Chicot the Jester
Part 12 out of 12
"Then I shall live?"
"You would not laugh if your Gorenflot was about to die."
"It does not depend upon me, but on the king; he alone has the
power of life and death."
At this moment lights appeared, and a crowd of embroidered dresses
and swords shining in the light of the torches.
"Ah! Chicot! my dear Chicot, how glad I am to see you," cried
"You hear, good M. Chicot," whispered Gorenflot, "this great prince
is glad to see you."
"Well! in his happiness he would not refuse you a favor; ask for
"What! from Herod?"
"Oh! silence, dear M. Chicot."
"Well! sire, how many have you caught?" said Chicot, advancing.
"Confiteor," said Gorenflot.
"Not one," said Crillon, "the traitors must have found some opening
unknown to us."
"It is probable."
"But you saw them?" said the king.
"You recognized them, no doubt?"
"Not recognized them?"
"That is to say, I recognized only one."
"Who was that?"
"M. de Mayenne."
"M. de Mayenne, to whom you owed----"
"Yes, sire; we are quits."
"Ah! tell me about that, Chicot."
"Afterwards, my son; now let us think of the present."
"Confiteor," repeated Gorenflot.
"Ah! you have made a prisoner," said Crillon, laying his large
hand on the monk's shoulder.
Chicot was silent for a minute, leaving Gorenflot a prey to all
the anguish of such profound terror that he nearly fainted again.
At last Chicot said, "Sire, look well at this monk."
"The preacher Gorenflot," cried Henri.
"Confiteor, confiteor," repeated he.
"Himself," said Chicot.
"Just so," interrupted Chicot.
Gorenflot shook with terror, for he heard the sounds of swords
"Wait," said Chicot, "the king must know all." And, taking him
aside, "My son," said he, "thank God for having permitted this
holy man to be born thirty-five years ago, for it is he who has
saved us all."
"It was he who recounted to me the whole plot, from the alpha
to the omega."
"About a week ago; so that if ever your majesty's enemies catch
him he will be a dead man."
Gorenflot heard only the last words, "a dead man"; and he covered
his face with his hands.
"Worthy man," said the king, casting a benevolent look on the
mass of flesh before him, "we will cover him with our protection."
Gorenflot perceived the nature of the look, and began to feel
"You will do well, my king," said Chicot.
"What must we do with him?"
"I think that as long as he remains in Paris he will be in danger."
"If I gave him guards."
Gorenflot heard this proposition of Henri's. "Well!" thought he,
"I shall get off with imprisonment; I prefer that to beating,
if they only feed me well."
"Oh! no, that is needless," said Chicot, "if you will allow me
to take him with me."
"Well! take him, and then return to the Louvre."
"Get up, reverend father," said Chicot.
"He mocks me," murmured Gorenflot.
"Get up, brute," whispered Chicot, giving him a sly kick.
"Ah! I have deserved it," cried Gorenflot.
"What does he say?" asked the king.
"Sire, he is thinking over all his fatigues and his tortures,
and when I promised him your protection, he said, 'Oh! I have
well merited that.'"
"Poor devil!" said the king, "take good care of him."
"Oh! be easy, sire, he will want for nothing with me."
"Oh! M. Chicot, dear M. Chicot," cried Gorenflot, "where am I
to be taken to?"
"You will know soon. Meanwhile, monster of iniquity, thank his
"Thank him, I tell you."
"Sire," stammered Gorenflot, "since your gracious majesty----"
"Yes," interrupted Henri, "I know all you did for me, in your
journey from Lyons, on the evening of the League, and again to-day.
Be easy, you shall be recompensed according to your merits."
"Where is Panurge?" said Chicot.
"In the stable, poor beast."
"Well! go and fetch him, and return to me."
"Yes, M. Chicot."
And the monk went away as fast as he could, much astonished not
to be followed by guards.
"Now, my son," said Chicot, "keep twenty men for your own escort,
and send ten with M. Crillon to the Hotel d'Anjou and let them
bring your-brother here."
"That he may not escape a second time."
"Did my brother----"
"Have you repented following my advice to-day?"
"No, par le mordieu."
"Then do what I tell you."
Henri gave the order to Crillon, who set off at once.
"And you?" said Henri.
"Oh! I am waiting for my saint."
"And you will rejoin me at the Louvre?"
"In an hour; go, my son."
Henri went; and Chicot, proceeding to the stables, met Gorenflot
coming out on his ass. The poor devil had not an idea of endeavoring
to escape from the fate that he thought awaited him.
"Come, come," said Chicot, "we are waited for." Gorenflot made
no resistance, but he shed many tears.
WHERE CHICOT GUESSES WHY D'EPERNON HAD BLOOD ON HIS FEET AND NONE
IN HIS CHEEKS.
The king, returning to the Louvre, found his friends peacefully
asleep, except D'Epernon, whose bed was empty.
"Not come in yet; how imprudent," murmured the king to Chicot,
who had also returned, and was standing with them by their beds.
"The fool; having to fight to-morrow with a man like Bussy, and
to take no more care than this. Let them seek M. d'Epernon,"
said he, going out of the room, and speaking to an usher.
"M. d'Epernon is just coming in, sire," replied the man.
Indeed, D'Epernon came softly along, thinking to glide unperceived
to his room.
On seeing the king he looked confused.
"Ah! here you are at last," said Henri; "come here and look at
your friends. They are wise! they understand the importance of
the duel to-morrow; but you, instead of praying and sleeping
like them, have been running about the streets. Corbleu; how pale
you are! What will you look like to-morrow?"
D'Epernon was indeed pale, but at the king's remark he colored.
"Now go to bed," continued Henri, "and sleep if you can."
"Much time you will have. You are to fight at daybreak; and at
this time of year the sun rises at four. It is now two; you have
but two hours to sleep."
"Two hours well employed go a long way."
"You will sleep, then?"
"I do not believe it."
"Because you are agitated; you think of to-morrow."
"I will sleep, sire, if your majesty will only let me."
"That is just," said Chicot.
Indeed D'Epernon undressed and got into bed, with a calm and
satisfied look, that seemed, both to the king and Chicot to augur
"He is as brave as a Casar," said the king.
"So brave that I do not understand it," said Chicot.
"See, he sleeps already."
Chicot approached the bed to look.
"Oh!" said he.
"What is it?"
"Look," and he pointed to D'Epernon's boots.
"He has been walking in blood."
"Can he be wounded?" said the king, anxiously.
"Bah! he would have told us; and, besides, unless he had been
wounded like Achilles in the heel----"
"See, the sleeve of his doublet is also spotted. What can have
happened to him?"
"Perhaps he has killed some one to keep his hand in."
"It is singular. Well, to-morrow, at least----"
"To-day, you mean."
"Well! to-day I shall be tranquil."
"Because those cursed Angevins will be killed."
"You think so, Henri?"
"I am sure of it; my friends are brave."
"I never heard that the Angevins were cowards."
"No, doubtless; but my friends are so strong; look at Schomberg's
arm; what muscle!"
"Ah! if you saw Autragues's! Is that all that reassures you?"
"No; come, and I will show you something."
"In my room."
"And this something makes you confident of victory?"
"Wait, and let me take leave of them. Adieu, my good friends,"
murmured the king, as he stooped and imprinted a light kiss on
each of their foreheads.
Chicot was not superstitious, but as he looked on, his imagination
pictured a living man making his adieux to the dead.
"It is singular," thought he. "I never felt so before--poor fellows."
As soon as the king quitted the room, D'Epernon opened his eyes;
and, jumping out of bed, began to efface, as well as he could,
the spots of blood on his clothes. Then he went to bed again.
As for Henri, he conducted Chicot to his room, and opened a long
ebony coffer lined with white satin.
"Look!" said he.
"Yes! but blessed swords, my dear friend."
"Blessed! by whom?"
"By our holy father the Pope, who granted me this favor. To send
this box to Rome and back, cost me twenty horses and four men."
"Are they sharp?"
"Doubtless; but their great merit is that they are blessed."
"Yes, I know that; but still I should like to be sure they are
"Let us talk of something else."
"Well, be quick."
"You want to sleep?"
"No, to pray."
"In that case we will talk. Have you sent for M. d'Anjou?"
"Yes, he is waiting below."
"What are you going to do with him?"
"Throw him into the Bastile."
"That is very wise: only choose a dungeon that is deep and safe--such
for example, as those which were occupied by the Constable de
St. Paul, or Armagnac."
"Oh! be easy."
"I know where they sell good black velvet, my son."
"Chicot! he is my brother."
"Ah! true; the family mourning is violet. Shall you speak to him?"
"Yes, certainly, if only to show him that his plots are discovered."
"Do you disapprove?"
"In your place I should cut short the conversation, and double
"Let them bring here the Duc d'Anjou," said the king.
A minute after the duke entered, very pale and disarmed. Crillon
"Where did you find him?" asked the king.
"Sire, his highness was not at home, but I took possession of
his hotel in the king's name, and soon after he returned, and
we arrested him without resistance."
"That is fortunate." Then, turning to the prince, he said, "Where
were you, monsieur?"
"Wherever I was, sire, be sure it was on your business."
"I doubt it."
"Come, tell me where you were while your accomplices were being
"Yes; your accomplices."
"Sire, your majesty is making some mistake."
"Oh! this time you shall not escape me; your measure of crime
"Sire, be moderate; there is certainly some one who slanders me
"Wretch! you shall die of hunger in a cell of the Bastile!"
"I bow to your orders, whatever they may be."
"Hypocrite! But where were you?"
"Sire, I was serving your majesty, and working for the glory and
tranquillity of your reign."
"Really! your audacity is great."
"Bah!" said Chicot, "tell us about it, my prince; it must be
"Sire, I would tell your majesty, had you treated me as a brother,
but as you have treated me as a criminal, I will let the event
speak for itself."
Then, bowing profoundly to the king, he turned to Crillon and
the other officers, and said, "Now, which of you gentlemen will
conduct the first prince of the blood to the Bastile?"
Chicot had been reflecting, and a thought struck him.
"Ah!" murmured he, "I believe I guess now why M. d'Epernon had
so much blood on his feet and so little in his cheeks."
THE MORNING OF THE COMBAT.
The king did not sleep all night, and very early in the morning
he set off, accompanied by Chicot, to examine the ground where
the combat was to take place.
"Quelus will be exposed to the sun," said he; "he will have it
at his right, just in his only eye; whereas Maugiron, who has
good eyes, will be in the shade. That is badly managed. As for
Schomberg, his place is good; but Quelus, my poor Quelus!"
"Do not torment yourself so, my king, it is useless."
"And D'Epernon; I am really unjust not to think of him; he, who
is to fight Bussy. Look at his place, Chicot, he who will have
to give way constantly, for Bussy is like a tiger, he has a tree
on his right and a ditch on his left."
"Bah!" said Chicot, "I am not concerned about D'Epernon."
"You are wrong; he will be killed."
"Not he; be sure he has taken precautions."
"He will not fight."
"Did you not hear what he said before going to bed?"
"That is just why I think he will not fight."
"Incredulous and distrustful!"
"I know my Gascon, Henri; but if you will take my advice, you
will return to the Louvre."
"Do you think I can stay there during the combat?"
"I do not wish you not to love your friends, but I do wish you
not to leave M. d'Anjou alone at the Louvre."
"Is not Crillon there?"
"Crillon is only a buffalo--a rhinoceros--a wild boar; while
your brother is the serpent, whose strength lies in his cunning."
"You are right; I should have sent him to the Bastile."
When Chicot and the king entered, the young men were being dressed
by their valets.
"Good morning, gentlemen," said he; "I find you all in good spirits,
"Yes, sire," said Quelus.
"You look gloomy, Maugiron."
"Sire, I am superstitious, and I had bad dreams last night, so
I am drinking a little wine to keep up my spirits."
"My friend, remember that dreams are the impressions of the previous
day, and have no influence on the morrow."
"Yes, sire," said D'Epernon, "I also had bad dreams last night;
but, in spite of that, my hand is steady and fit for action."
"Yes," said Chicot, "you dreamed you had blood on your boots;
that is not a bad dream, for it signifies that you will be a
conqueror, like Alexander or Casar."
"My friends," said Henri, "remember you fight only for honor;
the past night has seated me firmly on my throne, therefore do
not think of me; and, above all things, no false bravery; you
wish to kill your enemies, not to die yourselves."
The gentlemen were now ready, and it only remained to take leave
of their master.
"Do you go on horseback?" asked he.
"No, sire, on foot."
They each kissed his hand, and D'Epernon said, "Sire, bless my
"Not so, D'Epernon; give tip your sword--I have a better one for
each of you. Chicot, bring them here."
"No, sire, send your captain of the guards; I am but a Pagan,
and they might lose their virtue by coming through my hands."
"What are these swords, sire?" said Schomberg.
"Italian swords, my son, forged at Milan."
"Now go, it is time," said the king, who could hardly control
"Sire," said Quelus, "shall we not have your majesty's presence
to encourage us?"
"No, that would not be right; you will be supposed to fight without
any one being cognizant of it, and without my sanction. Let it
appear to be the result of a private quarrel."
When they were gone, the king threw himself down in tears.
"Now," said Chicot, "I will go to see this duel, for I have an
idea that something curious will happen with regard to D'Epernon."
And he went off.
Henri shut himself up in his own room, first saying to Crillon,
who knew what was to take place, "If we are conquerors, Crillon,
come and tell me; if not, strike three blows on the door."
THE FRIENDS OF BUSSY.
The friends of the Duc d'Anjou had passed as good and tranquil a
night as those of the king, although their master had not taken
the same care of them. After a good supper, they had all retired
to sleep at Antragues's house, which was nearest to the field
of battle. Antragues, before supper, had gone to take leave of
a little milliner whom he adored, Ribeirac had written to his
mother, and Livarot had made his will. They were up early in the
morning, and dressed themselves in red breeches and socks, that
their enemies might not see their blood, and they had doublets
of gray silk. They wore shoes without heels, and their pages
carried their swords, that their arms might not be fatigued.
The weather was splendid, for love, war, or walking; and the
sun gilded the roofs, on which the night dew was sparkling. The
streets were dry, and the air delightful.
Before leaving the house, the young men had sent to the Hotel
d'Anjou to inquire for Bussy, and had received a reply that he
had gone out the evening before and had not yet returned.
"Oh!" said Antragues, "I know where he is; the king ordered a
grand chase at Compiegne, and M. de Monsoreau was to set off
yesterday. It is all right, gentlemen; he is nearer the ground
than we are, and may be there before us. We will call for him
The streets were empty as they went along; no one was to be seen
except peasants coming from Montreuil or Vincennes, with milk
The young men went on in silence until they reached the Rue St.
Then, with a smile, they glanced at Monsoreau's house.
"One could see well from there, and I am sure poor Diana will
be more than once at the window," said Antragues.
"I think she must be there already," said Ribeirac, "for the window
"True, but what can be the meaning of that ladder before it?"
"It is odd."
"We are not the only ones to wonder," said Livarot, "see those
peasants, who are stopping their carts to look."
The young men arrived under the balcony. "M. de Monsoreau," they
cried, "do you intend to be present at our combat? if so, be
quick, for we wish to arrive first."
They waited, but no one answered.
"Did you put up that ladder?" asked Antragues of a man who was
examining the ground.
"God forbid!" replied he.
"Blood!" cried Ribeirac.
"The door has been forced," said Antragues; and seizing the ladder,
he was on the balcony in a moment.
"What is it?" cried the others, seeing him turn pale.
A terrible cry was his only answer. Livarot mounted behind him.
"Corpses! death everywhere!" cried he. And they both entered
the room. It bore horrible traces of the terrible combat of the
previous night. A river of blood flowed over the room; and the
curtains were hanging in strips from sword cuts.
"Oh! poor Remy!" cried Antragues, suddenly.
"But a regiment of troopers must have passed through the room,"
cried Livarot. Then, seeing the door of the corridor open, and
traces of blood indicating that one or more of the combatants had
also passed through there, he followed it. Meanwhile, Antragues
went into the adjoining room; there also blood was everywhere,
and this blood led to the window. He leaned out and looked into
the little garden. The iron spikes still held the livid corpse
of the unhappy Bussy. At this sight, it was not a cry, but a
yell, that Antragues uttered. Livarot ran to see what it was,
and Ribeirac followed.
"Look!" said Antragues, "Bussy dead! Bussy assassinated and thrown
out of window."
They ran down.
"It is he," cried Livarot.
"His wrist is cut."
"He has two balls in his breast."
"He is full of wounds."
"Ah! poor Bussy! we will have vengeance!"
Turning round they came against a second corpse.
"Monsoreau!" cried Livarot.
"What! Monsoreau also."
"Yes, pierced through and through."
"Ah! they have assassinated all our friends."
"And his wife? Madame de Monsoreau!" cried Antragues; but no one
"Bussy, poor Bussy."
"Yes, they wished to get rid of the most formidable of us all."
"It is cowardly! it is infamous!"
"We will tell the duke."
"No," said Antragues, "let us not charge any one with the care
of our vengeance. Look, my friends, at the noble face of the
bravest of men; see his blood, that teaches that he never left
his vengeance to any other person. Bussy! we will act like you,
and we will avenge you."
Then, drawing his sword, he dipped it in Bussy's blood.
"Bussy," said he, "I swear on your corpse, that this blood shall
be washed off by the blood of your enemies."
"Bussy," cried the others, "we swear to kill them or die."
"No mercy," said Antragues.
"But we shall be but three."
"True, but we have assassinated no one, and God will strengthen
the innocent. Adieu, Bussy!"
"Adieu, Bussy!" repeated the others; and they went out, pale
but resolute, from that cursed house, around which a crowd had
begun to collect.
Arriving on the ground, they found their opponents waiting for
"Gentlemen," said Quelus, rising and bowing, "we have had the
honor of waiting for you."
"Excuse us," said Antragues, "but we should have been here before
you, but for one of our companions."
"M. de Bussy," said D'Epernon, "I do not see him. Where is he?"
"We can wait for him," said Schomberg.
"He will not come."
All looked thunderstruck; but D'Epernon exclaimed:
"Ah! the brave man par excellence--is he, then, afraid?"
"That cannot be," said Quelus.
"You are right, monsieur," said Livarot.
"And why will he not come?"
"Because he is dead."
"Dead!" cried they all, but D'Epernon turned rather pale.
"And dead because he has been assassinated," said Antragues. "Did
you not know it, gentlemen?"
"No; how should we?"
"Besides, is it certain?"
Antragues drew his sword. "So certain that here is his blood,"
"M. de Bussy assassinated!"
"His blood cries for vengeance! do you not hear it, gentlemen?"
"What do you mean?"
"'Seek whom the crime profits,' the law says," replied Ribeirac.
"Ah! gentlemen, will you explain yourselves?" cried Maugiron.
"That is just what we have come for."
"Quick! our swords are in our hands!" said D'Epernon.
"Oh! you are in a great hurry, M. le Gascon; you did not crow
so loud when we were four against four!"
"Is it our fault, if you are only three?"
"Yes, it is your fault; he is dead because you preferred him
lying in his blood to standing here; he is dead, with his wrist
cut, that that wrist might no longer hold a sword; he is dead,
that you might not see the lightning of those eyes, which dazzled
you all. Do you understand me? am I clear?"
"Enough, gentlemen!" said Quelus. "Retire, M. d'Epernon! we will
fight three against three. These gentlemen shall see if we are men
to profit by a misfortune which we deplore as much as themselves.
Come, gentlemen," added the young mall, throwing his hat behind
him, and raising his left hand, while he whirled his sword with
the right, "God is our judge if we are assassins!"
"Ah! I hated you before," cried Schomberg, "and now I execrate
"On your guard, gentlemen!" cried Antragues.
"With doublets or without?" said Schomberg.
"Without doublets, without shirts; our breasts bare, our hearts
The young men threw off their doublets and shirts.
"I have lost my dagger," said Quelus; "it must have fallen on
"Or else you left it at M. de Monsoreau's, in the Place de la
Bastile," said Antragues.
Quelus gave a cry of rage, and drew his sword.
"But he has no dagger, M. Antragues," cried Chicot, who had just
"So much the worse for him; it is not my fault," said Antragues.
The place where this terrible combat was to take place was
sequestered and shaded by trees. It was generally frequented
only by children, who came to play there during the day, or by
drunkards or robbers, who made a sleeping-place of it by night.
Chicot, his heart palpitating, although he was not of a very
tender nature, seated himself before the lackeys and pages, on
a wooden balustrade.
He did not love the Angevins, and detested the minions, but they
were all brave young men, and in their veins flowed a generous
blood, which he was probably destined to see flow before long.
D'Epernon made a last bravado, "What! you are all afraid of me?"
"Hold your tongue," said Antragues.
"Come away, bravest of the brave," said Chicot, "or else you will
lose another pair of shoes."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that there will soon be blood on the ground, and that
you will walk in it, as you did last night."
D'Epernon became deadly pale, and, moving away, he seated himself
at some distance from Chicot.
The combat began as five o'clock struck, and for a few minutes
nothing was heard but the clashing of swords; not a blow was
struck. At last Schomberg touched Ribeirac in the shoulder, and
the blood gushed out; Schomberg tried to repeat the blow, but
Ribeirac struck up his sword, and wounded him in the side.
"Now let us rest a few seconds, if you like," said Ribeirac.
Quelus, having no dagger, was at a great disadvantage; for he
was obliged to parry with his left arm, and, as it was bare, on
each occasion it cost him a wound. His hand was soon bleeding
in several places, and Antragues had also wounded him in the
breast; but at each wound he repeated, "It is nothing."
Livarot and Maugiron were still unwounded.
Ribeirac and Schomberg recommenced; the former was pierced through
the breast, and Schomberg was wounded in the neck.
Ribeirac was mortally wounded, and Schomberg rushed on him and gave
him another; but he, with his right hand, seized his opponent's,
and with his left plunged his dagger into his heart.
Schomberg fell back, dragging Ribeirac with him. Livarot ran to
aid Ribeirac to disengage himself from the grasp of his adversary,
but was closely pursued by Maugiron, who cut open his head with a
blow of his sword. Livarot let his sword drop, and fell on his
knees; then Maugiron hastened to give him another wound, and
he fell altogether.
Quelus and Maugiron remained against Antragues. Quelus was bleeding,
but from slight wounds.
Antragues comprehended his danger; he had not the least wound,
but he began to feel tired, so he pushed aside Quelus' sword and
jumped over a barrier; but at the same moment, Maugiron attacked
him behind; Antragues turned, and Quelus profited by this movement
to get under the barrier.
"He is lost!" thought Chicot.
"Vive le roi!" cried D'Epernon.
"Silence, if you please, monsieur," said Antragues. At this instant
Livarot, of whom no one was thinking, rose on his knees, hideous
from the blood with which he was covered, and plunged his dagger
between the shoulders of Maugiron, who fell, crying out, "Mon
Dieu! I am killed!"
Livarot fell back again, fainting.
"M. de Quelus," said Antragues, "you are a brave man; yield--I
offer you your life."
"And why yield?"
"You are wounded, and I am not."
"Vive le roi!" cried Quelus; "I have still my sword!" And he
rushed on Antragues, who parried the thrust, and, seizing his
arm, wrested his sword from him, saying, "Now you have it no
"Oh, a sword!" cried Quelus; and, bounding like a tiger on Antragues,
he threw his arms round him.
Antragues struck him with his dagger again and again, but Quelus
managed to seize his hands, and twisted round him like a serpent,
with arms and legs. Antragues, nearly suffocated, reeled and
fell, but on the unfortunate Quelus. He managed to disengage
himself, for Quelus' powers were failing him, and, leaning on
one arm, gave him a last blow.
"Vive le r----" said Quelus, and that was all. The silence and
terror of death reigned everywhere.
Antragues rose, covered with blood, but it was that of his enemy.
D'Epernon made the sign of the cross, and fled as if he were pursued
Chicot ran and raised Quelus, whose blood was pouring out from
The movement roused him, and he opened his eyes.
"Antragues," said he, "on my honor, I am innocent of the death
"Oh! I believe you, monsieur," cried Antragues, much moved.
"Fly!" murmured Quelus; "the king will never forgive you."
"I cannot abandon you thus, even to escape the scaffold."
"Save yourself, young man," said Chicot; "do not tempt Providence
twice in one day."
Antragues approached Ribeirac, who still breathed.
"Well?" asked he.
"We are victors," said Antragues, in a low tone, not to offend
"Thanks," said Ribeirac; "now go."
And he fainted again.
Antragues picked up his own sword, which he had dropped, then
that of Quelus, which he presented to him. A tear shone in the
eyes of the dying man. "We might have been friends," he murmured.
"Now fly," said Chicot; "you are worthy of being saved."
"And my companions?"
"I will take care of them, as of the king's friends."
Antragues wrapped himself in a cloak which his squire handed
to him, so that no one might see the blood with which he was
covered, and, leaving the dead and wounded, he disappeared through
the Porte St. Antoine.
The king, pale with anxiety, and shuddering at the slightest
noise, employed himself in conjecturing, with the experience of
a practised man, the time that it would take for the antagonists
to meet and that the combat would last.
"Now," he murmured first, "they are crossing the Rue St. Antoine--now
they are entering the field--now they have begun." And at these
words, the poor king, trembling, began to pray.
Rising again in a few minutes, he cried:
"If Quelus only remembers the thrust I taught him! As for Schomberg,
he is so cool that he ought to kill Ribeirac; Maugiron, also,
should be more than a match for Livarot. But D'Epernon, he is
lost; fortunately he is the one of the four whom I love least.
But if Bussy, the terrible Bussy, after killing him, falls on
the others! Ah, my poor friends!"
"Sire!" said Crillon, at the door.
"Sire, I have no news but that the Duc d'Anjou begs to speak to
"He says that the moment has come for him to tell you what service
he rendered your majesty, and that what he has to tell you will
calm a part of your fears."
"Well, let him come."
At this moment they heard a voice crying, "I must speak to the
king at once!"
The king recognized the voice, and opened the door.
"Here, St. Luc!" cried he. "What is it? But, mon Dieu! what is
the matter? Are they dead?"
Indeed, St. Luc, pale, without hat or sword, and spotted with
blood, rushed into the king's room.
"Sire!" cried he, "vengeance! I ask for vengeance!"
"My poor St. Luc, what is it? You seem in despair."
"Sire, one of your subjects, the bravest, noblest, has been murdered
this night--traitorously murdered!"
"Of whom do you speak?"
"Sire, you do not love him, I know; but he was faithful, and,
if need were, would have shed all his blood for your majesty,
else he would not have been my friend."
"Ah!" said the king, who began to understand; and something like
a gleam of joy passed over his face.
"Vengeance, sire, for M. de Bussy!"
"M. de Bussy?"
"Yes, M. de Bussy, whom twenty assassins poniarded last night.
He killed fourteen of them."
"M. de Bussy dead?"
"Then he does not fight this morning?"
St. Luc cast a reproachful glance on the king, who turned away
his head, and, in doing so, saw Crillon still standing at the
door. He signed to him to bring in the duke.
"No, sire, he will not fight," said St. Luc; "and that is why
I ask, not for vengeance--I was wrong to call it so--but for
justice. I love my king, and am, above all things, jealous of
his honor, and I think that it is a deplorable service which
they have rendered to your majesty by killing M. de Bussy."
The Duc d'Anjou had just entered, and St. Luc's words had enlightened
the king as to the service his brother had boasted of having
"Do you know what they will say?" continued St. Luc. "They will
say, if your friends conquer, that it is because they first murdered
"And who will dare to say that?"
"Pardieu! everyone," said Crillon.
"No, monsieur, they shall not say that," replied the king, "for
you shall point out the assassin."
"I will name him, sire, to clear your majesty from so heinous
an accusation," said St. Luc.
"Well! do it."
The Duc d'Anjou stood quietly by.
"Sire," continued St. Luc, "last night they laid a snare for
Bussy, while he visited a woman who loved him; the husband, warned
by a traitor, came to his house with a troop of assassins; they
were everywhere--in the street--in the courtyard, even in the
In spite of his power over himself, the duke grew pale at these
"Bussy fought like a lion, sire, but numbers overwhelmed him,
"And he was killed," interrupted the king, "and justly; I will
certainly not revenge an adulterer."
"Sire, I have not finished my tale. The unhappy man, after having
defended himself for more than half an hour in the room, after
having triumphed over his enemies, escaped, bleeding, wounded,
and mutilated: he only wanted some one to lend him a saving hand,
which I would have done had I not been seized by his assassins,
and bound, and gagged. Unfortunately, they forgot to take away
my sight as well as my speech, for I saw two men approach the
unlucky Bussy, who was hanging on the iron railings. I heard him
entreat them for help, for in these two men he had the right to
reckon on two friends. Well, sire, it is horrible to relate--it
was still more horrible to see and hear--one ordered him to be
shot, and the other obeyed."
"And you know the assassins?" cried the king, moved in spite of
"Yes," said St. Luc, and turning to the prince, with an expression
of intense hatred, he cried, "the assassin, sire, was the prince,
The duke stood perfectly quiet and answered, "Yes, M. de St. Luc
is right; it was I, and your majesty will appreciate my action,
for M. de Bussy was my servant; but this morning he was to fight
against your majesty."
"You lie, assassin!" cried St. Luc. "Bussy, full of wounds, his
hands cut to pieces, a ball through his shoulder, and hanging
suspended on the iron trellis-work, might have inspired pity
in his most cruel enemies; they would have succored him. But
you, the murderer of La Mole and of Coconnas, you killed Bussy,
as you have killed, one after another, all your friends. You
killed Bussy, not because he was the king's enemy, but because
he was the confidant of your secrets. Ah! Monsoreau knew well
your reason for this crime."
"Cordieu!" cried Crillon, "why am I not king?"
"They insult me before you, brother," said the duke, pale with
"Leave us, Crillon," said the king. The officer obeyed.
"Justice, sire, justice!" cried St. Luc again.
"Sire," said the duke, "will you punish me for having served your
majesty's friends this morning?"
"And I," cried St. Luc, "I say that the cause which you espouse
is accursed, and will be pursued by the anger of God. Sire, when
your brother protects our friends, woe to them." The king shuddered.
Then they heard hasty steps and voices, followed by a deep silence;
and then, as if a voice from heaven came to confirm St. Luc's
words, three blows were struck slowly and solemnly on the door
by the vigorous arm of Crillon. Henri turned deadly pale.
"Conquered," cried he; "my poor friends!"
"What did I tell you, sire?" cried St. Luc. "See how murder succeeds."
But the king saw nothing, heard nothing; he buried his face in
his hands, and murmured. "Oh! my poor friends; who will tell
me about them?"
"I, sire," said Chicot.--"Well!" cried Henri.
"Two are dead, and the third is dying."
"Which is the third?"--"Quelus."
"Where is he?"--"At the Hotel Boissy."
The king said no more, but rushed from the room.
St. Luc had taken Diana home to his wife, and this had kept him
from appearing sooner at the Louvre. Jeanne passed three days
and nights watching her through the most frightful delirium.
On the fourth day, Jeaune, overcome by fatigue, went to take a
little rest: two hours after, when she returned, Diana was gone.
Quelus died at the Hotel Boissy, in the king's arms, after lingering
for thirty days.
Henri was inconsolable. He raised three magnificent tombs for
his friends, on which their effigies were sculptured, life-size,
in marble. He had innumerable masses said for them, and prayed
for their souls himself night and morning. For three months Chicot
never left his master. In September, Chicot received the following
letter, dated from the Priory of Beaume:
"DEAR M. CHICOT--The air is soft in this place, and the vintage
promises to be good this year. They say that the king, whose
life I saved, still grieves much. Bring him to the priory, dear
M. Chicot; we will give him wine of 1550, which I have discovered
in my cellar, and which is enough to make one forget the greatest
grief; for I find in the Holy Writ these words, 'Good wine rejoices
the heart of man.' It is in Latin. I will show it you. Come,
then, dear M. Chicot; come, with the king, M. d'Epernon, and M.
de St. Luc, and we will fatten them all.
"The reverend prior,
"Your humble servant and friend.
"P.S.--Tell the king that I have not yet had time to pray for
the souls of his friends; but when the vintage is over; I shall
not fail to do so."
"Amen," said Chicot; "here are poor devils well recommended to
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