the regent, "what will
be the result?"
"Probably, that you will own that I am no visionary,
and that you will allow others to watch over you, since
jou will not watch over yourself."
' ' But, once for all, if the thing turns out not worth the
trouble, shall I be freed from your worrying ?"
"I promise you, on my honor."
" Abb^, if you have no objection, I should prefer another
"Oh, monseigneur, you are too hard; but you consent?"
"Again this folly."
' ' You shall see if it be folly. ' '
"I believe you make plots to frighten me."
' ' Then they are well made ; you shall see. ' '
"Are you certain?"
"If I am not frightened, look to yourself."
"Monseigneur exacts too much."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 119
"You are not sure, Dubois."
"I swear to you, monseigneur, that you will be moved,
and will be glad to speak witb liis excellency's tongue."
And Dubois went out before the regent had time to with-
draw his consent.
Five minutes after, a courier entered the antechamber,
and gave a letter to a page, who brought it to the regent.
"Madame Desroches, " said he, looking at the writing,
and, breaking the seal, read as follows —
"Monseigneur — The young lady you left in my charge
does not appear to be in safety here. ' '
"Bah!" cried the regent, and then read on —
"The residence in the town, which your highness feared
for her, would be a hundred times better than isolation ; and
I do not feel strong enough to defend her as I would wish,
and as I ought. ' '
"Ouais!" said the regent, "it seems something is the
"A young man, who had written to Mademoiselle Hdl^ne
shortly before your arrival yesterday, presented himself this
morning at the pavilion ; I wished to refuse him admittance,
but mademoiselle so peremptorily ordered me to admit him,
and to retire, that in her look and tone I recognized the blood
which commands. ' '
"Yes, yes," said the regent, "she is indeed my daughter;
but who can this young man be ? Some coxcomb she must
have seen in the convent parlor." Then he read on:
"I believe, monseigneur, that this young man and made-
moiselle have met before. I did not think it wrong to lis-
ten, for jour highness's service, and in spite of the double
120 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
door I once heard liim say, ' To see you as formerly. ' Will
your royal highness secure me against this danger, and send
me a written order which I can use to shelter myself from
the anger of mademoiselle. ' '
"Diable!" exclaimed the regent, "it cannot be a love
affair already; brought up in the only convent in France
where men never pass the parlor. No, it is some foolish
fear of Madame Desroches; but let us see what else she
writes. ' '
"P.S. — I have just been to the hotel Tigre Eoyal for
information. The young man arrived yesterday evening
at seven o'clock, just three quarters of an hour before
mademoiselle; he came by the Bretagne Road, that is,
the road she also came. He travels under the name of
M. de Livry. "
"Ohl" said the regent, "this looks like a concerted
plan. Pardieu! Dubois would laugh if he knew this;
how he would talk! It is to be hoped he knows nothing
of it, in spite of his police. Hola! page."
The page who had brought the letter entered.
"Where is the messenger from Rambouillet ?"
"He is waiting for an answer."
"Give him this, and tell him to start at once."
As to Dubois, while preparing the interview between
Gaston and the false duke, he made the following cal-
"I hold the regent hoth by himself and his daughter.
This intrigue of his is either serious or not; if it be not,
I distress her in exaggerating it. If it be serious, I have
the merit of having discovered it; but I must not strike
both blows at once. Fii'st, I must save the duke, then his
daughter, and there will be two rewards. Is that the best ?
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 121
Yes, the duke first; if a young girl falls, no one suffers,
if a man falls, a kingdom is lost; let us begin with the
duke." And Dubois despatched a courier to M. de Mon-
taran at Nantes.
M. de Montaran was, as we have said, the ancient Gov-
ernor of Bretagne.
As to Gaston, his plan was fixed. Ashamed of being
associated with a man like Jonqui^re, he congratulated him-
self that he was now to communicate with the chief of the
enterprise, and resolved, if he also appeared base and ve-
nial, to return and take counsel with his friends at Nantes.
As to Hdl^ne he doubted not; he knew her courage and her
love, and that she would die rather than have to blush be-
fore her dearest friend. He saw with joy that the happiness
of finding a father did not lead her to forget the past, but
still he had his fears as to this mysterious paternity; even
a king would own such a daughter, were there not some
Gaston dressed himself carefully; there is a coquetry in
danger as well as in pleasure, and he embellished his youth
with every advantage of costume.
The regent, by Dubois's advice, dressed in black velvet
and half hid his face in an immense cravat of Mechlin
The interview was to take place in a house belonging
to the regent, in the Faubourg Saint Germain: he arrived
there at five o'clock, as night was falling.
(P)— Vol. 2S
122 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
MONSEIGNEUR, WE ARE BRETONS
GASTON remained in tlie room on the ground floor,
and dressed himself carefully, as we have said,
while Tapin continued his apprenticeship. By the
evening he knew how to measure a pint as well as his
predecessor, and even better; for he thought that in the
compensation which would be given to Bourguignon waste
would be considered, and that therefore the less waste the
better; so the morning's customer on her return got badly
served, and went off disgusted.
When his toilet was finished, Graston began to inspect
La Jonqui^re's library, and found it composed of three sets
of books; theatrical books, obscene books, and arithmetical
While he was thus engaged, a man entered, introduced
by Tapin, who went out directly, and left him alone with
Gaston. The man announced that Captain La Jonqui^re,
not being able to return, had sent him in his stead. Gaston
demanding proof, the man showed a letter in the same terms
and the same writing as the specimen Graston had received,
and then the half- coin, after which Gaston made no diffi-
culty as to following him, and both got into a carefully
closed carriage. They crossed the Pont-Neuf, and, in the
Rue du Bac, stopped at the courtyard of a pavilion; then
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 123
the man drew from his pocket the paper bearing the cheva-
lier's name as the third signal of recognition.
Gaston and his companion alighted, ascended the four
steps of the doorway, and entered a large circular corridor
surrounding the pavilion. Graston looked round and saw
that his guide had disappeared and that he was alone.
His heart beat quickly. He was about to face, not the
tool, but the master and originator of the whole plot, the
representative of a king; he was to play a kingdom against
A bell sounded within.
Graston almost trembled. He looked in a glass and saw
that he was pale; a thousand new ideas assailed him; the
door opened, and La Jonqui^re appeared.
"Come, chevalier," said he, "we are expected."
Gaston advanced with a firm step.
They found a man seated in an armchair, his back
turned to the door. A single light, placed on a table
and covered with a shade, lighted only the lower part of
his body; his head and shoulders were in shadow.
Gaston thought the face noble, and understood at once
that this was a man of worth, and no La Jonqui^re. The
mouth was benevolent and the eyes large, bold and firm,
like those of a king or a bird of prey; deep thought was
written on his brow, prudence and some degree of firmness
in the lower part of the face ; all this, however, in the half-
darkness, and in spite of the Mechlin cravat.
"At least this is an eagle," thought he, "the other was
but a raven."
Gaston bowed silently, and the unknown, rising, went
and leaned against the chimney.
"Monsieur is the person of whom I spoke to your ex-
124: THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
cellency," said La Jonqui^re, "M. le Chevalier Graston
The unknowii bowed silently.
"Mordieu!" whispered Dubois in his ear, "if you do not
speak he will not say anything."
"This gentleman comes from Bretagne, I believe," said
the duke, coldly.
"Yes, monsieur; but will your excellency pardon me.
Captain La Jonqui^re has told my name, but I have not
been told yours. Excuse my rudeness, monseigneur; it is
not I who speak, it is my province, which sends me. ' '
' ' You are right, monsieur, ' ' said La Jonqui^re, quickly,
taking from a portfolio on the table a paper, at the bottom
of which was a large signature with the seal of the King
"Here is the name," said he.
"Due d'Olivares, " read Graston.
Then turning to him, he bowed respectfully.
"And now, monsieur," said the duke, "you will not, I
presume, hesitate to speak. ' '
"I thought I had first to listen," said Graston, still on
' ' True : but, remember, it is a dialogue ; each one speaks
in turn. ' '
"Monseigneur, you do me too much honor, and I will
set the example of confidence. ' '
"I listen, monsieur."
"Monseigneur, the states of Bretagne — "
' ' The malcontents of Bretagne, ' ' interrupted the regent,
smiling, in spite of a sign from Dubois.
"The malcontents are so numerous," replied Gaston,
"that they may be considered the representatives of the
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 125
province: however, I will employ the word your excellency
points out; the malcontents of Bretagne have sent me to
you, monseigneur, to learn the intentions of Spain in
"First let us learn those of Bretagne."
"Monseigneur, Spain may count on us; we pledge our
word, and Breton loyalty is proverbial."
"But what do you promise ?"
' ' To second the efforts of the French nobility. ' '
"But are you not French ?"
"Monseigneur, we are Bretons. Bretagne, reunited to
France by a treaty, may look on herself as separated from
the moment when France no longer respects the rights of
"Yes, I know; the old story of Anne de Bretagne's con-
tract. It is a long time since that contract was signed,
monsieur. ' '
The false La Jonqui^re pushed the regent violently.
"What matter," said Gaston, "if each one of us has it
126 THE EEGENrS DAUGHTER
"■\ /OU said tliat tlie Breton nobility were ready to second
I tlie Frencli nobility: now, what do the French no-
bility want ?"
"They desire, in case of his Majesty's death, to place
the King of Spain on the throne of France, as sole heir
of Louis XIV."
"Very good, very good," said La Jonqui^re, taking
snuff with an air of extreme satisfaction.
"But," said the regent, "the king is not dead, although
you speak almost as if he were. ' '
"The Grand Dauphin, the Due and Duchesse de Bour-
gogne, and their children, disappeared in a deplorable
manner. ' '
The regent turned pale with anger; Dubois coughed.
"Then they reckon on the king's death?"
' ' Generally, monseigneur. ' '
"Then that explains how the King of Spain hopes, in
spite of the renunciation of his rights, to mount the throne
of France. But, among the people attached to the regency,
he may meet with some opposition. ' '
The false Spaniard involuntarily lingered on these words.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER l27
*'Moiiseigneur," replied tlie clievalier, "this case also has
"Ah.!" said Dubois, "this has been foreseen. Did not
I tell you, monseigneur, that the Bretons were valuable to
us. Continue, monsieur, continue."
In spite of this invitation, Gaston was silent
""Well, monsieur," said the pretended duke, "I am
"This secret is not mine, monseigneur."
"Then," said the duke, "I have not the confidence of
"On the contrary, you alone have it."
"I understand, monsieur; but the captain is my friend,
and I answer for him as for myself. ' '
"My instructions are, monsieur, to speak to you
"But, I tell you, I answer for the captain."
"In that case," said Graston, bowing, "I have said all
I have to say."
"You hear, captain," said the regent; "have the kind-
ness to leave us alone."
"Yes, monseigneur; I have but two words to say to
Q-aston drew back.
"Monseigneur," whispered Dubois, "press him hard —
get out the whole affair — ^you will never have such an-
other chance. "What do you think of our Breton?"
"A noble fellow; eyes full of intelligence and a fine
"So much the better for cutting it off.''
""What do you say?"
"Nothing, monseigneur; I am exactly of your opinion.
128 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
M. de Chanlay, your hunible servant; some miglit be angry
tliat you would not speak before tbem, but I am not proud,
and, provided all things turn out as I expect, I do not care
for tlie means. "
"Monsieur," said tbe regent, when Dubois had closed
the door, "we are alone, and I am listening. Speak — ^you
understand my impatience."
"Yes, monseigneur. You are doubtless surprised that
you have not yet received from Spain a certain despatch
which you were to send to Cardinal Olocroni?"
"True, monsieur," said the regent, dissembling with
"I will explain the delay. The messenger who should
have brought this despatch fell ill, and has not left
Madrid. The Baron de Valef, my friend, who was in
Spain, offered himself; and, after three or four days' hesi-
tation, at length — as he was a man already tried in Cella-
mare's conspiracy — they trusted him."
"In fact," said the regent, "the Baron de Valef narrowly
escaped Dubois's emissaries; it needed some courage to re-
new such a work. I know that when the regent saw Ma-
dame du Maine and Cellamare arrested, Richelieu, Polignac,
Malezieux, and Mademoiselle de Launay in the Bastille,
and that wretched Lagrange- Chancel at the Sainte Mar-
guerite, he thought all was finished."
"You see he was mistaken, monseigneur."
"But do not these Breton conspirators fear that in thus
rising they may sacrifice the heads of the Paris conspirators
whom the regent has in his power ?"
"They hope to save them, or die with them."
"How save them?"
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 129
•'Let us return to the despatch, if joa please, monsei-
gueur; here it is."
The regent took the paper, but seeing the address to
his excellency the Duo d'Olivares, laid it on the table
Strange inconsistency! This man opened two hundred
letters a day by his spies ; it is true that then he dealt with
a Torcy or a Dubois, and not with a Chevalier de Chanlay.
"Well, monseigneur, " said G-aston.
"You know, doubtless, what this despatch contains,
"Not word for word, perhaps; but I know what was
""Well, tell me. I shall be glad to know how far you
are admitted into the secrets of the Spanish cabinet."
"When the regent is got rid of," said Gaston, without
noticing the slight start which his interlocutor gave at
these words, "the Due du Maine will be provisionally
recognized in his place. The Due du Maine will at once
break the treaty of the quadruple alliance signed by that
"I wish La Jonqui^re had been here to hear you speak
thus ; it would have pleased him. Go on, monsieur. ' *
"The Pretender will start with a fleet for the English
shore; Prussia, Sweden, and Eussia will then be engaged
with Holland; the Empire will profit by this war to re*
take Naples and Sicily, to which it lays claim through
the house of Suabia; the Grand Duchy of Tuscany will be
assured to the second son of the King of Spain, the Cath-
olic Low Countries will be reunited to France, Sardinia
given to the Duke of Savoy, Commachio to the Pope.
France will be the soul of the great league of the south
130 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
against tlie nortli, and, if Louis XY. dies, Philip V. will
be crowned king of lialf tlie world."
"Yes, I know all that," said the regent, "and this is
Cellamare's conspiracy renewed. But you used a phrase
I did not understand."
'^ Which, monseigneur ?"
"You said, when the regent is got rid of. How is he to
be got rid of?"
' ' The old plan was, as you know, to carry him off to the
prison of Saragossa, or the fortress of Toledo. ' '
"Yes; and the plan failed through the duke's watch-
fulness. ' '
"It was impracticable— a thousand obstacles opposed
it. How was it possible to take such a prisoner across
"It was difficult," said the duke, "I never understood
the adoption of such a plan. I am glad to find it modi-
"Monseigneur, it would be possible to seduce guards,
to escape from a prison or a fortress, to return to France,
retake a lost power, and punish those who had executed
this abduction. Philip V. and Alberoni have nothing to
fear; his excellency the Due d'Olivares regains the frontier
in safety ; and, while half the conspirators escape, the other
half pay for all."
"However — "
"Monseigneur, we have the example ot tfie last con-
spiracy before our eyes, and you yourself named those
who are in the Bastille."
"What you say is most logical," replied the duke.
"While, on the contrary, in getting rid of the regent — "
continued the chevalier.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 131
"Yes; you prevent his return. It is possible to return
from a prison, but not from a tomb — that is what you
"Yes, monseigneur, " replied Gaston, with a somewhat
"Now I understand your mission. You come to Paris
to make away with the regent?"
' ' Explain yourself. ' '
"We were five Breton gentlemen forming a small party
or league in the midst of the general association, and it was
agreed that the majority should decide on our plans. ' '
"I understand, and the majority decided that the regent
should be assassinated. ' '
"Yes, monseigneur, four were for assassination, and one
"And that one?"
"If I lose your excellency's confidence, I must own that
I was that one. ' '
"But, then, why are you to accomplish a design you dis-
"Chance was to decide the one who should strike the
"And the lot?"
"Fell on me, monseigneur."
"Why did you not refuse ?"
' ' The ballot was without names, no one knew my vote.
I should have been taken for a coward. ' '
"And you came to Paris ?"
' ' For the task imposed on me. ' '
"Beckoning on me ?"
"As on an enemy of the regent, for aid in accomplishing
182 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
an enterprise wliicli not only concerns tlie interests of Spain,
but wliicli will save our friends from tlie Bastille. ' '
"Do they run as mucli danger as you believe ?"
"Deatb bovers over tbem; the regent bas proofs, and
bas said of M. de Ricbelieu that if be bad four beads be bas
wberewitb to condemn tbem all."
"He said tbat in a moment of passion."
' ' Wbat, monseigneur, you defend tbe duke — you tremble
wben a man devotes bimself to save, not only bis -accom-
plices, but two kingdoms — you hesitate to accept tbat de-
votion. ' '
"If you fail!"
"Everything bas its good and evil side; if the happiness
of being tbe savior of a country is lost, the honor of being a
martyr to its cause is gained. ' '
"But remember, in facilitating your access to the regent
I become your accomplice. ' '
"Does tbat frighten you, monseigneur?"
' ' Certainly, for you being arrested — ' '
' ' Well— I being arrested ? "
"They may force from you, by means of tortures, tbe
names of those — "
Gaston's reply was a smile of supreme disdain.
"You are a foreigner and a Spaniard, monseigneur," said
be, "and do not know what a French gentleman is, therefore
I pardon you. ' '
"Then I may reckon on your silence."
"Pontcalec, Du Couedic, Talbouet, and Montlouis
doubted me for an instant, and have since apologized to
me for doing so."
"Well, monsieur, I will think seriously of wbat you
have said, but in your place — "
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 138
"In my place?"
"I would renounce this enterprise."
"I wish I had never entered into it, monseigneur, I own,
for since I did so a great change has taken place in my life,
but I am in it and must accomplish it. ' '
"Even if I refuse to second you?"
"The Breton committee have provided for that emer-
gency. ' '
"To do without you."
"Then your resolution — "
"I have said all I had to say," replied the regent, "since
you are determined to pursue your undertaking."
"Monseigneur," said Gaston, "you seem to wish to
retire. ' '
' ' Have you anything more to say to me ?' '
"Not to-day; to-morrow, or the day after."
"You have the captain as go-between — when he gives
me notice, I will receive you with pleasure. ' '
"Monseigneur," said Gaston firmly, and with a noble
air, "let me speak freely. "We should have no go-between;
you and I — so evidently separated by rank and station — are
equal before the scaffold which threatens us. I have even
a superiority over you, since I run the greater danger; how-
ever, you are now, monseigneur, a conspirator, like the
Chevalier de Chanlay, with this difference: that you have
the right, being the chief, to see his head fall before yours.
Let me, then, treat as an equal with your excellency, and
see you when it is necessary."
The regent thought for a moment.
"Yery well," said he, "this house is not my residence:
184 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
you understand I do not receive many at my house: since
the war, my position is precarious and delicate in France;
Cellamare is in prison at Blois ; I am only a sort of consul,
good as a hostage; I cannot use too many precautions."
The regent lied with a painful effort.
"Write, then, poste restanie, to M. Andre; you must name
the time at which you wish to see me, and I will be there."
"Through the post ?" asked Gaston.
■ "Yes, it is only a delay of three hours; at each post a
man will watch for your letter, and bring it to me when it
arrives; three hours after you can come here."
"Your excellency forgets," said Gaston, laughing, "that
I do not know where I am, in what street, at what number;
I came by night. Stay, let us do better than that; you
asked for time to reflect, take till to-morrow morning, and
at eleven o'clock send for me. We must arrange a plan
beforehand, that it may not fail, like those plans where
a carriage or a shower of rain disconcerts everything."
"That is a good idea," said the regent; "to-morrow,
then, at eleven o'clock, you shall be fetched, and we will
then have no secrets from each other. ' '
Gaston bowed and retired. In the antechamber he found
the guide who brought him, but he noticed that in leaving
they crossed a garden which they had not passed through
on entering, and went out by a different door. At this door
the carriage waited, and it quickly arrived at the Eue des
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 135
THE FAUBOURG SAINT ANTOINE
NO MOEE illusion for tlie clievalier. In a day or
two lie might be called to liis work.
The Spanish envoy had deeply impressed Gas-
ton — there was about him an air of greatness which sur-
A strange circumstance passed across his mind;. there
was between his forehead and eyes and those of Hel^ne one
of thosp vague and distant likenesses which seem almost like
the incoherence of a dream. Graston, without knowing why,
associated these two faces in his memory, and could not
separate them. As he was about to lie down, worn out
with fatigue, a horse's feet sounded in the street, the hotel
door opened, and Gaston heard an animated conversation;
but soon the door was closed, the noise ceased, and he
slept as a man sleeps at five-and-twenty, even if he be a
However, Gaston was not mistaken ; a horse had arrived,
and a conversation had taken place. A peasant from Eam*
bouillet brought in haste a note from a young and pretty
woman to the Chevalier de Chanlay, Hotel Muids d' Amour.
We can imagine who the young and pretty woman was.
Tapin took the letter, looked at it, then, taking off his
136 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
apron, left th.e charge of tlie liotel to one of his servants, and
went off to Dubois.
' ' Oil, ' ' exclaimed the latter, ' ' let us see ; a letter !' '
He unsealed it skilfully by aid of steam, and, on reading
it, seemed pleased.
"Grood! excellent! Let them alone to go their own way;
we hold the reins, and can stop them when we like. ' ' Then,
turning to Tapin, he gave him the letter, which he had re-
sealed. ' ' Here, ' ' said he, ' ' deliver the letter. ' '
"When?" asked Tapin.
Tapin stepped toward the door.
"No, stop," said Dubois; "to-morrow morning will be
"Now," said Tapin, "may I make an observation?"
"As monseigneur's agent, I gain three crowns a day."
"Well, is not that enough, you scoundrel?"
"It was enough as agent. I do not complain; but it is
not enough as wine-merchant. Oh, the horrid trade!"
"Drink and amuse yourself."
' ' Since I have sold wine I hate it. ' '
"Because you see how it is made; but drink champagne,
muscat, anything: Bourguignon pays. Apropos, he has
had a real attack; so your lie was only an affair of chro-
"Yes, fear has caused it; you want to inherit his
"No, no; the trade is not amusing."
"Well, I will add three crowns a day to your pay while
you are there, and I will give the shop to your eldest
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 187
daughter. Bring me sucli letters often, and you sliall be
Tapin returned to tlie hotel, but waited for the morning
to deliver the letter.
At six o'clock, hearing Graston moving, he entered, and
gave him the note.
This was what it contained —
"My Friend — I think of your advice, and that perhaps
you were right at last, I fear. A carriage has just arrived
— Madame Desroches orders departure — I tried to resist —
they shut me up in my room. Fortunately, a peasant
passed by to water his horse ; I have given him two louis,
and he promised to take you this note. I hear the last
preparations — in two hours we leave for Paris.
"On my arrival I will send you my address, if I have to
jump out of the window and bring it.
"Be assured, the woman who loves you will remain
worthy of herself and you."
"Ah, Hel^ne!" cried Graston; "I was not deceived.
Eight o'clock, but she must have arrived. — Why was not
this letter brought to me at once ?"
"You were asleep, monsieur. I waited your awaking.'*
There was no reply to be made. Graston thought he
would go and watch at the barrier, as Hel^ne might not
have arrived. He dressed quickly, and set out, after saying
to Tapin —
"If Captain La Jonqui^re comes here, say I shall be
back at nine."
While Gaston waits uselessly for H^l^ne, let us look
We saw the regent receive Madame Desroches' letter and
138 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
send a reply. Indeed, it was necessary to remove Hel^ne
from the attempts of this M. de Livry.
But who could he be ? Dubois alone could tell. So
when Dubois appeared —
"Dubois," said the regent, "who is M. de Livry, of
"Livry— Livry," said he. "Stay!"
"Who knows such a name ? Send for M. d'Hozier."
"But, monseigneur, I do not study genealogies. I am
an unworthy plebeian."
"A truce to this folly."
' ' Diable ! it seems monseigneur is in earnest about these
Livrys. Are you going to give the order to one of
them? because, in that case, I will try and find a noble
origin. ' '
"Go to the devil, and send me Noce. "
Dubois smiled, and went out.
Noc^ quickly appeared. He was a man about forty, dis-
tinguished-looking, tall, handsome, cold and witty, one of
the regent's most faithfal and favorite friends.
"Monseigneur sent for me?"
"Ah, Noc^, good-day."
"Can I serve your royal highness in anything ?"
"Yes; lend me your house in the Faubourg Saint An-
toine, but empty, and carefully arranged. I will put my
owr people in it. ' '
"Is it to be for—"
"For a prude, Noce."
"The houses in the faubourg have a bad name, moii*
seigneur. ' '
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 139
"The person for whom I require it does not know that;
remember, absolute silence, Noc^, and give me the keys."
' ' A quarter of an hour, monseigneur, and you shall have
"Adieu, Noce, your hand; no spying, no curiosity,
' ' Monseigneur, I am going to hunt, and shall only return
at your pleasure. ' '
"Thanks; adieu till to-morrow."
The regent sat down and wrote to Madame Desroches,
sending a carriage with an order to bring Hel^ne, after read-
ing her the letter without showing it to her.
The letter was as follows:
"My Daughter — On reflection, I wish to have you near
me. Therefore follow Madame Desroches without loss of
time. On your arrival at Paris, you shall hear from me.
"Your affectionate father."
Helene resisted, prayed, wept, but was forced to obey.
She profited by a moment of solitude to write to Graston,
as we have seen. Then she left this dwelling which had
become dear to her, for there she had found her father
and received her lover.
As to Gaston, he waited vainly at the barrier, till, giv-
ing up all hope, he returned to the hotel. As he crossed
the garden of the Tuileries, eight o'clock struck.
At that moment Dubois entered the regent's bedcham-
ber with a portfolio under his arm, and a triumphant smile
on his face.
140 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
THE ARTIST AND THE POLITICIAN
AH! it is you, Dubois," exclaimed tlie regent, as Ms
"Yes, monseigneur, " said Dubois, taking out
some papers. "Well, what do you say to our Bretons
"Wbat papers are those?" asked the regent, who,
in spite of the preceding day's conversation, or perhaps
because of it, felt a secret sympathy with De Chanlay.
"Oh, nothing at all, first a little report of what passed
yesterday evening between M. de Chanlay and his Excel-
lency the Due d'Olivares. "
"You listened, then?" said the regent.
"Pardieu, monseigneur, what did you expect that
I should do?"
"And you heard?"
"All. What do you think of his Catholic Majesty's
"I think that perhaps they use his name without his
consent. ' '
"And Cardinal Alberoni? Tudieu! monseigneur, how
nicely they manage Europe: the Pretender in England;
Prussia, Sweden and Russia tearing Holland to pieces;
the Empire recovering Sicily and Naples; the Grand
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 141
Duchy of Tuscany for Philip the Fifth's son; Sardinia
for the King of Savoy; Commachio for the Pope; France
for Spain; really, this plan is somewhat grand, to emanate
from the brain of a bell-ringer."
"All smoke, these prospects!" said the duke; "mere
dreams. ' '
"And the Breton league, is that all smoke?"
"I am forced to own that that really exists."
"And the dagger of our conspirator, is that a dream?"
"No; it even appeared to me likely to be vigorously
handled. ' '
"Peste! monseigneur, you complained in the other plot
that you found none but rose-water conspirators. Well,
this time I hope you are better pleased. These fellows
"Do you know," said the regent, thoughtfully, "ths/f-
the Chevalier de Chanlay is of an energetic and vigorous
nature. ' '
"Ah, the next thing will be, jow will conceive a great
admiration for this fellow. I know, monseigneur, that you
are capable of it."
"How is it that a j^rince always finds such natures
among his enemies, and not among friends?"
"Because, monseigneur, hatred is a passion, and devo-
tion often only a weakness; but if you will descend from
the height of philosophy and deign to a simple act, namely,
to give me two signatures — ' '
"What signatures?" asked the regent.
"First, there is a captain to be made a major."
"Captain La Jonqui^re?"
"Oh, no; as to him, we'll hang him when we have done
with him ; but meanwhile we must treat him with care. ' '
142 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Who, then, is this captain?"
"A brave officer, whom monseigneur eight days, or rather
eight nights ago, met in a house in the Eiie St. Honore. "
"What do you mean?"
' ' Ah, 1 see I must aid your memory a little, monseigneur,
since you have such a bad one. ' '
' ' Speak, one can never get at the truth with you. ' '
"In two words, eight nights ago you went out disguised
as a musketeer through the little door in the Rue Eichelieu,
accompanied by Noce and Simiane. ' '
"It is true; what passed in the Eue St. Honor^?"
"Do you wish to know, monseigneur?"
"I can refuse you nothing."
"You supped at the house — that house, monseigneur."
"Still with Noce and Simiane ?"
"No, monseigneur, tete-d-tete. Noce and Simiane supped,
too, but separately. You supped, then, and were at table,
when a brave officer, who probably mistook the door,
knocked so obstinately at yours that 3^ou became im-
patient, and handled the unfortunate who disturbed you
somewhat roughly; but he, who, it seems, was not of
an enduring nature, took out his sword, whereupon you,
monseigneur, who never look twice before committing a
folly, drew your rapier and tried your skill with the
officer. ' '
"And the result?" asked the regent.
"Was that you got a scratch on the shoulder, in return
for which you bestowed on your adversary a sword-thrust
in the breast."
"But it was not dangerous ?" asked the regent anxiously.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 143
*'No; fortunately tlie blade glided along the ribs."
"So muob tbe better."
"It appears tliat you owed the officer a special grudge."
"I had never seen him."
"Princes strike from a distance."
"What do you mean ?"
"This officer had been a captain for eight years, when,
on your highness 's coming into power, he was dismissed."
"Then I suppose he deserved it."
"Ah, monseigneur, you would make us out as infallible
as the Pope!"
"He must have committed some cowardly act."
"He is one of the bravest officers in the service."
"Some infamous act then ?"
"He is the most honest fellow breathing."
"Then this is an injustice to be repaired."
"Exactly; and that is why I prepared this major's
brevet. ' '
"Give it to me, Dubois, you have some good in you
sometimes. ' '
A diabolical smile passed over Dubois's face as he drew
from his portfolio a second paper.
The regent watched him uneasily.
"What is that paper?" asked he.
"Monseigneur, you have repaired an act of injustice,
now do an act of justice."
"The order to arrest the Chevalier Gaston de Chanlay,
and place him in the Bastille," cried the regent. "Ah I I
see now why you bribed me with a good action; but stay,
this requires reflection."
144 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
**Do you tliink I propose to you an abuse of power,
monseigneur ?" asked Dubois, laugbing.
"No, but yet—"
"Monseigneur," continued Dubois, "when we have in
our hands the government of a kingdom, the thing most
necessary is to govern."
"But it seems to me that I am the master."
"To reward, yes; but on condition of punishing. The
balance of justice is destroyed, monseigneur, if an eternal
and blind mercy weighs down one of the scales. To act
as you always wish, and often do, is not good, but weak.
"What is the reward of virtue, if you do not punish
"Then," said the regent, the more impatiently that he
felt he was defending a bad though generous cause, "if you
wished me to be severe, you should not have brought about
an interview between me and this young man ; you should
not have given me the opportunity of appreciating his
worth, but have allowed me to suppose him a common
"Yes; and now, because he presented himself to your
highness under a romantic guise, your artistic imagination
runs away with you. Diable I monseigneur, there is a time
for everything; so chemistry with Hubert, engraving with
Audran, music with Lafare, make love with the whole
world; but politics with me."
"Mon Dieul" said the regent, "is it worth while to de-
fend a life, watched, tortured, calumniated as mine is?"
"But it is not your life you are defending, monseigneur;
consider, among all these calumnies which pursue you, and
against which Heaven knows you should be steeled by this
time, your most bitter enemies have never accused you of
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 145
cowardice; as to your life, at Steinkirk, at Neerwinden,
and at Lerida you proved at what rate you valued it.
Pardieu! if you were merely a private gentleman, a
minister, or a prince of the blood, and you were assas-
sinated, a man's heart would cease to beat, and that would
be all; but wrongly or rightly, you coveted a place among
the powerful ones of the world; for that end you broke the
will of Louis the Fourteenth, you drove the bastards from
the throne whereon they had already placed their feet, you
made yourself Kegent of France — that is to say, the key-
stone of the arch of the world. If you die, it is not a man
who falls, it is the pillar which supports the European
edifice which gives way ; thus our last four years of watch-
fulness and struggles would be lost, and everything around
would be shaken. Look at England — the Chevalier do
Saint George will renew the mad enterprises of the Pre-
tender; look at Holland — Russia, Sweden, and Prussia
would hunt her to death; look at Austria — her two-
headed eagle seizes Venice and Milan, as an indemnifi-
cation for the loss of Spain; cast your eyes on France —
no longer France, but Philip the Fifth's vassal. Look
finally at Louis the Fifteenth, the last descendant of the
greatest monarch that ever gave light to the world, and
the child whom by watchfulness and care we have saved
from the fate of his father, his mother, and his uncles, to
place him safe and sound on the throne of his ancestors;
this child falls back again into the hands of those whom
an adulterous law boldly calls to succeed him; thus, on
all sides, murder, desolation, ruin, civU and foreign wars.
And why? Because it pleases Monsieur Philippe d' Or-
leans to think himself still major of the king's troops, or
commandant of the army in Spain, and to forget that he
(G)— Vol. 23
146 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
ceased to be so from tlie moment lie became Begent
"You will bave it, tben," said tbe duke.
"Stay, monseigneur, " said Dubois, *'it shall not be
said tbat in an affair of tbis importance you gave way to
my importunity. I bave said what I bad to say, now
I leave you — do as you please. I leave you tbe paper; I
am going to give some orders, and in a quarter of an
bour I will return to fetcb it."
And Dubois saluted tbe regent and went out.
Left alone, tbe regent became tbougbtful. Tbis wbola
affair, so sombre and so tenacious of life, tbis remains of
tbe former conspiracy, filled tbe duke's mind witb gloomy
tbougbts; be bad braved deatb in battle, bad laugbed at
abductions meditated by tbe Spaniards and by Louis tbe
Fourteenth's bastards. But tbis time a secret borror op-
pressed bim; be felt an involuntary admiration for tbe
young man wbose poniard was raised against bim; some-
times be bated bim, at others be excused, he almost loved
bim. Dubois, cowering down over tbis conspiracy like an
infernal ape over some dying prey, and piercing witb bis
ravenous claws to its very heart, seemed to bim to possess
a sublime intelligence and power; be felt that be, ordinarily
so courageous, should have defended his life feebly in tbis
instance, and his eyes involuntarily sought tbe paper.
"Yes," murmured he, "Dubois is right, my life is no
longer my own ; yesterday my mother also told me the same
thing. Who knows what might happen if I were to fall ?
The same as happened at tbe death of my ancestor Henry
the Fourth, perchance. After having reconquered his king-
dom step by step, he was about — thanks to ten years of
peace, economy, and prosperity — to add Alsace, Lorraine,
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 147
and perhaps Flanders to France, while the Duke of Savoy,
his son-in-law, descending the Alps, should cut out for
himself a kingdom in the Milanais, and with the leavings
of that ^^ kingdom enrich the kingdom of Venice and
strengthen the Dukes of Modena, Florence, and Mantua;
everything was ready for the immense result, prepared
during the whole life of a king who was at once a legis-
lator and a soldier; then the 13th of May arrived; a car-
riage with the royal livery passed the Eue de la Feronni^re,
and the clock of Les Innocents struck three. In a moment
all was destroyed; past prosperity, hopes of the future; it
needed a whole century, a minister called Eichelieu and
a king called Louis the Fourteenth, to cicatrize the wound
made in France by Ravaillac's knife. Yes, Dubois was
right," cried the duke, "and I must abandon this young
man to human justice; besides, it is not I who condemn
him; the judges are there to decide; and," added he, with
animation, "have I not still the power to pardon?"
And quieted by the thought of this royal prerogative,
which he exercised in the name of Louis XY., he signed
the paper, and left the room to finish dressing.
Ten minutes after the door opened softly, Dubois care-
fully looked in, saw that the room was empty, approached
the table near which the prince had been seated, looked
rapidly at the order, smiled on seeing the signature, and
folding it in four, placed it in his pocket, and left the
room with an air of great satisfaction.
148 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
BLOOD REVEALS ITSELF
WHEN Gaston returned from tlie Barri^re de la
Conference, and entered his room, he found La
Jonqui^re installed by the fireplace, and dis-
cussing a bottle of wine which he had just uncorked.
"Well, chevalier," said he, as Gaston entered, "how do
you like my room ? it is convenient, is it not ? Sit down
and taste this wine; it rivals the best Kosseau. Do you
drmk Eosseau? No, they do not drink wine in Bretagne;
they drink cider or beer, I believe. I never could get any-
thing worth drinking there, except brandy. ' *
Gaston did not reply, for he was so occupied that he
had not even heard what La Jonqui^re said. He threw
himself in an easy chair, with his hand in his pocket, hold-
ing H^l^ne's first letter.
"Where is she?" he asked himself ; "this immense, un-
bounded Paris may keep her from me forever. Oh I the
difficulty is too great for a man without power or experi-
"Apropos," said La Jonqui^re, who had followed the
young man's ideas easily, "there is a letter for you."
"From Bretagne?" asked the chevalier, trembling.
"No; from Paris. A beautiful writing — evidently a
"Where is it?" cried Gaston.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 149
"Ask our host. When I came in lie held it in his hands. "
"Give it to me," cried Gaston, rushing into the com-
"What does monsieur want?" asked Tapin, with his
"The letter you received for me."
"Pardon, monsieur; I forgot it."
And he gave Gaston the letter.
"Poor imbecile!" said the false La Jonqui^re, "and
these idiots think of conspiring. It is like D'Harmental;
they think they can attend to love and politics at the same
time. Triple fools; if they were to go at once to La Fil-
lon's for the former, the latter would not be so likely to
bring them to the Place de Gr5ve. "
Gaston returned joyously, reading and rereading He-
line's letter. "Eue du Faubourg St. Antoine; a white
house behind trees — poplars, I think. I could not see the
number, but it is the thirty- first or thirty -second house on
the left side, after passing a chateau with towers, resem-
bling a prison."
"Oh," cried Gaston, "I can find that; it is the Bastille."
Dubois overheard these words.
' ' Parbleu ; I will take care you shall find it, if I lead you
there myself. ' '
Gaston looked at his watch, and finding that it wanted
two hours of the time appointed for his rendezvous in the
Rue du Bac, took up his hat and was going out.
"What! are you going away?" asked Dubois.
"I am obliged to do so."
"And our appointment for eleven o'clock?"
150 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"It is not yet nine."
"You do not want me ?"
"No, thank you."
"If you are preparing an abduction, for instance, I am
an adept, and miglit assist you."
"Thank you," said Gaston, reddening involuntarily,
"but I am not."
Dubois whistled an air, to show that he took the answer
for what it was worth.
"Shall I find you here on my return ?" asked Gaston.
"I do not know; perhaps I also have to reassure some
pretty creature who is interested in me ; but, at any rate, at
the appointed hour you will find your yesterday's guide
with the same carriage and the same coachman."
Gaston took a hasty leave. At the corner of the cem-
etery of the Innocents he took a carriage and was driven
to the Eue St. Antoine. At the twentieth house he
alighted, ordering the driver to follow him; then he pro-
ceeded to examine the left side of the street. He soon
found himself facing a high wall, over which he saw the
tops of some tall poplars; this house, he felt sure, was
the one where Hel^ne was.
But here his difficulties were but commencing. There
was no opening in the wall, neither bell nor knocker at the
door; those who came with couriers galloping before them
to strike with their silver- headed canes could dispense with
a knocker. Gaston was afraid to strike with a stone, for
fear of being denied admittance; he therefore ordered the
coachman to stop, and going up a narrow lane by one side
of the house, he imitated the cry of the screech-owl — a
Hel^ne started. She recognized the cry, and it seemed
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 151
to her as though she were again in the Augustine convent
at Clisson, with the chevalier's boat undei her windows.
She ran to the window; Gaston was there.
Hdlene and he exchanged a glance; then, re-entering
the room, she rang so violently a bell which Madame
Desroches had given her that two servants and Madame
Desroches herself all entered at once.
"Go and open the door," said H^l^ne, imperiously.
"There is some one at the door whom I expect."
"Stop," said Madame Desroches to the valet, who was
going to obey; "I will go myself."
"Useless, madame. I know who it is, and I have al-
ready told you that it is a person whom I expect. ' '
"But mademoiselle ought not to receive this person,"
replied the duenna, trying to stand her ground.
"I am no longer at the convent, madame, and I am not
yet in prison," replied Hel^ne; "and I shall receive whom
"But, at least, I may know who this is?"
"I see no objection. It is the same person whom I re-
ceived at Kambouillet. ' '
"I have positive orders not to allow this young man
to see you. ' '
' ' And / order you to admit him instantly. ' '
' ' Mademoiselle, you disobey your father, • said Madame
Pesroches, half angrily, half respectfully.
"My father does not see through your eyes, madame."
"Yet, who is master of your fate ?"
"I alone," cried Hel^ne, unwilling to allow any domi
152 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Mademoiselle, I swear to joii that your father — "
"Will approve, if he be my father."
These words, given with all the pride of an empress,
cowed Madame Desroches, and she had recourse to silence.
"Well," said Hel^ne, "I ordered that the door should
be opened; does no one obey when I command?"
No one stirred; they waited for the orders of Madame
Hel^ne smiled scornfully, and made such an imperious
gesture that Madame Desroches moved from the door, and
made way ior her; Hel^ne then, slowly and with dignity,
descended the staircase herself, followed by Madame Des-
roches, who was petrified to find such a will in a young girl
just out of a convent.
"She is a queen," said the waiting-maid to Madame Des-
roches; "I know I should have gone to open the door if she
had not done so herself. ' '
"Alas!" said the duenna, "they are all alike in that
family. ' '
"Do you know the family, then?" asked the servant,
Madame Desroches saw that she had said too much.
"Yes," said she; "I formerly knew the marquis, her
Meanwhile Helene had descended the staircase, crossed
the court, and opened the door; on the step stood Gaston.
' ' Come, my friend, ' ' said H^l^ne.
Gaston followed her, the door closed behind them, and
they entered a room on the ground floor.
' ' You called me, and I am here, H^l^ne, ' ' said the young
man; "what do you fear, what dangers threaten you?"
"Look around you," said Helene, "and judge."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 153
The room in which they were was a charming boudoir,
adjoining the dining-room, with which it communicated not
only by folding- doors, but also by an opening almost con-
cealed by rare and peculiar flowers. The boudoir was hung
with blue satin; over the doors were pictures by Claude
Audran, representing the history of Yenus in four tableaux,
while the panels formed other episodes of the same history,
all most graceful in outline and voluptuous in expression.
This was the house which Noce, in the innocence of his
heart, had designated as fit for a prude.
"Gaston," said H^l^ne, "I wonder whether I should
really mistrust this man, who calls himself my father. My
fears are more aroused here than at Eambouillet. ' '
After examining the boudoir, Graston and Hel^ne passed
into the dining-room, and then into the garden, which was
ornamented with marble statues of the same subjects as the
pictures. As they returned, they passed Madame Des-
roches, who had not lost sight of them, and who, raising
her hands in a despairing manner, exclaimed —
"Oh, mon Dieu ! what would monseigneur think of this ?"
These words kindled the smouldering fire in Graston 's
"Monseigneur!" cried he; "you heard, Helene — mon-
seigneur ! We are then, as I feared, in the house of one of
those great men who purchase pleasure at the expense of
honor. Helene, do not allow yourself to be deceived. At
Eambouillet I foresaw danger; here I see it."
"Mon Dieu," said Helene, "but if, by aid of his valets,
this man should retain me here by force ?"
"Do not fear, Helene; am not I here?"
"Oh!" said Helene, "and must I renounce the sweet
idea of finding a father, a preceptor, a friend. ' '
154 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"And at wliat a moment, when you are about to be left
alone in tlie world," said Gaston, unconsciously betraying
a part of his secret.
"What were you saying, Gaston? What is the meaning
of these words ?"
"Nothing — nothing," replied the young man; "some
meaningless words which escaped me, and to which you
must not attacl^ any consequence. ' '
"Gaston, you are hiding some dreadful secret from me,
since you speak of abandoning me at the moment I lose a
"Hel^ne, I will never abandon you except with life."
"Ah," cried the young girl, "your life is in danger, and
it is thus that you fear to abandon me. Gaston, you betray
yourself; you are no longer the Gaston of former days.
You met me to-day with a constrained joy; losing me yes-
terday did not cause you intense sorrow, there are more im-
portant prospects in your mind than in your heart. There
is something in you — pride, or ambition — more powerful
than your love. You turn pale, Gaston; your silence
breaks my heart."
"Nothing — nothing, Helene, I assure you. Is it surpris-
ing that I am troubled to find you here, alone and defence-
less, and not know how to protect you; for doubtless this is
a man of power. In Bretagne I should have had friends
and two hundred peasants to defend me; here I have no
"Is that all, Gaston?"
' ' That is, it seems to me, more than enough. ' '
"No, Gaston, for we will leave this house instantly."
Gaston turned pale ; H^l^ne lowered her eyes, and pl3,c-
ing her hand in that of her lover —
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 155
"Before tliese people who watclius," said slie, "before
the eyes of tliis woman, we will go away together. ' '
Gaston's eyes lighted up with joy; but sombre thoughts
quickly clouded them again. H^l^ne watched this chang-
"Am I not your wife, Gaston?" said she; "is not my
honor yours ? Let us go. ' '
"But where to place you?" said Gaston.
"Gaston," replied Hel^ne, "I know nothing, I can do
nothing ; I am ignorant of Paris — of the world ; I only know
myself and you; well, you have opened my eyes; I distrust
all except your fidelity and love. ' '
Gaston was in despair. Six months previous, and he
would have paid with his life the generous devotion of the
' ' Hel^ne, reflect, ' ' said Gaston. " If we were mistaken,
and this man be really your father!"
' ' Gaston, do you forget that you first taught me to dis-
trust him ?"
"Oh, yes, Hel^ne, let us go," cried Gaston.
"Where are we to go?" asked Hdl^ne; "but you neea
not reply — if you know, it is sufficient. ' '
"Helene, " said Gaston, "I will not insult you by swear-
ing to respect your honor ; the offer which you have made
to-day I have long hesitated to make — rich, happy, sure for
the present of fortune and happiness, I would have placed
all at your feet, trusting to God for the future ; but at this
moment I must tell you, that you were not mistaken; from
day to day, from this day to the next, there is a chance of a
terrible event. I must tell you now, Helene, what I can
offer you. If I succeed, a high and powerful position; but
if I fail, flight, exile, it may be poverty. Do you love me
156 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
enougli, H^l^ne, or ratlier do you love your honor enough
to brave all this and follow me ?"
"I am ready, Gaston; tell me to follow you, and I do so. "
' ' Well, Helene, yoiTr confidence shall not be misplaced,
believe me. I will take you to a person who will protect
you, if necessary, and who in my absence will replace the
father you thought to find, but whom you have, on the con-
trary, lost a second time. ' '
"Who is this person, Gaston? This is not distrust,"
added Helene, with a charming smile, "but curiosity."
"Some one who can refuse me nothing, Helene, whose
days are dependent on mine, and who will think I demand
small payment when I exact your peace and security. ' '
"Still mysterious, Gaston: really, you frighten me."
"This secret is the last, Helene; from this moment my
whole life will be open to you. ' '
"I thank you, Gaston."
"And now I am at your orders, Helene."
"Let us go then."
Helene took the chevalier's arm, and crossed the draw-
ing-room, where sat Madame Desroches, pale with anger,
and scrawling a letter, whose destination we can guess.
"Mon Dieu! mademoiselle, where are you going? what
are you doing?"
"I am going away from a house where my honor is
threatened. ' '
"What!" cried the old lady, springing to her feet, "you
are going away with your lover. ' '
"You are mistaken, madame, " replied Helene, in an
accent of dignity, "it is with my husband."
Madame Desroches, terrified, let her hands fall by her
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 157
"You shall not go, mademoiselle, even if I am forced to
use violence. ' '
' ' Try, madame, ' ' said Helena, in the queenly tone which
seemed natural to her.
"Hola, Picard, Coutourier, Blanchet."
The servants appeared.
"The first who stops me I kill," said Gaston quietly, as
he drew his sword.
"What a will," cried Madame Desroches; "ah, Mesde-
moiselles de Chartres and de Valois, I recognize you there."
The two young people heard this exclamation, but did
not understand it.
"We are going, madame," said H^l^ne; "do not forget
to repeat, word by word, what I told you."
And, hanging on Gaston's arm, flushed with pleasure
and pride, brave as an ancient Amazon, the young girl
ordered that the door should be opened for her; the Swiss
did not dare to resist. Gaston took Hel^ne by the hand,
summoned the carriage in which he had come, and seeing
that he was to be followed, he stepped toward the assailants,
and said in a loud voice —
"Two steps further, and I tell this history aloud, and
place myself and mademoiselle under the safeguard of the
Madame Desroches believed that Gaston knew the mys-
tery, and would declare it: she therefore thought best to
retire quickly, followed by the servants.
The intelligent driver started at a gallop.
158 THE REGENT'S DAUQHTER
WHAT PASSED IN THE RUE DU BAG WHILE WAITING FOR
**'! T THAT, monseigneur, you liere!" cried Dubois^
Y v entering the room of the house in the Rue
du Bac, and finding the regent seated in the
same place as on the previous da3^
' ' Yes ; is there anything wonderful in that ? Have I not
an appointment at noon with the chevalier?"
"But I thought the order you signed would have put an
end to these conferences. ' '
"You were mistaken, Dubois; I wish to have another
interview with this young man. I shall make one more
effort to induce him to renounce his plans."
"And if he should do so?"
' ' Then all will be at an end, there will be no conspiracy ;
there will have been no conspirators. I cannot punish
intentions. ' '
"With any other I should not allow this, but with him
1 say, as you please. ' '
"You think he will remain firm?"
"Oh! I am quite easy. But when he has decidedly
refused, when you are quite convinced that he persists in
his intention of assassinating you, then you will give him
over to me, will you not?"
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 159
"Yes, but not here."
"Why not here?"
"Better to arrest him at his hotel."
"There, at the Muids d' Amour, with Tapin and D'Ar-
genson's people — impossible, monsieur. Bourguignon's af-
fair is still in everybody's mouth in that quarter. I am not
sure that they even quite believe in the attack of apoplexy,
since Tapin now gives strict measure. It will be much
better to arrest him as he leaves here, monseigneur; the
house is quiet; four men could easily do it, and they are
already here. I will move them, as you insist on seeing
him ; and, instead of arresting him as he enters, it must be
done as he leaves. At the door a carriage shall be ready
to take him to the Bastille, so that even the coachman who
brings him here shall not know what has become of him.
No one but Monsieur Delaunay shall know; and I will
answer for his discretion."
"Do as you please."
"That is my usual custom."
"Eascal that you are!"
"But I think monseigneur reaps the benefit of the
rascality. ' '
"Oh, I know you are always right."
"But the others?"
"The Bretons, Pontcalec, Du Couedic, Talhouet, and
"Oh, the unfortunates; you know their names."
"And how do you think I have passed my time at the
hotel Muids d' Amour?"
"They will know of their accomplice's arrest."
160 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
' ' Having no letter from Paris, they will fear that some-
thing is wrong. ' '
"Bah! Is not Captain La Jonqui^re there to reassure
"True; but they must know the writing?"
"Not bad, monseigneur, you are improving; but you
take useless precautions, as Racine says. At this mo-
ment, probably, they are arrested."
"And who despatched the order?"
"I. Pardieu! I am not your minister for nothing.
Besides, you signed it."
"I! Are you mad?"
"Assuredly, these men are not less guilty than the
chevalier; and in authorizing me to arrest one, you au-
thorized me to arrest all."
"And when did the bearer of this order leave?"
Dubois took out his watch.
"Just three hours ago. Thus, it was a poetical license
when I said they were all arrested; they will not be till to-
"Bretagne will be aroused, Dubois."
' ' Bah ! I have taken measures. ' '
"The Breton tribunals will not condemn their com-
patriots. ' '
' ' That case is foreseen. ' '
"And, if they should be condemned, none will be
found to execute them. It will be a second edition of
the affair at Chalais. Remember it was at Nantes that
that took place, Dubois. I tell you, Bretons are unac-
commodating. ' '
"This is a point to settle with the commissioners, of
whom this is a list. I will send three or four executioners
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 161
from Paris — men accustomed to noble deeds — wlio have
preserved the traditions of the Cardinal de Kichelieu."
"Good God!" cried the regent; "bloodshed under my
reign — I do not like it. As to Count Horn, he was a thief,
and Duchaffour a wretch; but I am tender, Dubois."
"No, monseigneur, you are not tender; you are uncer-
tain and weak ; I told you so when you were my scholar —
I tell you so again, now that you are my master. When
you were christened, your godmothers, the fairies, gave you
every gift of nature — strength, beauty, courage, and mind:
only one — whom they did not invite because she was old,
and they probably foresaw your aversion to old women — .
arrived the last, and gave you weakness — that sjjoiled all."
"And who told you this pretty tale? Perrault or St
' ' The princess palatine, your mother. ' '
The regent laughed.
"And whom shall we choose for the commission?"
"Oh, monseigneur, people of mind and resolution, be
sure; not provincials; not very sensitive to family scenes;
men old in the dust of tribunals, whom the Breton men will
not frighten with their fierce eyes, nor the Breton women
seduce with their beautiful languid ones."
The regent made no reply.
"After all," continued Dubois, "these people may not
be as guilty as we suppose. What they have plotted let us
recapitulate. Bah ! mere trifles. To bring back the Span-
iards into France, what is that? To call Philip the Fifth
king, the renouncer of his country; to break all the laws
of the state — these good Bretons."
"Dubois, I know the national law as well as you."
162 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
' ' Tlien, monseigneur, if you speak truly, jou have only
to approve tlie nomination of tlie commissioners I have
"How many are there?"
Dubois gave in the list.
"Ah, you were right — a happy choice; but who is to
preside over this amiable assembly?"
' ' Guess, monseigneur. ' '
' ' Take care ; you must have an honest man at the head
of these ravagers. "
' ' I have one. ' '
"Who is it?"
' ' Cellamare, perhaps. ' '
"Ma foi! I think if you would let him come out of
Blois he would not refuse you even the heads of his
accomplices. ' '
"Let him stop at Blois. Who is to preside?"
"The ambassador from Holland, from the great king.
Dubois, I do not generally compliment you, but this time
you have done wonders."
"You understand, monseigneur; he knows that these
people wish to make a republic; and he, who is brought
up to know none but Sultans, and who has a horror of
Holland through the horror of Louis XIV. for republics,
has accepted with a good grace. We shall have Argram
for prosecutor; Cayet shall be our secretary. We go [io
work quickly and well, monseigneur, for time presses."
"But shall we at least have quiet afterward?"
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 163
"I believe so. We may sleep all day and all niglit; that
is to say, wlien we have finished the war in Spain, ' '
"Oh!" cried the regent, "why did I strive for the re-
gency? I should laugh to see M. du Maine freeing himself
with his Jesuits and his Spaniards ! Madame de Maintenon
and her politics, with Villeroy and Yillars, would drive
away the spleen; and Hubert says it is good to laugh
once a day."
"Apropos of Madame de Maintenon," replied Dubois;
"you know, monseigneur, that she is very ill, and that she
cannot live a fortnight. ' '
"Since the imprisonment of Madame du Maine and the
exile of her husband, she says that decidedly Louis XIY. is
dead, and that she goes weeping to rejoin him. ' '
"Which does not trouble you, eh?"
"Oh! I confess that I hate her cordially; it was she who
made the king open his eyes so wide when I asked for the
red hat at your marriage ; and, corbleu ! it was not an easy
thing to arrange, monseigneur, as you know. If you had
not been there to redress my wrongs she would have spoiled
my career. If I could but have crammed her M, du Maine
into this Bretagne affair; but it was impossible — the poor
man is half dead with fear, so that he says to every one he
meets, 'Do you know there has been a conspiracy against
the government of the king and against the person of the
regent? it is a disgrace to France. Ah! if all men were
only like me!' "
"No one would conspire; that is certain, " said the regent.
"He has disowned his wife," added Dubois, laughing.
* ' And she has disowned her husband, ' ' said the regent,
164 THE REOENrS DAUGHTER
"I should not advise you to imprison them together —
thej would fight."
"Therefore I have placed one at Doulens and the other
, ' ' From whence they bite by post. ' '
"Let us put all that aside, Dubois."
"Ah, monseigneur! you have, I see, sworn the loss of
the blood of Louis XIV. ; you are a true executioner. ' '
This audacious joke proved how sure Dubois felt of his
ascendency over the prince.
The regent signed the order naming the tribunal, and
Dubois went out to prepare for Gaston's arrest.
Gaston, on his return to the Muids d' Amour, found the
same carriage and the same guide awaiting him that had
before conducted him to the Kue du Bac. Gaston, who
did not wish H^l^ne to alight, asked if he could continue
his route in the hired carriage in which he had just arrived;
the man replied that he saw no objection, and mounted
on the box by the driver, to whom he told the ad-
During the drive, Gaston, instead of displaying the
courage which Hel^ne had expected, was sad, and yet
gave no explanation of his sadness. As they entered the
Rue du Bac, Helene, in despair at finding so little force of
character in him on whom she leaned for protection, said,
*'Gaston, you frighten me."
"H^l^ne, you shall see before long if I am acting for
your good or not."
The carriage stopped.
"Helene, there is one in this house who will stand in
the place of a father to you. Let me go first, and I will
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 165
"Ah!" cried H615ne, trembling, she knew not why;
*'and you are going to leave me here alone?"
"You have nothing to fear, Hel^ne; besides, in a few
minutes I will return and fetch you."
The young girl held out her hand, which Gaston pressed
to his lips; the door opened; the carriage drove into the
courtyard, where Gaston felt that Hel^ne ran no danger;
the man who had come to the hotel to fetch him opened
the carriage door; Gaston again pressed Helene's hand,
alighted, ascended the steps, and entered the corridor,
when his guide left him as before.
Gaston, knowing that Hel^ne waited his return, at once
tapped at the door of the room.
' ■ Enter, ' ' said the voice of the false Spaniard.
Gaston knew the voice, entered, and with a calm face
approached the Due d'Olivares.
"You are punctual, monsieur," said the latter; "we
named noon, and it is now striking. ' '
"I am pressed for time, monseigneur; my undertaking
weighs on me ; I fear to feel remorse. That astonishes and
alarms you, does it not, monseigneur ? But reassure your-
self ; the remorse of a man such as I am troubles no one but
himself. ' '
"In truth, monsieur," cried the regent, with a feeling of
joy he could not quite conceal, "I think you are drawing
"Not so, monseigneur; since fate chose me to strike the
prince, I have gone steadily forward, and shall do so till my
mission is accomplished. ' '
"Monsieur, I thought I detected some hesitation in your
words; and words are of weight in certain mouths, and
under certain circumstances."
166 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Monsieur, in Bretagne we speak as we feel, but we
also do as we promise."
' ' Then you are resolved ?' '
"More tlian ever."
"Because, you see," replied the regent, "there is still
time — the evil is not yet done."
"The evil, you call it, monseigneur, " said Gaston; "what
shall I call it then?"
"It is thus that I meant it," replied the regent; "the
evil is for you, since you feel remorse. ' '
"It is not generous, monseigneur, to dwell on a confi-
dence which I should not have made to any person of less
merit than yourself."
"And it is because I appreciate your worth, monsieur,
that I tell you there is yet time to draw back; that I ask
if you have reflected — if you repent having mixed yourself
with all these" — ^the duke hesitated — "these audacious en-
terprises. Fear nothing from me — I will protect you, even
if you desert us ; I have seen you but once, but I think I
judge of you as you deserve — men of worth are so rare that
the regrets will be for us."
"Such kindness overwhelms me, monseigneur," said
Gaston, who, in spite of his courage, felt some indecision.
* ' My prince, I do not hesitate ; but my reflections are those
of a duellist, who goes to the ground determined to kill his
enemy, yet deploring the necessity which forces him to rob
a man of life. But here the interest is so great, so superior
to the weaknesses of our nature, that I will be true to my
friendship if not my sympathies, and will conduct myself
so that you shall esteem in me even the momentary weak-
ness which for a second held back my arm."
"Well," said the regent, "how shall you proceed?"
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 167
"I stall wait till I meet him face to face, and then I
shall not use an arquebuse, as Paltrot did, nor a pistol,
as Vitry did. I shall say, ' Monseigneiir, jom are the curse
of France — I sacrifice you to her salvation;' and I shall stab
him with my poniard. ' '
"As Ravaillac did," said the duke, with a serenity which
made Gaston shudder ; " it is well. ' '
Gaston did not reply.
"This plan appears to me the most secure, and I approve
of it; but I must ask you one other question: suppose you
should be taken and interrogated ?' '
"Your excellency knows what men do in such cases —
they die, but do not answer; and since you have quoted
Ravaillac, I think, if my memory serves me, that was what
he did — and yet Eavaillac was not a gentleman. ' '
Gaston's pride did not displease the regent, who had a
young heart and a chivalric mind; besides, accustomed to
worn-out and time-serving courtiers, Gaston's vigorous and
simple nature was a novelty to him ; and we know how the
regent loved a novelty.
"I may then reckon," said he, "that you are immov-
Gaston looked surprised that the duke should repeat
"Yes," said the regent; "I see you are decided."
"Absolutely, and wait your last instructions."
"How? m?/ instructions ?"
"Certainly; I have placed myself body and soul at your
disposal. ' '
The duke rose.
"Well," said he, "you must go out by that door, and
cross the garden which surrounds the house. In a carriage
168 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
whicli awaits you at the bottom you will find my secretary,
who will give you a pass for an audience with the regent;
besides that, you will have the warranty of my word. ' '
"That is all I have to ask on that point, monseigneur.'*
' ' Have you anything else to say ?' '
"Yes; before I take leave of you, whom I may never
see again in this world, I have a boon to ask. ' '
' ' Speak, monsieur ; I listen. ' '
"Monsieur," said Gaston, "do not wonder if I hesitate
a moment, for this is no personal favor and no ordinary
service. Gaston de Chanlay needs but a dagger, and here
it is; but in sacrificing his body he would not lose his soul;
mine, monseigneur, belongs to God first and then to a young
girl whom I love to idolatry — sad love, is it not, which has
bloomed so near a tomb ? To abandon this pure and tender
girl would be to tempt God in a most rash manner, for I see
that sometimes he tries us cruelly, and lets even his angels
suffer. I love, then, an adorable woman, whom my affec-
tion has supported and protected against infamous schemes;
when I am dead or banished, what will become of her?
Our heads fall, monseigneur; they are those of simple gen-
tlemen; but you are a powerful adversary, and supported
by a powerful king; you can conquer evil fortune. I wish
to place in your hands the treasure of my soul. You will
bestow on her all the protection which, as an accomplice,
as an associate, you owe to me."
"Monsieur, I promise you," replied the regent, deeply
"That is not all, monseigneur; misfortune may overtake
me, and find me not able to bestow my person upon her; I
would yet leave her my name. If I die she has no fortune,
for she is an orphan. On leaving Nantes I made a will
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 169
wlierein I left lier everything I possessed. Monseigneur,
if I die, let her be a widow — is it possible?"
"Who opposes it?"
"No one; but I may be arrested to-morrow, this even-
ing, on putting my foot outside this house."
The regent started at this strange presentiment.
* ' Suppose I am taken to the Bastille ; could you obtain
for me permission to marry her before my execution. ' '
' ' I am sure of it. ' '
"You will use every means to obtain this favor for me?
Swear it to me, monseigneur, that I may bless your name,
and that even under torture nothing may escape but a
thanksgiving when I think of you."
' ' On my honor, monsieur, I promise you that this young
girl shall be sacred to me; she shall inherit in my heart all
the affection which I involuntarily feel for you. ' '
' ' Monseigneur, one word more. ' '
"Speak, monsieur; I listen with the deepest sjonpathy. "
"This young girl knows nothing of my project; she does
not know what brought me to Paris, nor the catastrophe
which threatens us, for 1 have not had the courage to tell
her. You will tell it to her, monseigneur — prepare her for
the event. I shall never see her again, but to become her
husband. If I were to see her again at the moment of strik-
ing the blow which separates me from her, my hand might
tremble, and this must not be."
"On my word of honor, monsieur," said the regent,
softened beyond all expression, "I repeat, not only shall
this young girl be sacred to me, but I will do all you wish
for her — she shall reap the fruits of the respect and affection
with which you have inspired me. ' '
"Now," said Gaston, "I am strong."
(H)— Vol. 23
170 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"And where is tliis young girl?"
"Below, in the carriage whicli brought me. Let me
retire, monseigneur, and only tell me where she will be
placed. ' '
"Here, monsieur; this house, which is not inhabited,
and which is very suitable for a young girl, shall be
"Monseigneur, your hand."
The regent held out his hand, but hearing a little dry
cough, he understood that Dubois was becoming impatient,
and he indicated to Graston that the audience was over.
"Once more, monseigneur, watch over this young girl;
she is beautiful, amiable, and proud — one of those noble
natures which we meet but seldom. Adieu, monseigneur,
I go to find your secretary."
"And must I tell her that you are about to take a man's
life?" asked the regent, making one more effort to restrain
"Yes, monseigneur," said the chevalier; "but you will
add that I do it to save France. ' '
"Gro, then, monsieur," said the duke, opening a door
which led into the garden, "and follow the directions
I have given you."
"Wish me good fortune, monseigneur."
"The madman," thought the regent; "does he wish me
to pray for success to his dagger's thrust? Ma foi, no!"
Gaston went out, the gravel, half covered with snow,
creaked under his feet — the regent watched him for some
time from the window of the corridor — then, when he had
lost sight of him —
"Well," said he, "each one must go his own way. Poor
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 171
And lie returned to the room, where lie found Dubois,
<ffho had entered by another door, and was waiting for
Dubois's face wore an expression of malicious satisfac-
tion which did not escape the regent, who watched him
some time in silence, as if trying to discover what was
passing through the brain of this second Mephistopheles.
Dubois was the first to speak.
"Well, monseigneur, you are rid of him at last, I
"Yes," replied the duke; "but in a manner which
greatly displeases me. I do not like playing a part in
your comedies, as you know."
' ' Possibly ; but you might, perhaps, do wisely in giving
me a part in yours. ' '
"They would be more successful, and the denouements
would be better."
"I do not understand. Explain yourself, and quickly,
for I have some one waiting whom I must receive."
' ' Oh ! certainly, monseigneur, receive them, and we will
continue our conversation later — the denouement of thia
comedy has already taken place, and cannot be changed."
And with these words, Dubois bowed with the mock
respect which he generally assumed whenever, in the
eternal game they played against each other, he held
the best cards.
Nothing made the regent so uneasy as this simulated
respect; he held him back —
""What is there now?" asked he; "what have you dis-
"That you are a skilful dissimulator, peste!"
172 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Tliat astonishes you?"
"No, it troubles me; a few steps further, and you will
do wonders in this art; you will have no further need of me;
you will have to send me away to educate your son, who,
it must be confessed, requires a master like myself. ' '
"Certainly, monseigneur; it is not now, however, a ques-
tion of your son, but of your daughter. ' '
"Of which daughter?"
"Ah! true; there are so many. First, the Abbess of
Chelles, then Madame de Berry, then Mademoiselle de
Valois; then the others, too young for the world, and
therefore for me to speak of; then, lastly, the charming
Bretagne flower, the wild blossom which was to be kept
away from Dubois's poisoning breath, for fear it should
wither under it."
"Do you dare to say I was wrong?"
"Not so, monseigneur: you have done wonders; not
wishing to have anything to do with the infamous Dubois,
for which I commend you, you — the Archbishop of Cam-
bray being dead — have taken in his place the good, the
worthy, the pure Noce, and have borrowed his house."
"Ah!" said the regent, "you know that?"
' ' And what a house ! Pure as its master — jes, monsei-
gneur, you are full of prudence and wisdom. Let us con-
ceal the corruptions of the world from this innocent child,
let us remove from her everything that can destroy her
primitive naivete; this is why we choose this dwelling for
her — a moral sanctuary, where the priestesses of virtue,
and doubtless always under pretext of their ingenuousness,
take the most ingenuous but least permitted of positions."
"Noce told me that all was proper."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 173
"Do you know tlie house, monseigneur ?"
"Do I look at sucli things ?"
* ' Ah ! no ; jour sight is not good, I remember. '^
"For furniture your daughter will have strange couches,
magic sofas; and as to books, ah! that is the climax.
Nock's books are good for the instruction and formation
of youth; they would do well to go with the breviary of
Bussy-Eabutin, of which I presented you a copy on your
"Yes; serpent that you are."
"In short, the most austere prudery prevails over the
dwelling. I had chosen it for the education of the son;
but monseigneur, who looks at things differently, chose
it for the daughter."
"Ah, 9a! Dubois," said the regent, "you weary me."
"I am just at the end, monseigneur. No doubt, your
daughter was well pleased with the residence; for, like all
of your blood, she is very intelligent. ' '
The regent shuddered, and guessed that some disagree-
able news was hidden under the long preamble and mocking
smile of Dubois.
"However, monseigneur, see what the spirit of contra-
diction will do ; she was not content with the dwelling you
chose for her, and she is moving."
""What do you mean?"
"I am wrong — she has moved."
"My daughter gone!" cried the regent.
"Exactly," said Dubois.
"Through the door. Oh, she is not one of those young
ladies who go through the windows, or by night — oh, she is
174: THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
of jour blood, monseigneur ; if I liad ever doubted it, I
should be convinced now. ' '
"And Madame Desrocbes?"
"She is at the Palais Royal; I have just left her. She
came to announce it to your highness."
"Could she not prevent it ?"
' ' Mademoiselle commanded. ' '
"She should have made the servants close the doors:
they did not know that she was my daughter, and had no
reason to obey her."
"Madame Desroches was afraid of mademoiselle's anger,
but the servants were afraid of the sword. ' '
"Of the sword! Are you drunk, Dubois ?"
"Oh, I am very likely to get drunk on chicory water 1
No, monseigneur; if I am drunk, it is with admiration of
your highness 's perspicacity when you try to conduct an
affair all alone."
"But what sword do you mean?"
"The sword which Mademoiselle Hel^ne disposes of,
and which belongs to a charming young man — "
"Who loves her!"
"Dubois! you will drive me mad."
"And who followed her from Nantes to Rambouillet
with infinite gallantry."
"Monsieur de Livry ?"
' ' Ah ! you know his name ; then I am telling you noth-
ing new, monseigneur."
"Dubois, I am overwhelmed."
"Not without sufficient cause, monseigneur; but see
what is the result of your managing your own affairs, while
you have at the same time to look after those of France."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 175
•'But where is slie ?"
"Ah! where indeed? how should I know?"
"Dubois, you have told me of her flight — I look to you
to discover her retreat. Dubois, my dear Dubois, for God's
sake find my daughter!"
"Ah, monseigneur, you are exactly like the father in
Moliere, and I am like Scapin — 'My good Scapin, my dear
Scapin, find me my daughter.' Monseigneur, I am sorry
for it, but Geroute could say no more; however, we will
look for your daughter, and rescue her from the ravisher. ' '
"Well, find her, Dubois, and ask for what you please
when you have done so."
"Ah, that is something like speaking."
The regent had thrown himself back in an armchair,
and leaned his head upon his hands. Dubois left him to
his grief, congratulating himself that this affection would
double his empire over the duke. All at once, while
Dubois was watching him with a malicious smile, some
one tapped at tJie door.
"Who is there?" asked Dubois.
"Monseigneur," said an usher's voice at the door, "there
is in the carriage which brought the chevalier a young
woman who wishes to know if he is coming down soon."
Dubois made a bound toward the door, but he was too
late; the regent, to whom the usher's words had recalled
the solemn promise he had made to Gaston, rose at once.
"Where are you going, monseigneur?" asked Dubois.
"To receive this young girl."
' ' That is my affair, not yours — jom forget that you aban-
doned this conspiracy to me. ' '
' ' I gave up the chevalier \o you, but I promised him to
be a father to this girl whom he loves. I have pledged my
176 THE REGENrS DAUGHTER
•word, and I will keep it; since ttrougli me she loses lier
lover, I must at least console her."
"I undertake it," said Dubois, trying to hide his pale-
ness and agitation under one of his own peculiar smiles.
' ' Hold your tongue, and remain here, ' ' said the regent.
"Let me at least speak to her, monseigneur. "
"I will speak to her myself — this is no affair of yours; I
have taken it upon myself, have given my word as a gentle-
man. Silence, and remain here. ' '
Dubois ground his teeth; but when the regent spoke in
this tone, he knew he must obey: he leaned against the
chimney-piece and waited.
Soon the rustling of a silk dress was heard.
"Yes, madame, " said the usher, "this way."
"Here she is," said the duke. "Eemember one thing,
Dubois: this young girl is in no way responsible for her
lover's fault; consequently, understand me, she must be
treated with the greatest respect." Then turning to the
door, ' ' Enter, ' ' said he. The door was hastily opened and
the young girl made a step toward the regent, who started
"My daughter!" murmured he, endeavoring to regain
his self-command, while Hel^ne, after looking round for
Gaston, stopped and courtesied.
Dubois's face would not be easy to depict.
"Pardon me, monseigneur," said H^l^ne, "perhaps I am
mistaken. I am seeking a friend who left me below, who
was to come back to me ; but, as he delayed so long, I came
to seek for him. I was brought here, but perhaps the usher
made a mistake. ' '
"No, mademoiselle," said the duke, "M. de Chanlay has
just left me, and I expected you. "
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 177
As the regent spoke, the young girl became abstracted,
and seemed as though taxing her memory ; then, in answer
to her own thoughts, she cried —
"Mon Dieu! how strange."
"What is the matter?" asked the regent.
"Yes: that it is."
"Explain!" said the duke, "I do not understand you."
"Ah, monsieur!" said Hel^ne, trembling, "it is strange
how your voice resembles that of another person. ' '
"Of your acquaintance ?" asked the regent.
"Of a person in whose presence I have been but once,
but whose accents live in my heart. ' '
"And who was this person?" asked the regent, while
Dubois shrugged his shoulders at this half recognition.
"He called himself my father," replied Hel^ne.
' ' I congratulate myself upon this chance, mademoiselle, ' '
said the regent, ' ' for this similarity in my voice to that of a
person who is dear to you may give greater weight to my
words. You know that Monsieur de Chanlay has chosen
me for your protector?"
' ' He told me he would bring me to some one who would
protect me from the danger — ' '
"What danger?" asked the regent.
Helene looked round her, and her glance rested uneasily
on Dubois, and there was no mistaking her expression.
Dubois's face inspired her with as much distrust as the
'*-- regent's did with confidence.
"Monseigneur, " said Dubois (who did not fail to notice
this expression), in an undertone to the regent, "I think I
am de trop here, and had better retire; you do not want me,
"No, but I shall presently; do not go away."
178 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"I will be at jour orders."
This conversation was too low for Hel^ne to hear; be-
sides, she had stepped back, and continued watching the
doors, in the hope of seeing Gaston return.
It was a consolation to Dubois to know she would be
"When Dubois was gone, they breathed more freely.
" Seat yourself , mademoiselle," said the duke; "I have
much to tell you. ' '
' ' Monsieur, one thing before all. Is the Chevalier Gas-
ton de Chanlay in any danger?"
"We will speak of him directly, but first of yourself;
he brought you to me as a protector. Now, tell me against
whom I am to protect you?"
"All that ha^ happened to me for some days is so
strange, that I do not know whom to fear or whom to
trust. If Gaston were here — "
"Yes, I understand; if he authorized you to tell me,
you would keep nothing back. But if I can prove to you
that I know nearly all concerning you?"
"Yes, I. Are you not called Hel^ne de Chaverny?
Were you not brought up in the Augustine convent be-
tween Kantes and Clisson? Did you not one day receive
an order to leave the convent from a mysterious protector
who watches over you ? Did you not travel with one of the
sisters, to whom you gave a hundred louis for her trouble ?
At Rambouillet, did not a person called Madame Desroches
await you ? Did she not announce to you a visit from your
father? The same evening, did not some one arrive who
loved you, and who thought you loved him ?' '
"Yes, yes, monsieur, it is all true," said Hel^ne, aston-
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 179
ished that a stranger sliould thus know the detailis of her
"Then the next day," continued the regent, "did not
Monsieur de Chanlay, who followed you under the name
of De Livr}^, pay you a visit, which was vainly opposed by
"You are right, monsieur, and I see that Gaston has
told you alL"
"Then came the order to leave for Paris. You would
have opposed it, but were forced to obey. You were taken
to a house in the Faubourg St. Antoine; but there your
captivity became insupportable."
"You are mistaken, monsieur; it was not the captivity,
but the prison. ' '
" I do not understand you. ' '
"Did not Graston tell you of his fears, which I laughed
at at first, but shared afterward ?"
"No, tell me what did you fear ?"
"But if he did not tell you, how shall IT'
"Is there anything one cannot tell to a friend ?"
"Did he not tell you that this man whom I at first be-
lieved to be my father — "
"Yes; I swear it, monsieur. Hearing his voice, feeling
my hand pressed by his, I had at first no doubt, and it
almost needed evidence to bring fear instead of the filial
love with which he at first inspired me. ' '
"I do not understand you, mademoiselle; how could you
fear a man who — to judge by what you tell me — had so
much affection for you?"
"You do not understand, monsieur; as you say, under
a frivolous pretext, I was removed from Rambouillet to
180 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
Paris, shut in a house in the Faubourg Saint Antoine
which spoke more clearly to my eyes than Gaston's fears
had done. Then I thought myself lost — and that this
feigned tenderness of a father concealed the wiles of a
seducer. I had no friend but Gaston,r-I wrote to him —
"Then," said the regent, filled with joy, "when you left
that house it was to escape those wiles, not to follow your
"Oh, monsieur, if I had believed in that father whom
I had seen but once, and then surrounded by mysteries, I
swear to you that nothing would have led me from the path
"Oh, dear child!" cried the duke, with an accent which
made Hel^ne start.
' ' Then Q-aston spoke to me of a person who could refuse
him nothing — who would watch over me and be a father
to me. He brought me here, saying he would return to
me. I waited in vain for more than an hour, and at length,
fearing some accident had happened to him, I asked for
The regent's brow became clouded.
"Thus," said he, "it was Gaston's influence that turned
you from your duty — his fears aroused yours ?' '
' ' Yes ; he suspected the mystery which encircled me, and
feared that it concealed some fatal project."
"But he must have given you some proof to persuade
"What proof was needed in that abominable house?
Would a father have placed his daughter in such a
habitation ?' '
"Yes, yes," murmured the regent, "he was wrong; but
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 181
confess that without the chevalier's suggestions, you, in the
innocence of your soul, would have had no suspicion. ' '
"No," said Hel^ne, "but happily Gaston watched over
"Do you then believe that all Gaston said to you was
true?" asked the regent.
"We easily side with those we love, monsieur."
"And you love the chevalier?"
"Yes; for the last two years, monsieur."
"But how could he see you in the convent?"
"By night, with the aid of a boat."
"And did he see you often ?"
"Then you love him ?"
' ' But how could you dispose of your heart, knowing that
you were not your own mistress ?' '
"For sixteen years I had heard nothing of my family;
how could I suppose that all at once it would reveal itself,
or rather, that an odious manoeuvre should take me from
my quiet retreat to my ruin ?' '
"Then you still think that that man lied, when he called
himself your father ?"
"I scarcely know what to think, and my mind becomes
bewildered in contemplating this strange reality, which
seems so like a dream."
"But you should not consult your mind here, Hel^ne,"
said the regent; "you should consult your heart. When
you were with this man, did not your heart speak to
"Oh!" said Hel^ne, "while he was there I was con-
vinced, for I have never felt emotion such as I felt then."
182 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Yes," replied tlie regent, bitterly; "but when he was
gone, this emotion disappeared, driven away by stronger
influence. It is very simple, this man was only your
father; Graston was your lover."
"Monsieur," said Hel^ne, drawing back, "you speak
strangely. ' '
"Pardon me," replied the regent, in a sweet voice; "I
see that I allowed myself to be carried away by my interest.
But what surprises me more than all, mademoiselle," con-
tinued he, "is that, being beloved as you are by Graston,
you could not induce him to abandon his projects."
"His projects, monsieur! what do you mean?"
"What! you do not know the object of his visit to
"I do not, monsieur. When I told him, with tears in
my eyes, that I was forced to leave Clisson, he said he must
also leave Nantes. When I told him that I was coming to
Paris, he answered, with a cry of joy, that he was about
to set out for the same place."
' ' Then, ' ' cried the regent, his heart freed from an enor-
mous load, "you are not his accomplice?"
"His accomplice!" cried Helene, alarmed; "ah, mon
Dieu! what does this mean?"
"Nothing," said the regent, "nothing."
"Oh, 3^es, monsieur; you have used a word which ex-
plains all. I wondered what made so great a change in
Gaston; why, for the last year, whenever I spoke of our
tuture, his brow became dark; why, with so sad a smile,
he said to me, 'Helene, no one is sure of the morrow'; why
he fell into such reveries, as though some misfortune threat-
ened Tiim. That misfortune you have shown me, monsieur.
Gaston saw none but malcontents there — Montlouis, Pont-
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 183
calec. Ah! Gaston is conspiring — that is why he came to
' ' Then you knew nothing of this conspiracy ?' '
"Alas, monsieur! I am but a woman, and, doubt-
less, Gaston did not think me worthy to share such a
secret. ' '
"So much the better," cried the regent; "and now, my
child, listen to the voice of a friend, of a man who might
be your father. Let the chevalier go on the path he has
chosen, since you have still the power to go no further."
"Who? I, monsieur!" cried Hdl^ne; "I abandon him
at a moment when you yourself tell me that a danger
threatens him that I had not known! Oh, no, no, mon-
sieur! We two are alone in the world, we have but each
other. Gaston has no parents, I have none either; or if I
have, they have been separated from me for sixteen years,
and are accustomed to my absence. We may, then, lose
ourselves together without costing any one a tear. Oh, I
deceived you, monsieur! and whatever crime he has com-
mitted, or may commit, I am his accomplice. ' '
"Ah!" murmured the regent, in a choking voice, "my
last hope fails me; she loves him."
H^lene turned with astonishment toward the stranger
who took so lively an interest in her sorrow. The regent
"But," continued he, "did you not almost renounce
him ? Did you not tell him, the day you separated, that
you could not dispose of your heart and person?"
' ' Yes, I told him so, ' ' replied the young girl, with exal-
tation, "because at that time I believed him happy, because
I did not know that his liberty, perhaps his life, were com-
promised; then, my heart would have suffered, but my
184 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
conscience would have remained tranquil; it was a grief
to bear, not a remorse to combat; but since I know him
threatened, unhappy, I feel that his life is mine."
"But you exaggerate your love for him," replied the
regent, determined to ascertain his daughter's feelings.
"This love would yield to absence."
"It would yield to nothing, monsieur; in the isolation
in which my parents left me, this love has become my only
hope, my happiness, ni}^ life. Ah! monsieur, if you have
any influence with him — and you must have, since he
confides to you the secrets which he keeps from me — in
Heaven's name, induce him to renounce these projects of
which you speak; tell him what I dare not tell him myself,
that I love him beyond all expression; tell him that his
fate shall be mine; that if he be exiled, I exile myself;
if he be imprisoned, I will be so too; and that if he dies,
I die. Tell him that, monsieur; and add — add that you
saw, by my tears and by my despair, that I spoke the
"Unhappy child!" murmured the regent.
Indeed, Heldne's situation was a pitiable one. By the
paleness of her cheeks, it was evident that she suffered
cruelly; while she spoke, her tears flowed ceaselessly, and
it was easy to see that every word came from her heart,
and that what she had said she would do.
"Well," said the regent, "I promise you that I will do
all I can to save the chevalier."
Helene was about to throw herself at the duke's feet, so
humbled was this proud spirit by the thought of Gaston's
danger; but the regent received her in his arms. Helene
trembled through her whole frame — there was something
in the contact with this man which filled her with hope
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 185
and joy. Slie remained leaning on Ms arm, and made
no effort to raise herself.
"Mademoiselle," said the regent, watching her with
an expression which would certainly have betrayed him
if Hel^ne had raised her eyes to his face, ' ' Mademoiselle, .
the most pressing affair first. I have told you that Gaston
is in danger, but not in immediate danger; let us then first
think of yourself, whose position is both false and precari-
ous. You are intrusted to my care, and I must, before all
else, acquit myself worthily of this charge. Do you trust
"Oh, yes; Gaston brought me to you."
"Always Gaston," sighed the regent, in an undertone;
then to H^l^ne he said —
"You will reside in this house, which is unknown, and
here you will be free. Your society will consist of excel-
lent books, and my presence will not be wanting, if it be
agreeable to you."
Hdl^ne made a movement as if to speak.
"Besides," continued the duke, "it will give you an
opportunity to speak of the chevalier."
H61^ne blushed, and the regent continued —
' ' The church of the neighboring convent will be open to
you, and should you have the slightest fear, such as you
have already experienced, the convent itself might shelter
you — the superior is a friend of mine. ' '
"Ah, monsieur," said H^l^ne, "you quite reassure me;
I accept the house you offer me — and your great kindness
to Gaston and myself will ever render your presence agree-
able to me. ' '
The regent bowed.
"Then, mademoiselle," said he, "consider yourself at
186 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
home here; I think there is a sleeping-room adjoining this
room — the arrangement of the ground- floor is commodious,
and this evening I will send you two nuns from the con-
vent, whom doubtless you would prefer to servants, to wait
on you. ' '
"Ah, yes, monsieur."
"Then," continued the regent, with hesitation, "then
you have almost renounced your — father?"
"Ah, monsieur, do you not understand that it is for fear
he should not be my father ?"
"However, " replied the regent, "nothing proves it; that
house alone is certainly an argument against him, but he
might not have known it. ' '
"Oh," said H^l^ne, "that is almost impossible."
"However, if he took any further steps, if he should
discover your retreat and claim you, or at least ask to
"Monsieur, we would inform Gaston, and learn his
opinion. ' '
" It is well, ' ' said the regent, with a smile ; and he held
out his hand to Hel^ne, and then moved toward the door.
"Monsieur," said Hel^ne, in a scarcely audible voice.
"Do you wish for anything?" asked the duke, returning.
"Can I see him?"
The words seemed to die away on her lips as she pro-
"Yes," said the duke, "but is it not better for your sake
to do so as little as possible ?"
Hel^ne lowered her eyes.
"Besides," said the duke, "he has gone on a journey,
and may not be bacK for some days."
"And shall I see him on his return?"
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 187
"I swear it to you. "
Ten minutes after, two nuns and a lay sister entered
and installed themselves in the house.
"When the regent quitted his daughter, he asked for
Dubois, but he was told that, after waiting half an hour,
Dubois had returned to the Palais Royal.
The duke, on entering the abbe's room, found him at
work with his secretaries; a portfolio full of papers was
on the table.
"I beg a thousand pardons," said Dubois, on seeing the
duke, "but as you delayed, and your conference was likely
to be prolonged greatly, I took the liberty of transgressing
your orders, and returning here. ' '
"You did rightly; but I want to speak to you."
"Yes, to you."
"To me alone?"
"In that case, will monseigneur go into my cabinet, or
into your own room ?"
' ' Let us go into your cabinet. ' '
The abbe made a respectful bow and opened the door;
the regent passed in first, and Dubois followed when he
had replaced the portfolio under his arm. These papers
Lad probably been got together in expectation of this visit.
When they were in the cabinet, the duke looked round him.
"The place is safe?" asked he.
"Pardieu! each door is double, and the walls are two
The regent sat down and fell into a deep revery.
"I am waiting, monseigneur," said Dubois, in a few
188 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Abb^," said tbe regent, in a quick decided tone, as of
a man determined to be answered, ' ' is tlie chevalier in the
" Monseigneur, " replied Dubois, "be must have been
there about half an hour."
"Then write to M. Delaunay. I desire that he be set
free at once."
Dubois did not seem surprised; he made no reply, but
he placed the portfolio on the table, opened it, took out
some papers, and began to look over them quietly.
"Did you hear me ?" asked the regent, after a moment's
' ' I did, monseigneur. ' '
""Write yourself, monseigneur," said Dubois.
"Because nothing shall induce this hand to sign your
highness's ruin," said Dubois.
' ' More words, ' ' said the regent, impatiently.
"Not words, but facts, monseigneur. Is M. de Chanlay
a conspirator, or is he not ?' '
' ' Yes, certainly ! but my daughter loves him. ' '
"A fine reason for setting him at liberty."
"It may not be a reason to you, abbe, but to me it is,
and a most sacred one. He shall leave the Bastille at
once. ' '
' ' Go and fetch him, then ; I do not prevent you. ' '
"And did you know this secret?"
"That M. de Livry and the chevalier were the same."
"Yes, I knew it. What then ?"
"You wished to deceive me."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 189
"I wished to save you from tlie sentimentality in wliich
you are lost at this moment. The Kegent of France — al-
ready too much occupied by whims and pleasures — must
make things worse by adding passion to the list. And
what a passion! Paternal love — dangerous love! An or-
dinary love may be satisfied, and then dies away; but a
father's tenderness is insatiable, and above all intolerable.
It will cause your highness to commit faults which I shall
prevent, for the simple reason that I am happy enough not
to be a father; a thing on which I congratulate myself
daily, when I see the misfortunes and stupidity of those
"And what matters a head more or less?" cried the re-
gent. "This De Chanlay will not kill me, when he knows
it was I who liberated him. ' '
"No; neither will he die from a few days in the Bastille,
and there he must stay."
"And I tell you he shall leave it to-day."
"He must, for his own honor," said Dubois, as though
the regent had not spoken; "for if he were to leave the
Bastille to-day, as you wish, he would appear to his ac-
complices, who are now in the prison at Nantes, and whom
I suppose you do not wish to liberate also, as a traitor
and spy who has been pardoned for the information he
The regent reflected.
"You are all alike," pursued Dubois, "you kings and
reigning princes; a reason stupid enough, like all reasons
of honor, such as I have just given, closes your mouth;
but you will never understand true and important reasons
of state. What does it matter to me or to France that
Mademoiselle Helene de Chaverny, natural daughter of
190 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
tlie regent, should weep for her lover, Monsieur Gaston
cle Clianlay ? Ten thousand wives, ten thousand mothers,
ten thousand daughters, may weep in one year for their
sons, their husbands, their fathers, killed in your high-
ness' s service by the Spaniard who threatens you, who
takes your gentleness for weakness, and who becomes em-
boldened by impunity. We know the plot; let us do it
justice. M. de Chanlay, chief or agent of this plot, com-
ing to Paris to assassinate you — do not deny it, no doubt
he told you so himself — is the lover of your daughter. So
much the worse — it is a misfortune which falls upon you,
but may have fallen upon you before, and will again. I
knew it all; I knew that he was beloved; I knew that he
was called De Chanlay, and not De Livry; yes, I dissimu-
lated, but it was to punish him exemplarily with his accom-
plices, because it must be understood that the regent's head
is not one of those targets which any one may aim at
through excitement or ennui, and go away unpunished
if they fail."
"Dubois, Dubois, I shall never sacrifice my daughter's
life to save my own, and I should kill her in executing
the chevalier; therefore no prison, no dungeon; let us
spare the shadow. of torture to him whom we cannot treat
with entire justice; let us pardon completely; no half
pardon, any more than half justice."
' ' Ah, yes ; pardon, pardon ; there it is at last. Are you
not tired of that word, monseigneur? are you not weary
of harping eternally on one string?"
' ' This time, at least, it is a different thing, for it is not
generosity. I call heaven to witness that I should like to
punish this man, who is more beloved as a lover than
I as a father, and who takes from me my last and only
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 191
daughter; but, in spite of myself, I stop, I can go bo
further. Chanlay shall be set free."
"Chanlay shall be set free; yes, monseigneur ; mon
Dieu! who opposes it? Only it must be later, some days
hence What harm shall we do him ? Diable ! he will not
die of a week in the Bastille; you shall have your son-in-
law ; be at peace ; but do act so that our poor little govern-
ment shall not be too much ridiculed. Eemember that at
this moment the affairs of the others are being looked into,
and somewhat roughly too. Well, these others have also
mistresses, wives, mothers. Do you busy yourself with
them ? No, you are not so mad. Think, then, of the ridi-
cule if it were known that your daughter loved the man who
was to stab you ; the bastards would laugh for a month ; it
is enough to revive La Maintenon, who is dying, and make
her live a year longer. Have patience, monseigneur, let
the chevalier eat chicken and drink wine with Delaunay.
Pardieu! Kichelieu does very well there; he is loved by
another of your daughters, which did not prevent you
from putting him in the Bastille."
"But," said the regent, "when he is in the Bastille, what
will you do with him ?' '
"Oh, he only serves this little apprenticeship to make
him your son-in-law. But, seriously, monseigneur, do you
think of raising him to that honor ?' '
"Oh, mon Dieu! at this moment I think of nothing,
Dubois, but that I do not want to make my poor Hel^ne
unhappy ; and yet I really think that giving him to her as a
husband is somewhat derogatory, though the De Chanlays
are a good family. ' '
"Do you know them, monseigneur? Parbleu! it only
192 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"I lieard the name long ago, but I cannot remember on
"wliat occasion; we sliall see; but, meanwbile, whatever you
may say, one thing I have decided — he must not appear as
a traitor; and remember, I will not have him maltreated."
"In that case he is well off with M. Delaunay. But you
do not know the Bastille, monseigneur. If you had ever
tried it, you would not want a country house. Under the
late king it was a prison: oh, yes, I grant that, but under
the gentle reign of Philippe d' Orleans, it is a house of
pleasure. Besides, at this moment there is an excellent
company there. There are fetes, balls, vocal concerts ; they
drink champagne to the health of the Due du Maine and
the King of Spain. It is you who pay, but they wish aloud
that you may die, and your race become extinct. Pardieu !
Monsieur de Chanlay will find some acquaintances there,
and be as comfortable as a fish in the water. Ah, pity him,
monseigneur, for he is much to be pitied, poor fellow!"
"Yes, yes," cried the duke, delighted; "and after the
revelations in Bretagne we shall see. ' '
"The revelations in Bretagne. Ah, pardieu! monsei-
gneur, I shall be anxious to know what you will learn that
the chevalier did not tell you. Do you not know enough
yet, monseigneur ? Peste ! if it were me, I should know too
"But it is not you, abbd"
"Alas, unfortunately not, monseigneur, for if I were the
Due d' Orleans and regent, I would make myself cardinal.
But do not let us speak of that; it will come in time, I
hope; besides, I have found a way of managing the afiair
which troubles you."
"I distrust you, abbd I warn you."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 193
•'Stay, monseigneur; you only love tlie chevalier be-
cause your claugliter does?"
"But if th.e clievalier repaid her fidelity by ingratitude.
Mon Dieu! the young woman is proud, monseigneur; she
herself would give him up. That would be well played, I
' ' The chevalier cease to love Hdl^ne ! impossible ; she is
"Many angels have gone through that, monseigneur;
besides, the Bastille does and undoes many things, and one
soon becomes corrupted there, especially in the society he
will find there."
""Well, we shall see, but not a step without my consent."
' ' Fear nothing, monseigneur ; and now will you examine
the j)apers from Nantes?"
"Yes, but first send me Madame Desroches."
Dubois rang and gave the regent's orders.
Ten minutes after, Madame Desroches entered timidly;
but instead of the storm she had expected, she received a
smile and a hundred louis.
"I do not understand it," thought she; "after all, the
young girl cannot be his daughter. ' '
(I)— Vol 23
194 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
OUR readers must now permit us to look backward,
for we liave (in following the principal persons of
our history) neglected some others in Bretagne who
deserve some notice; besides, if we do not represent them,
as taking an active part in this tale, history is ready with
her inflexible voice to contradict us ; we must therefore, for
the present, submit to the exigencies of history.
Bretagne had, from the first, taken an active part in the
movement of the legitimated bastards; this province, which
had given pledges of fidelity to monarchical principles, and
pushed them to exaggeration, if not to madness, since it
preferred the adulterous offspring of a king to the interests
of a kingdom, and since its love became a crime by calling
in aid of the pretensions of those whom it recognized as its
princes, enemies against whom Louis XIV. for sixty years,
and France for two centuries, had waged a war of exter
We have seen the list of the principal names which con
stituted this revolt; the regent had wittily said that it con
tained the head and tail ; but he was mistaken — it was the
head and body. The head was the council of the legiti
mated princes, the King of Spain, and his imbecile agent,
the Prince of Cellamare; the body was formed by those
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 195
brave and clever men who were now in the Bastille; but
the tail was now agitating in Bretagne among a people un-
accustomed to the ways of a court, and it was a tail armed
with stings like those of a scorpion, and which was the most
to be feared.
The Bretagne chiefs then renewed the Chevalier de
Eohan, under Louis XIY. ; we say the Chevalier de Kohan,
because to every conspiracy must be given the name of a
Along with the prince, who was a conceited and com-
monplace man, and even before him, were two men,
stronger than he, one in thought and the other in execu-
tion. These two men were Letreaumont, a Norman gentle-
man, and Afhnius Yan der Enden, a Dutch philosopher;
Letreaumont wanted money, he was the arm; Affinius
wanted a republic, he was the soul. This republic, more-
over, he wanted inclosed in Louis XIY. 's kingdom, still
further to annoy the great king — who hated republicans
even at a distance — who had persecuted and destroyed the
Pensioner of Holland, John de Witt, more cruel in this than
the Prince of Orange, who, in declaring himself De Witt's
enemy, revenged personal injuries, while Louis XIY. had
received nothing but friendship and devotion from this
Now Affinius wanted a republic in Normandy, and got
the Chevalier de Kohan named Protector; the Bretons
wished to revenge themselves for certain injuries their
province had received under the regency, and they decreed
it a republic, with the power of choosing a protector, even
were he a Spaniard; but Monsieur du Maine had a good
This is what passed in Bretagne.
196 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
The Bretons lent an ear to the first overtures of the
Spaniards; thej had no more cause for discontent than
other provinces, but to them it seemed a capital opportunity
for war, and they had no other aim. Richelieu had ruled
them severely; they thought to emancipate themselves
under Dubois, and they began by objecting to the admin-
istrators sent by the regent; a revolution always commences
by a riot.
Montesquieu was appointed viceroy, to hold assemblies,
to hear the people's complaints, and to collect their money.
The people complained plentifully, but would not pay, be-
cause they did not like the steward; this appeared a bad
reason to Montesquieu, who was a man of the old regime.
"You cannot offer these complaints to his majesty," said
he, "without aj)pearing to rebel; pay first, and complain
afterward ; the king will listen to your sorrows, but not to
your antipathies to a man honored by his choice. ' '
Monsieur de Montaran, of whom the Bretons complained,
gave no offence; but, in being intendant of the province,
any other would have been as much disliked, and they per-
sisted in their refusal to pay.
"Monsieur le Marechal, " said their deputies, "your lan-
guage might suit a general treating with a conquered place,
but cannot be accepted by free and privileged men. We
are neither enemies nor soldiers — we are citizens and mas-
ters at home. In compensation of a service which we ask,
namely, that Monsieur de Montaran, whom we dislike,
should be removed, we will pay the tax demanded; but
if the court takes to itself the highest prize, we will keep
our money, and bear as we best can the treasurer who dis-
Monsieur de Montesquieu, with a contemptuous smile.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 197
turned on his heel — the deputies did the same, and both
retired with their original dignity.
But the marshal was willing to wait; he behaved himself
as an able diplomatist, and thought that private reunions
would set all right; but the Breton nobles were proud — in-
dignant at their treatment, they appeared no more at the
marshal's reception; and he, from contempt, changed to
angry and foolish resolves. This was what the Span-
iards had expected. Montesquieu, corresponding with the
authorities at Nantes, Quimper, Yannes, and Rennes, wrote
that he had to deal with rebels and mutineers, but that ten
thousand of his soldiers should teach the Bretons politeness.
The States were held again; from the nobility to the
people in Bretagne is but a step; a spark lights the whole;
the citizens declared to M. de Montesquieu that if he had
ten thousand men, Bretagne had a hundred thousand, who
would teach his soldiers, with stones, forks, and muskets,
that they had better mind their own business, and that only.
The marshal assured himself of the truth of this asser-
tion, and was quiet, leaving things as they were for a while;
the nobility then made a formal and moderate complaint;
but Dubois and the council of the regency treated it as
a hostile manifesto, and used it as an instrument.
Montaran, Montesquieu, Pontcalec, and Talhouet were
the men really fighting among themselves. Pontcalec, a
man of mind and power, joined the malcontents and en-
couraged the growth of the struggle.
There was no drawing back; the court, however, only
saw the revolt, and did not suspect the Spanish affair. The
Bretons, who were secretly undermining the regency, cried
aloud, "No impost, no Montaran," to draw away suspicion
from their anti-patriotic plots: but the event turned out
198 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
against them. The regent — a skilful politician — guessed
the i^lot without perceiving it; he thought that this local
veil hid some other phantom, and he tore off the veil.
He withdrew Montaran, and then the conspirators were
unmasked; all the others were content and quiet, they
alone remained in arms.
Then Pontcalec and his friends formed the plot we
are acquainted with, and used violent means to attain
Spain was watching; Alberoni, beaten by Dubois in
the affair of Cellamare, waited his revenge, and all the
treasures prepared for the plot of Paris were now sent to
Bretagne; but it was late; he did not believe it, and his
agents deceived him ; he thought it was possible to recom-
mence the war, but then France made war on Spain. He
thought it possible to kill the regent; but he, and not
Chanlay, should do what no one would then recommend
to the most cruel enemy of France. Alberoni reckoned on
the arrival of a Spanish vessel full of arms and money, and
this ship did not arrive; he waited for news of Chanlay;
it was La Jonqui^re who wrote — and what a La Jonqui^re !
One evening Pontcalec and his friends had met in a little
room near the old castle; their countenances were sad and
irresolute. Du Couedic announced that he had received a
note recommending them to take flight.
"I have a similar one to show you," said Montlouis; "it
was slid under my glass at table, and my wife, who expected
nothing, was frightened. ' '
"I neither expect nor fear anything," said Talhouet;
"the province is calm, the news from Paris is good; every
day the regent liberates some one of those imprisoned for
the Spanish affair. ' '
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 199
"And I, gentlemen," said Pontcalec, "must tell you of
a strange communication I have received to-day. Show
me your note, Du Couedic, and you yours, Montlouis;
perhaps it is the same writing, and is a snare for us."
"I do not think so, for if they wish us to leave this, it
is to escape some danger; we have nothing to fear for our
reputation, for that is not at stake. The affairs of Bretagne
are known to the world: your brother Talhouet and your
cousin have fled to Spain: Solduc, Rohan, Sanbilly the
counsellor, have all disappeared, yet their flight was sup-
posed to be natural, and from some simple cause of discon-
tent. I confess, if the advice be repeated, I shall fly."
"We have nothing to fear, my friends," said Pontcalec,
*'our affairs were never more prosperous. See, the court
has no suspicion, or we should have been molested already.
La Jonqui^re wrote yesterday; he announces that De Chan-
lay is starting for La Muette, where the regent lives aa
a private gentleman, without guards, without fear."
"Yet you are uneasy," said Du Couedic.
"I confess it, but not for the reason you suppose."
"What is it, then?"
' ' A personal matter. ' '
"Of your own!"
"Yes, and I could not confide it to more devoted friends,
or any who know me better. If ever I were molested — if
ever I had the alternative of remaining or of flying to es-
cape a danger, I should remain ; do you know why ?' '
' ' I am afraid. ' '
"You, Pontcalec? — afraidl What do you mean by these
words, after those you have just uttered ?' '
"Mon Dieu! yes, my friend; the ocean is our safeguard;
200 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
we could find safety on board one of those vessels whicli
cruise on the Loire from Paimboeuf to Saint Nazaire; but
what is safety to you is certain death to me. ' '
"I do not understand you," said Talhouet.
"You alarm me," said Montlouis.
"Listen, then, my friends," said Pontcalec.
And he began, in the midst of the most scrupulous atten-
tion, the following recital; for they knew that if Pontcalec
were afraid there must be a good cause.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 201
THE SORCERESS OF SAVERXAY
** 1 WAS ten years old, and I lived at Pontcalec, in the
I midst of woods, when one day my uncle Crysogon,
my father, and I, resolved to have a rabbit hunt in
a warren at five or six miles' distance, found seated on the
heath a woman reading. So few of our peasants could read
that we were surprised. "We stopped and looked at her.
I see her now, as though it were yesterday, though it is
nearly twenty years ago. She wore the dark costume of
our Breton women, with the usual white head-dress, and
she was seated on a large tuft of broom in blossom which
she had been cutting.
"My father was mounted on a beautiful bay horse, with
a gold-colored mane, my uncle on a gray horse, young and
ardent, and I rode one of those little white ponies which to
strength and activity unite the docility of a sheej).
"The woman looked up from her book at the group
before her, and, seeing me firm in my stirrups near my
father, who seemed proud of me, she rose all at once, and
approaching me, said —
" 'What a pity!'
" 'What do you mean ?' asked my father.
" 'It means that I do not like that white pony,' replied
202 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
" 'And wliy not?'
" 'Because lie will bring misfortune to your child, Sire
de Pontcalec. '
""We Bretons are superstitious, you know; so that even
my father, who, you know, Montlouis, was an enlightened
as well as a brave man, stopped, in spite of my uncle
Crysogon, who urged us to proceed, and, trembling at the
idea of danger to me, he added —
" 'Yet the pony is gentle, my good woman, and Clement
rides well for his age. I have often ridden the little animal
in the park, and its paces are perfect. '
" 'I do not know anything of that. Marquis de Guer,'
replied the woman, 'but the little white horse will injure
your son Clement, I tell you.'
' ' ' And how can you know this ?'
" ' I see it, ' replied she, in a strange voice.
" 'When?' asked my father.
' ' My father turned pale, and I was afraid ; but my uncle
Crysogon, who had been in the Dutch wars, and had be-
come somewhat hardered by combating the Huguenots,
laughed till he nearly fell from his horse.
" 'Parbleu!' said he, 'this good woman certainly is in
league with the rabbits at Savernay. "What do you say
to it, Clement: would you like to go home and lose the
" 'Uncle,' I replied, 'I would rather go on with you.'
'You look pale and odd — are you afraid?'
" 'I am not afraid,' said I.
"I lied, for I felt a certain shudder pass through me,
which was very like fear.
"My father has since owned to me, that if it had not
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 203
been for my uncle's words, wliicli caused a certain false
shame in him, he would have sent me home or given my
horse to one of the servants ; but what an example for a boy
of my age, who declared himself to have no fear, and what
a subject for ridicule to my uncle !
"I continued, then, to ride my pony; we reached the
warren, and the chase commenced.
"While it lasted, the pleasures made us forget the pre-
diction ; but the chase over, and having started on our road
" 'Well, Clement,' said my uncle, 'still on your pony;
you are a brave boy. '
"My father and I both laughed; we were then crossing
a plain as flat and even as this room, no obstacles in the
way, nothing that could frighten a horse, yet at that mo-
ment my pony gave a bound which shook me from my
seat, then he reared violently and threw me off; my uncle
laughed, but my father became as pale as death. I did not
move, and my father leaped from his horse and came to me,
and found that my leg was broken.
"To describe my father's grief and the cries of the
grooms would be impossible; but my uncle's despair was
indescribable. Kneeling by my side, removing my clothcvS
with a trembling hand, covering me with tears and caresses,
his every word was a fervent prayer. My father was obliged
to console him, but to all his consolations and caresses he
"They sent for the first surgeon at Nantes, who pro-
nounced me in great danger. My uncle begged my mother's
pardon all day long; and we remarked that, during my
illness, he had quite changed his mode of life; instead of
drinking and hunting with the officers — instead of going ou
204 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
iisliing expeditions, of wliicli lie was so fond — lie never left
"Tlie fever lasted six weeks, and tlie illness nearly four
months ; but I was saved, and retained no trace of tlie acci-
dent. "When I went out for the first time, my uncle gave
me his arm; but when the walk was over, he took leave
of us with tears in his eyes.
" 'Where are you going, Crysogon?' asked my father
" 'I made a vow,' replied the good man, 'that, if our
child recovered, I would turn Carthusian, and I go to
"This was a new grief. My father and my mother shed
tears; I hung on my uncle's neck, and begged him not to
leave us; but the viscount was a man who never broke
a promise or a resolution. Our tears and prayers were
" 'My brother,' said he, 'I did not know that God
sometimes deigns to reveal Himself to man in acts of
mystery. I doubted, and deserve to be punished; be-
sides, I do not wish to lose my salvation in the pleas-
ures of this life.'
"At these words the viscount embraced me again,
mounted his horse, and disappeared. He went to the
Carthusian monastery at Morlaix. Two years afterward,
fasts, macerations, and grief had made of this bon vivant^
this joyous companion, this devoted friend, a premature
skeleton. At the end of three years he died, leaving me
all his wealth. ' '
"Diable! what a frightful tale, " said Du Couedic; "but
the old woman forgot to tell you that breaking your leg
would double your fortune."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 2U5
"Listen," said Pontcalec, more gravely tlian ever.
* ' Ah ! it is not finislied, ' ' said Talliouet.
' ' We are onlj at tlie commencement. ' '
"Continue, we are listening."
"You have all heard of the strange death of the Baron
de Caradec, have you not?"
"Our old college friend at Nantes," said Montlouis,
"who was found murdered ten years ago in the forest of
"Yes. Now listen; but remember that this is a secret
which till this moment has been only known to me, and
which even now must go no further than ourselves."
The three Bretons, who were deeply interested, gave the
"Well," said Pontcalec, "this college friendship of which
Montlouis speaks had undergone some change between
Caradec and myself, on account of a rivalry. We loved
the same woman, and I was loved by her.
' ' One day I determined to hunt the stag in the forest of
Chateaubriant; my dogs and huntsmen had been sent out
the day before, and I was on my way to the rendezvous,
when, on the road before me, I saw an enormous fagot walk-
ing along. This did not surprise me, for our peasants carry
such enormous fagots that they quite disappear under their
load; but this fagot appeared from behind to move alone.
Soon it stopped; an old woman, turning round, showed her
face to me. As I approached, I could not take my eyes off
her, for I recognized the sorceress of Savernay, who had
predicted the misfortune caused by my white pony.
"My first impulse, I confess, was to take another road,
and avoid the prophetess of evil; but she had already seen
me, and she seemed to wait for me with a smile full of
206 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
malice. I was ten years older than when her first threat
had frightened me. I was ashamed to go back.
" 'Good-day, Viscount de Pontcalec, ' said she; 'how is
the Marquis de Guer?'
' ' ' Well, good woman ; and I shall be quite easy about
him if you will assure me that nothing will happen to him
during my absence. '
" 'Ah! ah!' said she, laughing; 'you have not forgotten
the plains of Savernay. You have a good memory, vis-
count; but yet, if I gave you some advice, you would not
follow it any more than the first time. Man is blind.'
" 'And what is your advice?'
" 'Not to go hunting to-day.'
" 'Why not?'
" 'And to return at once to Pontcalec'
" 'I cannot; I have a rendezvous with some friends at
" 'So much the worse, viscount, for blood will be
" 'Yours, and another's.'
" 'Bah! are you mad?'
" 'So said your uncle Crysogon. How is he?'
" 'Do you not know that he died seven years ago at
" 'Poor fellow!' said the woman, 'like you, ne would
not believe; at length, he beheld, but it was too late.'
"I shuddered involuntarily; but a false shame whispered
that it would be cowardly to give way, and that doubtless
the fulfilment of the pretended witch's former prediction
had been but a chance.
" 'Ah! I see that a former experience has not made you
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 207
wiser, ray fine fellow,' said she. 'Well, go to Chateau-
briant then, since you must have it so, but at least send
back that handsome hunting-knife.'
" 'And with what will monsieur cut the stag's foot?'
asked the servant who followed me.
" 'With your knife,' said the old woman.
" 'The stag is a royal animal,' replied the servant, 'and
deserves a hunting- knife. '
. " 'Besides,' said I, 'you said my blood would flow.
What means that? — I shall be attacked, and if so I shall
want it to defend myself.'
" 'I do not know what it means,' replied the old woman;
'but I do know that in your place, my brave gentleman, I
would listen to a poor old woman, and that I would not go
to Chateaubriant; or, if I did go, it would be without my
hunting- knife, '
" 'Do not listen to the old witch, monsieur,' said the
servant, who was doubtless afraid to take the fatal weapon.
"If I had been alone, I should have returned; but before
my servant I did not like to do so.
" 'Thank you, my good woman,' said I, 'but really I do
not see what reason there is for not going to Chateaubriant.
As to my knife, I shall keep it; if I be attacked I must
have a weapon to defend myself. '
" 'Gro then and defend yourself,' said the old woman,
shaking her head; 'we cannot escape our destiny.'
"I heard no more. I urged my horse to a gallop; but,
turning a corner, I saw that the old woman had resumed her
route, and I lost sight of her.
"An hour after, I was in the forest of Chateaubriant;
and I met you, Montlouis and Talhouet, for you were both
of the party. ' '
208 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"It is true," said Talhouet, "and I begin to under-
stand. ' '
' ' And I, ' ' said Montlouis.
"But I know notliing of it," said Du Couedic; "so pray
continue, Pontcalec. "
"Our dogs started the deer, and we set off in pursuit;
but we were not the only hunters in the forest — at a distance
we heaj'd the sound of another pack, which gradually ajD-
proached; soon the two crossed, and some of my dogs by
mistake went after the wrong deer. I ran after them to
stop them, which separated me from you. You followed
the rest of our pack; but some one had forestalled me. I
heard the howls of my dogs under the lash of a whip; I
redoubled my pace, and found the Baron de Caradec strik-
ing them. I told you there were causes of dislike between
us, which only needed an opportunity to burst out. I asked
him why he struck my dogs. His reply was haughtier than
my question. We were alone — we were both twenty years
of age — we were rivals — each was armed. We drew our
knives, threw ourselves one upon the other, and Caradec
fell from his horse, pierced through the body. To tell you
what I felt when I saw him, bleeding and writhing in agony,
would be impossible; I spurred my horse, and darted
through the forest like a madman.
"I heard the voices of the hunters, and I arrived, one of
the first, but I remember — do you remember it, Montlouis ?
— that you asked me why I was so pale. "
"I do," said Montlouis.
"Then I remembered the advice of the sorceress, and
reproached myself bitterly for neglecting it. This solitary
and fatal duel seemed to me like an assassination. Nantes
and its environs became insupportable to me, for every day
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 209
I heard of the murder of Caradec. It is true that no one
suspected me, but the secret voice of my conscience spoke
so loud that twenty times I was on the point of denouncing
"Then I left Nantes and went to Paris, but not until
I had searched for the sorceress; not knowing either her
name or her residence, I could not find her. ' '
"It is strange," said Talhouet; "and have you ever seen
her since ?"
"Wait," said Pontcalec, "and listen, for now comes the
terrible part. This winter — or rather last autumn — I say
winter, because there was snow falling, though it was only
in November — I was returning from Guer, and had ordered
a halt at Pontcalec- des-Aulnes, after a day during which I
had been shooting snipes in the marshes with two of my
tenants. We arrived, benumbed with the cold, at the ren-
dezvous, and found a good fire and supper awaiting us.
"As I entered, and received the salutations and compli-
ments of my people, I perceived in the chimney-corner an
old woman wrapped in a large gray and black cloak, who
appeared to be asleep.
" 'Who is that?' I asked of the farmer, and trembling
" 'An old beggar, whom I do not know, and she looks
like a witch,' said he; 'but she was perishing with cold,
hunger, and fatigue. She came begging; I told her to come
in, and gave her a piece of bread ; which she ate while she
warmed herself, and now she has gone to sleep. '
"The figure moved slightly in its corner.
" 'What has happened to you. Monsieur le Marquis,'
asked the farmer's wife, 'that you are so wet, and that your
clothes are splashed with mud up to the shoulder ?'
210 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
" 'You nearly had to dine witliout me, my good Mar-
tine,' I replied, 'althoiigli this repast and this fire were
prepared for me. '
" 'Truly!' cried the good woman, alarmed.
' ' ' Ah ! monsieur had a narrow escape, ' said the farmer.
" 'How so, my good lord?'
' ' ' You know your marshes are full of bogs ; I ventured
without sounding the ground, and all at once I felt that I
was sinking in; so that, had it not been for my gun, which
I held across, enabling your husband to come and pull me
out, I should have been smothered, which is not only a
cruel but a stupid death.'
" 'Oh, monsieur,' said the wife, 'pray do not expose
yourself in this way!'
" 'Let him alone,' said the sepulchral voice of the figure
crouched in the chimney-corner; 'he will not die thus; I
' ' And, lowering the hood of her gray cloak, she showed
me the face of that woman who had twice crossed my path
with sad j^rediction.
"I remained motionless and petrified.
" 'You recognize me?' she asked, without moving.
' ' I made a sign of assent, but had not really the courage
to reply. All gathered in a circle round us.
" 'No, no,' continued she; 'be easy, Marquis de Guer;
you will not die thus.'
" 'How do you know ?' I stammered out, with a convic-
tion, however, that she did know.
" 'I cannot tell you, for I do not know myself; but you
know well that I do not make mistakes. '
" 'And how shall I die ?' asked I, making an effort over
myself to ask this question and to listen to her reply.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 211
" 'You will die by the sea. Beware of the water, Mar-
quis de Guer!' she replied.
" 'How ?' asked I. 'What do you mean ?'
" 'I have spoken, and cannot explain further, marquis;
but again I say, Beiuare of the vjater !'
"All the peasants looked frightened; some muttered
prayers, others crossed themselves; the old woman returned
to her corner, buried herself again in her cloak, and did not
speak another syllable.
212 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
**'Tr^HE details of tliis affair may some day escape my
j memory, but tlie impression it made will never be
effaced. I had not tlie sbadow of a doubt; and
this prediction took the aspect of a reality, as far as I was
concerned. Yes," continued Pontcalec, "even though you
should laugh, like my uncle Crysogon, you would never
change my opinion, or take away from me the conviction
that the prediction will be realized; therefore, I tell you,
were it true that we are pursued by Dubois's exempts — were
there a boat ready to take us to Belle Isle to escape them,
so convinced am I that the sea will be fatal to me, and that
no other death has any power over me, that I would give
myself up to my pursuers, and say, 'Do your worst, I shall
not die by your hands. ' ' '
The three Bretons had listened in silence to this strange
declaration, which gathered solemnity from the circum-
stances in which they stood.
"Then," said Du Couedic, after a pause, "we understand
your courage, my friend; believing 3'ourself destined to one
sort of death, you are indifferent to all other danger. But
take care; if the anecdote were known, it would rob you
of all merit, not in our eyes, for we know what you really
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER ' 213
are ; but otliers would say that you entered this conspiracy
because you can neither be beheaded, shot, nor killed by
the dagger, but that it would have been very different
if conspirators were drowned."
■ "And perhaps they would speak the truth," said Pont-
"But, my dear marquis," said Montlouis, "we who have
not the same grounds for security should, I think, pay some
attention to the advice of our unknown friend, and leave
Nantes, or even France, as soon as possible. ' '
"But this may be wrong," said Pontcalec; "and I do
not believe our projects are known at Nantes or else-
"And probably nothing will be known till Gaston has
done his work," said Talhouet; "and then we shall have
nothing to fear but enthusiasm, and that does not kill. As
to you, Pontcalec, never apj^roach a seaport, never go to
sea, and you will live to the age of Methuselah!"
The conversation might have continued in this jocular
strain; but at this moment several gentlemen, with whom
they had appointed a meeting, came in by different secret
ways, and in different costumes.
It was not that they had much to fear from the provin-
cial police — that of Nantes, though Nantes was a large
town, was not sufficiently well organized to alarm con-
spirators, who had in the locality the influence of name
and social position — but the police of Paris — the regent's
police, or that of Dubois — sent down spies, who were
easily detected by their ignorance of the place, and the
difference of their dress and speech.
Though this Breton association was numerous, we shall
onl}^ occupy ourselves with its four chiefs, who were
214 THE RECtENT'S DAUGHTER
beyond all tke otliers in name, fortune, courage, and
They discussed a new edict of Montesquieu's, and the
necessity of arming themselves in case of violence on the
marshal' s part : thus it was nothing less than the beginning
of a civil war, for which the pretexts were the impiety of
the regent's court and Dubois's sacrileges — pretexts which
would arouse the anathemas of an essentially religious
province against a reign so little worthy to succeed that
of Louis XIV.
Pontcalec explained their plan, not suspecting that at
that moment Dubois's police had sent a detachment to
each of their dwellings, and that an exempt was even then
on the spot with orders to arrest them. Thus, all who had
taken part in the meeting saw, from afar, the bayonets of
soldiers at their houses; and thus, being forewarned, they
might probably escape by a speedy flight; they might
easily find retreats among their numerous friends; many
of them might gain the coast, and escape to Holland,
Spain, or England.
Pontcalec, Du Couedic, Montlouis and Talhouet, as
usual, went out together; but, on arriving at the end
of the street where Montlouis' s house was situated, they
perceived lights crossing the windows of the apartments,
and a sentinel barring the door with his musket.
"Oh," said Montlouis, stopping his companions, "what
is going on at my house ?' '
"Indeed, there is something," said Talhouet; "and
just now I fancied I saw a sentinel at the Hotel de
Eouen. ' '
"Why did you not say so ?" asked Du Couedic; "it was
surely worth mentioning."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 215
"Oh, I was afraid of appearing an alarmist, and I tiiought
it miglit be only a patrol. ' '
"But this man belongs to the regiment of Picardy," said
Montlouis, stepping back.
"It is strange," said Pontcalec; "let me go up the lane
which leads to my house ; if that also be guarded, there will
be no further doubt."
Keeping together, in case of an attack, they went on
silently till they saw a detachment of twenty men grouped
round Pontcalec' s house.
"This passes a joke," said Du Couedic, "and, unless our
houses have all caught fire at once, I do not understand
these uniforms around them; as to me, I shall leave mine,
"And I," said Talhouet, "shall be off to Saint-ISTazaire,
and from there to Le Croisic; take my advice and come
with me. I know a brig about to start for Newfoundland,
and the captain is a servant of mine; if the air on shore
becomes too bad, we will embark, set sail, and vogue la
galeres ; come, Pontcalec, forget your old witch and come
"No, no," said Pontcalec, "I will not rush on my fate.
Reflect, my friends: we are the chiefs, and we should set
a strange example by flying before we even know if a real
danger exists. There is no proof against us. La Jonqui^re
is incorruptible; Gaston is intrepid; our letters from him
say that all will soon be over; perhaps, at this very mo-
ment, France may be delivered and the regent dead. What
would be thought of us if, at such a time, we had taken
flight ? The example of our desertion would ruin every-
thing here. Consider it well; I do not command you as a
chief, but I counsel you as a friend; you are not obliged
216 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
to obey, for I free you from your oatt, but in your place
I would not go. We liave given an example of devotion;
tlie worst that can happen to us is to give tliat of martyr-
dom; but Ibis will not, I bope, be tbe case. If we are
arrested, tbe Breton parliament will judge us. Of wbat
is it composed ? — of our friends and accomplices. We are
safer in a prison of wbicb tbey bold tbe key, tban on
a vessel at tbe mercy of tbe winds; besides, before tbe
parliament bas assembled, all Bretagne will be in arms;
tried, we are absolved; absolved, we are triumphant !"
"He is rigbt," said Talbouet; "my uncle, my brothers,
all my family, are compromised with me. I shall save
myself with them or die with him."
"My dear Talbouet," said Montlouis, "all this is very
fine; but I have a worse opinion of this affair tban you
have. If we are in the bands of any one, it is Dubois,
who is not a gentleman, and bates those who are. I do not
like these people who belong to no class — who are neither
nobles, soldiers, nor priests. I like better a true gentleman,
a soldier, or a monk: at least, they are all supported by the
authority of their profession. However, I appeal, as we
generally do, to tbe majority; but I confess that, if it be
for flight, I shall fly most willingly. ' '
"And I," said Du Couedic; "Montesquieu may be bet-
ter informed than we suppose; and if it be Dubois who holds
us in his clutches, we shall have some difficulty in freeing
ourselves. ' '
"And, I repeat, we must remain," said Pontcalec; "the
duty of a general is to remain at the head of his soldiers 5
the duty of the chief of a conspiracy is to die at the head
of the plot."
"My dear friend," said Montlouis, "your sorceress blinds
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 217
you; to gain credence for her prediction, you are ready to
drown yourself intentionally^ I am less enthusiastic about
this pythoness, I confess; and as I do not know what kind
of death is in store for me, I am somewhat uneasy."
"You are mistaken, Montlouis," said Pontcalec, "it is
duty above all which influences me; and, besides, if I do
not die for this, you will not, for I am your chief, and cer-
tainly before the judges I should reclaim the title which I
have abjured to-day. If I do not die by Dubois, neither
will you. "We soldiers, and afraid to pay an official visit
to parliament; for that is it, after all, and nothing else!
benches covered with black robes — smiles of intelligence
between the accused and the judge : it is a battle with the
regent; let us accept it, and when parliament shall absolve
us, we shall have done as well as if we had put to flight all
the troops in Bretagne. ' '
' ' Montlouis proposed to refer it to a majority, ' * said Du
Couedic, "let us do so."
"I did not speak from fear," said Montlouis; "but I
do not see the use of walking into the lion's mouth if we
can muzzle him."
"That was unnecessary, Montlouis," said Pontcalec;
"we all know you, and we accept your proposition. Let
those who are for flight hold up their hands. ' '
Montlouis and Du Couedic raised their hands.
""We are two and two," said Montlouis; "we must,
then, trust to inspiration."
"You forget," said Pontcalec, "that, as president, I
have two votes."
"It is true."
"Let those, then, who are remainiag here hold up their
hands. ' '
(J)— Vol. 23
218 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
Pontcalec and Talliouet raised tlieir hands; thus the
majority was fixed.
This deliberation in the open street might have seemed
absurd, had it not involved in its results the question of
life or death to four of the noblest gentlemen in Bretagne.
""Well," said Montlouis, "it appears, Du Couedic, that
we were wrong ; and now, marquis, we obey your orders. ' '
"See what I do," said Pontcalec, "and then do as you
And he walked straight up to his house, followed by
his three friends.
Arriving at the door, he tapped a soldier on the
"My friend," said he, "call your officer, I beg."
The soldier passed the order to the sergeant, who called
"What do you want?" asked the latter.
"I want to come into my house."
"Who are you?"
"I am the Marquis de Pontcalec."
"Silence!" said the officer, in a low voice, "and fly in.
stantly — I am here to arrest you." Then aloud, "You
cannot pass," said he, pushing back the marquis, and
closing in his soldiers before him.
Pontcalec took the officer's hand, pressed it, and said —
"You are a brave fellow, but I must go in. I thank
you, and may God reward you!"
The officer, surprised, opened his ranks, and Pontcalec,
followed by his friends, crossed the court. On seeing him,
his family uttered cries of terror.
"What IS it?'' asked the marquis, calmly; "and what
is going on here?"
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 219
"I arrest you, Monsieur le Marquis," said an exempt of
the Provost of Paris.
"Parclieu! what a fine exploit!" said Montlouis; "and
you seem a clever fellow — ^you, a provost's exempt, and
absolutely those whom you are sent to arrest are obliged
to come and take you by the collar."
The exempt saluted this gentleman, who joked so pleas-
antly at such a time, and asked his name.
"I am Monsieur de Montlouis. Look, my dear fellow,
if you have not got an order against me, too — if you have,
"Monsieur," said the exempt, bowing low, more and
more astonished, "it is not I, but my comrade, Duchevon,
who is charged to arrest you; shall I tell him?"
"Where is he?"
"At your house, waiting for you."
"I should be sorry to keep you waiting long," said
Montlouis, "and I will go to him. Thanks, my friend."
The exempt was bewildered.
Montlouis pressed Pontcalec's hand and those of the
others; then, whispering a few words to them, he set out
for his house, and was arrested.
Talhouet and Du Couedic did the same; so that by
eleven at night the work was over.
The news of the arrest ran through the town, but every
one said, "The parliament will absolve them,"
The next day, however, their opinions changed, for
there arrived from Nantes the commission, perfectly con-
stituted, and wanting, as we have said, neither president,
procureur du roi, secretary, nor even executioners. "We
use the plural, for there were three.
The bravest men are sometimes stupefied by great mis*
220 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
fortune. This fell on the province with the power and
rapidity of a thunder- stroke; it made no cry, no movement;
The commission installed itself at once, and expected
that, in consideration of its powers, people would bow be-
fore it rather than give offence ; but the terror was so great,
that each one thought of himself alone, and merely deplored
the fate of the others.
This, then, was the state of affairs in Bretagne three or
four days after the arrest of Pontcalec and his three friends.
Let us leave them a while at Nantes, Ie Dubois's toils, and
see what was passing in Paris.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 221
AND now, with the reader's permission, we will enter
the Bastille — that formidable building at which
even the passing traveller trembled, and which,
to the whole neighborhood, was an annoyance and cause
of alarm; for often at night the cries of the unfortunate
prisoners who were under torture might be heard piercing
the thick walls, so much so, that the Duchesse de Lesde-
quieres once wrote to the governor, that, if he did not
prevent his patients from making such a noise, she should
complain to the king.
At this time, however, under the reign of Philippe
d' Orleans, there were no cries to be heard; the society was
select, and too well bred to disturb the repose of a lady.
In a room in the Du Coin tower, on the first floor, was
a prisoner alone; the room was large, and resembled an
immense tomb lighted by two windows, furnished with
an unusual allowance of bars and irons. A painted couch,
two rough wooden chairs, and a black table, were the whole
furniture; the walls were covered with strange inscriptions,
which the prisoner consulted from time to time when he
was overcome by ennui.
He had, however, been but one day in the Bastille, and
yet already he paced his vast chamber, examining the iron-
222 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"barred doors, looking tlirougli tlie grated windows, listen-
ing, sighing, waiting. This day, whicli was Sunday, a pale
sun silvered the clouds, and the prisoner watched with a
feeling of inexpressible melancholy the walkers on the
Boulevards. It was easy to see that every passer-by
looked at the Bastille with a feeling of terror, and of self-
gratulation at not being within its walls. A noise of bolts
and creaking hinges drew the prisoner from this sad occu-
pation, and he saw the man enter before whom he had been
taken the day before. This man, about thirty years of age,
with an agreeable appearance and polite bearing, was the
governor, M. Delaunay, father of that Delaunay who died
at his post in '89.
The prisoner, who recognized him, did not know how
rare such visits were.
"Monsieur de Chanlay, " said the governor, bowing,
"I come to know if you have passed a good night, and
are satisfied with the fare of the house and the conduct
of the employes" — thus M. Delaunay, in his politeness,
called the turnkeys and jailers.
' ' Yes, monsieur ; and these attentions paid to a prisoner
have surprised me, I own."
' ' The bed is hard and old, but yet it is one of the best,
luxury being forbidden by our rules. Your room, mon-
sieur, is the best in the Bastille; it has been occupied by
the Due d'Angouleme, by the Marquis de Bassompierre,
and by the Marechaux de Luxembourg and Biron; it is
here that I lodge the princes when his majesty does me
the honor to send them to me."
"It is an excellent lodging," said Graston, smiling,
'though ill furnished; can I have some books, some
paper, and pens?"
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 223
"Books, monsieur, are strictly forbidden; but if you
veiy mucli "wisli to read, as many things are allowed to
a prisoner who is ennuye^ come and see me; tben you
can put in your pocket one of tbose volumes which my
wife or I leave about; you will hide it from all eyes; on
a second visit you will take the second volume, and to
this abstraction we will close our eyes."
"And paper, pens, ink?" said Graston, "I wish most
particularly to write."
"No one writes here, monsieur; or, at least, only to the
king, the regent, the minister, or to me; but they draw, and
I can let you have drawing-paper and pencils."
"Monsieur, how can I thank you sufficiently for your
''^^j granting me the request I came to make, for my
visit is an interested one. I came to ask if you would do
me the honor to dine with me to-day ?"
"With you, monsieur! truly, you surprise me ; however,
I cannot tell you how sensible I am of your courtesy, and
should retain for it an everlasting gratitude if I had any
prospect but death before my eyes."
"Death! monsieur, you are gloomy; you should not
think of these things — forget them and accept — "
"I do, monsieur."
"A la bonne heure, " said the governor, bowing to Gas-
ton, "I will take back your answer." And he went out,
leaving the prisoner plunged in a new train of ideas.
The politeness which at first charmed the chevalier on
reflection began to arouse some suspicion. Might it not
be intended to inspire him with confidence, and lead him
on to betray himself and his companions; he remembered
the tragic chronicle of the Bastille, the snares laid for
224 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
prisoners, and tliat famous dungeon chamber so mucli
Bpoken of, whicli none who had entered ever left alive.
Gaston felt himself alone and abandoned. He also felt
that the crime he had meditated deserved death; did not
all these flattering and strange advances conceal some
snare? In fact, the Bastille had done its ordinary work;
the prison acted on the prisoner, who became cold, sus-
picious, and uneasy.
"They take me for a provincial," he thought, "and they
hope that — prudent in my interrogatories — I shall be im-
prudent in my conduct; they do not, they cannot, know
my accomplices; and they hope that in giving me the
means of communicating with them, of writing to them,
or of inadvertently speaking of them, they will get some-
thing out of me. Dubois and D'Argenson are at the
bottom of this."
Then Gaston thought of his friends who were waiting
for him without news from him, who would not know what
had become of him, or, worse still, on some false news,
might act and ruin themselves.
Then came the thought of his poor Hel^ne, isolated, as
he himself was, whom he had not even presented to the
Due d'Olivares, her sole protector for the future, and who
might himself be arrested or have taken flight. Then what
would become of Hel^ne, without support, and pursued by
that unknown person who had sought her even in the heart
of Bretagne ?
In a paroxysm of despair at this thought, Gaston threw
himself on his bed, cursing the doors and bars which im-
prisoned him, and striking the stones with his hands.
At this moment there was a noise at the door. Gaston
rose hastily, and met M. d'Argenson with a law officer,
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 225
and behind them an imposing escort of soldiers. He un-
derstood that he was to be interrogated.
D'Argenson, with his great wig, large black ejes, and
dark shaggy eyebrows, made little impression on the
chevalier; he knew that in joining the conspiracy he
sacrificed his happiness, and that in entering the Bastille
he had sacrificed his life. In this mood it was difficult
to frighten him. D'Argenson asked a hundred questions
which Graston refused to answer, replying only by com-
plaints of being unjustly arrested, and demanding proof.
M. d'Argenson became angry, and Graston laughed in his
face; then D'Argenson spoke of the Breton conspiracy;
Gaston assumed astonishment, and listened to the list of
his accomplices with the greatest sang-froid. When the
magistrate had finished, he thanked him for giving him
intelligence of events which were quite new to him.
D'Argenson again lost patience, and gave his ordinary
Then he passed from interrogatory to accusation.
"You wanted to kill the regent," said he, all at once,
to the chevalier.
"How do you know that?" asked Gaston, calmly.
' ' Never mind how, since I know it, ' '
' ' Then I will answer you as Agamemnon did Achilles.
Why ask, since you know it ?"
' ' Monsieur, I am not jesting, ' ' said D ' Argenson.
"Nor I," said Gaston; "I only quote Racine."
"Take care, monsieur, you may find this system of de-
fence do you no good. ' '
' ' Do you think it would be better to confess what you
"It is useless to deny a fact which I am aware of."
226 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Then permit me to repeat my question: What is the
use of asking me about a project of which apparently you
are so much better informed than I am?"
"I want the details."
"Ask your police, which reads even people's most
"Hum, hum!" said D'Argenson, in a tone which, in
spite of Gaston's courage, made some impression on him,
"what would you say if I asked news of your friend La
"I should say," replied Gaston, turning pale, "that
I hope the same mistake has not been made about him
as about me."
"Ah!" said D'Argenson, "that name touches you, I
think — you know M. la Jonquiere?"
' ' I know him as a friend, recommended to me to show
"Yes, Paris and its environs — the Palais Eoyal, the Eue
du Bac, or La Muette: he was to show you all these, was
"They know all," thought Gaston.
"Well, monsieur," said D'Argenson, "can you find
another verse from Racine which will serve as an answer
to my question?"
"Perhaps I might, if I knew what you meant; certainly
I wished to see the Palais Royal, for it is a curious place,
and I have heard it much spoken of. As to the Rue du
Bac, I know little of it; then there only remains La Muette,
of which I know nothing."
"I do not say that you have been there; I say that
La Jonquiere was to take you there — do you dare to
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 227
"Ma foi, monsieur, I neither deny nor avow; I refer you
to him; he will answer you if he thinks fit."
"It is useless, monsieur; he has been asked, and has
replied. ' '
Gaston felt a shudder pass through him. He might
be betrayed, but he would divulge nothing. He kept
D'Argenson waited a moment, then, seeing that Gaston
remained silent —
"Would you like to meet La Jonqui^re ?" asked he,
"You can do with me as you please, monsieur," said
Gaston ; "I am in your hands. ' '
But at the same time he resolved, if he were to face La
Jonquiere, he would crush him beneath his contempt.
"It is well. As you say, I am the master, and I choose
just now to apply the ordinary and "the extraordinary
question: Do you know what they are, monsieur?" said
D'Argenson, leaning on each syllable.
A cold sweat bathed Gaston's temples, not that he feared
to die, but torture was worse than death. A victim of the
torture was always disfigured or crippled, and the best of
these alternatives was a cruel one for a young man of five-
D'Argenson saw, as in a mirror, what was passing in
"Hola!" said the interrogator.
Two men entered.
"Here is a gentleman who seems to have no dislike to
the question ordinary or extraordinar3^ Take him to the
room. ' '
"It is the dark hour, the hour I expected, " murmured
Gaston. "Oh, my God! give me courage."
228 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
Doubtless his prayer was heard, for, making a sign that
he was ready, he followed the guards with a firm step.
D'Argenson came behind him.
They descended the stone staircase and passed the first
dungeon in the tower. There they crossed two courts.
As they crossed the second court, some prisoners, look-
ing through their windows and seeing a gentleman well
dressed, called out —
"Hola! monsieur, you are set free then?"
A woman's voice added —
"Monsieur, if you are asked about us when _you are free
from here, say that we said nothing. ' '
A young man's voice said —
"You are happy, monsieur — you will see her you love."
"You are mistaken, monsieur," said the chevalier. "1
am about to suffer the question. ' '
A terrible silence succeeded. Then the sad procession
went over the drawbridge. Gaston was placed in a closed
and locked chair and taken to the arsenal, which was sepa-
rated from the Bastille by a narrow passage.
D'Argenson had taken the lead, and awaited the pris-
oner, who found himself in a low room covered with damp.
On the wall hung chains, collars, and other strange instru-
ments; chafing dishes stood on the ground, and crosses of
Saint Andre were in the corner.
"You see this," said D'Argenson, showing the chevalier
two rings fastened into flagstones at six feet apart and sepa-
rated by a wooden bench about three feet high; "in these
rings are placed the head and feet of the patient; then this
tressel is placed under him, so that his stomach is two feet
higher than his mouth; then we pour pots of water holding
two pints each into his mouth. The number is fixed at
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 229
eight for the ordinary, ten for the extraordinary question.
If the patient refuses to swallow, we pinch his nose so that
lie cannot breathe ; then he opens his mouth, then he swal-
lows. This question," continued he, emphasizing every
detail, ' ' is very disagreeable, and yet I do not think I should
prefer the boot. Both kill sometimes; the boot disfigures
the patient, and it is true that the water destroys his health
for the future ; but it is rare, for the prisoner always speaks
at the ordinary question if he be guilty, and generally at
the extraordinary, if he be not. ' '
Gaston, pale and silent, listened and watched.
' ' Do you prefer the wedges, chevalier ? Here, bring the
wedges. ' '
A man brought six wedges and showed them, still
stained with blood and flattened at the edges by the blows
which had been struck upon them.
"Do you know the way in which these are used? The
knees and ankles of the patient are pressed between two
wooden slabs as tightly as possible, then one of these men
forces a wedge between the knees, which is followed by a
larger one. There are eight for the ordinary torture, and
two larger for the extraordinary. These wedges, I warn
you, chevalier, break bones like glass and wound the flesh
insupportably. ' '
"Enough, enoagh," said Gaston, "unless you wish to
double the torture by describing it; but if it be only to
guide my choice, I leave it to you, as you must know them
better than I, and I shall be grateful if you will choose the
one which will kill me most quickly. ' '
D' Argenson could not conceal the admiration with which
Gaston's strength of will inspired him.
"Come," said he, "speak, and you will not be tortured."
230 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
' ' I have notliing to say, monsieur, so I cannot. ' '
"Do not play tlie Spartan, I advise you. One may cry,
but between the cries one always speaks under torture. ' '
"Try," said Gaston.
Gaston's resolute air, in spite of the struggle of nature —
a struggle which was evidenced by his paleness, and by a
slight nervous tremor which shook him — gave D'Argenson
the measure of his courage. He was accustomed to this
kind of thing, and was rarely mistaken. He saw that he
should get nothing out of him, yet he persisted.
"Come, monsieur," said he, "it is still time. Do not
force us to do you any violence."
"Monsieur," said Gaston, "I swear, before God, who
hears me, that if you put me to the torture, instead of
speaking, I will hold my breath, and stifle myself, if the
thing be possible. Judge, then, if I am likely to yield to
threats, where I am determined not to yield to pain. ' '
D'Argenson signed to the tormentors, who approached
Gaston ; but as they did so he seemed to gain new strength.
With a calm smile, he helped them to remove his coat and
to unfasten his cuffs.
"It is to be the water, then ?" asked the man.
' ' The water first, ' ' said D ' Argenson.
They passed the cords through the rings, brought the
tressels, filled the vases — Gaston did not flinch.
After about ten minutes' thought, which seemed an age
to the chevalier —
"Let him go," said D'Argenson, with a grunt of dis-
content, "and take him back to the Bastille."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 231
HOW LIFE PASSED IN THE BASTILLE WHILE WAITING
GASTON was inclined to tliank the lieutenant of
police, but lie refrained. It might appear as
though he had been afraid. He took his hat
and coat, and returned to the Bastille as he had come.
"They did not like to put a man of high birth to the
torture," thought he; "they will try me and condemn me
But death seemed easy when divested of the preliminary
agonies which the lieutenant of police had so minutely
On re-entering his room, Graston saw, almost with joy,
all that had seemed so horrible to him an hour before. The
prison seemed gay, the view charming, the saddest inscrip-
tions on the walls were madrigals compared to the menacing
appearance of the room he had just quitted.
The major of the Bastille came to fetch him about an
hour afterward, accompanied by a turnkey.
"I understand, " thought Graston; "the governor's invi-
tation is a pretext, in such a case, to take from the prisoner
the anguish of expectation. I shall, doubtless, cross some
dungeon, into which I shall fall and die. God's will be
done." And, with a firm step, he followed the major, ex-
232 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
pecting every moment to be precipitated into some secret
dungeon, and murmuring Hdl^ne's name, tliat lie might die
witli it on his lips.
But, no accident following this poetical and loving invo-
cation, the prisoner quietly arrived at the governor's door.
M. Delaunay came to meet him.
"Will you give me your word of honor, chevalier," said
he, "not to attempt to escape while you are in my house?
It is understood, of course," he added, smiling, "that this
parole is withdrawn as soon as you are taken back to your
own room, and it is only a precaution to insure me a con-
tinuance of your society. ' '
"I give you my word so far," said Gaston.
" 'Tis well, monsieur, enter; you are expected."
And he led Gaston to a well- furnished room, where a
numerous company was already assembled.
"I have the honor to present to you M. Le Chevalier
Gaston de Chanlay, ' ' said the governor. Then naming, in
turn, each of the persons assembled —
"M. le Due de Richelieu."
"M. le Comte de Laval."
"M. le Chevalier Dumesnil. "
"M. de Malezieux."
"Ah," said Gaston, smiling, "all the Cellamare con-
spiracy. ' '
"Except M. and Madame du Maine, and the Prince of
Cellamare," said the Abbe Brigand, bowing.
"Ah, monsieur," said Gaston, in a reproachful tone,
"you forget the brave D'Harmental and the learned Made-
moiselle de Launay. "
"D'Harmental is kejJt in bed by his wounds," said
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 23S
' ' As to Mademoiselle de Laiinay, ' ' said the Chevalier
Dumesnil, reddening with pleasure, "here she comes; she
does us the honor of dining with us."
"Present me, monsieur," said Gaston; "among pris-
oners we must not make ceremonies; I reckon, therefore,
And Dumesnil, taking Gaston by the hand, presented
him to Mademoiselle de Launay.
Gaston could not repress a certain expression of aston-
ishment at all he saw.
"Ah, chevalier," said the governor, "I see that, like
three-quarters of the inhabitants of Paris, you thought I
devoured my prisoners."
"No, monsieur," said Gaston, "but I certainly thought
for a moment that I should not have had the honor of
dining with you to-day."
"Is it the habit to give your prisoners an appetite for
their dinners by the walk I have had to-day?"
"Ah, yes," cried Mademoiselle de Launay, "was it not
you who were being led to the torture just now ?"
"Myself, mademoiselle; and be assured that only such
a "hindrance would have kept me from so charming a
society. ' '
' ' Ah, these things are not in my jurisdiction, ' ' said the
governor; "thank Heaven, I am a soldier, and not a judge.
Do not confound arms and the toga, as Cicero says. My
business is to keep you here, and to make your stay as
agreeable as possible, so that I may have the pleasure of
seeing you again. M. d'Argenson's business is to have you
tortured, hanged, beheaded, put on the wheel, quartered,
if possible; each to his task. Mademoiselle de Launay,"
234 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
added he, ' ' dinner is ready ; will you take my arm ? Y"our
pardon, Chevalier Dumesnil; you think me a tyrant, I am
sure, but as host I am privileged. Gentlemen, seat your-
selves. ' '
"What a horrible thing a prison is," said Kichelieu,
delicately turning up his cuffs, "slavery, irons, bolts,
chains. ' '
"Shall I pass you this potage a I'^crevisses ?" said
"Yes, monsieur," said the duke, "your cook does it
beautifully, and I am really annoyed that mine did not
conspire with me; he might have profited by his stay in
' ' There is champagne, ' ' said Delaunay , ' ' I have it direct
"You must give me the address," said Eichelieu, "for
if the regent leaves me my head, I shall drink no other wine
than this. I have got accustomed to it during my sojourns
here, and I am a creature of habit. ' '
"Indeed," sidd the governor, "you may all take exam-
ple by Richelieu; he is most faithful to me; and, in fact,
unless we are overcrowded, I always keep his room ready
' ' That tyrant of a regent may force us all to keep a room
here," said Brigand.
"Monsieur Delaunay," said Laval, in an angry tone,
"permit me to ask if it was by your orders that I was
awoke at two o'clock this morning, and the meaning of
"It is not my fault, monsieur; you must blame these
gentlemen and ladies, who will not keep quiet, in spite
of all I tell them."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 236
"We!" cried all tlie guests.
"Certainly," replied the governor, "you all break
througli rules; I am always having reports of commu-
nications, correspondences, notes, etc."
Richelieu laughed, Dumesnil and Mademoiselle de Lau-
"But we will speak of that at desert. You do not drink,
"No, I am listening."
' ' Say that you are dreaming ; you cannot deceive me thus. ' '
"And of what?" asked Malezieux.
"Ah, it is easy to see that you are getting old, my
poetical friend; of what should M. de Chanlay dream but
of his love ?' '
"Is it not better, M. de Chanlay," cried Richelieu, "to
have your head separated from your body, than your body
from your soul?"
"Apropos," interrupted Laval, "is there any news from
the court; how is the king?"
"No politics, gentlemen, if you please," said the gov-
ernor. "Let us discuss poetry, arts, war, and even the
Bastille, if you like, but let us avoid jjolitics, ' '
"Ah, yes," said Richelieu, "let us talk of the Bastille.
What have you done with Pompadour?"
"I am sorry to say he forced me to place him in the
dungeon. ' '
"What had he done?" asked Graston.
"He had beaten his jailer."
"How long has it been forbidden for a gentleman to beat
his servant ?' ' asked Richelieu.
"The Jailers are servants of the king, M. leDuc, " said
236 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
' ' Say rather of the regent. ' '
' ' A subtle distinction. ' '
"A just one."
"Shall I pass you the chambertin, M. de Laval?"
"If you will drink with me to the health of the king."
"Certainly, if afterward you will drink with me to the
health of the regent. ' '
"Monsieur," said Laval, "I am no longer thirsty."
"I believe it; you have just drunk some wine from his
highness 's cellar."
"From the regent's?"
"He sent it to me yesterday, knowing that I was to
have the pleasure of your company."
"In that case," said Brigand, throwing the contents of
his glass upon the floor, "no more poison."
"Oh!" said Malezieux, "I did not know you were such
a fanatic for the good cause."
"You were wrong to spill it, abb^," said Eichelieu,
"I know that wine, and you will hardly find such out
of the Palais Royal; if it were against your principles to
drink it, you should have passed it to your neighbor, or
put it back in the bottle. 'Vinum in amphoram,' said
"M. le Due," said Brigand, "you do not know Latin as
well as Spanish. ' '
"I know French still less, and I want to learn it."
"Oh! that would be long and tedious; better get ad-
mitted into the Academy, it would be far easier."
"And do you speak Spanish?" asked Richelieu of De
"Report says, monsieur, that I am here for the abuse
of that tongue."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 237
"Monsieur," said tlie governor, "if you return to politics
I must leave the table. "
"Then," said Richelieu, "tell Mademoiselle de Launay
to talk mathematics ; that will not frighten any one. ' '
Mademoiselle de Launay started; she had been carrying
on a conversation with Dumesnil, which had been greatly
exciting the jealousy of Maison- Rouge, who was in love
When dinner was over, the governor conducted each
guest back to his own room, and when it came to Gaston's
turn he asked M. Delaunay if he could have some razors,
instruments which appeared necessary in a place where such
elegant company was assembled.
"Monsieur le Chevalier," said the governor, "I am dis-
tressed to refuse you a thing of which I see the necessity;
but it is against the rules for gentlemen to shave themselves
unless they have special permission from the lieutenant of
police. No doubt you will obtain the permission if you
apjoly for it."
"But are those gentlemen whom I met here privileged,
for they were well dressed and shaved ?"
"No, they all had to ask permission; the Due de
Richelieu remained for a month with a beard like a
patriarch. ' '
"I find it difficult to reconcile such severity in detail
vrith the liberty I have just seen."
"Monsieur, I also have my privileges, which do not
extend to giving you books, razors, or pens, but which
allow me to invite to my table such prisoners as I choose
to favor, always supposing that it is a favor. True, it is
stipulated that I shall give an account of anything which
is spoken against the government, but by preventing my
238 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
guests from toucliing on politics, I avoid tlie necessity
of betraying them."
"Is it not feared, monsieur," said Gaston, "that this
intimacy between you and your prisoners should lead to
indulgences on your part, which might be contrary to the
intentions of the government?"
"I know my duty, monsieur, and keep within its strict
limits; I receive my orders from the court, and my guests
— who know that I have nothing to do with them — bear
me no ill will for them. 1 hope you will do the same."
"The precaution was not unnecessary," said Gaston,
"for doubtless I shall not long be left in the enjoyment
of the pleasure I have had to-day."
"You have doubtless some protector at court?"
' ' None, ' ' said Gaston.
' ' Then you must trust to chance, monsieur. ' '
' ' I have never found it propitious. ' '
"The more reason that it should weary of persecuting
' ' I am a Breton, and Bretons trust only in God. ' '
"Take that as my meaning when I said chance."
Gaston retired, charmed with the manners and attentions
of M. Delaunay.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 239
HOW THE NIGHT PASSED IN THE BASTILLE WHILE
WAITING FOR THE DAY
GASTON had already, on the preceding night, asked
for a light, and been told that it was against the
rules; this night he did not renew the request,
but went quietly to bed; his morning's visit to the
torture- room had given him a lesson in philosophy.
Thus, rather from youthful carelessness than from force
of will or courage, he slept quietly and soundly.
He did not know how long he had slept when he was
awoke by the sound of a small bell, which seemed to be
in his room, although he could see neither bell nor ringer;
it is true that the room was very dark, even by day, and
doubly so at that hour. The bell, however, continued to
sound distinctly, but with caution, as though it were afraid
of being heard. Gaston thought the sound seemed to come
from the chimney.
He rose, and, approaching it gently, became convinced
that he was right.
Presently he heard blows struck, under the floor on
which he stepped, at regular intervals, with some blunt
240 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
It was evident that these were signals among the
Gaston went to the window to raise the curtain of green
serge which intercepted the rays of the moon, and in doing
so he perceived an object hanging at the end of a string
and swinging before the bars.
"Good," said he; "it appears that I shall have occupa-
tion; but each one in turn; regularity above all things; let
us see what the bell wants, that was the first. ' '
Gaston returned to the chimney, extended his hand, and
soon felt a string, at the end of which a bell was hanging;
he pulled, but it resisted.
"Good," said a voice, which came down the chimney,
"you are there?"
"Yes," said Gaston; "what do you want?"
"Parbleu, I want to talk."
"Yery well," said the chevalier, "let us talk."
"Are you not M. de Chanlay, with whom I had the
pleasure of dining to-day?"
"Exactly so, monsieur."
' ' In that case I am at your service. ' '
"And I at yours."
"Then have the goodness to tell me the state of the
"You see they are in the Bastille."
"Good," said a voice, whose joyous tone Gaston could
hear with ease.
"Pardon me," said Gaston, "but what interest have you
in these affairs ?' '
"Why, when affairs are bad in Bretagne, they treat us
well, and when they prosper we are treated badly; thus
the other day, apropos of some affair, I do not know what^
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 241
which they pretended was connected with ours, we were
all put in the dungeon."
"Ah, diable!" said Gaston to himself, "if you do not
know, I do." Then he added, aloud, "Well then, mon-
sieur, be content, they are very bad, and that is perhaps
the reason why we had the pleasure of dining together
to-day. ' '
"Eh, monsieur, are you compromised?"
"I fear so."
"Keceive my excuses."
"I beg you, on the contrary, to accept mine; but I have
a neighbor below who is becoming impatient, and who is
striking hard enough to break the boards of my floor;
permit me to reply to him."
"Do so, monsieur; if my topographical calculations are
correct, it must be the Marquis de Pompadour. ' '
"It will be difiicult to ascertain."
"Not so difficult as you suppose."
"Does he not strike in a peculiar manner?"
"Yes; has it a meaning?"
"Certainly; it is our method of talking without direct
communication. ' '
"Have the kindness to give me the key to the vo-
cabulary. ' '
"It is not difficult; every letter has a rank in the
alphabet. ' '
"There are twenty-four letters."
"I have never counted them, but no doubt you are
"Well, one blow for A, two for B, three for C, and so on. "
(K)— Vol. 23
242 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
' ' I understand, but this method of communication must
be somewhat lengthy, and I see a string at my window
which is getting impatient. I will strike a blow or two to
show my neighbor that I have heard him, and then attend
to the string."
"Go, monsieur, I beg, for if I am not mistaken that
string is of importance to me; but first strike three blows
on the floor — in Bastille language that means patience; the
prisoner will then wait for a new signal."
Gaston struck three blows with the leg of his chair, and
the noise ceased.
He then went to the window.
It was not easy to reach the bars, but he at length
succeeded in doing so and raising the string, which
was gently pulled by some hand as a sign of acknowl-
Gaston drew the packet — which would scarcely pass the
bars — toward him; it contained a pot of sweetmeats and
a book. He saw that there was something written on
the paper which covered the pot, but it was too dark
to read it.
The string vibrated gently, to show that an answer
was expected, and Gaston, remembering his neighbor's
lesson, took a broom, which he saw in the corner, and
struck three blows on the ceiling.
This, it will be remembered, meant patience.
The prisoner withdrew the string, freed from its burden.
Gaston returned to the chimney.
"Eh! monsieur," said he.
•'All right, what is it?"
"I have just received, by means of a string, a pot of
sweets and a book."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 243
"Is not there something written on one of them?"
"About the booli I do not know, but there is on the pot;
unfortunately, it is too dark to read. ' '
"Wait," said the voice, "I will send a light."
"I thought lights were forbidden."
' ' Yes, but I have procured one. ' '
"Well, then, send it, for I am as impatient as you to
know what is written to me." And Gaston, feeling cold,
began to dress himself.
All at once he saw a light in his chimney ; the bell came
down again transformed into a lantern.
This transformation was effected in the most simple
manner; the bell turned upside down, so as to form a
vessel, into which some oil had been poured, and in the
oil burned a little wick.
Gaston found this so ingenious that for a moment he
forgot both the pot and the book. "Monsieur," said
he to his neighbor, "may I, without indiscretion, ask
you how you procured the different objects with which
you fabricated this lamp?"
"Nothing more simple, monsieur ; I asked for a
bell, which was given me, then I saved some oil
from my breakfasts and dinners, till I had a bottle
full; I made wicks by unravelling one of my hand-
kerchiefs; I picked up a pebble when I was walking
in the yard; I made some tinder with burned linen; I
stole some matches when I dined at the governor's;
then I struck a light with a knife, which I possess;
and with the aid of which I made the hole thi'ough
which we correspond."
"Keceive my compliments, monsieur, you are a man of
241 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Thank you, monsieur; will you now see what book
has been sent you, and what is written on the paper of
the pot of sweetmeats."
' ' Monsieur, the book is a Yirgil. ' '
' ' That is it — she promised it to me, ' ' cried the voice, in
an accent of happiness which surprised the chevalier, who
could not understand that a Yirgil should be so impatiently
"Now," said the prisoner with the bell, "pass on, I beg,
to the pot of sweetmeats, ' '
"Willingly," said Graston, and he read:
"Monsieur le Chevalier — I hear from the lieutenant
of the prison that you occupy the room on the first floor,
which has a window immediately below mine. Prisoners
should aid and help each other; eat the sweetmeats, and
pass the Yirgil up to the Chevalier Dumesnil, whose chim-
ney looks into the court. ' '
' ' That is what is expected, ' ' said the prisoner with the
bell; "I was told at dinner to-day that I should receive
"Then you are the Chevalier Dumesnil?"
"Yes, monsieur, and your humble servant."
"I am yours," replied Graston, "I have to thank you
for a pot of sweetmeats, and I shall not forget my
obligation. ' '
"In that case, monsieur," replied the prisoner, "have
the kindness to detach the bell, and fasten on the Yirgil
instead. ' '
"But if you have not the light, you cannot read."
"Oh, I will make another lantern."
iQraston, who trusted to his neighbor's ingenuity, after
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 245
tlie proofs he liad had of it, made no further difficulties;
he took the bell, which he placed in the neck of an empty
bottle, and fastened on the Virgil, conscientiously replacing
a letter which fell from between the leaves.
"Thank you, monsieur," said Dumesnil; "and now, if
you will reply to your neighbor below ?' '
"You give me liberty ?"
"Yes, monsieur; though presently I shall make an ap-
peal to your good nature. "
"At your orders, monsieur; you say, then, that for the
"One blow for A; twenty- four for Z."
The chevalier struck a blow with the handle of the
broom, to give notice to his neighbor that he was ready
to enter into conversation with him; it was instantly an-
swered by another blow.
At the end of half an hour the prisoners had succeeded
in saying this:
"Good evening, monsieur; what is youi' name?"
"Thank you, monsieur; I am the Chevalier Gaston de
"And I, the Marquis de Pompadour."
At this moment Gaston, looking toward the window,
saw the string shaking convulsively.
He struck three blows, to ask for patience, and returned
to the chimney.
"Monsieur," said he to Dumesnil, "I beg you to re-
member that the string at the window seems prodigiously
"Beg her to have patience; I will attend to her
246 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
Gaston renewed tlie signal for patience on the ceiling,
and then returned to the chimney, and the Virgil soon
"Monsieur," said Dumesnil, "will you have the good-
ness to fasten the Virgil to the string? That is what
Gaston had the curiosity to see if Dumesnil had replied
to Mademoiselle de Launay. He opened the Virgil; there
was no letter, but some words were underlined in pencil,
and Gaston read: "Meos amores," and "Carceris oblivia
longa. ' '
Gaston understood this method of correspondence,
which consisted in underlining words which, placed to-
gether, made sense.
"Ah," said Gaston, fastening the book to the string,
"it seems that I have become the postman."
Then he sighed deeply, remembering that he had no
means of corresponding with H^l^ne, and that she was
entirely ignorant what had become of him. This gave
him sympathy for the attachment of Mademoiselle de
Launay and the Chevalier Dumesnil. He returned to the
"Monsieur," said he, "your letter is despatched."
' ' A thousand thanks, chevalier. Now a word more, and
I will leave you to sleep in peace. ' '
"Oh, say whatever you wish, monsieur."
"Have you spoken with the prisoner below?"
"Who is he?"
"The Marquis de Pompadour."
"1 thought so. What did he say ?' '
•' 'Good-evening,' and asked who I was; he had mo
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 247
time to ask more; tlie method of communication is not as
expeditious as it is ingenious."
"You must make a hole, and then you can trlk as
"I will lend you my knife."
"It will serve to amuse you at least.**
"Give it me."
"Here it is."
And the knife fell at Gaston's feet.
"Now, shall I send back the bell?"
"Yes; for my jailers might miss it to-morrow morning,
and you do not want light for your conversation with
Pompadour. ' '
' ' No ; certainly not. ' '
And the bell was drawn up.
"Now," said the chevalier, "you must have something
to drink with your sweets, and I will send you a bottle of
champagne. ' '
"Thank you," said Gaston, "do not deprive yourself of
it; I do not care much for it,"
"Then when you have made the hole, you shall pass it
to Pompadour, who is of a very different opinion. Stay,
here it is."
"Thank you, chevalier."
And the string ascended.
Gaston looked for the string at the window, and saw that
it had disappeared.
"Ah," sighed he, "the Bastille would be a palace for
248 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
me, if my poor Helene were in Mademoiselle de Launay's
Then lie resumed a conversation witli Pompadour, whicli
lasted until three in the morning, and in which he told him
that he was going to pierce a hole, that they might have
more direct communication.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 249
A COMPANION IN THE BASTILLE
^ r I "^HUS occupied, Gaston was more uneasy than ennuye;
I besides, lie found another source of amusement.
Mademoiselle de Launaj, who obtained whatever
she liked from the lieutenant, Maison-Rouge, provided her
request were only accompanied by a sweet smile, obtained
paper and pens; she had sent some to Dumesnil, who had
shared them with Gaston, with whom he still communi-
cated, and with Richelieu, with whom also he managed to
correspond. Then Gaston formed the idea of making some
verses to Helene.
On his part, the Chevalier Dumesnil made some for
Mademoiselle de Launay, who made them in return for him,
so that the Bastille was a true Parnassus. There was only
Richelieu who dishonored the society by writing prose.
Time passed, as it will pass, even in the Bastille.
Gaston was asked if he would like to attend mass, and,
as he was deeply religious, he had assented most gladly.
The next day they came to fetch him.
The mass was celebrated in a little church, having, in-
stead of chapels, separate closets, with bull's-eye windows
into the choir, so that they could only see the officiatmg
priest at the moment of elevation, and he could not see the
prisoners at all.
Gaston saw M. de Laval and the Duo de Richelieu, who
250 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
had apparently come to mass for the purpose of talking,
for they knelt side by side, and kept up an incessant whis-
pering. Monsieur de Laval appeared to have some impor-
tant news to communicate, and kept looking at Gaston as
though he were interested in it. As neither spoke to him,
however, except in the way of mere salutation, he asked
When the mass was over, the prisoners were taken back.
As they crossed a dark corridor, Gaston passed a man who
seemed to be an employe of the house. This man sought
Gaston's hand, and slipped a paper into it, which he put
quietly into his waistcoat pocket.
When he was alone in his own room he eagerly took it
out. It was written on sugar paper, with the point of a
sharpened coal, and contained this line — "Feign illness
It seemed to Gaston that the writing was not unknown
to him, but it was so roughly traced that it was difficult to
recognize. He waited for the evening impatiently, that he
might consult with the Chevalier Dumesnil.
At night Gaston told him what had passed, asking him,
as he had a longer acquaintance with the Bastille, what he
thought of the advice of his unknown correspondent.
"Ma foi, though I do not understand the advice, I
should follow it, for it cannot hurt you; the worst that
can happen is that they may give you less to eat."
"But," said Gaston, "suppose they discover the illness
to be feigned."
"Oh! as to that," replied Dumesnil, "the doctor is en-
tirely ignorant, and will give you whatever you may ask
for; perhaps they will let you walk in the garden, and that
would be a great amusement. ' '
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 251
Gaston consulted Mademoiselle de Launay, wliose ad-
vice, by logic or sympathy, was the same as that of the
chevalier; but she added, "If they diet you, let me know,
and I will send you chicken, sweets, and Bordeaux. ' '
Pompadour did not reply ; the hole was not yet pierced.
Gaston then played the sick man, did not eat what they
sent him, relying on his neighbor's liberality. At the end
of the second day M. Delaunay appeared; he had been told
that Gaston was eating nothing, and he found the prisoner
"Monsieur," he said, "I fear you are suffering, and have
come to see you."
"You are too good, monsieur," said Gaston; "it is true
that I am suffering. ' '
"What is the matter?"
"Ma foi, monsieur, I do not know that there is any
amour propre here; I am ennuye in this place."
"What, in four or five days?"
' ' From the first hour. ' '
"What kind of ennui do you feel ?"
"Are there several ?"
' ' Certainly — one pines for his family. ' *
"I have none."
' ' For his mistress. ' '
"For one's country."
"Yes," said Gaston, "it is that," seeing that he must
The governor appeared to reflect.
"Monsieur," said he, "since I have been governor of the
Bastille, my only agreeable moments have been those in
which I have been of service to the gentlemen confided to
262 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
my care by tlie king. I am ready to do anytliing foi you
if you will promise to be reasonable. ' '
"I promise you, monsieur."
"I can put you in communication witb one of your
compatriots, or at least witb a man wlio seems to know
"Is lie a prisoner?"
A vague sentiment passed tbrougli Gaston's mind that
it must be this man wbo bad slipped the note into bis band.
"I should be very grateful if you would do this," said be.
"Well, to-morrow you shall see him; but as I am recom-
mended to be strict with him, you can only remain with
bim an hour, and, as be may not quit his chamber, you
must go to him."
"As you please, monsieur," said Gaston.
"Then it is decided; at five o'clock expect me or the
major; but it is on one condition."
"What is it?"
' ' That in consideration of this distraction you will eat a
"I will try."
Gaston ate a little chicken and drank a little wine to
keep his promise.
In the evening he told Dumesnil what had passed.
"Ma foi," said he, "you are lucky; the Count de Laval
had the same idea, and all be got was to be put into a room
in the tower Du Tresor, where he said he was dreadfully
dull, and had no amusement but speaking to the prison
apothecary. ' '
"Diablel" said Gaston, "why did you not tell me that
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 253
"I had forgotten it."
This tardy recollection somewhat troubled Gaston;
placed as he was between Pompadour, Dumesnil, and
Mademoiselle de Launay, his position was tolerable; if
he were to be removed, he would be really attacked by
the malady he had feigned.
At the appointed time the major of the Bastille came,
and led Graston across several courts, and they stopped at
the tower Du Tresor. Every tower had its separate
In the room number one was a prisoner asleep on a fold-
ing bed, with his back turned to the light; the remains of
his dinner were by him on a worn-out wooden table, and
his costume, torn in many places, indicated a man of low
"Ouais," said Gaston, "did they think that I was so
fond of Bretagne that any fellows who happened to have
been born at Nismes or at Penmarch may be raised to the
rank of my Pylades ? No, this fellow is too ragged, and
seems to eat too much; but as one must not be too capri-
cious in prison, let us make use of the hour. I will recount
my adventure to Mademoiselle de Launay, and she will put
it into verse for the Chevalier Dumesnil. ' '
Gaston was now alone with the prisoner, who yawned
and turned in his bed.
"Ugh! how cold it is in this cursed Bastille," said he,
rubbing his nose.
"That voice, that gesture — it is he!" said Gaston, and
he approached the bed.
' ' What, ' ' cried the prisoner, sitting up in bed and look-
ing at Gaston, "you here, M. de Chanlay?"
"Captain La Jonqui^re!" cried Gaston.
254 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Myself — tliat is to say, I am the person you name; but
my name is clianged. '
"First Tresor. It is a custom in the Bastille for the
prisoner to take the name of his room — that saves the turn-
key the trouble of remembering names; however, if the
Bastille be full, and two or three j)risoners in the same
room, they take two numbers; for example: I am first
Tresor, if you were put here you would be first Tresor
number two ; another would be first Tresor number
three. The jailers have a kind of Latin literature for
"Yes, I understand," said Gaston, watching La Jon-
qui^re intently; "then you are a prisoner?"
' ' Parbleu, you see for yourself ; I presume we are neither
of us here for pleasure. ' '
"Then we are discovered."
"I am afraid so."
"Thanks to you."
"How to me?" cried La Jonqui^re, feigning surprise.
*'Ko jokes, I beg."
"You have made revelations, traitor!"
"I! come, come, young man, you are mad; you ought
not to be in the Bastille, but in the Petites Maisons. ' '
"Do not deny it, M. d'Argenson told me!"
"D'Argenson. Pardieu, the authority is good; and do
you know what he told me ?' '
"That you had denounced me."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 255
"Well; what tlien ? Are we to cut each, other's throats
because the police has followed out its trade and lied ?"
"But how could he discover?"
"I ask the same of you. But one thing is certain; if
I had told anything, I should not be here. You have not
seen much of me, but you ought to know that I should
not be fool enough to give information gratis; revelations
are bought and sold, monsieur, and I know that Dubois
pays high for them."
' ' Perhaps you are right, ' ' said Gaston ; ' ' but at least let
Tis bless the chance which brings us together. ' '
' ' You do not appear enchanted, nevertheless. ' '
"I am only moderately so, I confess."
"Ah, monsieur, how bad-tempered you are."
"Yes; you are always getting angry. I like my soli-
tude; that does not speak."
"Again. Now listen. Do you believe, as you say, that
chance has brought us together ?"
"What should it be?"
"Some combination of our jailers — of D'Argenson's, or
"Did you not write to me ?" t
"Telling me to fain illness from ennui."
' ' And how should I have written ? — on what ? — by
Graston reflected; and this time it was La Jonquiere
who watched him.
256 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Then," said the captain, presently, "I think, on the
contrary, that it is to you we owe the pleasure of meeting
in the Bastille. ' '
"To me, monsieur?"
"Yes, chevalier; you are too confiding. I give you that
information in case you leave here; but more particularly
in case you remain here. ' '
' ' Have you noticed if you were followed ?' '
"A conspirator should never look before, but always
Gaston confessed that he had not taken this precaution.
' ' And the duke, ' ' asked La Jonqui^re, "is he arrested ?' '
' ' I know not ; I was going to ask you. ' '
' ' Peste ! that is disagreeable. You took a young woman
"You know that?"
' ' Ah ! my dear fellow, everything becomes known. Did
not she give the information? Ah! woman, woman!"
"This was a brave girl, monsieur; I would answer for
her discretion, courage, and devotion."
"Yes, I understand. We love her — so she is honey and
gold. What an idea of a conspiracy you must have to take
a woman to the chief of the plot!"
"But I told her nothing; and she could know no secrets
of mine but such as she may have surprised."
"She has a keen eye."
"And if she knew my projects, I am convinced she
would never have spoken."
"Oh, monsieur, without counting her natural disposition
to that exercise, can we not always make a woman speak ?
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 257
Some one might have said, without any preparation, 'Your
love for M. de Chanlay will lose your head' — I will wager
that she will speak. ' '
"There is no danger — she loves me too much."
"That is the very reason, pardieu! that she would
chatter like a magpie, and that we are both caged up.
However, let us drop this. What do you do here?"
"Amuse yourself — how ?"
"With making verses, eating sweets, and making holes
in the floor. ' '
"Holes in the king's boards?" said La Jonqui^re. "Oh,
oh! that is good to know. Does not M. Delaunay scold?"
"He does not know it; besides, I am not singular —
everybody makes a hole in something; one his floor, the
other his chimney, the next his wall. Do you not make
holes in something?"
La Jonqui^re looked to see if Graston were not laughing
"But now, monsieur," said La Jonqui^re, "let us speak
seriously. Are you condemned to death ?' '
"You say that coolly."
"It is a habit in the Bastille. There are twenty here
condemned to death, and not a bit the worse for it."
' ' I have been interrogated. ' '
"Ah! you see."
"But I do not believe I am condemned." .
"That will come."
"My dear captain, do you know that, although you do
not look so, you are marvellously merry ?"
258 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Does it astonish you ?"
"I did not know you were so brave."
"Then you would regret life ?"
"I confess it; I only want one thing to make me happy,
and that is to live. ' '
' ' And you became a conspirator with a chance of hap-
piness before you ? I do not understand you ; I thought
people conspired from despair, as they marry when they
have no other resource."
"When I joined the conspiracy I did not love."
"I would not draw back. "
"Bravo! that is what I call character. Have you been
"No; but I had a narrow escape."
"Then you will be."
"Because I have been; and it would be unfair to treat
us differently. Look at the state of my clothes."
' ' Which did they give you ?' ' asked Gaston, shuddering
at the recollection of what had passed between D' Argenson
"The water. They made me drink a barrel and a half;
my stomach was like a bladder; I did not think I could
have held so much."
"And did you suffer much?" asked Gaston, with
"Yes; but my temperament is robust — the next day I
thought no more of it. It is true that since then I have
drunk a great deal of wine. If you have to choose, select
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 259
tlie water — it cleans. All the mixtures doctors give us are
only a means of making us swallow water. Fangon says
the best doctor he ever heard of was Doctor Sangrado; he
only existed in Le Sage's brain, or he would have done
miracles. ' '
"You know Fangon?" asked Gaston, surprised.
"By reputation; besides, I have read his works. But
do you intend to persist in saying nothing?"
"You are right. I should tell you, if you regret life so
much as you say, to whisper a few words to M. d' Argenson,
but he is a talker who would reveal your confession. ' '
"I will not speak, be assured; these are points on which
I do not need strengthening."
"I believe it; pardieu! you seem to me like Sardana-
palus in your tower. Here I have only M. de Laval, who
takes medicine three times a day — it is an amusement he
has invented. Well, tastes differ; and perhaps he wants
to get accustomed to the water."
"But did you not say I should certainly be condemned ?"
"Do you wish to know the whole truth ?"
"Well, D' Argenson told me that you were."
Gaston turned pale, in spite of his courage. La Jon-
qui^re remarked it.
"However," said he, "I believe you might save your-
self by certain revelations."
"Why, do you think I should do what you refused?"
"Our characters and our positions are different. I am
no longer young — I am not in love — I do not leave a mis-
tress in tears. ' '
260 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"YoTi see there is a great difference between us; when
did you ever hear me sigh like that ?' '
"Ah! i£ I die, his excellency will take care of H^l^ne."
"And if he be arrested ?"
' ' You are right. ' '
' ' God will protect her. ' '
"Decidedly you are young," said La Jonqui^re.
■ "Suppose his excellency be not arrested?"
"What age is he?"
"Forty- five or six, I suppose."
"And if he fell in love with Heldne; is not that her
"The duke fall in love with her! he to whose protection
I confided her! It would be infamous!"
"The world is full of infamy; that is how it gets on."
"Oh, I will not dwell on such a thought."
"I do not tell you to dwell on it; I only suggested it for
you to make what use you liked of. ' '
"Hush," said Graston, "some one is coming."
"Have you asked for anything ?"
"Then the time allowed for your visit is out," and La
Jonqui^re threw himself quickly on his bed.
The bolts creaked, the door opened, and the governor
"Well, monsieur," said he to Gaston; " does your com-
panion suit you?"
"Yes, particularly as I know Captain La Jonqui^re."
"That makes my task more delicate; but, however, I
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 261
made you an offer, and I will not draw back. I will
permit one visit daily, at any hour you please: shall it
be morning or evening?"
Gaston looked at La Jonqui6re.
"Say five in the evening," said La Jonqui^re, quickly.
"Li the evening at five o'clock, if you please."
"The same as to-day, then?"
"It shall be as you desire, monsieur."
Gaston and La Jonqui^re exchanged a glance, and the
chevalier was taken back to his chamber.
262 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
T WAS half-past six, and quite dai'k; the chevalier's
first act on being left in his room was to run to
' ' Chevalier, ' ' said he. :
' ' I have paid mj visit. ' '
"I have found an acquaintance, if not a friend." ]
' ' A new prisoner ?" s
' ' Of the same date as myself. ' '
' ' Captain La Jonqui^re. ' '
' ' Do you know him ?' '
"Then do me a favor: what is he?"
"Oh, an enemy of the regent's."
"Are you sure?"
"Quite; he was in our conspiracy, and only withdrew
because we preferred abduction to assassination. ' '
"Then he was-?"
"For assassination." U
"That is it," murmured Gaston; "he is a man to be
trusted. ' '
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 263
"If it be tlie same I mean, he lives in tlie Rue Bour-
donnais, at the Muicls d' Amour."
"Then he is a safe man."
"That is well, " said Graston, "for he holds the lives of
four brave gentlemen in his hands. ' '
"Of whom you are one."
"No, I put myself aside, for it seems all is over with
"How all is over?"
' ' Yes, I am condemned. ' '
There was a moment's silence.
"Impossible!" cried the Chevalier Dumesnil, at length.
"Because, if I be not mistaken, your affair is attached
"It follows on it."
"Our affairs prospering, yours cannot go wrong."
"And who says yours are prospering?"
"Listen, for with you I will have no secrets."
"I am listening."
' ' Mademoiselle de Launay wrote me this yesterday. She
was walking with Maison- Rouge, who, as you know, loves
her, and at whom we both laugh, but who is useful to us.
On pretext of illness, she asked, as you did, for a doctor;
he told her that the prison doctor was at her orders. I
must tell you that we have known this doctor intimately;
his name is Herment.
264 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
' ' However, she did not hope to get much out of him, for
he is a timid man ; but when he entered the garden where
she was walking, and gave her a consultation in the open
air, he said to her, 'Hope!' In the mouth of any one else
this would have been nothing — in his it was a vast deal;
since we are told to hope, you have nothing to fear, as our
affairs are intimately connected."
"However," said Gaston, "La Jonqui^re seemed sure
of what he said."
At this moment Pompadour knocked.
Gaston went to the hole, which, with the aid. of his
knife, he soon made practicable.
"Ask the Chevalier Dumesnil if he does not know
anything more from Mademoiselle de Launay."
"One of us; I overheard some words between the gov-
ernor and the major at my door: they were, 'condemned
to death.' "
"Be easy, marquis; I believe they spoke of me."
"Diable! that would not make me easy at all; first,
because we have quickly become friends^ and I should be.
grieved if anything were to happen to you; and secondly,
because what happened to you might well happen to us,
our affairs being so similar."
"And you believe that Mademoiselle de Launay could
remove your doubts."
' ' Yes, her windows look on the arsenal. ' '
' ' She would have seen if there were anything new going
on there to-day."
"Ah! she is striking now."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 2fi5
At tliat moment Mademoiselle de Launay struck two
blows, which meant attention.
Gaston replied by one, wbicb meant that he was
Then he went to the window.
A minute after, the string appeared with a letter.
Gaston took the letter, and went to the hole to Pom-
"Well ?" said the marquis.
"A letter," replied Gaston.
"What does she say?"
"I cannot see, but I will send it to Dumesnil, who will
"Pardon," said Gaston, "I am as anxious as you"; and
he ran to the chimney.
"The string!" he cried.
"You have a letter?"
"Yes; have you a light ?"
' ' Lower the string. ' '
Gaston tied on the letter, which was drawn up.
" It is for you and not for me, ' ' said Dumesnil.
"Never mind, read it, and tell me what it is; I have no
light, and it would lose time to send me one. ' '
"You permit me?"
A moment's silence.
"Well?" said Gaston.
"Bad news, is it not?"
"Judge for yourself." And Dumesnil read:
CL)— Vol. 23
266 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"My dear Neighbor — Some judge extraordinary has
arrived at the arsenal this evening. I recognized D'Ar-
genson's livery. We shall know more soon, when I see
the doctor. A thousand remembrances to Dumesnil. "
"That is what La Jonqui^re told me; it is I that am
condemned. ' '
"Bah, chevalier," said Dumesnil; "you are too easily
alarmed. ' '
"Not at all. I know well what to think, and then
"Silence; some one is coming." And Gaston went
away from the chimney.
The door opened, and the major and lieutenant, with
four soldiers, came for Graston, who followed them.
"I am lost," murmured he. "Poor H^l^ne!"
And he raised his head with the intrepidity of a brave
man, who, knowing death was near, went boldly to
"Monsieur," said D'Argenson, "your crime has been
examined by the tribunal of which I am the president.
In the preceding sittings you were permitted to defend
yourself; if you were not granted advocates, it was not
with the intention of inquiring your defence, but, on the
contrary, because it was useless to give you the extreme
indulgence of a tribunal charged to be severe."
"I do not understand you."
"Then I will be more explicit. Discussion would have
made one thing evident, even in the eyes of your defenders
— that you are a conspirator and an assassin. How could
you suppose that, with these points established, indulgence
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 267
would be shown you? But liere you are before us; every
facility will be given for your justification. If you ask a
delay, you shall have it. If you wish researches, they shall
be made. If you speak, you have the reply, and it will
not be refused you."
"I understand, and thank the tribunal for this kind-
ness," replied Graston. "The excuse it gives me for the
absence of a defender seems sufficient. I have not to
"Then you do not wish for witnesses, delays or docu-
"I wish my sentence — that is all."
"Do not be obstinate, chevalier; make some con-
fessions. ' '
"I have none to make, for in all my interrogatories
you have not made one precise accusation."
"And you wish — "
"Certainly — I should like to know of what I am
accused. ' '
"I will tell you. You came to Paris, appointed by
the republican committee of Nantes, to assassinate the
regent. You were referred to one La Jonqui^re, your
accomplice, now condemned with you."
Gaston felt that he turned pale at these true accusations.
"This might be true, monsieur," said he, "but you could
not know it. A man who wishes to commit such a deed
does not confess it till it be accomplished. ' '
"No; but his accomplices confess for him."
"That is to say, that La Jonqui^re denounces me."
"I do not refer to La Jonqui^re, but the others."
"The others!" cried Gaston; "are there, then, others
arrested besides La Jonqui^re and myself?"
268 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Yes. Messieurs de Pontcalec, de Talhouet, du Couedic,
and de Montlouis. ' '
" I do not understand, ' ' said Gaston, with a vague feel-
ing of terror — not for himself, but for his friends.
"What! do you not understand that Messieurs de Pont-
calec, de Talhouet, du Couedic, and de Montlouis are now
being tried at Nantes?"
"Arrested!" cried Graston, "impossible!"
"Yes," said D'Argenson, "you thought that the prov-
ince would revolt rather than allow its defenders — as you
rebels call yourselves — to be arrested. Well, the province
has said nothing. The province has gone on singing, laugh-
ing, and dancing, and is already asking where they will be
beheaded, in order to hire windows."
"I do not believe you, monsieur," said Graston, coldly.
"Grive me that portfolio," said D'Argenson to a man
standing behind him. "Here, monsieur," continued he,
"are the writs of arrest. Do you doubt their authenticity ?"
"That does not say that they have accused me."
' ' They told all we wanted to know, and your culpability
is the result."
"In that case, if they have told all you want to know,
you have no need of my confession. ' '
"Is that your final answer?"
' ' Officer, read the sentence. ' '
The officer read —
"As the result of the investigation commenced on the
19th of February, that M. Gaston de Chanlay came from
Nantes to Paris with the intention of committing the crime
of murder on the person of his royal highness Monseigneur
the Eegent of France, which was to have been followed by
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 269
a revolt against the authority of the king, the extraordi-
nary commission instituted to inquire into this crime has
adjudged the Chevalier Graston de Chanlay worthy of the
punishment for high treason, the person of the regent being
as inviolable as that of the king. In consequence — We
ordain that the Chevalier Graston de Chanlay be degraded
from all his titles and dignities; that he and his posterity
be declared ignoble in perpetuity; that his goods be con-
fiscated, his woods cut down to the height of six feet from
the ground, and he himself beheaded on the Gr^ve, or
wheresoever it shall please the provost to appoint, saving
his majesty's pardon."
Gaston was pale, but still as marble. "And when am I
to be executed ?" asked he.
"As soon as it may please his majesty."
Gaston felt a cloud pass before his eyes, and his ideas
became confused; but this soon vanished, and the serenity
of his bearing returned; the blood rushed back to his
cheeks, and a contemptuous smile settled on his lips.
"It is well, monsieur," said he; "at whatever moment
his majesty's order may arrive, it will find me prepared;
but I wish to know whether I may not see some persons
who are very dear to me before I die, and I wish to ask a
favor of the king."
D'Argenson's eyes glistened with malignant joy. "Mon-
sieur, ' ' said he, "I told you that you would be treated with
indulgence. You might therefore have spoken sooner, and
perhaps his highness 's kindness might not have waited for
"You mistake me, monsieur," said Gaston, with dig-
nity; "neither his majesty's honor nor mine will suffer
from the favor which I shall ask."
270 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"What would you ask?" said D'Argenson; "speak,
and I will tell you at once if tkere be a cliance of your
request being granted."
"I ask, first, that my titles and dignities — wliicb are not
very great — should not be cancelled, as I bave no posterity.
I am alone in tbe world; my name only survives me; but
as that name is only noble, and not illustrious, it would not
"This is quite a royal favor, monsieur. His majesty
alone can and will reply. Is tbat all you wisb to ask ?"
"No; I liave another request to make, but I do not
know to wliom I should apply."
"First to me, monsieur, in my character of lieutenant
of police. I shall see if I can grant it, or if I must refer
it to his majesty."
"Well, then, monsieur, I desire to see Mademoiselle
Helene de Chaverny, ward of his excellency the Due d'Oli-
vares, and also the duke himself."
D'Argenson, at this request, made a singular gesture,
which Gaston interpreted as one of hesitation.
"Monsieur," said Gaston, "I would see them in any
place, and for as short a time as may be thought advisable. ' '
"You shall see them," said D'Argenson.
"Ah! monsieur," said Gaston, stepping forward as
though to take his hand, "you lay me under the greatest
obligation. ' '
"On one condition, however, monsieur."
"What is it? there is no condition compatible with my
honor that I will not accept in exchange for so great a
"You must tell no one of your condemnation, and this
on your word as a gentleman. ' '
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 271
"I accede to that all the more willingly," said Gaston,
"as one of the persons named would certainly die if she
knew of it."
"Then all is well; have yon anything further to say ?"
"Nothing, monsieur, except to beg that you will record
"They are already firmly attached. Officer, hand the
papers to Monsieur de Chanlay, that he may read and sign
Gaston sat down by a table, and, while D' Argenson and
the judges chatted around him, he carefully perused the
papers and the report of his own answers to the interroga-
tory — then, finding all correct, he signed.
"Monsieur," said he, "here are the documents. Shall
I have the pleasure of seeing you again ?' '
"I do not think so," said D' Argenson, with that bru-
tality which was the terror of those who were subjected
' ' Then to our meeting in another world, monsieur. ' '
The major led Gaston to his own room.
272 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
THE FAMILY FEUD
WHEN Gaston returned to liis room, lie was obliged
to answer the questions of Dumesnil and Pompa-
dour, who were waiting to hear news from him ;
but, in compliance with his promise made to D'Argenson,
he did not mention his sentence, but simply announced a
severer interrogatory than before ; and as he wished to write
some letters, he asked Dumesnil for a light. Dumesnil sent
him a candle : things were progressing, it may be remarked ;
Maison-Eouge could refuse nothing to Mademoiselle de
Launay, and she shared all with Dumesnil, who, in his
turn, again shared with his neighbors, Gaston and Eichelieu.
Gaston doubted whether, in spite of D' Argenson's prom-
ise, he would be allowed to see H^l^ne, but he knew that
at least he should see a priest before he died; there could
be no doubt that the priest would forward two letters
As he began to write. Mademoiselle de Launay made a
signal that she had something to send him; it was a letter.
"Our friend — for you are our friend, and now we have
no secrets from you — tell Dumesnil of the famous hope I
conceived after the word that Herment said to me. ' '
Gaston's heart beat. Might not he also find in this let-
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 273
ter some ground for hope ? Had they not said that his
fate could not be separated from the others ? It is true
that those who had said so did not know of his conspiracy.
He read on —
' ' An hour ago the doctor came, accompanied by Maison-
Kouge; from the latter's manner I drew the most favorable
augury ; however, when I asked to speak in private, or, at
least, to whisper to the doctor, he made some difficulties,
which I removed with a smile. 'At least,' said he, 'no one
must know that I am out of hearing. I should lose my
place if it were known how weak I am. ' This tone of love
and interest combined seemed to me so grotesque that I
laughingly promised him what he asked; you see how I
keep my promise. He went to a distance, and Herment
approached. Then commenced a dialogue, wherein the
gestures meant one thing while the voice declared another.
'You have good friends,' said Herment; 'friends in good
places, who are greatly interested for you.' I naturally
thought of Madame du Maine. 'Ah, monsieur,' I cried,
'have you anything for me?' 'Hush,' said Herment.
Judge how my heart beat."
Gaston felt his own beating vigorously.
" 'And what have you to give me?' 'Oh, nothing my-
self; but you will have the object agreed upon.' 'But
what is the object? Speak!' 'The beds in the Bastille
are known to be bad, and particularly badly covered, and
I am commissioned to offer you — ' 'What ?' 'A coverlet. '
I burst out laughing; the devotion of my friends was shown
in preventing my catching cold. 'My dear Monsieur Her-
ment,' said I, 'in my present position it would be better if
my friends were to occupy themselves less about my feet
and more about my head. ' ' It is a female friend, ' said he.
•274 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
•Who is it?' 'Mademoiselle de Charolais,' said Herment,
lowering his voice so that I could scarcely hear him. Then
he withdrew. I, my dear chevalier, am now waiting for
Mademoiselle de Charolais' s coverlet. Tell this to Du-
mesnil ; it will make him laugh. ' '
Gaston sighed. The gayety of those around him weighed
heavily on his heart. It was a new torture which they had
invented, in forbidding him to confide his fate to any one;
it seemed to him that he should have found consolation in
the tears of his two neighbors. He had not the courage to
read the letter to Dumesnil, so he passed it on to him, and
a moment after heard shouts of laughter.
At this moment Gaston was saying adieu to Hdl^ne.
After passing a part of the night in writing, he slept;
at five- and- twenty one must sleep, even if it be just before
In the morning Gaston's breakfast was brought at the
usual hour, but he remarked that it was more rechercM than
usual; he smiled at this attention, and as he was finishing
the governor entered.
Gaston with a rapid glance interrogated his expression,
which was calm and courteous as ever. Was he also
ignorant of the sentence, or was he wearing a mask?
"Monsieur," said he, "will you take the trouble to de-
scend to the council chamber?"
Gaston rose. He seemed to hear a buzzing in his ears,
for to a man condemned to death every injunction which he
does not understand is a torture.
"May I know the reason, monsieur?" asked Gaston, in
so calm a tone that it was impossible to detect his real
"To receive a visit," replied the governor. "Yesterday,
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 275
after the interrogatory, did you not ask the lieutenant of
police to be allowed to see some one?"
"And is it that person ?" asked he.
Graston had asked for two persons; the governor only
announced one ; which one was it ? He had n j the courage
to ask, and silently followed the governor.
Delaunay led Gaston to the council chamber; on enter-
ing, he cast an eager glance around, but the room was
"Eemain here, monsieur; the person whom you expect
is coming, ' ' said the governor, who bowed and went out.
Gaston ran to the window, which was barred, and looked
out — there was a sentinel before it.
The door opened, and Gaston, turning round, faced the
"Ah, monsieur," cried he, "how good of you to come
at the request of a poor prisoner."
"It was a duty," replied the duke; "besides, I had to
"Me!" said Gaston, astonished; "what have I done to
merit your excellency's thanks?"
"You have been interrogated, taken to the torture
chamber, given to understand that you might save your-
self by naming your accomplices, and yet you kept silence. "
"I made an engagement and kept it; that does not de-
serve any thanks, monseigneur. "
"And now, monsieur, tell me if I can serve you in
anything. ' '
"First, tell me about yourself; have you been molested,
276 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Not at all: and if all tlie Bretons are as discreet as
you, I doubt not tliat my name will never be mentioned
in tbese unfortunate debates."
"Oh, I will answer for tbem as for myself, monseigneur;
but can you answer for La Jonqui^re ?"
"La Jonqui^re!" repeated the duke.
"Yes. Do you not know that he is arrested?"
"Yes; I heard something of it."
"Well, I ask you, monseigneur, what you think of him?"
"I can tell you nothing, except that he has my con-
fidence. ' '
"If so, he must be worthy of it, monseigneur. That
is all I wished to know. ' '
"Then come to the request you had to make."
"Have you seen the young girl I brought to your
"Mademoiselle Hellne de Chaverny? Yes."
"Well, monsieur, I had not time to tell you then, but
I tell you now, that I have loved her for a year. The
dream of that year has been to consecrate my life to her
happiness. I say the dream, monseigneur; for, on awak-
ing, I saw that all hope of happiness was denied me; and
yet, to give this young girl a name, a position, a fortune,
at the moment of my arrest she was about to become
"Without the knowledge of her parents or the consent
of her family ?' ' cried the duke.
' ' She had neither, monseigneur ; and was probably about
to be sold to some nobleman when she left the person who
had been set to watch her. ' '
"But who informed you that Mademoiselle H^l^ne de
Chaverny was to be the victim of a shameful bargain?"
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 2,11
"What slie herself told me of a pretended father, who
concealed himself; of diamonds which had been offered to
her. Then, do you know where I found her, monseigneur ?
In one of those houses destined to the pleasures of our
roues. She, an angel of innocence and purity! In short,
monseigneur, this young girl fled with me, in spite of the
cries of her duenna, in broad daylight, and in the face
of the servants who surrounded her. She stayed two hours
alone with me; and, though she is as pure as on the day
when she received her mother's first kiss, she is not the
less compromised. I wish this projected marriage to take
place. ' '
"In your situation, monseigneur?"
' ' A still greater reason. ' '
"But perhaps you may deceive yourself as to the punish-
ment reserved for you. ' '
"It is probably the same which, under similar circum-
stances, was inflicted on the Count de Cbalais, the Marquis
de Cinq-Mars, and the Chevalier Louis de Kohan. "
"Then you are prepared even for death, monsieur?"
"I prepared for it from the day I joined the conspiracy:
the conspirator's only excuse is, that, while robbing others
of their lives, he risks his own. ' '
"And what will this young girl gain by the marriage?"
"Monseigneur, though not rich, I have some fortune;
she is poor; I have a name, and she has none. I would
leave her my name and fortune; and with that intention
I have already petitioned the king that my goods may not
be confiscated, nor my name declared infamous. Were it
known for what reason I ask this, it would doubtless be
granted; if I die without making her my wife, she will
be supposed to be my mistress, and will be dishonored,
278 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
lost, and there will be no future for her. If, on the con-
trary, by your protection, or that of your friends (and that
protection I earnestly implore), we are united, no one can
reproach her — the blood which flows for a political offence
does not disgrace a family — no shame will fall on my
widow; and if she cannot be happy, she will at least be
independent and respected. This is the favor which I have
to ask, monseigneur; is it in your power to obtain it
The duke went to the door and struck three blows:
"Ask M. Delaunay, from me," said the duke, "whether
the young girl who is at the door in my carriage may come
in ? Her visit, as he knows, is authorized. You will have
the kindness to conduct her here. ' '
"What! monseigneur; Helene is here — at the door?"
"Were you not promised that she should come ?"
"Yes; but seeing you alone, I lost all hope."
' ' I wished to see you first, thinking that j^ou might have
many things to say which you would not wish her to hear;
for I know all. ' '
"You know all! What do you mean ?"
"I know that you were taken to the arsenal yester-
"I know that you found D'Argenson there, and that he
read your sentence. ' '
' ' I know that you are condemned to death, and that you
were bound not to speak of it to any one.
' ' Oh, monseigneur, silence ! One word of this would kill
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 279
"Be easy, monsieur; but let us see; is there no way of
avoiding this execution ?"
"Days would be necessary to prepare and execute a plan
of escape, and I scarcely have hours."
"I do not speak of escape; I ask if you have no excuse
to give for your crime ?"
"My crime!" cried Gaston, astonished to hear his ac-
complice use such a word.
"Yes," replied the duke; "you know that men stigma-
tize murder with this name under all circumstances; but
posterity often judges differently, and sometimes calls it
a grand deed. ' '
"I have no excuse to give, monseigneur, except that
I believe the death of the regent to be necessary to the
salvation of France."
"Yes," replied the duke, smiling; "but you will see
that that is scarcely the excuse to offer to Philippe d' Or-
leans. I wanted something personal. Political enemy of
the regent's as I am, I know that he is not considered
a bad man. Men say that he is merciful, and that there
have been no executions during his reign."
"You forget Count Horn."
' ' He was an assassin. ' '
"And what am I?"
"There is this difference: Count Horn murdered in order
' ' I neither can nor will ask anything of the regent, said
' ' Not you personally, I know ; but your friends. If they
had a plausible pretence to offer, perhaps the prince him-
self might pardon you."
"I have none, monseigneur."
280 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"It is impossible, monsieur — permit me to say so.
A resolution sucli as you have taken must proceed from
a sentiment of some kind — either of hatred or vengeance.
And stay; I remember you told La Jonqui^re, who re-
peated it to me, that there was a family feud: tell me
"It is useless, monseigneur, to tire you with that; it
would not interest you."
"Never mind, tell it me."
"Well, the regent killed my brother."
' ' The regent killed your brother ! how so ? It is — im-
possible, Monsieur de Chanlay," said the Due d'Olivares.
' ' Yes, killed ; if from the effect we go to the cause. ' '
"Explain yourself; how could the regent do this?"
"My brother, who, being fifteen years of age when my
father died, three months before my birth, stood to me in
the place of that father, and of mother, who died when
I was still in the cradle — my brother loved a young girl
who was brought up in a convent by the orders of the
prince. ' '
"Do you know in what convent?"
' ' No ; I only know that it was at Paris. ' '
The duke murmured some words which Graston could
"My brother, a relation of the abbess, had seen this
young girl and asked her hand in marriage. The prince's
consent to this union had been asked, and he made a pre-
tence of granting it, when this young girl, seduced by
her so-called protector, suddenly disappeared. For three
months my brother hoped to find her, but all his searches
were vain; he found no trace of her, and in despair he
souo-ht death in the battle of Eamillies. "
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 281
"And what was tlie name of this girl!"
"No one ever knew, monseigneur ; to speak her name
was to dishonor it. "
"It was doubtless she," murmured the duke; "it was
H^l^ne's mother: and your brother was called — ?" added
"Olivier de Chanlay, monseigneur."
"Olivier de Chanlay!" repeated the duke, in a low voice,
"I knew the name of De Chanlay was not strange to me."
Then, aloud, "Continue, monsieur; I listen to you."
"You do not know what a family hatred is in a province
like ours. I had lavished upon my brother all the love
which would have fallen to the share of my father and
mother, and now I suddenly found myself alone in the
world. I grew up in isolation of heart, and in the hope
of revenge ; I grew up among people who were constantly
repeating, 'It was the Due d'Orl^ans who killed your
brother.' Then the duke became regent; the Breton league
was therefore organized. I was one of the first to join it.
You know the rest. You see that there is nothing in all
this which has any interest for your excellency. ' '
"You mistake, monsieur; unfortunately, the regent has
to reproach himself with many such faults."
"You see, therefore," said Gaston, "that my destiny
must be accomplished, and that I can ask nothing of this
man. ' '
"You are right, monsieur; whatever is done must be
done without you."
At this moment the door opened and Maison-Eouge
"Well, monsieur?" asked the duke.
' ' The governor has an order from the lieutenant of police
282 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
to admit Mademoiselle H^l^ne de Chaverny; sliall I bring
" Monseigneur, " said Gaston, looking at the duke with
an air of entreaty.
"Yes, monsieur," said he, "I understand — grief and
love do not need witnesses — I will come back to fetch
"The permission is for half an hour," said Maison-
' ' Then at the 6nd of that time I will return, ' ' said the
duke, and bowing to Gaston, he went out.
An instant after the door opened again, and H^l^ne
appeared, trembling, and questioning Maison- Rouge, but
he retired without replying.
H^l^ne looked round and saw Gaston, and for a few
minutes all their sorrows were forgotten in a close and
"And now — " cried H^l^ne, her face bathed in tears.
"Well! and now?" asked Gaston.
' ' Alas ! to see you here — in prison, ' ' murmured Hel^ne,
with an air of terror, "here, where I dare not speak freely,
where we may be watched — overheard."
"Do not complain, H^l^ne, for this is an exception in
our favor; a prisoner is never allowed to press one who is
dear to him to his heart; the visitor generally stands against
that wall, the prisoner against this, a soldier is placed be-
tween, and the conversation must be fixed beforehand."
"To whom do we owe this favor ?"
"Doubtless to the regent; for yesterday, when I asked
permission of Monsieur d'Argenson, he said that it was
beyond his power to grant, and that he must refer it to
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 283
"But now that I see you again, Gaston, tell me all that
has passed in this age of tears and suffering. Ah! tell me;
but my presentiments did not deceive me; you were con-
spiring — do not deny it — I know it."
"Yes; Hel^ne, you know that we Bretons are constant
both in our loves and our hatreds. A league was organized
in Bretagne in which all our nobles took part — could I act
differently from my brothers? I ask you, Hel^ne, could
I, or ought I, to have done so ? Would you not have
despised me, if, when you had seen all Bretagne under
arms, I alone had been inactive — a whip in my hand while
others held the sword?" • (• r.'
"Oh, yes! you are right; but why did you not remain
in Bretagne with the others?"
' ' The others are arrested also, Hel^ne. ' '
' ' Then you have been denounced — betrayed. ' '
"Probably. But sit down, H^l^ne; now that we are
alone, let me look at you, and tell you that you are beau-
tiful, that I love you. How have you been in my absence ?
Has the duke — "
"Oh! if you only knew how good he is to me; every
evening he comes to see me, and his care and attention" —
"And," said G-aston, who thought of the suggestion
of the false La Jonqui^re, "nothing suspicious in those
"What do you mean, Gaston?"
"That the duke is still young, and that, as I told you
just now, you are beautiful."
"Oh, Heaven! no! Gaston, this time there is not a
shadow of doubt; and when he was there near me — as near
as you are now — there were moments when it seemed as if
I had found my father."
284 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Yes, by a straDge chance, for which I cannot account,
there is a resemblance between the duke's voice and that
of the man who came to see me at Rambouillet — it struck
me at once."
"You think so ?" said Gaston, in an abstracted tone.
' ' What are you thinking of, Gaston ?' ' asked H^l^ne ;
"you seem scarcely to hear what I am saying to you."
"Hdlene, every word you speak goes to the inmost
depth of my heart"
"You are uneasy, I understand. To conspire is to stake
your life; but be easy, Gaston; I have told the duke that
if you die I shall die too."
"You are an angel," said he.
"Oh, my God!" cried poor H^l^ne, "how horrible to
know that the man I love runs a danger, all the more ter-
rible for being uncertain; to feel that I am powerless to
aid him, and that I can only shed tears when I would give
my life to save him."
Gaston's face lighted up with a flush of joy; it was the
first time that he had ever heard such words from the lips
of his beloved; and under the influence of an idea which
had been occupying him for some minutes —
"Yes, dearest," said he, taking her hand, "you can do
much for me."
"What can I do?"
' ' You can become my wife. ' '
"I your wife, Gaston?" cried she.
"Yes, H^16ne; this plan, formed in our liberty, maybe
executed in captivity. Hdl^ne, my wife before God and
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 285
man, in tliis world and the next, for time and for eternity.
You can do this for me, Hel6ne, and am I not right in
saying that you can do much?"
"Gaston," said she, looking at him fixedly, "you are
hiding something from me."
It was Gaston's turn to start now.
"I!" said he, "what should I conceal from you?"
"You told me you saw M. d'Argenson yesterday?"
"Well, what then?"
"Well, Gaston," said Helene, turning pale, "you are
condemned. ' '
Gaston took a sudden resolution.
"Yes," said he, "I am condemned to exile; and, egotist
as I am, I would bind you to me by indissoluble ties before
I leave France. ' '
"Is that the truth, Gaston?"
"Yes; have you the courage to be my wife, Helene? to
be exiled with me ?' '
"Can you ask it, Gaston?" said she, her eyes lighted
with enthusiasm; exile — I thank thee, my God — I, who
would have accepted an eternal prison with you, and have
thought myself blessed — I may accompany, follow you ?
Oh, this condemnation is indeed a joy after what we feared I
Gaston, Gaston, at length we shall be haj)py. ' '
"Yes, Helene," said Gaston, with an effort.
"Picture my happiness," cried Helene; "to me France
is the country where you are ; your love is the only country
I desire, I know I shall have to teach you to forget Bre-
tagne, your friends, and your dreams of the future; but
1 will love you, so that it will be easy for you to forget
Gaston could do nothing but cover her hands with kisses.
286 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Is tlie place of your exile fixed ?" said she. "Tell me,
when do you go? Shall we go together?"
"My Hel^ne," replied Gaston, "it is impossible. We
must be separated for a time. I shall be taken to the fron-
tier of France — I do not as yet know which — and set free.
Once out of the kingdom, you shall rejoin me. ' '
"Oh, better than that, Gaston — better than that. By
means of the duke I will discover the place of your exile,
and, instead of joining you there, I will be there to meet
you. As you step from the carriage which brings you, you
shall find me waiting to soften the pain of your adieus to
France; and then, death alone is irretrievable; later, the
king may pardon you; later still, and the action punished
to-day may be looked upon as a deed to be rewarded. Then
we will return ; then nothing need keep us from Bretagne,
the cradle of our love, the paradise of our memories. Oh!"
continued she, in an accent of mingled love and impatience,
"tell me, Gaston, that you share my hopes, that you are
content, that you are happy."
"Yes, Hdl^ne, I now am happy indeed; for now, and
only now, I know by what an angel I am beloved. Yes,
dearest, one hour of such love as yours, and then death
would be better than a whole life with the love of any
"Well!" exclaimed Hel^ne, her whole mind and soul
earnestly fixed on the new future which was opening before
her, "what will they do? Will they let me see you again
before your departure ? When and how shall we meet
next ? Shall you receive my letters ? Can you reply to
them? What hour to-morrow may I come?"
"They have almost promised me that our marriage shall
take place this evening or to-morrow morning."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 287
"What! here in a prison," said Helene, shuddering
"Wherever it may be, Helene, it will bind us together
for the rest of our lives."
"But suppose they do not keep their promise to
you ? Suppose they make you set out before I have
"Alas!" said Gaston with a bursting heart, "that is pos-
sible, Helene, and it is that I dread."
"Oh, mon Dieu! do you think your departure is so
"You know, Helene, that prisoners are not their own
masters; they may be removed at any moment."
' ' Oh, let them come — let them come ; the sooner you are
free, the sooner we shall be reunited. It is not necessary
that I should be your wife in order to follow and join you.
Do I not know my Graston's honor, and from this day I
look upon him as my husband before God. Oh, go proudly,
Gaston, for while these thick and gloomy walls surround
you I tremble for your life. Go, and in a week we shall
be reunited; reunited, with no sej^aration to threaten us,
no one to act as spy on us — reunited forever."
The door opened,
"Great Heaven, already!" said Helene.
"Madame," said the lieutenant, "the time has elapsed."
"Hel5ne, " said Gaston, seizing the young girl's hand,
with a nervous trembling which he could not master.
"What is it?" cried she, watching him with terror.
"Good Heaven! you are as pale as marble."
"It is nothing," said he, forcing himself to be calm;
"indeed it is nothing," and he kissed her hand.
"Till to-morrow, Gaston."
288 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
' ' To-morrow — yes. ' '
The duke appeared at the door ; Gaston ran to him.
"Monseignenr, " said he, "do all in your power to obtain
permission for her to become my wife; but if that be im-
possible, swear to me that she shall be your daughter."
The duke pressed Gaston's hand; he was so afiected
that he could not speak.
Hel^ne approached. Gaston was silent, fearing she
He held out his hand to Hel^ne, who presented her fore-
head to him, while silent tears rolled down her cheeks;
Gaston closed his ej^es, that the sight of her tears might
not call up his own.
At length they must part. They exchanged one last
lingering glance, and the duke pressed Gaston's hand.
How strange was this sympathy between two men, one
of whom had come so far for the sole purpose of killing
The door closed, and Gaston sank down on a seat,
utterly broken and exhausted.
In ten minutes the governor entered; he came to con-
duct Gaston back to his own room.
Gaston followed him silently, and, when asked if there
was anything he wanted, he mournfully shook his head.
At night Mademoiselle de Launay signalled that she had
something to communicate.
Gaston opened the window, and received a letter inclos-
The first was for himself. He read:
"Dear Neighbor — The coverlid was not so contempti-
ble as I supposed; it contained a little paper on which
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 289
was written the word already spoken by Herment, ' Hope !'
It also inclosed this letter for M. de Eichelieu; send it to
Dumesnil, who will pass it to the dnke.
' ' Your servant,
"Alas!" thought Gaston, "they will miss me when I
am gone," and he called Dumesnil, to whom he passed
(M)— Vol. 23
290 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
STATE AFFAIRS AND FAMILY AFFAIRS
ON" LEAVING the Bastille, the duke took H^l^ne
home, promising to come and see her as usual
in the evening; a promise which Hel^ne would
have estimated all the more highly if she had known
that his highness had a bal-masque at Monceaux.
On re-entering the Palais Royal, the duke asked for
Dubois, and was told he was in his study, working. The
duke entered without allowing himself to be announced.
Dubois was so busy that he did not hear the duke, who
advanced and looked over his shoulder, to see what was
occupying him so intently.
He was writing down names, with notes by the side
"What are you doing there, abbe?" asked the re-
"Ah! monseigneur, it is you; pardon; I did not hear
"I asked what you were doing?"
"Signing the burial tickets for our Breton friends,"
"But their fate is not yet decided, and the sentence
of the commission — "
' ' I know it, ' ' said Dubois.
"Is it given, then?"
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 291
"No, but I dictated it before they went."
"Do you know tbat your conduct is odious?"
"Truly, monseigneur, you are insupportable. Manage
your family affairs, and leave state affairs to me."
"Ah! as to those, I hope you are satisfied with me, or
you would indeed be difficult to please. You recommend
to me M. de Chanlay, and on your recommendation I make
it a rose-water Bastille to him; sumptuous repasts, a charm-
ing governor. I let him pierce holes in your floors, and
spoil your walls, all which will cost us a great deal to
repair. Since his entrance it is quite a fete. Dumesnil
talks all day through his chimney. Mademoiselle de Lau-
nay fishes with a line through her window, Pompadour
drinks champagne. There is nothing to be said to all
this; these are your family affairs; but in Bretagne you
have nothing to see, and I forbid you to look, monsei-
gneur, unless you have a few more unknown daughters
there, which is possible."
"Ah! you think when you have said 'Dubois,' and
added 'scoundrel' to my name, you have done every-
thing. Well, scoundrel as much as you please; mean-
while, but for the scoundrel you would have been assas-
sinated. ' '
"Well, what then?"
' ' What then ? Hear the statesman ! Well, then, I
should be hanged, perhaps, which is a consideration; then
Madame de Main tenon would be Regent of France ! What
a joke I What then, indeed ! To think that a philosophic
prince should utter such naivetes! Oh, Marcus Aurelius!
was it not he who said, 'Populos esse demum felices si
292 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
reges philosoplii forent, aut pliilosoplii reges'? Here is a
sample. ' '
Dubois still wrote on.
"Dobois, you do not know ttis young man."
"What young man?"
' ' Really ! you sliall present liim to me when he is your
"That will be to-morrow, Dubois."
The abbe looked round in astonishment, and looking at
the regent with his little eyes as wide open as possible —
"Ah, monseigneur, are you mad?" he said.
"No, but he is an honorable man, and you know that
they are rare."
"Honorable man! Ah, you have a strange idea of
honor. ' '
"Yes; I believe that we differ in our ideas of it."
"What has this honorable man done ? Has he poisoned
the dagger with which he meant to assassinate you ? for
then he would be more than an honorable man, he would
be a saint. We have already St. Jacques Clement, St. Ra-
vaillac; St. Gaston is wanting in the calendar. Quick,
quick, monseigneur! you who will not ask the Pope to
give a cardinal's hat to your minister, ask him to canonize
your assassin ; and for the first time in your life you would
be logical. ' '
"Dubois, I tell you there are few capable of doing what
this young man has done."
"Peste! that is lucky; if there were ten in France I
should certainly resign."
"I do not speak of what he wished to do, but of what
he has done."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 293
""Well, what lias lie done ? I should like to be edified."
"First, lie kept his oath to D'Argenson. "
"I doubt it not, he is faithful to his word; and but
for me would have kept his word also with Pontcalec,
"Yes, but one was more difficult than the other. He
had sworn not to mention his sentence to anj one, and
he did not speak of it to his mistress."
"Nor to you?"
"He spoke of it to me, because I told him that I knew
it. He forbade me to ask anything of the regent, desiring,
he said, but one favor. ' '
"And that one?"
"To marry Hel^ne, in order to leave her a fortune and
a name. ' '
"Good; he wants to leave your daughter a fortune and
a name; he is polite, at least."
"Do you forget that this is a secret from him ?"
"Dubois, I do not know in what your hands were
steeped the day you were born, but I know that you
sully everything you touch."
"Except conspirators, monseigneur, for it seems to me
that there, on the contrary, I jDurify. Look at those of
Cellamare, how all that affair was cleared out; Dubois
here, Dubois there, I hope the apothecary has properly
purged France from Spain. Well, it shall be the same
with Olivares as with Cellamare. There is now only Bre-
tagne congested; a good dose, and all will be right."
"Dubois, you would Joke with the Gospel."
"Pardieu! I began by that."
The regent rose.
294: THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Come, monseigueur, I was wrong; I forgot you were
fasting; let us liear the end of tliis story."
' ' Tlie end is that I promised to ask this favor from the
regent, and that the regent will grant it. ' '
' ' The regent will commit a folly. ' '
"No, he will only repair a fault,"
"Ah, now you find you have a reparation to make to
' ' Not to him, but to his brother. ' '
"Still better. What have you done to his brother?"
' ' I took from him the woman he loved. ' '
' ' Helene's mother. ' '
' ' Well, that time 3-ou were wrong ; if you had let her alone
we should not have had this tiresome affair on our hands."
"But we have it, and must now get out of it as well as
possible. ' '
"Just what I am working at; and when is the marriage
to take place?"
' ' In the chapel of the Palais Eoyal ? Y'ou shall dress
in the costume of a knight of the order; you shall extend
both hands over your son-in-law's head — one more than he
meant to have held over you — it will be very affecting. ' '
' ' No, abbe, it shall not be thus ; they shall be married in
the Bastille, and I shall be in the chapel where they cannot
see me. ' '
"Well, monseigneur, I should like to be with you. I
should like to see the ceremony; I believe this sort of thing
is very touching."
"No, you would be in the way, and your ugly face
would betray my incognito."
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 295
"Your handsome face is still more easy to recognize,
monseigneur, " said Dubois, bowing; "there are portraits of
Henry the Fourth and Louis the Fourteenth in the Bastille. ' '
"You flatter me."
"Are you going away, monseigneur?"
"Yes, I have an appointment with Delaunay."
"The governor of the Bastille?"
"Go, monseigneur, go."
"Shall I see you to-night at Monceaux?"
"Have you a disguise?"
"I have La Jonqui^re's dress."
"Oh! that is only lit for the Rue du Bac. "
"Monseigneur forgets the Bastille, where it has had some
success. ' '
"Well, adieu, abbe."
When Dubois was left alone he appeared to take some
sudden resolution. He rang the bell, and a servant entered.
"M. Delaunay is coming to the regent; watch him, and
bring him here afterward. ' '
The servant retired without a reply, and Dubois resumed
Half an hour afterward the door opened, and the servant
announced Delaunay. Dubois gave him a note.
' ' Read that, ' ' said he ; "I give you written instructions,
that there may be no pretext for neglecting them. ' '
"Ah, monseigneur," said Delaunay, "you would ruin
"To-morrow when it becomes known."
296 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"Who will tell it? will you ?"
"No, but monseigneur — "
"Will be encbanted; I answer for bim. "
"A governor of tbe Bastille!"
' ' Do you care to retain tbe title ?' *
"Tben do as I tell you."
"'Tis bard, bowever, to close one's eyes and ears."
"My dear Delaunay, go and pay a visit to Dumesnil's
cbimney and Pompadour's ceiling."
"Id it possible ? You tell me of tbings I was not at all
aware of. ' '
' ' A proof tbat I know better tban you wbat goes on in
tbe Bastille; and if I were to speak of some tbings you
do know, you would be still more surprised."
"Wbat could you tell me ?"
"Tbat a week ago one of tbe officers of tbe Bastille, and
an important one too, received fifty tbousand francs to let
two women pass witb — ' '
' ' Monsieur, tbey were — ' '
"I know wbo tbey were, wbat tbey went for, and wbat
tbey did. Tbey were Mademoiselle de Valois and Made-
moiselle de Cbarolais; tbey went to see tbe Due de Eicb-
elieu, and tbey ate bon-bons till midnigbt in tbe Tour du
Coin, wbere tbey intend to pay anotber visit to-morrow,
as tbey bave already announced to M. de Eicbelieu. "
Delaunay turned pale.
' ' Well, ' ' continued Dubois, ' ' do you tbink if I repeated
tbese tbings to tbe regent, wbo is, as you know, greedy of
scandal, tbat a certain M. Delaunay would be long gover-
nor of tbe Bastille ? But I shall not say a word, for we
must belp eacb otber. "
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 297
"I am at your orders, monsieur."
"Then I shall find everjtliing ready ?"
"I promise you; but not a word to monseigneur. "
"That is riglit, M. Delaunay. Adieu!"
"Grood," said Dubois, when he was gone; "and now,
monseigneur, when you want to marry your daughter to-
morrow there shall be only one thing missing — your son-
As Gaston passed on the letter to Dumesnil he heard
steps in the corridor, and, hastily signing to the chevalier
not to speak, he put out the light and began to undress.
The governor entered. As it was not his custom to visit
his prisoners at this hour, Gaston saw him with alarm,
and he noticed that, as M. Delaunay placed his lamp on
the table, his hand trembled. The turnkeys withdrew,
but the prisoner saw two soldiers at the door.
"Chevalier," said the governor, "you told me to treat
you as a man — learn that you were condemned yesterday."
"And you have come to tell me," said Gaston, who
always gained courage in the face of danger, "that the
hour of my execution is arrived."
"No, monsieur, but it approaches."
"When will it be?"
' ' May I tell you the truth, chevalier ?' '
"I shall be most grateful to you."
' ' To-morrow, at break of day. ' '
^In the yard of the Bastille."
"Thank you; I had hoped, however, that before I died
I might have been the husband of the young girl who was
here yesterday. ' '
"Did M. d' Argenson promise you this ?"
298 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
' ' No, but lie promised to ask tlie kiiig. ' '
' ' The king may liave refused. ' '
"Does lie never grant sucli favors ?"
' ' ' Tis rare, monsieur, but not without a precedent. ' '
"I am a Christian," said Gaston; "I hope I shall be
allowed a confessor."
"He is here."
"May I see him?"
"Directly; at present he is with your accomplice!"
' ' My accomplice ! who ?' '
"La Jonqui^re, who will be executed with you."
"And I had suspected him!" said Gaston.
' ' Chevalier, you are young to die, ' ' said the governor.
"Death does not count years: God bids it strike and it
"But if one can avert the blow, it is almost a crime not
to do so. ' '
"What do you mean? I do not understand."
' ' I told you that M. d' Argenson gave hopes. ' '
"Enough, monsieur, I have nothing to confess."
At this moment the major knocked at the door and ex-
changed some words with the governor.
"Monsieur," said the latter, "Captain La Jonqui^re
wishes to see you once more."
"And you refuse it?" said Gaston, with a slight
"On the contrary, I grant it, in the hope that he will
be more reasonable than you, and that he wishes to con-
sult you as to making confessions."
' ' If that be his intention, tell him I refuse to come. ' '
"I know nothing of it, monsieur; perhaps he only wishes
once again to see his companion in misfortune."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 299
"In that case, monsieur, I consent."
"Follow me, then."
Thej found the captain lying on the bed with his clothes
"I thought the almoner of the Bastille was with you?"
said M. Delaunay.
"He was, but I sent him away."
"Because I do not like Jesuits; do you think, morhhu!
that I cannot die properly without a priest?"
"To die properly, monsieur, is not to die bravely, but
as a Christian. ' '
" If I had wanted a sermon, I would have kept the priest,
but I wanted M. de Chanlay. "
"He is here, monsieur; I refuse nothing to those who
have nothing to hope."
"Ah! chevalier, are you there?" said La Jonqui^re,
turning round; "you are welcome."
"Explain," said Gaston; "I see with sorrow that you
refuse the consolations of religion."
"You also! if you say another word, I declare I will
"Pardon, captain, but I thought it my duty to advise
you to do vrhat I shall do myself. ' '
"I bear you no ill-will, chevalier; if I were a minister,
I would proclaim religious liberty. Now, M. Delaunay,"
continued he, "you understand that as the chevalier and
I are about to undertake a long iete-d-tete journey, we have
some things to talk over together first."
"I will retire. Chevalier, jou. have an hour to remain
' ' Thank you, monsieur, ' ' said Gaston.
SOO THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Well?" said tlie captain, wlien they were alone.
"Well," said Gaston, "jou were right."
"Yes; but I am exactly like the man who went round
Jerusalem crying out 'Woe!' for seven days, and the eighth
day a stone thrown from the walls struck him and killed him. "
' ' Yes, I know that we are to die together. ' '
"Which annoys you a little; does it not?"
"Very much; for I had reason to cling to life."
' ' Every one has. ' '
"But I above all."
"Then I only know one way."
"Make revelations! never."
"No, but fly with me."
"How! fly with you?"
"Yes, I escape."
"But do you know that our execution is fixed for to-
morrow ?' '
"Therefore I decamp to-night"
"Escape, do you say?"
"Open the window."
"Shake the middle bar."
"Does it resist?"
"No, it yields!"
"Very good, it has given me trouble enough. Heaven
knows. ' '
' ' It seems like a dream. ' '
"Do you remember asking me if I did not make holes
in anything, like all the others?"
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 301
"Yes, but you replied — "
"That I would tell you anotlier time; was the answer
a good one?"
"Excellent; but how to descend?"
' ' To search my paillasse.'*
"A ladder of cord 1"
' ' But how did you get it ?"
"I received it with a file in a lark pie the day of my
arrival. ' '
"Certainly, you are decidedly a great man,''
"I know it; besides that, I am a good man — for I might
"And you have thought of me."
"I asked for you, saying that I wished to say adieu to yoiL
I knew I should entice them to do some act of stupidity. ' '
"Let us make haste, captain."
' ' On the contrary, let us act slowly and prudently ; we
have an hour before us. ' *
"And the sentinels?"
"Bah! it is dark."
"But the moat, which is full of water?"
"It is frozen."
"But the wall?"
' ' When we are there will be time enough to think about
"Must we fasten the ladder?"
"I want to try if it be solid; I have an affection for my
spine, such as it is, and do not want to break my neck to
save it from another fate. ' *
302 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"You are tlie first captain of the day, La Jonqui^re."
"Bah! I have made plenty of others," said La JoU'
qui^re, tying the last knot in the ladder.
"Is it finished?" asked Gaston.
"Shall I pass first?"
"As yon like."
"I like it so."
"Is it high?"
"Fifteen to eighteen feet."
"Yes, for you who are young, but it is a different affair
for me ; be prudent, I beg. ' '
"Do not be afraid."
Gaston went first, slowly and prudently, followed by
La Jonqui^re, who laughed in his sleeve, and grumbled
every time he hurt his fingers, or when the wind shook
' ' A nice affair for the successor of Eichelieu and Maza-
rin, " he growled to himself. "It is true I am not yet a
cardinal; that saves me."
Gaston touched the water, or rather ice, of the fosse; a
moment after. La Jonqui^re was by his side.
"Now follow me," said the latter.
On the other side of the moat a ladder awaited them.
"You have accomplices then?"
"Parbleu! do you think the lark p^t^ came by itself?"
"Who says one cannot escape from the Bastille ?" said
' ' My young friend, ' ' said Dubois, stopping on the third
step, "take my advice: don't get in there again without
TEE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 308
me; you miglit not be as fortunate tlie second time as
They continued to mount the wall, on the platform of
which a sentinel walked, but, instead of opposing them, he
held his hand to La Jonquidre to assist him, and in three
minutes they were on the platform, had drawn up the lad-
der, and placed it on the other side of the wall.
The descent was as safely managed, and they found
themselves on another frozen moat.
"Now," said the captain, "we must take away the ladder,
that we may not compromise the poor devil who helped us. ' '
"We are then free ?"
"Nearly so," said La Jonqui^re.
Gaston, strengthened by this news, took up the ladder
on his shoulder.
"Peste, chevalier! the late Hercules was nothing to
you, I think."
"Bah!" said Gaston, "at this moment I could carry the
They went on in silence to a lane in the Faubourg St.
Antoine; the streets were deserted.
"Now, my dear chevalier," said La Jonqui^re, "do me
the favor to follow me to the corner of the Faubourg."
"I would follow you to — "
"Not so far, if you please; for safety's sake we will each
go our own way. ' '
"What carriage is that?"
"Peste! my dear captain; four horses! you travel like
304 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
' ' Three horses ; one is for you. ' '
"How! you consent ?"
"Pardieu! that is not all."
"You have no money?"
"It was taken away."
"Here are fifty louis. "
"But, captain — "
"Come, it is Spanish money; take it."
Gaston took the purse, while a postilion unharnessed a
horse and led it to him.
"Now," said Dubois, "where are you going?"
"To Bretagne, to rejoin my companions,"
"You are mad, my dear fellow; they are all condemned
and may be executed in two or three days. ' '
"You are right," said Gaston.
"Go to Flanders," said La Jonqui^re, "it is a pleasant
country; in fifteen or eighteen hours you can reach the
frontier. ' '
"Yes," said Gaston gloomily; "thank you, I know
where I shall go."
"Well, good luck to you," said Dubois, getting into
"The same to you," said Gaston.
They grasped each other's hand, and then each went
his own way.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 305
SHOWING THAT WE MUST NOT ALWAYS JUDGE OTHERS BY
OURSELVES, ABOVE ALL IF WE ARE CALLED DUBOIS
THE regent, as usual, passed the evening with H^l^ne.
He had not missed for four or five days, and the
hours he passed with her were his happy hours, hut
this time he found her very much shaken by her visit to
her lover in the Bastille.
"Come," said the regent, "take courage, Heldne; to-
morrow you shall be his wife."
"To-morrow is distant," replied she.
"H^l^ne, believe in my word, which has never failed
you. I tell you that to-morrow shall dawn happily for
you and for him."
Hel&ne sighed deeply.
A servant entered and spoke to the regent.
"What is it?" asked H^l^ne, who was alarmed at the
"Nothing, my child," said the duke; "it is only my
secretary, who wishes to see me on some pressing business."
"Shall I leave you?"
' ' Yes, do me that favor for an instant. ' '
Hel^ne withdrew into her room.
At the same time the door opened and Dubois entered,
out of breath.
306 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Where do you come from in sucli a state?"
"Parbleu! from the Bastille."
"And our prisoner?"
"Is everything arranged for the marriage?"
"Yes, everything but the hour, which you did not
"Let us say eight in the morning."
"At eight in the morning," said Dubois, calculating.
"Yes, what are 3^ou calculating?"
' ' I am thinking where he will be. ' '
' ' The prisoner. ' '
"What! the prisoner!"
"Yes; at eight o'clock he will be forty leagues from
"Yes; if he continues to go at the pace at which I saw
him set out. ' '
"What do 3'ou mean ?"
"I mean, monseigneur, that there will be one thing only
wanting at the marriage — the husband. ' '
"Has escaped from the Bastille half an iiour ago."
"You lie, abbe! People do not escape from the Bas-
"I beg your pardon, monseigneur; people escape from
any place when they are condemned to death."
"He escaped, knowing that to-morrow he was to wed
her whom he loved?"
"Listen, monseigneur, life is a charming thing, and we
all cling to it; then your son-in-law has a charming head
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 307
which he wishes to keep on his shoulders. What more
"And where is he ?"
"Perhaps I may be able to tell you to-morrow evening;
at present, all I know is that he is at some distance, and
that I will answer for it he will not retui-n. "
The regent became deeply thoughtful.
"Eeally, monseigneur, your na/ivete causes me perpetual
astonishment; you must be strangely ignorant of the human
heart if you suppose that a man condemned to death would
remain in prison when he had a chance of escape. ' '
"Oh, Monsieur de Chanlay!" cried the regent.
"Eh, mon Dieu! this chevalier has acted as the com-
monest workman would have done, and quite right too. ' '
"Dubois! and my daughter ?"
"Well, your daughter, monseigneur?"
"It will kill her," said the regent.
"Oh, no, monseigneur, not at all. When she finds out
what he is, she will be consoled, and j^ou can marry her
to some small German or Italian prince — to the Duke of
Modena, for instance, whom Mademoiselle de Yalois will
"Dubois! and I meant to pardon him."
"He has done it for himself, monseigneur, thinking it
safer, and, mafoi! I should have done the same."
"Oh, you ! you are not noble, you had not taken an oath. "
"You mistake, monseigneur; I had taken an oath, to
prevent your highness from committing a folly, and I have
succeeded. ' '
"Well, well, let us speak of it no more; not a word of
this before Hel^ne — I will undertake to tell her."
"And I to get back your son-in-law."
808 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
' ' No, no, lie lias escaped, let him profit by it. ' '
As the regent spoke these words a noise was heard in
the neighboring room, and a servant, entering, hurriedly
"Monsieur Gaston de Chanlay. "
Dubois turned pale as death, and his face assumed an
expression of threatening anger. The regent rose in a trans-
port of joy, which brought a bright color into his face:
there was as much pleasure in this face, rendered sublmie
by confidence, as there was compressed fury in Dubois's
sharp and malignant countenance.
' ' Let him enter, ' ' said the regent.
"At least, give me time to go," said Dubois.
"Ah! yes, he would recognize you."
Dubois retired with a growling noise, like a hyena dis-
turbed in its feast, or in its lair ; he entered the next room.
There he sat down by a table on which was every material
for writing, and this seemed to suggest some new and ter-
rible idea, for his face suddenly lighted up.
' ' Send for the portfolio which is in my carriage, ' ' said
he to the servant who appeared.
This order being executed at once, Dubois seized some
papers, wrote on them some words with an expression of
sinister joy, then, having ordered his carriage, drove to the
Meanwhile the chevalier was led to the regent, and
walked straight up to him.
"How! you here, monsieur!" said the duke, trying to
"Yes, monseigneur, a miracle has been worked in my
favor by La Jonquiere; he had prepared all for flight, he
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 309
asked for me under pretence of consulting me as to con-
fessions; tlien, wlien we were alone, lie told me all, and
we escaped together and in safety."
"And instead of flying, monsieur, gaining the frontier,
and placing yourself in safety, you are here at the peril
of your life,"
"Monseigneur," said Graston, blushing, "I must confess
that for a moment liberty seemed to me the most precious
and the sweetest thing the world could afford. The first
breath of air I drew seemed to intoxicate me, but 1 soon
reflected. ' '
"On one thing, monsieur?"
' ' On two, monseigneur. ' '
' ' You thought of Helene, whom you were abandoning. ' '
' ' And of my companions, whom I left under the axe.
"And then you decided?"
"That I was bound to their cause till our projects were
accomplished. ' '
"Yes, are they not yours as well as mine?"
"Listen, monsieur," said the regent; "I believe that
man must keep within the limits of his strength. There
are things which Grod seems to forbid him to execute;
there are warnings which tell him to renounce certain
projects. I believe that it is sacrilege to despise these
warnings, to remain deaf to this voice; our projects have
miscarried, monsieur, let us think no more of them."
"On the contrary, monseigneur," said Gaston, sadly
shaking his head, "let us think of them more than ever."
"But you are furious, monsieur," said the regent, "to
persist in an undertaking which has now become so difficult
that it is almost madness."
310 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"I think, monseigneur, of our friends arrested, tried,
condemned; M. d'Argenson told me so; of our friends
wlio are destined to tlie scaffold, and wlio can be saved
only by the death of the regent; of our friends who would
say, if I were to leave France, that I purchased my safety
by their ruin, and that the gates of the Bastille were opened
by my revelations."
"Then, monsieur, to this point of honor you sacrifice
everything, even H^lene ?"
' ' Monseigneur, if they be still alive, I must save them. ' '
"But if they be dead?"
"Then it is another thing," replied Gaston; "then I
must revenge them."
"Eeally, monsieur," said the duls:e, "this seems to me
a somewhat exaggerated idea of heroism. It seems to me
that you have, in your own person, already paid your
share. Believe me, take the word of a man who is a
good judge in affairs of honor; you are absolved in the
eyes of the whole world, my dear Brutus."
' ' 1 am not in my own, monseigneur. ' '
"Then you persist?"
' ' More than ever ; the regent must die, and, ' ' added he
in a hollow voice, ' ' die he shall. ' '
"But do you not first wish to see Mademoiselle de Cha-
verny ?" asked the regent.
"Yes, monseigneur, but first I must have your promise
to aid me in my project. Remember, monseigneur; there
is not an instant to lose; my companions are condemned,
as I was. Tell me at once, before I see Helene, that you
will not abandon me. Let me make a new engagement
with you. I am a man; I love, and therefore I am weak.
I shall have to struggle against her tears and against my
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 311
own weakness; monseigneur, I will only see Hel^ne under
the condition that you will enable me to see the regent."
"And if I refuse that condition?"
"Then, monseigneur, I will not see Hel^ne; I am dead
to her; it is useless to renew hope in her which she must
lose again, it is enough that she must weep for me once. ' '
"And you would still persist?"
"Yes, but with less chance."
"Then what would you do ?"
"Wait for the regent wherever he goes, and strike him
whenever I can find him. ' '
"Think once more," said the duke.
"By the honor of my name," replied Graston, "I once
more imjDlore your aid, or I declare that I will find means
to dispense with it. ' '
"Well, monsieur, go and see Heldne, and jou shall have
my answer on your return. ' '
' ' In that room, ' '
"And the answer shall be according to my desire ?"
Gaston went into Helene's room; she was kneeling be-
fore a crucifix, praying that her lover might be restored
to her. At the noise which Graston made in opening the
door, she turned round. Believing that God had worked
a miracle, and uttering a cry, she held out her arms tow-
ard the chevalier, but without the strength to raise her-
"Oh, mon Dieu! is it himself? is it his shade?"
"It is myself, Hel^ne, " said the young man, darting
toward her and grasping her hands.
"But how ? a prisoner this morning — free this evening ?"
812 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"I escaped, Helene. "
"And then you tlaouglit of me, you ran to me, you
would not fly without me. Oh! I recognize my Gaston
there. Well — I am ready, take me where you will — I am
yours — I am — "
"Helene," said Gaston, "you are not the bride of an
ordinary man; if I had been only like all other men, you
would not have loved me."
"Well, Helene, to superior souls superior duties are
allotted, and consequently greater trials; before I can be
yours I have to accomplish the mission on which I came
to Paris; we have both a fatal destiny to fulfil. Our life
or death hangs on a single event, which must be accom-
"What do you mean?" cried the young girl.
"Listen, Helene," rej)lied Gaston, "if in four hours, that
is to say, by daybreak, you have no news of me, do not ex-
pect me, believe that all that has passed between us is but
a dream; and, if you can obtain permission to do so, come
again and see me in the Bastille.
Helene trembled. Gaston took her back to her prie-Vieu,
where she knelt.
Then, kissing her on the forehead as a brother might
have done — "Pray on, Helene," said he, "for in praying
for me you pray also for Bretagne and for France. ' ' Then
he rushed out of the room.
"Alas! alas!" murmured Helene, "save him, my God!
and what care I for the rest of the world!"
Gaston was met by a servant who gave him a note, tell-
ing him the duke was gone.
The note was as follows:
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 313
"There is a hal-masque to-niglit at Monceaux; the regent
will be there. He generally retires toward one o'clock in
the morning into a favorite conservatory, which is situated
at the end of the gilded gallery. No one enters there ordi-
narily but himself, because this habit of his is known and
respected. The regent will be dressed in a black velvet
domino, on the left arm of which is embroidered a golden
bee. He hides this sign in a fold when he wishes to re-
main incognito. The card I inclose is an ambassador's
ticket. With this you will be admitted, not only to the
ball, but to this conservatory, where you will appear to
seek a private interview. Use it for your encounter with
the regent. My carriage is below, in which you will find
my own domino. The coachman is at your orders."
On reading this note, which, as it were, brought him
face to face with the man he meant to assassinate, a cold
perspiration passed over Gaston's forehead, and he was
obliged for a moment to lean against a chair for support;
but suddenly, as if taking a violent resolution, he darted
down the staircase, jumped into the carriage and cried —
Scarcely had he quitted the room, when a secret door
in the woodwork opened and the duke entered. He went
to Hel^ne's door. She uttered a cry of delight at seeing him.
"Well," said the regent, sadly, "are you content,
"Oh! it is you, monseigneur?"
"You see, my child, that my predictions are fulfilled.
Believe me when I say, 'Hope.' "
"Ah! monseigneur, are you then an angel come down
to earth to stand to me in the place of the father whom
I have lost?"
(N)— Vol. 23
614 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Alas!" said tlie regent, smiling, "I am not an angel,
my dear Helene; but such as I am, I will indeed be to
you a father, and a tender one."
Saying this the regent took Helene 's band, and was
about to kiss it respectfully, but she raised ber bead and
presented ber forebead to him.
"I see that you love bim truly," said be.
" Monseigneur, I bless you."
"May your blessing bring me bappiness, " said the
regent; then, going down to bis carriage —
"To the Palais Eoyal," said he, "but remember you
have only a quarter of an bour to drive to Monceaux. "
The horses flew along tbe road.
As tbe carriage entered under tbe peristyle, a courier
on horseback was setting out.
Dubois, having seen him start, closed the window and
went back to bis apartments.
TEE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 315
E AN WHILE Gaston went toward Monceaux.
He had found tlie duke's domino and mask in
the carriage. The mask was of black velvet, the
domino of violet satin. He put them both on, and sud.
denly remembered that he was without arms.
He thought, however, he should easily procure some
weapon at Monceaux. As he approached, he found it was
not a weapon that he needed, but courage. There passed
in his mind a terrible contest. Pride and humanity strug-
gled against each other, and, from time to time, he repre-
sented to himself his friends in prison, condemned to a
cruel and infamous death.
As the carriage entered the courtyara of Monceaux,
he murmured, "Already!"
However, the carriage stopped, the door was opened,
he must alight. The prince's private carriage and coach-
man had been recognized, and all the servants over-
whelmed him with attentions.
Gaston did not remark it — a kind of mist passed before
his eyes — he presented his card.
It was the custom then for both men and women to be
masked: but it was more frequently the women than the
men who went to these reunions unmasked. At this period
316 THE REGENTS DAUOHTE'tt
women spoke not only freely, but well, and tlie mask liid
neither folly nor inferiority of rank, for the women of that
day were all witty, and if they were handsome they were
soon titled: witness the Duchesse de Chateauroux and the
Gaston knew no one, but he felt instinctively that he
was among the most select society of the day. Among the
men were Novilles, Brancas, Broglie, St. Simon, and Biron.
The women might be more mixed, but certainly not less
spirituelles nor less elegant.
No one knew how to organize a fete like the regent.
The luxury of good taste, the profusion of flowers, the
lights, the princes and ambassadors, the charming and
beautiful women who surrounded him, all had their effect
on Gaston, who now recognized in the regent, not only
a king, but a king at once powerful, gay, amiable, beloved,
and, above all, popular and national.
Gaston's heart beat when, seeking among these heads
the one for which his blows were destined, he saw a black
Without the mask, which hid his face and concealed
from all eyes its changing expression, he would not have
taken four steps through the rooms without some one
pointing him out as an assassin.
Gaston could not conceal from himself that there waa
something cowardly in coming to a prince, his host, to
change those brilliant lights into funeral torches, to stain
those dazzling tapestries with blood, to arouse the cry of
terror amid the joyous tumult of a fete — and at this thought
his courage failed him, and he stepped toward the door.
"I will kill him outside," said he, "but not here."
Then he remembered the duke's directions; his card
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 817
would open to liim the isolated conservatory, and he
"He foresaw that I should be a coward."
He approached a sort of gallery containing buffets,
where the guests came for refreshment. He went also,
not that he was hungry or thirsty, but because he was
unarmed. He chose a long, sharp, and pointed knife, and
put it under his domino, where he was sure no one could
"The likeness to Eavaillac will be complete," said he.
At this moment, as Gaston turned, he heard a well*
known voice say —
Gaston opened his domino, and showed the duke the
knife which it concealed.
"I see the knife glisten, but I also see the hand tremble."
"Yes, monseigneur, it is true," said Gaston; "I hesi-
tated, I trembled, 1 felt inclined to fly; but thank God
you are here."
"And your ferocious courage?" said the duke, in a
"It is not that I have lost it."
"What has become of it, then?"
"Monseigneur, I am under his roof."
"Yes; but in the conservatory you are not."
"Could you not show him to me first, that I might
accustom myself to his presence, that I may be inspired
by the hatred I bear him, for I do not know how to find
him in this crowd?"
"Just now he was near you."
"Near me ?" said he.
518 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"As near as I am," replied tlie duke, gravely.
*'I will go to tlie conservatory, monseigneur. "
"Yet a moment, monseigneur, tliat I may recover
myself. ' *
' ' Yery well, jom know tlie conservatory is beyond tliat
gallery ; stay, tlie doors are closed. ' '
' ' Did you not say tliat with this card tlie servants would
open tliem to me ?"
"Yes, but it would be better to open them yourself — a
servant might wait for your exit. If you are thus agitated
before you strike the blow, what will it be afterward?
Then the regent probably will not fall without defending
himself — without a cry; they will all run to him, you will
be arrested, and adieu your hope of the future. Think of
H^l^ne, who waits for you, ' '
It is impossible to describe what was passing in Gaston's
heart during this speech.
The duke, however, watched its effect upon his coun-
"Well," said Gaston, "what shall I do? advise me. "
"When you are at the door of the conservatory, the
one which opens on to the gallery turning to the left —
do you know?"
"Under the lock you will find a carved button: push
it, and the door will open, unless it be fastened within.
But the regent, who has no suspicion, will not take this
precaution. I have been there twenty times for a private
audience. If he be not there, wait for him. You wil'
know him, if there, by the black domino and the golden
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 319
"Yes, yes; I know," said Gaston; not knowing, how-
ever, what he said.
"I do not reckon much on jou this evening," replied
"Ah! monseigneur, the moment approaches which will
change my past life into a doubtful future, perhaps of
shame, at least of remorse."
"Remorse!" replied the duke. "When we perform an
action which we believe to be just, and commanded by con-
science, we do not feel remorse. Do you doubt the sanctity
of your cause ?' '
"No, monseigneur, but it is easy for you to speak thus.
You have the idea — I, the execution. You are the head,
but I am the arm. Believe me, monseigneur," continued
he, in a hollow voice and choking with emotion, "it is a
terrible thing to kill a man who is before you defenceless — •
smiling on his murderer. I thought myself courageous and
strong; but it must be thus with every conspirator who
undertakes what I have done. In a moment of excite-
ment, of pride, of enthusiasm, or of hatred, we take a
fatal vow; then there is a vast extent of time between
us and our victim; but the oath taken, the fever is
calmed, the enthusiasm cools, the hatred diminishes.
Every day brings us nearer the end to which we are
tending, and then we shudder when we feel what a crime
we have undertaken. And yet inexorable time flows on;
and at every hour which strikes, we see our victim take
another step, until at length the interval between us dis-
appears, and we stand face to face. Believe me, mon-
seigneur, the bravest tremble; for murder is always mur-
der. Then we see that we are not the ministers of our
consciences, but the slaves of our oaths. We set out with
320 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
head erect, saying, ' I am the chosen one' ; we arrive with
head bowed down, saying, 'I am accursed.' "
"There is yet time, monsieur."
"No, no; you well know, monseigneur, that fate urges
me onward. I shall accomplish my ta^k, terrible though
it be. My heart will shudder, but my hand will still be
firm. Yes, I tell you, were it not for my friends, whose
lives hang on the blow I am about to strike, were there
no Hel^ne, whom I should cover with mourning, if not
with blood, oh, I would prefer the scaffold, even the
scaffold, with all its shame, for that does not punish, it
"Come," said the duke, "I see that, though you trem-
ble, 3'"ou will act. ' '
"Do not doubt it, monseigneur; pray for me, for in
half an hour all will be over."
The duke gave an involuntary start; however, approv-
ing Gaston's determination, he once more mixed with the
Gaston found an open window with a balcony. He
stepped out for a moment to cool the fever in his veins,
but it was in vain; the flame which consumed him was
not to be extinguished thus.
He heard one o'clock strike.
"Now," he murmured, "the time is come, and I cannot
draw back. My God, to thee I recommend my soul! —
Then slowly bat firmly he went to the door, and, press-
ing the button, it opened noiselessly before him.
A mist came before his eyes. He seemed in a new
world. The music sounded like a distant and charming
melody. Around him breathed the sweetly perfumed
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 321
flowers, and alabaster lamps lialf hidden in luxuriant
foliage shed a delicious twilight over the scene, while
through the interlacing leaves of tropical plants could
just be seen the leafless gloomy trees beyond, and the
snow covering the earth as with a winding sheet. Even
the temperature was changed, and a sudden shiver passed
through his veins. The contrast of all this verdure, these
magnificent and blossoming orange trees — these magnolias,
splendid with the waxy blooms, with the gilded saloons he
had left, bewildered him. It seemed difficult to connect the
thought of murder with this fair- smiling and enchanted
scene. The soft gravel yielded to his tread, and plashing
fountains murmured forth a plaintive and monotonous
Graston was almost afraid to look for a human form.
At length he glanced round.
Nothing ! He went on.
At length, beneath a broad-leaved palm, surrounded
by blooming rhododendrons, he saw the black phantom
seated on a bank of moss, his back turned toward the side
from which he was approaching.
The blood rushed to Gaston's cheeks, his hand trembled,
and he vainly sought for some support.
The domino did not move.
Gaston involuntarily drew back. All at once he forced
his rebellious limbs to move on, and his trembling fingers
to grasp the knife they had almost abandoned, and he
stepped toward the regent, stifling a sob which was about
to escape him.
At this moment the figure moved, and Gaston saw the
golden bee, which seemed like a burning gem before his
322 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
The domino turned toward Gaston, and as te did so,
the young man's arm grew rigid, the foam rose to his lips,
his teeth chattered, for a vague suspicion entered his breast.
Suddenly he uttered a piercing cry. The domino had
risen and was unmasked — his face was that of the Due
Gaston, thunderstruck, remained livid and mute. The
regent and the duke were one and the same. The regent
retained his calm majestic attitude; looked at the hand
which held the knife, and the knife fell. Then, looking at
his intended murderer with a smile at once sweet and sad,
Gaston fell down before him like a tree cut by the axe.
Not a word had been spoken; nothing was heard but
Gaston's broken sobs, and the water of the fountains plash-
ing monotonously as it fell.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 323
""T^ISE, monsieur," said the regent.
I y "Ko, monseigneur, " cried Gaston, bowing his
forehead to the ground, "oh, no, it is at jour feet
that I should die. ' '
"Die! Gaston, you see that you are pardoned."
"Oh, monseigneur, punish me, in Heaven's name; for
you must indeed despise me if you pardon me. ' '
"But have you not guessed?" asked the regent.
"The reason why I pardon you."
Gaston cast a retrospective glance upon the past: his sad
and solitary youth, his brother's despairing death, his love
for Hel^ne, those days that seemed so long away from her,
those nights that passed so quickly beneath the convent
window, his journey to Paris, the duke's kindness to the
young girl, and, last, this unexpected clemency; but in all
this he beheld nothing, he divined nothing.
"Thank Hel^ne," said the duke, who saw that Gaston,
vainly sought the cause of what had happened; "thank
H^l^ne, for it is she who saves your life."
' ' Hel^ne ! monseigneur. ' '
"I cannot punish my daughter's affianced husband."
324 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"H^lene your daugliter! oli, monseigneur, and I would
have killed you!"
"Yes, remember wliat you said just now. We set out
tlie cliosen one, we return tlie murderer. And sometimes
you seem more than a murderer — a parricide — for I am al-
most your father, ' ' said the duke, holding out his hand to
"Monseigneur, have mercy on me."
"You have a noble heart, Gaston."
"And you, monseigneur, are a noble prince. Hence-
forth I am yours, body and soul. Every drop of my blood
for one tear of Hdlene's, for one wish of your highness' s,"
"Thanks, Gaston," said the duke, smiling, "I will repay
your devotion by your happiness."
"I happy through your highness! Ah! monseigneur,
God revenges himself in permitting you to return me so
much good for the evil I intended you."
The regent smiled at this effusion of simple joy, when
the door opened and gave entrance to a green domino.
"Captain La Jonqui^re!" cried Gaston.
"Dubois!" murmured the duke, frowning.
' ' Monseigneur, ' ' said Gaston, hiding his face in his hand,
pale with affright; "monseigneur, I am lost. It is no
longer I who must be saved. I forgot my honor, I forgot
"Your friends, monsieur?" said the duke coldly. "I
thought you no longer made common cause with such
men. ' '
' ' Monseigneur, you said I had a noble heart ; believe me
when I say that Pontcalec, Montlouis, Du Couedic, and
Talhouet have hearts as noble as my own."
"Noble!" repeated the duke, contemptuously.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 325
"Yes, monseigneur, I repeat wliat I said."
"And do you know what ihej would have done, my
poor child? you, who were their blind tool, the arm that
they placed at the end of their thoughts. These noble
hearts would have delivered their country to the stranger,
they would have erased the name of France from the list of
sovereign nations. Nobles, they were bound to set an ex-
ample of courage and loyalty — they have given that of per-
fidy and cowardice; well, you do not reply — ^you lower your
eyes; if it be your poniard you seek, it is at your feet; take
it up, there is yet time. ' '
"Monseigneur," said Gaston, clasping his hands, "I re-
nounce my ideas of assassination, I detest them, and I ask
your pardon for having entertained them; but if you will
not save my friends, I beg of you at least to let me perish
with them. If I live when they die, my honor dies with
them ; think of it, monseigneur, the honor of the name your
daughter is to bear. ' '
The regent bent his head as he replied —
"It is impossible, monsieur; they have betrayed France;
and they must die. ' '
"Then I die with them," said Gaston, "for I also have
betrayed France, and, moreover, would have murdered
The regent looked at Dubois; the glance they exchanged
did not escape Gaston. He understood that he had dealt
with a false La Jonqui^re as well as a false Due d'Olivares.
"No," said Dubois, addressing Gaston, "you shall not
die for that, monsieur ; but you must understand that there
are crimes which the regent has neither the power nor the
right to pardon."
"But he pardoned me I" exclaimed Gaston.
326 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
"You are Helene's liusband," said tlie duke.
' ' You mistake, monseigneur ; I am not, and I never shajt
be; and as such a sacrifice involves tlie death of him who
makes it, I shall die, monseigneur."
"Bah!" said Dubois, "no one dies of love nowadays; it
was very well in the time of M. d'Urfe and Mademoiselle
"Perhaps you are right, monsieur; but in all times men
die by the dagger;" and Gaston stooped and picked up the
knife with an expression which was not to be mistaken.
Dubois did not move.
The regent made a step.
"Throw down that weapon, monsieur," said he, with
Gaston placed the point against his breast.
' ' Throw it down, I say, ' ' repeated the regent.
"The life of my friends, monseigneur," said Gaston.
The regent turned again to Dubois, who smiled a sar-
" 'Tis well," said the regent, "they shall live."
"Ah! monsieur," said Gaston, seizing the duke's hand,
and trying to raise it to his lips, "you are the image of God
"Monseigneur, you commit an irreparable fault," said
"What!" cried Gaston, astonished, "you are then — "
' ' The Abb^ Dubois, at your service, ' ' said the false La
"Oh! monseigneur, listen only to your own heart — I
implore. ' '
"Monseigneur, sign nothing," said Dubois.
"Sign! monseigneur, sign!" repeated Gaston. "You
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 327
promised tliey should live, and I know your promise is
sacred. ' '
"Dubois, I shall sign," said tlie duke.
"Has jour highness decided?"
"I have given my word. "
"Yery well; as you please."
"At once, monseigneur, at once; I know not why, but I
am alarmed in spite of myself; monseigneur, their pardon,
I implore you. ' '
"Eh! monsieur," said Dubois, "since his highness has
promised, what signify five minutes more or less?"
The regent looked uneasily at Dubois.
"Yes, you are right," said he, "this very moment; your
portfolio, abbe, and quick, the young man is impatient.
Dubois bowed assent, called a servant, got his portfolio,
and presented to the regent a sheet of paper, who wrote an
order on it and signed it.
"Now a courier."
"Oh, no! monseigneur, it is useless."
"A courier would never go quickly enough. I will go
myself, if your highness will permit me; every moment I
gain will save those unhappy men an age of torture. ' '
"Yes, yes, you are right," said the regent, "go your-
self;" and he added in a low voice, "and do not let the
order leave your hands."
"But, monseigneur," said Dubois, "you are more im-
patient than the young man himself; you forget that if
he goes thus there is some one in Paris who will think
he is dead."
These words struck Gaston, and recalled to him Hel^ne,
328 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
whom lie had left, expecting him from one moment to an-
other, in the fear of some great event, and who would never
forgive him should he leave Paris without seeing her. In
an instant his resolution was taken; he kissed the duke's
hand, took the order, and was going, when the regent
"Not a word to Helene of what I told you; the only
recompense I ask of you is to leave me the pleasure of
telling her she is my child."
"Your highness shall be obeyed," said Gaston, moved
to tears, and, again bowing, he hastily went out.
"This way," said Dubois; "really, you look as if you
had assassinated some one, and you will be arrested : cross
this grove, at the end is a path which will lead you to
"Oh, thank you; you understand that delay — "
"Might be fatal. That is why," added he to himself
"I have shown you the longest way — go."
When Gaston had disappeared, Dubois returned to the
"What is the matter, monseigneur ?" asked he; "you
' ' You made no resistance to my performing a good action
— this frightened me. ' '
"Dubois," said the duke, "you are plotting something."
"No, monseigneur, it is all arranged."
"What have you done ?"
"Monseigneur, I know you.''
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 329
"I knew what would happen. That you would never
be satisfied till you had signed the pardon of all these
"Well, I also have sent a courier."
"Yes, I; have I not the right to send couriers?"
"Yes; but, in Heaven's name, tell me what order your
courier carried. ' '
' ' An order for their execution. ' '
"And he is gone ?"
Dubois took out his watch.
' ' Two hours ago, ' ' said he.
"Ah, monseigneur! always big words. Every man to
his trade. Save M. de Chanlay, if you like; he is your
son-in-law; as for me, I save you."
"Yes; but I know De Chanlay. He will arrive before
"Two hours are nothing to a man like him; he will
soon have made them up."
"Were my courier only two hours in advance," said
Dubois, "De Chanlay might overtake him, but he will
"Because the worthy young man is in love; and if I
reckon an hour for taking leave of your daughter, I am
sure it is not too much."
"Serpent! I understand the meaning of what you said
"He was in an excess of enthusiasm — he might have
330 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
forgotten his love. Yovl know my principle, monseigneur;
distrust first impulses, they are always good."
"It is an infamous principle."
"Monseigneur, either one is a diplomatist or one is
"Well," said the regent, stepping toward the door,
"I shall go and warn him."
"Monseigneur," said Dubois, stopping the duke with
an accent of extreme resolution, and taking a paper out
of his portfolio, already prepared, "if you do so, have
the kindness in that case to accept my resignation at
once. Joke, if you will, but, as Horace said, 'Est modus
in rebus.' He was a great as well as a courteous man.
Come, come, monseigneur, a truce to politics for this even-
ing. Go back to the ball, and to-morrow evening all will
be settled — France will be rid of four of her worst enemies,
and you will retain a son-in-law whom I greatly prefer to
M. de Riom, I assure you."
And with these words they returned to the ball-room.
Dubois joyous and triumphant, the duke sad and thought-
ful, but convinced that his minister was right.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER ZZl
THE LAST INTERVIEW
GASTON left the conservatory, his heart bounding
with joj. The enormous weight which had op-
pressed him since the commencement of the con-
spiracy, and which ndlene's love had scarcely been able
to alleviate, now seemed to disappear as at the touch of
To dreams of vengeance, dreams both terrible and
bloody, succeeded visions of love and glory. H^l^ne
was not only a charming and a loving woman, she was
also a princess of the blood royal — one of those divinities
whose tenderness men would purchase with their heart's
blood, if they did not, being after all weak as mortals,
give this inestimable tenderness away.
And Gaston felt revive within his breast the slumber-
ing instinct of ambition. What a brilliant fortune was his
— one to be envied by such men as Richelieu and Lauzun.
No Louis XIY., imposing, as on Lauzun, exile or the aban-
donment of his mistress — no irritated father combating the
pretensions of a simple gentleman — but, on the contrary,
a powerful friend, greedy of love, longing to prove his
affection for his pure and noble daughter. A holy emu-
lation between the daughter and the son-in-law to make
332 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
themselves more worthy of so just a prince, so mild a
In a quarter of an hour Graston liad gained tlie Eue
The door opened before him — a cry was heard — Hel^ne,
at the window watching for his return, had recognized the
carriage, and ran joyously to meet him.
"Saved!" cried Graston, seeing her; "saved! my friends,
I — ^you — all — saved !"
"Oh, God!" cried Helene, turning pale, "you have
killed him, then?"
"No, no; thank God! Oh Helene! what a heart, what
a man is this regent ! Oh, love him well, Helene ! you will
love him, will you not?"
"Explain yourself, Gaston."
"Come, and let us speak of ourselves; I have but a
few moments to give you, Helene; but the duke will tell
"One thing before all," said Helene, "what is your
"The brightest in the world, H^l^ne — your husband,
rich and honored. Helene, I am wild with joy."
"And you remain with me at last?"
"No; I leave you, Helene."
' ' But to return. ' '
' ' Another separation ! ' '
' ' Three days at the most — three days only. I go to bring
blessings on your name, on mine, on that of our protector,
' ' Where are you going ?' '
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 333
"Yes. This order is the pardon of Pontcalec, Mont-
louis, Talhouet and Du Couedic. They are condemned
to death, and they will owe me their lives. Oh, do not
keep me here, Hel^ne; think of what you suffered just
now, when you were watching for me. ' '
"And, consequently, what I am to suffer again."
"No, my Hel^ne; for this time there is no fear, no ob-
stacle ; this time you are sure of my return. ' '
"Gaston, shall I never see you but at rare intervals, and
for a few minutes ? Ah ! Gaston, I have so much need of
happiness. ' '
"You shall be happy, Hel^ne, be assured."
"My heart sinks."
"Ah! when you know all!"
' ' But tell me at once. ' '
"Hdl^ne, the only thing wanting to my happiness is the
permission to fall at your feet and tell you all ; but I have
promised ; nay more, I have sworn. ' '
"Always some secret!"
"This, at least, is a joyful one."
"Oh, Gaston, Gaston, I tremble."
"Look at me, Helene; can you fear when you see the
joy that sparkles in my eyes ?' '
"Why do you not take me with you, Gaston ?"
' ' I beg of you to let us go together. ' '
"Because, first, I must be at Nantes in twenty hours."
"I will follow you, even should I die with fatigue."
"Then, because you are no longer your own mistress;
334 THE REGENT'S DjiUGHTER
you have liere a protector, to whom you owe respect and
obedience. ' '
"Yes; the duke. Oh, when you know what he has done
for me — for us. ' '
"Let us leave a letter for him, and he will forgive us."
"No, no; he will say we are ungrateful; and he would
be right. No, Hel^ne; while I go to Bretagne, swift as a
saving angel, you shall remain here and hasten the prepara-
tions for our marriage. And when I return, I shall at once
demand my wife ; at your feet I shall bless you for the hap-
piness and the honor you bestow on me. ' '
"You leave me, Gaston?" cried Hel^ne, in a voice of
"Oh, not thus, Helene, not thus; I cannot leave you so.
Oh, no! be joyous, Hel5ne; smile on me; say to me, in
giving me your hand, that hand so pure and faithful, 'Go,
Gaston, go, for it is your duty.' "
"Yes, my friend," said Hel5ne, "perhaps I ought to
speak thus, but I have not the strength. Gaston, for-
give me. ' '
"Oh, Helene, when I am so joyful."
"Gaston, it is beyond my power; remember that you
take with you the half of my life. ' '
Gaston heard the clock strike three, and started.
' ' Adieu, Helene, ' ' said he.
' ' Adieu, ' ' murmured she.
Once more he pressed her hand and raised it to his lips,
then dashed down the staircase toward the door.
But he heard Helene 's sobs.
Rapidly he remounted the staircase and ran to her.
She was standing at the door of the room he had just left.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 335
Graston clasped her in his arms, and she hung weeping upon
''Oh, mon Dieu!" cried she, "you leave me again, Gas-
ton; listen to what I say, we shall never meet more."
"My poor Hel^ne, " cried the young man, "you are
"Despair has made me so."
And her tears ran down her cheeks.
All at once she seemed to make a violent effort, and,
pressing her lips on those of her lover, she clasped him
tightly to her breast, then quickly repulsing him —
"Now go, Gaston," said she, "now I can die."
Gaston replied by passionate caresses. The clock struck
"Another half -hour to make up."
"Adieu, adieu, Gaston; you are right, you should al-
ready be away. ' '
' ' Adieu for a time. ' '
And Hel^ne returned to the pavilion. Gaston procured
a horse, saddled, mounted, and left Paris by the same gate
by which he had entered some days previously.
836 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
THE commission named by Dubois was to be perma-
nent. Invested witb unlimited powers, wbicli in
certain cases means tbat tbe decision is settled
beforehand, tbey besieged tbe earth, supported by strong
detachments of troops.
Since the arrest of the four gentlemen, Nantes, terrified
at first, had risen in their favor. The whole of Bretagne
awaited a revolt, but in the meanwhile was quiet.
However, the trial was approaching. On the eve of
the public audience, Pontcalec held a serious conversation
with his friends.
"Let us consider," said he, "whether in word or deed
we have committed any imprudence. ' '
"No," said the other three.
' • Has any one of you imparted our projects to his wife,
his brother, a friend ? Have you, Montlouis ?' '
"No, on my honor."
"Then they have neither proof nor accusation against
us. No one has surprised us, no one wishes us harm."
"But," said Montlouis, "meanwhile we shall be tried."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER S37
"On what grounds ?"
"Oh, secret information," said Talhouet, smiling.
"Very secret," said Du Couedic, "since they do not
breathe a word."
(J "Ah, one fine night they will force us to escape, that
they may not be obliged to liberate us some fine day."
"I do not believe it," said Montlouis, who had always
been the most desponding, perhaps because he had the most
at stake, having a young wife and two children who adored
him. "I do not believe it. I have seen Dubois in Eng-
land. I have talked with him; his face is like a ferret's,
licking his lips when thirsty. Dubois is thirsty, and we
are taken. Dubois's thirst will be slaked by our blood."
"But," said Du Couedic, "there is the parliament of
Bretagne. ' '
"Yes, to look on, while we lose our heads."
There was only one of the four who smiled; that was
"My friends," said he, "take courage. If Dubois be
thirsty, so much the worse for Dubois. He will go mad,
that is all; but this time I answer for it he shall not taste
our blood. ' '
And, indeed, from the beginning the task of the com-
mission seemed difficult. No confessions, no proofs, no
witnesses. Bretagne laughed in the commissioners' faces,
and when she did not laugh, she threatened. The president
despatched a courier to Paris to explain the state of things,
and get further instructions.
"Judge by their projects," said Dubois; "they may have
done little because they were prevented, but they intended
much, and the intention in matters of rebellion is equiva-
lent to the act."
(0)— Yol. 23
338 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
Armed witli this terrible weapon, the commission soon
overthrew the hopes of the province. There was a terrible
audience, in which the accused commenced with raillery
and ended with accusation. On re- entering the prison,
Pontcalec congratulated them on the truths they had
told the judge.
"Nevertheless," said Montlouis, "it is a bad affair.
Bretagne does not revolt."
"She waits our condemnation," said Talhouet.
"Then she will revolt somewhat late," said Montlouis.
"But our condemnation may not take place," said Pont-
calec. "Say, frankly, we are guilty, but without proofs
who will dare to sentence us ? The commission ?' '
"No, not the commission, but Dubois."
"I have a great mind to do one thing," said Du Couedic.
"At the first audience to cry, 'Bretagne to the rescue!'
Each time we have seen faces of friends; we should be de-
livered or killed, but at least it would be decided. I should
prefer death to this suspense."
"But why run tha iisk of being wounded by some satel-
lite of justice ^'
"Because such a wound might be healed; not so the
wound tne executioner would make."
"Oh! ' said Pontcalec, "you will have no more to do
with the executioner than I shall."
"Always the prediction," said Montlouis. "You know
that I have no faith in it. ' '
"You are wrong."
"This is sure, my friends," said Pontcalec. "We shall
be exiled, we shall be forced to embark, and I shall be lost
on the way. This is my fate. Bu^ yours may be different.
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 339
Ask to go by a different vessel from me ; or there is another
chance. I may fall from the deck, or slip on the steps; at
least, I shall die by the water. You know that is certain.
I might be condemned to death, taken to the very scaffold,
but if the scaffold were on dry ground I should be as easy
as I am now. ' '
His tone of confidence gave them courage. They even
laughed at the rapidity with which the deliberations were
carried on. They did not know that Dubois sent courier
after courier from Paris to hasten them.
At length the commission declared themselves sufficiently
enlightened, and retired to deliberate in secret session.
Never was there a more stormy discussion. History
has penetrated the secrets of these deliberations, in which
some of the least bold or least ambitious counsellors re-
volted against the idea of condemning these gentlemen
on presumptions which were supported solely by the in-
telligence transmitted to them by Dubois; but the majority
were devoted to Dubois, and the committee came to abuse
and quarrels, and almost to blows.
At the end of a sitting of eleven hours' duration, the
majority declared their decision.
The commissioners associated sixteen others of the con-
tumacious gentlemen with the four chiefs, and declared —
"That the accused, found guilty of criminal projects, of
treason, and of felonious intentions, should be beheaded:
those present, in person, those absent, in e^gj. That the
walls and fortifications of their castles should be demol-
ished, their patents of nobility annulled, and their forests
cat down to the height of nine feet."
An hour after the delivery of this sentence, an order was
given to the usher to announce it to the prisoners.
840 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
The sentence had been given after the stormy sitting
of which we have spoken, and in which the accused had
experienced such lively marks of sympathy from the pub-
lic. And so, having beaten the judges on all the counts of
the indictment, never had they been so full of hope.
They were seated at supper in their common room, call-
ing to mind all the details of the sitting, when suddenly the
door opened, and in the shade appeared the pale and stern
form of the usher.
The solemn apparition changed their pleasant conversa-
tion, on the instant, into anxious palpitations.
The usher advanced slowly, while the jailer remained
at the door, and the barrels of muskets were seen shining
in the gloom of the corridor.
"What is your will, sir?" asked Pontcalec, "and what
signifies this deadly paraphernalia?"
"Gentlemen," said the usher, "I bear the sentence of
the tribunal. On your knees and listen."
"How?" said Montlouis, "it is only sentences of death
that must be heard kneeling. ' '
"On your knees, gentlemen," replied the usher.
"Let the guilty and the base kneel," said Du Couedic;
"we are gentlemen, and innocent. We will hear our sen-
tences standing. ' '
•'As you will, gentlemen; but uncover yourselves, for
I speak in the king's name."
Talhouet, who alone had his hat on, removed it. The
four gentlemen stood erect and bareheaded, leaning on
each other, with pale faces and a smile upon their lips.
The usher read the sentence through, uninterrupted by
a murmur, or by a single gesture of surprise.
When he had finished —
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 841
"Why was I told," asked Pontcalec, "to declare tlie
designs of Spain against France, and that 1 should be
liberated ? Spain was an enemy's country. I declared
what I believed I knew of her projects; and, lo! I am
condemned. Why is this? Is the commission, then, com-
posed of cowards who spread snares for the accused?"
The usher made no answer.
"But," added Montlouis, "the regent spared all Paris,
implicated in the conspiracy of Cellamare; not a drop of
blood was shed. Yet those who wished to carry off the
regent, perhaps to kill him, were at least as guilty as men
against whom no serious accusations even could be made.
Are we then chosen to pay for the indulgence shown to
The usher made no reply.
"You forget one thing, Montlouis," said Du Couedic,
"the old family hatred against Bretagne; and the regent,
to make people believe that he belongs to the family,
wishes to prove that he hates us. It is not we personally
who are struck at; it is a province, which for three hundred
years has claimed in vain its privileges and its rights, and
which they wish to find guilty in order to have done with
it forever. ' '
The usher preserved a religious silence.
"Enough," said Talhouet, "we are condemned. 'Tia
well. Now, have we, or have we not, the right of
appeal ?' '
"No, gentlemen," said the usher.
"Then you can retire," said Du Couedic.
The usher bowed and withdrew, followed by his escort,
and the prison door, heavy and clanging, closed once more
upon the four gentlemen-
S42 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
"Well!" said Montlouis, wlien tliey were again alone.
"Well, we are condemned," said Pontcalec. "I never
said there would be no sentence; I only said it would not
be carried into execution."
' ' I am of Pontcalec' s opinion, ' ' said Talhouet. ' ' What they
have done is but to terrify the province and test its patience. ' '
"Besides," said Du Couedic, "they will not execute
us without the regent's ratification of the sentence. Now,
without an extraordinary courier, it will take two days
to reach Paris, one to examine into the affair, and two to
return, all together five days. We have, then, five days
before us; and what may not happen in five days? The
province will rise on hearing of our doom-r-"
Montlouis shook his head.
"Besides, there is Gaston," said Pontcalec, "whom you
"I am much afraid that Gaston has been arrested," said
Montlouis. "I know Gaston, and were he at liberty, we
should have heard of him ere now."
"Prophet of evil," said Talhouet, "at least you will not
deny that we have some days before us. ' '
"Who knows ?" said Montlouis.
" And the waters ?" said Pontcalec; "the waters? You
always forget that I can only perish by the waters. ' '
"Well, then, let us be seated again," said Du Couedic,
"and a last glass to our healths."
"There is no more wine," said Montlouis; " 'tis an evil
omen. ' '
"Bah! there is more in the cellar," said Pontcalec.
And he called the jailer.
The man, on entering, found the four friends at table;
he looked at them in astonishment.
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER S43
"Well, what is there new, Master Cliristoplier ?" said
Christoplier came from Guer, and liad a particular re-
spect for Pontcalec, whose uncle Crjsogon had been his
"Nothing but what you know," he replied.
"Then go and fetch some wine."
"They wish to deaden their feelings," said the jailer to
himself; "poor gentlemen."
Montlouis alone heard Christopher's remark, and he
An instant afterward they heard steps rapidly ap-
proaching their room. The door opened, and Christopher
reappeared without any bottle in his hand.
"Well," said Pontcalec, "where is the wine?"
"Good news," cried Christopher, without answering
Pontcalec' s inquiry, "good news, gentlemen."
"What?" said Montlouis, starting. "Is the regent —
"And Bretagne in revolt ?" asked Du Couedic.
"No. I could not call that good news."
"Well, what is it then ?" asked Pontcalec.
"Monsieur de Chateauneuf has just ordered back to their
barracks the hundred and fifty men who were under arms
in the market-place, which had terrified everybody."
"Ah," said Montlouis, "I begin to believe it will not
take place this evening."
At this moment the clock struck six.
"Well," said Pontcalec, "good news is no reason for
our remaining thirsty; go and fetch our wine."
Christopher went out, and returned in ten minutes with
S44 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
The friends, who were still at table, filled their glasses.
"To Gaston's health," said Pontcalec, exchanging a
meaning glance with his friends, to whom alone this toast
And they emptied their glasses, all except Montlouis,
who stopped as he was lifting his to his lips.
"Well, what is it?" said Pontcalec.
"The drum," said Montlouis, stretching out his hand in
the direction where he heard the sound.
' ' Well, ' ' said Talhouet, ' ' did you not hear what (3hris-
topher said ? it is the troops returning, ' '
' ' On the contrary, it is the troops going out ; that is not
a retreat, but the generulo. ' '
"The generalef^ said Talhouet, "what on earth can that
mean ?' '
"ISTo good," said Montlouis, shaking his head.
"Christopher!" said Pontcalec, turning to the jailer.
"Yes, gentlemen, I will find out what it is," said he,
"and be back in an instant."
He rushed out oi the room, but not without carefully
shutting the door behind him.
The four friends remained in anxious silence. After a
lapse of ten minutes the door opened, and the jailer reap-
peared, pale with terror.
"A courier has just entered the castle court," said he;
"he comes from Paris, he has delivered his despatches, and
immediately the guards were doubled, and the drums beat
in all the barracks. ' '
"Oh, oh!" said Montlouis, "that concerns us."
' ' Some one is ascending the stairs, ' ' said the jailer, more
pale and trembling than those to whom he spoke. In fact,
they heard the butt ends of the muskets clanging on the
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 345
stones of the corridor, and at the same time several voices
were heard speaking hastily.
The door opened, and the usher reappeared.
' ' Gentlemen, ' ' said he, ' ' how long do you desire to set your
worldly affairs in order, and to undergo your sentence ?' '
A profound terror froze even the hearers.
"I desire," said Montlouis, "time for the sentence to
reach Paris and return, approved by the regent."
"I," said Talhouet, "only desire the time necessary for
the commission to repent of its iniquity."
"As for me," said Du Couedic, "I wish for time for the
minister at Paris to commute the sentence into eight days'
imprisonment, which we deserve for having acted somewhat
thoughtlessly. ' '
"And you," said the usher gravely, to Pontcalec, who
was silent, "what do you ask?"
"I," said Pontcalec calmly, "I demand nothing."
"Then, gentlemen," said the usher, "this is the answer
of the commission : you have two hours at your disposal to
arrange your spiritual and temporal affairs; it is now half-
past six, in two hours and a half you must be on the Place
du Bouffay, where the execution will take place. ' '
There was a profound silence; the bravest felt fear
seizing the very roots of their hair.
The usher retired without any one having made any
answer; only the condemned looked at each other, and
pressed each other's hands.
They had two hours.
Two hours, in the ordinary course of life, seem some-
times an age, at others two hours are but a moment.
The priests arrived, after them the soldiers, then the
846 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
The situation was appalling. Pontcalec, alone, did not
belie himself. Not that the others wanted courage, but
they wanted hope; still Pontcalec reassured them by the
calmness with which he addressed, not only the priests,
but the executioners themselves.
They made the preparations for that terrible process
called the toilet of the condemned. The four sufferers
must proceed to the scaffold dressed in black cloaks, in
order that in the eyes of the people, from whom they always
feared some tumult, they might be confounded with the
priests who exhorted them.
Then the question of tying their hands was discussed —
an important question.
Pontcalec answered with his smile of sublime con-
"Oh, leave us at least our hands free; we will go with-
"That has nothing to do with us," replied the execu-
tioner who was attending to Pontcalec; "unless by special
order, the rules are the same for all sufferers. ' '
"And who gives these orders?" said Pontcalec, laugh-
ing, ' ' the king ?' '
"No, marquis," replied the executioner, astonished by
such unexampled presence of mind, "not the king, but
"And where is your chief ?"
"That is he, talking with the jailer Christopher."
"Call him then," said Pontcalec.
"Ho, Monsieur Waters!" cried the executioner, "please
to come this way; there is one of these gentlemen asking
A thunderbolt falling in the midst of them would not
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 347
have produced a more terrible effect upon the four gentle-
men than did this name.
' ' What did you say ?' ' cried Pontcalec, shaking with
affright; "what did you say? What name did you pro-
' ' Waters, our chief. ' '
Pontcalec, pale and overcome, sank upon a chair, cast-
ing an unutterable glance upon his affrighted comjjanions.
No one around them understood this sudden despair, which
so rapidly succeeded to so high a confidence.
" Well ?" said Montlouis, addressing Pontcalec in a tone
of tender reproach.
"Yes, gentlemen, you were right," said Pontcalec; "but
I also was right to believe in this prediction, for it will be
accomplished, as the others were. Only this time I yield,
and confess that we are lost."
And by a spontaneous movement the four gentlemen
threw themselves into each other's arms, with prayers to
"What do you order?" asked the executioner.
"It is useless to tie their hands if they will give their
words of honor ; they are soldiers and gentlemen. ' '
348 TFE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
THE TRAGEDY OF NANTES
EANWHILE, Graston posted along the road to
Nantes, leaving behind him all postilions, whose
place, then as now, was to hold the horses instead
of urging them on.
He had already passed Sevres and Versailles, and on
arriving at Rambouillet just at daybreak, he saw the inn-
keeper and some postilions gathered round a horse which
had just been bled. The horse was lying stretched on its
side, in the middle of the street, breathing with difficulty.
Gaston at first paid no attention to all this; but as
he was mounting himself, he heard one of the bystanders
say — "If he goes on at that pace he will kill more than
one between this and Nantes."
Gaston was on the point of starting, but struck by a
sudden and terrible idea, he stopped and signed to the
innkeeper to come to him.
The innkeeper approached.
"Who has passed by here?" asked Gaston, "going at
such a pace as to have put that poor animal in such
"A courier of the minister's," answered the innkeeper.
"A courier of the minister's!" exclaimed Gaston, "and
coming from Paris ?' '
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 349
"How long lias he passed, more or less?"
' ' About two hours. ' '
Gaston uttered a low cry whicli was like a groan. He
knew Dubois — Dubois, who had tricked him under the
disguise of La Jonqui^re. The goodwill of the minister
recurred to his mind and frightened him. Why this cou-
rier despatched post haste just two hours before himself?
' ' Oh ! I was too happy, ' ' thought the young man, ' ' and
Hel^ne was right when she told me she had a presenti-
ment of some great misfortune. Oh, I will overtake this
courier, and learn the message that he bears, or perish
in the attempt. ' '
And he shot off like an arrow.
But with all these doubts and interrogations he had lost
ten minutes more, so that on arriving at the first post sta-
tion he was still two hours behind. This time the courier's
horse had held out, and it was Gaston's which was ready
to drop. The innkeeper tried to speak, but Gaston dropped
two or three louis and set off again at a gallop.
At the next posting- house he had gained a few minutes,
and that was all. The courier who was before him had not
slackened his pace. Gaston increased his own; but this
frightful rapidity redoubled the young man's fever and
"Oh!" said he, "I tyiZZ arrive at the same time that he
does, if I am unable to precede him. ' ' And he doubled his
speed, and spurred on his horse, which, at every station,
stopped dripping with blood and sweat, or tumbled down
exhausted. At every station he learned that the courier
had passed almost as swiftly as himself, but he always
gained some few minutes, and that sustained his strength.
350 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
Those wlaom lie passed upon the way, leaving them far
behind, pitied, in spite of themselves, the beautiful young
man, pale-faced and haggard, who flew on thus, and took
neither rest nor food, dripping with sweat, despite the
bitter cold, and whose parched lips could only frame the
words: "A horse! a horse! quick, there, a horse!"
And, in fact, exhausted, with no strength but that sup-
plied him by his heart, and maddened more and more by
the rapidity of his course and the feeling of danger, Graston
felt his head turn, his temples throb, and the perspiration
of his limbs was tinged with blood.
Choked by the thirst and dryness of his throat, at An-
cenis he drank a glass of water: it was the first moment
he had lost during sixteen hours, and yet the accursed
courier was still an hour and a half in advance. In
eighty leagues Gaston had only gained some forty or fifty
The night was drawing in rapidly, and Gaston, ever
expecting to see some object appear on the horizon, tried
to pierce the obscurity with his bloodshot glances; on he
went, as in a dream, thinking he heard the ringing of bells,
the roar of cannon, and the roll of drums. His brain was
full of mournful strains and inauspicious sounds; he lived
no longer as a man, but his fever kept him up ; he flew as
it were in the air.
On, and still on. About eight o'clock at night he per-
ceived Nantes at length upon the horizon, like a dark mass
from out the midst of which some scattered lights were
shining starlike in the gloom.
He tried to breathe, and, thinking his cravat was chok-
ing him, he tore it off and threw it on the road.
Thus, mounted on his black horse, wrapped in his black
THE REGENTS DAUGHTER 851
cloak, and long ago bareheaded (his hat had fallen off),
Gaston was like some fiendish cavalier bound to the
On reaching the gates of Nantes his horse stumbled,
but Gaston did not lose his stirrups, pulled him up sharply,
and driving the spurs into his sides, he made him recover
The night was dark, no one appeared upon the ramparts,
the very sentinels were hidden in the gloom; it seemed like
a deserted city.
But as he passed the gate a sentinel said something
which Gaston did not even hear.
He held on his way.
At the Eue du Chateau his horse stumbled and fell,
this time to rise no more.
What mattered it to Gaston now ? — he had arrived. On
he went on foot; his limbs were strained and deadened, yet
he felt no fatigue, he held the paper crumpled in his hand.
One thing, however, astonished him, and that was meet-
ing no one in so populous a quarter.
As he advanced, however, he heard a sullen murmur
coming from the Place de Bouffay, as he passed before
a long street which led into that Place.
There was a sea of heads, lighted up by flaring lights;
but Gaston passed on — his business was at the castle — and
the sight disappeared.
At last he saw the castle — ^he saw the door gaping wide
before him. The sentinel on guard upon the drawbridge
tried to stop him; but Gaston, his order in his hand, pushed
him roughly aside and entered the inner door.
Men were talking, and one of them wiping his tears off
as he talked.
352 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
Gaston understood it all.
"A reprieve!" he cried, "A re — "
Tlie word died upon his lips; but the men had done
better than hear, they had seen his despairing gesture.
"Go, go!" they cried, showing him the way, "go! and,
perhaps you may yet arrive in time. ' '
And they themselves dispersed in all directions. Gaston
pursued his way; he traversed a corridor, then some empty
rooms, then the great chamber, and then another corridor.
Far off, through the bars, by the torchlight, he per-
ceived the great crowd of which he had caught a glimpse
He had passed right through the castle, and issued on
a terrace; thence he perceived the esplanade, a scaffold,
men, and all around the crowd.
Gaston tried to cry, but no one heard him, he waved.
his handkerchief, but no one saw him; another man mounts
on the scaffold, and Gaston uttered a cry and threw himself
He had leaped from the top of the rampart to the bot-
tom. A sentinel tried to stop him, but he threw him down,
and descended a sort of staircase which led down to the
square, and at the bottom was a sort of barricade of
wagons. Gaston bent down and glided between the wheels.
Beyond the barricade were all St. Simon's Grenadiers
—a living hedge; Gaston, with a desperate effort, broke
through the line, and found himself inside the ring.
The soldiers, seeing a man, pale and breathless, with
a paper in his hand, allowed him to pass.
All of a sudden he stopped, as if struck by light-
ning. Talhouet ! — he saw him ! — Talhouet kneeling on the
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 853
' ' Stop I stop !' ' cried Gaston, witli all the energy of despair.
But even as lie spoke tlie sword of tlie executioner
flashed like lightning, a dull and heavy blow followed,
and a terrible shudder ran through all the crowd.
The young man's shriek was lost in the general cry
arising from twenty thousand palpitating breasts at once.
He had arrived a moment too late — Talhouet was dead:
and, as he lifted his eyes, he saw in the hand of the heads-
man the bleeding head of his friend — and then, in the
nobility of his heart, he felt that, one being dead, they
all should die; that not one of them would accept a par-
don which arrived a head too late. He looked around him;
Du Couedic mounted in his turn, clothed with his black
mantle, bare-headed and bare-necked.
Gaston remembered that he also had a black mantle,
and that his head and neck were bare, and he laughed
He saw what remained for him to do, as one sees some
wild landscape by the lightning's livid gleam — 'tis awful,
Du Couedic bends down; but, as he bends, he cries:
"See how they recompense the services of faithful soldiers!
— see how you keep your promises, oh ye cowards of
Two assistants force him on his knees; the sword of
the executioner whirls round and gleams again, and Du
Couedic lies beside Talhouet.
The executioner takes up the head; shows it to the
people; and then places it at one corner of the scaffold,
opposite that of Talhouet.
"Who next?" asks Waters.
"It matters little," answers a voice, "provided that
354 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
Monsieur de Pontcalec be tlie last, according to his
sentence. ' '
"I, then," says Montlouis, "I." And he springs upon
the scaffold. But there he stops, his hair bristling; at
a window before him he has seen his wife and his
"Montlouis! Montlouis!" cries his wife, with the despair-
ing accent of a breaking heart, "Montlouis! loojs: at us!"
, At the same moment all ejes were turned toward that
window. Soldiers, citizens, priests, and executioners look
the same way. Gaston profits by the deathlike silence
which reigns around him, springs to the scaffold, and
grasps the staircase and mounts the first steps.
"My wife! my children!" cries Montlouis, wringing his
hands in despair; "0 Grod, have pity upon me!"
"Montlouis!" cries his wife, holding up afar the young-
est of his sons, "Montlouis, bless your children, and one
day, perhaps, one of them will avenge you."
"Adieu! my children, my blessing on you!" cries Mont-
louis, stretching his hands toward the window.
These mournful adieus pierce the night, and reverberate
like a terrible echo in the hearts of the spectators.
"Enough," says Waters, "enough." Then, turning to
his assistants —
"Be quick!" says he, "or the people will not allow us
to finish. ' '
"Be easy," says Montlouis; "if the people should rescue
me, I would not survive them."
And he pointed with his finger to the heads of his com-
' ' Ah, I had estimated them rightly, then, ' ' cried Gaston,
who heard these words, "Montlouis, martyr, pray forme."
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 355
Montlouis turned round, lie seemed to "have heard a
well-known voice; but at tlie very moment the execu-
tioner seized him, and almost instantly a loud cry told
Gaston that Montlouis was like the others, and that Ins
turn was come.
He leaped up; in a moment he was on the top of the
ladder, and he in his turn looked down from the abomi-
nable platform upon all that crowd. At three corners
of the scaffold were the heads of Talhouet, Du Couedic,
But there arose then a strange emotion in the people.
The execution of Montlouis, attended by the circumstances
we have narrated, had upset the crowd. All the square,
heaving and uttering murmurs and imprecations, seemed
to Gaston some vast sea with life in every wave. At this
moment the idea flashed across him that he might be
recognized, and that his name uttered by a single mouth
might prevent his carrying out his intention. He fell on
his knees, and laid his head himself upon the block.
"Adieu!" he murmured, "adieu, my friends, my tender,
dear Hel^ne; thy nuptial kiss has cost me my life indeed,
but not mine honor. Alas! those fifteen minutes wasted
in thine arms will have struck down five heads. Adieu I
The sword of the executioner gleamed.
' ' And you, my friends, pardon me, ' ' added the young man.
The steel fell; the head rolled one way, and the body
fell the other.
Then Waters raised the head and showed it to the
But then a mighty murmur rose from the crowd; no
one had recognized Pontcalec.
S56 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
The executioner mistook tlie meaning of this murmur;
lie placed Gaston's head at the empty corner, and with his
foot pushing the body into the tumbrel where those of
his three companions awaited it, he leaned upon his sword,
and cried aloud — "'Justice is done."
"And I, then," cried, a voice of thunder, "am I to be
And Pontcalec, in his turn, leaped upon the scaffold.
"You!" cried "Waters, recoiling as if he had seen a
ghost. ' ' You ! who are you ?' '
"I," said Pontcalec; "come, I am ready."
' ' But, ' ' said the executioner, trembling, and looking one
after the other at the four corners of the scaffold — "but
there are four heads already."
"I am the Baron de Pontcalec, do you hear? I am to
die the last — and here I am."
"Count," said Waters, as pale as the baron, pointing
with his sword to the four corners.
"Four heads!" exclaimed Pontcalec; "impossible." At
this moment he recognized in one of the heads the pale and
noble face of Gaston, which seemed to smile upon him even
And he in his turn started back in terror.
"Oh, kill me then quickly!" he cried, groaning with
impatience; "would you make me die a thousand times?"
During this interval, one of the commissioners had
mounted the ladder, called by the chief executioner. He
cast a glance upon Pontcalec.
"It is indeed the Baron de Pontcalec," said the commis-
sioner; "perform your office."
"But," cried the executioner, "there are four heads
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 857
"Well, then, liis will make five; better too many tlian
And the commissioner descended the steps, signing to
the drums to beat.
Waters reeled upon the boards of his scaffold. The
tumult increased. The horror was more than the crowd
could bear. A long murmur ran along the square; the
lights were put out; the soldiers, driven back, cried, "To
arms!" there was a moment of noise and confusion, and
several voices exclaimed —
"Death to the commissioners! death to the execution-
ers!" Then the guns of the fort, loaded with grape, were
pointed toward the people.
"What shall I do?" asked Waters.
"Strike," answered the same voice which had always
Pontcalec threw himself on his knees; the assistants
placed his head uj^on the block. Then the priests fled iu
horror, the soldiers trembled in the gloom, and Waters,
as he struck, turned away his head lest he should see his
victim. Ten minutes afterward the square was empty — the
windows closed and dark. The artillery and the fusiliers
encamped around the demolished scaffold looked in silence
on the spots of blood that incarnadined the pavement.
The priests to whom the bodies were delivered recog-
nized that there were indeed, as Waters had said, five
bodies instead of four. One of the corpses still held a
crumpled paper in his hand.
This paper was the pardon of the other four. Then only
was all explained — and the devotion of Gaston, which he
had confided to no one, was divined.
The priests wished to perform a mass, but the president,
358 THE REGENTS DAUGHTER
Chateauneuf, fearing some disturbance at Nantes, ordered
it to be performed witbout pomp or ceremony.
Tbe bodies were buried on the Wednesday before
Easter. The people were not permitted to enter the
chapel where the mutilated bodies reposed, the greater
part of which, report .says, the quicklime refused to
And this finished the tragedy of Nan ^s.
AFOETNIGHT after the events we have just related,
a queer carriage, the same which we saw arrive at
Paris at the commencement of this history, went
out at the same barrier by which it had entered, and pro-
ceeded along the road from Paris to Nantes. A young
woman, pale and almost dying, was seated in it by the
side of an Augustine nun, who uttered a sigh and wiped
away a tear every time she looked at her companion.
A man on horseback was watching for the carriage a
little beyond Eambouillet. He was wrapped in a large
cloak which left nothing visible but his eyes.
Near him was another man also enveloped in a cloak.
When the carriage passed, he heaved a deep sigh, and
two silent tears fell from his eyes.
"Adieu!" he murmured, "adieu all my joy, adieu my
happiness! adieu, Hel^ne, my child, adieu!"
"Monseigneur," said the man beside him, "you must
THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER 359
pay for being a great prince; and he who would govern
others must first conquer himself. Be strong to the end,
monseigneur, and posterity will say that you were great.**
"Oh, I shall never forgive you," said the regent, with a
sigh so deep it sounded like a groan ; ' ' for you have killed
my happiness. ' '
' ' Ah, yes ! — work for kings, ' ' said the companion of this
sorrowful man, shrugging his shoulders. " 'Noli fidere
principibus terras nee filiis eorum.' "
The two men remained there till the carriage had dis-
appeared, and then returned to Paris.
Eight days afterward the carriage entered the porch of
the Augustines at Clisson. On its arrival, all the convent
pressed round the suffering traveller — poor floweret ! broken
by the rough winds of the world.
"Come, my child; come and live with us again," said
"Not live, my mother," said the young girl, "but die.**
"Think only of the Lord, my child," said the good
"Yes, my mother! Our Lord, who died for the sins
Helena returned to her little cell, from which she had
been absent scarcely a month. Everything was still in its
place, and exactly as she had left it. She went to the win-
dow: the lake was sleeping tranquil and sad, but the ice
which had covered it had disappeared beneath the rain, and
with it the snow, where, before departing, the young girl
had seen the impression of Gaston's footsteps.
Spring came, and everything but Hdl^ne began to live
once more. The trees around the little lake grew green,
the large leaves of the water-lilies floated once more upon
860 THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER
the surface, the reeds raised up tlieir heads, and all the
families of warbling birds came back to people them again.
Even the barred gate opened to let the sturdy gardener in.
Hel^ne survived the summer, but in September she
faded with the waning of the year, and died.
The very morning of her death, the superior received
a letter from Paris by a courier. She carried it to the
dying girl. It contained only these words —
' ' My mother, obtain from your daughter her pardon for
H^l^ne, implored by the superior, grew paler at that
name, but she answered —
"Yes, my mother, I forgive him. But it is because
I go to rejoin him whom he killed."
At four o'clock in the afternoon she breathed her last.
She asked to be buried at the spot where Gaston used
to untie the boat with which he came to visit her; and
her last wishes were complied with.
And there she sleeps beneath the sod, pure as the flowers
that blossom over her grave; and, like them, broken by the
cruel gusts that sweep the delicate blossoms so mercilessly
down, and wither them with a breath.