Chicot the Jester
Alexandre Dumas

Part 11 out of 12

merited your anger, and this anger shows itself by exiling us,
we will go into exile with joy, because, being no longer on your
majesty's territories, we can then keep our promises, and meet
our adversaries."

"If these gentlemen approach you within range of an arquebuse,
I will throw them all into the Bastile."

"Sire, if you do so we will all go barefooted, and with cords
round our necks, to M. Testu, the governor, and pray to be
incarcerate with them."

"I will have them beheaded, then; I am king, I hope."

"We will cut our throats at the foot of their scaffold."

Henri kept silent for a long time; then, raising his eyes, said,
"God will surely bless a cause defended by such noble hearts."

"Yes, they are noble hearts," said Chicot, rising; "do what they
wish, and fix a day for their meeting. It is your duty, my son."

"Oh I mon Dieu! mon Dieu!" murmured Henri.

"Sire, we pray you," cried all the four gentlemen, bending their

"Well! so be it. Let us trust that God will give us the victory.
But let us prepare for the conflict in a Christian manner. If I
had time, I would send all your swords to Rome, that the Pope
might bless them. But we have the shrine of St. Genevieve, which
contains most precious relics: let us fast, and do penance, and
keep holy the great day of the Fete Dieu, and then the next day----"

"Ah! sire, thanks; that is in eight days!" cried the young men.

And they seized the hands of the king, who embraced them all once
more, and, going into his oratory, melted into tears.

"Our cartel is ready," said Quelus, "we have but to add the day
and hour. Write, Maugiron, the day after the Fete Dieu. Here
is a table."

"It is done," said Maugiron, "now who will carry the letter?"

"I will, if you please," said Chicot, approaching, "but I wish
to give you a piece of advice. His majesty speaks of fasts and
macerations. That is all very well after the combat, but before,
I prefer good nourishment, generous wine, and eight hours' sleep
every night."

"Bravo, Chicot!"

"Adieu, my little lions," replied the Gascon, "I go to the Hotel
Bussy." He went three steps and returned, and said, "Apropos, do
not quit the king during the Fete Dieu; do not go to the country,
any of you, but stay by the Louvre. Now, I will do your commission."



During these eight days events were preparing themselves, as a
tempest gathers in the heavens during the calm days of summer.
Monsoreau had an attack of fever for twenty-four hours, then
he rallied, and began to watch, himself; but as he discovered
no one, he became more than ever convinced of the hypocrisy of
the Duc d'Anjou, and of his bad intentions with regard to Diana.

Bussy did not discontinue his visits by day, but, warned by Remy
of this constant watchfulness, came no more at night to the window.

Chicot divided his time between the king, whom he watched like a
child, and his friend Gorenflot, whom he had persuaded to return
to his convent. He passed hours with him in his cell, always
bringing with him large bottles in his pocket, and the report
begin to be spread that Gorenflot had nearly persuaded him to
turn monk.

As for the king, he gave constant lessons in fencing to his friends,
teaching them new thrusts, and, above all, exercising D'Epernon, to
whom fate had given so skilful an adversary, that he was visibly
preoccupied by it.

Any one walking in the streets of Paris at certain hours, might
have met the strange monks, of whom our first chapters furnished
some description, and who resembled troopers more than monks.
Then, to complete the picture, we must add that the Hotel de Guise
had become at once mysterious and turbulent, the most peopled
within and the most deserted without that can be imagined; that
meetings were held every night in the great hall, and with all the
blinds and windows hermetically closed, and that these meetings
were preceded by dinners, to which none but men were invited,
and which were presided over by Madame de Montpensier. Of all
these meetings, however, important though they were, the police
suspected nothing. On the morning of the great day, the weather
was superb, and the flowers which filled the streets sent their
perfumes through the air. Chicot, who for the last fortnight had
slept in the king's room, woke him early; no one had yet entered
the royal chamber.

"Oh, Chicot!" cried the king, "you have woke me from one of the
sweetest dreams I ever had in my life."

"What was it, my son?"

"I dreamed that Quelus had run Antragues through the body, and
was swimming in the blood of his adversary. Let us go and pray
that my dream may be realized. Call, Chicot, call."

"What do you want?"

"My hair-cloth and my scourge."

"Would you not prefer a good breakfast?"

"Pagan, would you go to hear mass on the Fete Dieu with a full

"Even so."

"Call, Chicot."

"Patience; it is scarcely eight o'clock, and you will have plenty
of time to scourge yourself. Let us talk first. Converse with
your friend; you will not repent it, Valois, on the faith of
a Chicot."

"Well, talk; but be quick."

"How shall we divide our day, my son?"

"Into three parts."

"In honor of the Trinity; very well, let me hear these three parts."

"First, mass at St. Germain l'Auxerrois."


"Return to the Louvre, for a collation."

"Very good."

"Then, a procession of penitents through the streets, stopping
at the principal convente of Paris, beginning at the Jacobine
and finishing at St. Genevieve, where I have promised the prior
to stay till to-morrow in the cell of a saint, who will pray
for the success of our arms."

"I know him."

"The saint?"

"Yes, perfectly."

"So much the better; you shall accompany me, and we will pray

"Yes; make yourself easy."

"Then dress yourself, and come."

"Wait a little."

"What for?"

"I have more to ask."

"Be quick, then, for time passes."

"What is the court to do?"

"Follow me."

"And your brother?"

"Will accompany me."

"Your guard?"

"The French guard wait for me at the Louvre, and the Swiss at
the door of the Abbey."

"That will do; now I know all."

"Then I may call?"


Henri struck on his gong.

"The ceremony will be magnificent," said Chicot.

"God will accept our homage, I hope."

"But tell me, Henri, before any one comes in, have you nothing
else to say to me?"

"No, I have given you all the details."

"Have you settled to sleep at St. Genevieve?"


"Well, my son, I do not like that part of the program."

"How so?"

"When we have dined I will tell you another plan that has occurred
to me."

"Well, I consent."

"Whether you consent or not, it will be all the same thing."

"What do you mean?"

"Hush! here are your valets."

As he spoke, the ushers opened the door, and the barber, perfumer,
and valet of the king entered, and commenced to execute upon his
majesty one of those toilets which we have described elsewhere.
When the king was dressing, the Duc d'Anjou was announced. He was
accompanied by M. de Monsoreau, D'Epernon, and Aurilly. Henri,
at the sight of Monsoreau, still pale and looking more frightful
than ever, could not repress a movement of surprise.

"You have been wounded, comte, have you not?"

"Yes, sire"

"At the chase, they told me."

"Yes sire."

"But you are better now?"

"I am well."

"Sire," said the duke, "would it please you that, after our
devotions, M, de Monsoreau should go and prepare a chase for us
in the woods of Compiegne?"

"But do you not know that to-morrow----"

He was going to say, "Four of your friends are to fight four of
mine;" but he stopped, for he remembered that it was a secret.

"I know nothing" said the duke; "but if your majesty will inform

"I meant that, as I am to pass the night at the Abbey of St.
Genevieve, I should perhaps not be ready for to-morrow; but let
the count go; if it be not to-morrow, it shall be the day after."

"You hear?" said the duke to Monsoreau.

"Yes monseigneur."

At this moment Quelus and Schomberg entered. The king received
them with open arms.

Monsoreau said softly to the duke, "You exile me, monseigneur."

"Is it not your duty to prepare the chase for the king?"

"I understand--this is the last of the eight days fixed by your
highness, and you prefer sending me to Compiegne to keeping your

"No, on the contrary; I keep my promise."

"Explain yourself."

"Your departure will be publicly known."


"Well, do not go, but hide near your house; then, believing you
gone, the man you wish to know will come; the rest concerns yourself:
I engage for no more."

"Ah! if that be so----"

"You have my word."

"I have better than that, I have your signature."

"Oh, yes, mordieu! I know that."

Aurilly touched D'Epernon's arm and said, "It is done; Bussy will
not fight to-morrow."

"Not fight!"

"I answer for it."

"Who will prevent it?"

"Never mind that."

"If it be so, my dear sorcerer, there are one thousand crowns
for you."

"Gentlemen," said the king, who had finished his toilet, "to St.
Germain l'Auxerrois."

"And from there to St. Genevieve?" asked the duke.

"Certainly," replied Henri, passing into the gallery where all
his court were waiting for him.



The evening before M. de Monsoreau had returned to his home from
the Hotel Guise, and had found Bussy there. Then, in his friendship
for this brave gentleman, he had taken him aside, and said:

"Will you permit me to give you a piece of advice?"

"Pray do."

"If I were you, I should leave Paris to-morrow."

"I! and why so?"

"All that I can tell you is, that your absence may save you from
great embarrassment."

"How so?"

"Are you ignorant of what is to take place to-morrow?"


"On your honor?"

"On my word as a gentleman."

"M. d'Anjou has confided nothing to you?"

"Nothing; M. d'Anjou confides nothing to me beyond what all the
world knows."

"Well! I, who am not the Duc d'Anjou, who love my friends for
their own sakes, and not for mine, I will tell you, my dear count,
that he is preparing for grave events to-morrow, and that the
parting of Guise and Anjou meditate a stroke which may end in
the fall of the king."

Bussy looked at M. de Monsoreau with suspicion, but his whole
manner expressed so much sincerity that it was impossible to
doubt him.

"Count," replied he, "my sword belongs to the Duc d'Anjou. The
king, against whom I have done nothing, hates me, and has never
let slip an occasion of doing or saying something wounding to
me; and to-morrow I tell you--but you alone, remember--I am about
to risk my life to humiliate Henri de Valois in the person of
his favorites."

"Then you are resolved to risk all the consequences of your adherence
to the duke?"


"You know where it may lead you?"

"I know where I will stop; whatever complaints I have against
the king, I will never lift a hand against him; but I will let
others do what they like, and I will follow M. d'Anjou to protect
him in case of need."

"My dear comte," said Monsoreau, "the Duc d'Anjou is perfidious
and a traitor; a coward, capable, from jealous or fear, of
sacrificing his most faithful servant--his most devoted friend;
abandon him, take a friend's counsel, pass the day in your little
house at Vincennes, go where you like, except to the procession
of the Fete Dieu."

"But why do you follow the duke yourself?"

"For reasons which concern my honor. I have need of him for a
little while longer."

"Well! that is like me; for things which concern my honor I must
follow the duke."

The Comte de Monsoreau pressed his hand, and they parted.

The next morning Monsoreau announced to his wife his approaching
departure for Compiegne, and gave all the necessary orders. Diana
heard the news with joy. She knew from her husband of the duel
which was arranged between Bussy and D'Epernon, but had no fear
for the result, and looked forward to it with pride. Bussy had
presented himself in the morning to the Duc d'Anjou, who, seeing
him so frank, loyal, and devoted, felt some remorse; but two
things combated this return of good feeling--firstly, the great
empire Bussy had over him, as every powerful mind has over a
weak one, and which annoyed him; and, secondly, the love of Bussy
for Diana, which awoke all the tortures of jealousy in his heart.
Monsoreau, it was true, inspired him with equal dislike and fear,
but he thought, "Either Bussy will accompany me and aid my triumph,
and then if I triumph, I do not care for Monsoreau, or Bussy will
abandon me, and then I owe him nothing, and I will abandon him in

When they were in the church, the duke saw Remy enter, and going
up to his master, slide a note into his hand.

"It is from her," thought he; "she sends him word that her husband
is leaving Paris."

Bussy put the note into his hat, opened, and read it, and the
prince saw his face radiant with joy and love. The duke looked
round; if Monsoreau had been there, perhaps he would not have
had patience to wait till the evening to denounce Bussy.

The mass over, they returned to the Louvre, where a collation
waited for the king in his room, and for his gentlemen in the
gallery. On entering the Louvre, Bussy approached the duke.

"Pardon, monseigneur," said he, "but can I say two words to you?"

"Are you in a hurry?"

"Very much so."

"Will it not do during the procession? we shall walk side by side."

"Monseigneur must excuse me, but what I wished to ask is, that
I need not accompany you."

"Why so?"

"Monseigneur, to-morrow is a great day, and I would wish to retire
to-day to my little house at Vincennes."

"Then you do not join the procession with the king and court?"

"No, monseigneur, if you will excuse me."

"Will you not rejoin me at St. Genevieve?"

"Monseigneur, I wish to have the whole day to myself."

"But if anything should occur when I have need of my friends?"

"As monseigneur would only want me to draw my sword against my
king, it is a double reason for excusing myself," replied Bussy;
"my sword is engaged against M. d'Epernon."

Monsoreau had told the duke the night before that he might reckon
on Bussy; this change, therefore, must have been occasioned by
Diana's note.

"Then," said the duke, "you abandon your chief and master?"

"Monseigneur, he who is about to risk his life in a bloody duel,
as ours will be, has but one master, and it is to Him my last
devotions will be paid."

"You know that I am playing for a throne, and you leave me."

"Monseigneur, I have worked enough for you; I will work again
to-morrow, do not ask me for more than my life."

"It is well!" said the duke, in a hollow voice, "you are free;
go, M. de Bussy."

Bussy, without caring for the prince's evident anger, ran down
the staircase of the Louvre, and went rapidly to his own house.

The duke called Aurilly. "Well! he has condemned himself," said

"Does he not follow you?"


"He goes to the rendezvous?"


"Then it is for this evening?"

"It is."

"Is M. de Monsoreau warned?"

"Of the rendezvous--yes; but not yet of the man."

"Then you have decided to sacrifice the count?"

"I have determined to revenge myself; I fear now but one thing."

"What is that?"

"That Monsoreau will trust to his strength, and that Bussy will
escape him."

"Reassure yourself, monseigneur."


"Is M. de Bussy irrevocably condemned?"

"Yes, mordieu! A man who dictates to me--who takes away from me
her whom I was seeking for--who is a sort of lion, of whom I am
less the master than the keeper--yes, Aurilly, he is condemned
without mercy."

"Well, then, be easy, for if he escape Monsoreau, he will not
escape from another."

"And who is that?"

"Does your highness order me to name him?"

"Yes, I do."

"It is M. d'Epernon."

"D'Epernon! who was to fight him to-morrow?"

"Yes, monseigneur."

"How is that?"

Aurilly was about to reply, when the duke was summoned; for the
king was at table, and had sent for his brother.

"You shall tell me during the procession," said the duke.

We will now tell our readers what had passed between Aurilly
and D'Epernon. They had long known each other, for Aurilly had
taught D'Epernon to play on the lute, and, as he was fond of
music, they were often together. He called upon Aurilly to tell
him of his approaching duel, which disquieted him not a little.
Bravery was never one of D'Epernon's prominent qualities, and
he looked on a duel with Bussy as certain death. When Aurilly
heard it, he told D'Epernon that Bussy practised fencing every
morning with an artist, lately arrived, who was said to have
borrowed from all nations their best points, until he had become
perfect. During this recital D'Epernon grew livid with terror.

"Ah! I am doomed," said he.


"But it is absurd to go out with a man who is sure to kill me."

"You should have thought of that before making the engagement."

"Peste! I will break the engagement."

"He is a fool who gives up his life willingly at twenty-five.
But, now I think of it----"


"M. de Bussy is sure to kill me."

"I do not doubt it."

"Then it will not be a duel, but an assassination."

"Perhaps so."

"And if it be, it is lawful to prevent an assassination by----"


"A murder."


"What prevents me, since he wishes to kill me, from killing him

"Oh, mon Dieu! nothing; I thought of that myself."

"It is only natural."

"Very natural."

"Only, instead of killing him with my own hands, I will leave
it to others."

"That is to say, you will hire assassins?"

"Ma foi! yes, like M. de Guise for St. Megrim."

"It will cost you dear."

"I will give three thousand crowns."

"You will only get six men for that, when they know who they have
to deal with."

"Are not six enough?"

"M. de Bussy would kill four before they touched him. Do you remember
the fight in the Rue St. Antoine?"

"I will give six thousand; if I do the thing, I will take care
he does not escape."

"Have you your men?"

"Oh, there are plenty of unoccupied men-soldiers of fortune."

"Very well; but take care."

"Of what?"

"If they fail they will denounce you."

"I have the king to protect me."

"That will not hinder M. de Bussy from killing you."

"That is true."

"Should you like an auxiliary?"

"I should like anything which would aid me to get rid of him."

"Well, a certain enemy of your enemy is jealous."

"And he is now laying a snare for him?"



"But he wants money; with your six thousand crowns he will take
care of your affair as well as his own. You do not wish the honor.
of the thing to be yours, I suppose?"

"Mon Dieu! no; I only ask to remain in obscurity."

"Send your men, and he will use them."

"But I must know who it is."

"I will show you in the morning."


"At the Louvre."

"Then he is noble?"


"Aurilly, you shall have the six thousand crowns."

"Then it is settled?"


"At the Louvre, then?"

"Yes, at the Louvre."

We have seen in the preceding chapter how Aurilly said to D'Epernon,
"Be easy, Bussy will not fight to-morrow."



As soon as the collation was over, the king had entered his room
with Chicot, to put on his penitent's robe and had come out an
instant after, with bare feet, a cord round his waist, and his hood
over his face; the courtiers had made the same toilet. The weather
was magnificent, and the pavements were strewn with flowers; an
immense crowd lined the roads to the four places where the king
was to stop. The clergy of St. Germain led the procession, and
the Archbishop of Paris followed, carrying the holy sacrament;
between them walked young boys, shaking censers, and young girls
scattering roses. Then came the king, followed by his four friends,
barefooted and frocked like himself.

The Duc d'Anjou followed in his ordinary dress, accompanied by
his Angevins. Next came the principal courtiers, and then the
bourgeois. It was one o'clock when they left the Louvre. Crillon
and the French guards were about to follow, but the king signed
to them to remain. It was near six in the evening before they
arrived before the old abbey, where they saw the prior and the
monks drawn up on the threshold to wait for his majesty. The
Duc d'Anjou, a little before, had pleaded great fatigue, and
had asked leave to retire to his hotel, which had been granted
to him. His gentlemen had retired with him, as if to proclaim
that they followed the duke and not the king, besides which,
they did not wish to fatigue themselves before the morrow. At
the door of the abbey the king dismissed his four favorites,
that they also might take some repose. The archbishop also, who
had eaten nothing since morning, was dropping with fatigue, so
the king took pity on him and on the other priests and dismissed
them all. Then, turning to the prior, Joseph Foulon, "Here I am,
my father," said he; "I come, sinner as I am, to seek repose in
your solitude."

The prior bowed, and the royal penitent mounted the steps of
the abbey, striking his breast at each step, and the door was
immediately closed behind him.

"We will first," said the prior, "conduct your majesty into the
crypt, which we have ornamented in our best manner to do honor
to the King of heaven and earth."

No sooner had the king passed through the somber arcade, lined
with monks, and turned the corner which led to the chapel, than
twenty hoods were thrown into the air, and eyes were seen brilliant
with joy and triumph. Certainly, they were not monkish or peaceful
faces displayed, but bristling mustaches and embrowned skins, many
scarred by wounds, and by the side of the proudest of all, who
displayed the most celebrated scar, stood a woman covered with
a frock, and looking triumphant and happy. This woman, shaking
a pair of golden scissors which hung by her side, cried:

"Ah! my brothers, at last we have the Valois!"

"Ma foi, sister, I believe so."

"Not yet," murmured the cardinal.

"How so?"

"Shall we have enough bourgeois guards to make head against Crillon
and his guards?"

"We have better than bourgeois guards; and, believe me, there
will not be a musket-shot exchanged."

"How so?" said the duchess. "I should have liked a little

"Well, sister, you will be deprived of it. When the king is taken
he will cry out, but no one will answer; then, by persuasion or
by violence, but without showing ourselves, we shall make him
sign his abdication. The news will soon spread through the city,
and dispose in our favor both the bourgeois and the troops."

"The plan is good, and cannot fail," said the duchess. "It is
rather brutal," said the Duc de Guise; "besides which, the king
will refuse to sign the abdication. He is brave, and will rather

"Let him die, then."

"Not so," replied the duke, firmly. "I will mount the throne of
a prince who abdicates and is despised, but not of an assassinated
man who is pitied. Besides, in your plans you forget M. le Duc
d'Anjou, who will claim the crown."

"Let him claim, mordieu!" said Mayenne; "he shall be comprised
in his brother's act of abdication. He is in connection with
the Huguenots, and is unworthy to reign."

"Are you sure of that?"

"Pardieu! did he not escape from the Louvre by the aid of the
King of Navarre?"


"Then another clause in favor of our house shall follow; this
clause shall make you lieutenant-general of the kingdom, from
which to the throne is only a step."

"Yes, yes," said the cardinal, "all that is settled; but it is
probable that the French guards, to make sure that the abdication
is a genuine one, and above all, a voluntary one, will insist
upon seeing the king, and will force the gates of the abbey if
they are not admitted. Crillon does not understand joking, and
he is just the man to say to the king, 'Sire, your life is in
danger; but, before everything, let us save our honor.'"

"The general has taken his precautions. If it be necessary to
sustain a siege, we have here eighty gentlemen, and I have
distributed arms to a hundred monks. We could hold out for a
month against the army; besides, in case of danger, we have the
cave to fly to with our prey."

"What is the Duc d'Anjou doing?"

"In the hour of danger he has failed, as usual. He has gone home,
no doubt, waiting for news of us, through Bussy or Monsoreau."

"Mon Dieu! he should have been here; not at home."

"You are wrong, brother," said the cardinal; "the people and
the nobles would have seen in it a snare to entrap the family.
As you said just now, we must, above all things, avoid playing
the part of usurper. We must inherit. By leaving the Duc d'Anjou
free, and the queen-mother independent, no one will have anything
to accuse us of. If we acted otherwise, we should have against
us Bussy, and a hundred other dangerous swords."

"Bah! Bussy is going to fight against the king's minions."

"Pardieu! he will kill them, and then he will join us," said
the Duc de Guise; "he is a superior man, and one whom I much
esteem, and I will make him general of the army in Italy, where
war is sure to break out."

"And I," said the duchess, "if I become a widow, will marry him."

"Who is near the king?" asked the duke.

"The prior and Brother Gorenflot."

"Is he in the cell?"

"Oh no! he will look first at the crypt and the relics."

At this moment a bell sounded.

"The king is returning," said the Duc de Guise; "let us become
monks again." And immediately the hoods covered ardent eyes and
speaking scars, and twenty or thirty monks, conducted by the
three brothers, went towards the crypt.



The king visited the crypt, kissed the relics-often striking
his breast, and murmuring the most doleful psalms. At last the
prior said, "Sire, will it please you now to depose your earthly
crown at the feet of the eternal king?"

"Let us go!" said the king.

They arrived at the cell, on the threshold of which stood Gorenflot,
his eyes brilliant as carbuncles.

Henri entered. "Hic portus salutis!" murmured he.

"Yes," replied Foulon.

"Leave us!" said Gorenflot, with a majestic gesture; and immediately
the door shut, and they were left alone.

"Here you are, then, Herod! pagan! Nebuchadnezzar!" cried Gorenflot,

"Is it to me you speak, my brother?" cried the king, in surprise.

"Yes, to you. Can one accuse you of anything so bad, that it is
not true?"

"My brother!"

"Bah! you have no brother here. I have long been meditating a
discourse, and now you shall have it. I divide it into three
heads. First, you are a tyrant; second, you are a satyr; third,
you are dethroned."


"Neither more or less. This abbey is not like Poland, and you
cannot fly."

"Ah! a snare!"

"Oh, Valois, learn that a king is but a man."

"You are violent, my brother."

"Pardieu! do you think we imprison you to flatter you?"

"You abuse your religious calling."

"There is no religion."

"Oh, you are a saint, and say such things!"

"I have said it."

"You speak dreadfully, my brother."

"Come, no preaching; are you ready?"

"To do what?"

"To resign your crown; I am charged to demand it of you."

"You are committing a mortal sin."

"Oh! I have right of absolution, and I absolve myself in advance.
Come, renounce, Brother Valois."

"Renounce what?"

"The throne of France."

"Rather death!"

"Oh! then you shall die! Here is the prior returning. Decide!"

"I have my guards--my friends; they will defend me."

"Yes, but you will be killed first."

"Leave me at least a little time for reflection."

"Not an instant!"

"Your zeal carries you away, brother," said the prior, opening
the door; and saying to the king, "Your request is granted,"
he shut it again.

Henri fell into a profound reverie. "I accept the sacrifice,"
he said, after the lapse of ten minutes.

"It is done--he accepts!" cried Gorenflot.

The king heard a murmur of joy and surprise.

"Read him the act," said a voice, and a monk passed a paper to

Gorenflot read it to the king, who listened with his head buried
in his hands.

"If I refuse to sign?" cried he, shedding tears.

"It will be doubly your ruin," said the Duc de Guise, from under
his hood. "Look on yourself as dead to the world, and do not
force your subjects to shed the blood of a man who has been their

"I will not be forced."

"I feared so," said the duke to his sister. Then, turning to his
brother, "Let everyone arm and prepare," said he.

"For what?" cried the king, in a miserable tone.

"For anything."

The king's despair redoubled.

"Corbleu!" cried Gorenflot, "I hated you before, Valois, but now
I despise you! Sign, or you shall perish by my hand!"

"Have patience," said the king; "let me pray to my divine Master
for resignation."

"He wishes to reflect again," said Gorenflot.

"Give him till midnight," said the cardinal.

"Thanks, charitable Christian!" cried the king:

"His brain is weak," said the duke; "we serve France by dethroning

"I shall have great pleasure in clipping him!" said the duchess.

Suddenly a noise was heard outside, and soon they distinguished
blows struck on the door of the abbey, and Mayenne went to see
what it was. "My brothers," said he, "there is a troop of armed
men outside."

"They have come to seek him," said the duchess.

"The more reason that he should sign quickly."

"Sign, Valois, sign!" roared Gorenflot.

"You gave me till midnight," said the king, piteously.

"Ah! you hoped to be rescued."

"He shall die if he does not sign!" cried the duchess. Gorenflot
offered him the pen. The noise outside redoubled.

"A new troop!" cried a monk; "they are surrounding the abbey!"

"The Swiss," cried Foulon, "are advancing on the right!"

"Well, we will defend ourselves; with such a hostage in our hands,
we need not surrender."

"He has signed!" cried Gorenflot, tearing the paper from Henri,
who buried his face in his hands.

"Then you are king!" cried the cardinal to the duke; "take the
precious paper."

The king overturned the little lamp which alone lighted the scene,
but the duke already held the parchment.

"What shall we do?" said a monk. "Here is Crillon, with his guards,
threatening to break in the doors!"

"In the king's name!" cried the powerful voice of Crillon.

"There is no king!" cried Gorenflot through the window.

"Who says that?" cried Crillon.

"I! I!"

"Break in the doors, Monsieur Crillon!" said, from outside, a
voice which made the hair of all the monks, real and pretended,
stand on end.

"Yes, sire," replied Crillon, giving a tremendous blow with a
hatchet on the door.

"What do you want?" said the prior, going to the window.

"Ah! it is you, M. Foulon," replied the same voice, "I want my
jester, who is in one of your cells. I want Chicot, I am ennuye
at the Louvre."

"And I have been much amused, my son," said Chicot, throwing
off his hood, and pushing his way through the crowd of monks,
who recoiled, with a cry of terror.

At this moment the Duc de Guise, advancing to a lamp, read the
signature obtained with so much labor. It was "Chicot I."

"Chicot!" cried he; "thousand devils!"

"Let us fly!" said the cardinal, "we are lost."

"Ah!" cried Chicot, turning to Gorenflot, who was nearly fainting,
and he began to strike him with the cord he had round his waist.



As the king spoke and the conspirators listened, they passed
from astonishment to terror. Chicot I. relinquished his role
of apparent terror, threw back his hood, crossed his arms, and,
while Gorenflot fled at his utmost speed, sustained, firm and
smiling, the first shock. It was a terrible moment, for the
gentlemen, furious at the mystification of which they had been
the dupes, advanced menacingly on the Gascon. But this unarmed
man, his breast covered only by his arms--this laughing face,
stopped them still more than the remonstrance of the cardinal,
who said to them that Chicot's death could serve no end, but,
on the contrary, would be terribly avenged by the king, who was
the jester's accomplice in this scene of terrible buffoonery.

The result was, that daggers and rapiers were lowered before Chicot,
who continued to laugh in their faces.

However, the king's menaces and Crillon's blows became more vehement,
and it was evident that the door could not long resist such an
attack. Thus, after a moment's deliberation, the Duc de Guise
gave the order for retreat. This order made Chicot smile, for,
during his nights with Gorenflot, he had examined the cave and
found out the door, of which he had informed the king, who had
placed there Torquenot, lieutenant of the Swiss guards. It was
then evident that the leaguers, one after another, were about
to throw themselves into the trap. The cardinal made off first,
followed by about twenty gentlemen. Then Chicot saw the duke
pass with about the same number, and afterwards Mayenne. When
Chicot saw him go he laughed outright. Ten minutes passed, during
which he listened earnestly, thinking to hear the noise of the
leaguers sent back into the cave, but to his astonishment, the
sound continued to go further and further off. His laugh began to
change into oaths. Time passed, and the leaguers did not return;
had they seen that the door was guarded and found another way
out? Chicot was about to rush from the cell, when all at once
the door was obstructed by a mass which fell at his feet, and
began to tear its hair.

"Ah! wretch that I am!" cried the monk. "Oh! my good M. Chicot,
pardon me, pardon me!"

How did Gorenflot, who went first, return now alone? was the question
that presented itself to Chicot's mind.

"Oh! my good M. Chicot!" he continued to cry, "pardon your unworthy
friend, who repents at your knees."

"But how is it you have not fled with the others?"

"Because the Lord in His anger has struck me with obesity, and
I could not pass where the others did. Oh! unlucky stomach! Oh!
miserable paunch!" cried the monk, striking with his two hands
the part he apostrophized. "Ah! why am not I thin like you, M.

Chicot understood nothing of the lamentations of the monk.

"But the others are flying, then?" cried he, in a voice of thunder.

"Pardieu! what should they do? Wait to be hung? Oh! unlucky paunch!"

"Silence, and answer me."

"Interrogate me, M. Chicot; you have the right."

"How are the others escaping?"

"As fast as they can."

"So I imagine; but where?"

"By the hole."

"Mordieu! what hole?"

"The hole in the cemetery cellar."

"Is that what you call the cave?"

"Oh! no; the door of that was guarded outside. The great cardinal,
just as he was about to open it, heard a Swiss say, 'Mich dwistel,'
which means, 'I am thirsty.'"

"Ventre de biche! so then they took another way?"

"Yes, dear M. Chicot, they are getting out through the cellar."

"How does that run?"

"From the crypt to the Porte St. Jacques."

"You lie; I should have seen them repass before this cell."

"No, dear M. Chicot; they thought they had not time for that,
so they are creeping out through the air-hole."

"What hole?"

"One which looks into the garden, and serves to light the cellar."

"So that you----"

"I was too big, and could not pass, and they drew me back by my
legs, because I intercepted the way for the others."

"Then he who is bigger than you?"

"He! who?"

"Oh! Holy Virgin, I promise you a dozen wax candles, if he also
cannot pass."

"M. Chicot!"

"Get up."

The monk raised himself from the ground as quickly as he could.

"Now lead me to the hole."

"Where you wish."

"Go on, then, wretch."

Gorenflot went on as fast as he was able, while Chicot indulged
himself by giving him a few blows with the cord. They traversed
the corridor, and descended into the garden.

"Here! this way," said Gorenflot.

"Hold your tongue, and go on."

"There it is," and exhausted by his efforts, the monk sank on the
grass, while Chicot, hearing groans, advanced, and saw something
protruding through the hole. By the side of this something lay
a frock and a sword. It was evident that the individual in the
hole had taken off successively all the loose clothing which
increased his size; and yet, like Gorenflot, he was making useless
efforts to get through.

"Mordieu! ventrebleu! sangdien!" cried a stifled voice. "I would
rather pass through the midst of the guards. Do not pull so hard,
my friends; I shall come through gradually; I feel that I advance,
not quickly, it is true, but I do advance."

"Ventre de biche!" murmured Chicot, "it is M. de Mayenne. Holy
Virgin, you have gained your candles."

And he made a noise with his feet like some one running fast.

"They are coming," cried several voices from inside.

"All!" cried Chicot, as if out of breath, "it is you, miserable

"Say nothing, monseigneur!" murmured the voices, "he takes you
for Gorenflot."

"Ah! it is you, heavy mass--pondus immobile; it is you, indigesta

And at each apostrophe, Chicot, arrived at last at his desired
vengeance, let fall the cord with all the weight of his arm on
the body before him.

"Silence!" whispered the voices again; "he takes you for Gorenflot."

Mayenne only uttered groans, and made immense efforts to get through.

"Ah! conspirator!" cried Chicot again; "ah! unworthy monk, this
is for your drunkenness, this for idleness, this for anger, this
for greediness, and this for all the vices you have."

"M. Chicot, have pity," whispered Gorenflot.

"And here, traitor, this is for your treason," continued Chicot.

"Ah! why did it not please God to substitute for your vulgar
carcass the high and mighty shoulders of the Duc de Mayenue,
to whom I owe a volley of blows, the interest of which has been
accumulating for seven years!"

"Chicot!" cried the duke.

"Yes, Chicot, unworthy servant of the king, who wishes he had
the hundred arms of Briareus for this occasion."

And he redoubled his blows with such violence, that the sufferer,
making a tremendous effort, pushed himself through, and fell
torn and bleeding into the arms of his friends. Chicot's last
blow fell into empty space. He turned, and saw that the true
Gorenflot had fainted with terror.



It was eleven at night, and the Duc d'Anjou was waiting impatiently
at home for a messenger from the Duc le Guise. He walked restlessly
up and down, looking every minute at the clock. All at once he
heard a horse in the courtyard, and thinking it was the messenger,
he ran to the window, but it was a groom leading up and down a
horse which was waiting for its master, who almost immediately
came out. It was Bussy, who, as captain of the duke's guards,
came to give the password for the night. The duke, seeing this
handsome and brave young man, of whom he had never had reason
to complain, experienced an instant's remorse, but on his face
he read so much joy, hope, and happiness, that all his jealousy
returned. However, Bussy, ignorant that the duke was watching
him, jumped into his saddle and rode off to his own hotel, where
he gave his horse to the groom. There he saw Remy.

"Ah! you Remy?"

"Myself, monsieur."

"Not yet in bed?"

"I have just come in. Indeed, since I have no longer a patient,
it seems to me that the days have forty-eight hours."

"Are you ennuye?"

"I fear so."

"Then Gertrude is abandoned?"


"You grew tired?"

"Of being beaten. That was how her love showed itself."

"And does your heart not speak for her to-night?"

"Why to-night?"

"Because I would have taken you with me."

"To the Bastile?"


"You are going there?"


"And Monsoreau?"

"Is at Compiegne, preparing a chase for the king."

"Are you sure, monsieur?"

"The order was given publicly this morning."

"Ah, well; Jourdain, my sword."

"You have changed your mind?"

"I will accompany you to the door, for two reasons."

"What are they?"

"Firstly, lest you should meet any enemies." Bussy smiled.

"Oh! mon Dieu, I know you fear no one, and that Remy the doctor
is but a poor companion; still, two men are not so likely to be
attacked as one. Secondly, because I have a great deal of good
advice to give you."

"Come, my dear Remy, come. We will speak of her; and next to
the pleasure of seeing the woman you love, I know none greater
than talking of her."

Bussy then took the arm of the young doctor, and they set off. Remy
on the way tried hard to induce Bussy to return early, insisting
that he would be more fit for his duel on the morrow.

Bussy smiled. "Fear nothing," said he.

"Ah! my dear master, to-morrow you ought to fight like Hercules
against Antaus--like Theseus against the Minotaur--like Bayard--like
something Homeric, gigantic, impossible; I wish people to speak
of it in future times as the combat, par excellence, and in which
you had not even received a scratch."

"Be easy, my dear Remy, you shall see wonders. This morning I
put swords in the hands of four fencers, who during eight minutes
could not touch me once, while I tore their doublets to pieces."

So conversing, they arrived in the Rue St. Antoine.

"Adieu! here we are," said Bussy.

"Shall I wait for you?"


"To make sure that you will return before two o'clock, and have
at least five or six hours' sleep before your duel."

"If I give you my word?"

"Oh! that will be enough; Bussy's word is never doubted."

"You have it then."

"Then, adieu, monsieur."

"Adieu, Remy."

Remy watched, and saw Bussy enter, not this time by the window,
but boldly through the door, which Gertrude opened for him. Then
Remy turned to go home; but he had only gone a few steps, when
he saw coming towards him five armed men, wrapped in cloaks.
When they arrived about ten yards from him, they said good night
to each other, and four went off in different directions, while
the fifth remained stationary.

"M. de St. Luc!" said Remy.


"Remy, in person. Is it an indiscretion to ask what your lordship
does at this hour so far from the Louvre?"

"Ma foi! I am examining, by the king's order, the physiognomy
of the city. He said to me, 'St. Luc, walk about the streets of
Paris, and if you hear any one say I have abdicated, contradict

"And have you heard it?"

"Nowhere; and as it is just midnight, and I have met no one but
M. de Monsoreau, I have dismissed my friends, and am about to

"M. de Monsoreau?"


"You met him?"

"With a troop of armed men; ten or twelve at least."


"Why so?"

"He ought to be at Compiegne."

"He ought to be, but he is not."

"But the king's order?"

"Bah! who obeys the king?"

"Did he know you?"

"I believe so."

"You were but five?"

"My four friends and I."

"And he did not attack you?"

"On the contrary, he avoided me, which astonished me, as on seeing
him, I expected a terrible battle."

"Where was he going?"

"To the Rue de la Tixanderie."

"Ah! mon Dieu!"


"M. de St. Luc, a great misfortune is about to happen."

"To whom?"

"To M. de Bussy."

"Bussy! speak, Remy; I am his friend, you know."

"Oh! M. de Bussy thought him at Compiegne."


"And, profiting by his absence, is with Madame de Monsoreau."


"Do you not see? he has had suspicions, and has feigned to depart,
that he might appear unexpectedly."

"Ah! it is the Duc d'Anjou's doing, I believe. Have you good lungs,

"Corbleu! like a blacksmith's bellows."

"Well! let us run. You know the house?"


"Go on then." And the young men set off like hunted deer.

"Is he much in advance of us?" said Remy.

"About a quarter of an hour."

"If we do but arrive in time!"



Bussy, himself without disquietude or hesitation, had been received
by Diana without fear, for she believed herself sure of the absence
of M. de Monsoreau. Never had this beautiful woman been more
beautiful, nor Bussy more happy. She was moved, however, by fears
for the morrow's combat, now so near, and she repeated to him,
again and again, the anxiety she felt about it, and questioned
him as to the arrangements he had made for flight. To conquer
was not all; there was afterwards the king's anger to avoid,
for it was not probable that he would ever pardon the death or
defeat of his favorites.

"And then," said she, "are you not acknowledged to be the bravest
man in France? Why make it a point of honor to augment your glory?
You are already superior to other men, and you do not wish to
please any other woman but me, Louis. Therefore, guard your life,
or rather--for I think there is not a man in France capable of
killing you, Louis--I should say, take care of wounds, for you may
be wounded. Indeed, it was through a wound received in fighting
with these same men, that I first made your acquaintance."

"Make yourself easy," said Bussy, smiling; "I will take care of
my face--I shall not be disfigured."

"Oh, take care of yourself altogether. Think of the grief you
would experience if you saw me brought home wounded and bleeding,
and that I should feel the same grief on seeing your blood. Be
prudent, my too courageous hero--that is all I ask. Act like
the Roman of whom you read to me the other day: let your friends
fight, aid the one who needs it most, but if three men--if two
men attack you, fly; you can turn, like Horatius, and kill them
one after another."

"Yes, my dear Diana."

"Oh, you reply without hearing me, Louis; you look at me, and
do not listen."

"But I see you, and you are beautiful."

"Do not think of my beauty just now! Mon Dieu! it is your life
I am speaking of. Stay, I will tell you something that will make
you more prudent--I shall have the courage to witness this duel."


"I shall be there."

"Impossible, Diana!"

"No; listen. There is, in the room next to this, a window looking
into a little court, but with a side-view of the Tournelles."

"Yes, I remember--the window from which I threw crumbs to the
birds the other day."

"From there I can have a view of the ground; therefore, above
all things, take care to stand so that I can see you; you will
know that I am there, but do not look at me, lest your enemy
should profit by it."

"And kill me, while I had my eyes fixed upon you. If I had to
choose my death, Diana, that is the one I should prefer."

"Yes; but now you are not to die, but live."

"And I will live; therefore tranquilize yourself, Diana. Besides,
I am well seconded--you do not know my friends; Antragues uses
his sword as well as I do, Ribeirac is so steady on the ground
that his eyes and his arms alone seem to be alive, and Livarot
is as active as a tiger. Believe me, Diana, I wish there were
more danger, for there would be more honor."

"Well, I believe you, and I smile and hope; but listen, and promise
to obey me."

"Yes, if you do not tell me to leave."

"It is just what I am about to do. I appeal to your reason."

"Then you should not have made me mad."

"No nonsense, but obedience--that is the way to prove your love."

"Order, then."

"Dear friend, you want a long sleep; go home."

"Not already."

"Yes, I am going to pray for you."

"Pray now, then."

As he spoke, a pane of the window flew into pieces, then the
window itself, and three armed men appeared on the balcony while
a fourth was climbing over. This one had his face covered with
a mask, and held in his right hand a sword, and in his left a

Bussy remained paralyzed for a moment by the dreadful cry uttered
by Diana at this sight. The masked man made a sign, and the three
others advanced. Bussy put Diana back, and drew his sword.

"Come, my brave fellows!" said a sepulchral voice from under the
mask; "he is already half-dead with fear."

"You are wrong," said Bussy; "I never feel fear."

Diana drew near him.

"Go back, Diana," said he. But she threw herself on his neck.
"You will get me killed," said he; and she drew back.

"Ah!" said the masked man, "it is M. de Bussy, and I would not
believe it, fool that I was! Really, what a good and excellent
friend! He learns that the husband is absent, and has left his
wife alone, and fears she may be afraid, so he comes to keep
her company, although on the eve of a duel. I repeat, he is a
good and excellent friend!"

"Ah! it is you, M. de Monsoreau!" said Bussy; "throw off your

"I will," said he, doing so.

Diana uttered another cry; the comte was as pale as a corpse,
but he smiled like a demon.

"Let us finish, monsieur," said Bussy; "it was very well for
Homer's heroes, who were demigods, to talk before they fought;
but I am a man--attack me, or let me pass."

Monsoreau replied by a laugh which made Diana shudder, but raised
Bussy's anger.

"Let me pass!" cried he.

"Oh, oh!"

"Then, draw and have done; I wish to go home and I live far off."

During this time two other men mounted into the balcony.

"Two and four make six," said Bussy, "where are the others?"

"Waiting at the door."

Diana fell on her knees, and in spite of her efforts Bussy heard
her sobs.

"My dear comte," said he, "you know I am a man of honor."

"Yes, you are, and madame is a faithful wife."

"Good, monsieur; you are severe, but, perhaps, it is deserved;
only as I have a prior engagement with four gentlemen, I beg to
be allowed to retire to-night, and I pledge my word, you shall
find me again, when and where you will."

Monsoreau shrugged his shoulders.

"I swear to you, monsieur," said Bussy, "that when I have satisfied
MM. Quelus, Schomberg, D'Epernon, and Maugiron, I shall be at
your service. If they kill me, your vengeance will be satisfied,
and if not----"

Monsoreau turned to his men. "On, my brave fellows," said he.

"Oh!" said Bussy, "I was wrong; it is not a duel, but an


"We were each deceived with regard to the other; but remember,
monsieur, that the Duc d'Anjou will avenge me."

"It was he who sent me."

Diana groaned.

Instantaneously Bussy overturned the prie-Dieu, drew a table
towards him, and threw a chair over all, so that in a second he
had formed a kind of rampart between himself and his enemies.
This movement had been so rapid, that the ball fired at him from
the arquebuse only struck the prie-Dieu. Diana sobbed aloud.
Bussy glanced at her, and then at his assailants, crying, "Come
on, but take care, for my sword is sharp."

The men advanced, and one tried to seize the prie-Dieu, but before
he reached it, Bussy's sword pierced his arm. The man uttered
a cry, and fell back.

Bussy then heard rapid steps in the corridor, and thought he
was surrounded. He flew to the door to lock it, but before he
could reach it, it was opened, and two men rushed in.

"Ah! dear master!" cried a well-known voice, "are we in time?"


"And I?" cried a second voice, "it seems they are attempting
assassination here."

"St. Luc!" cried Bussy, joyfully. "Ah! M. de Monsoreau, I think
now you will do well to let us pass, for if you do not, we will
pass over you."

"Three more men," cried Monsoreau. And they saw three new assailants
appear on the balcony.

"They are an army," cried St. Luc.

"Oh! God protect him!" cried Diana.

"Wretch!" cried Monsoreau, and he advanced to strike her. Bussy
saw the movement. Agile as a tiger, he bounded on him, and touched
him in the throat; but the distance was too great, it was only a
scratch. Five or six men rushed on Bussy, but one fell beneath
the sword of St. Luc.

"Remy!" cried Bussy, "carry away Diana."

Monsoreau uttered a yell and snatched a pistol from one of the

Remy hesitated. "But you?" said he.

"Away! away! I confide her to you."

"Come, madame," said Remy.

"Never! I will never leave him."

Remy seized her in his arms.

"Bussy, help me! Bussy!" cried Diana. For any one who separated
her from Bussy, seemed an enemy to her.

"Go," cried Bussy, "I will rejoin you."

At this moment Monsoreau fired, and Bussy saw Remy totter, and
then fall, dragging Diana with him. Bussy uttered a cry, and

"It is nothing, master," said Remy. "It was I who received the
ball. She is safe."

As Bussy turned, three men threw themselves on him; St. Luc rushed
forward, and one of them fell. The two others drew back.

"St. Luc," cried Bussy, "by her you love, save Diana."

"But you?"

"I am a man."

St. Luc rushed to Diana, seized her in his arms, and disappeared
through the door.

"Here, my men, from the staircase," shouted Monsoreau.

"Ah! coward!" cried Bussy.

Monsoreau retreated behind his men. Bussy gave a back stroke
and a thrust; with the first he cleft open a head, and with the
second pierced a breast.

"That clears!" cried he.

"Fly, master!" cried Remy.

"Diana must save herself first," murmured he.

"Take care," cried Remy again, as four men rushed in through the
door from the staircase. Bussy saw himself between two troops,
but his only cry was, "Ah! Diana!"

Then, without losing a second, he rushed on the four men; and
taken by surprise, two fell, one dead, one wounded.

Then, as Monsoreau advanced, he retreated again behind his rampart.

"Push the bolts, and turn the key," cried Monsoreau, "we have
him now." During this time, by a great effort, Remy had dragged
himself before Bussy, and added his body to the rampart.

There was an instant's pause. Bussy looked around him. Seven
men lay stretched on the ground, but nine remained. And seeing
these nine swords, and hearing Monsoreau encouraging them, this
brave man, who had never known fear, saw plainly before him the
image of death, beckoning him with its gloomy smile.

"I may kill five more," thought he, "but the other four will
kill me. I have strength for ten minutes' more combat; in that
ten minutes let me do what man never did before."

And rushing forward, he gave three thrusts, and three times he
pierced the leather of a shoulder-belt, or the buff of a jacket,
and three times a stream of blood followed.

During this time he had parried twenty blows with his left arm,
and his cloak, which he had wrapped round it, was hacked to pieces.

The men changed their tactics; seeing two of their number fall
and one retire, they renounced the sword, and some tried to strike
with the butt-ends of their muskets, while others fired at him
with pistols. He avoided the balls by jumping from side to side,
or by stooping; for he seemed not only to see, hear, and act,
but to divine every movement of his enemies, and appeared more
than a man, or only man because he was mortal. Then he thought
that to kill Monsoreau would be the best way to end the combat,
and sought him with his eyes among his assailants, but he stood
in the background, loading the pistols for his men. However,
Bussy rushed forward, and found himself face to face with him.
He, who held a loaded pistol, fired, and the ball, striking Bussy's
sword, broke it off six inches from the handle.

"Disarmed!" cried Monsoreau.

Bussy drew back, picking up his broken blade, and in an instant
it was fastened to the handle with a handkerchief; and the battle
recommenced, presenting the extraordinary spectacle of a man
almost without arms, but also almost without wounds, keeping six
enemies at bay, and with ten corpses at his feet for a rampart.
When the fight began again, Monsoreau commenced to draw away the
bodies, lest Bussy should snatch a sword from one of them. Bussy
was surrounded; the blade of his sword bent and shook in his
hand, and fatigue began to render his arm heavy, when suddenly,
one of the bodies raising itself, pushed a rapier into his hand.
It was Remy's last act of devotion. Bussy uttered a cry of joy,
and threw away his broken sword: at the same moment Monsoreau
fired at Remy, and the ball entered his brain. This time he fell
to rise no more.

Bussy uttered a cry. His strength seemed to return to him, and
he whirled round his sword in a circle, cutting through a wrist
at his right hand, and laying open a cheek at his left. Exhausted
by the effort, he let his right arm fall for a moment, while
with his left he tried to undraw the bolts behind him. During
this second, he received a ball in his thigh, and two swords
touched his side. But he had unfastened the bolt, and turned
the key. Sublime with rage, he rushed on Monsoreau, and wounded
him in the breast.

"Ah!" cried Bussy, "I begin to think I shall escape." The four
men rushed on him, but they could not touch him, and were repulsed
with blows. Monsoreau approached him twice more, and twice more
was wounded. But three men seized hold of the handle of his sword,
and tore it from him. He seized a stool of carved wood, and struck
three blows with it, and knocked down two men; but it broke on the
shoulder of the third, who sent his dagger into Bussy's breast.

Bussy seized him by the wrist, forced the dagger from him, and
stabbed him to the heart. The last man jumped out of the window.
Bussy made two steps to follow him, but Monsoreau, raising himself
from the floor, where he was lying, wounded him in the leg with
his dagger. The young man seized a sword which lay near, and
plunged it so vigorously into his breast, that he pinned him to
the floor.

"Ah!" cried Bussy, "I do not know if I shall live, but at least
I shall have seen you die!"

Bussy dragged himself to the corridor, his wounds bleeding fearfully.
He threw a last glance behind him. The moon was shining brilliantly,
and its light penetrated this room inundated with blood, and
illuminated the walls pierced by balls, and hacked by blows, and
lighted up the pale faces of the dead, which even then seemed
to preserve the fierce look of assassins.

Bussy, at the sight of this field of battle, peopled by him with
slain, nearly dying as he was, experienced a feeling of pride.
As he had intended, he had done what no man had done before him.
There now remained to him only to fly.

But all was not over for the unfortunate young man. On arriving
on the staircase, he saw arms shine in the courtyard; some one
fired, and the ball pierced his shoulder. The court being guarded,
he thought of the little window, where Diana had said she would
sit to see the combat, and as quickly as he could he dragged
himself there, and locked the door behind him; then he mounted
the window with great difficulty, and measured the distance with
his eyes, wondering if he could jump to the other side.

"Oh, I shall never have the strength!" cried he.

But at that moment he heard steps coming up the staircase; it
was the second troop mounting. He collected all his strength,
and made a spring; but his foot slipped, and he fell on the iron
spikes, which caught his clothes, and he hung suspended.

He thought of his only friend.

"St. Luc!" cried he, "help! St. Luc!"

"Ah, it is you, M. de Bussy," answered a voice from behind some

Bussy shuddered, for it was not the voice of St. Luc.

"St. Luc!" cried he again, "come to me! Diana is safe! I have
killed Monsoreau!"

"Ah! Monsoreau is killed?" said the same voice.

"Yes." Then Bussy saw two men come out from behind the trees.

"Gentlemen," cried he, "in heaven's name, help an unfortunate
nobleman, who may still escape if you aid him."

"What do you say, monseigneur?" said one.

"Imprudent!" said the other.

"Monseigneur," cried Bussy, who heard the conversation, "deliver
me, and I will pardon you for betraying me."

"Do you hear?" said the duke.

"What do you order?"

"That you deliver him from his sufferings," said he, with a kind
of laugh.

Bussy turned his head to look at the man who laughed at such a
time, and at the same instant an arquebuse was discharged into
his breast.

"Cursed assassin! oh, Diana!" murmured he, and fell back dead.

"Is he dead?" cried several men who, after forcing the door, appeared
at the windows.

"Yes," said Aurilly. "But fly; remember that his highness the
Duc d'Anjou was the friend and protector of M. de Bussy."

The men instantly made off, and when the sound of their steps
was lost, the duke said, "Now, Aurilly, go up into the room and
throw out of the window the body of Monsoreau."

Aurilly obeyed, and the blood fell over the clothes of the duke,
who, however, raised the coat of the dead man, and drew out the
paper which he had signed.

"This is all I wanted," said he; "so now let us go."

"And Diana?"

"Ma foi! I care no more for her. Untie her and St. Luc, and let
them go."

Aurilly disappeared.

"I shall not be king of France," murmured the duke, "but, at all
events, I shall not be beheaded for high treason."



The guard placed to catch the conspirators got none of them;
they all escaped, as we have seen; therefore, when Crillon at
last broke open the door, he found the place deserted and empty.
In vain they opened doors and windows; in vain the king cried,
"Chicot!" No one answered.

"Can they have killed him?" said he. "Mordieu! if they have they
shall pay for it!"

Chicot did not reply, because he was occupied in beating M. de
Mayenne, which gave him so much pleasure that he neither heard
nor saw what was passing. However, when the duke had disappeared,
he heard and recognized the royal voice.

"Here, my son, here!" he cried, trying at the same time to raise
Gorenflot, who, beginning to recover himself, cried, "Monsieur

"You are not dead, then?"

"My good M. Chicot, you will not give me up to my enemies?"


Gorenflot began to howl and wring his hands.

"I, who have had so many good dinners with you," continued Gorenflot;
"I, who drank so well, that you always called me the king of
the sponges; I, who loved so much the capons you used to order
at the Corne d'Abondance, that I never left anything but the

This climax appeared sublime to Chicot, and determined him to

"Here they are! Mon Dieu," cried Gorenflot, vainly trying to
rise, "here they come, I am lost! Oh! good M. Chicot, help me!"
and finding he could not rise, he threw himself with his face
to the ground.

"Get up," said Chicot.

"Do you pardon me?"

"We shall see."

"You have beaten me so much."

Chicot laughed; the poor monk fancied he had received the blows
given to Mayenne.

"You laugh, M. Chicot."

"I do, animal."


Back to Full Books