Chicot the Jester
Part 6 out of 12
"Quite right," said Chicot; "silence there."
"Several millions!" repeated the king; "and against these millions,
how many Huguenots are there in my kingdom?"
"Four," said Chicot.
This new sally made the king and his friends laugh, but the duke
frowned, and his gentlemen murmured loudly.
Henri, becoming once more serious, said, "Well, duke, what do
you wish? To the point."
"I wish, sire--for your popularity is dearer to me than my own--that
your majesty should be superior to us in your zeal for religion--I
wish you to choose a chief for the League."
"Well!" said the king, to those who surrounded him, "what do you
think of it, my friends?"
Chicot, without saying a word, drew out a lion's skin from a corner,
and threw himself on it.
"What are you doing, Chicot?" asked the king.
"Sire, they say that night brings good counsel; that must be
because of sleep; therefore I am going to sleep, and to-morrow
I will reply to my cousin Guise."
The duke cast a furious glance on Chicot, who replied by a loud
"Well, sire!" said the duke, "what does your majesty say?"
"I think that, as usual, you are in the right, my cousin; convoke,
then, your principal leaguers, come at their head, and I will
choose the chief."
The Duc de Guise then took leave, and the Duc d'Anjou was about
to do the same, when the king said,--
"Stay, my brother, I wish to speak to you."
CASTOR AND POLLUX.
The king dismissed all his favorites, and remained with his brother.
The duke, who had managed to preserve a tolerably composed
countenance throughout, believed himself unsuspected, and remained
"My brother," said Henri, after assuring himself that, with the
exception of Chicot, no one remained in the room, "do you know
that I am a very happy prince?"
"Sire, if your majesty be really happy, it is a recompense from
Heaven for your merits."
"Yes, happy," continued the king, "for if great ideas do not
come to me, they do to my subjects. It is a great idea which has
occurred to my cousin Guise."
The duke make a sign of assent, and Chicot opened his eyes to
watch the king's face.
"Indeed," continued Henri, "to unite under one banner all the
Catholics, to arm all France on this pretext from Calais to
Languedoc, from Bretagne to Burgundy, so that I shall always
have an army ready to march against England, Holland, or Spain,
without alarming any of them--do you know, Francois, it is a
"Is it not, sire?" said the duke, delighted.
"Yes, I confess I feel tempted to reward largely the author of
this fine project."
Chicot opened his eyes, but he shut them again, for he had seen
on the face of the king one of his almost imperceptible smiles,
and he was satisfied.
"Yes," continued Henri, "I repeat such a project merits recompense,
and I will do what I can for the author of this good work, for
the work is begun--is it not, my brother?"
The duke confessed that it was.
"Better and better; my subjects not only conceive these good
ideas, but, in their anxiety to be of use to me, hasten to put
them in execution. But I ask you, my dear Francois, if it be
really to the Duc de Guise that I am indebted for this royal
"No, sire, it occurred to the Cardinal de Lorraine twenty years
ago, only the St. Bartholomew rendered it needless for the time."
"Ah! what a pity he is dead; but," continued Henri, with that
air of frankness which made him the first comedian of the day,
"his nephew has inherited it, and brought it to bear. What can
I do for him?"
"Sire," said Francois, completely duped by his brother, "you
exaggerate his merits. He has, as I say, but inherited the idea,
and another man has given him great help in developing it."
"His brother the cardinal?"
"Doubtless he has been occupied with it, but I do not mean him."
"Oh! sire, you do him too much honor."
"True, how could any good ideas come to such a butcher? But to
whom, then, am I to be grateful for aid to my cousin Guise?"
"To me, sire."
"To you!" cried Henri, as if in astonishment. "How! when I saw
all the world unchained against me, the preachers against my
vices, the poets against my weaknesses, while my friends laughed
at my powerlessness, and my situation was so harassing, that
it gave me gray hairs every day: such an idea came to you,
Francois--to you, whom I confess, for man is feeble and kings are
blind, I did not always believe to be my friend! Ah! Francois,
how guilty I have been." And Henri, moved even to tears, held
out his hand to his brother.
Chicot opened his eyes again.
"Oh!" continued Henri, "the idea is triumphant. Not being able
to raise troops without raising an outcry, scarcely to walk,
sleep, or love, without exciting ridicule, this idea gives me
at once an army, money, friends, and repose. But my cousin spake
of a chief?"
"This chief, you understand, Francois, cannot be one of my favorites;
none of them has at once the head and the heart necessary for
so important a post. Quelus is brave, but is occupied only by
his amours. Maugiron is also brave, but he thinks only of his
toilette. Schomberg also, but he is not clever. D'Epernon is
a valiant man, but he is a hypocrite, whom I could not trust,
although I am friendly to him. But you know, Francois, that one
of the heaviest taxes on a king is the necessity of dissimulation;
therefore, when I can speak freely from my heart, as I do now,
I breathe. Well, then, if my cousin Guise originated this idea,
to the development of which you have assisted, the execution
of it belongs to him."
"What do you say, sire?" said Francois, uneasily.
"I say, that to direct such a movement we must have a prince of
"Sire, take care."
"A good captain and a skilful negotiator."
"The last particularly."
"Well, is not M. de Guise all this?"
"My brother, he is very powerful already."
"Yes, doubtless; but his power makes my strength."
"He holds already the army and the bourgeois; the cardinal holds
the Church, and Mayenne is their instrument; it is a great deal
of power to be concentrated in one family."
"It is true, Francois; I had thought of that."
"If the Guises were French princes, their interest would be to
"Yes, but they are Lorraines."
"Of a house always rival to yours."
"Yes, Francois; you have touched the sore. I did not think you
so good a politician. Yes, there does not pass a day but one or
other of these Guises, either by address or by force, carries
away from me some particle of my power. Ah! Francois, if we had
but had this explanation sooner, if I had been able to read your
heart as I do now, certain of support in you, I might have resisted
better, but now it is too late."
"Because all combats fatigue me; therefore I must make him chief
of the League."
"You will be wrong, brother."
"But who could I name, Francois? who would accept this perilous
post? Yes, perilous; for do you not see that he intended me to
appoint him chief, and that, should I name any one else to the
post, he would treat him as an enemy?"
"Name some one so powerful that, supported by you, he need not
fear all the three Lorraine princes together."
"Ah, my good brother, I know no such person."
"Look round you, brother."
"I know no one but you and Chicot who are really my friends."
Henri looked at the duke as if a veil had fallen from his eyes.
"Surely you would never consent, brother! It is not you who could
teach all these bourgeois their exercise, who could look over
the discourses of the preachers, who, in case of battle, would
play the butcher in the streets of Paris; for all this, one must
be triple, like the duke, and have a right arm called Charles
and a left called Louis. What! you would like all this? You, the
first gentleman of our court! Mort de ma vie! how people change
with the age!"
"Perhaps I would not do it for myself, brother, but I would do
it for you."
"Excellent brother!" said Henri, wiping away a tear which never
"Then," said the duke, "it would not displease you for me to assume
"Displease me! On the contrary, it would charm me."
Francois trembled with joy. "Oh! if your majesty thinks me worthy
of this confidence."
"Confidence! When you are the chief, what have I to fear? The
League itself? That cannot be dangerous can it, Francois?"
"No, for then you would not be chief, or at least, when you are
chief, there will be no danger. But, Francois, the duke is doubtless
certain of this appointment, and he will not lightly give way."
"Sire, you grant me the command?"
"And you wish me to have it?"
"Particularly; but I dare not too much displease M. de Guise."
"Oh, make yourself easy, sire; if that be the only obstacle, I
pledge myself to arrange it."
"Are you going to him? That will be doing him too much honor."
"No, sire; he is waiting for me."
"In my room."
"Your room! I heard the cries of the people as he left the Louvre."
"Yes; but after going out at the great door he came back by the
postern. The king had the right to the first visit, but I to
"Ah, brother, I thank you for keeping up our prerogative, which
I had the weakness so often to abandon. Go, then, Francois, and
do your best."
Francois bent down to kiss the king's hand, but he, opening his
arms, gave him a warm embrace, and then the duke left the room
to go to his interview with the Duc de Guise. The king, seeing
his brother gone, gave an angry growl, and rapidly made his way
through the secret corridor, until he reached a hiding-place
whence he could distinctly hear the conversation between the two
"Ventre de biche!" cried Chicot, starting up, "how touching these
family scenes are! For an instant I believed myself in Olympus,
assisting at the reunion of Castor and Pollux after six months'
IN WHICH IT IS PROVED THAT LISTENING IS THE BEST WAY TO HEAR.
The Duc d'Anjou was well aware that there were few rooms in the
Louvre which were not built so that what was said in them could be
heard from the outside; but, completely seduced by his brother's
manner, he forgot to take any precautions.
"Why, monseigneur," said the Duc de Guise. "how pale you are!"
"Yes, to me."
"The king saw nothing?"
"I think not; but he retained you?"
"And what did he say, monseigneur?"
"He approves the idea, but the more gigantic it appears, the more
he hesitates to place a man like you at the head."
"Then we are likely to fail."
"I fear so, my dear duke; the League seems likely to fail."
"Before it begins."
At this moment Henri, hearing a noise, turned and saw Chicot
by his side, listening also. "You followed me, Knave!" said he.
"Hush, my son," said Chicot; "you prevent me from hearing."
"Monseigneur," said the Duc de Guise, "it seems to me that in
this case the king would have refused at once. Does he wish to
"I believe so."
"Then he would ruin the enterprise?"
"Yes; but I aided you with all my power."
"In this--the king has left me almost master, to kill or reanimate
"How so?" cried the duke, with sparkling eyes.
"Why, if, instead of dissolving the League, he named me chief----"
"Ah!" cried the duke, while the blood mounted to his face.
"Ah! the dogs are going to fight over their bones," said Chicot;
but to his surprise, and the king's, the Duc de Guise suddenly
became calm, and exclaimed, in an almost joyful tone:
"You are an adroit politician, monseigneur, if you did this."
"Yes, I did; but I would not conclude anything without speaking
"Why so, monseigneur?"
"Because I did not know what it would lead us to."
"Well, I will tell you, monseigneur, not to what it will lead
us--that God alone knows--but how it will serve us. The League
is a second army, and as I hold the first, and my brother the
Church, nothing can resist us as long as we are united."
"Without counting," said the Duc d'Anjou, "that I am heir presumptive
to the throne."
"True, but still calculate your bad chances."
"I have done so a hundred times."
"There is, first, the King of Navarre."
"Oh! I do not mind him; he is entirely occupied by his amours
with La Fosseuse."
"He, monseigneur, will dispute every inch with you; he watches
you and your brother; he hungers for the throne. If any accident
should happen to your brother, see if he will not be here with
a bound from Pau to Paris."
"An accident to my brother," repeated Francois.
"Listen, Henri," said Chicot.
"Yes, monseigneur," said the Duc de Guise, "an accident. Accidents
are not rare in your family; you know that, as well as I do.
One prince is in good health, and all at once he falls ill of
a lingering malady; another is counting on long years, when,
perhaps, he has but a few hours to live."
"Do you hear, Henri?" said Chicot, taking the hand of the king,
who shuddered at what he heard.
"Yes, it is true," said the Duc d'Anjou, "the princes of my house
are born under fatal influences; but my brother Henri is, thank
God, strong and well; he supported formerly the fatigues of war,
and now that his life is nothing but recreation--"
"Yes; but, monseigneur, remember one thing; these recreations
are not always without danger. How did your father, Henri II.,
die, for example? He, who also had happily escaped the dangers
of war. The wound by M. de Montgomery's lance was an accident.
Then your poor brother, Francois, one would hardly call a pain
in the ears an accident, and yet it was one; at least, I have
often heard it said that this mortal malady was poured into his
ear by some one well known."
"Duke!" murmured Francois, reddening.
"Yes, monseigneur; the name of king has long brought misfortune
with it. Look at Antoine de Bourbon, who died from a spot in
the shoulder. Then there was Jeanne d'Albret, the mother of the
Bearnais, who died from smelling a pair of perfumed gloves, an
accident very unexpected although there were people who had great
interest in this death. Then Charles IX., who died neither by
the eye, the ear, nor the shoulder, but by the mouth----"
"What do you say?" cried Francois, starting back.
"Yes, monseigneur, by the mouth. Those hunting books are very
dangerous, of which the pages stick together, and can only be
opened by wetting the finger constantly."
"Duke! duke! I believe you invent crimes."
"Crimes! who speaks of crimes? I speak of accidents. Was it not
also an accident that happened to Charles IX. at the chase? You
know what chase I mean; that of the boar, where, intending to
kill the wild boar, which had turned on your brother, you, who
never before had missed your aim, did so then, and the king would
have been killed, as he had fallen from his horse, had not Henri
of Navarre slain the animal which you had missed."
"But," said the Duc d'Anjou, trying to recover himself, "what
interest could I have had in the death of Charles IX., when the
next king would be Henri III.?"
"Oh! monseigneur, there was already one throne vacant, that of
Poland. The death of Charles IX. would have left another, that
of France; and even the kingdom of Poland might not have been
despised. Besides, the death of Charles would have brought you
a degree nearer the throne, and the next accident would have
"What do you conclude from all this, duke?" said the Duc d'Anjou.
"Monseigneur, I conclude that each king has his accident, and
that you are the inevitable accident of Henri III., particularly
if you are chief of the League."
"Then I am to accept?"
"Oh! I beg you to do so."
"Oh! be easy; my men are ready, and to-night Paris will be curious."
"What are they going to do in Paris to-night?" asked Henri.
"Oh! how foolish you are, my friend; to-night they sign the League
"It is well," said the Duc d'Anjou, "till this evening then."
"Yes, till this evening," said Henri.
"How!" said Chicot, "you will not risk going into the streets
"Yes, I shall."
"You are wrong, Henri; remember the accidents."
"Oh! I shall be well accompanied; will you come with me?"
"What! do you take me for a Huguenot? I shall go and sign the
League ten times. However, Henri, you have a great advantage over
your predecessors, in being warned, for you know your brother,
do you not?"
"Yes, and, mordieu! before long he shall find it out."
THE EVENING OF THE LEAGUE.
Paris presented a fine sight, as through its then narrow streets
thousands of people pressed towards the same point, for at eight
o'clock in the evening, M. le Duc de Guise was to receive the
signatures of the bourgeois to the League. A crowd of citizens,
dressed in their best clothes, as for a fete, but fully armed,
directed their steps towards the churches. What added to the
noise and confusion was that large numbers of women, disdaining
to stay at home on such a great day, had followed their husbands,
and many had brought with them a whole batch of children. It was
in the Rue de l'Arbre Sec that the crowd was the thickest. The
streets were literally choked, and the crowd pressed tumultuously
towards a bright light suspended below the sign of the Belle
Etoile. On the threshold a man, with a cotton cap on his head
and a naked sword in one hand and a register in the other, was
crying out, "Come come, brave Catholics, enter the hotel of the
Belle Etoile, where you will find good wine; come, to-night the
good will be separated from the bad, and to-morrow morning the
wheat will be known from the tares; come, gentlemen, you who
can write, come and sign;--you who cannot write, come and tell
your names to me, La Huriere; vive la messe!" A tall man elbowed
his way through the crowd, and in letters half an inch high, wrote
his name, 'Chicot.' Then, turning to La Huriere, he asked if he
had not another register to sign. La Huriere did not understand
raillery, and answered angrily. Chicot retorted, and a quarrel
seemed approaching, when Chicot, feeling some one touch his arm,
turned, and saw the king disguised as a simple bourgeois, and
accompanied by Quelus and Maugiron, also disguised, and carrying
an arquebuse on their shoulders.
"What!" cried the king, "good Catholics disputing among themselves;
par la mordieu, it is a bad example."
"Do not mix yourself with what does not concern you," replied
Chicot, without seeming to recognize him. But a new influx of
the crowd distracted the attention of La Huriere, and separated
the king and his companions from the hotel.
"Why are you here, sire?" said Chicot.
"Do you think I have anything to fear?"
"Eh! mon Dieu! in a crowd like this it is so easy for one man
to put a knife into his neighbor, and who just utters an oath
and gives up the ghost."
"Have I been seen?"
"I think not; but you will be if you stay longer. Go back to the
"Oh! oh! what is this new outcry, and what are the people running
Chicot looked, but could at first see nothing but a mass of people
crying, howling, and pushing. At last the mass opened, and a monk,
mounted on a donkey, appeared. The monk spoke and gesticulated,
and the ass brayed.
"Ventre de biche!" cried Chicot, "listen to the preacher."
"A preacher on a donkey!" cried Quelus.
"He is Silenus," said Maugiron.
"Which is the preacher?" said the king, "for they speak both at
"The underneath one is the most eloquent," said Chicot, "but the
one at the top speaks the best French; listen, Henri."
"My brethren," said the monk, "Paris is a superb city; Paris is
the pride of France, and the Parisians a fine people." Then he
began to sing, but the ass mingled his accompaniment so loudly
that he was obliged to stop. The crowd burst out laughing.
"Hold your tongue, Panurge, hold your tongue," cried the monk,
"you shall speak after, but let me speak first."
The ass was quiet.
"My brothers," continued the preacher, "the earth is a valley
of grief, where man often pan quench his thirst only with his
"He is drunk," said the king.
"I should think so."
"I, who speak to you," continued the monk, "I am returning from
exile like the Hebrews of old, and for eight days Panurge and
I have been living on alms and privations."
"Who is Panurge?" asked the king.
"The superior of his convent, probably but let me listen."
"Who made me endure this? It was Herod; you know what Herod I
speak of. I and Panurge have come from Villeneuve-le-Roi, in
three days, to assist at this great solemnity; now we see, but
we do not understand. What is passing, my brothers? Is it to-day
that they depose Herod? Is it to-day that they put brother Henri
in a convent?--Gentlemen," continued he, "I left Paris with two
friends; Panurge, who is my ass, and Chicot, who is his majesty's
jester. Can you tell me what has become of my friend Chicot?"
Chicot made a grimace.
"Oh," said the king, "he is your friend." Quelus and Maugiron
burst out laughing. "He is handsome and respectable," continued
"It is Gorenflot, of whom M. de Morvilliers spoke to you."
"The incendiary of St. Genevieve?"
"Then I will have him hanged!"
"He has no neck."
"My brothers," continued Gorenflot: "I am a true martyr, and it
is my cause that they defend at this moment or, rather, that
of all good Catholics. You do not know what is passing in the
provinces, we have been obliged at Lyons to kill a Huguenot who
preached revolt. While one of them remains in France, there will
be no tranquillity for us. Let us exterminate them. To arms!
Several voices repeated, "To arms!"
"Par la mordieu!" said the king, "make this fellow hold his tongue,
or he will make a second St. Bartholomew!"
"Wait," said Chicot, and with his stick he struck Gorenflot with
all his force on the shoulders.
"Murder!" cried the monk.
"It is you!" cried Chicot.
"Help me, M. Chicot, help me! The enemies of the faith wish to
assassinate me, but I will not die without making my voice heard.
Death to the Huguenots!"
"Will you hold your tongue?" cried Chicot. But at this moment
a second blow fell on the shoulders of the monk with such force
that he cried out with real pain. Chicot, astonished, looked
round him, but saw nothing but the stick. The blow had been given
by a man who had immediately disappeared in the crowd after
administering this punishment.
"Who the devil could it have been?" thought Chicot, and he began
to run after the man, who was gliding away, followed by only
THE RUE DE LA FERRONNERIE.
Chicot had good legs, and he would have made the best use of them
to join the man who had beaten Gorenflot if he had not imagined
that there might be danger in trying to recognize a man who so
evidently wished to avoid it. He thought the best way not to
seem to watch them was to pass them; so he ran on, and passed
them at the corner of the Rue Tirechappe, and then hid himself
at the end of the Rue des Bourdonnais. The two men went on, their
hats slouched over their eyes, and their cloaks drawn up over
their faces, with a quick and military step, until they reached
the Rue de la Ferronnerie. There they stopped and looked round
them. Chicot, who was still ahead, saw in the middle of the street,
before a house so old that it looked falling to pieces, a litter,
attached to which were two horses. The driver had fallen asleep,
while a woman, apparently unquiet, was looking anxiously through
the blind. Chicot hid himself behind a large atone wall, which
served as stalls for the vegetable sellers on the days when the
market was held in this street, and watched. Scarcely was he
hidden, when he saw the two men approach the litter, one of whom,
on seeing the driver asleep, uttered an impatient exclamation, while
the other pushed him to awaken him. "Oh, they are compatriots!"
thought Chicot. The lady now leaned out of the window, and Chicot
saw that she was young, very pale, but very beautiful. The two
men approached the litter, and the taller of the two took in
both of his the little white hand which was stretched out to him.
"Well, ma mie," asked he, "how are you?"
"I have been very anxious," replied she.
"Why the devil did you bring madame to Paris?" said the other
"Ma foi! it is a malediction that you must always have a petticoat
tacked to your doublet!"
"Ah, dear Agrippa," replied the man who had spoken first, "it
is so great a grief to part from one you love."
"On my soul, you make me swear to hear you talk! Did you come
to Paris to make love? It seems to me that Bearn is large enough
for your sentimental promenades, without continuing them in this
Babylon, where you have nearly got us killed twenty times to-day.
Go home, if you wish to make love, but, here, keep to your political
intrigues, my master."
"Let him scold, ma mie, and never mind him; I think he would be
ill if he did not."
"But, at least, ventre St. Gris, as you say, get into the litter,
and say your sweet things to madame; you will run less risk of
being recognized there than in the open street."
"You are right, Agrippa. Give me a place, ma mie, if you permit
me to sit by your side."
"Permit, sire; I desire it ardently," replied the lady.
"Sire!" murmured Chicot, who, carried away by an impulse, tried
to raise his head, and knocked it against the stone wall. Meanwhile
the happy lover profited by the permission given, and seated
himself in the litter.
"Oh! how happy I am," he cried, without attending in the least
to the impatience of his friend--"ventre St. Gris, this is a
good day. Here are my good Parisians, who execrate me with all
their souls, and would kill me if they could, working to smooth
my way to the throne, and I have in my arms the woman I love.
Where are we, D'Aubigne? when I am king, I will erect here a
statue to the genius of the Bearnais."
"The Bearn----" began Chicot, but he stopped, for he had given his
head a second bump.
"We are in the Rue de la Ferronnerie, sire," said D'Aubigne, "and
it does not smell nice."
"Get in then, Agrippa, and we will go on."
"Ma foi, no, I will follow behind; I should annoy you, and, what
is worse, you would annoy me."
"Shut the door then, bear of Bearn, and do as you like." Then
to the coachman he said, "Lavarrenne, you know where."
The litter went slowly away, followed by D'Aubigne.
"Let me see," said Chicot, "must I tell Henri what I have seen?
Why should I? two men and a woman, who hide themselves; it would be
cowardly. I will not tell; that I know it myself is the important
point, for is it not I who reign? His love was very pretty, but
he loves too often, this dear Henri of Navarre. A year ago it
was Madame de Sauve, and I suppose this was La Fosseuse. However,
I love the Bearnais, for I believe some day he will do an ill
turn to those dear Guises. Well! I have seen everyone to-day
but the Duc d'Anjou; he alone is wanting to my list of princes.
Where can my Francois III. be? Ventre de biche, I must look for
the worthy monarch."
Chicot was not the only person who was seeking for the Duc d'Anjou,
and unquiet at his absence. The Guises had also sought for him on
all sides, but they were not more lucky than Chicot. M. d'Anjou
was not the man to risk himself imprudently, and we shall see
afterwards what precautions had kept him from his friends. Once
Chicot thought he had found him in the Rue Bethisy; a numerous
group was standing at the door of a wine-merchant; and in this
group Chicot recognized M. de Monsoreau and M. de Guise, and
fancied that the Duc d'Anjou could not be far off. But he was
wrong. MM. de Monsoreau and Guise were occupied in exciting still
more an orator in his stammering eloquence. This orator was
Gorenflot, recounting his journey to Lyons, and his duel in an
inn with a dreadful Huguenot. M. de Guise was listening intently,
for he began to fancy it had something to do with the silence
of Nicolas David. Chicot was terrified; he felt sure that in
another moment Gorenflot would pronounce his name, which would
throw a fatal light on the mystery. Chicot in an instant cut the
bridles of some of the horses that were fastened up, and giving
them each a violent blow, sent them galloping among the crowd,
which opened, and began to disperse in different directions. Chicot
passed quickly through the groups, and approaching Gorenflot,
took Panurge by the bridle and turned him round. The Duc de Guise
was already separated from them by the rush of the people, and
Chicot led off Gorenflot to a kind of cul-de-sac by the church
of St. Germain l'Auxerrois.
"Ah! drunkard!" said he to him, "ah! traitor! you will then always
prefer a bottle of wine to your friend.'
"Ah! M. Chicot," stammered the monk.
"What! I feed you, wretch, I give you drink, I fill your pockets
and your stomach, and you betray me."
"Ah! M. Chicot!"
"You tell my secrets, wretch."
"Hold your tongue; you are but a sycophant, and deserve punishment."
And the monk, vigorous and strong, powerful as a bull, but overcome
by wine and repentance, remained without defending himself in
the hands of Chicot, who shook him like a balloon full of air.
"A punishment to me, to your friend, dear M. Chicot!"
"Yes, to you," said Chicot, striking him over the shoulders with
"Ah! if I were but fasting."
"You would beat me, I suppose; I, your friend."
"My friend! and you treat me thus!"
"He who loves well chastises well," said Chicot, redoubling his
proofs of friendship. "Now," said he, "go and sleep at the Corne
"I can no longer see my way," cried the monk, from whose eyes
tears were falling.
"Ah!" said Chicot, "if you wept for the wine you have drunk! However,
I will guide you."
And taking the ass by the bridle, he led him to the hotel, where
two men assisted Gorenflot to dismount, and led him up to the
room which our readers already know.
"It is done," said the host, returning.
"He is in bed?"
"Yes, and snoring."
"Very well. But as he will awake some day or other, remember
that I do not wish that he should know how he came here; indeed,
it will be better that he should not know that he has been out
since the famous night when he made such a noise in the convent,
and that he should believe that all that has passed since is a
"Very well, M. Chicot; but what has happened to the poor monk?"
"A great misfortune. It appears that at Lyons he quarreled with
an agent of M. de Mayenne's and killed him."
"Oh! mon Dieu!"
"So that M. de Mayenne has sworn that he will have him broken
on the wheel."
"Make yourself easy, monsieur; he shall not go out from here on
"Good. And now," said Chicot, as he went away, "I must find the
THE PRINCE AND THE FRIEND.
We may remember that the Duc de Guise had invited the Duc d'Anjou
to meet him in the streets of Paris that evening. However, he
determined not to go out of his palace unless he was well
accompanied; therefore the duke went to seek his sword, which
was Bussy d'Amboise. For the duke to make up his mind to this
step he must have been very much afraid; for since his deception
with regard to M. de Monsoreau he had not seen Bussy, and stood
in great dread of him. Bussy, like all fine natures, felt sorrow
more vividly than pleasure; for it is rare that a man intrepid
in danger, cold and calm in the face of fire and sword, does not
give way to grief more easily than a coward. Those from whom a
woman can draw tears most easily are those most to be feared by
other men. Bussy had seen Diana received at court as Comtesse
de Monsoreau, and as such admitted by the queen into the circle
of her maids of honor; he had seen a thousand curious eyes fixed
on her unrivaled beauty. During the whole evening he had fastened
his ardent gaze on her, who never raised her eyes to him, and
he, unjust, like every man in love, never thought how she must
have been suffering from not daring to meet his sympathizing
"Oh," said he to himself, seeing that he waited uselessly for
a look, "women have skill and audacity only when they want to
deceive a guardian, a husband, or a mother; they are awkward
and cowardly when they have simply a debt of gratitude to pay,
they fear so much to seem to love--they attach so exaggerated
a value to their least favor, that they do not mind breaking
their lover's heart, if such be their humor. Diana might have
said to me frankly, 'I thank you for what you have done for me,
but I do not love you.' The blow would have killed or cured me.
But no; she prefers letting me love her hopelessly; but she has
gained nothing by it, for I no longer love her, I despise her."
And he went away with rage in his heart.
"I am mad," thought he, "to torment myself about a person who
disdains me. But why does she disdain me, or for whom? Not,
surely, for that long, livid-looking skeleton, who, always by
her side, covers her incessantly with his jealous glances. If
I wished it, in a quarter of an hour I could hold him mute and
cold under my knee with ten inches of steel in his heart, and
if I cannot be loved, I could at least be terrible and hated.
Oh, her hatred! Rather than her indifference. Yes, but to act
thus would be to do what a Quelus or a Maugiron would do if they
knew how to love. Better to resemble that hero of Plutarch whom
I so much admired, the young Antiochus, dying of love and never
avowing it, nor uttering a complaint. Am I not called the brave
He went home, and threw himself on a chair. How long he remained
there he did not know when a man approached him.
"M. le Comte," said he, "you are in a fever."
"Ah, is it you, Remy?"
"Yes, count. Go to bed,"
Bussy obeyed, and all the next day Remy watched by him, with
refreshing drinks for his body and kind words for his mind. But
on the day after Bussy missed him. "Poor lad!" thought he, "he
was tired and wanted air; and then doubtless Gertrude expected
him; she is but a femme de chambre, but she loves, and a femme
de chambre who loves is better than a queen who does not."
The day passed, and Remy did not return. Bussy was angry and
impatient. "Oh!" cried he, "I, who still believed in gratitude
and friendship, will henceforth believe in nothing." Towards
evening he heard voices in his ante-chamber, and a servant entered,
saying, "It is Monseigneur the Duc d'Anjou."
"Let him enter," said Bussy, frowning.
The duke, on entering the room, which was without lights, said,
"It is too dark here, Bussy."
Bussy did not answer; disgust closed his mouth. "Are you really
ill," said the duke, "that you do not answer?"
"I am very ill."
"Then that is why I have not seen you for two days?"
The prince, piqued at these short answers, began to examine the
"You seem to me well lodged, Bussy," said he.
Bussy did not reply.
"Bussy must be very ill," said the duke to an attendant who stood
by, "why was not Miron called? The king's doctor is not too good
for Bussy." When the servant was gone, "Are you in grief, Bussy?"
said the duke.
"I do not know."
The duke approached, becoming more and more gracious as he was
rebuffed. "Come, speak frankly, Bussy," said he.
"What am I to say, monseigneur?"
"You are angry with me?"
"I! for what? besides, it is no use to be angry with princes."
The duke was silent.
"But," said Bussy, "we are losing time in preambles; to the point,
monseigneur. You have need of me, I suppose?"
"Ah, M. de Bussy!"
"Yes, doubtless; do you think I believe that you come here through
friendship; you, who love no one?"
"Oh, Bussy, to say such things to me!"
"Well, be quick, monseigneur, what do you want? When one serves
a prince, and he dissimulates to the extent of calling you his
friend, one must pay for the dissimulation by being ready to
sacrifice everything, even life, if necessary."
The duke colored, but it was too dark to see it. "I wanted nothing
of you, Bussy, and you deceive yourself in thinking my visit
interested. I desire only, seeing the fine evening, and that
all Paris is out to sign the League, that you should accompany
me a little about the streets."
Bussy looked at him. "Have you not Aurilly to go with you?"
"Ah, monseigneur, you do not mention all his qualities; I believed
that he fulfilled other functions for you. Besides, you have a
dozen other gentlemen; I hear them in the ante-chamber."
At this moment the door opened. "Who is there?" said the duke,
haughtily. "Who enters unannounced where I am?"
"I, Remy," replied the young man, without any embarrassment.
"Who is Remy?"
"The doctor, monseigneur," said the young man.
"And my friend," said Bussy. "You heard what monseigneur asks?"
continued he, turning to Remy.
"Yes, that you should accompany him; but----"
"But what?" said the duke.
"But you cannot do it!"
"And why so?" cried the duke.
"Because it is too cold out of doors."
"Too cold!" cried the duke, surprised that any one should oppose
"Yes, too cold. Therefore I, who answer for M. Bussy's life to
himself and to his friends, must forbid him to go out." And he
pressed Bussy's hand in a significant manner.
"Very well," said the duke, "if the risk be so great, he must
stay." And he turned angrily to the door; but returning to the
bed, he said, "Then you have decided not to come?"
"Monseigneur, you hear that the doctor forbids me."
"You ought to see Miron, he is a great doctor."
"I prefer my friend."
No sooner was the duke gone than Remy said, "Now, monsieur, get
up at once, if you please."
"To come out with me. This room is too warm."
"You said just now to the duke that it was too cold outside."
"The temperature has changed since."
"So that----" said Bussy, with curiosity.
"So that now I am convinced that the air will do you good."
"I do not understand."
"Do you understand the medicines I give you? Yet you take them.
Come, get up; a walk with M. d'Anjou is dangerous, with me it is
healthy. Have you lost confidence in me? If so, send me away."
"Well, as you wish it." Ana he rose, pale and trembling.
"An interesting paleness," said Remy.
"But where are we going?"
"To a place where I have analyzed the air to-day."
"And this air?"
"Is sovereign for your complaint, monseigneur."
Bussy dressed, and they went out.
ETYMOLOGY OF THE RUE DE LA JUSSIENNE.
Remy took his patient by the arm, and led him by the Rue Coquilliere
down to the rampart.
"It is strange," said Bussy, "you take me near the marsh of the
Grange-Batelier, and call it healthy."
"Oh, monsieur, a little patience; we are going to turn round
the Rue Pagavin, and get into the Rue Montmartre--you will see
what a fine street that is."
"As if I do not know it."
"Well, so much the better; I need not lose time in showing you
its beauties, and I will lead you at once into a pretty little
Indeed, after going a few steps down the Rue Montmartre, they
turned to the right.
"This," said Remy, "is the Rue de la Gypecienne, or Egyptienne,
which you like; often called by the people the Rue de la Gyssienne,
"Very likely; but where are we going?"
"Do you see that little church?" said Remy. "How nicely it is
situated; I dare say you never remarked it before."
"No, I did not know it."
"Well, now that you have seen the exterior, enter and look at
the windows--they are very curious."
There was such a pleased smile on the young man's face, that
Bussy felt sure there must have been some other reason for making
him enter than to look at the windows which it was too dark to
see. The chapel was lighted, however, for service, and Remy began
examining a fresco of the Virgin Mary, which was a continual
source of complaint to the women who frequented the church, as
they said that it attracted the attention of the young shopkeepers
away from them.
"You had some other object in bringing me here than that I should
admire the St. Marie, had you not?"
"Ma foi! no."
"Then let us go."
"Wait a moment; the service is finishing."
"Now let us go," said Bussy; "they are moving;" and he walked
to the door.
"At least take some holy water."
Bussy obeyed, and Remy making a sign to a woman who stood near,
she advanced, and Bussy grew suddenly pale, for he recognized
Gertrude. She saluted him and passed on, but behind her came
a figure which, although closely veiled, made his heart beat
fast. Remy looked at him, and Bussy knew now why he had brought
him to this church. Bussy followed the lady, and Remy followed
him. Gertrude had walked on before, until she came to an alley
closed by a door. She opened it, and let her mistress pass. Bussy
followed, and the two others disappeared.
It was half-past seven in the evening, and near the beginning
of May; the air began to have the feeling of spring, and the
leaves were beginning to unfold themselves. Bussy looked round
him, and found himself in a little garden fifty feet square,
surrounded by high walls covered with vines and moss. The first
lilacs which had begun to open in the morning sun sent out their
sweet emanations, and the young man felt tempted to think that
so much perfume and warmth and life came to him only from the
presence of the woman he loved so tenderly.
On a little wooden bench sat Diana, twisting in her fingers a
sprig of wall-flower, which she had picked, without knowing what
she did. As Bussy approached her, she raised her head, and said
timidly, "M. le Comte, all deception would be unworthy of us;
if you found me at the church of St. Marie l'Egyptienne, it was
not chance that brought you there."
"No, madame; Remy took me out without my knowing where I was going,
and I swear to you that I was ignorant----"
"You do not understand me, monsieur, I know well that M. Remy
brought you there, by force, perhaps."
"No, madame, not by force; I did not know that he was going to
take me to see any one."
"That is a harsh speech," said Diana, sadly, and with tears in
her eyes. "Do you mean that had you known, you would not have
"It would have been but just, monsieur; you did me a great service,
and I have not thanked you. Pardon me, and receive all my thanks."
"Madame----" Bussy stopped; he felt so overcome, that he had neither
words nor ideas.
"But I wished to prove to you," continued Diana, "that I am not
ungrateful, nor forgetful. It was I who begged M. Remy to procure
for me the honor of this interview; it was I who sought for it,
forgive me if I have displeased you."
"Oh, madame! you cannot think that."
"I know," continued Diana, who was the strongest, because she
had prepared herself for this interview, "how much trouble you
had in fulfilling my commission; I know all your delicacy; I
know it and appreciate it, believe me. Judge, then, what I must
have suffered from the idea that you would misunderstand the
sentiments of my heart."
"Madame, I have been ill for three days."
"Oh! I know," cried Diana, with a rising color, "and I suffered
more than you, for M. Remy, he deceived me, no doubt; for he
made me believe----"
"That your forgetfulness caused it. Oh! it is true."
"Then I have been right to do as I have done; to see you, to thank
you for your kindness, and to swear to you an eternal gratitude.
Do you believe that I speak from the bottom of my heart?"
Bussy shook his head sadly, and did not reply.
"Do you doubt my words?" said Diana.
"Madame, those who feel a kindness for you, show it when they
can. You knew I was at the palace the night of your presentation,
you knew I was close to you, you must have felt my looks fixed
on you, and you never raised your eyes to me, you never let me
know by a word, a sign, or a gesture, that you were aware of
my presence; but perhaps you did not recognize me, madame, you
have only seen me twice." Diana replied with so sad a glance
of reproach, that Bussy was moved by it.
"Pardon, madame," said he; "you are not an ordinary woman, and
yet you act like them. This marriage----"
"I was forced to conclude it."
"Yes, but it was easy to break."
"Impossible, on the contrary."
"Did you not know that near you watched a devoted friend?"
"Even that made me fear."
"And you did not think of what my life would be, when you belonged
to another. But perhaps you kept the name of Monsoreau from
"Do you think so?" murmured Diana; "so much the better." And
her eyes filled with tears. Bussy walked up and down in great
"I am to become once more a stranger to you," said he.
"Your silence says enough."
"I can only speak by my silence."
"At the Louvre you would not see me, and now you will not speak
"At the Louvre I was watched by M. de Monsoreau, and he is jealous."
"Jealous! What does he want then? mon Dieu! whose happiness can
he envy, when all the world is envying his?"
"I tell you he is jealous; for the last two or three days he has
seen some one wandering round our new abode."
"Then you have quitted the Rue St. Antoine?"
"How!" cried Diana thoughtlessly, "then it was not you?"
"Madame, since your marriage was publicly announced, since that
evening at the Louvre, where you did not deign to look at me, I
have been in bed, devoured by fever, so you see that your husband
could not be jealous of me, at least."
"Well! M. le Comte, if it be true that you had any desire to see
me, you must thank this unknown man; for knowing M. de Monsoreau
as I know him, this man made me tremble for you, and I wished
to see you and say to you, 'Do not expose yourself so, M. le
Comte; do not make me more unhappy than I am.'"
"Reassure yourself, madame; it was not I."
"Now, let me finish what I have to say. In the fear of this man--whom
I do not know, but whom M. de Monsoreau does perhaps--he exacts
that I should leave Paris, so that," said Diana, holding out her
hand to Bussy, "you may look upon this as our last meeting, M. le
Comte. To-morrow we start for Meridor."
"You are going, madame?"
"There is no other way to reassure M. de Monsoreau; no other way
for me to be at peace. Besides, I myself detest Paris, the world,
the court, and the Louvre. I wish to be alone with my souvenirs
of my happy past; perhaps a little of my former happiness will
return to me there. My father will accompany me, and I shall
find there M. and Madame de St. Luc, who expect me. Adieu, M.
Bussy hid his face in his hands. "All is over for me," he murmured.
"What do you say?" said Diana.
"I say, madame, that this man exiles you, that he takes from
me the only hope left to me, that of breathing the same air as
yourself, of seeing you sometimes, of touching your dress as
you pass. Oh! this man is my mortal enemy, and if I perish for
it, I will destroy him with my own hands."
"Oh! M. le Comte!"
"The wretch; it is not enough for him that you are his wife:
you, the most beautiful and most charming of creatures, but he
is still jealous. Jealous! The devouring monster would absorb
the whole world!"
"Oh! calm yourself, comte; mon Dieu; he is excusable, perhaps."
"He is excusable! you defend him, madame?"
"Oh! if you knew!" cried Diana, covering her face with her hands.
"If I knew! Oh! madame, I know one thing; he who is your husband
is wrong to think of the rest of the world."
"But!" cried Diana, in a broken voice, "if you were wrong, M.
le Comte, and if he were not."
And the young woman, touching with her cold hand the burning ones
of Bussy, rose and fled among the somber alleys of the garden,
seized Gertrude's arm and dragged her away, before Bussy, astonished
and overwhelmed with delight, had time to stretch out his arms
to retain her. He uttered a cry and tottered; Remy arrived in
time to catch him in his arms and make him sit down on the bench
that Diana had just quitted.
HOW D'EPERNON HAD HIS DOUBLET TORN, AND HOW CHOMBERG WAS STAINED
While M. la Huriere piled signature upon signature, while Chicot
consigned Gorenflot to the Corne d'Abondance, while Bussy returned
to life in the happy little garden full of perfume and love,
the king, annoyed at all he had seen in the city, and furious
against his brother, whom he had seen pass in the Rue St. Honore,
accompanied by MM. de Guise and Monsoreau, and followed by a
whole train of gentlemen, re-entered the Louvre, accompanied
by Maugiron and Quelus. He had gone out with all four of his
friends, but, at some steps from the Louvre, Schomberg and D'Epernon
had profited by the first crush to disappear, counting on some
adventures in such a turbulent night. Before they had gone one
hundred yards D'Epernon had passed his sword-sheath between the
legs of a citizen who was running, and who tumbled down in
consequence, and Schomberg had pulled the cap off the head of
a young and pretty woman. But both had badly chosen their day
for attacking these good Parisians, generally so patient; for a
spirit of revolt was prevalent in the streets, and the bourgeois
rose, crying out for aid, and the husband of the young woman
launched his apprentices on Schomberg. He was brave; therefore
he stopped, put his hand on his sword, and spoke in a high tone.
D'Epernon was prudent; he fled.
Henri had entered his room at the Louvre, and, seated in his
great armchair, was trembling with impatience, and seeking a
good pretext for getting into a passion. Maugiron was playing
with Narcissus, the large greyhound, and Quelus was sitting near.
"They go on!" cried Henri, "their plot advances; sometimes tigers,
sometimes serpents; when they do not spring they glide."
"Oh, sire!" said Quelus, "are there not always plots in a kingdom?
What the devil could all the sons, brothers, and cousins of kings
do if they did not plot?" And Quelus irreverently turned his
back to the king.
"Hear, Maugiron," said the king, "with what nonsense he tries
to put me off."
"Well, sire, look at Narcissus; he is a good dog, but when you
pull his ears, he growls, and when you tread on his toes he bites."
"Here is the other comparing me to my dog!"
"Not so, sire; I place Narcissus far above you, for he knows
how to defend himself, and you do not." And he also turned his
"That is right," cried the king, "my good friends, for whom they
accuse me of despoiling the kingdom, abandon me, insult me! Ah,
Chicot! if you were here."
At this moment, however, the door opened, and D'Epernon appeared,
without hat or cloak, and with his doublet all torn.
"Bon Dieu!" cried Henri, "what is the matter?"
"Sire," said D'Epernon, "look at me; see how they treat the friends
of your majesty."
"Who has treated you thus?"
"Mordieu, your people; or rather the people of; M. le Duc d'Anjou,
who cried, 'Vive la Messe!' 'Vive Guise!' 'Vive Francois!--vive
everyone, in fact, except the king."
"And what did you do to be treated thus?"
"I? nothing. What can a man do to a people? They recognized me
for your majesty's friend, and that was enough."
"Did he not come to your aid? did he not defend you?"
"Corboeuf! he had enough to do on his own account."
"I left him in the hands of a dyer whose wife's cap he had pulled
off, and who, with his five or six apprentices, seemed likely
to make him pass an unpleasant quarter of an hour."
"Par la mordieu! and where did you leave my poor Schomberg? I
will go myself to his aid. They may say," continued he, looking
at Maugiron and Quelus, "that my friends abandon me, but they
shall never say that I abandon them."
"Thanks, sire," said a voice behind Henri; "thanks, but here
I am; I extricated myself without assistance; but, mein Gott!
it was not without trouble."
"It is Schomberg's voice," cried all, "but where the devil is
"Here I am," cried the voice; and indeed, in the corner of the
room they saw something that looked not like a man but a shadow.
"Schomberg," cried the king, "where do you come from, and why
are you that color?"
Indeed, Schomberg from head to foot was of a most beautiful blue.
"Der Teufel!" cried he, "the wretches! It is not wonderful that
the people ran after me."
"But what is the matter?"
"The matter is, that they dipped me in a vat, the knaves; I believed
that it was only water, but it was indigo."
"Oh, mordieu!" cried Quelus, bursting out laughing, "indigo is
very dear; you must have carried away at least twenty crowns'
worth of indigo."
"I wish you had been in my place."
"And you did not kill any one?"
"I left my poniard somewhere, that is all I know, up to the hilt
in a sheath of flesh; but in a second I was taken, carried off,
dipped in the vat, and almost drowned."
"And how did you get out of their hands?"
"By committing a cowardice, sire."
"What was that?"
"Crying, 'Vive la Ligue!'"
"That was like me; only they made me add, 'Vive le Duc d'Anjou!'"
"And I also," cried Schomberg; "but that is not all."
"What, my poor Schomberg, did they make you cry something else?"
"No, that was enough, God knows; but just as I cried, 'Vive le
Duc d'Anjou,' guess who passed."
"How can I guess?"
"Bussy; his cursed Bussy, who heard me."
"He could not understand."
"Parbleu! it was not difficult to understand. I had a poniard
at my throat, and I was in a vat."
"And he did not come to your rescue?"
"It seemed as though he was in a dreadful hurry; he scarcely seemed
to touch the ground."
"Perhaps he did not recognize you, as you were blue."
"Ah! very likely."
"He would be excusable," said the king; "for, indeed, my poor
Schomberg, I should hardly have known you myself."
"Never mind; we shall meet some other time, when I am not in a
"Oh! as for me," said D'Epernon, "it is his master I should like
"The Duc d'Anjou, whose praises they are singing all over Paris,"
"The fact is, that he is master of Paris to-night," said D'Epernon.
"Ah, my brother! my brother!" cried the king. "Ah! yes, sire;
you cry, 'my brother,' but you do nothing against him; and yet
it is clear to me that he is at the head of some plot." said
"Eh, mordieu! that is what I was saying just before you came in,
to these gentlemen, and they replied by shrugging their shoulders
and turning their backs."
"Not because you said there was a plot, sire, but because you
do nothing to suppress it."
"And, now," said Quelus, "we say, 'Save us,' sire; or rather,
save yourself; to-morrow M. de Guise will come to the Louvre, and
ask you to name a chief for the League; if you name M. d'Anjou, as
you promised, he, at the head of one hundred thousand Parisians,
excited by this night, can do what he likes."
"Then," said Henri, "if I take a decisive step, you will support
"If, sire, you will only give me time to remodel my dress," said
"Go to my room, D'Epernon; my valet de chambre will give you what
"And I, sire, must have a bath," said Schomberg.
"Go to my bath."
"Then I may hope, sire, that my insult will not remain unavenged."
Henri remained silent a moment, and then said, "Quelus, ask if
M. d'Anjou has returned to the Louvre."
Quelus went, but came back, and said that the duke had not yet
"Well, you, Quelus and Maugiron, go down and watch for his entrance."
"Have all the doors shut."
"I will be back in ten minutes, sire," said D'Epernon.
"And my stay will depend on the quality of the dye," said Schomberg.
"Come as soon as possible," said the king.
The young men went out, and the king, left alone, kneeled down
on his prie-Dieu.
CHICOT MORE THAN EVER KING OF FRANCE.
The gates of the Louvre were generally closed at twelve, but
the king gave orders that they should be left open on this night
till one. At a quarter to one Quelus came up.
"Sire," said he, "the duke has come in."
"What is Maugiron doing?"
"Watching that he does not go out again."
"There is no danger."
"Let him go to bed quietly. Whom has he with him?"
"M. de Monsoreau and his ordinary gentlemen."
"And M. de Bussy?"
"No; he is not there."
"So much the better."
"What are your orders, sire?"
"Tell Schomberg and D'Epernon to be quick, and let M. de Monsoreau
know that I wish to speak to him."
Five minutes after, Schomberg and D'Epernon entered; the former
with only a slight blue tint left, which it would take several
baths to eradicate, and the latter newly clothed. After them,
M. de Monsoreau appeared. "The captain of the guards has just
announced to me that your majesty did me the honor to send for
me," said he.
"Yes, monsieur; when I was out this evening, I saw the stars
so brilliant, and the moon so clear, that I thought it would
be splendid weather for the chase to-morrow; so, M. le Comte,
set off at once for Vincennes, and get a stag turned out ready
"But, sire, I thought that to-morrow your majesty had given a
rendezvous to Monsieur le Duc d'Anjou and M. de Guise, in order
to name a chief for the League."
"Well, monsieur?" said the king haughtily.
"Sire, there might not be time."
"There is always time, monsieur, for those who know how to employ
it; that is why I tell you to set off at once, so that you may
have all ready for to-morrow morning at ten. Quelus, Schomberg,
have the door of the Louvre opened for M. de Monsoreau, and have
it closed behind him."
The chief huntsman retired in astonishment. "It is a whim of the
king's," said he to the young men.
They watched him out, and then returned to the king.
"Now," said Henri, "silence, and all four of you follow me."
"Where are we going, sire?" said D'Epernon.
"Those who follow will see."
The king took a lantern in his hand, and led the young men along
the secret corridor, which led to his brother's rooms. A
valet-de-chambre watched here; but before he had time to warn
his master, Henri ordered him to be silent, and the young men
pushed him into a room and locked the door.
Henri opened his brother's door. Francois had gone to bed full of
dreams of ambition, which the events of the evening had nourished;
he had heard his name exalted, and the king's abused. Conducted
by the Duc de Guise, he had seen the Parisians open everywhere
for him and his gentlemen, while those of the king were insulted
and hooted. Never since the commencement of his career had he
been so popular, and consequently so hopeful. He had placed on
the table a letter from M. de Guise, which had been brought to
him by M. de Monsoreau. His surprise and terror were great when
he saw the secret door open, and still more when he recognized
the king. Henri signed to his companions to remain on the
threshold, and advanced to the bed, frowning, but silent.
"Sire," stammered the duke, "the honor that your majesty does
me is so unlooked for----"
"That it frightens you, does it not? But stay where you are, my
brother; do not rise."
"But, sire, only--permit me----" and he drew towards him the letter
of M. de Guise.
"You are reading?" asked the king.
"Something interesting to keep you awake at this time of night?"
"Oh, sire, nothing very important; the evening courier----"
"Oh, yes, I understand--Courier of Venus; but no, I see I am
wrong--they do not seal billet-doux with seals of that size."
The duke hid the letter altogether.
"How discreet this dear Francois is!" said the king, with a smile
which frightened his brother. However, making an effort to recover
himself, he said:
"Did your majesty wish to say anything particular to me?"
"What I have to say to you, monsieur, I wish to say before witnesses.
Here, gentlemen," continued he, turning to the four young men,
"listen to us; I order you."
"Sire," said the duke, with a glance full of rage and hatred,
"before insulting a man of my rank, you should have refused me
the hospitality of the Louvre; in the Hotel d'Anjou, at least,
I should have been free to reply to you."
"Really, you forget, then, that wherever you are, you are my
subject; that I am the king, and that every house is mine."
"Sire, I am at the Louvre, at my mother's."
"And your mother is in my house. But to the point--give me that
"That which you were reading, which was on your table, and which
you hid when I came in."
"On this, that you are making a request unworthy of a gentleman,
and fit only for a police-officer."
The king grew livid. "That letter, monsieur!"
"A woman's letter, sire."
"There are some women's letters very good to see, and dangerous
not to see--such as those our mother writes."
"This letter, monsieur!" cried the king, stamping his foot, "or
I will have it torn from you by my Swiss!"
The duke jumped out of bed, with the letter crumpled in his hand,
evidently with the intention of approaching the fire. But Henri,
divining his intention, placed himself between him and the fire.
"You would not treat your brother thus?" cried the duke.
"Not my brother, but my mortal enemy. Not my brother, but the
Duc D'Anjou, who went all through Paris with M. de Guise, who
tries to hide from me a letter from one of his accomplices, the
"This time," said the duke, "your police are wrong."
"I tell you I saw on the seal the three merlets of Lorraine. Give
it to me, mordieu! or----"
Henri advanced towards his brother and laid his hand on his shoulder.
Francois had no sooner felt the touch of his hand than, falling
on his knees, he cried out, "Help! help! my brother is going
to kill me."
These words, uttered in an accent of profound terror, startled
the king and mitigated his rage. The idea passed quickly through
his mind that in their family, as by a curse, brother had always
"No, my brother," said he, "you are wrong; I do not wish to hurt
you, but you cannot contend with me. I am the master, and if
you did not know it before, you know it now."
"Yes, my brother, I acknowledge it."
"Very well, then give me that letter; the king orders it."
The duke let it fall, and the king picked it up, but without reading
it put it in his pocket-book.
"Is that all?" said the duke, with his sinister glance.
"No, monsieur, you must keep your room until my suspicions with
respect to you are completely dissipated. The room is commodious,
and not much like a prison; stay here. You will have good company--at
least, outside the door, for this night these four gentlemen
will guard you; to-morrow they will be relieved by a guard of
"But, my friends--cannot I see them?"
"Who do you call your friends?"
"M. de Monsoreau, M. de Ribeirac, M. Antragues, and M. de Bussy."
"Oh, yes, he, of course."
"Has he had the misfortune to displease your majesty?"
"Always, but particularly to-night."
"To-night! what did he do?"
"Insulted me in the streets of Paris."
"My followers, which is the same thing."
"Bussy! you have been deceived, sire."
"I know what I say."
"Sire, M. de Bussy has not been out of his hotel for two days.
He is at home, ill in bed, burning with fever."
The king turned to Schomberg, who said, "If he had fever, at all
events he had it in the Rue Coquilliere."
"Who told you he was there?" said the duke.
"I saw him."
"You saw Bussy out of doors?"
"Yes, looking well and happy, and accompanied by his ordinary
follower, that Remy."
"Then I do not understand it; I saw him in bed myself; he must
have deceived me."
"It is well; he will be punished with the rest," said the king.
"If M. de Bussy went out alone after refusing to go out with
"You hear, gentlemen, what my brother says. But we will talk
of him another time; now I recommend my brother to your care;
you will have the honor of serving as guard to a prince of the
"Oh! sire," said Quelus, "be satisfied; we know what we owe to
M. le Duc."
"It is well; adieu, gentlemen."
"Sire," cried the duke, "am I really a prisoner, are my friends
not to visit me, and am I not to go out?" And the idea of the
next day presented itself to his mind, when his presence would
be so necessary to M. de Guise. "Sire," cried he again, "let me
at least remain near your majesty; it is my place, and I can be
as well guarded there as elsewhere. Sire, grant me this favor."
The king was about to yield to this request and say, "Yes," when
his attention was attracted to the door, where a long body, with
its arms, its head, and everything that it could move, was making
signs to him to say "No." It was Chicot.
"No," said Henri to his brother; "you are very well here, and
here you must stay."
"It is my pleasure, and that is enough," said the king, haughtily.
"I said I was the real King of France," murmured Chicot.
HOW CHICOT PAID A VISIT TO BUSSY, AND WHAT FOLLOWED.
The next morning, about nine, Bussy was eating his breakfast,
and talking with Remy over the events of the previous day.
"Remy," said he, "did you not think you had seen somewhere that
gentleman whom they were dipping in a vat in the Rue Coquilliere?"
"Yes, M. le Comte, but I cannot think of his name."
"I ought to have helped him," said Bussy, "it is a duty one gentleman
owes to another; but, really, Remy, I was too much occupied with
my own affairs."
"But he must have recognized us, for we were our natural color,
and it seemed to me that he rolled his eyes frightfully, and
shook his fist at us."
"Are you sure of that, Remy? We must find out who it was; I cannot
let such an insult pass."
"Oh!" cried Remy, "I know now who he was."
"I heard him swear."
"I should think so; any one would have sworn in such a situation."
"Yes, but he swore in German."
"Yes, he said, 'Gott verdomme.'"
"Then it was Schomberg?"
"Himself, M. le Comte."
"Then, my dear Remy, get your salves ready."
"Why so, monsieur?"
"Because, before long, you will have to apply them either to his
skin or to mine."
"You would not be so foolish as to get killed, now you are so
well and so happy; St. Marie l'Egyptienne has cured you once,
but she will get tired of working miracles for you."
"On the contrary, Remy, you cannot tell how pleasant it feels to
risk your life when you are happy. I assure you I never fought
with a good heart when I had lost large sums at play, when things
had gone wrong, or when I had anything to reproach myself with;
but when my purse is full, my heart light, and my conscience
clear, I go boldly to the field, for I am sure of my hand; it
is then I am brilliant. I should fight well to-day, Remy, for,
thanks to you," said he, extending his hand to the young man,
"I am very happy."
"Stay a moment, however; you will, I hope, deprive yourself of
this pleasure. A beautiful lady of my acquaintance made me swear
to keep you safe and sound, under pretext that your life belongs
"You call me good Remy, because I brought you to see Madame de
Monsoreau, but shall you call me so when you are separated from
her? and unluckily the day approaches, if it be not come."
"What do you mean?"
"Do you not know that she is going to Anjou, and that I myself
have the grief of being separated from Gertrude. Ah----"
Bussy could not help smiling at the pretended grief of the young
"You love her, then?" he said.
"I should think so; you should see how she beats me."
"And you let her do it?"
"But to return to Diana, Remy; when shall we set off?"
"Ah! I expected that. On the latest possible day I should say."
"Firstly, because it seems to me that M. le Duc d'Anjou will want
"Because M. de Monsoreau, by a special blessing, does not suspect
you in the least, and would suspect something immediately if he
saw you disappear from Paris at the same time as his wife."
"What do I care for that?"
"No; but I care. I charge myself with curing the sword strokes
received in duels, for, as you manage your sword well, you never
receive very serious ones; but not the blows given secretly by
jealous husbands; they are animals, who, in such cases, strike
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