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Title: Political Women, Vol. 1
Author: Menzies, Sutherland, fl. 1840-1883
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Political Women, Vol. 1" ***

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    +------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Transcriber's note.                                         |
    |                                                            |
    |The original punctuation, language and spelling have been   |
    |retained, except where noted at the end of the text.        |
    |The [oe] ligature has been rendered as oe.                  |
    |                                                            |
    |Alternative spellings:                                      |
    |Château: Chateau                                            |
    |Châteauneuf: Chateauneuf                                    |
    |Châtillon: Chatillon                                        |
    |Claire Clémence de Maillé: Claire Clemence de Maillé        |
    |Gondi: Gondy                                                |
    |Guéméné: Guéménée, Guyméné                                  |
    |heyday: heydey                                              |
    |Hôtel, hotel: Hotel, hotel                                  |
    |Meilleraye: Meilleraie                                      |
    |Montrésor: Montresor                                        |
    |Münster: Munster                                            |
    |Orléans: Orleans                                            |
    |Scudery: Scuderi                                            |
    |Séguier: Seguier                                            |
    |Sévigné: Sevigné                                            |
    |strenuously: strenously                                     |
    |Tallemant des Réaux: Tallement des Réaux, Tallemant de Reaux|
    +------------------------------------------------------------+



                            POLITICAL WOMEN.


                                   BY

                           SUTHERLAND MENZIES,

                   AUTHOR OF "ROYAL FAVOURITES," ETC.


                            IN TWO VOLUMES.

                                VOL. I.


                          HENRY S. KING & CO.,

             65, CORNHILL, AND 12, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

                                 1873.



                        [_All rights reserved._]



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.


  PART I.                                                      PAGE

  INTRODUCTION                                                  vii


  BOOK I.

  CHAP.  I.--Anne de Bourbon (sister of the Great Condé)          3

        II.--The Duchess de Longueville                          12

       III. & IV.--The Duchess de Chevreuse                  17, 35


  BOOK II.

  CHAP.  I.--Anne of Austria's Prime Minister and his policy     43

        II.--The Duchess de Montbazon--Affair of the dropped
             letters--The Quarrel of the rival Duchesses         66

       III.--The _Importants_                                    77

        IV.--Conspiracy of the Duchess de Chevreuse and the Duke
             de Beaufort to get rid of Mazarin                   82

         V.--Failure of the plot to assassinate Mazarin--Arrest
             of Beaufort--Banishment of Madame de Chevreuse and
             dispersion of the _Importants_                      99

        VI.--Results of the quarrel between the Duchesses--Fatal
             duel between the Duke de Guise and Count Maurice de
             Coligny                                            110


  BOOK III.

  CHAP.  I.--The Duchess de Longueville and the Duke de la
             Rochefoucauld                                      121

        II.--La Rochefoucauld draws Madame de Longueville into
             the vortex of politics and civil war               131

       III.--The Duchess de Chevreuse driven into exile for the
             third time                                         143

        IV.--Fatal influence of Madame de Longueville's passion
             for La Rochefoucauld--The Fronde                   149

         V.--Madame de Longueville wins over her brother Condé
             to the Fronde                                      161

        VI.--The causes which led to the _coup d'état_--The
             arrest of the Princes                              168

       VII.--Madame de Longueville's adventures in Normandy--The
           _Women's War_                                        178


  BOOK IV.

  CHAP.  I.--The Princess Palatine                              187

        II.--The young Princess de Condé conducts the war in
             the south                                          203

       III.--State of Parties on the liberation of the Princes  214

        IV.--The Duchesses de Longueville and de Chevreuse and
             the Princess Palatine in the last Fronde--Results
             of the rupture of the marriage projected between
             the Prince de Conti and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse  221

         V.--Condé, urged by his sister, goes unwillingly into
             rebellion                                          257

        VI.--Madame de Longueville coquets with the Duke de
             Nemours                                            262


  BOOK V.

  CHAP.  I.--Condé's adventurous expedition                     275

        II.--Political and gallant intrigues--The Duchess de
             Châtillon's sway over Condé--Shameful conspiracy
             against Madame de Longueville                      290



INTRODUCTION.


IN selecting the careers of certain celebrated women who have flung
themselves with ardour into the vortex of politics, the author's choice
has not been so much an arbitrary one as it might seem, but rather
guided by instances in which the adventurous game has not been
restricted to the commonplace contentions of the public platform, or the
private salon, but played on the grandest scale and on the most
conspicuous arena; when Peace and War, crowns and dynasties, have
trembled in the balance, and even the fate of a nation has been at
stake.

The untoward results of the lives thus devoted--dazzling and heroic as
some passages in their dramatic vicissitudes may appear--point the moral
of the futility of such pursuit on the part of the gentler sex, and
indicate the certainty of the penalty to be paid by those who by
venturing into the fervid, exhausting struggle, and rashly courting
exposure to the rough blows of the battle of political life, with its
coarse and noisy passions, have discovered too late that the strife has
done them irreparable injury. In the cases of those selected it will be
seen that the fierce contention has commonly involved the sacrifice of
conjugal happiness, the welfare of children, domestic peace, reputation,
and all the amenities of the gentle life.

That clever women abound in the present day we have undeniable
proof--many as clever, no doubt, as that famous philosopheress Madame du
Chatelet, who managed at one and the same moment the thread of an
intrigue, her cards at piquet, and a calculation in algebra, but who may
still lack the qualifications indispensably necessary to make clever
politicians. Perhaps, therefore, we might be allowed to suggest that it
would be well for ladies who are ambitious of figuring in either or both
spheres that politics and diplomacy are special and laborious pursuits,
involving a great deal of knowledge as difficult, and in the first
instance as repulsive, to acquire as Greek or chemistry. Yet, fully
admitting their capacity to qualify themselves intellectually, and
supposing them to attain the summit of their ambition of figuring
successfully in public life, a grave question still arises--would they
thereby increase or diminish their present great social influence? They
have now more influence of a certain kind than men have; but if they
obtain the influence of men, they cannot expect to retain the influence
of women. Nature, it may be thought, has established a fair distribution
of power between the two sexes. Women are potent in one sphere, and men
in another; and, if they are conscious of the domestic sway they already
exercise, they will not imperil it by challenging dominion in a field in
which they would be less secure.

Root and bond of the family, woman is no less a stranger by her natural
aptitudes than by her domestic ministrations to the general interests of
society; the conduct of the latter demands, in fact, a disengagement of
heart and mind to which she can only attain by transforming herself, to
the detriment of her duties and of her true influence. Ever to
subordinate persons to things, never to overstep in her efforts the
strict measure of the possible--those two conditions of the political
life are repugnant to her ardent and devoted nature. Even amongst women
in whom those gifts are met with in the highest degree, clearness of
perception has been almost always obscured by the ardour of pursuit or
that of patronage--by the irresistible desire of pushing to the
extremity of success her own ideas, and especially those of her friends.

Again, let us imagine political life to resemble a great game at cards,
the rules of which have been settled beforehand, and the winnings
devoted to the use of the greatest number; well, a woman ought never to
take a hand in it. Her place should be at the player's elbow, to warn
and advise him, to point out an unperceived chance, to share in his
success, more than all to console him, should luck run against him.
Thus, whilst all her better qualities would be brought into play, all
her weaker would not in any wise be at stake.

We would put it, therefore, to the womanly conscience--Is it not a
hundred times more honourable to exercise, so to speak, rights that are
legitimately recognised, though wisely limited, than to suffer in
consideration, and often in reputation, from an usurpation always
certain of being disputed?

It has been the author's endeavour to show the truth of these
conclusions by tracing the political career of certain well-born and
singularly-gifted women--women whose lofty courage, strength of mind,
keen introspection, political zeal, and genius for intrigue enabled them
to baffle and make head against some of the greatest political male
celebrities of modern history, without, however, winning us over to
their opinions or their cause; women who, in some instances, after
passing the best period of their lives in political strife, in
fostering civil war, in hatching perilous plots, and who, having cast
fortune and all the "gentle life" to the winds, preferred exile to
submission, or to wage a struggle as fruitless as it was unceasing;
until having arrived at the tardy conviction of its futility, and that
they had devoted their existence to the pursuit of the illusory and the
chimerical, they found at length repose and tranquillity only in
solitude and repentance.

In the stirring careers of certain among these remarkable personages, it
will be seen that the mainspring of their political zeal was either the
fierce excitement of an overmastering passion, an irresistible
proclivity to gallantry, or an absorbing ambition, rather than any
patriotic motive. This may go far to explain the singular sagacity,
finesse, and energy displayed in their devotion to what otherwise
appears alike mischievous and chimerical by those three high-born and
splendidly-gifted women who figured so conspicuously in the civil war of
the Fronde; and, though so much self-abnegation, courage, constancy, and
heroism, well or ill displayed, may obtain some share of pardon for
errors it would be wrong to palliate or condone, their example, it is to
be hoped, will prove deterrent rather than contagious. La
Rochefoucauld--a moralist, though by no means a moral man--who well knew
the sex, had seen at work these political women of the time of the
Fronde. That opportunity does not appear to have inspired him with an
unbounded admiration for them from that point of view.

Of the peril and mischief that fair trio inflicted upon Anne of
Austria's great Prime Minister and the State he governed we have an
interesting personal record. When, in 1660, Mazarin's policy, triumphant
on every side, had added the treaty of the Pyrenees to that of
Westphalia, the honour of the conclusion of the protracted conference
held at the _Isle of Pheasants_ was reserved for the chief Ministers of
the two Crowns--the Cardinal and Don Louis de Haro. The latter
congratulated his brother premier on the well-earned repose he was about
to enjoy, after such a long and arduous struggle. The Cardinal replied
that he could not promise himself any repose in France, for there, he
said, the _female_ politicians were more to be dreaded than the _male_;
and he complained bitterly of the torments he had undergone at the hands
of certain political women of the Fronde--notably the Duchess de
Longueville, the Duchess de Chevreuse, and the Princess Palatine, each
of whom, he asserted, was capable of upsetting three kingdoms.

"You are very lucky here in Spain," he added. "You have, as everywhere
else, two kinds of women--coquettes in abundance, and a very few
simple-minded domestic women. The former care only to please their
lovers, the latter their husbands. Neither the one nor the other,
however, have any ambition beyond indulging themselves in vanities and
luxuries. They only employ their pens in scribbling billet-doux or
love-confessions, neither one nor other bother their brains as to how
the grain grows, whilst talking about business makes their heads ache.
Our women, on the contrary, whether prudes or flirts, old or young,
stupid or clever, will intermeddle with everything. No honest woman," to
use the Cardinal's own words, "would permit her spouse to go to sleep,
no coquette allow her lover any favour, ere she had heard all the
political news of the day. They will see all that goes on, will know
everything, and--what is worse--have a finger in everything, and set
everything in confusion. We have a trio, among others"--and he again
named the three fair factionists above mentioned--"who threw us all
daily into more confusion than was ever known in Babel."

"Thank heaven!" replied Don Louis, somewhat ungallantly, "our women
_are_ of the disposition seemingly so well known to you. Provided that
they can finger the cash, whether of their husbands or their lovers,
they are satisfied; and I am very glad to say that they do not meddle
with politics, for if they did they would assuredly embroil everything
in Spain as they do in France."

It was during the minority of Louis XIV. that Mazarin had but too good
cause to complain of the three clever and fascinating women he thus
named to Don Louis de Haro, who through their political factions,
intrigues, and gallantries gave Anne of Austria's Minister no rest, and
for a long period not only thwarted and opposed him, but at intervals
placed the State, and even his life, in imminent jeopardy.

Fortunately, in our political history the instances are rare of women
who have quitted the sphere of domesticity and private life to take an
active part in the affairs of State. We say "fortunately;" for in our
opinion such abstention has tended to the happiness of both sexes in
England.

In French memoirs, politics and scandal, the jokes of the _salons_ and
the councils of the Cabinet are inextricably mixed up together, and
reveal a political system in which the authority exercised under free
institutions by men had been transferred to the art, the tact, and the
accomplishments of the female sex. We therein see how much women have
done by those subtle agencies. If France was a despotism tempered by
epigrams, it was the life of the _salons_ which brought those epigrams
to perfection; and the _salons_ thus constituted a sort of social
parliament, which, though unable to stop the supplies or withhold the
Mutiny Act, still possessed a formidable weapon of offence in the power
of making the Government ridiculous. Such was the difference existing
between two quite distinct modes of government; between Parliamentary
government and closet government; between the mace of the House of
Commons and the fan of the Duchess de Longueville. England, as we need
hardly say, has never had a government of this description. The nearest
approach to it which she has ever seen was under the sway of Charles the
Second, and, accordingly, the nearest approach to French memoirs which
our literature possesses is in the volumes of Pepys and Hamilton. To the
almost universal exemption of Englishwomen from taking an overt part in
political affairs a striking exception must be made in Sarah, Duchess of
Marlborough. She is the strongest example, perhaps, in the history of
the world--certainly in the history of this empire--of the abuse of
female favouritism, and the most flagrant instance of household
familiarity on the destinies of mankind. Sarah Jennings, the political
heroine of her age, and Viceroy, as she was called, in England, had,
however, for contemporaries two other remarkable women, who touched the
springs of political machinery quite as powerfully as--if not more
powerfully than, save herself, any to be found within the limits of
Europe--Madame de Maintenon and the Princess des Ursins. In the
respective careers of that other formidable trio of female politicians
may be traced the important, the overwhelming, influence, which female
Ministers, under the title of Court ladies, had obtained over the
destinies of England, France, and Spain. At that momentous period--the
commencement of the eighteenth century--the memoirs of a _bed-chamber
lady_ constitute the history of Europe. The bed-chamber woman soon
became the pivot of the political world. The influence of Mrs. Masham
first endangered and finally overthrew the power of the great Duke of
Marlborough. Some of the characteristics of the reign of Charles the
Second reappeared partially and in a very unattractive form under the
two first Georges, and have served to impart a tinge of French colour to
the memoirs which describe their Courts. But, fortunately for England,
neither Walpole nor his royal master were men of refined taste. It would
have been hard for a monarch like Charles the Second, or a minister like
Lord Bolingbroke, to resist the charms of those beautiful and sprightly
girls who sparkle like diamonds in all the memoirs of that time. Their
political influence was but small. George the First and his successor
pursued their unwieldy loves and enjoyed their boorish romps in a style
not seductive to English gentlemen. Politics were surrendered to
Walpole; and the consequence was that, although there was plenty of
immorality under those gracious Sovereigns, yet the feminine element of
Court life had no longer that connection with _public policy_ which once
for a brief space it had possessed; and the resemblance to French
manners in this respect grew less and less, till it disappeared
altogether with the accession of George the Third.

During the reign of that domesticated paterfamilias a slight exception,
it is true, occurred in the instance of Georgina Spencer, Duchess of
Devonshire. Young, beautiful, amiable, and witty, and not altogether
free from coquetry, she reckoned amongst her admirers some of the most
distinguished men of that day. She fascinated them all without
encouraging the pretensions of any; and notwithstanding the jealousy
which so great a superiority necessarily excited among her own sex, and
despite the rancour to which the inutility of their efforts to please
her gave birth in the bosoms of certain of the men, she preserved a
reputation for discretion beyond all suspicion. One circumstance of her
life might indeed have cast a slur upon her fair fame if her
irreproachable conduct, added to her natural graces, had not condoned a
species of notoriety which opinion in England very generally reproves.
The Duchess of Devonshire had friendly relations with the celebrated
Charles James Fox, and that friendship had taken the tinge of party
spirit. Fox presented himself as a candidate to represent Westminster in
Parliament. He had two very formidable opponents, and it was thought
that he would have succumbed in the struggle had not several amiable and
energetic women made extraordinary efforts to procure him votes. At the
head of these fair solicitors was the Duchess of Devonshire. A butcher
whose vote she requested promised it to her on the condition that he
might give her a kiss. To this she cheerfully consented, and that kiss
added one more vote to her friend's poll. Such familiarity was far less
shocking to our English manners than the too active and public part
taken by a lady of distinction in politics. Very few of her countrywomen
before her time had given occasion for a like scandal.[1]

    [1] An anecdote of her has been preserved which proves how very
    general was the impression the grace and beauty of the Duchess of
    Devonshire made upon men in every station of society. On one
    occasion of her being present on the racecourse at Newmarket, a
    burly farmer who stood near her carriage, after having for some time
    gazed at her in a species of ecstasy, exclaimed aloud, "Ah! why am I
    not God Almighty?--she should then be Queen of Heaven!" The Duchess
    preserved her personal charms far beyond the period of life when
    they commonly disappear among women, though she lost one of her eyes
    a few years before her death in 1806.

The existence of those literary assemblies in France during the
eighteenth century, the most important of which were those presided
over by Madame du Deffand, Mdlle. de Lespinasse, and Madame Geoffrin,
were a characteristic feature of the time. It is a notable fact that the
abstention from politics in those assemblies indirectly tended to
increase the power and importance of the women who frequented them.
Alluding to their influence, Montesquieu caustically remarked that a
nation where women give the prevailing tone must necessarily be
talkative. Then, however, it was the men who talked and the women who
listened. The men talked because they could do little else; women gave
the prevailing tone because men of all classes were partly compelled,
and partly willing, to gather around them. The nobles being excluded
from politics--in which none but the Ministers and their creatures could
interfere--exercising no control either as individuals or as a body,
naturally gave themselves up to the pleasures of society. Their
political insignificance thus increased the power and importance of
women.

To a far greater degree was their power and importance increased, on the
contrary, during the first decade of the French Revolution, when, from
the exceptional position they held, the _salons_ of Madame Roland,
Madame Necker, Madame de Suard, and others were essentially
political--that of Madame Roland being almost an echo of the Legislative
Assembly. But women who love freedom abstractedly for its own sake, and
are ready to suffer and die for a political principle, like Madame
Roland, are very rarely met with.

Towards the close of the century the female leaders of the hitherto
literary and social _salons_ were so irresistibly swept into the
whirlpool of public questions and events that they for the most part
involuntarily became mere political partisans. Among others, but with a
considerable modification on the score of the literary element, may be
instanced Madame de Staël, who by descent, education, and natural bias
was inevitably destined to aim at political power. The extent and
prominence of that exercised by her must have been considerable, though
certainly overrated by Napoleon, in whom, however, it excited such
unreasonable apprehension as led him to inflict ten years' banishment
from France upon the talented daughter of Necker.

It must not be inferred that we desire to reduce women to the condition
of a humiliating inaction. Far from it. In the position we would place
them they could never feel, think, or act with greater interest or
vivacity. Whilst it is desirable that every kind of artifice or intrigue
should be interdicted from the interior of their domesticity, it is
quite permissible for them to watch attentively important matters that
may be occurring in public life. To that function they may bring their
care and their solicitude, in order to follow and second continually the
companion of their existence. "Les hommes même," says Fénelon, "qui ont
toute l'autorité en public, ne peuvent par leurs délibérations établir
aucun bien effectif, si les femmes ne leur aident à l'exécuter." Such
was the legitimate influence exercised by the Princess Esterhazy, Ladies
Holland, Palmerston, and Beaconsfield, in our day. It is no secret that
the late lamented Viscountess Beaconsfield took the deepest interest in
every great movement in which her illustrious husband was engaged. Such,
too, was the case with Lady Palmerston, in reference to the great
statesman whose name she bore. The influence of women in the politics of
recent days is something peculiar and new. Our time has seen many women
whose share in the politics of men was frank, unconcealed, and
legitimate, while yet it never pretended or sought to be anything more
than an influence--never attempted to be a ruling spirit. By following
these examples, the women of England may make their power felt, without
demanding to be put upon the same footing as their husbands.

Woman's reign, it has been truly said, "is almost absolute within the
four walls of a drawing-room." It is undisputed in family direction and
in the management of children; but the cases are rare indeed where it
extends to _public questions_ of any kind. The Frenchwoman of the
present day is essentially a woman. Her objects are almost always
feminine; she does not seek to go beyond her sphere; she understands her
mission as one of duty in her house and of attraction towards the world;
she is generally very ignorant of politics and all dry subjects, and
shrinks from any active part in their discussion. Of course there are
exceptions by the thousand; but the rule is that she voluntarily
abstains from interference in outside topics, whatever be their gravity
or their importance. She may have a vague opinion on such matters,
picked up from hearing men talk around her, but the bent of her nature
leads her in other ways--her tendency is towards things which satisfy
her as a woman. It naturally follows that men do not give her what she
does not seem to want. They consult her on matters of mutual interest,
they ask for and often follow her advice in business; but in nine cases
out of ten no husband would allow his wife to tell him how to vote at an
election, or what form of government to support. This distinction is
infinitely more remarkable in France than any analogous condition would
be in England, because of the existence there of several rivals to the
throne, and the consequent splitting up of the entire nation into
adherents of each pretender. Yet even this exceptional position does not
induce Frenchwomen to become politicians. Some few of them, of course,
are so, and fling themselves with ardour into the cause they have
adopted; but, fortunately for the tranquillity of their homes, the
greater part of them have wisdom enough to comprehend that their real
functions on the earth are of another kind.

The majority of the champions of the enfranchisement of the sex have
loudly protested against the hackneyed truisms, formerly so rife, which
impute to women every imaginable form of silliness and frivolity; that
they, like Alphonse Karr's typical woman, have nothing to do but
"_s'habiller, babiller et se déshabiller_." But it will be well to
remember the existence of another class of maxims of even greater
weight, which dwell on the subtle influence of women, and of its
illimitable consequences. "If the nose of Cleopatra," remarks the most
famous of these aphorists--Pascal--"had been a hair's-breadth longer,
the fortunes of the world would have been altered." Has the influence of
the sex decreased since the days of the dusky beauty whose irresistible
fascinations

    "----lost a world, and bade a hero fly?"

Rather, is it not infinitely more subtle, wider, and more prevailing
than ever? No one who recognises the skill with which that immense
influence may be exercised can listen without astonishment to the flimsy
arguments which are usually advanced in support of the question of the
political enfranchisement of the sex. That the results of giving this
particular form of ability--a power which is irresistible to the highest
intellectual refinement--the political arena for its field have not only
proved widely injurious to women who have so exercised it, but to those
most closely connected with them, it has been the author's object to
show.

"And what hope of permanent success," it has been cogently asked, "could
women have if they were to enter into competition with men in callings
considered peculiarly masculine, many of which are already overstocked?"
We are also brought here again face to face with that evil--the
lessening or the complete loss of womanly grace and purity. Take away
that reverential regard which men now feel for them, leave them to win
their way by sheer strength of body or mind, and the result is not
difficult to conjecture. Let the condition of women in savage life tell.
Towards something like this, although in civilised society not so
coarsely and roughly exposed to view, matters would tend if these
agitators for women's rights were successful. Husbands, brothers, sons,
have too keen a sense of what they owe of good to their female relatives
to risk its loss; or to exchange the gentleness, purity, and refinement
of their homes for boldness, flippancy, hardness and knowledge of evil.

Nature, herself, then, has disqualified women from fighting and from
entering into the fierce contentions of the prickly and crooked ways of
politics. There is a silent and beautiful education which Heaven
intended that all alike should learn from mothers, sisters, and wives.
Each home was meant to have in their gentler presence a softening and
refining element, so that strength should train itself to be submissive,
rudeness should become abashed, and coarse passions held in check by the
natural influence of women. High or low, educated or uneducated, there
is the proper work of the weaker sex. And, finally, we venture to
address her in the words of Lord Lyttelton:--

    "Seek to be good, but aim not to be great;
      A woman's noblest station is retreat;
      Her fairest virtues fly from public sight;
      Domestic worth--that shuns too strong a light."



BOOK I.

PART I.



POLITICAL WOMEN.



CHAPTER I.

  ANNE DE BOURBON,
  SISTER OF THE GREAT CONDÉ, AFTERWARDS DUCHESS DE LONGUEVILLE.


THE brilliant heroine of the Fronde, of whose grace, beauty, and
influence Anne of Austria was so jealous--not to speak of the mortal
rivalry of the gay Duchesses de Montbazon and de Châtillon--although the
youngest of that famous trio whom Mazarin found so formidable in the
arena of politics, obviously claims alike from her exalted rank and the
memorable part she played in the tragi-comedy of the Fronde, priority of
notice among the bevy of the Cardinal's fair political opponents.

Some time in the month of August, 1619, Anne Geneviève de Bourbon-Condé
first saw the light in the donjon of Vincennes, where her parents had
been kept State prisoners for three years previously. She was the eldest
of the three children of Henry (II.) de Bourbon-Condé, first prince of
the blood, and of that Charlotte Marguerite de Montmorency, "the beauty,
perfect grace and majesty of her time."[1] The lovely Montmorency on
coming to Court in her fifteenth year had sorely troubled the heart of
the amorous soldier-king, Henry of Navarre, who had married her in 1609
to his nephew of Condé with the covert hope of finding him an
accommodating husband; but the latter, alike defiant and uxorious, made
the jovial Bearnois plainly understand that he had wedded the blooming
Charlotte exclusively for himself. The _gaillard_ monarch, however, at
length grew so deeply enamoured that the prince, perceiving there was
too much cause to fear the result of the constant assiduities of his
royal uncle, fled precipitately with his young wife from France, only to
return thither after tidings reached him of the great Henry's
assassination. To the fair Montmorency's very decided proclivity to
gallantry was to be attributed--if we may believe the scandal-loving
Tallemant des Reaux--her long confinement, by the Regent Marie de'
Medici's consent, within the gloomy fortress of Vincennes, rather than
any reason of State for her sharing her husband's imprisonment. In fact,
it was believed that the jealous prince procured her incarceration
simply to keep her out of harm's way.

    [1] Lenet.

Deriving from her mother the threefold gifts of grace, beauty, and
majesty, the fair Bourbon inherited also, it must be owned, a share of
that princess's inclination to _l'honnête galanterie_. The restriction
to a _share_ should be noted; for at no period of her heydey, not even
during the licence of the Fronde, could Anne Geneviève be accused of
having--as Madame de Motteville tells us the Princess de Condé
had,--adorers "in every rank and condition of life, from popes, kings,
princes, cardinals, dukes, and marshals of France, down to simple
gentlemen."

The mind and heart, however, of Anne de Bourbon, although predestined,
alas! eventually to culpable passion, seemed at first but little
inclined to the gay world--with all its blandishments and seductions,
or even to its innocent pleasures. When quite a child she was in the
habit of accompanying her mother in her visits to the convent of the
Carmelites at Paris. For though still possessing great personal
attractions, Madame de Condé had become serious and of a somewhat
demonstrative piety. Those visits, which were frequent, strengthened
Anne's gentle and susceptible mind in its tendency to devotion. The
impression, too, which somewhat later the tragic fate of her uncle, the
unfortunate Duke de Montmorency,[2] left on her memory, inspired her
with the resolution to quit the outer world at the earliest possible
moment, and, renouncing all its pomps and grandeurs, hide beneath the
veil her budding attractions. Although her mother opposed an inflexible
resistance to her embracing that holy vocation, and strove to combat by
forcible arguments the cold and disdainful demeanour exhibited by her
daughter when mixing in gay society, the fair girl persevered from the
age of thirteen to seventeen in her longing to embrace the life of the
cloister. Futile for a time were the parental arguments, unfruitful
every effort! Anne Geneviève would not consort with worldlings,
persisted in her distaste for mundane pleasures, and continued to
cherish persistently her desire for conventual seclusion. At length the
princess, in 1636, having resolved upon the adoption of more energetic
measures, suddenly ordered her daughter to make preparations for
appearing at a Court ball, and that, too, in three days. With what
despair did the young princess hear the cruel sentence! What affliction,
too, befell the Carmelite nuns when they heard of the fatal mandate.
What a flood of sighs and tears and prayers! The good sisters gathered
themselves together to take counsel one with another, and decided that,
since Mdlle. de Bourbon could not avoid the wretched fate that awaited
her, before going through the trying ordeal she should indue her lovely
form with an undergarment of hair-cloth (commonly called a _cilice_),
and, protected by such armour of proof, she might then fearlessly submit
herself to all the temptations lurking beneath the ensnaring vanities of
her Court attire. The _cilice_, however, did not, it seems, prove
invulnerable as the ægis of Minerva, for the subtle shafts winged by
homage and admiration pierced through that slight breast-plate to a
heart which in truth was by nature framed to inspire and welcome both.
The Princess de Condé rejoiced greatly at her daughter's conversion to
more reasonable views of mundane existence. The commencement of her
noviciate was no longer thought of, and her visits to the Carmelites
became sufficiently rare. But it was only a deferment of that calm
vocation, it being Anne de Bourbon's destiny to embrace it at the close
of her feverish political career.

    [2] Brought to the scaffold by Richelieu in 1632.

This era of her entrance into the great world was probably the happiest,
the most joyous of the fair Bourbon's life. Lofty distinction of birth,
great personal beauty, and rare mental fascination, contributed to place
her in the very foremost rank of the Court circle--in the "height of
company"--conspicuous amongst lovely dames and distinguished men of the
time. Her peerless loveliness at once meeting with universal
recognition, "la belle Condé" was toasted with acclamation by courtiers,
young and old--at Chantilly, at Liancourt, at the Louvre, and at the
Hôtel de Rambouillet. Contemporaries of either sex have rendered
unanimous testimony to the varied and exceptional character of her
attractions, and we will let a woman's pen add to Petitot's pencilling
some of those delicate traits which neither the burin nor even the vivid
tints of the enamel have the power to convey.

"Her beauty," says Mdme. de Motteville, "consisted more in the
brilliance of her complexion"--("it had the blush of the pearl," writes
another contemporary)--"than in perfection of feature. Her eyes were not
large, but bright, and finely cut, and of a blue so lovely it resembled
that of the turquoise. The poets could only apply the trite comparison
of lilies and roses to the carnation which mantled on her cheek, whilst
her fair, silken, luxuriant tresses, and the peculiar limpidity of her
glance, added to many other charms, made her more like an angel--so far
as our imperfect nature allows of our imagining such a being--than a
mere woman." Somewhat later, the smallpox, in robbing her of the bloom
of her beauty, still left her all its brilliancy, to repeat the remark
of that eminent connoisseur of female loveliness, Cardinal de Retz.

To sum up the general opinion of her contemporaries: Mdlle. de Bourbon
rather charmed by the very peculiar style of her countenance than by its
linear regularity. One of her greatest fascinations lay in an
indescribable languor, both of mind and manner--"a languor interrupted
at intervals," says De Retz, "by a sort of luminous awakenings, as
surprising as they were delightful. This physical and intellectual
indolence presented later in life a piquant contrast to her
then"--according to Mdme. de Motteville--"somewhat too passionate
temperament." She was of good height, and altogether of an admirable
form. It is evident also, from the authentic portraits of her still
extant, that she had that kind of attraction so much prized during the
seventeenth century, and which, with beautiful hands, had made the
reputation of Anne of Austria. In speech, we are told, she was very
gentle. Her gestures, with the expression of her countenance, and the
sound of her voice, produced the most perfect music. But her peculiar
charm consisted in a graceful ease--a languor, as all her contemporaries
expressed it--which would quickly change to the highest degree of
animation when stirred by emotion, but which usually gave her an air of
indolence and aristocratic _nonchalance_, sometimes mistaken for
_ennui_, sometimes for disdain.

Crediting the unvarying testimony of these and other of her
contemporaries, the daughter of Bourbon-Condé must have been at least as
beautiful as her mother--endowed, indeed, with almost every attribute
and feature of female loveliness.

"Beauty," remarks a philosophic panegyrist of physical perfection,
"extends its prestige to posterity itself, and attaches a charm for
centuries to the name alone of the privileged creatures upon whom it has
pleased heaven to bestow it." Beauty has also its epochs. It does not
belong to all men and to all ages to enjoy it in its exquisite
perfection. As there are fashions which spoil it, so there are periods
which affect its sentiment. For instance, it belonged to the eighteenth
century to invent _pretty_ women--charming dolls--all powder, patches,
and perfume, affecting the attractions which they did not possess under
their vast hoops and great furbelows. Let us venture to say that the
foundation of true beauty, as of true virtue, as of true genius, is
strength. Shed over this strength the vivifying rays of elegance, grace,
delicacy, and you have beauty. Its perfect type is the Venus of
Milo,[3] or again, that pure and mysterious apparition, goddess or
mortal, which is called Psyche, or the Venus of Naples.[4] Beauty is
certainly to be seen in the Venus de' Medici, but in that type we feel
that it is declining, or about to decline. Look at, not the women of
Titian, but the virgins of Raphael and Leonardo: the face is of infinite
delicacy, but the body evinces strength. These forms ought to disgust
one for ever with the shadows and monkeys _à la Pompadour_. Let us adore
grace, but not separate it in everything too much from strength, for
without strength grace soon shares the fate of the flower that is
separated from the stem which vitalizes and sustains it.

    [3] Quatremère de Quincy, Dissertation upon the Antique Statue of
    Venus Discovered in the Island of Milo. 1836.

    [4] Millingen: Ancient Inedited Monuments. Fol. 1826.

What a train of accomplished women this seventeenth century presents to
us! They were not all politicians. Women who were loaded with
admiration, drawing after them all hearts, and spreading from rank to
rank that worship of beauty which throughout Europe received the name of
French gallantry. In France they accompany this great century in its too
rapid course; they mark its principal epochs, beginning with Charlotte
de Montmorency and ending with Mdme. de Montespan. The Duchess de
Longueville has perhaps the most prominent place in that dazzling
gallery of lovely women, having all the characteristics of true beauty,
and joining to it a charm exclusively her own.

In early girlhood she had been taken, along with her elder brother, the
Duke d'Enghien, to the Hotel de Rambouillet; and the _salons_ of the Rue
St. Thomas du Louvre were probably the most fitting school for such a
mind as hers, in which grandeur and finesse were almost equally
blended--a grandeur allied to the romantic, and associated with a
finesse frequently merging into subtilty, as indeed may be discerned in
Corneille himself, the most perfect mental representative of that
period.

To follow step by step the course of Anne de Bourbon's life at this
period of it through all its earliest rivalries, would involve the task
of recording the manifold caprices of a tender, yet ambitious nature, in
which the mind and heart were unceasingly dupes of each other. It would
be like an attempt to follow the devious path of the light foam and
laughing sparkle of the billow--

    "In vento et rapida scribere oportet aqua."

Our purpose lies mainly with her political life, but ere entering upon
it we will give a short but comprehensive view of her character in the
words of one who, more than anybody else, had the means of judging her
correctly--La Rochefoucauld. "This Princess," writes the Duke,
"possessed all the charms of mind, united to personal beauty, to so high
a degree, that it seemed as though nature had taken pleasure in forming
in her person a perfectly finished work. But those fine qualities were
rendered less brilliant through a blemish rarely seen in one so highly
endowed, which was that, far from giving the law to those who had a
particular admiration for her, she transfused herself so thoroughly into
their sentiments that she no longer recognised her own."

Now La Rochefoucauld should have been the last person to complain of
that defect, since he was the first to foster it in the Duchess. In her
bosom love awoke ambition, but the awakening was so sudden, in fact,
that any difference in the two passions was never perceptible.

Singular contradiction! The more we contemplate the political bias of
Madame de Longueville the more it becomes mingled with her amorous
caprice; but when we analyse her love more narrowly (and later on in
life she herself made the avowal), it appears nothing else than ambition
travestied--a desire to shine only the more magnificently brilliant.

Her character, then, was entirely wanting in consistency, in self-will;
and her mind, be it observed, however brilliant and acute, had nothing
that was calculated to counterbalance that defect of character. One may
possess the faculty of right perception without strength of mind to do
that which is right. One may be rational in mind and the contrary in
conduct--character being at fault between the two. But here the case was
different. Madame de Longueville's mind was not, above all else,
rational; it was acute, prompt, subtle, witty by turns, and readily
responsive to the varying humour of the moment. It shone voluntarily in
contradiction and subterfuge, ere exhausting itself finally in scruples.
There was much of the Hôtel de Rambouillet in such a mind as hers.

"The mind in the majority of women serves rather to confirm their folly
than their reason." So says the author of the "Maxims;" and Madame de
Longueville, with all her metamorphoses, was undoubtedly present before
him when he penned the sentence. For she, the most feminine of her sex,
would offer to him the completest epitome of all the rest. In short,
evidently as he has made his observations upon her, she also seems to
have drawn her conclusions from him. So the agreement is perfect.



CHAPTER II.

  MADAME DE LONGUEVILLE.


A YOUNG Princess of the Blood so lovely, fascinating, and witty as Anne
de Bourbon, was surely destined, it might be thought, to contract an
early and altogether suitable matrimonial alliance. It was therefore
somewhat surprising to find how much difficulty there was in mating her.
Foremost among those who sought her hand was that hair-brained,
handsome, coarse-mannered Duke de Beaufort, younger son of Cæsar de
Vendôme, himself the bastard of the jovial Bearnois by the _Fair
Gabrielle_.[1] Beaufort inherited his unfortunate grand-dame's
beauty--had a Phoebus-Apollo style of head, set off with a profusion
of long, curly, golden locks; was a young, brave, and flourishing
gallant, and somewhat later (during the Fronde), from his blunt speech
and familiar manners with the Parisian mob, became the idol of the
market-women, and was therefore dubbed _Roi des Halles_. But this
scapegrace suitor withdrew his pretensions in order to gratify, it is
said, the handsome though decried Duchess de Montbazon, who had
enthralled him in her flowery chains as a led-captain. On entering her
nineteenth year Mdlle. de Bourbon was promised in marriage to the Prince
de Joinville, son of Charles of Lorraine (Duke de Guise), but that young
nobleman having died prematurely in Italy, no other serious matrimonial
project seems to have been entertained until the Princess had reached
her twenty-third year. The fortunate suitor was one of Beaufort's
rivals--or, rather, colleagues--for that would be the more correct term
when designating their mutual relations to the unscrupulous Duchess de
Montbazon. The widower, Henry of Orleans (Duke de Longueville), by
birth, dignity, and wealth was looked upon as the first match in France.
Unfortunately, in his case, those dazzling attributes were materially
abated through disparity of age, for he had reached the ripe maturity of
forty-seven, whilst the bride of his choice had not yet seen half that
cycle of summers. To be twenty-four years her senior was, for the
husband of a youthful princess so excelling in wit and beauty, certainly
a formidable inequality, and so Mdlle. de Bourbon seems to have thought.
At the command, however, of her father, who intimated that his
determination was inflexible in thus disposing of his daughter's hand,
Anne Geneviève meekly complied, and was espoused in June, 1642, to Henri
de Bourbon, Duke de Longueville.[2]

    [1] Created Duchess de Beaufort by Henry IV.

    [2] The Duke was descended from the "brave Dunois," bastard of
    Orleans.

The young Duchess found herself speedily surrounded by a swarm of
courtiers, attracted by her sprightly and refined intelligence, her
majestic beauty, her nonchalant and languishing grace. What more
adorable mistress could an audacious aspirant dream of? Bold adventurers
for such a lady's love there was no lack of; and would not many be
encouraged with the thought that such a prize could only be defended by
a husband already verging towards the decline of life, and whose heart,
moreover, was believed to be in the keeping of another? The sighs of the
suitors, however, all adventurous and calculating as they might be, were
wasted, their hopes altogether fallacious. For six long years there was
nothing more accorded to that crowd of often-renewed adorers save the
smiles of an innocent coquetry. He who, during that period of honest
gallantry, coming near to La Rochefoucauld, seems to have made the
liveliest impression, was Coligny; and it was only slanderers who
whispered that the young Count was happier than became the adorer of a
heroine of the De Rambouillet school.

Madame de Longueville, nevertheless, possessed the characteristics of
her sex; she had alike its lovable qualities and its well-known
imperfections. In a sphere where gallantry was the order of the day,
that young and fascinating creature, married to a man already in the
decline of life, and, moreover, with his affections engaged elsewhere,
merely followed the universal example. Tender by nature, the senses, she
herself says in her confessions--the humblest ever made--played no minor
part in the affairs of the heart. But, surrounded unceasingly by homage,
she found pleasure in receiving it. Very lovable, she centred her
happiness in being loved. Sister of the Great Condé, she was not
insensible to the idea of playing a part which should occupy public
attention; but, far from pretending to domination, there was so much of
the woman in her that she allowed herself to be led by him whom she
loved. Whilst, around her, interest and ambition assumed so frequently
the hues of love, she listened to the dictates of her heart alone, and
devoted herself to the interest and ambition of another. All
contemporary writers are unanimous on that point. Her enemies sharply
reproach her alike for not having a fitting object in her political
intrigues, and for being unmindful of her own interests. But they appear
not to be aware that, in thinking to overwhelm her memory by such
accusation, they rather elevate it, and they are assiduous to cover her
faults and misconduct--faults which, after all, are centred in one
alone. In short, some writers cast the greater part of the blame the
young Duchess's conduct merits upon her husband, who, according to them,
knew not how to make amends for his own disadvantage, on the score of
disparity of age, by an anxious and indulgent tenderness.

Before their marriage was solemnised it was stipulated that the Duke de
Longueville should break off his _liaison_ with the Duchess de
Montbazon--then notorious as one of the most unrestrained among the
women of fashion at the Court of the Regent. This, however, the Duke
unhappily failed to do.

In declaring its adhesion to Mazarin at the commencement of the Regency,
the House of Condé had drawn upon itself the hatred of the party of the
_Importants_, though that enmity scarcely rebounded upon Madame de
Longueville. Her amiableness in everything where her heart was not
seriously concerned, her perfect indifference to politics at this period
of her life, together with the graces of her mind and person, rendered
her universally popular, and shielded her against the injustice of
partisan malice. But outside the pale of politics she had an enemy, and
a formidable one, in the Duchess de Montbazon. That bold and dangerous
woman having by her fascinations enslaved Beaufort, the quondam admirer
of Madame de Longueville, the young Duke through her intrigues became a
favourite chief of the _Importants_. Amongst the earliest to swell the
ranks of that faction were two other personages who had played a very
conspicuous part during the reign of Louis XIII. The first of these,
Madame de Montbazon's step-daughter, was the witty, beautiful, and
errant Duchess de Chevreuse, whom Louis had judged so dangerous that he
had expressly forbidden by his will, when on the point of death, that
she should ever be recalled from exile to Court. By the same prohibition
was affected the former Keeper of the Seals, the Marquis de Châteauneuf,
who had displayed considerable talent under Richelieu, but had
ultimately made himself obnoxious to that great Minister, after having
given many a sanguinary proof of his devotion to him. A glance at the
antecedents of that remarkable woman, Madame de Chevreuse, the early
favourite of Anne of Austria, will now be necessary in order to
understand clearly her relative position to the Queen and Mazarin at the
commencement of the Regency, as well as to those incipient _Frondeurs_,
the _Importants_, at the moment of her dragging the Prince de Marsillac
(afterwards Duke de Rochefoucauld) into that party.



CHAPTER III.

  THE DUCHESS DE CHEVREUSE.


FROM the long-sustained, vigorous, and very eminent part played by Marie
de Rohan in opposing the repressive system of the two great Cardinal
Ministers, her name belongs equally to the political history as to that
of the society and manners of the first half of the sixteenth century.

She came of that old and illustrious race the issue of the first princes
of Brittany, and was the daughter of Hercule de Rohan, Duke de
Montbazon, a zealous servant of Henry IV., by his first wife Madeleine
de Lenoncourt, sister of Urbain de Laval, Marshal de Bois-Dauphin. Born
in December, 1600, she lost her mother at a very early age, and in 1617
was married to that audacious favourite of Louis XIII., De Luynes, who
from the humble office of "bird-catcher" to the young King, rose to the
proud dignity of Constable of France, and who, upon the faith of a
king's capricious friendship, dared to undertake the reversal of the
Queen-mother, Marie de' Medici's authority; hurl to destruction her
great favourite, the Marshal d'Ancre; combat simultaneously princes and
Protestants, and commence against Richelieu the system of Richelieu.
Early becoming a widow, Marie next, in 1622, entered the house of
Lorraine by espousing Claude, Duke de Chevreuse, one of the sons of
Henry de Guise, great Chamberlain of France, whose highest merit was the
name he bore, accompanied by good looks and that bravery which was
never wanting to a prince of Lorraine; otherwise disorderly in the
conduct of his affairs, of not very edifying manner of life, which may
go far to explain and extenuate the errors of his young wife. The new
Duchess de Chevreuse had been appointed during the sway of her first
husband, _surintendante_ (controller) of the Queen's household, and soon
became as great a favourite of Anne of Austria as the Constable de
Luynes was of Louis _the Just_. The French Court was then very
brilliant, and gallantry the order of the day. Marie de Rohan was
naturally vivacious and dashing, and, yielding herself up to the
seductions of youth and pleasure, she had lovers, and her adorers drew
her into politics. Her beauty and captivating manners were such as to
fascinate and enthral the least impressible who crossed her path, and
their dangerous power was extensively employed in influencing the
politics of Europe, and consequently had a large share in framing her
own destiny. A portrait in the possession of the late Duke de Luynes[1]
represents her as having an admirable figure, a charming expression of
countenance, large and well-opened blue eyes, chesnut-tinted fair hair
in great abundance, a well-formed neck, with the loveliest bust
possible, and throughout her entire person a piquant blending of
delicacy, grace, vivacity, and passion. The following summary of her
character by the clever, caustic, but little scrupulous De Retz, graphic
as it is, and based on a certain amount of truth, must not be
unhesitatingly accepted, it being over-coloured by wilful
exaggeration:--"I have never seen anyone else," says he, "in whom
vivacity so far usurped the place of judgment. It very often inspired
her with such brilliant sallies that they flashed like lightning, and so
sensible withal, that they might not have been disowned by the greatest
men of any age. The manifestation of this faculty was not confined to
particular occasions. Had she lived in times when politics were
non-existent, she would not have rested content with the idea only that
they ought to have been rife. If the Prior of the Carthusians had
pleased her, she would have become a sincere recluse. M. de Luynes
initiated her into politics, the Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of
Holland corresponded with her upon them, and Châteauneuf amused her with
them. She gave herself up to their pursuit because she abandoned
herself, without reserve, to everything which pleased the individual
whom she loved, and simply because it was indispensable that she should
love somebody. It was not even difficult to give her a lover by setting
an eligible suitor to pay her court with an ostensible political motive;
but as soon as she accepted him, she loved him solely and faithfully,
and she owned to Mdme. de Rhodes and myself that, through caprice, she
said, she had never really loved those whom she esteemed the most, with
the exception of the unfortunate George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.
Devotion to the passion which in her might be called eternal, although
she might change the object of it, did not prevent even a fly from
causing her mental abstraction; but she always recovered from it with a
renewed exuberance which made such phases rather agreeable than
otherwise. No one ever took less heed about danger, and never woman had
more contempt for scruples and duties: she never recognised other than
that of pleasing her lover."

    [1] This nobleman died at Rome in December, 1867, at the age of
    sixty-five, having gone thither to aid the Pope against the
    Garibaldians.

This epigrammatic sketch is almost worthy of the exaggerated author of
the _Historiettes_,[2] and the reader is advised to accept only its more
salient and truthful traits--the keen and accurate glance of Mdme. de
Chevreuse in scanning the prevailing aspect of the political horizon,
her dauntless courage, the fidelity and devotion of her love. Retz,
moreover, mistakes entirely the order of her adventures; he forgets and
then invents. In striving after epigrammatic point, he sacrifices truth
to smartness of style, and writes as though he looked upon events in
which the passions of the Duchess made her take part as mere trifles,
whereas among them there were some than which none were ever of graver
or even more tragic moment.

    [2] Tallement des Réaux.

Mdme. de Chevreuse, in fact, possessed almost all the qualities
befitting a great politician. One alone was wanting, and precisely that
without which all the others tended to her ruin. She failed to select
for pursuit a legitimate object, or rather she did not choose one for
herself, but left it to another to choose for her. Mdme. de Chevreuse
was womanly in the highest possible degree; that quality was alike her
strength and her weakness. Her secret mainspring was love, or rather
gallantry,[3] and the interest of him whom she loved became her
paramount object. It is this which explains the wonderful sagacity,
finesse, and energy she displayed in the vain pursuit of a chimerical
aim, which ever receded before her, and seemed to draw her on by the
very prestige of difficulty and danger. La Rochefoucauld accuses her of
having brought misfortune upon all those whom she loved;[4] it is
equally the truth to add that all those whom she loved hurried her in
the sequel into insensate enterprises. It was not she evidently who
made of Buckingham a species of paladin without genius; a brilliant
adventurer of Charles IV. of Lorraine; of Chalais a hair-brained
blunderer, rash enough to commit himself in a conspiracy against
Richelieu, on the faith of the faithless Duke d'Orleans; of Châteauneuf,
an ambitious statesman, impatient of holding second rank in the
Government, without being capable of taking the first. Let no one
imagine that he is acquainted with Mdme. de Chevreuse from having merely
studied the foregoing portrait traced by De Retz, for that sketch is an
exaggeration and over-charged like all those from the same pen, and was
destined to amuse the malignant curiosity of Mdme. de Caumartin--for
without being altogether false, it is of a severity pushed to the verge
of injustice. Was it becoming, one might ask, of the restless and
licentious Coadjutor to constitute himself the remorseless censor of a
woman whose errors he shared? Did he not deceive himself as much and for
a far longer period than she? Did he show more address in political
strategy or courage in the dangerous strife, more intrepidity and
constancy in defeat? But Mdme. de Chevreuse has not written memoirs in
that free-and-easy and piquant style the constant aim of which is
self-elevation, obtained at the expense of everybody else. There are two
judges of her character the testimony of whose acts must be held to be
above suspicion--Richelieu and Mazarin. Richelieu did all in his power
to win her over, and not being able to succeed, he treated her as an
enemy worthy of himself.

    [3] Mdme. de Motteville.

    [4] Mémoires, Petitot's Collection, 2nd series, vol. li. p. 339.

To revert briefly to her long-continued struggle with Richelieu, it must
not be forgotten that for twenty years she had been the personal friend
and favourite of Anne of Austria, and for ten years she had suffered
persecution and privation on that account. Exiled, proscribed, and
threatened with imprisonment, she had narrowly escaped Richelieu's grasp
by disguising herself in male attire, and in that garb traversing France
and Spain on horseback, had succeeded in eluding his pursuit, and after
many adventures in safely reaching Madrid. Philip IV. not only heaped
every kind of honour upon his sister's courageous favourite, but even,
it is said, swelled the number of her conquests. Whilst in the Spanish
capital she had allied herself politically with the Minister Olivarez,
and obtained great ascendancy over the Cabinet of Madrid. The war
between France and Spain necessarily rendering her position in the
latter country delicate and embarrassing, she had, early in 1638, sought
refuge in England. Charles I. and Henrietta Maria gave her the warmest
possible reception at St. James's; and the latter, on seeing again the
distinguished countrywoman who had some years back conducted her as a
bride from Paris to the English shores to the arms of Prince Charles,
embraced her warmly, entered into all her troubles, and both the English
King and Queen wrote letters pleading in her behalf, to Louis XIII.,
Anne of Austria, and Richelieu with regard to the restoration of her
property and permission to rejoin her children at Dampierre. She herself
resumed the links of a negotiation with the Cardinal which had never
been entirely broken off, and the success of which seemed quite
practicable, since it was almost equally desired by both. That
negotiation was being carried on for more than a year, and when link
after link had been frequently snapped and re-soldered, only to be once
more broken, Richelieu at length gave his solemn word that she might
return with perfect safety to Dampierre.

On the eve of her departure from the English Court, a vessel being in
readiness to convey her to Dieppe, where a carriage awaited her landing,
the Duchess received an anonymous letter warning her that certain ruin
awaited her if she set foot on the soil of France, followed by another,
still more explicit with regard to Richelieu's designs to effect her
destruction, from no less a person than Charles of Lorraine. This second
warning from so reliable a source, followed shortly afterwards by other
advice--held by her in the light of a command--enchained her to a
foreign land. She for whom during ten long years the Duchess had
suffered all things, braved all things, her august friend Anne of
Austria cautioned her not to trust to appearances. Thus vanished the
last hope of a sincere reconciliation between two persons who knew each
other too well to discard distrust and to confide in words, of which
neither were sparing, without requiring solemn guarantees that they
could not or would not give.

Choosing stoically, therefore, to still undergo the pangs of absence, to
consume the noontide of the days of her attractive womanhood in
privation and turmoil rather than risk her liberty, Mdme. de Chevreuse
on her part did not remain idle. From the moment she felt convinced that
Richelieu was deceiving her, attracting her back to France only to hold
her in a state of dependence, and if need were, to incarcerate
her--having broken with him, she considered herself as free from all
scruple, and thought of nothing further than paying him back blow for
blow. Her old duel with the Cardinal thus once more renewed, she formed
in London, with the aid of the Duke de Vendôme, La Vieuville, and La
Valette, a faction of active and adroit emigrants, who, leaning on the
Earl of Holland, then one of the chiefs of the Royalist party and a
general in the army of Charles of England; upon Lord Montagu, an ardent
Papist and intimate adviser of Queen Henrietta Maria; upon Digby and
other men of influence at Court, maintained likewise the closest
intelligence with the Court of Rome through its envoy in England,
Rosetti, and especially with the Cabinet of Madrid; encouraging and
kindling the hopes of all the proscribed and discontented, strewing
obstacles at all points in the path of Richelieu, and accumulating
formidable perils around his head.

On the breaking out of the Civil War in England, Mdme. de Chevreuse
repaired to Brussels, where in 1641 we find her acting as the connecting
link between England, Spain, and Lorraine. Without attributing to the
Duchess any especial motive beyond seconding an enterprise directed
against the common enemy, she did not the less play an important part in
the affair of the Count de Soissons--the most formidable conspiracy that
had hitherto been hatched against Richelieu. Anne of Austria was
certainly privy to the plot and lent it her aid. She might have been
ignorant of the secret treaty with Spain; but for all the rest, and so
far as it menaced the Cardinal, she had a perfect understanding with the
conspirators. That high-handed Minister, by overstraining the springs of
government, by prolonging the war, by increasing the public expenditure,
and by oppressing all classes whilst he crushed some in particular, had
excited a hatred so bitter and widespread that at length he governed the
State almost entirely through terror. Whilst the grandeur of his designs
commanded respect and veneration from a select few, his genius towered
above the bulk of his countrymen. But that harsh rule, continuing
unrelaxed, and so many sacrifices being perpetually renewed, at length
wearied out the greater number, the King himself not excepted. Louis's
reigning favourite, the Grand-Écuyer, Cinq Mars, undermined and
blackened the Cardinal as much as possible in his royal master's
estimation. He knew of the conspiracy of the Count de Soissons, and
without taking a share in it, he favoured it. He might therefore be
reckoned upon to figure in the next. The Queen, still in disgrace in
spite of the two heirs she had given to the crown, naturally breathed
vows for the termination of a rule which so oppressed her. Gaston, the
King's brother, had pledged his word, however little the reliance that
might be placed upon it; but the Duke de Bouillon, an experienced
soldier and an eminent politician, had openly declared himself; and his
stronghold of Sedan, situated on the frontiers of France and Belgium,
offered an asylum whence could be braved for a long while all the power
of the Cardinal. A widespread understanding had been established
throughout every part of the kingdom, amongst the clergy, and in the
Parliament. There were conspirators in the very Bastille itself, where
Marshal de Vitry and the Count de Cramail, prisoners as they were, had
prepared a _coup de main_ with an admirably-kept secrecy. The Abbé de
Retz, then twenty-five, preluded his adventurous career by this attempt
at civil war. The Duke de Guise, having effected his escape from Rheims,
and taken refuge in the Low Countries, was about to share the dangers of
the conspiracy at Sedan. But the greatest--the firmest--hope of the
Count de Soissons rested upon Spain: that power alone could enable him
to take the field from Sedan, to march upon Paris, and crush the power
of Richelieu. He therefore despatched Alexandre de Campion, one of his
bravest and most intelligent gentlemen, to Brussels to negotiate with
the Spanish Ministers and obtain from them troops and money. There he
addressed himself to Mdme. de Chevreuse, and confided to her the mission
with which he was charged, which she hastened to second with all her
influence. Having prevailed upon Olivarez to strenuously support those
requirements which the Count de Soissons and the Duke de Bouillon sought
at his hands, she despatched letters by a secret agent in the service of
Spain to the Duke de Lorraine, entreating him not to fail her in this
supreme opportunity of repairing her past misfortunes and of dealing a
mortal blow to their remorseless enemy. The Duke Charles, thus solicited
at once by Mdme. de Chevreuse, by his kinsman the Duke de Guise, by the
Spanish Minister, and, more than all, by his own restless and
adventurous ambition, broke the solemn compact he had so recently made
with France, entered into an alliance with Spain and the Count de
Soissons, and prepared with all diligence to march to the aid of Sedan.
And whilst Mdme. de Chevreuse and the emigrants brought into play every
engine they could lay hands on, Lamboy and Metternich set out for
Flanders at the head of six thousand Imperialists. France--all the
nationalities of Europe, were on the tiptoe of expectation. Richelieu
had never been menaced with a greater danger, and the loss of the battle
of Marfée would have proved a fatal event had not the Count de Soissons
met his death simultaneously with his triumph.

If Mdme. de Chevreuse were a stranger in 1642 to the fresh conspiracy of
Gaston, Duke d'Orleans, Cinq Mars, and the Duke de Bouillon against her
relentless foe, it would have been the only one in which she had not
taken a leading part. It is indeed more than probable that she was in
the secret as well as Queen Anne, whose understanding with Gaston and
Cinq Mars cannot be contested. La Rochefoucauld repeatedly remarks
touching a matter in which he seems to have been implicated, "The
dazzling reputation of M. le Grand (Cinq Mars) rekindled the hopes of
the discontented; the Queen and the Duke d'Orleans united with him; the
Duke de Bouillon and several persons of quality did the same." De
Bouillon also declares that the Queen was closely allied with Gaston and
the Grand-Écuyer, and that she herself had invited his concurrence. "The
Queen, whom the Cardinal had persecuted in such a variety of ways, did
not doubt that, if the King should chance to die, that minister would
seek to deprive her of her children, in order to assume the Regency
himself. She secretly instigated De Thou to seek the Duke de Bouillon
with persevering entreaties. She asked the latter whether, in the event
of the King's death, he would promise to receive her and her two
children in his stronghold of Sedan, believing--so firmly persuaded was
she of the evil designs of the Cardinal, and of his power--that there
was no other place of safety for them throughout the realm of France."
De Thou further told the Duke de Bouillon that since the King's illness
the Queen and the Duke d'Orleans were very closely allied, and that it
was through Cinq Mars that their alliance had been brought about. Now,
where the Queen was so deeply implicated it was not likely that Mdme. de
Chevreuse would stand aloof. A friend of Richelieu, whose name has not
come down to us, but who must have been perfectly well informed, does
not hesitate to place Mdme. de Chevreuse as well as the Queen amongst
those who then endeavoured to overthrow Richelieu. "M. le Grand," he
writes to the Cardinal,[5] "has been urged to his wicked designs by the
Queen-mother, by her daughter (Henrietta Maria), by the Queen of France,
by Mdme. de Chevreuse, by Montagu, and other English Papists." At length
the Cardinal, on an early day in June, 1642, retired to Tarascon,
ostensibly for the sake of his health, but doubtless for safety also,
accompanied by his two bosom friends, Mazarin and Chavigny, and the
faithful regiments of his guards. Finding himself surrounded by peril on
all sides, and representing to Louis XIII. the gravity of the situation,
he cited that which had been alleged of Mdme. de Chevreuse as amongst
the most striking indications of the truth of what he stated.[6]

    [5] Archives des Affaires Étrangères; FRANCE, tom. CI.

    [6] Archives des Affaires Étrangères; FRANCE, tom. cii. Inedited
    Memoir of Richelieu.

But what _was_ the party in fact then conspiring against Richelieu? Was
it not the party of former coalitions--of the League, of Austria, and of
Spain? And Mdme. Chevreuse at Brussels, through her connection with the
Duke de Lorraine, the Queen of England, the Chevalier de Jars at Rome,
the Minister Olivarez at Madrid--was she not one of the great motive
powers of that party? When, therefore, such machinery was found to be
again in activity, it was quite reasonable to suspect the hand of Mdme.
de Chevreuse in all its movements.

The gathering cloud that now lowered so thick and threatening above the
head of Richelieu seemed pregnant with inevitable destruction to his
power and life. But ere long his eagle glance pierced through the
overshadowing gloom, and the aim of Cinq Mars' dark intrigue became
clearly revealed to his far-seeing introspection. A treachery, the
secret of which has remained impenetrable to every research made during
the last two centuries, caused the treaty concluded with Spain through
the intervention of Fontrailles, and bearing the signatures of Gaston,
Cinq Mars, and the Duke de Bouillon, to fall into his hands. From that
instant the Cardinal felt certain of victory. He knew Louis XIII.
thoroughly; he conjectured that he might in some access of his morbid
and changeful humour have uttered reproachful words against his Minister
in the favourite's ear--even expressed a wish to be rid of him, as did
our first Plantagenet when tired of the despotism of Thomas à
Becket--and had perhaps listened to strange proposals for effecting such
object. But the Cardinal knew right well also to what extent Louis was a
king and a Frenchman, and devoted by self-interest to their common
system. He despatched, therefore, Chavigny in all haste from Narbonne
with irrefragable evidence of the treaty made with Spain. Louis,
thunderstricken, could scarcely believe his own eyes. He sank into a
gloomy reverie, out of which he emerged only to give way to bursts of
indignation against the favourite who could thus abuse his confidence
and conspire with the foreigner. It was needless to inflame his anger,
he was the first to call for an exemplary punishment. Not for a day, not
for an hour, did his heart soften towards the youthful culprit who had
been so dear to him. He thought only of his crime, and signed without an
instant's hesitation his death-warrant. If Louis the Just spared the
Duke de Bouillon, it was merely to acquire Sedan. If he pardoned his
brother Gaston, he at the same time dishonoured him by depriving him of
all authority in the State. Upon a report spread by a servant of
Fontrailles, and which Fontrailles' memoirs fully confirm, his
suspicions were directed towards the Queen; and no one afterwards could
divest his mind of the conviction that in this instance, as in the
affair of Chalais, Anne of Austria had an understanding with his
brother, the Duke d'Orleans. What would he have done had he perused the
statement of Fontrailles, the Duke de Bouillon's memoirs, a letter of
Turenne, and the declaration of La Rochefoucauld? Their united testimony
is so concordant that it is altogether irresistible. The Queen racked
her brains to exorcise this fresh storm, and to persuade the King and
Richelieu of her innocence. Anne went much farther; she did not confine
herself to falsehood and dissimulation. Menaced by imminent danger, she
went so far as to repudiate that courageous friend who had been so long
and steadfastly devoted to her. Had fortune declared in her favour she
would have embraced the Duchess as a deliverer. Vanquished and disarmed,
she abandoned her. As she had protested in terms of horror against the
conspiracy that had failed, her two young, imprudent, and ill-starred
accomplices, Cinq Mars and De Thou, mounted the scaffold without
breathing her name. Finding also both the King and Richelieu violently
exasperated against Mdme. de Chevreuse, and firmly resolved to reject
the renewed entreaties of her family to obtain her recall, Anne of
Austria, far from interceding for her faithful adherent, warmly sided
with her enemies; and further, to indicate the change in her own
sentiments, and seem to applaud that which she could not prevent, she
asked as an especial favour that the Duchess might be estranged from her
person, and even from France. "The Queen," wrote Chavigny, Richelieu's
Minister for Foreign Affairs, "has pointedly asked me if it were true
that Mdme. de Chevreuse would return; and, without waiting for a reply,
she signified to me that she should be vexed to find her presently in
France; that she now saw the Duchess in her proper light; and she
commanded me to pray His Eminence on her part, if he had any mind to
favour Mdme. de Chevreuse, that it might be done without granting her
permission to return to France. I assured her Majesty that she should
have satisfaction on that point."[7]

    [7] Archives des Affaires Étrangères, FRANCE, tom. CI.

Poor Marie de Rohan! Her heart already bled from many wounds, but this
last was the "unkindest cut of all." Her position had indeed become
frightful, and calculated to sink her to the lowest depth of despair. No
hope of seeing her native land again, her princely château, her
children, her favourite daughter Charlotte! Deriving scarcely anything
from France, deeply in debt, and with credit exhausted, she found
herself entirely at the end of her resources. How thoroughly did the
banished woman then realise the woes of exile--how hard it is to climb
and descend the stranger's stair, experience the hollowness of his
promise, and the arrogance of his commiseration. And, finally, as though
fated to drain her cup of bitterness to the last drop, to learn that
she, her long-loved bosom friend and royal mistress, who owed her, at
the very least, a silent fidelity, had openly ranged herself on the side
of fortune and Richelieu!

In a condition of mental torture the most acute, resulting from such
accumulated misfortune, Madame de Chevreuse remained for several months
with no other support than that of her innate high-souled courage. At
length, towards the close of that eventful year, the golden grooves of
change rung out a joyous pæan to gladden the heart of the much-enduring
exile. Suddenly Marie--all Europe--heard with a throb that the
inscrutable, iron-handed man of all the human race most dreaded alike by
States as by individuals, had yielded to a stronger power than his own,
and had closed his eyes in death (December 4, 1642). Within a few short
months afterwards the King also, whose regal power he had consolidated
at such a cost in blood and suffering, followed the great statesman to
the tomb; having entrusted the Regency, very much against his will, to
the Queen, but controlled by a Council, over which presided as Prime
Minister the man most devoted to Richelieu's system--his closest friend,
confidant, and creature--Jules Mazarin.

A passage in the funeral oration on Louis XIII. summed up briefly but
significantly the result of Richelieu's gigantic efforts to consolidate
the regal power. "Sixty-three kings," it said, "had preceded him in rule
of the realm, but he alone had rendered it absolute, and what all
collectively had been impotent to achieve in the course of twelve
centuries for the grandeur of France, he had accomplished in the short
space of thirty-three years." It was against that absolute power
incarnate in Richelieu, which from the steps of the throne hurled men to
the earth with its bolts rather than governed them, that Mazarin was
destined later to encounter the reaction of the Fronde.

Distrustful of leaving Anne of Austria in uncontrolled possession of
regal authority, Louis by his last will and testament had placed
royalty, including his brother Gaston as lieutenant-general of the
realm, in a manner under a commission. And further, Louis did not
believe that he could ensure quiet to the State after his death without
confirming and perpetuating, so far as in him lay, the perpetual exile
of Madame de Chevreuse.

As the pupil and confidential friend of Richelieu, Mazarin had imbibed
both that statesman's and the late king's opinions and sentiments
touching the influence of that eminently dangerous woman. Though he had
never seen her hitherto, he was not the less well acquainted with her by
repute: dreading her mortally, and cherishing a like antipathy to her
friend Châteauneuf. He knew the Duchess to be as seductive as she was
talented, experienced and courageous in party strife--an instance of
which was that she could sway entirely a man of such ambition and
capacity as the former Keeper of the Seals. Attached, moreover, in
secret to Lorraine, to Austria, and to Spain, all this was as absolutely
incompatible with the exclusive favour to which he aspired at the hands
of his royal mistress as it was with all his diplomatic and military
designs. The solemn injunctions of the late king's will, while
denouncing Madame de Chevreuse and Châteauneuf as the two most
illustrious victims of the close of his reign, embodied also the heads
of the policy which it was that monarch's wish should be continued by
Richelieu's successor. "Forasmuch," ran the will, "that for weighty
reasons, important to the welfare of our State, we found ourselves
compelled to deprive the Sieur de Châteauneuf of the post of Keeper of
the Seals of France, and have him sent to the Castle of Angoulême, in
which he has remained by our command up to the present time, we will and
intend that the said Sieur de Châteauneuf remain in the same state in
which he is at present, in the said Castle of Angoulême, until after the
peace be concluded and executed; under charge, nevertheless, that he
shall not then be set at liberty save by the order of the Queen-Regent,
under the advice of her Council, which shall appoint a place to which he
shall retire, within the realm or without the realm, as may be judged
best. And as our design is to take foresight of all such subjects as may
possibly in some way or other disturb the precautionary arrangements
which we have made to preserve the repose and safety of our realm, the
knowledge that we have of the bad conduct of the Lady Duchess de
Chevreuse, of the artifices which she has employed up to this moment
without the kingdom with our enemies, made us judge it fitting to forbid
her, as we do, entrance into our kingdom during the war: desiring even
that after the peace be concluded and executed she may not return into
our kingdom, save only under the orders of the said Lady Queen-Regent,
with the advice of the said Council, under charge, nevertheless, that
she shall not either take up her abode or be in any place near to the
Court or to the said Queen-Regent."

Within a few days only after the decease of Louis XIII. that same
Parliament which had enrolled his will reformed it. The Queen-Regent was
freed from every fetter and restriction, and invested with almost
absolute sovereignty; the ban was removed from the proscribed couple so
solemnly denounced, Châteauneuf's prison doors were thrown open, and
Madame de Chevreuse quitted Brussels triumphantly, with a cortége of
twenty carriages, filled with lords and ladies of the highest rank in
that Court, to return once more to France and to the side of her royal
friend and mistress.



CHAPTER IV.

  RETURN OF MADAME DE CHEVREUSE TO COURT.


AFTER ten years' absence from the scene of her former triumphs, social
and political, did the brilliant Duchess then once more find herself
safe and free in France. The _Gazette de Renaudot_--the _Moniteur_ of
that day--recording the return of Madame de Chevreuse, on the 14th of
June, 1643, remarks[1]:--"During such long exile, this princess has
manifested what an elevated mind like hers can do, in spite of all those
vicissitudes of fortune which her constancy has surmounted. The Duchess
went to pay homage to their Majesties, during which visit she received
so many tokens of affection from the Queen-Regent, and gave her in
return such proofs of her zeal in everything relating to her service,
and so much resignation to her will, that it indeed appears that length
of time, distance, or thorny asperities can only prevail over common
minds. Hence the great train of visitors from this Court to her daily,
and for which her spacious hotel scarcely affords room, does not excite
so much wonder as the fact which has been the subject of remark, that
the fatigue consequent upon long journeys and the rigour of adverse
fortune have worked no change in her magnanimity, nor--which is the more
extraordinary--in her beauty."

    [1] No. lxxvii. p. 579.

Making due allowance for the inflated diction of the complaisant Court
newswriter, let us endeavour to approach somewhat nearer to the truth.

Madame de Chevreuse had then entered upon her forty-third year. Though
still surprisingly well-preserved, her beauty, tried by adversity, was
visibly on the decline. The inclination to gallantry still existed, but
subdued, politics having gained the supremacy. She had formed the
acquaintance of, and held political relations with, the most celebrated
statesmen in Europe. She had figured at almost all its Courts, the
strength and weakness of its several Governments were known to her, and
in her wanderings, having seen "men and cities," she had acquired a
large experience. The tried favourite hoped to find Anne of Austria the
same as she had left her--averse to business, and very willing to allow
herself to be led by those for whom she had a particular affection; and
as Madame de Chevreuse had been in her youthful days paramount in the
Queen's affection, she fully expected to exercise over her that twofold
ascendancy which love and capacity would jointly give. More ambitious
for her friends than for herself, she saw them already rewarded for
their long sacrifices, replacing everywhere the creatures of Richelieu,
and at their head, in the highest post, as first minister, him who for
her sake had broken with the triumphant Cardinal, and had endured an
imprisonment of ten tedious years. She did not care much about Mazarin,
with whom she had no acquaintance, whom she had never seen, and who
appeared to her unsupported either by the Court or the French nation,
whilst she felt herself sustained by all that was illustrious, powerful,
and accredited therein. She believed that she could make sure of the
Duke d'Orleans through his wife, the beautiful Margaret, sister of
Charles of Lorraine. She could dispose almost at will of the Houses of
Rohan and Lorraine, particularly of the Duke de Guise and the Duke
d'Elbeuf, like herself just returned from Flanders. She reckoned upon
the Vendômes, upon the Duke d'Epernon, upon La Vieuville, her old
companions in exile in England; upon the ill-treated Bouillons, upon La
Rochefoucauld, whose disposition and pretensions were so well known to
her; upon Lord Montagu, who had been her slave, and at that moment
possessed the entire confidence of Anne of Austria; upon La Châtre, the
friend of the Vendômes, and Colonel-General of the Swiss Guards; upon
Treville, upon Beringhen, upon Jars, upon La Porte, who were all
emerging from exile, prison, and disgrace. Among the women, her young
stepmother and her sister-in-law seemed secure--Madame de Montbazon and
Madame de Guéméné, the two greatest beauties of the time, who drew after
them a numerous crowd of old and young adorers. She knew also that among
the first acts of the Regent had been the recall to her side of the two
noble victims of Richelieu--Madame de Senécé and Madame de Hautefort,
whose virtue and piety had conspired so beneficially with other
influences, and had given them an inestimable weight in the household of
Anne of Austria. All those calculations seemed accurate, all those hopes
well-founded; and Madame de Chevreuse left Brussels firmly persuaded
that she was about to re-enter the Louvre as a conqueress. She deceived
herself: the Queen was already changed, or very nearly so.

To show due honour to her former favourite, however, Anne of Austria
despatched La Rochefoucauld to greet and escort her homewards; but
before he set out she charged him to inform the Duchess of the altered
disposition in which she would find her royal mistress. During that
audience Rochefoucauld did his utmost to reinstate his charming friend
and close ally in the Queen's good graces. "I spoke to her," says he,
"with more freedom perhaps than was becoming. I set before her Madame de
Chevreuse's fidelity, her long-continued services, and the severity of
the misfortunes which they had entailed upon her. I entreated her to
consider of what fickleness she would be thought capable, and what
interpretation might be placed upon such inconsiderateness if she should
prefer Cardinal Mazarin to Madame de Chevreuse. Our conversation was
long and stormy, and I saw clearly that I had exasperated her." He then
started to meet the Duchess on the road from Brussels, and found her at
Roye, whither Montagu had already preceded him. Montagu had travelled to
Roye to place Mazarin's homage at the feet of Madame de Chevreuse, with
the view of bringing about at any cost an union and identity of policy
between the old and the new favourite. He was no longer the gay and
sprightly Walter Montagu, the friend of Holland and Buckingham, the
enamoured knight ever ready to break a lance against all comers for a
glance of the bright eyes of Madame de Chevreuse. Time had changed him
as well as others: he had become a bigot and a devotee, and already
contemplated taking orders in the Church of Rome. He still remained,
however, attached to the object of his former adoration, but above all
he belonged to the Queen, and consequently resigned to Mazarin. La
Rochefoucauld--ever ready to ascribe to himself the chief share in any
undertaking in which he figured, as well as the character of a great
politician--asserts that he entreated Madame de Chevreuse not to
attempt at first to govern the Queen, but to endeavour solely to regain
in Anne's mind and heart that place of which it had been sought to
deprive her, and to put herself in a position in which she would be able
to protect or ruin the Cardinal, according to conduct or circumstances
emanating from himself.

The Duchess listened attentively to the advice of both her old friends,
promised to follow it, and did so in fact, but in her own peculiar way,
and in that of the interest of the party she had so long served, and
which she would not abandon. As Anne of Austria seemed much pleased at
seeing the noble wanderer again, and gave her a warm reception, Marie
did not perceive any difference in the Queen's sentiments, and flattered
herself that by constant assiduousness she would ere long resume that
sway over the Regent's mind she had formerly exercised.

Operating against this not unreasonable expectation of Madame de
Chevreuse, Mazarin had a silent but potent ally in the newly-awakened
inclination of Anne for repose and a tranquil life. The first draughts
of almost supreme power tasted by the long-oppressed Queen were not yet
embittered by faction and anarchy. In bygone days, insult, neglect, and
persecution had stirred her at intervals into mental activity, and urged
her upon dangerous courses; but now, having obtained all she aimed at,
happy, and beginning to form attachments, she entertained a dread of
troublesome adventures and hazardous enterprises. She therefore feared
Madame de Chevreuse quite as much as she loved her. The astute Cardinal
anxiously strove to foster such distrust. He looked for support from the
Princess de Condé, then high in the Queen's favour, both through her own
merit as well as that of the Prince her husband, but more than all
through the brilliant exploits of her son, the Duke d'Enghien; through
the services also of her son-in-law the Duke de Longueville, who had,
with honourable distinction, commanded the armies of Italy and Germany,
and by her recently-married daughter, Madame de Longueville, already the
darling of the _salons_ and the Court. The Princess, like Queen Anne,
had in the heyday of her beauty been fond of homage and gallantry, but
had now grown serious, and displayed a somewhat lively piety. She held
Madame de Chevreuse in aversion, and detested Châteauneuf, who, in 1632,
at Toulouse, had presided at the trial and condemnation of her brother,
Henri de Montmorency. She therefore had striven, in concert with
Mazarin, to destroy or at least weaken Madame de Chevreuse's hold upon
the Queen. Armed with the last will of Louis XIII., they had made it
appear something like a fault in the Queen's eyes to disregard it so
soon and so entirely. They had given her to understand that former days
and associations could never return; that the amusements and passions of
early youth were but "evil accompaniments"[2] of a later period of life;
that now she was before all things a mother and a Queen; that Madame de
Chevreuse, dissipated and carried away by passion, and cherishing the
same inclination for gallantry and idle vanity as hitherto, was no
longer worthy of her confidence; that she had brought good fortune to no
one; and that in lavishing wealth and honour upon the Duchess the debt
of gratitude she owed her would be sufficiently discharged.

    [2] Madame de Motteville, tom. i. p. 162.--"Mauvais
    accompagnements."



BOOK II.



CHAPTER I.

  ANNE OF AUSTRIA'S PRIME MINISTER AND HIS POLICY.


AND now what was the actual position of Mazarin on succeeding to power
in 1643?

Richelieu had died admired and abhorred. The people, glad to be
delivered from so heavy a yoke, obeyed with joy the incipient rule of
the Queen-Regent. The courtiers were at first enchanted with a
Government that refused nothing asked of it. It appeared, as one of the
number said, that there were no more than five little words in the
French language: "_La reine est si bonne!_"[1] The State prisons threw
open their gates; the rights of parliaments were respected; the princes
of the blood and the great nobles were restored to their governorships.
There was for a season one unanimous concert of praise and thanksgiving.
But when the princes and parliaments were desirous, as before
Richelieu's rule, of participating in the general direction of the
State, and especially in the distribution of place and patronage, great
was the surprise of both at finding a steady resistance on the part of
the Queen-Regent. To see her manifest a disposition to govern without
them was looked upon as something scandalous. Every attempt she made
thenceforward to retain a power which they evaded, or to repossess
herself of that which she had imprudently suffered to escape from her
grasp, seemed to them nothing less than a continuation of the odious
system of Richelieu. Their exasperation was increased to the highest
degree, therefore, when they beheld her give her entire confidence to a
foreigner, to a Cardinal, to a creature of Richelieu. By that triple
title Mazarin was equally hateful to the great nobles, the members of
parliament, and the middle class. The tyranny of Richelieu had in the
end attained to something noble by the high-handed heedlessness of all
his acts. If the people were to be trampled on, it was a species of
consolation that their oppressor was feared by others as well as
themselves. But that the oppression of the doomed French nation was to
be continued by a more ignoble hand was altogether intolerable.
Frenchmen had begun to ask one another, who _was_ this Mazarin who had
come to rule over them? He could not--like Richelieu--boast of his high
birth, of descent from a long line of noble ancestors--Frenchmen. Poets
and romancers, ye whose imaginations delight to dwell upon sudden
downfalls and rapid rises, mark well that little lad at play upon the
Sicilian shore near the town of Mazzara! Springing from the lowest of
the plebeian class, his family have not even a surname. He is the son of
one Pierre, a fisherman, whose humble hut stands yonder beneath the
cliff. But a day will come when that lowly-born lad, joining his
baptismal name to that of the town which sheltered his cradle, will
become Jules de Mazarin, robed in the Roman purple, quartering his
shield with the consular fasces of Julius Cæsar, governing France, and
through her preparing and influencing the destinies of entire Europe.

    [1] De Retz Memoirs, Petitot Collection.

It was not, however, by easy steps that Richelieu's disciple and
successor obtained a firm grasp of that plenary power which the master
mind of the former had consolidated and long wielded so grandly and
terribly. The Queen herself at the commencement of the Regency had not
yet renounced her former friendships. During a considerable portion of
her married life Anne had impatiently endured the slights and
disparagements to which she was so long subjected, both by her husband
and his Minister. Through engaging in divers dangerous and unsuccessful
enterprises, she had been deprived of all influence, and was a queen
only in name. But, a woman and a Spaniard, she had descended to
dissimulation, and in that "ugly but necessary virtue"[2] made rapid
progress. Up to the time of Richelieu's death she had played a double
game--made partisans in secret, with the object of subverting the
Cardinal's power, whilst feigning the semblance of friendship towards
him, and did not scruple to humiliate herself on occasions, in order to
carry her point. After that great man's decease, through rare patience,
great caution, and a persistent line of conduct, she ultimately attained
that for which she had been willing to make any and every sacrifice--the
Regency. During the King's last illness, the mistrusted Queen and wife
had profited by Mazarin's unhoped-for service, as Prime Minister, in
prevailing over the unwillingness of the dying King to appoint her
custodian of his son, and Regent during his minority. She regarded this,
therefore, as a first and most important service on the part of Mazarin
towards her, and for which she felt proportionately grateful. Such was
the Cardinal's first stepping-stone to the good graces of Anne of
Austria, and his twofold talent both as a laborious and indefatigable
statesman and a consummate courtier, speedily helped to secure for him
her entire confidence. The singular personal resemblance he bore to that
desperate _enamorado_ of her early womanhood, the brilliant Buckingham,
may probably also have served him as a favourable prestige. On her
accession to power Anne did not manifest much firmness of character.
Naturally indolent, she disliked the drudgery attendant upon business
details, and hence continued through convenience the services of a man
who, by taking off her hands the wearisome routine of State affairs,
allowed her to reign at her ease.

    [2] Madame de Motteville.

Mazarin, moreover, had never been displeasing to her. He had begun to
ingratiate himself during the month preceding the death of Louis
XIII.,[3] and she named him Prime Minister about the middle of
May--partly through personal liking, but more through political
necessity. Far from appearing to resemble the impassive and imperious
Richelieu, Anne perhaps might have recalled with agreeable emotion the
words of her deceased consort when he first presented Mazarin to her (in
1639 or 1640)--"He will please you, madame, because he bears a striking
resemblance to Buckingham." By degrees the liking increased, and grew
sufficiently strong to resist every assault from his enemies. At the
same time the Minister to whom the Queen owed so much, instead of
dictating to and presuming to govern her, was ever at her feet, and
prodigal of that attention, respect, and tenderness to which she had
been hitherto a stranger.

    [3] Louis died May 14th, 1643.

It is a delicate matter to investigate with exactitude the means by
which Mazarin obtained entire sway over the Queen-Regent, and one which
La Rochefoucauld scarcely touches upon; but it is too interesting a
point in history to be left in the dark, and thereby to altogether
disregard that which first constituted the minister's strength, and
soon afterwards became the centre and key of the situation. After a long
season of oppression, regal powers and splendour gilded the hours of
Anne of Austria, and her Spanish pride exacted the tribute of respect
and homage. Mazarin was prodigal of both. He cast himself at her feet in
order to reach her heart. In her heart of hearts she was not the less
touched by the grave accusation brought against him that he was a
foreigner, for was not she also a foreigner? Perhaps that of itself
proved the source of a mysterious attraction to her, and she may have
found it a singular pleasure to converse with her Prime Minister in her
mother tongue as a compatriot and friend. To all this must be added the
mind and manners of Mazarin--supple and insinuating, always master of
himself, of an unchangeable serenity amidst the gravest circumstances,
full of confidence in his good star, and diffusing that confidence
around him. It must also be remembered that Cardinal although he was,
Mazarin was not a priest; that imbued with the maxims which formed the
code of gallantry of her native land, Anne of Austria had always loved
to please the other sex; that she was then forty-one and still
beautiful, that her Prime Minister was of the same age, that he was
exceedingly well-made and of a most pleasing countenance, in which
_finesse_, was blended with a certain air of greatness. He had readily
recognised that without ancestry, establishment, or support in France,
and surrounded by rivals and enemies, all his strength centred in the
Queen. He applied himself therefore above all things to gain her heart,
as Richelieu had tried before him; and as he happily possessed far other
means for attaining success in that respect, the handsome and
gentle-mannered Cardinal eventually succeeded. Once master of her heart,
he easily directed the mind of Anne of Austria, and taught her the
difficult art of pursuing ever the same end by the aid of conduct the
most diverse, according to the difference of circumstances.

But favourable and indeed gracious as his royal mistress had shown
herself towards him personally, and apart from any particular line of
policy, at the outset of his premiership Mazarin had nevertheless to
contend against a formidable host of enemies; and not the least
redoubtable among them might be reckoned that intrepid political heroine
the lately-banished Duchess de Chevreuse. No sooner did she again find
herself at the side of Anne of Austria than the indefatigable Marie set
to work with all her characteristic dash, spirit, and energy to attack
Richelieu's system and its adherents, now directed by Mazarin.

The first point she sought to carry was the return of Châteauneuf to
office. "The good sense and long experience of M. de Châteauneuf," says
La Rochefoucauld, "were known to the Queen. He had undergone a rigorous
imprisonment for his adhesion to her cause; he was firm, decisive, loved
the State, and more capable than anyone else of re-establishing the old
form of government which Richelieu had first begun to destroy. Firmly
attached to Mdme. de Chevreuse, she knew sufficiently-well how to govern
him. She therefore urged his return with much warmth." Châteauneuf had
already obtained as a royal boon that the "rude and miserable condition"
of close incarceration under which he had groaned for ten years should
be changed for a compulsory residence at one of his country houses.
Mdme. de Chevreuse demanded the termination of this mitigated exile,
that she might once more behold him free who had endured such
extremities for the Queen's sake and her own. Mazarin saw that he must
yield, but only did so tardily, never appearing himself to repulse
Châteauneuf, but always alleging the paramount necessity of conciliating
the Condé family, and especially the Princess, who, as already said,
bore bitter enmity towards him as the judge of her brother, Henri de
Montmorency. Châteauneuf was therefore recalled, but with that
reservation accorded to the last clause of the King's will, that he
should not appear at Court, but reside at his own house of Montrouge,
near Paris, where his friends might visit him.

The next step was to transfer him thence to some ministerial office.
Châteauneuf was no longer a young man, but neither his energy nor his
ambition had deserted him, and Mdme. de Chevreuse made it a point of
honour to reinstate him in the post of Keeper of the Seals, which he had
formerly held and lost through her, and which all Queen Anne's old
friends now saw with indignation occupied by one of the most detested of
Richelieu's creatures, Pierre Séguier. This last, however, was a man of
capacity--laborious, well-informed and full of resources. To these
qualifications he added a remarkable suppleness, which made him very
useful and accommodating to a Prime Minister. He moreover had the
support of friends who stood high in the Queen's favour, and was further
strengthened by the opposition of the Condés and the Bishop of Beauvais
to Châteauneuf. The Duchess perceiving that it was almost impossible to
surmount so powerful an opposition, took another way of arriving at the
same end. She contented herself with asking for the lowest seat in the
cabinet for her friend; well knowing that once installed therein,
Châteauneuf would soon manage all the rest and aggrandise his position.

At the same time that she strove to extricate from disgrace the man upon
whom rested all her political hopes, Madame de Chevreuse, not daring to
attack Mazarin overtly, insensibly undermined the ground beneath his
feet, and step by step prepared his ruin. Her experienced eye enabled
her promptly to perceive the most favourable point of attack whence to
assail the Queen, and the watchword she passed was to fan and keep alive
to the utmost the general feeling of reprobation which all the
proscribed, on returning to France, had aroused and disseminated against
the memory of Richelieu. This feeling was universal--among the great
families he had decimated or despoiled;--in the Church, too firmly
repressed not to be unmindful of its abasement;--in the Parliament,
strictly confined to its judicial functions, and aspiring to break
through such narrow limits. The same feeling was still alive in the
Queen's bosom, who could not have forgotten the deep humiliation to
which Richelieu had subjected her, and the fate for which he had
probably reserved her. These tactics succeeded, and on every side there
arose against the late violence and tyranny, and, by a rebound, against
the creatures of Richelieu, a storm so furious that Mazarin's utmost
ability was taxed to allay it.

Madame de Chevreuse likewise supplicated Anne of Austria to repair the
long-endured misfortunes of the Vendôme princes, by bestowing upon them
either the Admiralty, to which an immense power was attached, or the
government of Brittany, which the head of the family, Cæsar de Vendôme,
had formerly held--deriving it alike from the hand of his father, Henry
IV., and as the heritage of his father-in-law, the Duke de Mercoeur.
This was nothing less than demanding the aggrandisement of an unfriendly
house, and at the same time the ruin of two families that had served
Richelieu with the utmost devotion, and were best capable of supporting
Mazarin. The Minister parried the blow aimed at him by the Duchess by
dint of address and patience, never refusing, always eluding, and
summoning to his aid his grand ally, as he termed it--Time. Before the
return of Madame de Chevreuse he had found himself forced to win over
the Vendômes, and to secure them in his interest. On Richelieu's death
he had strenuously contributed to obtain their recall, and had since
made them every kind of advance; but he soon perceived that he could not
satisfy them without bringing about his own destruction. The Duke Cæsar
de Vendôme, son of Henry IV. and _The Fair Gabrielle_, had early carried
his pretensions to a great height, and had shown himself restless and
factious as a legitimate prince. He had passed his life in revolts and
conspiracies, and in 1641 had been compelled to flee to England through
suspicion of being implicated in an attempt to assassinate Richelieu. He
did not dare return to France until after the Cardinal's death; and, as
may well be imagined, he came back breathing the direst vengeance.
Against the ambition of the Vendômes Mazarin skilfully opposed that of
the Condés, who were inimical to the aggrandisement of a house too
nearly rivalling their own. But it was very difficult to retain Brittany
in the hands of its newly-appointed governor, the Marshal La Meilleraie,
in face of the claim of a son of Henry the Great, who had formerly held
it, and demanded it back as a sort of heirloom. Mazarin therefore
resigned himself to the sacrifice of La Meilleraie, but he lightened it
as much as possible. He persuaded the Queen to assume to herself the
government of Brittany, and have only a lieutenant-general over it--a
post, of course, beneath the dignity of the Vendômes, and which would,
therefore, remain in La Meilleraie's hands. The latter could not take
offence at being second in power therein to the Queen; and to arrange
everything to the entire satisfaction of a person of such importance,
Mazarin solicited for him soon afterwards the title of duke, which the
deceased King had, in fact, promised the Marshal, and the reversion of
the post of Grand Master of the Artillery for his son--that same son on
whom subsequently Mazarin bestowed, with his own name, the hand of his
niece, the beautiful Hortense.

Mazarin was so much the less inclined to favour the house of Vendôme
from having encountered a dangerous rival in the Queen's good graces, in
Vendôme's youngest son, Beaufort, a young, bold, and flourishing
gallant, who displayed ostentatiously all the exterior signs of loyalty
and chivalry, and affected for Anne of Austria a passionate devotion not
likely to be displeasing. "He was tall, well-made, dexterous, and
indefatigable in all warlike exercises," says La Rochefoucauld, "but
artificial withal, and wanting in truthfulness of character. Mentally he
was heavy and badly cultivated; nevertheless he attained his objects
cleverly enough through the blunt coarseness of his manners. He was of
high but unsteady courage, and was not a little envious and
malignant."[4] De Retz does not, like La Rochefoucauld, accuse Beaufort
of artificiality, but represents him as presumptuous and of thorough
incapacity. His portrait of him, though over-coloured, like most others
from the coadjutor's pen, is sufficiently faithful, but at the
commencement of the Regency, the defects of the Duke de Beaufort had not
fully declared themselves, and were less conspicuous than his good
qualities. Some few days before her husband's death, Anne of Austria had
placed her children under his charge--a mark of confidence that so
elated him that the young Duke conceived hopes which his impetuosity
hindered him from sufficiently disguising. Indeed, these were presumed
upon so far as to give offence to the Queen; and, as the height of
inconsistency, he committed at the same time the egregious folly of
publicly enacting the led-captain in the rosy chains of the handsome but
decried Duchess de Montbazon. It was only, however, by slow degrees that
the Queen's liking for him abated. At first, she had proposed to confer
upon him the post of Grand-Écuyer, vacant since the death of the
unfortunate Cinq-Mars, which would have kept him in close attendance
upon her, and was altogether a fitting appointment--for Beaufort had
nothing of the statesman in him; with little intellect and no reticence,
he was also averse to steady application to business, and capable only
of some bold and violent course of action. The Duke had the folly to
refuse this post of Grand-Écuyer, hoping for a better; and then,
altering his mind when it was too late, he solicited it only to incur
disappointment.[5] The more his favour diminished, the more his
irritation increased, and it was not long ere he placed himself at the
head of the Cardinal's bitterest enemies.

    [4] La Rochefoucauld.

    [5] Mazarin himself has furnished this fact, otherwise unknown, in
    one of his diaries (_Carnet_, pp. 72, 73). The Cardinal-Minister was
    in the habit of jotting down the chief events of each day in these
    small memorandum books (_Carnets_), which he kept in the pocket of
    his cassock.

Madame de Chevreuse hoped to be more fortunate in securing the
governorship of Havre for a very different sort of person--for a man of
tried devotedness and of a rare and subtle intellect--La Rochefoucauld.
She would thereby recompense the services rendered to the Queen and
herself, strengthen and aggrandize one of the chiefs of the
_Importants_, and weaken Mazarin by depriving of an important government
a person upon whom he had entire reliance--Richelieu's niece, the
Duchess d'Aiguillon. The Cardinal succeeded in rendering this
manoeuvre abortive, without appearing to have any hand in it. And
herein, as in many other matters, the art of Mazarin was to wear the
semblance of merely confirming the Queen in the resolves with which he
inspired her.

In thus attributing these various designs, this connected and consistent
line of conduct, to Madame de Chevreuse, we do not advance it as our own
opinion, but as that of La Rochefoucauld, who must have been perfectly
well informed. He attributes it to her both in his own affairs and in
those of the Vendômes. Neither was Mazarin blind to the fact, for more
than once in his private notes we read these words:--"My greatest
enemies are the Vendômes and Madame de Chevreuse, who urges them on." He
tells us also that she had formed the project of marrying her charming
daughter Charlotte, then sixteen, to the Vendôme's eldest son, the Duke
de Mercoeur, whilst his brother Beaufort should espouse the wealthy
Mademoiselle d'Epernon, who foiled these designs, and even greater
still, by throwing herself at four-and-twenty into a convent of
Carmelites. These marriages, which would have reconciled, united, and
strengthened so many great houses, moderately attached to the Queen and
her minister, terrified Richelieu's successor. He therefore sought to
foil them by every means in his power, and succeeded in prevailing upon
the Queen to frustrate them in an underhand way; having found that the
union of Mademoiselle de Vendôme with the brilliant but restless Duke de
Nemours had caused him more than ordinary anxiety.

If the intricate details of those counter intrigues of Mazarin and
Madame de Chevreuse be followed attentively, we are at a loss to say to
which of the two antagonists the palm for skill, sagacity, and address
should be given. Whilst Mazarin was astute enough to make a certain
amount of sacrifice in order to reserve to himself the right of not
making greater--treating everyone with apparent consideration, rendering
no one desperate, promising much, holding back the least possible
_proprio motu_ of himself, and surrounding Madame de Chevreuse herself
with attention and homage without suffering any illusion to beguile him
as to the nature of her sentiments--she, on her part, paid him back in
the same coin. La Rochefoucauld says that during these _mollia tempora_,
Madame de Chevreuse and Mazarin actually flirted with each other. The
Duchess, who had always intermingled gallantry with politics, tried, as
it appears, the power of her charms upon the Cardinal. The latter, on
his side, failed not to lavish honeyed words, and "essayoit même quelque
fois de lui faire croire qu'elle lui donnoit de l'amour."[6] There were
other ladies also, it seems, who would not have been sorry to please the
handsome First Minister a little. Amongst these might be numbered the
Princess de Guéméné,[7] one of the greatest beauties of the French
Court, who, certainly, if only one half the stories related of her be
true, was by no means of a ferocious disposition in affairs of
gallantry. This lady, as well as her husband, were both favourable to
Mazarin, in spite of all the efforts of Madame de Montbazon, and Madame
de Chevreuse, her sister-in-law. It may be readily imagined that Mazarin
devoted great attention to Madame de Guéméné, and did not fail to pay
her a host of compliments, as he did to Madame de Chevreuse; but as he
went no further, the two gay ladies were at a loss to conceive what so
many compliments coupled with so much reserve meant. They sometimes
asked which of the two was really the object of his admiration; and as
he still made no further advances at the same time that he continued his
gallant protestations, "these ladies," says Mazarin, "si esamina la mia
vita e si conclude che io sia impotente."[8]

    [6] La Rochefoucauld, Memoirs, p. 383.

    [7] Anne de Rohan, wife of M. de Guéméné, eldest son of the Duke de
    Montbazon, and brother of Madame de Chevreuse.

    [8] Carnet, iii. p. 39.

Political intrigue had become such an affair of fashion among the Court
dames of that day, that those of the highest rank made no scruple of
bringing into play all the artillery of their wit and beauty whenever
they could contribute to the success of their enterprises. Still endowed
with those two potent gifts to an eminent degree, Madame de Chevreuse
brought all her various influences into perfect combination, and had
grown so passionately fond of the fierce excitement of conspiring, that
love was to her now merely a means and political victory the end. She
devoted literally her entire existence to it, living in the confidence
and intimacy of the Vendômes and other noble perturbators of the hour.
Her activity, her penetration, her energy obtained for her among the
party of the _Importants_ the importance she coveted. It was not long,
therefore, ere she begun to give Mazarin cause for grave anxiety. During
the encounters resulting from this strenuous antagonism, reconciliations
occasionally took place, in which even the Cardinal's coldness,
caution, and his laborious occupation, could not, it is said, place him
beyond reach of the Duchess's irresistible fascinations. But the latter,
well aware that the _rôle_ of Mazarin's mistress would not give to her
grasp the helm of the State, which he reserved exclusively to himself,
preferred, therefore, rather to remain his enemy, and figure at the head
and front of the faction antagonistic to his government.

This flirting and skirmishing had gone on for some time, but at last
natural feeling prevailed over political reticence. Madame de Chevreuse
grew impatient at obtaining words only, and scarcely anything serious or
effective. She had, it is true, received some money for her own use,
either in repayment of that which she had formerly lent the Queen, or
for the discharge of debts contracted during exile and in the interest
of Anne of Austria. On returning to Court, one of her earliest steps was
to withdraw her friend and _protégé_, Alexandre de Campion, from the
service of the Vendômes, and place him in a suitable position in the
Queen's household. Châteauneuf had been reinstated in his former post of
Chancellor (_des Ordres du Roi_), and later his governorship of Touraine
was restored to him on the death of the Marquis de Gèvres, who fell at
the siege of Thionville; but the Duchess considered that that was doing
very little for a man of Châteauneuf's merit--for him who had staked
fortune and life, and undergone ten years' imprisonment. She readily
perceived, therefore, that the perpetual delay of favours ever promised,
ever deferred in the instances of the Vendômes and La Rochefoucauld,
were so many artifices of the Cardinal, and that she was his dupe. This
conviction put the spirited partisan upon her mettle. She began to
titter, to mock, and to expostulate by turns, and sometimes twitted the
minister in pert and derisive terms. This, however, betrayed a want of
her ordinary precaution, and only served to fill Mazarin's quiver with
shafts to be used against herself. He made the Queen believe that Madame
de Chevreuse sought to rule her with a rod of iron; that she had changed
her mask, but not her character; that she was ever the same impulsive
and restless person, who, with all her talent and devotedness, had never
worked aught but mischief around her, and was only instrumental in
ruining others as well as herself. By degrees, underhand and hidden as
it might be, war between the Duchess and the Cardinal declared itself
unmistakably. The commencement and progress of this curious struggle for
supremacy has been admirably depicted by La Rochefoucauld; and, while
the autograph memoranda of Mazarin cast a fresh flood of light upon it,
they enhance infinitely Madame de Chevreuse's ability by revealing to
what an extent that Minister dreaded her.

In every page of these invaluable _carnets_ he indicates her as being
the head and mainspring of the _Importants_. "It is Madame de
Chevreuse," he writes repeatedly, "who stirs them all up. She endeavours
to strengthen the hands of the Vendômes; she tries to win over every
member of the house of Lorraine; she has already gained the Duke de
Guise, and through him she strives to carry away from me the Duke
d'Elbeuf." "She sees clearly through everything; she has guessed very
accurately that it is I who have secretly persuaded the Queen to hinder
the restoration of the government of Brittany to the Duke de Vendôme.
She has said so to her father, the Duke de Montbazon, and to Montagu.
She has quarrelled with Montagu, in fact, because he raises an obstacle
to Châteauneuf by supporting Séguier." "Nothing discourages Madame de
Chevreuse; she entreats the Vendômes to have patience, and sustains them
by promising a speedy change of scene." "Madame de Chevreuse never
relinquishes the hope of displacing me. The reason she gives for this
is, that when the Queen refused to put Châteauneuf at the head of the
government, she stated that she could not do it immediately, as she must
have some consideration for me, whence Madame de Chevreuse concludes
that the Queen has much esteem and liking for Châteauneuf, and that when
I shall be no longer where I am, the post is secured for her friend.
Hence the hopes and illusions with which they are buoyed up." "The
Duchess and her friends assert that the Queen will shortly send for
Châteauneuf; and by so doing they abuse the minds of all, and prompt
those who are looking to their future interests to pay court to her and
seek her friendship. They make an excuse for the Queen's delay in giving
him my place, by saying that she has still need of me for some short
time." "I am told that Madame de Chevreuse secretly directs Madame de
Vendôme (a pious person who has great influence over the bishops and
convents), and gives her instructions, in order that she may not fall
into error, and that all the machinery used against me may thoroughly
answer its purpose." From this last entry it is clear that Madame de
Chevreuse, without being in the smallest degree possible a _dévote_,
knew right well how to make use of the _parti dévot_, which then
exercised great influence over Anne of Austria's mind, and gave serious
uneasiness to Mazarin.

The Prime Minister's chief difficulty was to make Queen Anne--the sister
of the King of Spain, and herself of a piety thoroughly
Spanish--understand that it was necessary, notwithstanding the
engagements which she had so often contracted, notwithstanding the
instances of the Court of Rome and those of the heads of the episcopate,
to continue the alliance with the Protestants of Germany and Holland,
and to persist in only consenting to a _general_ peace in which the
allies of France should equally find their account as well as that
country itself. On the other side, it was continually dinned into the
Queen's ear that it was practicable to make a separate treaty of peace,
and negotiate singly with Spain on very fitting conditions, that by such
means the scandal of an impious war between "the very Christian" and
"the very Catholic" King would cease, and a relief be afforded to France
very much needed. Such was the policy of the Queen's old friends. It was
at least specious, and reckoned numerous partisans among men the most
intelligent and attached to the interests of their country. Mazarin, the
disciple and successor of Richelieu, had higher views, but which it was
not easy at first to make Anne of Austria comprehend. By degrees,
however, he succeeded, thanks to his judicious efforts, renewed
incessantly and with infinite art; thanks especially to the victories of
the Duke d'Enghien--for in all worldly affairs success is a very
eloquent and right persuasive advocate. The Queen, however, remained for
a considerable interval undecided, and it may be seen by Mazarin's own
memoranda that during the latter part of May, as well as through the
whole of June and July, the Cardinal's greatest effort was to induce the
Regent not to abandon her allies, but to firmly carry on the war. Madame
de Chevreuse, with Châteauneuf, defended the old party policy, and
strove to bring over Anne of Austria to it. "Madame de Chevreuse," wrote
Mazarin, "causes the Queen to be told from all quarters that I do not
wish for peace, that I hold the same maxims as Cardinal Richelieu on the
point--that it is both easy and necessary to make a separate treaty of
peace." On several occasions he made indignant protestation against such
arrangement, pointing out the danger with which it was fraught, and that
it would render ineffectual those sacrifices which France had for so
many years made. "Madame de Chevreuse," he exclaimed, "would ruin
France!" He knew well that, intimately associated with Gaston, her old
accomplice in all the plots framed against Richelieu, she had won him
over to the idea of a separate peace by holding out the hope of a
marriage between his daughter Mademoiselle de Montpensier and the
Arch-duke, which would have brought him the government of the Low
Countries. He knew that she had preserved all her influence with the
Duke de Lorraine; he knew, in fine, that she boasted of having the power
of promptly negotiating a peace through the mediation of the Queen of
Spain, who was at her disposal. Thus informed, he entreated his royal
mistress to reject all Madame de Chevreuse's propositions, and to tell
her plainly that she would not listen to anything relating to a separate
treaty, that she was decided upon not separating herself from her
allies, that she desired a general peace, that with such view she had
sent her ministers to Munster, who were then negotiating that important
matter, and that it was superfluous to speak to her any more upon the
subject.

Though baffled on these different points, Madame de Chevreuse did not
consider herself vanquished. She rallied and emboldened her adherents by
her lofty spirit and firm resolution. The party feud went on--intrigues
were multiplied--but up to the close of August, 1643, no change had
taken place, though the acrimony of party feeling had become largely
increased. Finding that she had fruitlessly employed insinuation,
flattery, artifice, and every species of Court manoeuvre, her daring
mind did not shrink from the idea of having recourse to other means of
success. She kept up a brisk agitation amongst the bishops and devotees,
she continued to weave her political plots with the chiefs of the
_Importants_, and at the same time she formed a closer intimacy with
that small cabal which formed in some sort the advance-guard of that
party, composed of men reared amongst the old conspiracies, accustomed
to and always ready for _coups de main_, who had of old embarked in more
than one desperate enterprise against Richelieu, and who, in an
extremity, might be likewise launched against Mazarin. The memoirs of
the time, and especially those of De Retz and La Rochefoucauld, make us
sufficiently well acquainted with their names and characters. The former
mistress of Chalais found little difficulty in acquiring sole sway over
a faction composed of second-rate talents. She caressed it skilfully;
and, with the art of an experienced conspirator, she fomented every germ
of false honour, of quintessential devotedness, and extravagant
rashness. Mazarin, who, like Richelieu, had an admirable police,
forewarned of Madame de Chevreuse's machinations, fully comprehended the
danger with which he was menaced. No one could have been better informed
as to his exact position than the Cardinal: and the plans of the Duchess
and the chiefs of the _Importants_ developed themselves clearly under
Mazarin's sharp-sightedness--either by their incessant and
elaborately-concerted intrigues with the Queen, to force her to abandon
a minister to whose policy she had not yet openly declared her adhesion,
or, should it prove necessary, treat that minister as De Luynes had done
the last Queen-mother's favourite d'Ancre, and as Montrésor, Barrière,
and Saint-Ybar would have served Richelieu. The first plan not having
succeeded, they began to think seriously about carrying out the second,
and Madame de Chevreuse, the strongest mind of the party, proposed with
some show of reason to act before the return of the young hero of
Rocroy, the Duke d'Enghien; for that victorious soldier once in Paris
would unquestionably shield Mazarin. It became necessary, therefore, to
profit by his absence in order to strike a decisive blow. Success seemed
certain, and even easy. They were sure of having the people with them,
who, exhausted by a long war and groaning under taxation, would
naturally welcome with delight the hope of peace and repose. They might
reckon on the declared support of the parliament, burning to recover
that importance in the State of which it had been deprived by Richelieu,
and which was then a matter of dispute with Mazarin. They had all the
secret, even overt sympathy of the episcopate, which, with Rome,
detested the Protestant alliance, and demanded the restoration of that
of Spain. The eager concurrence of the aristocracy could not be doubted
for a moment; which ever regretted its old and turbulent independence,
and whose most illustrious representatives, the Vendômes, the Guises,
the Bouillons, and the La Rochefoucaulds were strenously opposed to the
domination of a foreign favourite, without fortune, of no birth, and as
yet without fame. The princes of the blood resigned themselves to
Mazarin rather than to liking him. The Duke d'Orleans was not remarkable
for great fidelity to his friends, and the politic Prince de Condé
looked twice ere he quarrelled with the successful. He coaxed all
parties, whilst he clung to his own interests. His son, doubtless, would
follow in his father's footsteps, and he would be won over by being
overwhelmed with honours. The day following that on which the blow
should be struck there would be no resistance to their ascendancy, and
on the very day itself scarcely any obstacle. The Italian regiments of
Mazarin were with the army; there were scarcely any other troops in
Paris save the regiments of the guards, the colonels of which were
nearly all devoted to the _Importants_. The Queen herself had not yet
renounced her former friendships. Her prudent reserve even was wrongly
interpreted. As it was her desire to appease and deal gently on all
hands, she gave kind words to everybody, and those kind words were taken
as tacit encouragement. Anne had not hitherto shown much firmness of
character; a certain amount of liking for the Cardinal was not unjustly
imputed to her, and undue significance already attributed to the
steadily increasing attachment of a few short months.

Mazarin, on his own part, indulged in no illusions. He was decidedly not
yet master of Anne of Austria's heart; since at that moment--that is to
say, during the month of July, 1643--in his most secret notes he
displays a deep inquietude and despondency. The dissimulation of which
everybody accused the Queen obviously terrified him, and we see him
passing through all the alternations of hope and fear. It is very
curious to trace and follow out the varied fluctuations of his mind. In
his official letters to ambassadors and generals he affects a security
which he does not feel. With his own intimate friends he permits some
hint of his perplexities to escape him, but in his private memoranda
they are all laid bare. We therein read his inmost carks and cares, and
his passionate entreaties that the Queen-Regent would open her mind to
him. He feigns the utmost disinterestedness towards her; he simply asks
to make way for Châteauneuf, if she has any secret preference for that
minister. The ambiguous conduct of the Regent harasses and distresses
him, and he conjures her either to permit him to retire or to declare
herself in favour of his policy.

This exciting contest continued with the keenest activity, but no change
had occurred up to the end of July, and even the first days of August,
1643, though this critical state of affairs had become greatly
aggravated. The violence of the _Importants_ increased daily; the Queen
defended her minister, but she also showed consideration for his
enemies. She hesitated to take the decided attitude which Mazarin
required at her hands, not only in his individual interest, but in that
of his government. Suddenly an incident, very insignificant apparently,
but which by assuming larger proportions brought about the inevitable
crisis--forced the Queen to declare herself, and Madame de Chevreuse to
plunge deeper into a baleful enterprise, the idea of which had already
forced itself upon her imagination. A great scandal occurred. We allude
to a quarrel between the two duchesses, de Longueville and de
Montbazon.



CHAPTER II.

  THE DUCHESS DE MONTBAZON.--THE AFFAIR OF THE DROPPED LETTERS.--THE
  QUARREL OF THE TWO DUCHESSES.


ON declaring itself of the party of Mazarin, the house of Condé had
drawn down the hatred of the _Importants_, though their hostility
scarcely fell upon Madame de Longueville. Her gentleness in everything
in which her heart was not seriously engaged, her entire indifference to
politics at this period of her life, with the graces of her mind and
person, rendered her pleasing to every one, and shielded her from party
spite. But apart from affairs of State, she had an enemy, and a
formidable enemy, in the Duchess de Montbazon. We have said that Madame
de Montbazon had been the mistress of the Duke de Longueville, and as
one of the principal personages of the drama we are about to relate, she
requires to be somewhat better known.

We shall pass over in silence many of her foibles, without attempting to
excuse any. Before sketching her life, or at least a portion of it, it
will be necessary, in order to protect her memory against an excess of
severity, to recall certain traditions and examples for which unhappily
her family was notorious.

Daughter of Claude de Bretagne, Baron d'Avangour, she was on her
mother's side granddaughter of that very complaisant Marquis de La
Varenne Fouquet, who, successively scullion, cook, and maître d'hôtel of
Henry the Fourth, "gained more by carrying the amorous King's _poulets_
than basting those in his kitchen." Catherine Fouquet, Countess de
Vertus, his daughter, Madame de Montbazon's mother, was beautiful,
witty, somewhat giddy, and very gallant. Impatient of all hindrance, she
had authorised one of her lovers to assassinate her husband; but it was
the husband who assassinated the lover. The tragical termination of this
rencontre does not seem to have cast a gloom over the life of the
Countess de Vertus, for at seventy she began to learn to dance, and when
seventy-three, married a young man over head and ears in debt.

In 1628, Marie d'Avangour quitted her convent to espouse Hercule de
Rohan, Duke de Montbazon, who was the father, by his first marriage, of
Madame de Chevreuse and of the Prince de Guéméné. She was sixteen, and
he sixty-one. Thorough fool as he was, the Duke did not conceal from
himself, it is said, the conviction that such an union was fraught with
some danger to him; but we may venture to affirm that he could not have
foreseen all its dangers. Full of respect for the virtues of Marie de'
Medicis, he recommended her example to his wife; then, with every
confidence in the future, he conducted her to Court.

In beauty the daughter was worthy of the mother, but in vices she left
her far behind. Tallemant says she was one of the loveliest women
imaginable. Her mind was not her most brilliant side, and the little
that she had was turned to intrigue and perfidy. "Her mind," says the
indulgent Madame de Motteville, "was not so fine as her person; her
brilliancy was limited to her eyes, which commanded love. She claimed
universal admiration." In regard to her character, all are unanimous. De
Retz, who knew her well, speaks of her in these terms: "Madame de
Montbazon was a very great beauty. Modesty was wanting in her air. Her
jargon might, during a dull hour, have supplied the defects of her mind.
She showed but little faith in gallantry, none in business. She loved
her own pleasure alone, and above her pleasure her interest. I never saw
a person who, in vice, preserved so little respect for virtue."
Supremely vain and passionately fond of money, it was by the aid of her
beauty that she sought influence and fortune. She, therefore, took
infinite care of it, as of her idol, as of her resources, her treasure.
She kept it in repair, heightened it by all sorts of artifices, and
preserved it almost uninjured till her death. Madame de Motteville
asserts that, during the latter part of her life, she was as full of
vanity as if she were but twenty-five years of age; that she had the
same desire to please, and that she wore her mourning garb in so
charming a manner, that "the order of nature seemed changed, since age
and beauty could be found united." Ten years before, in 1647, at the age
of thirty-five, when Mazarin gave a comedy in the Italian style, that
is, an opera, there was in the evening a grand ball, and the Duchess de
Montbazon was present, adorned with pearls, with a red feather on her
head, and so dazzling in her appearance that the whole company was
completely charmed. We can imagine what she was in 1643, at the age of
thirty-one.

Of the two conditions of perfect beauty--strength and grace, Madame
de Montbazon possessed the first in the highest degree. She was tall
and majestic, and she had all the charms of embonpoint. Her throat
reminded one of the fulness, in this particular, of the antique
statues--exceeding them, perhaps, somewhat. What struck the beholder
most were her eyes and hair of intense blackness, upon a skin of the
most dazzling white. Her defect was a nose somewhat too prominent, with
a mouth so large as to give her face an appearance of severity. It will
be seen that she was the very opposite of Madame de Longueville. The
latter was tall, but not to excess. The richness of her form did not
diminish its delicacy. A moderate embonpoint exhibited, in full and
exquisite measure, the beauty of the female form. Her eyes were of the
softest blue; her hair of the most beautiful blonde. She had the most
majestic air, and yet her peculiar characteristic was grace. To these
were added the great difference of manners and tone. Madame de
Longueville was, in her deportment, dignity, politeness, modesty,
sweetness itself, with a languor and nonchalance which formed not her
least charm. Her words were few, as well as her gestures; the inflexions
of her voice were a perfect music.[1] The excess, into which she never
fell, might have been a sort of fastidiousness. Everything in her was
wit, sentiment, charm. Madame de Montbazon, on the contrary, was free of
speech, bold and easy in her tone, full of stateliness and pride.

    [1] Villefore, p. 32.

The Duchess was, nevertheless, a very attractive creature when she
desired to be so, and such we must conceive her to have been if we would
take account of the admiration she excited, and not exactly like the
person which Cousin represents her when, at the age of nearly forty, she
had become "a Colossus"--to use Tallemant's phrase. At the same time it
is true that, even in youth, she had less grace than strength, less
delicacy than majesty. It is also true that she was free of speech, and
in tone was bold and offhand; but those very defects for which she was
remarkable only the better assured her empire over what, in modern
parlance, would be termed the "fast" portion of the Court, and the
sentiments to which she gave utterance revealed the most singular
extravagance. But not a single voice protested when the Duke
d'Hocquincourt proclaimed her _la belle des belles_. In the eyes of the
foreigner she was the marvel which the generals who dreamed of the
capture of Paris coveted; in other words, she was _par excellence_ "the
booty" most desirable, on the subject of which the Duke of Weimar
perpetrated a thoroughly German joke, which we must be pardoned for not
repeating: Anne of Austria might have smiled at it without blushing, but
it is too gross to risk raising a laugh by its repetition in our days.

She had a great number of adorers, and of happy adorers, from Gaston
Duke of Orleans, and the Count de Soissons, slain at Marfée, to Rancé,
the young and gallant editor of Anacreon, and the future founder of La
Trappe. M. de Longueville had been for some time her lover by title, and
he afforded her considerable advantages. When he married Mademoiselle de
Bourbon, Madame the Princess exacted--without, however, being very
faithfully obeyed--the discontinuance of all intercourse with his old
mistress. Hence, in that interested soul, an irritation, which wounded
vanity redoubled, when she saw this young bride, with her great name,
her marvellous mind, her indefinable charms, advance into the world of
gallantry, without the least effort draw after her all hearts, and take
possession of, or at least share that empire of beauty of which she was
so proud, and which was to her so precious. On the other hand, the Duke
de Beaufort had not been able to restrain a passionate admiration for
Madame de Longueville, which had been very coldly received. He was
wounded by it, and his wound bled for a long time, as his friend, La
Châtre, informs us,[2] even after he had transferred his homage to
Madame de Montbazon. The latter, as may be easily imagined, was again
exasperated. Finally, the Duke de Guise, recently arrived in Paris,
placed himself in the party of the _Importants_ and at the service of
Madame de Montbazon, who received him very favourably, at the same time
she was striving to keep or recall the Duke de Longueville, and that she
was ruling Beaufort, whose office near her was somewhat that of a
_cavalier servente_. Thus it will be seen that Madame de Montbazon
disposed through Beaufort and through Guise, as through her
daughter-in-law Madame de Chevreuse, of the house of Vendôme and that of
Lorraine, and she employed all this influence to the profit of her
hatred against Madame de Longueville. She burned to injure her, and was
not long in finding an opportunity of doing it.

    [2] Mémoires of La Châtre. Petitot Collection, vol. li. p. 230.

One day when a numerous company was assembled in her salon, one of her
young lady friends picked up a couple of letters which had been dropped
on the floor, bearing no signatures, but in a feminine handwriting, and
of a somewhat equivocal style. They were read, and a thousand jokes
perpetrated concerning them, and some effort made to discover the
author. They were from a woman who wrote tenderly to some one whom she
did not hate. Madame de Montbazon pretended that they had fallen from
the pocket of Maurice de Coligny, who had just gone out, and that they
were in the handwriting of Madame de Longueville. The word of command
thus once given, the Duke de Beaufort was amongst the first to spread
the insinuation which was a calumny, all the echoes of the party of the
_Importants_ took it up, and Madame de Montbazon herself found pleasure
in repeating it during several following days, so that the incident
became the entertainment of the Court. A frivolous curiosity has very
faithfully preserved the text of the two letters thus found at the
Duchess's house.[3]

    [3] Mémoires of Madlle. de Montpensier, vol. i. pp. 62, 63.

I.

     "I should much more regret the change in your conduct if I
     thought myself less worthy of a continuation of your
     affection. I confess to you that so long as I believed it to
     be true and warm, mine gave you all the advantages which you
     could desire. Now, hope nothing more from me than the esteem
     which I owe to your discretion. I have too much pride to
     share the passion which you have so often sworn to me, and I
     desire to punish your negligence in seeing me, in no other
     way than by depriving you entirely of my society. I request
     that you will visit me no more, since I have no longer the
     power of commanding your presence."

II.

     "To what conclusion have you come after so long a silence?
     Do you not know that the same pride which rendered me
     sensible to your past affection forbids me to endure the
     false appearances of its continuation! You say that my
     suspicions and my inequalities render you the most unhappy
     person in the world. I assure you that I believe no such
     thing, although I cannot deny that you have perfectly loved
     me, as you must confess that my esteem has worthily
     recompensed you. So far we have done each other justice, and
     I am determined not to have in the end less goodness, if
     your conduct responds to my intentions. You would find them
     less unreasonable if you had more passion, and the
     difficulties of seeing me would only augment instead of
     diminishing it. I suffer for loving too much, and you for
     not loving enough. If I must believe you, let us exchange
     humours. I shall find repose in doing my duty, and you in
     doing yours, and you must fail in doing yours, in order to
     obtain liberty. I do not perceive that I forget the manner
     in which I passed the winter with you, and that I speak to
     you as frankly as I have heretofore done. I hope that you
     will make as good use of it, and that I shall not regret
     being overcome in the resolution which I have made to return
     to it no more. I shall remain at home for three or four days
     in succession, and will be seen only in the evening: you
     know the reason."

These letters were not forgeries. They had been really written by
Madame de Fouquerolles to the handsome and elegant Marquis de
Maulevrier, who had been silly enough to drop them in Madame de
Montbazon's _salon_. Maulevrier, trembling at being discovered, and at
having compromised Madame de Fouquerolles, ran to La Rochefoucauld, who
was his friend, confided to him his secret, and begged him to undertake
to hush up the affair. La Rochefoucauld made Madame de Montbazon
understand that it was for her interest to be generous on this occasion,
for the error or fraud would be easily recognised as soon as the writing
should be compared with that of Madame de Longueville. Madame de
Montbazon placed the original letters in the hands of La Rochefoucauld,
who showed them to M. the Prince and to Madame the Princess, to Madame
de Rambouillet, and to Madame Sablé, particular friends of Madame de
Longueville, and, the truth being well established, burned them in the
presence of the Queen, delivering Maulevrier and Madame de Fouquerolles
from the terrible anxiety into which they had been for some time thrown.

The house of Condé felt a lively resentment at the insult offered to it.
The Duke and Duchess de Longueville desired, it is true, the one by a
sentiment of interested prudence, the other by a just feeling of
dignity, to take no further notice of the matter. But the Princess,
impelled by her high spirit, and still intoxicated by her son's success,
exacted a reparation equal to the offence, and declared loudly that, if
the Queen and the government did not defend the honour of her house, she
and all her family would withdraw from the Court. She was indignant at
the mere idea of placing her daughter in the scales with the
granddaughter of a cook. In vain did the whole party of the
_Importants_, with Beaufort and Guise at their head, agitate and
threaten; in vain did Madame de Chevreuse, who had not yet lost all her
influence with the Queen, strive earnestly in behalf of her
mother-in-law. It did not suffice for the resentment of the Princess and
the Duke d'Enghien that Madame de Longueville's innocence was fully
recognised; they demanded a public reparation. Madame de Motteville has
left us an amusing recital of the "mummeries," as she terms them, of
which she was a witness.

The Queen was in her state cabinet and the Princess beside her, in great
emotion and looking very fierce, declaring the affair to be nothing less
than the crime of high treason. Madame de Chevreuse, interested for a
thousand reasons in the quarrel of her mother-in-law, was busy with
Cardinal Mazarin arranging the composition of the apology to be made. At
every word there was a _pour-parler_ of half an hour. The Cardinal went
from one side to the other to accommodate the difference, as if such a
peace was necessary for the welfare of France, and his own in
particular. It was arranged that the criminal should present herself at
the Princess's hotel on the morrow.

The apology was written upon a small piece of paper and attached to her
fan, in order that she might repeat it word for word to the Princess.
She did it in the most haughty manner possible, assuming an air which
seemed to say, "I jest in every word I utter."

Mademoiselle de Montpensier gives us the two speeches made upon the
occasion. "Madame, I come here to protest to you that I am innocent of
the wickedness of which I have been accused: no person of honour could
utter a calumny such as this. If I had committed a like fault, I should
have submitted to any punishment which it might have pleased the Queen
to inflict upon me; I should never have shown myself again in the
world, and would have asked your pardon. I beg you to believe that I
shall never fail in the respect which I owe to you and in the opinion
which I have of the virtue and of the merit of Madame de
Longueville."[4] That lady was not present at the ceremony, and her
mother, to whom the Duchess addressed herself, made a very short and dry
reply. This reconciliation did not deceive any one of those present; it
was, in fact, only a fresh declaration of war.

    [4] Mémoires, vol. i. p. 65.

Besides the satisfaction which she had just obtained, the Princess had
asked and had been permitted the privilege of never associating with the
Duchess de Montbazon. Some time after, Madame de Chevreuse invited the
Queen to a collation in the public garden of Renard. This was then the
rendezvous of the best society. It was at the termination of the
Tuileries, near the Porte de la Conférence, which abutted on the _Cours
de la Reine_. In the summer, on returning from the _Cours_, which was
the "Rotten Row" of the day, and the spot where the beauties of the time
exercised their powers, it was customary to stop at the garden Renard
for the purpose of taking refreshments, and to listen to serenades
performed after the Spanish fashion. The Queen took pleasure in visiting
this place during fine summer evenings. She desired Madame the Princess
to partake with her the collation offered by Madame de Chevreuse,
assuring her at the same time that Madame de Montbazon would not be
present; but the latter person was really there, and even pretended to
do the honours of the collation as mother-in-law of the lady who gave
it. The Princess wished to withdraw, in order that the entertainment
might not be disturbed: the Queen had no right whatever to detain her.
She, therefore, begged Madame de Montbazon to pretend sickness, and by
leaving the party, to relieve her from embarrassment. The haughty
Duchess would not consent to fly before her enemy, and kept her place.
The Queen, offended, refused the collation and quitted the promenade. On
the morrow an order from the King enjoined upon Madame de Montbazon to
leave Paris. This disgrace irritated the _Importants_. They thought
themselves humiliated and enfeebled, and there were no violent or
extreme measures which they did not contemplate. The Duke de Beaufort,
smitten at once in his influence and his love, uttered loud
denunciations, and it was reported that a plot had been formed against
the life of Mazarin.



CHAPTER III.

  THE IMPORTANTS.


IT is necessary, at this juncture, to have a just idea of the general
position of political affairs in France, as well as of the attitude of
the faction known as the _Importants_, who were then most active in
opposing the government of Mazarin, in order to understand clearly the
gravity of an incident which otherwise in itself might seem to be of
little consequence.

La Rochefoucauld, the historian of that party, has made us tolerably
familiar with the men who composed it. They were a band of eccentric and
mischievous spirits, bold of heart, ready of hand, and of boundless
fidelity to one another. Professing to hold the most outrageous maxims,
incessantly invoking Brutus and old Rome, and intermingling gallant with
political intrigues, they suffered themselves to be hurried beyond the
bounds of reason through a Quixotic idea of always pleasing the ladies.
They had all been more or less fellow-sufferers with Anne of Austria
during the period of her affliction and persecution by Richelieu, and
from the commencement of her Regency, these returning exiles and
liberated prisoners had been gathering round her until at last, formed
into a faction, they gave themselves out as the Queen's party, and by
adopting a high-flown, turgid, and mysterious style of phraseology, and
assuming bombastic and braggart airs of authority, coupled with an
affectation of capacity and profundity, obtained for themselves from the
wits of the Court and city the nickname of _The Importants_, under which
they figured until absorbed a few years later in the more general and
popular designation of _Frondeurs_. Their favourite chief was the Duke
de Beaufort, of whom we have already spoken as possessing very nearly
the same characteristics as the rest--at once artificial and
extravagant, with great pretensions to loyalty and patriotism,
professing to be a man of independent action, but in fact wholly ruled
by Madame de Montbazon, who, in her turn, was swayed by the Duchess de
Chevreuse.

On the sudden disappearance from Paris of one of the most distinguished
of the lady leaders of the _Importants_--like a star of the first
magnitude fallen from their system--the entire party was thrown into
commotion, whilst the more intimate friends and admirers of the banished
beauty raised a fierce outcry. Such an open disgrace of the young and
beautiful Duchess sorely irritated her restless partisans. They
considered themselves humiliated and weakened by it, and there was no
violence or extremity to which they were not prepared to resort. Her
slave and adorer, the Duke de Beaufort, assailed at once on the score of
his political interest and personal gallantry, vapoured and stormed
furiously. Thoughts of vengeance, which, like the mutterings of an
approaching tempest, had begun to brood beneath the roof of the Hôtel de
Vendôme, now became concentrated in a plot to get rid of Mazarin by fair
means or foul, divers modes of its execution being earnestly discussed.

In such conjunctures, the Cardinal rose to the level of Richelieu. At
the same time he had to secure safety and success mainly through his own
courage and patience. But he knew right well how to play his part. The
wily minister already stood well with the Queen--had begun to seem
necessary, or at least very useful to her, though Anne of Austria had
not yet formally declared her approval of his policy. Mazarin
represented to her what she owed alike to the State and the royal
authority now seriously threatened. That she must prefer the interest of
her son and his crown to friendships--satisfactory enough at other
times, but which had now become dangerous. He brought before her eyes
most indubitable proofs of a conspiracy to take his life, and entreated
her to choose between his enemies and himself. Anne of Austria did not
hesitate, and the ruin of the _Importants_ was decided upon.

More dangerous ground could scarcely have been found whereon to post the
_Importants_. The Duchess de Montbazon, as disreputable in morals and
character as she was remarkable for her beauty, had attacked a young
wife, who, having just made her appearance at the Regent's court, had
already become the object of universal admiration. To a loveliness at
once so graceful and dazzling that it was pronounced to be angelic,
Madame de Longueville added great intelligence, a most noble heart, and
was a person of all others whom it behoved the _Importants_ to
conciliate; for her natural generosity of character had disinclined her
to side with the party of repression, and thereby had even given some
umbrage to the Prime Minister. At that moment, she was merely occupied
with intellectual pursuits, innocent gallantry, and above all with the
fame of her brother, the Duke d'Enghien; but there were, it must be
owned, already perceptible in her mind, some germs of an _Important_,
which, later, Rochefoucauld knew only too well how to develop. But the
slanderous attack that had been made upon her, the disgraceful motive of
which was sufficiently clear, revolted every honest heart. The
ungovernable impetuosity of Beaufort on this occasion was--as it
deserved to be--strongly stigmatised. Having formerly paid his addresses
to Mademoiselle de Bourbon, and been rejected, his conduct assumed the
aspect of an obvious revenge. Moreover, Madame de Chevreuse's every
effort being directed towards depriving Mazarin of supporters, she
incited the devotees of either sex who were about the Queen to act
against him, and Madame de Longueville was no less the idol of the
Carmelites and the party of the _Saints_ than that of the Hôtel de
Rambouillet. Again, the Duke d'Enghien, already covered with the laurels
of Rocroy, and about to entwine therewith those of Thionville, was so
evidently the arbiter of the situation, that Madame de Chevreuse
insisted, with much force, that Mazarin should be got rid of whilst the
young Duke was occupied with the distant enemy, and before he should
return from the army. To wound him through so susceptible a medium as
that of an adored sister, to turn him against herself without any
necessity, and hasten his return, would be a silly extravagance.
Therefore, all who had any sense among the _Importants_--La
Rochefoucauld, La Châtre, and Campion--anxiously sought to hush up and
terminate this deplorable affair; and Madame de Chevreuse, sedulous to
pay court to the Queen at the same time that she was weaving a subtle
plot against her minister, had prepared the little fête for her at
Renard's garden with the design of dispersing the last remaining
cloudlets of the lately-spent tempest. But the Duchess's politic purpose
was, as we have seen, destined to fail through the insane pride of a
woman who was as senseless as she was heartless.[1]

    [1] Alexandre de Campion, in the _Recueil_ before cited, writes to
    Madame de Montbazon:--"Si mon avis eut été suivi chez Renard, vous
    seriez sortie, pour obéir à la Reine, vous n'habiteriez pas la maison
    de Rochefort, et nous ne serions pas dans le péril dont nous sommes
    menacés."

Under these critical circumstances how did it behove Madame de Chevreuse
to act? She was compelled to restrain Madame de Montbazon, but she could
neither abandon her nor be false to herself. She resolved therefore to
follow up energetically the formidable project which had become the last
hope and supreme resource of her party. Through Madame de Montbazon,
Beaufort had been dragged into it. The latter had mustered the men of
action already mentioned, and who were wholly devoted to him. A plot had
been devised and every measure concerted for surprising and perhaps
killing the Cardinal.



CHAPTER IV.

  THE CONSPIRACY OF THE DUCHESS DE CHEVREUSE AND THE DUKE DE BEAUFORT TO
  GET RID OF MAZARIN.


ONE need not be greatly astonished at such an enterprise on the part of
two women of high rank and a grandson of Henry the Great. At that
stirring epoch of French history--the interval between the League and
the Fronde--energy and strength were the distinctive traits of the
French aristocracy. Neither court life nor a corrupting opulence had yet
enervated it. Everything was then in extremes, in vice as in virtue. Men
attacked and defended one another with the same weapons. The Marshal
d'Ancre had been massacred; more than one attempt had been made to
assassinate Richelieu; whilst he, on his side, had not been backward in
having recourse to the sword and block. Corneille paints faithfully the
spirit of the epoch. His Emilie is also involved in an assassination,
and she is not the less represented as a perfect heroine. Madame de
Chevreuse had long been accustomed to conspiracies; she was bold and
unscrupulous. She did not gather round her such men as Beaupuis,
Saint-Ybar, De Varicarville, and de Campion merely to pass the time in
idle conversation. She had not remained a stranger to the designs they
had formerly concocted against Richelieu, for in 1643 she fomented, as
we have seen, their exaltation and their devotedness; and it was not
unreasonable, certainly, that Mazarin should attribute to her the first
idea of the project which Beaufort was to accomplish.

At the same time it must be remembered that the _Importants_ and their
successors the _Frondeurs_ denied this project and declared it the
invention of the Cardinal. It is a point of the highest historical
importance and deserves serious examination, as upon this conspiracy,
real or imaginary, as may be determined after careful investigation,
rests the fact whether Mazarin owed in reality all his career and the
great future which then opened before him to a falsehood cunningly
invented and audaciously sustained; or whether Madame de Chevreuse and
the _Importants_, after having tried their utmost against him, now
resolving to destroy him with the armed hand, were themselves destroyed
and became the instruments of his triumph. The evidence available
irresistibly leads to the latter conclusion, and we think that we shall
be able to show that the plot attributed to the _Importants_, far from
being a chimæra, was the almost inevitable solution of the violent
crisis just described.

La Rochefoucauld, without having indulged in the insane hopes of his
friends and lent his hand to their rash enterprise, made it a point of
honour to defend them after their discomfiture, and set himself to cover
the retreat. He affects to doubt whether the plot which then made so
much noise was real or supposititious. In his eyes, the greater
probability was that the Duke de Beaufort, by a false _finesse_,
endeavoured to excite alarm in the Cardinal, believing that it was
sufficient to strike terror into his mind to force him to quit France,
and that it was with this view that he held secret meetings and gave
them the appearance of conspiracy. La Rochefoucauld constitutes himself
especially the champion of Madame de Chevreuse's innocence, and
declares himself thoroughly persuaded that she was ignorant of
Beaufort's designs.

After the historian of the _Importants_, that of the _Frondeurs_ holds
very nearly the same arguments. Like La Rochefoucauld, De Retz has only
one object in his Memoirs--that of investing himself with a semblance of
capacity and making a great figure in every way, in evil as well as
good. He is often more truthful, because he cares less about other
people, and that he is disposed to sacrifice all the world except
himself. In this matter it is hard to conceive the motive for his
reserve and incredulity. He knew right well that the majority of the
persons accused of having taken part in the plot had already been
implicated in more than one such business. He himself tells us that he
had conspired with the Count de Soissons, that he had blamed him for not
having struck down Richelieu at Amiens, and that with La Rochepot, he,
the Abbé de Retz, had formed the design of assassinating him at the
Tuileries during the ceremony of the baptism of Mademoiselle (de
Montpensier). The Co-adjutorship of the Archbishopric of Paris, which
the Regent had just granted him, in consideration of his own services
and the virtues of his father, had mollified him, it is true; but his
old accomplices, who had not been so well treated as he, had remained
faithful to their cause, to their designs, to their habitudes. Was De
Retz then sincere when he refused to believe that they had attempted
against Mazarin that which he had seen them undertake, and which he had
himself undertaken against Richelieu? In his blind hatred he throws
everything upon Mazarin: he pretends that he was terrified, or that he
feigned terror. It was the Abbé de la Rivière, he tells us, who, in
order to rid himself of the rivalry of the Count de Montrésor in the
Duke d'Orleans' favour, must have persuaded Mazarin that there was a
plot set on foot against him, in which Montrésor was mixed up. It was
the Prince de Condé also who must have tried to destroy Beaufort through
fear lest his son, the Duke d'Enghien, might engage with him in some
duel, as he wished to do, to avenge his sister, during the short visit
he made to Paris after taking Thionville.

To the suspicious opinions of de Retz and La Rochefoucauld let us oppose
testimony more disinterested, and before all other the silence of
Montrésor,[1] who, whilst protesting that neither he nor his friend the
Count de Béthune had meddled with the conspiracy imputed to the Duke de
Beaufort, says not a single word against the reality of that conspiracy,
which he would not have failed to ridicule had he believed it imaginary.
Madame de Motteville, who was not in the habit of overwhelming the
unfortunate, after having reported with impartiality the different
rumours circulated at Court, relates certain facts which appear to her
authentic, and which are decisive.[2] One of the best informed and most
truthful of contemporary historians expresses not the slightest doubt on
this head. "The _Importants_," says Monglat, "seeing that they could not
drive the Cardinal out of France, resolved to despatch him with their
daggers, and held several councils on this subject at the Hôtel de
Vendôme." That opinion is confirmed by new and numerous particulars with
which Mazarin's _carnets_ and confidential letters furnish us.

    [1] Mémoires, Petitot Collection, t. lix.

    [2] Mémoires, t. i., p. 184.

The person whom Mazarin signalizes in his _carnets_ and letters as the
trusted friend of Beaufort and after him the principal accused, the
Count de Beaupuis, son of the Count de Maillé, had found means of
sheltering himself from the minister's first searches; he had succeeded
in escaping from France and sought an asylum at Rome under the avowed
protection of Spain. Mazarin left no stone unturned to obtain from the
Court of Rome the extradition of Beaupuis, in order that he might be
legally tried. The Pope at first could not refuse, at least for form's
sake, to have Beaupuis committed to the Castle of St. Angelo. But he was
soon liberated, and provided with a State lodging wherein he was allowed
to see nearly every one who came. Mazarin complained loudly of such
indulgence. "It is all arranged," said he, "that when necessary he may
escape, or at any rate the Duke de Vendôme is furnished with every
facility for poisoning him, in order that with Beaupuis may perish the
principal proof of his son's treason. If all this happened in Barbary,
people would be highly indignant. And this is suffered to take place in
Rome, in the capital of Christianity, under the eyes and by the orders
of a Pope!"

Failing Beaupuis, Mazarin would have liked to put his hand upon one of
the brothers Campion, intimately connected as they were with Beaufort
and Madame de Chevreuse, and too closely in the confidence of both not
to know all their secrets. He himself complains, as we have seen, of
being very badly seconded. And then he had to do with emerited
conspirators, consummate in the art of concealing themselves and of
leaving no trace of their whereabouts--with the active and indefatigable
Duchess de Chevreuse, and with the Duke de Vendôme, who, in order to
save his son, set about forwarding the escape of all those whose
depositions might help to convict him, or kept them somehow in his own
hands, hidden and shut up close at Anet. Mazarin was thus only able to
arrest a few obscure individuals who were ignorant of the plot, and
could throw no light upon it.

But it is needless to exhaust existing proofs in demonstration of the
fact that Mazarin did not enact a farce by instituting proceedings
against the conspirators, that he pursued them with sincerity and
vigour, and that he was perfectly convinced that a project of
assassination had been formed against him, when the existence of that
project is elsewhere averred, when, in default of a sentence of the
parliament, which could not have been given in the teeth of insufficient
evidence, neither Beaupuis, nor the Campions, nor Lié, nor Brillet
having been arrested, better proof being extant in the full and entire
confession of one of the principal conspirators, with the plan and all
the details of the affair set forth in Memoirs of comparatively recent
publication, but the authenticity of which cannot be contested. We
allude to the precious Memoirs of Henri de Campion,[3] brother of Madame
de Chevreuse's friend, whom that lady had introduced also to the service
of the Duke de Vendôme, and more particularly to that of the Duke de
Beaufort. Henri had accompanied the Duke in his flight to England after
the conspiracy of Cinq Mars, and he had returned with him; he possessed
his entire confidence, and he relates nothing in which he himself had
not taken a considerable part. Henri's character was very different to
that of his brother Alexandre. He was a well-educated man, full of
honour and courage, not in the least given to boasting, averse to all
intrigue, and born to make his way through life by the straightest paths
in the career of arms. He wrote these Memoirs in solitude, to which
after the loss of his daughter and his wife he had retired to await
death amidst the exercise of a genuine piety. It is not in such a frame
of mind that a man is disposed to invent fables, and there is no middle
way. What he says is that which we must believe absolutely, or if we
have any doubt that he speaks the truth, he must be considered as the
worst of villains. No interested feeling could have directed his pen,
for he compiled his Memoirs, or at least he finished them, a short time
after Mazarin's death, without thought, therefore, of paying court to
him by making very tardy revelations, and scarcely two years before he
himself died in 1663. Thus it may be fairly inferred that Henri de
Campion wrote strictly under the inspiration of his conscience. One has
only to open his Memoirs to see confirmed, point by point, all the
particulars with which Mazarin's _carnets_ are filled. Nothing is there
wanting, everything coincides, all marvellously corresponds. It appears,
indeed, as though Mazarin in making his notes had had before his eyes de
Campion's Memoirs, or that the latter whilst penning them had Mazarin's
_carnets_ before him: he at once so thoroughly takes up the thread and
completes them.

    [3] "Mémoires de Henri de Campion, &c.," 1807. Treuttel and Würtz.
    Paris.

His brother Alexandre, in his letters of the month of August, 1643, had
already let slip more than one mysterious sentence. He wrote to Madame
de Montbazon in banishment:--"You must not despair, madam, there are
still some half-a-dozen honest folks who do not give up.... Your
illustrious friend will not abandon you. If to be prudent it were
necessary to renounce your acquaintance, there are those who would
prefer rather to pass for fools all their days." Like Montrésor, he does
not once say that there was no plot framed against Mazarin, which is a
kind of tacit avowal; and when the storm burst, he took care to conceal
himself, advised Beaupuis to do the same, and ends with these
significant words:--"In embarking in Court affairs one cannot be certain
of being master of events, and whilst we profit by the lucky ones, we
must resolve to put up with the unlucky." Henri de Campion raises this
already very transparent veil.

He declares plainly that there was a project on foot to get rid of
Mazarin, and that that project was conceived, not by Beaufort, but by
Madame de Chevreuse in concert with Madame de Montbazon. "I think," says
he, "that the Duke's design did not spring from his own particular
sentiment, but from the persuasion of the duchesses de Chevreuse and de
Montbazon, who exercised entire sway over his mind and had an
irreconcilable hatred to the Cardinal. What makes me say so, is that,
whilst he was under that resolution, I always observed that he had an
internal repugnance which, if I mistake not, was overcome by some pledge
which he may have given to those ladies." There _was_, therefore, a
plot, and its real author, as Mazarin truly said, and Campion repeats,
was Madame de Chevreuse; if so, Madame de Montbazon was only an
instrument in her hands.

Beaufort, once inveigled, drew in also his intimate friend, Count de
Maillé's son, the Count de Beaupuis, cornet in the Queen's horse-guards.
To them Madame de Chevreuse adjoined Alexandre de Campion, the elder
brother of Henri. "She loved him much," remarks the latter, and in a way
which, added to certain ambiguous words of Alexandre, excites suspicion
whether the elder Campion were not in fact one of the numerous
successors of Chalais. He was then thirty-three, and his brother
confesses that he had caught from the Count de Soissons the taste for
and the habitudes of faction. Beaupuis and Alexandre de Campion
approved of the plot when communicated to them, "the former," says
Henri, "believing that it would be a means for him of attaining to a
position of greater importance, and my brother seeing therein Madame de
Chevreuse's advantage and by consequence his own."

Such were the two first accomplices of Beaufort. A little later he
opened his mind on the subject to Henri de Campion, one of his principal
gentlemen; to Lié, captain of his guards; and to Brillet, his equerry.
There the secret rested. Many other gentlemen and domestics of the house
of Vendôme were destined to take action in the affair, but were admitted
to no confidence. The project was well conceived and worthy of Madame de
Chevreuse. There were at most five or six conspirators--three capable of
keeping the secret, and who did keep it. Below them, the men of action,
who did not know what they would be called on to do; and in the
background, the men of the morrow, who might be reckoned upon to applaud
the blow, when it had been struck, without it being judged fitting to
admit them to the conspiracy. At least Henri de Campion does not even
name Montrésor, Béthune, Fontraille, Varicarville, Saint-Ybar, which
explains wherefore Mazarin, whilst keeping his eye upon them, did not
have them arrested. Neither does Campion speak of Chandenier, La Châtre,
de Treville, the Duke de Bouillon, the Duke de Guise, De Retz, nor La
Rochefoucauld, whose sentiments were not doubtful, but who were not
inclined to go so far as to sully their hands with an assassination. And
that further explains the silence of Mazarin with regard to them in all
that relates to Beaufort's conspiracy, although he did not cherish the
slightest illusion as to their dispositions, and as to the part they
would have taken if the plot had succeeded, or even if a serious
struggle had taken place.

The conspiracy rested for some time between Madame de Chevreuse, Madame
de Montbazon, Beaufort, Beaupuis, and Alexandre de Campion. The final
resolution was only taken at the end of July or in the first days of
August, that is to say, precisely during the height of the quarrel
between Madame de Montbazon and Madame de Longueville, which ushered in
the crisis and opened the door to all the events which followed. It was
then only that Beaufort spoke of it to Henri de Campion, in presence of
Beaupuis. Mazarin's crime was the continuation of Richelieu's system.
"The Duke de Beaufort told me that he thought I had remarked that the
Cardinal Mazarin was re-establishing at court and throughout the kingdom
the tyranny of Cardinal de Richelieu, with even more of authority and
violence than had been shown under the government of the latter; that
having entirely gained the Queen's mind and made all the ministers
devoted to him, it was impossible to arrest his evil designs save by
depriving him of life; that the public weal having made him resolve to
take that step, he informed me of it in order that I might aid him with
my advice and personally assist in its execution. Beaupuis next 'took up
his parable,' and warmly represented the evils which the too great
authority of Richelieu had caused France, and concluded by saying that
we must prevent the like inconvenience before his successor had rendered
matters remediless." Such conclusion embodied as nearly as possible the
views and language of _Importants_ and _Frondeurs_, of La Rochefoucauld
and De Retz. Henri de Campion represents himself as having at first
combatted the Duke's project with so much force that more than once he
was shaken; but the two duchesses wound him up again very quickly, and
Beaupuis and Alexandre de Campion, instead of holding him back,
encouraged him. Shortly afterwards, Beaufort having declared that he had
made up his mind, Henri de Campion gave in on two conditions: "The one,"
he tells us, "of not laying his hand on the Cardinal, since I would
rather take my own life than do a deed of such nature. The other, that
if the Duke should arrange that the project should be put into execution
during his absence, I would never mix myself up in it; whereas if he
were himself to be present, I should without scruple keep myself near
his person, in order to defend him against any mischance that might
happen, my duty and affection towards him equally obliging me thereto.
He granted me those two conditions, testifying at the same time that he
esteemed me more for having made them, and added that he would be
present at the execution of the project, so that he might authorise it
by his presence."

The plan was to attack the Cardinal in the street, whilst paying visits
in his carriage, commonly having with him only a few ecclesiastics,
besides five or six lackeys. It would be necessary to present themselves
in force and unexpectedly, stop the vehicle and strike Mazarin. To do
that, it was necessary that a certain number of the Vendôme domestics,
who were not in the secret, should post themselves daily, from early
morning, in the _cabarets_ around the Cardinal's abode, which was then
at the Hôtel de Cleves, near the Louvre. Among the domestics let into
the secret, Henri de Campion names positively Gauseville. Over them were
placed "the Sieurs d'Avancourt and De Brassy, Picardians, very resolute
men and intimate friends of Lié." The pretext given out was that the
Condés proposing to put an affront upon Madame de Montbazon, the Duke
de Beaufort, in order to oppose it, desired to have in hand a troop of
gentlemen well mounted and armed. Their parts were allotted beforehand.
A certain number were to pounce upon the Cardinal's coachman, at the
same moment that others were to open the two doors and strike him,
whilst the Duke would be at hand on horseback, with Beaupuis, Henri de
Campion, and others, to cut down or drive off those who should be
disposed to resist. Alexandre de Campion was to keep near the Duchess de
Chevreuse and at her orders; and she herself ought more than ever to be
assiduous in her attentions to the Queen, in order to smooth the way for
her friends, and, in case of success, draw the Regent to the side of the
victorious.

Several occasions favourable to the execution of this plan presented
themselves. In the first instance, Henri de Campion being with his band
in the Rue du Champ-Fleuri--one end of which joins the Rue Saint-Honoré
and the other approaches the Louvre--saw the Cardinal leave the Hôtel de
Cleves in his carriage with the Abbé de Bentivoglio, the nephew of the
celebrated cardinal of that name, with a few ecclesiastics and valets.
Campion inquired of one of them whither the Cardinal was going, and was
answered--to visit the Marshal d'Estrées. "I saw," says Campion, "that
if I had made use of the information, his death would have been
inevitable. But I thought that I should be so guilty in the eyes of God
and man that I resisted the temptation to do so."

The next day it was known that the Cardinal would be present at a
collation to be given by Madame du Vigean at her charming residence of
La Barre, at the entrance of the valley of Montmorency, where Madame de
Longueville was staying, and which the Queen had promised to honour
with a visit, and who had already set out. The Cardinal was repairing
thither, having with him in his coach only the Count d'Harcourt.
Beaufort ordered Campion to assemble his troop and to ride after him,
but Campion represented to the Duke that if they attacked the Cardinal
in the company of the Count d'Harcourt, they must decide upon killing
both, Harcourt being too generous to see Mazarin stabbed before his eyes
without defending him, and that the murder of Harcourt would raise
against them the entire house of Lorraine.

Some days afterwards information was given that the Cardinal was engaged
to dine at Maisons, with the Marshal d'Estrées, to meet the Duke
d'Orleans. "I made the Duke consent," says Campion, "that should the
minister be in the same carriage with his Royal Highness, the design
should not be executed; but he said, that if he were alone, he must be
killed. Early in the morning he had the horses out and kept himself in
readiness at the Capucins with Beaupuis, near the Hôtel de Vendôme,
posting a valet on foot in the street to tell him when the Cardinal
should pass, and enjoining me to keep with those whom I was accustomed
to muster at the Cabaret l'Ange, in the Rue Saint-Honoré, very near the
Hôtel de Vendôme, and if the Cardinal journeyed without the Duke
d'Orleans, I should mount instantly with all my men, and intercept him
when passing the Capucins. I was," adds Campion, "in a state of anxiety
which may readily be imagined, until I saw the carriage of the Duke
d'Orleans pass, and perceived the Cardinal inside with him."

At length, Beaufort's irritation being carried to the highest pitch by
the banishment from court of Madame de Montbazon (which was certainly
on the 22nd of August), goaded by Madame de Chevreuse, by passion, and
by a false sense of honour, he became himself impatient to act. Seeing
that, during the day, he encountered incessant difficulties of which he
was far from divining the cause, he resolved to strike the blow at
night, and prepared an ambuscade, the success of which seemed certain,
and the details of which we have from Campion. The Cardinal went every
evening to visit the Queen, and returned sufficiently late. It was
arranged to attack him between the Louvre and the Hôtel de Cleves.
Horses were to be in readiness in some neighbouring inn. The Duke
himself should keep watch with Beaupuis and Campion, during the time the
minister should be with the Queen, and so soon as he came forth, all
three should advance and make a signal to the rest, who, in the
meanwhile, should remain on horseback on the quay, by the river side,
close to the Louvre. All which could be very well done at night without
awakening any suspicion.

It must be remembered that the person who furnishes these very precise
details was one of the principal conspirators, that he wrote at
sufficiently considerable distance from the event, in safety, and, to
repeat it once again, with no interest, fearing nothing more from
Mazarin, who had recently died, and expecting nothing from him. It must
be also remembered that speaking as he has done, he accuses his own
brother; that, without doubt, he attributes to himself laudable
intentions and even some good actions, but that he confesses having
entered into the plot, and that, if its execution had taken place he
would have taken part in it, in fighting by the side of Beaufort. The
process submitted to the parliament not having led to anything, through
failure of evidence, Campion did not imagine that Mazarin had ever
known "the circumstances of the plot, nor those acquainted with it to
the very bottom, and who were engaged in it." He adds also, "that now
the Cardinal is dead there is no longer any reason to fear injuring any
one in stating matters as they are." He therefore does not defend
himself; he believes himself to be sheltered from all quest, he writes
only to relieve his conscience.

From these curious revelations we further learn what importance Mazarin
attached to the arrest of Henri Campion; and that writer's statements
are not only substantially confirmed by various entries in the
_carnets_, but read like a translation into French of those pages from
the Cardinal's Italian. "They threw," he says, "into the Bastille,
Avancourt and Brassy, where they deposed that I had mustered them on
several occasions, on the part of the Duke de Beaufort, for the
interests of Madame de Montbazon, as I had told them. This did not
afford any motive for interrogating the Duke, since they owned that he
had not spoken to them; thus he would not have failed to deny having
given the orders which I carried to them on his part. It was then seen
that the process against him could not be carried on before I had been
arrested, in order to find matter whereon to interrogate him after my
own depositions, and so thoroughly to embarrass us both that every trace
of the affair might be discovered. The proof of this conspiracy was of
most essential importance to the Cardinal, who directing all his efforts
to the establishment of his government, and affecting to do so by gentle
means, had been unfortunate enough to be constrained, in the outset, to
use violence against one of the greatest men in the realm, for his own
individual interest, without a conviction to prove that he was
compelled to treat the Duke with rigour. The Cardinal, despairing of
being able to persuade others of that of which he was entirely assured,
had a great desire to get me into his hands. He was nevertheless of
opinion that he must give me time to reassure myself of safety in order
to take me with the greater facility."

We may add to all this that Henri de Campion, sought after sharply, and
closely shut up in his retreat at Anet, under the protection of the Duke
de Vendôme, having fled from France and joined his friend the Count de
Beaupuis at Rome, gives an account of the obstinate efforts made by
Mazarin to obtain the extradition of the latter, the resistance of Pope
Innocent X., the regard shown to Beaupuis when they were compelled to
confine him in the Castle of Saint-Angelo; all of which being equally to
be met with in the _carnets_ and letters of Mazarin and the memoirs of
Henri de Campion, places beyond doubt the perfect sincerity of the
Cardinal's proceedings and the accuracy of his information.

Are not these, we may ask, proofs sufficient to reduce to naught the
interested doubts of La Rochefoucauld and the passionate denials of the
chief of the Fronde, the very clever but very little truthful Cardinal
de Retz, the most ardent and most obstinate of Mazarin's enemies? It
would seem, indeed, either that there is no certitude whatever in
history, or that it must be considered henceforth as a point absolutely
demonstrated that there was a project determined upon to kill Mazarin;
that that project had been conceived by Madame de Chevreuse, and in some
sort imposed by her upon Beaufort with the aid of Madame de Montbazon;
that Beaufort had for principal accomplices the Count de Beaupuis and
Alexandre de Campion; that Henri de Campion had entered later into the
affair, at the pressing solicitation of the Duke, as well as two other
officers of secondary rank; that during the month of August there were
divers serious attempts to put it into execution, particularly the last
one after the banishment of Madame de Montbazon, at the very end of
August or rather on the 1st of September; and that such attempt only
failed through circumstances altogether independent of the will of the
conspirators.



CHAPTER V.

  FAILURE OF THE PLOT TO ASSASSINATE MAZARIN. ARREST OF BEAUFORT,
  BANISHMENT OF MADAME DE CHEVREUSE, AND DISPERSION OF THE "IMPORTANTS."


LET us now inquire how the last attempt against Mazarin's life--that
nocturnal ambuscade so well planned and so deliberately set about on the
1st of September, 1643--chanced to fail, and what was the result of such
failure. Without stopping to discuss the conjectures of Campion on this
point, it may suffice to state that Mazarin, who was on his guard,
evaded the blow destined for him by not visiting the Queen during the
evening on which it was resolved to kill him as he should return from
the Louvre. Next day the scene was changed. A rumour spread rapidly that
the Prime Minister had expected to have been murdered by Beaufort and
his friends, that he had escaped, fortune having declared in his favour.
A plot to assassinate, more especially when it fails, invariably excites
the strongest indignation, and the man who has extricated himself from a
great peril and seems destined to sweep all such from his path, readily
finds adherents and defenders. A host of people who would probably have
supported Beaufort victorious, now flocked to offer their swords and
services to the Cardinal, and on that morning he went to the Louvre
escorted by three hundred gentlemen.

For several days previously, Mazarin had seen clearly that, cost what
it might, he must cut his way through the knotted intricacy of the
situation, and that the moment had arrived for forcing Anne of Austria
to choose her part. The occasion was decisive. If the peril which he had
just undergone, and which was only suspended over his head, did not
suffice to draw the Queen from her incertitude, it would prove that she
did not love him; and Mazarin knew well that, amidst the many dangers
surrounding him, his entire strength lay in the Queen's affection, and
that thereon depended his present safety and future fate. Whether,
therefore, through policy or sincere affection, it was always to Anne of
Austria's heart that he addressed himself, and at the outset of the
crisis he had said to himself: "If I believed that the Queen was merely
making use of me through necessity, without having any personal
inclination for me, I would not stay here three days longer."[1] But
enough has been said to show plainly that Anne of Austria _loved_
Mazarin. Comparing him with his rivals, she appreciated him daily more
and more. She admired the precision and clearness of his intellect, his
finesse and penetration, and that extraordinary energy which enabled him
to bear the weight of government with marvellous ease--his quick and
accurate introspection, his profound prudence, and at the same time the
judicious vigour of his resolves. She saw the affairs of France
prospering on all sides under his firm and skilful hand. The Cardinal,
it is true, was not quite a nullity, in the fierce war which had
inaugurated the new reign so dazzlingly; but a power of no slight weight
was manifest in the success which had followed his advent to office,
and which proved to startled Europe that the victory of Rocroy was not a
lucky stroke of chance. When every member of the Council was opposed to
the siege of Thionville, and when Turenne himself, on being consulted,
did not venture to declare his opinion on the subject, it was Mazarin
who had insisted with an unflinching persistence that the victory of
Rocroy should be profited by, and that France should extend her frontier
to the Rhine. That proposition, doubtless, emanated from the youthful
conqueror, but Mazarin had the merit of comprehending, sustaining, and
causing it to triumph. If no first minister had ever before been so
served by such a general, neither had general ever been so supported by
such a minister; and thanks to both, on the 11th of August, whilst the
chivalrous _Importants_ were exhausting their combined talents in
putting a shameful affront upon the noble sister of the hero who had
just served France so gloriously, and who was about to aggrandize it
further--whilst they were displaying their vapid and turgid eloquence in
the salons, or sharpening their poniards in gloomy council chambers,
Thionville, then one of the chief strongholds of the Empire, surrendered
after an obstinate defence. Thus, the Regency of Anne of Austria had
opened under the most brilliant auspices.

    [1] Entry in Carnet, iii. p. 10, in Spanish:--"Sy yo creyera lo que
    dicen que S.M. se sierve di mi per necessidad, sin tener alguna
    inclination, no pararia aqui tres dias."

But in the height of this national glory and signal triumph, Queen Anne
must indeed have shuddered when Mazarin placed before her all the proofs
of the odious conspiracy formed against him. Explanations the most
minute and confidential thereupon ensued between them. It was now more
than ever compulsory for her to "raise the mask,"[2] to sacrifice to a
manifest necessity the circumspection she was studious of preserving--to
brave somewhat further the tittle-tattle of a few devotees of either
sex, and at all events to permit her Prime Minister to defend his life.
Up to this moment Anne of Austria had hesitated, for reasons which may
be readily comprehended. But Madame de Montbazon's insolence had greatly
irritated her; the conviction she acquired that numerous attempts to
assassinate Mazarin had only by chance failed, and might be renewed,
decided her; and it was, therefore, towards the close of August, 1643,
when the date of that declared ascendancy, open and unrivalled, must be
certainly fixed, of the Minister of the Queen Regent. These
conspirators, by proceeding to the last extremities, and thereby making
her tremble for Mazarin's life, hastened the triumph of the happy
Cardinal; and on the morrow of the last nocturnal ambush in which he was
marked for destruction, Jules Mazarin became absolute master of the
Queen's heart, and more powerful than Richelieu had ever been after the
_Day of Dupes_.

    [2] "Quitarse la maschera." Carnet, ii. p. 65.

The minister's _carnets_ will be searched in vain for any traces of the
explanations which Mazarin must have had with the Queen during this
grave conjuncture. Such explanations are not of a nature likely to be
forgotten, and of which there is any need to take notes. An obscure
passage, however, is to be met with, written in Spanish, of which the
following words have a meaning clear enough to be understood: "I ought
no longer to have any doubt, since the Queen, in an excess of goodness,
has told me that nothing could deprive me of the post which she has done
me the honour of giving me near her; nevertheless, as fear is the
inseparable companion of affection, &c."[3] At this anxious moment,
Mazarin was attacked with a slight illness, brought on by incessant
labour and wearing anxieties, and an attack of jaundice having
supervened, the Cardinal jotted down the following brief but highly
suggestive memorandum:--"_La giallezza cagionata dà soverchio
amore_."[4]

    [3] Carnet, iii. p. 45.--"Mas contodo esto siendo el temor un
    compagnero inseparabile dell'affection," &c.

    [4] Carnet, iv. p. 3.

Madame de Motteville was in attendance on Anne of Austria when the
rumour of the abortive attempt at assassination brought a crowd of
courtiers to the Louvre in hot haste to protest their devotedness to the
Crown. The Queen, with great emotion, whispered to her trusty
lady-in-waiting: "Ere eight and forty hours elapse you shall see how I
will avenge myself for the evil tricks these false friends have played
me." "Never," adds Madame de Motteville, "can the remembrance of those
few brief words be effaced from my mind. I saw at that moment, by the
fire that flashed in the Queen's eyes, and in fact by what happened on
that very evening and next day, what it is to be a female sovereign when
enraged, and with the power of doing what she pleases."[5] Had the
cautious lady-in-waiting been less discreet, she might have added,
"especially when that sovereign lady is a woman in love."

    [5] Mémoires, vol. i. p. 185.

The break-up and dispersion of the _Importants_ once decided upon, the
first step was to arrest Beaufort, and bring him to trial. To this the
Queen gave her consent. Of the authority Mazarin had acquired, such
proceeding was a striking indication, and showed how far Anne of Austria
might one day go in defence of a minister who was dear to her. The Duke
de Beaufort had been, before her husband's death, the man in whom the
Queen placed most confidence, and for some time he was thought destined
to play the brilliant part of a royal favourite. In a brief space he had
effectually thrown away his chance by his presumptuous conduct, his
evident incapacity, and yet more by his public _liaison_ with Madame de
Montbazon. Still the Queen had shown a somewhat singular weakness in his
favour, and at the expiration of three short months to sign an order for
his arrest was a great step--necessary, it is true, but extreme, and
which was the manifest sign of an entire change in the heart and
intimate relations of Anne of Austria. The dissimulation even with which
she acted in that affair marks the deliberative firmness of her
resolution.

The 2nd of September, 1643, was truly a memorable day in the career of
Mazarin, and we may say, in the annals of France; for it witnessed the
confirming of the royal power, shaken to its base by the deaths of
Richelieu and Louis XIII., and the ruin of the party of the
_Importants_.

On the morning of the 2nd, all Paris and its Court rang with the report
of the ambuscade laid for Mazarin the night previous, between the Louvre
and the Hôtel de Cleves. The five conspirators who had joined hands with
Beaufort in it had taken flight and placed themselves in safety.
Beaufort and Madame de Chevreuse could not imitate them: flight for them
would have been a self-denunciation. The intrepid Duchess therefore had
not hesitated to appear at Court, and she was at the Regent's side
during the evening of the 2nd together with another person, a stranger
to these dark plots and even incapable of putting faith in them--a very
different enemy of Mazarin--the pious and noble Madame de Hautefort. As
for the Duke, careless and courageous, he had gone to the chase in the
morning, and at his return he went, according to his custom, to present
his homage to the Queen. On entering the Louvre he met his mother,
Madame de Vendôme, and his sister the Duchess de Nemours, who had
accompanied the Queen all day and remarked her emotion. They did all
they could to prevent him going up stairs, and entreated him to absent
himself for a while. He, without troubling himself in the slightest
degree, answered them in the words of the doomed Duke de Guise--"They
dare not!"--and entered the Queen's great cabinet, who received him with
the best grace possible, and asked him all sorts of questions about his
hunting, "as though," says Madame de Motteville, "she had no other
thought in her mind." The Cardinal having come in in the midst of this
gentle chat, the Queen rose and bade him follow her. It appeared as if
she wished to take counsel with him in her chamber. She entered it,
followed by her Minister. At the same time the Duke de Beaufort, about
to leave, met Guitant, captain of the guard, who arrested him, and
commanded the Duke to follow him in the names of the King and Queen. The
Prince, without showing any surprise, after having looked fixedly at
him, said, "Yes, I will; but this, I must own, is strange enough." Then
turning towards Mesdames de Chevreuse and de Hautefort, who were talking
together, he said to them, "Ladies, you see that the Queen has caused me
to be arrested." The young nobleman then submitted to the royal mandate
without offering the slightest resistance; slept that night at the
Louvre, and the next morning was taken to the donjon of Vincennes, while
a general decree of banishment was pronounced against all the principal
members of the faction.

The Vendômes were ordered to retire to Anet; and the Chateau d'Anet
having soon become what the Hôtel de Vendôme at Paris had been, a haunt
of the conspirators, Mazarin demanded them from the Duke Cæsar, who took
good care not to give them up. The Cardinal was almost reduced to the
necessity of laying siege to the château in regular form. He threatened
to enter the place by main force and lay hands on Beaufort's
accomplices; unable to endure the scandal that a prince even of the
blood should brave law and justice with impunity, he had determined to
push matters to the uttermost, and was about to take energetic measures,
when the Duke de Vendôme himself decided on quitting France, and went to
Italy to await the fall of Mazarin, as formerly he had awaited in
England that of Richelieu.

The arrest of Beaufort, the dispersion of his accomplices, his friends
and his family, was the first indispensable measure forced upon Mazarin
to enable him to face a danger that seemed most imminent. But what would
it have availed him to lop off an arm had he left the head
untouched--had Madame de Chevreuse remained at Court, ever ready to
surround the Queen with attention and homage, assiduous to retain and
husband the last remnant of her old favour, in order to sustain and
secretly encourage the malcontents, inspire them with her audacity, and
stir them up to fresh conspiracies? She still held in her grasp the
scarcely-severed threads of the plot; and at her right hand there was a
man too wary to allow himself to be again compromised by such dark
doings, but quite ready to profit by them, and whom Madame de Chevreuse
had sedulously exhibited not only to Anne of Austria, but to France and
all Europe, as a man singularly capable of conducting State affairs.
Mazarin, therefore, did not hesitate; but on the day following
Beaufort's arrest, Châteauneuf, Montrésor, and St. Ybar were banished.
The first-named was invited to present himself at Court, kiss the
Queen's hand, and then betake himself to his government in Touraine.
Richelieu's late Keeper of the Seals deemed it something to have
escaped an open disgrace, to have resumed the eminent post he had
formerly occupied under the Crown, and the government of a large
province. Yet did his ambition soar far higher still: but he kept it in
check, and merely postponed its flight for a less stormy hour--obeyed
the Queen, skilfully remained friends with her, and likewise kept on
very good terms with her Prime Minister--biding his time until he might
displace him. He had to wait a long time, however; but eventually did
not quit life without once more grasping, for a moment at least, that
power which the indulgence of an insensate passion had lost him, but
which an inviolable and unswerving friendship in the end restored to
him.[6]

    [6] Châteauneuf held the seals from March, 1650, when Mazarin went
    into voluntary exile, until April, 1651. He died in 1653, at the age
    of seventy-three.

Madame de Chevreuse unhappily lacked the wisdom displayed throughout
this fiery ordeal by Châteauneuf. She forgot for once to look with a
smiling face upon the passing storm, in which she was too suddenly
caught to escape altogether scatheless. La Châtre--one of her friends,
and who saw her almost every day--relates that during the very same
evening on which Beaufort was arrested at the Louvre, "Her Majesty told
the Duchess that she believed her to be innocent of the prisoner's
designs, but that nevertheless to avoid scandal she deemed it fitting
that Madame de Chevreuse should quietly withdraw to Dampierre, and that
after making some short sojourn there she should retire into
Touraine."[7] The Duchess, therefore, saw plainly that she had nothing
for it but to go at once to Dampierre; but no sooner did she arrive at
her favourite château than, instead of remaining quiet, she began to
move heaven and earth to save those who had compromised themselves for
her sake. She began, indeed, to knot the meshes of a new web of
intrigue, and even found means of placing a letter in the Queen's own
hand. Message after message was, however, sent to hasten her
departure--Montagu being despatched to her on the same errand, as was
also La Porte. She received them haughtily, and deferred her journey
under divers pretexts. It will be remembered that on going to meet the
Duchess when on her road from Brussels, Montagu had offered her, on the
Queen's part as well as that of Mazarin, to discharge in her name the
debts she had contracted during so many years of exile. The Duchess had
already received heavy sums, but was unwilling to set forth for Touraine
until after the Queen should have performed all her promises. Marie de
Rohan had left the Louvre and Paris, her bosom swelling with grief and
rage, as Hannibal had quitted Italy. She felt that the Court and capital
and the Queen's inner circle formed the true field of battle, and that
to remove herself from it was to abandon the victory to the enemy. Her
retreat, indeed, was an occasion of mourning to the entire Catholic
party, as well as to the friends of peace and the Spanish alliance, but,
on the contrary, of public rejoicing for the friends of the Protestant
alliance. The Count d'Estrade actually went to the Louvre on the part of
the Prince of Orange, from whom he was accredited, to thank the Regent
officially for it.

    [7] "Allontanar Cheverosa che fà mille cabelle." Mazarin's Carnet,
    iii. 81, 82.

Madame de Chevreuse made her way, therefore, to her estate of Duverger,
between Tours and Angiers. The deep solitude that there reigned
around her embittered all the more the feeling of defeat. She kept up,
however, a brisk correspondence with her stepmother, Madame de
Montbazon--banished to Rochefort; and the two exiled Duchesses mutually
exhorted each other to leave no stone unturned towards effecting the
overthrow of their common enemy. Vanquished at home, Madame de Chevreuse
centred all her hopes in foreign lands. She revived the friendly
relations which she had never ceased to cherish with England, Spain, and
the Low Countries. Her chief prop, the centre and interposer of her
intrigues, was Lord Goring, our ambassador at the French Court; who,
like his ill-starred master, and more especially his royal mistress,
belonged to the Spanish party. Croft, an English gentleman who had
figured in the train of the Duchess some years previously, bestirred
himself actively and openly in her behalf, whilst the Chevalier de Jars
intrigued warily and in secret for Châteauneuf. Beneath the mantle of
the English embassy a vast correspondence was carried on between Madame
de Chevreuse, Vendôme, Bouillon, and the rest of the _Malcontents_.



CHAPTER VI.

  CONSEQUENCES OF THE QUARREL BETWEEN THE DUCHESSES DE LONGUEVILLE AND
  DE MONTBAZON.--FATAL DUEL BETWEEN THE DUKE DE GUISE AND COUNT MAURICE
  DE COLIGNY.


AS has been said, the 2nd of September, 1643, had been truly a memorable
day in the career of Mazarin, and, indeed, in the annals of France; for
it witnessed the confirming of the royal power, shaken to its base by
the deaths of Richelieu and Louis XIII., and the ruin of that dangerous
faction the _Importants_. The intestine discords which threatened the
new reign were thus forced to await a more favourable opportunity for
development. They did not raise their heads again until five years
afterwards--on the breaking out of the Fronde, in which they showed
themselves just the same men as ever, with the same designs, the same
politics, foreign and domestic; and after raising sanguinary and sterile
commotions, re-appeared only to break themselves to pieces once more
against the genius of Mazarin and the invincible firmness of Anne of
Austria.

Mazarin, therefore, who soon found himself without a rival in the
Queen's good graces, continued steadily to carry on within and without
the realm the system of his predecessor, and royalty, as well as France,
reckoned upon a succession of halcyon years, thanks to the re-union of
the Princes of the blood with the Crown, to the tactics and personal
conduct of the Prime Minister, and to his political sagacity, seconded
by the military genius of the Duke d'Enghien. The imprudence of Madame
de Montbazon and her lover Beaufort in the affair of the dropped letters
had the effect of increasing Mazarin's power incalculably, and that at
the very moment that a splendid victory gained by the young Duke
d'Enghien had made him and his sister paramount at Court--paramount by a
popularity so universal that it almost made the Queen and her minister
their _protégés_ rather than their patrons.

The Duke d'Enghien had returned to Paris after Rocroy, and at the end of
a campaign in which he had taken a very important stronghold, passed the
Rhine with the French army, and carried the war into Germany. The Queen
had received him as the liberator of France. Mazarin, who looked more to
the reality than the semblance of power, intimated to the young
conqueror that his sole ambition was to be his chaplain and man of
business with the Queen. At a distance, the Duke d'Enghien had praised
everything that had been done, and came from the camp over head and ears
in love with Madlle. du Vigean, and furious that any one should have
dared to insult a member of his house. He adored his sister, and he had
a warm friendship for Coligny.[1] He was aware of and had favoured his
passion for that sister. Engaged himself in a suit as ardent as it was
chaste, he readily comprehended that his beautiful sister might well
have been not insensible to the fervent assiduities of the brave
Maurice, but he revolted at the thought of the amatory effusions of a
Madame de Fouquerolles being attributed to her, and he assumed a tone in
the matter which effectually arrested any further insinuation from even
the most insolent and daring.

    [1] Grandson of the famous Admiral de Coligny, who perished in the
    massacre of St. Bartholomew.

Amongst the especial friends of Beaufort and Madame de Montbazon,
foremost of all stood the Duke de Guise.[2] They had manoeuvred to
secure him as well as the rest of his family to their party, through
Gaston, Duke d'Orleans, who had espoused as his second wife a princess
of the house of Lorraine--the lovely Marguerite, sister of Charles IV.
and second daughter of Duke Francis. The Duke de Guise had already
played many strange pranks and committed more than one folly, but he had
not as yet signally failed in any serious enterprise. His incapacity was
not patent. He had the prestige of his name, youth, good looks, and a
courage carried even to temerity. The avowed slave of Madame de
Montbazon, he had espoused her quarrel, and to gratify her had joined in
propagating those calumnious reports, but without exhibiting the
violence of Beaufort, and had remained erect, confronting and defying
the victorious Condés.

    [2] Henry, son of Charles de Guise, and grandson of the _Balafré_.

Coligny had had the good sense to keep aloof during the storm, for fear
of still further compromising Madame de Longueville by exhibiting
himself openly as her champion: but a few months having elapsed, he
thought that he might at last show himself, and, as a certain
authority[3] tells us, "the imprisonment of the Duke de Beaufort having
deprived that noble of the chance of measuring swords with him, he
addressed himself to the Duke de Guise." La Rochefoucauld says, "the
Duke d'Enghien, unable to testify to the Duke de Beaufort, who was in
prison, the resentment he felt at what had passed between Madame de
Longueville and Madame de Montbazon, left Coligny at liberty to fight
with the Duke de Guise, who had mixed himself up in this affair." The
Duke d'Enghien, therefore, knew and approved of what Coligny did. In
fact, he found himself without an adversary in the affair of sufficient
rank to justify a prince of the blood in drawing his sword against him.
So far as regards Madame de Longueville, it is absurd to suppose that,
desirous of vengeance, she it was who had urged on Coligny, for
everybody ascribed to her a line of conduct characterised by great
moderation, as contrasted with that of the Princess de Condé. Far from
envenoming the quarrel, she wished to hush it up, and Madame de
Motteville thus significantly alludes to that fact: "The enmity she bore
Madame de Montbazon being proportionate to the love she bore her
husband, it did not carry her so far but that she found it more à propos
to dissimulate that outrage than otherwise."

    [3] An inedited Memoir upon the Regency.

La Rochefoucauld gives some particulars which explain what follows.
Coligny, just risen out of a long illness, was still very much
enfeebled, and, moreover, not very "skilful of fence." Such was his
condition when, as the champion of Madame de Longueville, he confronted
the Duke de Guise in mortal duel, whilst the latter, like most heroes of
the parade-ground, possessed rare cunning at carte and tierce. With
regard to the seconds chosen, they are in every respect worthy of
notice. In those days, seconds were witnesses of the duel in which they
themselves fought. Coligny selected as his second, and to give the
challenge, as was then the custom, Godefroi, Count d'Estrades, a man of
cool and tried courage. The Duke de Guise's second was his equerry, the
Marquis de Bridieu, a Limousin gentleman and brave officer, faithfully
attached to the house of Lorraine, who, in 1650, admirably defended
Guise against the Spanish army and against Turenne, and for that brave
defence, during which there were twenty-four days of open trenches, he
was made lieutenant-general.

It was arranged that the affair should come off at the Place Royale--the
usual arena for those sort of encounters, and which had been a hundred
times stained with the best blood of France. The mansions around the
Place Royale were then tenanted by ladies of the highest rank and
fashion, amongst the rest, Marguerite, Duchess de Rohan, Madame de
Guéméné, Madame de Chaulnes, Madame de St. Geran, Madame de Sablé, the
Countess de St. Maure, and many others, under the influence of whose
bright eyes those volatile and valiant French gentlemen delighted to
cross swords. And there many a noble form had been struck down never to
rise again, and many a noble heart had throbbed its last. During the
first quarter of the seventeenth century, the duel was a custom at once
useful and disastrous, inasmuch as it kept up the warlike spirit of the
nobles, but which mowed them down as fast as war itself, and but too
frequently for frivolous causes. To draw swords for trifles had become
the obligatory accompaniment of good manners; and as gallantry had its
finished fops, so the duel had its refined rufflers. In the
comparatively short period of a few years, nine hundred gentlemen
perished in these combats. To stop this scourge, Richelieu issued a
royal edict, which punished death by death, and sent the offenders from
the Place Royale to the Place de Grève. On this head Richelieu showed
himself inflexible, and the examples of Montmorency-Bouteville, beheaded
with his second, the Count Deschappelles, for having challenged Beuvron
and fought with him on the Place Royale at mid-day, impressed a
salutary terror, and rendered infraction of the edict very rare.
Coligny, however, braved everything; he challenged Guise, and on the
appointed day the two noble adversaries, accompanied by their seconds,
D'Estrades and Bridieu, met upon the Place Royale.

Of this memorable duel, thanks to contemporary memoirs as well as
various kinds of MSS., the minutest details have been preserved.

On the 12th of December, 1643, D'Estrades went in the morning to call
out the Duke de Guise on the part of Coligny. The rendezvous was fixed
for the same day, at three o'clock in the afternoon, at the Place
Royale. The two adversaries did not appear abroad during the whole
morning, and at three o'clock they were on the ground. A sentence is
ascribed to Guise which invests the scene with an unwonted grandeur, and
arrays for the last time in bitterest animosity and deadly antagonism
the two most illustrious representatives of the League wars in the
persons of their descendants. On unsheathing his sword Guise said to
Coligny: "We are about to decide the old feud of our two houses, and to
see what a difference there is between the blood of Guise and that of
Coligny."

Coligny's only reply was to deal his adversary a long lunge; but, weak
as he was, his rearward foot failed him, and he sank upon his knee.
Guise advanced upon him and set his foot upon his sword, in such manner
as though he would have said, "I do not desire to kill you, but to treat
you as you deserve, for having presumed to address yourself to a prince
of such birth as mine, without his having given you just cause,"--and he
struck him with the flat of his sword-blade. Coligny, furious, collected
his strength, threw himself backwards, disengaged his sword, and
recommenced the strife. In this second bout, Guise was slightly wounded
in the shoulder, and Coligny in the hand. At length, Guise, in making
another thrust at his adversary, grasped his sword-blade, by which his
hand was slightly cut, but, wresting it from Coligny's grasp, dealt him
a desperate thrust in the arm which put him _hors de combat_. Meanwhile
D'Estrades and Bridieu had grievously wounded each other.

Such was the issue of that memorable duel--the last, it appears, of the
famous encounters on the Place Royale. We thus see that, though cowed,
the French noblesse had not been tamed by Richelieu's solemn edict. This
last duel did very little honour to Coligny, and almost everybody took
part with the Duke de Guise. The Queen manifested very lively
displeasure at the violation of the edict, and the Duke d'Orleans, urged
thereto by his wife and the Lorraine family, made a loud outcry. The
Prince and Princess de Condé also found themselves compelled to declare
against Coligny--doubly in the wrong, both because he had been the
challenger and been unfortunate in the result. Proof that there was an
understanding between Coligny and the Duke d'Enghien is evident from the
latter not deserting the unlucky champion of his sister, that he
received the wounded man into his house at Paris, afterwards at Saint
Maur, and that he did not cease from surrounding him with his protection
and care in spite of his father, the Prince de Condé. When the matter
was referred to the Parliament, conformably to the edict, and the two
adversaries were summoned to appear, the Duke de Guise announced his
intention of repairing to the chamber with a retinue of princes and
great nobles; whilst, on his side, the Duke d'Enghien threatened to
escort his friend after the same fashion. But the initiative
proceedings were stayed through the deplorable condition into which poor
Coligny was known to have fallen.

That unfortunate young man languished for some months, and died in the
latter part of May, 1644, alike in consequence of his wounds and of
despair for having so badly sustained the cause of his own house, as
well as that of Madame de Longueville.

This affair, with all its dramatic features and tragical termination,
created an immense and painful impression not only in Paris, but
throughout France. It momentarily awakened party feelings which had for
some time slumbered, and suspended the festivals of the winter of 1644.
It not only occupied the families more closely concerned and the Court,
but forcibly affected the whole of the highest class of society, and
long remained the absorbing topic of every saloon. It may be readily
conceived that the story in spreading thus widely became enlarged with
imaginary incidents one after another. At first, it was supposed that
Madame de Longueville was in love with Coligny. That was necessary to
give the greater interest to the narrative. From thence came the next
invention, that she herself had armed Coligny's hand, and that
D'Estrades, charged to challenge the Duke de Guise, having remarked to
Coligny that the Duke might probably repudiate the injurious words
attributed to him, and that honour would thus be satisfied, Coligny had
thereupon replied: "That is not the question. I pledged my word to
Madame de Longueville to fight him on the Place Royale, and I cannot
fail in that promise."[4] There was no stopping a cavalier in such a
chivalrous course as that, and Madame de Longueville would not have been
the sister of the victor of Rocroy--a heroine worthy of sustaining
comparison with those of Spain, who beheld their lovers die at their
feet in the tournament--had she not been present at the duel between
Guise and Coligny. It is asserted, therefore, that on the 12th of
December she was stationed in an hôtel on the Place Royale belonging to
the Duchess de Rohan, and that there, concealed behind a window-curtain,
she had witnessed the discomfiture of her _preux chevalier_.

    [4] Mad. de Motteville.

Then, as now, it was verse--that is to say, the ballad--which set its
seal on the popular incident of the moment. When the event was an
unlucky one, the song was a burlesquely pathetic complaint, and always
with a vein of raillery running through it. Such was the effusion with
which every _ruelle_ rang, and it was really set to music, for the
notation is still to be found in the _Recueil de Chansons notées_,
preserved at the Arsenal at Paris. It ran thus:--

  "Essuyez vos beaux yeux,
   Madame de Longueville,
   Coligny se porte mieux.
   S'il a demandé la vie,
   Ne l'en blâmez nullement;
   Car c'est pour être votre amant
   Qu'il veut vivre éternellement."



BOOK III.



CHAPTER I.

  THE DUCHESS DE LONGUEVILLE AND THE DUKE DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD.


THAT Madame de Longueville witnessed the duel on the Place Royale seems
to rest on no reliable authority. Such a trait is so utterly at variance
with her character that its attribution would impute to her the manners
of a semi-Italianised princess of the Valois race. There are besides no
sufficient grounds for believing that her affections had for a moment
been given to Coligny, though doubtless her innate tenderness must have
been touched by his chivalrous love and devotion. Miossens, afterwards
better known as Marshal d'Albret, next tried in vain to win a heart
which had hitherto appeared insensible to the master-passion, but after
an obstinate persistence was ultimately constrained to relinquish all
hope. When, in 1645, M. de Longueville went as minister-plenipotentiary
to the Congress of Münster, the young Duchess remained in Paris, her
element being still the social sphere of the Court solely--a taste for
political life not having yet been developed through the impulse of her
affections. Let us here add that, notwithstanding the almost unanimous
assertion of contemporaries at this period that even women could not
behold Madame de Longueville without admiration, the heart of this
preeminently gifted creature seems amidst the universal homage to have
been proof against all and every repeated assault. Anne of Austria
loved her but little, partly through a jealous feeling created by her
singular beauty, partly from her great reputation for wit, and also from
her perpetual wranglings for precedence with other princesses of the
blood. In fact, in order to lose no tittle of the prerogatives derived
from her birth, Madame de Longueville had obtained a royal brevet from
the king which maintained her in the rank which she would have otherwise
lost by her marriage. A pride so exacting does not appear to agree with
the peculiar nonchalance that was one of her striking characteristics;
but, later in life, when she had become devout and penitent, she took
care to explain that seeming contradiction. "I have been defined," said
she, "as having, as it were, two individualities of opposite nature in
me, and that I could interchange them at any moment; but that arose from
the different situations in which I was placed, for I was dead, like
unto the dead, to aught which slightly affected me, and keenly alive to
the smallest things which interested me." Reading and study were never
among the things which stirred her into animation. Entirely occupied
with her fascinations and individual sentiments, at no period of her
life did she ever think of repairing the early neglect of her education.
In this respect she was inferior, on the authority even of her
apologists, to many ladies of the Court and city. Intoxicated as she had
been by the fumes of the incense which flattery had wafted around her in
the circle of the Hôtel de Rambouillet, she probably had no perception
of her failings on that essential point. The spontaneity of her wit, her
natural aptitude to comprehend and decide upon all sorts of questions,
made up for her deficiency in that kind of information which is acquired
from books and other modes of study, and often stood her in good stead,
both on the part of her detractors and of her partisans, of the lofty
characteristics of "great genius." M. Cousin, who is by no means severe
as regards the errors or demerits of the Duchess, says that "she did not
know how to write." Mademoiselle de Montpensier and Madame de
Motteville, however, both express the very opposite opinion. The first
remarks, speaking of the Countess de Maure:--"The precision and the
polish of her style would be incomparable if Madame de Longueville had
never written." The second declares that "this lady has ever written as
well as any one living." The fact is, so far as may be judged from those
of her letters which have come down to us, that Madame de Longueville's
style bore the reflex of her conversation: there are some passages very
remarkable in their force, some phrases altogether trite and
insignificant. This opinion is quite beside the consideration of her
diction in a grammatical point of view. In her written as in her spoken
language, she seems to have been impassive or to have kindled into
animation according as her thoughts were "dead or living," to use her
own phrase. Speaking and writing, however, are two very different
things, both requiring an especial cultivation; and as Madame de
Longueville was defective in anything like what is termed "regular
education" or "sound instruction," that fact became apparent so soon as
she took her pen in hand. Her great natural endowments shone on paper
with difficulty, through faults of every kind which escaped her notice.
It is really no small gift to be able to express one's sentiments and
ideas in their natural order, and with all their true and various
shades, in terms neither too homely nor far-fetched, or which neither
enfeeble nor exaggerate them. It is by no means rare to meet with men in
society remarkable for intelligence, nerve, and grace when they speak,
but who become unintelligible when they commit their thoughts to
writing. The fact is, that writing is an art--a very difficult art, and
one which must be carefully learned. Madame de Longueville was ignorant
of this, as were some of the most eminent women of her time. There
exists unquestionable evidence to prove that the Princess Palatine was a
person of large intelligence, who was able to hold her own with men of
the greatest capacity. De Retz and Bossuet tell us so. Some letters of
the Palatine, however, are extant in which, whilst there is no lack of
solidity, refinement, and ingenuity of thought, it will be seen that
they often abound with errors, obscure phraseology, and not unfrequently
outrageously violate even the commonest rules of orthography. It must
not, however, by any means be inferred from this that the Palatine had
not a mind of the first order, but only that she had not been trained to
render clearly and fittingly her ideas and sentiments in writing. Madame
de Longueville had been no better taught. Therefore all that has been
said about her on this score must be restricted, alike as to the defects
of her education and the brilliancy of her genius. With those
Frenchwomen who have written at once largely and loosely, it is pleasant
to contrast their contemporaries, Madame de Sévigné and Madame la
Fayette, both of whom always wrote well.

In the first place, these two admirable ladies had received quite
another sort of education to that of Madame de Longueville. They had had
the advantage of being instructed by men of letters skilled in the art
of teaching. Ménage was the chief instructor both of Mademoiselle de
Rabutin and Mademoiselle de Lavergne--to call those accomplished
letter-writers by their maiden names. Ménage trained them carefully in
composition, correcting rigidly their themes, pointing out their errors,
cultivating their happy instincts, and modelling and polishing their
vein and style. That talented tutor appears also to have been their
platonic adorer--more platonic indeed than he desired. In his verses he
celebrated by turns _la formosissima Laverna_ and _la bellissima
Marchesa di Sevigni_, and his lessons were doubtless given _con amore_.

Nature had been lavish indeed in all her gifts to the latter, giving her
a precision and solidity allied to an inexhaustible playfulness and
sparkling vivacity. Art, in her, wedded to genius, resulted in that
incomparable epistolary style which left Balzac and Voiture far away
behind her, and which Voltaire himself even has not surpassed.

We must now speak of him who was destined to bias, sway, and finally
determine the future course of Madame de Longueville's life through the
conquest of her heart and mind--La Rochefoucauld--the man who induced
her to embark with him on the stormy sea of politics, whose irresistible
tide swept her past the landmarks of loyalty and reputability to make
shipwreck, amongst the rocks and shoals of civil war, of fame, fortune,
and domestic happiness.

Up to the moment of her appearance on the scene of party strife in
connection with La Rochefoucauld, Madame de Longueville had not achieved
much _political_ notoriety. Neither had her fair fame been compromised
by the very insignificant gallantry of a long train of court danglers,
nor through her involuntary participation in the affair of the letters
with Madame de Montbazon. She could scarcely fail to be touched by the
devotion of Coligny, who had shed his blood to avenge her of the outrage
of that vindictive woman. For a moment, it is true, she had listened
carelessly and harmlessly to the attention of the brave and intellectual
Miossens. Still later she compromised herself somewhat with the Duke de
Nemours; but the only man she truly loved with heart and soul was La
Rochefoucauld. To him she devoted herself wholly; for him she sacrificed
everything--duty, interest, repose, reputation. For him she staked her
fortune and her life. Through him she exhibited the most equivocal and
most contradictory conduct. It was La Rochefoucauld who caused her to
take part in the Fronde; who, as he willed, made her advance or recede;
who united her to, or separated her from, her family; who governed her
absolutely. In a word, she consented to be in his hand merely an heroic
instrument. Pride and passion had doubtless something to do with this
life of adventure and that contempt of peril. But of what stamp must
have been that soul which could find consolation in all this? And, as
often happens, the man to whom she thus devoted herself was not wholly
worthy of her. He had infinite spirit; but he was coldly calculating,
profoundly selfish, meanly ambitious. He measured others by himself. He
was naturally as subtle in evil, as she was disposed spontaneously to
virtue. Full of finesse in his self-love and in the pursuit of his own
interest, he was, in reality, the least chivalrous of his sex, although
he affected all the appearance of the loftiest chivalry. In his
_liaison_ with Madame de Longueville he made love the slave of ambition.

It will be necessary to touch only slightly upon his career antecedent
to this period. Francis, the sixth seigneur and second Duke de la
Rochefoucauld, was born 15th December 1613. Little is recorded of his
early years, he himself having given no details about them. We only know
that he was very imperfectly educated, his father being desirous that
he should early adopt the profession of arms. Himself enjoying royal
favour in the highest degree, his eldest son, the young Prince de
Marsillac, profitably felt its influence; for, as early as 1626, he
commanded as _mestre-de-camp_ the Auvergne regiment of cavalry at the
siege of Casal. He took an active part in the _Day of Dupes_, the period
at which his memoirs commence. Two years previously, in 1628, he had
married at Mirebeau a rich and beautiful heiress of Burgundy, Andrée de
Vivonne, only daughter of André de Vivonne, Baron of Berandière and
Chasteigneraye, Grand Falconer of France, Captain in the Guards of the
Queen-Mother, Marie de' Medici, Councillor of State, and one of the most
trusty followers of Henry IV. The Prince de Marsillac was at first in
great favour at Court, notwithstanding his father's misconduct, but he
suddenly compromised himself in a very imprudent way. Closely intimate
with that virtuous maid-of-honour, Marie de Hautefort, whom the
saturnine Louis XIII. loved as passionately as his peculiar temperament
permitted, and also with Mademoiselle de Chémerault, as lovely as she
was witty, he was by them hurried into a blind devotion to the cause of
their unhappy mistress and queen, Anne of Austria, "the only party,"
says he, with unusual candour, "that I ever honestly followed." And very
soon his confidential relations with the persecuted princess became so
marked as necessarily to excite Richelieu's suspicions, the more so that
he ventured to speak of the Cardinal's administration in the boldest
terms. His friends advised him to retire from Court, at least
temporarily; but, as he wished to employ his time usefully, he joined as
a volunteer the army of Marshal de Chastillon, who, with Marshal de la
Meilleraye, beat Prince Thomas of Savoy at Avein. After behaving with
distinction there, he returned, when the campaign was over, to Court,
exhibiting a conduct still more independent, and which resulted in
forcing him to rejoin his father at Blois.

It was through the proximity of his father's château of Verteuil to
Poitiers, where the Duchess de Chevreuse was then living in banishment
from Court, that the Prince de Marsillac first came to ally himself with
the illustrious political adventuress. At the time when La Rochefoucauld
obtained political notoriety, a crisis occurred in France in national
manners, sentiments, and feelings. The nobles, long kept under by the
strong hand of Richelieu, were again rising into faction, and a spirit
of intrigue had seized upon everyone.

Although still young, Rochefoucauld had renounced enterprises in which
the heart is alone concerned. No longer engrossed with love, he was
wholly given up to ambition; and in order to avenge himself of the Queen
and Mazarin, who had not in his opinion evinced sufficient generosity
towards him to satisfy this later passion, he did not hesitate to fling
himself headlong into partisan intrigue and strife which ended in civil
war. To render himself the more formidable, he was above all desirous of
securing to his party the master-mind of Condé; and as Madame de
Longueville enjoyed the entire confidence of her favourite brother, and
had great influence with him, the natural result was that in due course
La Rochefoucauld made persistent love to the lovely Duchess. Seduced by
the chivalrous manners and romantic antecedents of his youth, and
yielding partly to the occasion, partly to the obstinate persistence of
the suit, and some little perhaps to the maternal blood in her veins,
Madame de Longueville at length surrendered her heart to the daring
aspirant. She could no longer plead early youth as an excuse, for she
had already numbered twenty-nine summers, and was only distant by a very
small span from that formidable epoch in woman's life which a
discriminating writer of the present day has happily termed the
_crisis_. That turning point in the Duchess's career was destined to
prove fatal to her, and the crisis was exactly such as that of which, in
the case of another celebrated woman, M. Feillet has given a lucid
analysis--the crisis brought about by an irresistible passion. Let us
beware of hastily applying to Madame de Longueville that maxim of her
cynical lover: "Women often think they still love him whom they no
longer really love. The opportunity of an intrigue, the mental emotion
to which gallantry gives birth, natural inclination to the pleasure of
being beloved, and the pain of refusing the lover, together persuade
them that they cherish a genuine passion when it is nothing more than
mere coquetry." Better had it been both for herself and for us to
believe that she had only so loved.

The beauty and intelligence of the Duchess de Longueville formed
certainly, at the commencement, a large share in the calculating lover's
determination to seek a _liaison_ with the Duke d'Enghien's sister. The
crowd of admirers was great around her, and that spectacle of itself
served to inflame the ambition of M. de Marsillac: subsequent
reflection, doubtless, must have redoubled his ardour to achieve the
twofold conquest, in love and party. The Count de Miossens was then
paying the most assiduous court to Madame de Longueville; he was very
intimately connected with Marsillac, to whom indeed he was nearly
related, and whom he kept well acquainted with the course of his amours.
His suit to the lovely Duchess proving, as has been said, entirely
unsuccessful, Miossens eventually left the field clear to Marsillac, the
brave and simple soldier giving place to the self-seeking man of the
world.



CHAPTER II.

  THE DUCHESS DE LONGUEVILLE DRAWN INTO THE VORTEX OF POLITICS AND CIVIL
  WAR BY HER LOVE FOR LA ROCHEFOUCAULD.


WE have glanced rapidly over the fairest period of Madame de
Longueville's youth, over those years wherein the splendour of her
success in the ranks of fashion was not obtained at the expense of her
virtue. The time approaches in which she is about to yield to the
manners of her age, and to the long-combatted wants of her heart. The
love which she inspired in others, she is, in turn, about to feel
herself, and it is to engage her, at the age of twenty-eight or
twenty-nine, in a fatal connection, which will make her unmindful of all
her conjugal duties, and turn her most brilliant qualities against
herself, against her family, and against France.

Let us now relate briefly what we know of Madame de Longueville from the
moment of our last mention of her up to the commencement of 1648. There
is nothing recorded which can authorise the supposition that before the
close of 1647 Madame de Longueville had ever passed the limits of that
noble and graceful gallantry which she saw everywhere held in honour,
the praises of which she heard celebrated at the Hôtel de Rambouillet as
well as at the Hôtel de Condé, in the great verse of Corneille and in
the turgid effusions of Voiture. At the time of the duel between Guise
and Coligny, in 1644, she had seen her twenty-fifth summer. Each
succeeding year seemed only to enhance the power of her charms, and that
power she delighted in exhibiting. A thousand adorers pressed around
her. Coligny was, perhaps, nearest to her heart, but had not, however,
touched it. But one cannot, with impunity, trifle with love. That tragic
adventure of the eldest of the Châtillons perishing, in the flower of
his youth, by the hand of the eldest of the Guises was quickly echoed by
song and romance through every _salon_, and cast a gloom upon the
destiny of Madame de Longueville, and gave her, at an early period, a
fame at once aristocratic and popular, which prepared her wonderfully to
play a great part in that other tragi-comedy, heroic and gallant, called
the Fronde. The glory of her brother was reflected upon her, and she
responded to it somewhat by her own success at Court and in the
_salons_. She acquired more and more the manners of the times. Coquetry
and witty talk formed her sole occupation. Her delicate condition not
permitting her to accompany M. de Longueville to Münster, in June, 1645,
she remained in Paris. It was the place above all others in which she
delighted, and whether her heart had received some slight wound, or
whether it was still entirely whole, it is clear that she was not very
glad nor greatly charmed to find herself, after her accouchement in the
spring of 1646, under the cold, grey sky of Westphalia, again beside a
husband who was not, as Retz says, the most agreeable man to her in the
world. It is not difficult to divine the feelings with which that petted
beauty of the Hôtel de Rambouillet must have left Corneille, Voiture,
and all the elegancies and refinements of life, to take up her abode at
Munster amongst a set of foreign diplomatists only speaking German or
Latin. To her it was doubly an exile, for her native soil was not
merely France--but Paris, the Court, the Hôtel de Condé, Chantilly, the
Place Royale, the Rue St. Thomas du Louvre.[1] However, there was
nothing for it but to obey the marital summons, and to set off with her
step-daughter, Mademoiselle de Longueville, who was already more than
twenty years of age. The Duchess quitted Paris on the 20th of June,
1646, with a numerous escort under the command of Montigny, lieutenant
of M. de Longueville's guards. The entire journey from Paris to Munster
was a continual ovation. The Duke went as far as Wesel to meet her.
Turenne, who then commanded on the Rhine, treated her to the spectacle
of an army drawn up in order of battle, and which he manoeuvred for
her amusement. Was it on that occasion that the great captain, well
known to have been always impressionable to female beauty, received the
ardent impulse which was renewed at Stenay in 1650, and which,
graciously but prudently acknowledged by Madame de Longueville, always
remained a close and tender tie between them? On the 22nd of July she
made her triumphal entry into Munster. During the entire autumn of 1646
and the winter of 1647 she was really the Queen of the Congress. Her
beauty and grace of manner won homage equally from the grave
diplomatists as from the great commanders who were there assembled.

    [1] In which the Hôtel de Rambouillet was situate.

Although the Duchess dissembled her ennui with that politeness and
gentleness peculiar to herself, after the lapse of a few months she had
had enough of her brilliant exile. In the winter of 1647 there were two
reasons for her return to France. Her father, the Prince de Condé, had
died towards the close of December, 1646, to the great loss of his
family and France, the consequences of which were somewhat later vividly
felt. Moreover, Madame de Longueville had become _enceinte_, at Münster
for the third time, and it being her mother's wish that her accouchement
should take place near her, M. de Longueville was compelled to consent
to his wife's departure for Paris.

Her return to France, at first to Chantilly, and next to Paris, in the
month of May, 1647, was quite another sort of triumph to that of her
journey to the Rhine and Holland, and her sojourn at Münster. She found
the crowd of her adorers more numerous and attentive than ever, and in
the foremost rank her younger brother, the Prince de Conti, just fresh
from college, was taking his first lessons of life in the wider range of
the great world.

Shortly after her accouchement, the Duchess, who during her sojourn
amongst the plenipotentiaries charged with negotiating the treaty of
Westphalia, had acquired a taste, there seems little doubt, for
political discussions and speculations, first began to manifest an
inclination to mix herself up with state affairs. There was little
difficulty in her doing so. The mission which the Duke de Longueville
continued to fulfil in Germany, the continued favour enjoyed by the
Princess de Condé, the ever-increasing influence which the Duke
d'Enghien--recently through his father's death become Prince de
Condé--had acquired by his repeated victories, all these advantages,
joined to the prestige of the personal charms of Madame de Longueville,
placed this latter in a position to take the foremost part in the civil
war about to break out.

The Court and Paris were then occupied with festivals and diversions,
which all were eager to share with Madame de Longueville. To please the
Queen, Mazarin multiplied balls and operas. At a great expense he sent
to Italy for artists, singers, male and female, who represented the
opera of _Orpheus_, the machinery and decorations of which are said to
have cost more than 400,000 livres. The Queen delighted in these
spectacles. France also, as though inspired by its increasing grandeur,
took pleasure in the magnificence of its government, and seconded it by
redoubling its own luxury and magnificence. The pleasures of wit
occupied the first rank. The Hôtel de Rambouillet, near its decline, was
shedding its last rays. Madame de Longueville reigned there as well as
in all the best circles of Paris; and it must be confessed, with her
good qualities she had also some of the defects of the best
_précieuses_. The following is the picture which Madame de Motteville
has traced of her person, of the turn of her mind, of her occupation, of
her reputation, and of that of the whole house of Condé, at this period,
which may be considered as the most felicitous of her life: "This
princess, who during her absence reigned in her family, and whose
approbation was sought as though she were a real sovereign, did not
fail, on her return to Paris, to appear in greater splendour than when
she left it. The friendship entertained for her by the Prince, her
brother, authorizing her actions and her manners, the greatness of her
beauty and of her mind increased so much the cabal of her family, that
she was not long at Court without almost entirely engrossing it. She
became the object of all desires: her clique was the centre of all
intrigues, and those whom she loved became also the favourites of
fortune.... Her intelligence, her wit, and the high opinion entertained
for her discernment, won for her the admiration of all good people, who
were persuaded that her esteem alone was enough to give them reputation.
If, in this way, she governed people's minds, she was not less
successful by means of her beauty; for although she had suffered from
the small-pox since the Regency, and although she had lost somewhat of
the perfection of her complexion, the splendour of her charms excited a
powerful influence upon those who saw her; and she possessed especially,
in the highest degree, what in the Spanish language is expressed by
those words, _donayre, brio, y bizarrie_ (gallant air). She had an
admirable form, and her person possessed a charm whose power extended
over our own sex. It was impossible to see her without loving her, and
without desiring to please her." Some shadows, however, slightly tone
down this otherwise brilliant portraiture. "She was then too much
engrossed with her own sentiments, which passed for infallible rules
while they were not always so, and there was too much affectation in her
manner of speaking and acting, whose greatest beauty was attributable to
delicacy of thought and correctness of reasoning. She appeared
constrained, and the keen raillery exercised by herself and her
courtiers often fell upon those who, while rendering her their homage,
felt, to their mortification, that honest sincerity, which ought to be
observed in polite society, was apparently banished from hers. The
virtues and qualities of the most excellent creatures are mingled with
things opposed to them: all men partake of this clay from which they
derive their origin, and God alone is perfect.... In short it may be
said that at this time all greatness, all glory, and all gallantry were
concentrated in the family of Bourbon, of which the Prince de Condé was
the illustrious head, and that fortune was not considered a desirable
thing if it did not emanate from their hands."

But, unhappily, frivolous pastimes, of a nature both innocent and
dangerous, now wholly engrossed Madame de Longueville. She was
surrounded by all the prosperities and all the felicities of this life.
Everything conspired in her favour, or rather against her--the triumphs
of mind as well as those of beauty, the continually increasing glory of
her paternal house, the intoxication of her vanity, the secret
promptings of her heart. The trial was too much for her, and she
succumbed to it. In the enchanted circle in which she moved, more than
one adorer attracted her attention; and one of them succeeded in winning
her affections, according to all appearances, at the close of 1647, or
at the commencement of 1648. She was then about twenty-nine.

François, Prince de Marsillac, without being very handsome, was well
formed and very agreeable. As De Retz says, he was not a warrior,
although he was a very good soldier. What distinguished him especially
was his wit. Of this he possessed an infinite fund, of the finest and
most delicate. His conversation was gentle, easy, insinuating; and his
manners were at once the most natural and most polished. He had a lofty
air. In him vanity supplied the place of ambition. At an early age he
showed a fondness for distinction and for intrigues. Profoundly selfish,
and having succeeded in acquiring a knowledge of himself, and in
reducing to theory his nature, his character, and his tastes, he set out
with very contrary appearances, and those chivalrous manners affected by
the _Importants_. One of his first connections, as we have seen, was
with Madame de Chevreuse, who secured him to Queen Anne. When the death
of Louis XIII. had placed the supreme authority in her hands, he
imagined that his fortune was made. He sought successively various
important offices which the Queen could not grant, whatever liking she
might have entertained for him. Having tried several schemes and failed
in all, the Queen applied herself to soothing his disappointments, by
behaviour so tender as to retain him, as would now be said, in a
moderate opposition, and keep him from taking part in the violence of
Beaufort. He was not then covered with the disgrace of the _Importants_,
though he shared it to a certain extent; and he did not cease to be, or
seem to be, very much attached, not to the government, but to the person
of the Queen. He looked continually for some great favour at her hands.
These favours not arriving, he determined to procure through
intimidation what his self-seeking fidelity had not been able to secure
for him.

It was during this state of his feelings that he met Madame de
Longueville, on her return from Munster, surrounded by the most earnest
admirers. The Count de Miossens, afterwards Marshal d'Albret--handsome,
brave, full of wit and talent, as enterprising in love as in war--was
paying her a very zealous court. La Rochefoucauld persuaded Miossens,
who was one of his friends, that, after all, if he should overcome the
resistance of Madame de Longueville, it would only be a victory
flattering to his vanity, whilst that he, La Rochefoucauld, would be
able to turn it to a very good account. This was certainly a very
convincing and heroic reason for falling in love! We, however, do no
more than transfer, with the utmost exactness, a statement made by
Rochefoucauld himself, which we will now quote word for word: "So much
unprofitable labour and so much weariness, finally gave me other
thoughts, and led me to attempt dangerous ways in order to testify my
hostility to the Queen and Cardinal Mazarin. The beauty of Madame de
Longueville, her wit, and the charms of her person, attached to her all
who could hope for her favour. Many men and women of quality strove to
please her; and besides all this, Madame de Longueville was then upon
such good terms with all her house, and so tenderly beloved by the Duke
d'Enghien, her brother, that the esteem and friendship of this prince
might be counted upon by any one who enjoyed the favour of his sister.
Many persons vainly attempted this game, mingling other sentiments with
those of ambition. Miossens, who afterwards became Marshal of France,
persisted in it longest, but with similar success. I was one of his
intimate friends, and he told me his designs. They soon fell to the
ground of themselves. He saw this, and told me several times that he was
about to renounce them; but vanity, which was the strongest of his
passions, prevented him from telling me the truth, and he professed to
entertain hopes which he had not, and which I knew that he could not
have. Some time passed in this way; and, finally, I had reason to
believe that I could make a more considerable use than Miossens of the
friendship and confidence of Madame de Longueville. I made him believe
it himself. He knew my position at Court; I told him my views, declaring
that my consideration for him would always restrain me, and that I would
not attempt to form a connection with Madame de Longueville without his
permission. I will even confess that I irritated him against her in
order to obtain it, without, however, saying anything untrue. He
delivered her over entirely to me, but he repented when he saw the
result of that connection."[2]

    [2] Petitot Collection, vol. li. p. 393.

When, subdued at length by the passion shown for her by La
Rochefoucauld, Madame de Longueville had determined to respond to it,
she gave herself up to him wholly--devoting herself in everything to the
man whom she dared to love. She made it a point of honour, as doubtless
it was a secret happiness, to share his destiny and to follow him
without casting one backward glance--sacrificing to him all her private
interests, the evident interest of her family, and the strongest
sentiment of her soul, her tenderness for her brother Condé.

The truthful Madame de Motteville, after noting the principal motive
which urged La Rochefoucauld in his pursuit of Madame de Longueville,
adds: "In all that she has since done, it is clearly seen that ambition
was not the only thing that occupied her soul, and that the interests of
the Prince de Marsillac there held a prominent place. For him she became
ambitious, for him she ceased to love repose; and in order to show
herself alive to this affection, she became too insensible to her own
fame.... The declarations of the Prince de Marsillac, as I have already
said, had not been displeasing to her; and this nobleman, who was
perhaps more selfish than tender, wishing through her to promote his own
interests, believed that he should inspire her with a desire of ruling
the princes her brothers."[3]

    [3] Mad. de Motteville, vol. ii. p. 17.

Such being the sordid motives of her wooer, the oft-repeated lines,
therefore, which he wrote with his own hand behind a portrait of the
Duchess must be construed with a considerable abatement of their poetic
ardour:--

  "Pour meriter son coeur, pour plaire à ses beaux yeux,
  J'ai fait la guerre aux rois, Je l'aurais faite aux dieux."[4]

    [4] At a later period, after he had lost his sight from a
    pistol-shot received at the combat of the Porte St. Antoine during
    the Fronde, and had quarrelled with the Duchess, he parodied his own
    distich,--

      "Pour ce coeur inconstant, qu'enfin Je connais mieux,
      J'ai fait la guerre au roi; J'en ai perdu les yeux."

Such a dissembler then was the coldly ambitious, egotistical, clever
Duke de la Rochefoucauld--a man capable of sacrificing everybody to his
own interests. Madame de Longueville, such as we have depicted her,
could not help being the instrument of a man of like character. M.
Cousin seems to have arrived at that conclusion, since, in designating
that princess as _the soul of the Fronde_, he acknowledges "that she
troubled the state and her own family by an extravagant passion for one
of the chiefs of the _Importants_, become one of the chiefs of the
Fronde." But M. Cousin is very nearly silent touching the Prince de
Conti, of whom the Duchess was the sole motive-power on all occasions,
and he merely says that this young prince submitted to be led by his
sister in order to stand upon an equal footing with his elder brother
whilst waiting for a cardinal's hat.

Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti, born in 1629, was eighteen years of
age in 1647. He had good intellect and a not unpleasant countenance; but
a slight deformity and a certain feebleness of constitution rendering
him unfit for the army, he was early destined for the church. He had
studied among the Jesuits at the college of Clermont with Molière, and
his father had obtained for him the richest benefices, and demanded a
cardinal's hat. While waiting for this hat dignity, Armand de Bourbon
was living at the Hôtel de Condé, partly an ecclesiastic, partly a man
of the world, passing his days with wits and men of fashion, and greedy
of every species of success. The glory of his brother filled him with
emulation, and he dreamed himself of warlike exploits. When his sister
returned from Germany, he went to meet her, and, dazzled by her beauty,
her grace, and her fame, he began to love her rather as a gallant than
as a brother. He followed her blindly in all her adventures, in which
he exhibited as much courage as volatility. When he had made his peace
with the Court--thanks to his marriage with a niece of Mazarin, the
beautiful and virtuous Anne-Marie Martinozzi--he obtained the
command-in-chiefship of the army of Catalonia, in which capacity he
acquitted himself with great honour. He was much less successful in
Italy. On the whole, he was far from injuring his name, and he gave to
France, in the person of his young son, a true warrior, one of the best
pupils of Condé, one of the last eminent generals of the seventeenth
century. Constrained, through ill-health, to betake himself again to
religion, the Prince de Conti finished, where he had begun, with
theology. He composed several meritorious and learned works on various
religious subjects.

In 1647, he was entirely devoted to vanity and pleasure. He adored his
sister, and she exercised over him a somewhat ridiculous empire, which
continued during several years.



CHAPTER III.

  THE DUCHESS DE CHEVREUSE DRIVEN INTO EXILE FOR THE THIRD TIME.


WHEN in the summer of 1644, the Queen of England, the fugitive consort
of Charles I., sought an asylum in France from the fury of the English
parliamentarians, and went to drink the Bourbon waters, Madame de
Chevreuse eagerly desired to see once more that illustrious princess,
who had so warmly welcomed her when herself an exile, at the Court of
St. James's. Queen Henrietta, too, who like her mother, Marie de'
Medici, as well as the Duchess, was of the Spanish and Catholic party,
would have been delighted to have mingled her tears with those of so old
and faithful a friend. But the royal exile did not deem it right to give
way to her inclination without Queen Anne's permission, who at that
moment was according her such noble hospitality. Anne of Austria
politely replied that the Queen, her sister, was perfectly free to act
as she chose; but it was intimated to her, through the Chevalier de
Jars, that it was inexpedient to receive the visit of a person who,
through misguided conduct, had forfeited Her Majesty's favour. This
fresh disgrace, added to so many others, increased the Duchess's
irritation to the highest pitch. She redoubled her efforts to break the
yoke that oppressed her. Mazarin watched and was made acquainted with
all her manoeuvres. He had the comptroller of her household arrested
in Paris, and shortly afterwards even her physician, whilst accompanying
Madame de Chevreuse's daughter in her carriage for an airing. The
Duchess complained bitterly of this latter proceeding in a letter which
she contrived to have handed to the Queen. She asserted that
Mademoiselle de Chevreuse was forced to quit the vehicle, two archers
levelling their pistols at her breast, and shouting all the
while--"Fire! fire!" and they threatened, after the same fashion, the
female attendants who were with her. At the same time that she protested
her own innocence, she did not fail to challenge Anne's sense of
justice, with a view to neutralize the enmity of Mazarin. But the
physician whom he had had arrested, on being flung into the Bastile,
made avowals which opened up traces of very grave matters; and an exempt
of the King's guards was despatched to Madame de Chevreuse with an order
commanding her to retire to Angoulême, and the officer was even charged
to convey her thither. At Angoulême was that strong fortress used as a
state prison, in which her friend Châteauneuf had been confined on her
account for ten long years. This reminiscence, ever present to the
Duchess's imagination, terrified her sorely. She dreaded lest it should
be the same sort of _retreat_ which they now intended for her; and the
active-minded woman, preferring every kind of extremity to being
imprisoned, decided upon renewing the career of a wanderer and an
adventurer, as in 1637, and to tread for the third time the wearisome
paths of exile.

But how greatly were circumstances then changed around her, and how
changed was she also herself! Her first exile from France in 1626, had
proved one continuous triumph. Young, lovely, and adored by every one,
she had quitted Nancy, leaving the Duke de Lorraine a slave
henceforward to the sway of her charms, only to return to Paris and
trouble the mind of the stony, impassive Richelieu. In 1637 her flight
into Spain had, on the contrary, proved a most severe trial to her. She
had been forced to traverse the whole of France disguised in male
attire, brave more than one danger, endure much suffering and privation,
only to struggle in the sequel with five consecutive years of fruitless
agitation. But, at any rate, she then had youth to back her, and the
consciousness of the power of that irresistible fascination which
procured her adorers and suitors wherever she wandered, even among the
occupants of thrones. She had faith likewise in the Queen's friendship,
and a firm reliance that the time would come when that friendship would
repay her for all her devotedness. But now age she felt was creeping
upon her; her beauty, verging towards its decline, promised her
henceforward conquests only few and far between. She perceived that in
losing her power over Anne of Austria's heart, she had lost the greater
portion of her prestige both in France and Europe. The flight of the
Duke de Vendôme, shortly about to be followed by that of the Duke de
Bouillon, left the _Importants_ without any chief of note. The Duchess
had found Mazarin to be quite as skilful and formidable an enemy as
Richelieu. Victory seemed to have entered into a compact with him. De
Bouillon's own brother, Turenne, solicited the honour of serving him,
and the young Duke d'Enghien won battle after battle for him. She knew
also that the Cardinal had that in his hands wherewith he could condemn
and sentence her to incarceration for the rest of her days. When,
however, almost every one forsook her, this extraordinary woman did not
give way to self-abandonment. As soon as the exempt Riquetti had
signified to her the order of which he was the bearer, she adopted
measures with her accustomed promptitude, and, accompanied by her
daughter Charlotte, who had hastened to her mother and refused to quit
her, she succeeded in reaching by cross-roads the thickets of La Vendée
and the solitudes of Brittany; until, approaching within a few leagues
of St.-Malo, she solicited an asylum at the hands of the Marquis de
Coetquen. That noble and generous Breton gave her the hospitality which
was due to such a woman struggling against such adversity. Marie de
Rohan did not abuse it; and after placing her jewels in his hands for
safety, as she had formerly done in those of La Rochefoucauld,[1] she
embarked with her daughter in the depth of winter at St.-Malo, on board
a small vessel bound for Dartmouth, whence she purposed crossing over to
Dunkirk and entering Flanders. But the English parliamentarian
men-of-war were cruising in the Channel. They fell in with and captured
the wretched little bark, and carried her into the Isle of Wight. There
Madame de Chevreuse was recognised; and as she was known to be a friend
of the Queen of England, the Roundheads were not loth to subject her to
sufficiently rough treatment; and afterwards hand her over to Mazarin.
Fortunately, in the Governor of the Isle of Wight, she met with the
Earl of Pembroke, whom she had formerly known. The Duchess appealed to
his courtesy,[2] and thanks to his good offices, she obtained--but with
no little difficulty--passports which permitted her to gain Dunkirk, and
thence the Spanish Low Countries.

    [1] Subsequently, she requested the Marquis de Coetquen to hand over
    her jewels to Montrésor, who transferred them to a messenger of the
    Duchess. But Mazarin was informed of everything from first to last.
    He was aware of every tittle of the Duchess's correspondence, and
    tried to seize with the strong hand the famous gems which had
    formerly belonged to Marie de' Medicis' favourite foster-sister,
    Leonora Galligaï, created Marchioness d'Ancre. On the murder of the
    Marshal d'Ancre, these diamonds and _parures_, valued at two hundred
    thousand crowns, with a vast amount of other property confiscated by
    an edict of Louis XIII., were bestowed by the king on his lucky
    favourite, De Luynes, the first husband of Marie de Rohan. Failing
    in his attempt to possess himself of these costly gems, Mazarin
    arrested Montrésor, and kept him upwards of a year in prison. See
    "Memoirs of Montrésor."

    [2] See her letter to the Earl of Pembroke, dated Isle of Wight,
    29th April, 1645, in "Archives des Affaires Étrangères, France," t.
    cvi. p. 162.

The adventurous exile took up her abode for a short time at Liège, and
applied herself to maintain and consolidate to the utmost degree
possible between Spain, Austria, and the Duke de Lorraine, an alliance,
which was the final resource of the _Importants_, and the last basis of
her own political reputation and high standing. Mazarin, however, having
got the upper hand, resumed all Richelieu's designs, and, like him, made
strenuous efforts to detach Lorraine from his two allies. The gay Duke
was then madly enamoured of the fair Beatrice de Cusance, Princess of
Cantecroix. Mazarin laboured to gain over the lady, and he proposed to
the ambitious and enterprising Charles IV. to break with Spain and march
into Franche-Comté with the aid of France, promising to leave him in
possession of all he might conquer. The Cardinal succeeded in winning
over to his interest Duke Charles's own sister (the former mistress of
Puylaurens), the Princess de Phalzbourg, then greatly fallen from her
former "high estate," and who gave him secret and faithful account of
all that passed in her brother's immediate circle. Mazarin required of
her especially to keep him apprised of Madame de Chevreuse's slightest
movement. He knew that she was in correspondence with the Duke de
Bouillon, that she disposed of the Imperial general Piccolomini by means
of her friend Madame de' Strozzi, and even that she had preserved
intact her sway over the Duke de Lorraine, in spite of the charms of the
fair Beatrice. By the help of the Princess de Phalzbourg he watched
every step, and disputed with her, foot to foot, possession of the
fickle Charles IV., sometimes the victor, but very often the vanquished
in this mysterious struggle.

The advantage remained with Madame de Chevreuse. Her ascendancy over
Charles IV.--the offspring of love, surviving that passion, but more
potent than all the later loves of that inconstant Prince--retained him
in alliance with Spain, and frustrated Mazarin's projects. By degrees
she became once more the soul of every intrigue planned against the
French Government. She did not always attack it from without, but
fostered internal difficulties, which, like the heads of the hydra, were
unceasingly springing forth. Surrounded by a knot of ardent and
obstinate emigrants, among others by the Count de Saint-Ybar, one of the
most resolute men of the party, she kept up the spirits of the remnant
of the _Importants_ left in France, and everywhere added fuel to the
fire of sedition. Actuated by strong passion, yet mistress of herself,
she preserved a calm brow amidst the wrack of the tempest, at the same
time that she displayed an indefatigable activity in surprising the
enemy on his weak side. Making use alike of the Catholic and the
Protestant party, at times she meditated a revolt in Languedoc, or a
descent upon Brittany; at others, on the slightest symptom of discontent
betrayed by some person of importance, she laboured to drive out
Mazarin.



CHAPTER IV.

  FATAL INFLUENCE OF MADAME DE LONGUEVILLE'S PASSION FOR LA
  ROCHEFOUCAULD.--THE FRONDE.


WE do not propose to enter into the labyrinth of intrigues which
preceded the outbreak of the Fronde, but confine ourselves to an
endeavour to trace the motives which led Madame de Longueville to throw
herself into the centre of the malcontents and to figure as the chief
heroine in the varied scenes of that tragi-comedy of civil war.

The first Fronde was formed out of the _débris_ of the _Importants_. It
was composed of all the malcontents who made common cause with those
members of the parliament who were irritated by the frequent bursal
edicts, notably that which, in 1648, created twelve new appointments of
_maîtres de requêtes_.

And now what gave birth to the Fronde, or what sustained it? What roused
up the old party of the _Importants_, stifled for some years, it would
seem, under the laurels of Rocroy? What separated the princes of the
blood from the Crown? What turned against the throne that illustrious
house of Condé, which, until then, had been its sword and shield? There
were doubtless many general causes for all this; but it is impossible
for us to conceal one--private, it is true, but which exercised a
powerful and deplorable influence--the unexpected love of Madame de
Longueville for one of the chiefs of the _Importants_, who had become
one of the chiefs of the Fronde. Yes--sad to say--it was Madame de
Longueville, who, joining the party of the malcontents, attracted
thereto, at first, a part of her family, then her entire family, and
thus precipitated it from the pinnacle of honour and glory to which so
many services had elevated it.

Scarcely had the treaty of Münster suspended the scourge of foreign war
for France, than internal dissensions began to trouble the realm. The
hatred which the Parliament bore to Mazarin, through his repression of
its functions, primarily gave birth to civil war. The Duchess de
Longueville became in the faction of the Fronde what the Duchess de
Montpensier had been in that of the League. The former, however, did not
at first attach so great an importance to the cause she espoused.
Characteristically careless, she was by nature little inclined to
agitation and intrigue. We have already shown that before her _liaison_
with La Rochefoucauld, Madame de Longueville had been a stranger to
politics. Occupied solely with innocent gallantry and the homage of the
most refined society of the day, she allowed herself in all else to be
led by her father and her elder brother. But no sooner was La
Rochefoucauld master of her heart, than she gave herself wholly up to
him, and became a mere instrument in his hands. Having been by him
inspired with ambition, she made it a point of honour, and doubtless a
secret happiness, to share his destiny.

It seems not improbable that the Duchess might have caught a liking for
politics and negotiation during the conference of Munster. Certain it is
that once plunged into the eddying tide of the Fronde, she loftily
announced the project of remedying the general disorder of affairs. But
she especially desired to employ therein the means which confer
celebrity, and it is difficult to deny that ambition, although without
determinate aim, and the desire of establishing a high opinion of her
intellect, may have had some share in the reasons which induced her to
embrace the party opposed to Mazarin. With herself she drew her husband
into it, as well as the Prince de Conti, her younger brother. As for the
elder, the victorious Condé, he at first declared for the King and the
Queen-Regent, which greatly incensed his sister against him, and caused
her to enter into close compact, amongst others, with the Coadjutor,
afterwards Cardinal de Retz--that mischievous man who figured so
conspicuously as the evil genius of the Fronde.

The Gondis, who were the chief advisers of the St. Bartholomew, owed to
that terrible exploit the result of being very nearly the hereditary
possessors of the Archbishopric of Paris. But this last Gondi--John
Francis Paul--owed something more: to be at the same time governor of
Paris, and to unite both powers. With such purpose, he artfully worked
upon the city through the curates who, distributing bread, soup, and
every other kind of alms, carried along with them the famished masses.
This young ecclesiastic of the de Retz family had risen into great
favour with the serious and religious sections of the Parisian
community. He was nephew of the Archbishop of Paris, and was himself
Archbishop of Corinth; but as his flock in that metropolitan city were
schismatic (except those who had turned Turks), he had leisure to assist
his uncle in his high office, and was appointed his Coadjutor and
successor. He preached at all the churches, held visitations at the
convents, catechised the young, and consulted with the senior clergy on
the management of the diocese. When he rode through the streets he was
saluted with cheers and blessings, and the orators of the Fronde held
him up as the pattern of all the Christian virtues. At night he put off
his episcopal robes, disguised himself as a trooper or tradesman, and
attended the meetings of the discontented. In a short time he had
distributed seven or eight thousand pounds in stirring up the passions
of the people, and was daily in expectation of being summoned by his
patroness the Queen to exert his influence in quelling them. The
populace, with an Archbishop-governor of Paris at their head, imagined
that they were going to rule there as in the time of the League. This
made them both blind and deaf to the morals and manners of the little
prelate. A braggart, a duellist, and more than a gallant--though having
swarthy, ugly features, turned-up nose, and short, bandy legs--yet his
expressive eyes carried off every fault, sparkling as they were with
intelligence, audacity, and libertinage. Few withstood this subtle
knave, for he was wont to waive all ceremonial and spare everybody
prefatory speeches. The ladies of gallantry--especially those whose
lover he was--were his most indefatigable political agents. The Queen,
at length, suspecting that the worthy Archbishop was not quite the
simple and self-denying individual he appeared, had him watched and
followed. Whilst he flattered himself with the anticipation that his
assistance would be solicited at the Palais Royal, the Queen was making
a jest of him, and Mazarin determined to strike the blow.

On the 27th of August, 1648, a vast assemblage crowded the spacious
precincts of Notre Dame, to celebrate a _Te Deum_ for the great victory
of Lens, of which the youthful Condé had just sent home the news. When
the multitude were dispersing, a dash was made upon two or three of the
obnoxious councillors who had inflamed the discussions of the
Fronde--for that civil war was fairly on foot ere Anne of Austria and
Mazarin knew of its existence. Two of the intended prisoners escaped,
but a surly, burly demagogue, named Broussel, was tracked to his house
in the mechanics' quarter of Paris, and arrested by an armed force.
Thereupon the populace rose and armed against the Court. They made an
extraordinary stand in the streets, having raised _twelve hundred_
barricades in the course of twelve hours. They had no further need of De
Retz. It was, however, one of his mistresses, the sister of a president
and wife of a city captain, who having in her house the drum belonging
to the citizen guard of that quarter, gave the first impulse by causing
it to be beaten. The train was thus fired and the flame of civil war
kindled. This was called the _Day of the Barricades_.

Thus, the royal power which, as wielded by Richelieu, had come to
be considered as absolute, was attacked by three parties
simultaneously--the great nobles, the parliamentarians, and the
_bourgeoisie_; but, notwithstanding the dread of the common enemy, which
united them, those parties were of different origin and conditions of
existence, and consequently had different interests also. The great
nobles wished to exercise power by placing themselves above the law; the
parliament to increase its own through the law; the citizens to
establish theirs at the expense of the law: for in their eyes the law
was full of abuses and the royal power cruelly oppressive. All three
parties, in order to arrive at their several ends, had, therefore,
recourse to violence, or derived aid from it.

On the return of Madame de Longueville from Münster, there was already a
ferment in the minds of the Parisians, of which the Regent took little
heed. The Fronde cabal was then brooding in the dark. When the
rebellion, formed by Gondi, broke out at last under the circumstances
just narrated, Madame de Longueville, alone of all the princesses of the
blood, did not accompany Anne of Austria in her flight to Rueil. The
Duchess strove her utmost to strengthen, by the concurrence of her
entire family, the faction whose fortunes she had embraced through
devotion to Marsillac. She did not, however, then succeed in detaching
Condé from the Regent's party. The battle of the barricades followed
close upon that of Lens, Condé's last victory. On his return, that
victorious young soldier found royalty humiliated, the Parliament
triumphing and dictating laws to the Crown; the Duke de Beaufort, with
whom he once thought of measuring swords in defence of the honour of his
sister, freed from his prison in Vincennes, and master of Paris by aid
of the populace who idolized him; the vain and fickle Abbé de Retz
transformed into a tribune of the people; the Prince de Conti into a
generalissimo; M. de Longueville under the guidance of his wife and La
Rochefoucauld; and the feeble Duke d'Orléans fancying himself almost a
King, because he saw the Queen humiliated, and because the Frondeurs,
cunningly flattering his self-love, were treating him like a sovereign.
Condé, at a glance, saw the situation of affairs and his duty also; and
without any hesitation he offered his sword to the Queen.

Brother and sister were, therefore, about to be arrayed against each
other in the strife of civil war, and a stormy explanation took place
between them. It is asserted that for some time back their reciprocal
tenderness had suffered more than one interruption; that, in 1645,
Madame de Longueville had crossed the loves of her brother and
Mademoiselle du Vigean; that, in 1646, Condé, seeing her too intimate
with La Rochefoucauld, had caused her to be summoned to Münster by her
husband. But for this we have only the authority of the Duchess de
Nemours, her step-daughter and unsparing censor, and nothing is less
probable. The passion of Condé for Mademoiselle de Vigean extinguished
itself, as all contemporaries affirm. The attentions of La Rochefoucauld
to Madame de Longueville may have preceded the embassy of Münster, but
they were not observed until 1647, and it is at the close of this year
that Madame de Motteville places them, while attributing them especially
to the desire of La Rochefoucauld to share the confidence of the sister
with the brother. But it is very certain that as soon as the latter
remarked this connection, he disapproved of it entirely; and not
succeeding in his effort to rouse his sister from the intoxication of a
first passion, he passed from the most ardent affection to a bitter
discontent. In the autumn of 1648, on his return from Lens, this
connection had acquired its greatest strength, and become almost
notorious. Madame de Longueville, directed by La Rochefoucauld, did then
everything possible to gain over her brother. She brought all her
allurements to bear upon him, all her fondlings. She put into play
everything which she thought might influence his fickle and passionate
disposition--but failed. Neither did he succeed in gaining over her his
accustomed ascendency. They quarrelled and separated openly. Madame de
Longueville plunged more deeply into the Fronde, and Condé applied
himself to giving the new _Importants_ a harsh lesson.

The Queen had retired to Saint-Germain with the young King and all the
government. Paris was under the absolute control of the Fronde. It
stirred up the Parliament by the aid of a few ambitious councillors and
by seditious and mischievous inquests. It disposed of a great part of
the Parisian clergy through the Coadjutor of the Archbishop De Retz, who
possessed and exercised all the authority of his uncle. It had
continually at its head the two great houses of Vendôme and Lorraine,
with two princes of the blood, the Prince de Conti and the Duke de
Longueville, followed by a very great number of illustrious families,
including the Dukes d'Elbeuf, de Bouillon, and de Beaufort, and other
powerful nobles. It gave law in the _salons_, thanks to a brilliant bevy
of pretty women, who drew after them the flower of the young nobility.
In short, the army itself was divided. Turenne, with his troops, who
were stationed near the Rhine until the perfect conclusion of the treaty
of Westphalia, obedient to the suggestions of his elder brother, the
Duke de Bouillon, who wished to recover his principality of Sedan, had
just raised the standard of revolt, and was threatening to place the
Court between his own army and that of Paris. The parliament of the
capital had sent deputies to all the parliaments of the kingdom, and was
thus forming a sort of formidable parliamentary league in the face of
monarchy. Condé took command of all the troops that remained faithful,
and everywhere opposed the insurrection. He wrote himself to the army of
the Rhine, which well knew him, and which after the rout sustained by
Turenne at Mariendal, had been led back by him to victory: these
letters, supported by the proceedings of the government, succeeded in
arresting the revolt; and Turenne, abandoned by his own soldiers, was
obliged to fly to Holland.[1] At ease on this head, Condé marched upon
Paris, and placed it under siege. Instead of disputing the ground, as
he might have done, foot by foot, with the sedition, he allowed it the
freest course, in the certainty that the spectacle of licentiousness
which could not fail to appear would, little by little, restore to
royalty those who had for a moment gone astray. He began by summoning,
in the Queen's name and through his mother, all his family to
Saint-Germain. The Prince de Conti and M. de Longueville did not dare
disobey; but La Rochefoucauld, seeing that the Fronde was in the
greatest peril, hastened after these two princes. Having brought them
back to Paris, he made the Prince de Conti generalissimo--placing under
him the Dukes d'Elbeuf and de Bouillon--and who shared authority with
the Marshal de la Mothe Houdancourt, governor of Paris. Madame de
Longueville excused herself to the Queen and to her mother on the
grounds of her delicate condition, which would not permit her to
undertake the least fatigue. In fact, Madame de Longueville, it may be
noted, was _enceinte_ for the last time in 1648, when, it must be
confessed, her connection with La Rochefoucauld was well known. It was
in this condition that, willing to share the perils of her friends,
proud also of playing a part and of filling all the trumpets of fame,
she enacted Pallas as well as she was able. It is at least certain that
she shared all the fatigues of the siege, that she was present at the
reviews of the troops, at the parades of the citizen soldiery, and that
all the civil and military plans were discussed before her. In this
disorder and confusion, amidst the tumult of arms and vociferations of
the insurrection, she appeared as if in her natural element. She
encouraged, counselled, acted, and the most energetic resolutions
emanated from her. The memoirs of the times are full, in regard to this,
of the most curious details. The Hôtel de Longueville was continually
filled with officers and generals; nothing was seen there but plumes,
helmets, and swords.

    [1] "History of Turenne," by Ramsay, vol. ii.

Notwithstanding all this, the democratic spirit which had originated the
Fronde was not satisfied. It beheld with displeasure all the forces of
Paris in the hands of the brother, of the brother-in-law, and of the
sister of him who commanded the siege. Believing very little, and with
reason, in the patriotism of the princes, the citizens demanded some
sureties from the chiefs who might at any time betray them, and make
peace, at their expense, with Saint-Germain. No one seemed to know how
to appease this clamorous multitude, without which nothing further could
be done. It was then that Madame de Longueville showed that, if she had
forgotten her true duties, she had retained the energy of her race and
the intrepidity of the Condés. Under the advice of De Retz, she induced
her husband to present himself to the Parliament and inform them that he
had come to offer his services, as well as the towns of Rouen, Caen,
Dieppe, and the whole of Normandy, of which he was governor; and he
begged the Parliament to consent that his wife and two children should
be lodged at the Hôtel de Ville as a guarantee for the execution of his
word. His speech was received with acclamations; and while the
deliberations were still going on, De Retz proceeded to seek the Duchess
de Longueville and the Duchess de Bouillon, both prepared to act a part
in the scene he proposed to display. He had already caused the proposal
of the Duke de Longueville to be spread amongst the populace; and
hurrying the two princesses into a carriage, dressed with studied and
artful negligence, but surrounded by a splendid suite, and followed by
an immense crowd to the principal quarter of the insurrection--the Hôtel
de Ville--those lovely and interesting women were placed in the hands
of the people as hostages with all that was most dear to them.
"Imagine," says De Retz, "these two beautiful persons upon the balcony
of the Hôtel de Ville; more beautiful because they appeared neglected,
although they were not. Each held in her arms one of her children, who
were as beautiful as their mothers." La Grève was full of people, even
to the house tops; the men all raised cries of joy, and the women wept
with emotion. De Retz, meanwhile, threw handfuls of money from the
windows of the Hôtel de Ville amongst the populace, and then, leaving
the princesses under the protection of the city, he returned to the
Palais de Justice, followed by an immense multitude, whose acclamations
rent the skies.

On the night of the 28th of January, 1649, Madame de Longueville gave
birth to her last child, a son, who was baptized by De Retz, having for
its godfather the Provost, for its godmother the Duchess de Bouillon,
and who received the name of Charles de Paris; the child of the Fronde,
handsome, talented, and brave; who during his life was the troublesome
hope, the melancholy joy of his mother, and the cause of her greatest
grief in 1672, when he perished, at the passage of the Rhine, by the
side of his uncle, Condé.

The Prince de Conti being declared _generalissimo of the army of the
King, under the parliament_, and the Dukes de Bouillon and Elbeuf, with
the Marshal de la Mothe, generals under him, De Retz saw the full
fruition of his intrigues. A civil war was now inevitable. The great and
the little, the wise and the foolish, the rash and the prudent, the
cowardly and the brave, were all engaged and jumbled up pell-mell on
both sides; and the mixture was so strange, so heterogeneous, and so
incomprehensible, that a sentiment of the ridiculous was irresistibly
paramount, and the war began amongst fits of laughter on all sides. That
same day Condé's cavaliers came galloping into the faubourgs to fire
their pistols at the Parisians, whilst the Marquis de Noirmoutier went
forth with the cavalry of the Fronde to skirmish with them, and
returning to the Hôtel de Ville, entered the circle of the Duchess de
Longueville, followed by his officers, each wearing his cuirass, as he
came from the field. The hall was filled with ladies preparing to dance,
the troops were drawn up in the square, and this mixture of blue scarves
and ladies, cuirasses and violins and trumpets, formed, says De Retz, a
spectacle much more common in romances than anywhere else.

The serio-grotesque drama of the Fronde was thus initiated.



CHAPTER V.

  MADAME DE LONGUEVILLE WINS HER BROTHER CONDÉ OVER TO THE FRONDE.


THIS first raising of bucklers by the Frondeurs was not of long
duration. At the conclusion of a peace between Mazarin and the
Parliament, a perfect understanding prevailed amongst all the members of
the Condé family. The civil dissensions, however, were sufficiently
prolonged to exhibit the errors of all parties--even those who had
entered therein with virtuous inclinations and intentions, ashamed of
the stains which had tarnished them in the struggle, almost invariably
ended by confining themselves to the narrow circle of individual
interests, and completed their degradation by no longer recognizing any
other motive for their conduct than that of sordid selfishness. All care
for the public weal became extinct; men's hearts were insensible to all
generous sympathy; their minds dead to every elevating impulse--like to
those aromatics which, after diffusing both glow and perfume from their
ardent brazier, lose by combustion all power of further rekindling, and
present nothing else than vile ashes, without heat, light, or odour.

The peace concluded between the Minister and the Fronde was destined to
be of short duration. It was, properly speaking, nothing but a
suspension of arms, and in no degree a suspension of intrigues and
cabals. That suspension of arms, however, had been accompanied by an
amnesty, including all persons except the Coadjutor. The other chief
personages who had played a part in the insurrection of Paris, and who
now proceeded to visit the Court, were by no means warmly received by
the Queen, though Mazarin himself displayed nothing but mildness and
humility. The Duke d'Orleans and the Prince de Condé visited the city;
and the first was received with much enthusiasm by the populace, who
attributed to his counsels the truce of which all parties had stood so
much in need. The Prince de Condé, whose warlike spirit had not only
aided in stirring up the strife at first, but would have protracted it
still further had his advice been listened to, was not looked upon with
the same favour by the Parisians; but the Parliament sent deputations to
them both on their arrival in the city, to compliment them on their
efforts for the restoration of peace.

During Condé's visit to Paris, a reconciliation took place between him
and his fair sister, the Duchess de Longueville. The violent language he
had used to her on various occasions, the imputations he had cast upon
her character, and the harsh nature of the advice which he had given to
her husband concerning her, were all forgotten, and she resumed her
ascendancy over his mind so completely as in a very short time to detach
him entirely from the side of Mazarin, and to lead him, before he
quitted Paris, to speak publicly of the Minister in the scornful and
contemptuous manner in which he was usually treated by the leaders of
the Fronde.

The Duchess de Longueville herself remained as strongly opposed to the
Cardinal as ever. But though she still retained towards Anne of Austria
that dislike which she had always felt, and which the sense of an
inferiority of station greatly augmented in a woman of a haughty and
ambitious character, she found herself obliged, in common propriety, to
appear at Court on the conclusion of the Siege of Paris. The first
visits of her husband and herself, after the insurrection, were rendered
remarkable by the extraordinary degree of embarrassment and timidity
shown by two such bold and fearless persons. The Duke de Longueville
arrived first, coming from Normandy; and was followed by a very numerous
and splendid train, as though he rested for mental support upon the
number of his retainers. The Queen received him in the midst of her
Court, with Mazarin standing beside her; and every one crowded round to
hear what excuses the Duke would offer for abandoning the royal family
at the moment of their greatest need. Longueville, however, approached
the Regent with a troubled and embarrassed air, attempted to speak,
became first deadly pale, and then as red as fire, but could not utter a
word. He then turned and bowed to Mazarin, who came forward, spoke to
him, and led him to a window, where they conversed for some time
together in private; after which they visited each other frequently, and
became apparent friends.

The reception of the proud and beautiful Duchess at St. Germain, though
not so public, was not less embarrassing. The Queen had lain down on her
bed when the Duchess was announced, and, as was customary in those days,
received her in that situation. Madame de Longueville was naturally very
apt to blush, and the frequent variation of her complexion added
greatly, we are told, to the dazzling character of her beauty. Her
blushes, however, on approaching the Queen, became painful; all that she
could utter was a few confused sentences, of which the Queen could not
understand a word, and those were pronounced in so low a tone that
Madame de Motteville, who listened attentively, could distinguish
nothing but the word _Madame_.

As there was no sincerity in these reconciliations, it is not surprising
to find that ere long the conduct of the Prince de Condé gave no slight
uneasiness to Mazarin. The Prince had, however, brought back the Court
to Paris; but from that very day he had shown a great change in his
attitude, and it is to the influence of La Rochefoucauld that such
change must be attributed. At that moment, in fact, the Sieur Condé had
become reconciled with every member of his family, and even with his
sister's lover. He drew closer also the links between himself and the
Duke d'Orleans, for whom he shewed great deference, say his
contemporaries, and he began to treat Mazarin with much indifference,
rallying him publicly, and declaring aloud that he regretted to have
maintained him in a post of which he was so little worthy. Enjoying a
great military reputation, feared and esteemed by the bulk of his
countrymen, he chafed at seeing himself compromised by the unpopularity
of the Cardinal. He thought that by drawing closer to the _Frondeurs_,
he should rid himself of the feeling that oppressed him. In the outset,
he had no idea of actively joining that faction, but his sister did the
rest, and hurried him on to become the enemy of that party of which he
had just been the saviour.

It is true that, for the memorable service which he had recently
rendered, Condé reaped scarcely any benefit; but his noble conduct
increased the splendour of his last campaign of 1648. It added to his
military titles those of defender and saviour of the throne, of
pacificator of the realm, of arbiter and enlightened conciliator of
parties. It gave the climax to his credit and to his glory.
Nevertheless, he did not lose sight of the jealous feeling to which
such claims gave birth, whether on the part of the Duke d'Orleans or the
Prime Minister; and he well knew that he was exposed to one of those
_coups d'état_, the necessity of which the Chancellor as well as himself
had urged at Rueil. He considered himself as the head of the nobility,
and that important body seemed to constitute all the military power of
the State. But the French nobility was just beginning to lose its former
independence of character in becoming more courtierlike. Instead of
deriving from its strongholds and vassals the feeling of its strength
and equality, it showed itself ambitious of such distinctions as the
monarch could confer. In the indulgence of its vanity it lost sight of
its proper pride; and if that new emulation which the Bourbons had
excited was more easy for the sovereign to satisfy, it was more
difficult for the chief of a party to direct. Moreover, Condé, as the
Duchess de Nemours remarks, knew better how to win battles than
hearts.[1] He found a dangerous pleasure, as did his sister the Duchess
de Longueville, in braving malevolence. "In matters of consequence, they
delighted to thwart people, and in ordinary life they were so
impracticable that there was no getting on with them. They had such a
habit of ridiculing one, and of saying offensive things, that nobody
could put up with them. When visits were paid to them, they allowed such
a scornful ennui to be visible, and showed so openly that their visitors
bored them, that it was not difficult to understand that they did
everything in their power to get rid of their company. Whatsoever might
be the rank or quality of the visitors, people were made to wait any
length of time in the Prince's antechamber; and very often, after having
long waited, everybody was sent away without getting an interview,
however short. When they were displeased they pushed people to the
utmost extremity, and they were incapable of showing any gratitude for
services done them. Thus they were alike hated by the Court, by the
Fronde, and by the populace, and nobody could live with them long. All
France impatiently suffered their irritating conduct, and especially
their pride, which was excessive."[2]

    [1] Duchesse de Nemours, tom., xxxiv. p. 437.

    [2] The Duchess de Nemours was a daughter of the Duke de
    Longueville, by his first wife, and as she lived with her
    step-mother, the Duchess de Longueville, on very indifferent terms,
    her unsparing censure must by no means be implicitly received.

In looking at the faulty side of Condé's character, we must not forget
to observe the disinterested firmness with which, without considering
either his family or his friends, he had hitherto acted in the interests
of the King. Happy would it have been, if, after having thus terminated
this sad civil war, he had quitted the Court and its intrigues to seek
other battlefields, and to finish another war somewhat more useful and
glorious to France--that which still remained with Spain! Happy, also
for Madame de Longueville, if, taught by her own conscience, in her last
interview with the Queen, and by the shameful _dénouement_ of the
miserable intrigues of which she had the secret, instead of still
serving as their instrument, she had shown her courage in resisting
them. Happy too, if, after all the proofs of devotion which she had just
given to La Rochefoucauld, she had firmly represented to him that, even
for his own interest, a different course was necessary; that it would be
better to look for fortune and honours by rendering himself esteemed
than by trying to make himself feared; that ambition as well as duty
showed his place to be by the side of Condé, in the service of the
State and of the King; that it was easy for him to obtain in the army
some post where he would simply have to march forward and do his duty,
trusting to his courage and his other merits!

But even if Anne de Bourbon had been wise enough to speak thus to La
Rochefoucauld, she would not have succeeded in gaining his ear. His
restless spirit, his ever-discontented vanity, pursuing by turns the
most dissimilar objects, because it selected none within its reach--that
_undefinable something_ which, as De Retz says, was in La Rochefoucauld,
made him abandon the high and direct roads, and led him into by-paths
full of pitfalls and precipices. Through such perilous ways we shall see
the infatuated woman following and aiding him in his extravagant and
guilty designs. Receiving the law instead of giving it, she strives to
promote the passion of another by devoting to his service all her
coquetry as well as greatness of soul, her penetration and intrepidity,
her attractive sweetness and indomitable energy. She undertakes to
mislead Condé, to rob France of the conqueror of Rocroy and of Lens, and
to give him to Spain.



CHAPTER VI.

  THE CAUSES WHICH LED TO THE _COUP D'ÉTAT_--THE ARREST OF THE PRINCES.


IN the first scenes of the shifting drama, the Court had supported Condé
in compassing the destruction of the Frondeurs; and Mazarin, with keen
policy, instigated the Prince to every act that could widen the breach
between him and the faction. Whichever succeeded, the party that
succumbed would be inimical to the Minister; and in their divisions was
his strength. But the pride and impetuosity of Condé were about this
time excited to such a degree by opposition and irritation, that it
approached to frenzy, and, unable to overpower at once the leaders of
the Fronde, the vehemence of his nature spent itself upon those who were
in reality supporting him. He still scoffed at, and openly insulted,
Mazarin; he accused the Government of not giving him sincere assistance
against the Fronde. He every day made enemies amongst the nobility by
his overbearing conduct and his rash, and often illegal, acts; and at
length the disgust and indignation of the whole Court was roused to put
a stop to a tyranny which could no longer be borne.

Anne of Austria long hesitated as to what she should do to deliver
herself from the domination of a man whom she feared without loving: but
at length an aggravated insult to herself, and the counsels of a woman
of a bold and daring character, removed her irresolution. The Duchess
de Chevreuse had been exiled from France, as we have seen, during the
greater part of that period in which Condé had principally distinguished
himself, and she did not share in the awe in which the Parisians held
him. She still kept up what De Retz calls an incomprehensible union with
the Queen, notwithstanding all her intrigues; nor did she scruple to
hold out to Anne of Austria a direct prospect of gaining the support of
the Fronde itself in favour of her Government, if that Government would
aid in avenging the Fronde upon the Prince de Condé.

Anne of Austria was unwilling to take a step which appeared to border
upon ingratitude, although the late conduct of the Prince might well be
supposed to cancel the obligation of his former services. It seems here
necessary to say a few words upon the connection of a series of sudden
political changes, in order that the reader may understand how such
startling results as those we are about to narrate were brought about.

The hollow treaty of peace of the 11th March, 1649, had scarcely been
signed ere the Prince de Condé showed himself day by day more strongly
attached to the faction which opposed the Court. Feeling his own
importance, determined to rule; quick, harsh, and impetuous in his
manners, he took a pleasure in insulting the Minister and embarrassing
the Queen. There were some personal grounds for this in the strong
dislike manifested towards his sister by Anne of Austria. That feeling
was signally shown on the occasion of Louis XIV. completing his eleventh
year; when a grand ball was given at the Hôtel de Ville, at which the
young King, with all the principal members of the royal family and the
Court, were present. The Queen's orders were received with regard to all
the arrangements, every person of distinction being invited by her
command, except the Duchess de Longueville. That princess, influenced by
discontent, it is supposed, at the reception of the royal family in
Paris, had remained at Chantilly, on the pretence of drinking some
mineral waters in the neighbourhood. The Queen seized the same pretext
not to invite her, replying to those who pressed her to do so, that she
would not withdraw her from the pursuit of health; but at length the
Prince de Condé himself, demanded that she should receive a summons; and
his support was of too much consequence, and the bonds which attached
him to the Court too slight, for the Queen to trifle with his request.

To the surprise and dissatisfaction of most persons, however, Anne of
Austria commanded that the ball should take place in daylight;
acknowledging, in her own immediate circle, that it was in order to
mortify the ladies attached to the Fronde, the principal part of whom
employed methods of enhancing their beauty and heightening their
complexion to which the searching eye of day was very inimical. Human
malice, of course, took care that the Queen's motive should be
communicated to all the higher circles of Paris; and as vanity is not
only a more pugnacious passion, but a much more pertinacious adversary
than any other, the words of Anne of Austria rendered many opponents
irreconcilable, who might otherwise have been gained to her cause: the
family of the Prince de Condé naturally being among the number.

France was then able to count the cost of having created a
hero--_expendere Hannibalem_--a prince _à la Corneille_, who carried his
gaze to the stars, and only spoke to mortals from the summit of his
trophies. His sister, Madame de Longueville, had also in the same
fashion soared into the sphere of a goddess. The one and the other, in
the empyrean, no longer distinguished their fellow mortals from such a
height save with a smile of disdain. Great folks, as a contemporary
tells us, kicked their heels in their antechambers for hours, and, when
granted an audience, were received with yawning and gaping.

The reconciliation effected during the preceding year was rather, as has
been said, a truce between the parties than a solid peace. The
Parliament had retained the right of assembling and deliberating upon
affairs of state, which the Court had sought to prevent: and Mazarin
remained Minister, although the Parliament, the people, and even the
princes, had desired that he should cease to hold that office. It rarely
happens to states in like unfortunate emergencies that among the men who
show themselves most active and skilful in overthrowing a government
there are found those capable of conducting one; and when such do
appear, the chances almost always are that circumstances hinder them
from placing themselves in the front rank. It was to Gaston, the King's
uncle, Lieutenant-General of the kingdom, that belonged, in concert with
the Regent, the chief direction of affairs; but Gaston felt himself too
weak and too incapable to pretend to charge himself with such a burden.
He could never arrive at any decision, and took offence when any matter
was decided without him. Jealous of Mazarin's influence, more jealous
still of that of Condé, neither of the two could attempt to govern along
with him; and nevertheless Gaston was powerful enough to command a
party, and to hinder any one from governing without him: ready to offer
opposition to everything, but impotent to carry anything into execution.
If Anne of Austria had even consented to dismiss her favourite
Minister, and overcome her repugnance to the Fronde and the Frondeurs,
she could not have formed a government with the chiefs of that party.
The Duke de Beaufort, its nominal head, lacked both instruction and
intelligence. De Retz, its veritable chief--an eloquent, witty, and bold
man, skilful in the conduct of business, in the art of making partisans;
brave, generous, even loyal when he followed the impulses of his own
mind and natural inclination--was without faith, scruple, reticence, or
foresight when he abandoned himself to his passions, which urged him
unceasingly to the indulgence of an excessive and irrational
libertinage. Such a man could not have replaced him who for so long a
period had informed himself of the affairs of France under a master such
as Richelieu; who, deeply versed in dissimulation, was inaccessible to
any sentiment that might possibly derange the calculations of his
ambition. Besides, he, as well as Mazarin, would have had the Princes
against him, and could not have resisted successfully their numerous
partisans. De Retz had, through the ascendancy of his talents, great
influence with the Parisian Parliament, but it mistrusted him; and that
body, in its heterogeneous composition, offered rather the means for an
opposition than strength to the Government. Condé, to whom the state
owed its glory, and the Sovereign his safety, was therefore the sole
prop upon which Anne of Austria might have rested; but that young hero
had no capacity for business. He could not then have filled up the void
which Mazarin's retirement would have created. Condé, whose natural
pride was still further exalted by the flattery of the young nobles who
formed his train, and who obtained the nickname of _petits maîtres_,
only used the influence which his position gave him to wring from
Mazarin the places and good things at his disposal, and of these he and
his adherents showed themselves insatiable. Thus, Condé rendered himself
formidable and odious to Mazarin, and made himself detested by the
people as Mazarin's supporter, at the same time that by his arrogance he
shocked the Parliament, already unfavourably disposed towards him on
account of his rapacity and his ambition.[1]

    [1] Talon, mém. t. lxii. pp. 65-105.--Montpensier.

Such was the state of things, when the singular circumstances which
attended the murder of one of Condé's domestics made that prince believe
that the chiefs of the Fronde had conspired to assassinate him. He
thought, by such a crime, to have found an opportunity for crushing that
faction in the persons of its chiefs, and he instituted a process in
parliament against the contrivers of that murder. Public report
particularly pointed to two persons, De Retz and Beaufort; and Condé, by
his accusation, hoped to force them to quit Paris, where they found
their principal means of influence in the populace. But in attacking
thus, as it were, face to face, the two most popular men of the moment,
Condé showed no better tact than in dealing with the Prime Minister. He
conducted himself with so much haughtiness and arrogance, that the young
nobles who surrounded the soldier prince, when they wished to flatter
him, spoke of Mazarin as his slave.[2]

    [2] Motteville, mém. t. xxxix. p. 4.--Guy-Joly.

The process went on nevertheless. Almost all the judges were convinced
of the innocence of the accused, but Condé pretended that they could not
be absolved without giving a deadly affront to himself. He demanded that
at the very least the Coadjutor and Beaufort should be made to quit
Paris under some honourable pretext, and the Princess-Dowager de Condé
declared that it was the height of insolence in them to remain in the
capital when it was her son's wish that they should leave it. The Queen,
who equally detested the Prince de Condé and the Frondeurs, could
scarcely conceal her joy at seeing them at daggers drawn with each
other; feeling certain that the moment was at hand when their
dissensions would restore her supremacy.

Under such circumstances Condé had need of all his friends, but he
considered that he was set at defiance, and he gave way all the more to
his wonted pride and overbearing obstinacy. He seemed to take pleasure
in offending Anne of Austria and Mazarin. The young Duke de Richelieu
had been declared heir to an immense fortune, of which his aunt and
guardian, the Duchess d'Aiguillon, was the depositary. The stronghold of
Havre de Grâce, which the Cardinal de Richelieu had formerly held as a
place of retreat, was by such title in the possession of the Duchess
d'Aiguillon. Condé desired to be master of it, either for himself or for
his brother-in-law, the Duke de Longueville. The young Duke de Richelieu
was engaged to be married to Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, but the Prince
having remarked that he had some liking for Madame de Pons, a sister of
his own first love, managed to marry him clandestinely to her in the
Château de Trye, lent him two thousand pistoles until he should be of
age to enter upon possession of his property, and made him take
possession of Havre de Grâce. The Queen was mortally offended at such a
proceeding on the part of Condé, who had moreover threatened to throw
into the sea those she might send to Havre to seize the fortress; but
the Duchess d'Aiguillon's resentment was still deeper and more active.
She was the first to tell Anne of Austria, that she would never be queen
again until she had had the Prince de Condé arrested, assuring her that
all the Frondeurs would lend their hands to aid her in carrying out such
a resolution.

Almost at this moment, a gentleman named Jarzé, attached to Condé,
foolishly took it into his head that the Queen entertained a liking for
him, and it reached her ears that Condé and his friends had amused
themselves whilst at table over their wine with Jarzé's revelations of
his amour with her, and that he had begun to feel certain of getting rid
of Mazarin by that means. Mazarin himself probably became somewhat
alarmed, as he spoke pointedly to the Queen on the subject, who
pretended only to have contemplated the ridiculous side of her new
adorer's gallantries. But when Jarzé next made his appearance in her
cabinet, she rated him roundly before the whole Court upon his absurd
fatuity, and forbade him ever to enter her presence again. The Prince de
Condé, pretending to feel hurt at the affront put upon Jarzé, early next
morning paid the Prime Minister a visit, and insolently demanded that
Jarzé should be received that very evening by the Queen. Anne of Austria
submitted to his dictation, but could not endure such humiliation
without seeking to avenge herself. In a woman's heart every other
species of resentment yields to that of wounded pride. A few lines
addressed to the Coadjutor in the Queen's own handwriting, and carried
by Madame de Chevreuse, brought to her side that wily priest and
formidable tribune, disguised _en cavalier_. Certain negotiations,
however, which had preceded this interview, had reached the ears of
Condé, who went to Mazarin to denounce the treachery. The Cardinal,
glowing with a hatred which would have stopped at nothing for its
gratification, laughed and jested, or flattered and soothed the object
of his concealed wrath. He turned the Archbishop of Corinth into
ridicule when Condé blamed him for his duplicity. "If I catch him," said
the Cardinal, "in the disguise you speak of--in his feathered hat, and
cloak, and military boots--I will get a sight of him for your Highness;"
and they roared at the idea of discovering the intriguer in so unfitting
an apparel. But shortly afterwards in the wintry gloom of a January
midnight (1650), disguised beyond the reach of detection, and guarded by
a passport from the Cardinal himself, De Retz was admitted at midnight
by a secret door into the Regent's room at the Palais Royal, and deep
conference was held between the two. The conditions of agreement were
readily stipulated. The Coadjutor with an inconceivable address and most
extraordinary success handled the threads of the intrigues consequent
upon such agreement. He succeeded in making himself the confidant of
Gaston; he made him renounce his favourite, the Abbé de la Rivière; he
engaged him in the coalition which had been just set on foot between the
Court and the Fronde, and he obtained his assent to the arrest of the
Princes. Everything succeeded that was agreed upon. The Queen-Regent, at
the moment of a council being held at the Palais-Royal, gave the fatal
order, and then withdrew into her oratory. There she made the young King
kneel down beside her in order to invoke Heaven in concert with herself
to obtain the happy achievement of an act of tyranny which was destined
to produce fresh woes to the realm, and to rekindle in it the flames of
civil war.

On the morrow of the 18th of January, 1650, all Paris was electrified at
the news of the arrest of the three Princes--Condé, Conti, and
Longueville. That bold _coup d'état_ was effected very easily and
unceremoniously. The Princes went voluntarily, as it were, into the
mouse-trap, by attending a great council at the Palais Royal. Anne had
obtained from Condé an order for the seizure and detention of three or
four persons whose names were left in blank; and on the authority of his
own signature, the hero of Rocroy and the other two princes, were led
quietly down a back stair, given over to the custody of a small escort
of twenty men under the command of Guitaut and Comminges, and by them
conducted during the night to Vincennes.



CHAPTER VII.

  MADAME DE LONGUEVILLE'S ADVENTURES IN NORMANDY. THE WOMEN'S WAR.


THE heroes having thus suddenly disappeared from the scene, the
political stage was left clear for the performance of the heroines. We
are now about to see the women, almost by themselves, carry on the civil
war, govern, intrigue, fight. A great experience for human nature, a
fine historical opportunity for observing that gallant transfer of all
power from the one sex to the other--the men lagging behind, led,
directed, in the second or third ranks. But those women of rank, young,
beautiful, brilliant, and for the most part gallant, were doubtless more
formidable to the minister at this juncture than the men. The two lovely
duchesses, De Longueville and De Bouillon, having shown during the
preceding year of what they were capable; the Queen therefore gave
orders for their arrest. The wary lover of the fascinating politician
who had lately begun to scatter her blandishments equally upon all--La
Rochefoucauld--having been apprised by the captain of his quarter that
some blow was meditated by Mazarin, had sent twice to warn the Princes
through the Marquis de la Moussaye, but who, as it appears, failed to
acquit himself of that important mission. But if La Rochefoucauld's
warning failed to reach the ears of the Princes, he was more fortunate
in effecting the escape of Madame de Longueville. Whilst they were
seeking to arrest him as well as La Moussaye, the Queen despatched a
note to the Duchess by the Secretary of State, La Vrillière, begging her
to come to the Palais Royal. Instead of going thither she went direct to
the Hôtel of the Princess Palatine--like herself beautiful, gallant, and
intriguing, but endowed with a superior intellect. This lady speedily
became the head and mainspring of the princes' party--or of the _second_
Fronde, and the Coadjutor, who directed the Old Fronde, was fain to
recognise in her a worthy rival, and his equal in political sagacity.
Fearing to be discovered if she remained under the roof of the princess,
a carriage was procured, and the duchess driven in it by La
Rochefoucauld himself to an obscure house in the Faubourg St. Germain,
where they remained until nightfall in a cellar. Thence the Duchess and
her lover set out for Normandy on horseback under the escort of forty
determined men provided by the Princess Palatine. Brave and resolute as
her brother, the sister of Condé rode northwards through that entire
winter's night and the following day, and sought no shelter until worn
out with excessive fatigue she reached Rouen. But the commandant, the
Marquis de Beuvron, although an old friend of the duke, declared he
could not serve her, and refused to raise the banner of revolt in that
stronghold of her husband's government. Her attempt at Rouen thus
receiving a complete check, she had some hope of being received into the
citadel of Havre, but the Duchess de Richelieu, though her friend, was
not so much mistress there as the Duchess d'Aiguillon, who, on the
contrary, was full of resentment against her. Discouraged and repulsed
on all hands, the fugitive Duchess next made her way to Dieppe, where
she thought herself in sufficient safety to part with La Rochefoucauld,
who left her to assist the Duke de Bouillon to raise troops in
Angoumois. In the fortress of Dieppe, commanded by a faithful officer of
her husband, Madame de Longueville found the rest she so much needed. In
a brief space, with spirits recruited, she resolved to make a stand to
the uttermost against the Queen and Mazarin, and having replaced the
royal standard by that of Condé set about putting the citadel in a state
of defence to resist a siege. The Queen, however, having resolved not to
give the Duchess time to raise her husband's government of Normandy into
revolt, on the 1st of February quitted Paris for Rouen. The band of
gentlemen who had gathered round the beautiful Frondeuse thereupon
melted away, and Mademoiselle de Longueville, her step-daughter,
afterwards Duchess de Nemours, quitted her to take refuge in a convent.
As Montigny, the commandant at Dieppe, declared that it was impossible
to hold the fortress, the Duchess left the place by a secret portal,
followed by her women and some few gentlemen. She held her way for two
leagues on foot along the coast to the little port of Tourville, in
order to reach a small vessel which she had prudently hired in case of
need. On reaching the point of embarkation the sea was breaking so
furiously in surf on shore, the tide being so strong and the wind so
high, that Madame de Longueville's followers entreated her not to
attempt to reach the vessel. But the Duchess, dreading less the angry
waves than the chance of falling into the Regent's power, persisted in
going to sea. As the state of the tide and weather rendered it
impossible for a boat to get near the shore, a sailor took her in his
arms to carry her on board, but had not waded above twenty paces when a
huge roller carried him off his feet, and he fell with his fair burden.
For an instant the poor lady believed that she was lost, as in falling
the sailor lost his hold of her and she sank into deep water. On being
rescued, however, she expressed her resolve to reach the vessel, but the
sailors refusing to make another attempt, she found herself compelled to
resort to some other means of escape. Horses being luckily procured, the
Duchess mounted _en croupe_ behind one of the gentlemen of her suite,
and riding all night and part of the following day, the fugitives met
with a hospitable reception from a nobleman of Caux, in whose little
manor-house they found rest, refection, and concealment for the space of
a week.

The Duchess's tumble into the sea, though a disagreeable, turned out to
have been a lucky accident, for she now learnt that the master of the
vessel she had been so anxious to reach was in the interest of Mazarin,
and had she gone on board she would have been arrested. At length Madame
de Longueville found herself once more in Havre, and having won over the
captain of an English ship to whom she introduced herself--like Madame
de Chevreuse--in male attire, as a nobleman who had just been engaged in
a duel, and was obliged to leave France, she succeeded in obtaining a
passage to Rotterdam. Thence, passing through Flanders, she reached the
stronghold of Stenay,[1] where the Viscomte de Turenne, already
compromised with the Court for having openly espoused the Condé party,
had shortly before the Duchess's arrival also taken refuge.

    [1] Stenay, taken from the Spaniards in 1641, had been given to the
    Prince de Condé in 1646.

It was then that the Duchess, who, under the sway of La Rochefoucauld,
had been one of the instruments of the first Fronde war, became the
motive power of the second and far more serious one--well named by the
witty Parisians "the women's war." From the citadel of Stenay, of which
she took the command, she directed the wills and actions of the men of
her party, into which she thoroughly won over Turenne. Her
importunities, aided by her charms, prevailed so powerfully over his
valiant though fallible heart, that the illustrious captain, after
having struggled painfully for some time with his conscience, allied
himself with the Spaniards by a treaty which placed him, as well as the
sister of the great Condé, in the pay of the enemies of his king and
country. The treaty effectively stipulated "that there should be a
junction of the two armies, and that the war should be carried on by the
assistance of the King of Spain until a peace should be concluded
between the two kings and the princes liberated. That the King of Spain
should engage to pay over to Madame de Longueville and to Monsieur de
Turenne two hundred thousand crowns wherewith to raise and equip troops;
that he should furnish them with forty thousand crowns per month for the
payment of such troops, and sixty thousand crowns per annum in three
payments for _the table and equipages_ of Madame de Longueville and
Monsieur de Turenne." This treaty duly signed, Madame de Longueville
issued, in the form of a letter to his Majesty the King of France, a
manifesto very skilfully drawn up and filled with artful complaints and
accusations against Mazarin, with the design of soliciting through the
one and the other an apology for her own conduct, as though it were
possible to justify herself for having entered into a compact with the
enemies of her country.

It was during her sojourn at Stenay that she lost her mother (2nd
December, 1650). "My dear friend," said the Princess de Condé to Madame
de Brienne, who was with her during her last moments, "tell that 'pauvre
miserable' who is now at Stenay the condition in which you have seen me,
that she may learn how to die."

During the whole of this period, the Duke de la Rochefoucauld gave
constant proof of a rare fidelity. M. Cousin speaks very precisely on
this head. "Whilst Madame de Longueville was pledging her diamonds in
Holland for the defence of Stenay, La Rochefoucauld expended his fortune
in Guienne. It was the most grievous and, at the same time, the most
touching moment of their lives and their adventures. They were far away
from each other, but they still fondly loved; they served with equal
ardour the same cause, they fought and suffered equally and at the same
time." Abundant proofs might be instanced of this love and devotion on
their part. La Rochefoucauld wrote unceasingly to Stenay, and gave an
account of everything he did. "The sole aim, then, of all the Duke's
exertions," says Lenet, "was to please that beautiful princess, and he
took endless care and pleasure to acquaint her with all he did for her,
and to deliver the princess her sister-in-law (Condé's wife), by
despatching couriers to her on the subject." He informs us moreover
that, "in every juncture, he forwarded expresses to render account to
the Duchess of all that respect for her made him undertake. At this
moment, in fact, having just succeeded to his patrimonial estates
through the death of his father, La Rochefoucauld recognised no obstacle
in his path, but bravely went forward in the cause he had espoused and
generously sacrificed his property in Angoumois and Saintonge. His
ancestral château of Verteuil was even razed to the ground by Mazarin's
orders, and when the tidings of it reached him, he received them with
such great firmness", says Lenet, "that he seemed as though he were
delighted, through a feeling that it would inspire confidence in the
minds of the Bordelais. It was further said that what gave him the
liveliest pleasure was to let the Duchess de Longueville see that he
hazarded everything in her service." It cannot be denied, in fine, that
the Duke at that time yielded himself up to a sentiment as deep as it
was sincere, and which contradicts very happily and without any possible
doubt the assertion so often hazarded that he had never loved the woman
whom he had seduced and dragged into the vortex of politics. Madame de
Longueville and he adored each other at this period, says M. Cousin, and
it is pleasant to be able to cite the opinion of that eminent historian
upon such fact; although separated by the entire length of France, they
suffered and struggled each for the other: they had the same aim, the
same faith, the same hope. They wrote incessantly to communicate their
thoughts and projects, and thus sought to diminish in imagination the
enormous distance which is between Stenay and Bordeaux.



BOOK IV.



CHAPTER I.

  THE PRINCESS PALATINE.


THE arrest of the Princes had singularly complicated events on the
political stage. It had displaced all interests, and, instead of
re-uniting parties and consolidating them, it had the effect of
increasing their number. No fewer than five might be counted,
represented by as many principal leaders, around which were grouped
every species of interest and every shade of ambition.

In the first place there was the party of Mazarin, alone against all the
rest. This party had for support the ability of its chief, the
invincible predilection, the unshakeable firmness of Anne of Austria,
and the name of the King. Herein lay its whole strength, but that
strength was immense. It was that which ensured the obedience of the
enlightened and conscientious men who had great influence over the army
and the magistrature. These men adhered to the Prime Minister through a
sentiment of honour, and in consequence of their monarchical principles.
Amidst the disruption of parties, they recognised no other legitimate
authority than that of the Queen Regent; but they desired as strongly,
perhaps, as those of the opposite parties, that Mazarin should be got
rid of. That odious foreigner exposed them all to the public animosity
which pursued himself. Anne of Austria frequently employed the artifices
of her sex to avert their opposition in council, and calm their
discontent.

The party of the Princes, which the success of the enemies of France,
during their captivity, rendered from day to day more popular and
interesting, was composed of all the young nobility. Of its apparent
chiefs, the one alone capable of directing it was the Duke de Bouillon.
But to lead a party it is necessary to identify oneself with it, and
devote oneself to it wholly; and the Duke de Bouillon had views
peculiar, foreign, and even adverse to the interests of his party; and
before such interest he placed that of the maintenance, or rather
elevation, of his own house. The Duchess de Longueville, the Princess de
Condé, La Rochefoucauld, and Turenne had neither sufficient finesse nor
skill in intrigue to be able to direct that party and struggle
successfully against Mazarin; but they were seconded by three men who,
although obscure, displayed in these circumstances extraordinary talent.
Lenet,[1] who never quitted the Princess de Condé throughout these
troubles, but served her faithfully with his pen and advice. Montreuil,
who, although he had never published anything, was a member of the
French Academy and secretary to the Prince de Condé. He managed, with
infinite address, and incessantly devising new means, to correspond with
the Princes, and bring the vigilance of their keepers in default. And it
was Gourville especially, who, after having worn the livery of the Duke
de la Rochefoucauld as his valet, had become his man of business, his
confidant, and friend. It was Gourville who, under a heavy expression of
countenance, concealed a most subtle, most acute, and fertile
intelligence. Persuasive, energetic, prompt, reflective; knowing how to
gain an end by the direct road; or, under the eyes of those opposing,
attaining it unperceived, by covert and tortuous ways. A man who never
found himself in any situation, however desperate it might be, without
having the confidence that he could extricate himself from it. Did the
cleverest consider a position as lost? Gourville intervened, infused
hope, promised to lend a hand to it, and success was immediately certain
and defeat impossible.

    [1] His memoirs give reliable details of all that relates to the
    Condés at this period.

Still Gourville was not, even on the score of ability, the foremost
spirit of his party. The person who deserved that title was a woman--the
celebrated Anne de Gonzagua, widow of Edward Prince Palatine. Through
her proneness to gallantry, she did not escape the weakness of her sex;
but through her imperturbable calmness in the midst of the most violent
commotions, her elevated views, the depth of her designs, the accuracy
and rapidity of her resolutions, and her skill in making everything
conduce to a given end, she combined in its entire vigour the peculiar
character of the statesman with the soul of a conspirator. She had been
through life the intimate friend of the mother of Condé, and she now
laboured with skill, wisdom, and perseverance for the liberation of the
Princes. And such is the ascendency obtained by talent backed by an
energetic will, that it was to her advice all the partisans of the
Princes deferred; her hand that held the threads of their various
intrigues. With her De Retz treated directly, and in the whole course of
the negotiations she displayed a degree of penetration which baffled all
the subtlety of the Coadjutor; and while she foiled his devices against
herself, she directed them aright against their mutual opponents. By her
activity and energy five or six separate treaties were drawn up and
signed between the different personages whose interests were concerned,
each in general ignorant of his comrade's participation.

It would be presumptuous in any way to attempt, after Bossuet, a perfect
portraiture of this lady, but it may be interesting to glance at the
antecedents of her life up to this period.

Charles de Gonzagua-Cleves, Duke of Mantua and Nevers, had, by his
marriage with Catherine of Lorraine, three daughters: the oldest, Maria,
whom he preferred to the others, or rather that his pride sought to
elevate her alone to the highest destiny possible, was married
successively to two Kings of Poland, Ladislas Sigismond and Jean
Casimir. The second, Anne, who, as the Princess Palatine, became the
political opponent of Mazarin; and the third, Benedicte, who took the
veil and died whilst yet very young at the steps of the altar. It is the
romantic, agitated, and changeful existence of the second with which we
are concerned: passed in tumult and ended in silence. In it may be found
the invaluable lesson of that admirable antithesis afforded by error and
repentance. Bossuet, in his eloquent, fervent oration upon the life of
that princess, was enabled to derive from a contemplation of it the
highest instruction. He has therein retraced, with an imposing
authority, the errors of a woman exclusively engrossed, during many
years, with worldly interests and earthly vanities, and also made the
emphatic denial that, in their last hours, such awakened minds but
rarely give themselves up without profound anguish, fitful emotion, and
mortal struggle to the contemplation of imperishable joys. Anne de
Gonzagua experienced those extremes. She passed from incredulity and an
irregular life to the most lively faith and exemplary conduct.
Captivated in turn by earth and heaven, worldly and scorning the world,
sceptical and fervent, she had long centred her pride and happiness in
the political affairs of her epoch, until the day came when, wearied
with ephemeral pleasures and touched by grace, she finally renounced the
things of this life and gave herself wholly up to celestial meditation.

In her earliest youth she had been placed in the convent of
Faremoustier, where nothing was neglected that could tend to inspire her
with a desire for cloister life. Her father, the Duke of Mantua, had
determined that his two younger daughters, Anne and Benedicte, should
help, by taking the veil, to augment the fortune of their elder sister.
Benedicte submitted to her fate, but Anne soon perceived what her
father's plan was, and in her indignation she resolved to defeat it.
Unlike her younger sister, she had an adventurous spirit, an ardent
imagination, a strong desire to play an active part in life. Even to
withdraw from a mode of existence that was hateful to her, she made her
escape from Faremoustier, and went to confide to her sister's bosom, in
the convent of Avenai, her wrath, her _ennui_, and her hopes. For awhile
it seemed as though conventual life was about to exercise a strange
fascination over her. The discourse and example of her sister touched
deeply the youthful heart which had proved rebellious to a parent's
will. It seemed not improbable that she would yield to persuasion that
which she had refused to compulsion. But her destiny determined
otherwise. Events cast her upon another course; her imperfect vocation
yielded quickly to their influence. She had been worked upon, in the
solitude of the cloister, by that mysterious yearning for an encounter
with those struggles which human passions involve, the experience of
which can alone extinguish such yearning in certain souls. It was
necessary that she should see the world, undergo its deceptions, and be
wearied of it, in order to desire repose and be capable of appreciating
the inestimable blessings of peace and silence and tranquillity.

The Duke of Mantua dying in 1637, Anne was obliged to leave the cloister
on business connected with the paternal succession, and appeared at
Court with Marie, her elder sister. The turmoil of the world and its
sensuous enjoyments speedily engrossed the young and lovely princess,
involved her in their trammels, and only restored her to tranquillity
and solitude after a lapse of many years; for at this time she also lost
her sister, the youthful abbess of Avenai, and the last link which
attached Anne to cloister life was severed by that death. An absorbing
passion, too, was destined to confirm her relinquishment of such
vocation. The youthful Henri de Guise was then one of the most brilliant
gentlemen at the French Court. Grandson of the _Balafré_, his high birth
fixed the eyes of all upon him, at the same time that his impetuous
imagination, his profession, all the aristocratic follies of the
day--remarkable duels, romantic loves, eccentricities, the adventures
and elegant habits of the _grand seigneur_--had constituted him an
oracle of fashion and the hero of every festival. He was fascinated by
the grace and beauty of Anne de Gonzagua, and she herself, in the midst
of that gallant Court which masked a real depravation under the thin
varnish of an ingenious subtlety of expression,--she herself, a disciple
of the Hôtel de Rambouillet, where questions of sentiment were
discussed, studied, and analysed incessantly, knew not how to resist the
gilded accents of a young, handsome, and impassioned lover. She let him
see that she loved him. He made her a promise of marriage, signed, it is
said, with his blood; and the affair seemed to promise a happy
conclusion. But their mutual inclination was thwarted by Madame de
Guise. The Duchess thought that the high dignities of the Church would
procure greater wealth, honour, and power for her son than he could
obtain in any other career: Henri was then Archbishop of Rheims.
Nevertheless, he persisted in his love for Mademoiselle de Gonzagua, and
in his design of espousing her. The overtures which he made to the
Vatican were not in vain. He received from the Pope, with the
authorisation to again become a layman, a dispensation which his kinship
to Anne rendered necessary for the celebration of their nuptials. But
the lovers did not hasten to avail themselves of such privilege,
apparently through dread of Richelieu, who was also opposed to their
union. Perhaps that minister, from whom nothing secret was hidden--not
even the unshaped designs of the ambitious,--already suspected Henri de
Guise of being favourably disposed to the interests of Spain, as well as
contrary to those of France. Anne and Henri, therefore, contented
themselves with the possibility which the complaisance of the Holy
Father had given them of contracting an indissoluble bond, and with the
oath by which they reciprocally pledged their faith. Confiding in the
honour of the Prince whom she so ardently loved, Anne consented to
follow him, when he quitted France in order to escape from the espionage
of Richelieu. Disguising herself in male attire, Anne rejoined her lover
at Besançon, according to Mademoiselle de Montpensier, at Cologne
according to other writers; where, as elsewhere, she caused herself to
be called "Madame de Guise"--writing and speaking of her husband, and
defying the assurances which were constantly advanced of the illegality
of a marriage secretly performed by a canon of Rheims in the private
chapel of the Hôtel de Nevers. But what are promises, marriage vows, or
even bonds written in blood?

Henri not long after became unfaithful to the confiding Anne by eloping
with a fair widow, the Countess de Bossut, whom he carried off to
Brussels and ultimately married. Implicated in the conspiracy of the
Count de Soissons, the turbulent churchman was present at the battle of
Marfée, and consequently declared guilty of high treason. He therefore
took up his abode in the Low Countries, where he quietly awaited the
death of Louis XIII. and his minister, then both moribund, to resume his
career at the Court of France.

Thus abandoned by her volatile lover, and extremely compromised,
Mademoiselle de Gonzagua returned to Paris, where she reassumed the
appellation of the Princess Anne. Her grief for awhile at her
abandonment was great, but happily for Anne de Gonzagua, she was
possessed of youth, and, as Madame de Motteville tells us, "of beauty
and great mental attractions." She had moreover sufficient address to
obtain a great amount of esteem, in spite of her errors. In a few years'
time, during which she took care to avoid fresh scandal, whatever she
might have done "under the rose," she made a tolerably good marriage.
Her husband, her senior by two years only, was Prince Edward, Count
Palatine of the Rhine, son of a king without a kingdom,--the elector
Frederick,[2] chosen King of Bohemia in 1619, but who lost his crown in
1620, at the battle of Prague. Prince Edward, therefore, having no
sovereignty, lived at the French Court. In 1645, then, Anne de Gonzagua
found herself definitively settled at Paris, and it must be owned did
not give Henri de Guise much cause to regret his faithlessness. The
irregularities of the Princess Palatine became notorious, and assuredly
Bossuet, in the funeral oration which he pronounced many years later, in
the presence of one of her daughters and other relatives, whilst
displaying a prodigal eloquence, and a mastery over all oratorical
resource, made use of every artifice of speech, and all the elasticity
of vague terms, in speaking of that period of her life without a
violation of propriety, without disguising truths known to all, without
exceeding either in blame or praise the limits imposed by good taste
upon the reverend orator when he pronounces a panegyric upon those who
not unfrequently have very little merited it.

    [2] This unfortunate Prince had married, in 1613, Elizabeth,
    daughter of James I. of England. The celebrated Prince Rupert and
    Sophia, Electress of Hanover, were among the other children.

During those stormy years of the civil wars, through her diplomatic
talents, Anne de Gonzagua shone conspicuously in the front rank of
female politicians. One can readily imagine what must have been, not in
the first Fronde, all parliamentary as it was, but in the second,
entirely aristocratic, in the Fronde of the Princes, the influence of a
woman's mind at once so subtle and brilliant. It was then that Madame de
Chevreuse, Madame de Montbazon, Madame de Longueville, and Mademoiselle
de Montpensier, displayed upon the political stage the resources of
their finesse, their dissimulation, or their courage. The Palatine did
not fall below the level of those adventurous heroines. In the midst of
those intrigues, of that puerile ambition, of those turnings and
windings, perfidy, seduction, manoeuvring promises, of those
negotiations in which Mazarin infused all his Italian cunning, the Queen
her feminine impatience and her Spanish dissimulation, De Retz his
genius of artist-conspirator, Condé his pride of the prince and the
conqueror, Anne de Gonzagua handled political matters with a rare
suppleness, humouring offended self-love, impatient ambition, haughty
rivalries, acting as mediatrix with a wonderful amount of conciliatory
tact, the friend of divers chiefs of parties, and meriting the
confidence of all.

It would be tedious to relate here her various negotiations, to go over
her discourses, conversations, and numerous letters: it would involve a
history of the Fronde, and that is not our subject. It will suffice to
say that she obtained the esteem of all parties at a time when parties
not only hated but strangely defied each other, and that she manifested
a skill, a tact which Cardinal de Retz--a good judge of such
matters--does not hesitate to praise with enthusiasm. "I do not think,"
says he, "that Queen Elizabeth of England had more capacity for
governing a state. I have seen her in faction, I have seen her in the
cabinet, and I have found her in every respect equally sincere." This
eulogium may be perhaps a little over-coloured. But Madame de
Motteville, who also greatly admired the Palatine, probably approaches
nearer to the truth. "This princess," she says, "like many other ladies,
did not despise the conquests of her eyes, which were in truth very
beautiful; but, besides that advantage, she had that which was of more
value, I mean wit, address, capacity for conducting an intrigue, and a
singular facility in finding expedients for succeeding in what she
undertook." Thus spoke the Coadjutor and the Court of her. The
parliamentary party, by the organ of the councillor Joly, confirms such
panegyric: "She had so much intelligence, and a talent so peculiar for
business, that no one in the world ever succeeded better than she did."
The Princess Palatine's political dexterity cannot therefore be
contested: the testimony of the most opposite camps are thereupon
agreed, and it is certain that, without the least exaggeration, it may
be said that no one at that epoch, save Mazarin, better understood the
resources of diplomacy.

It was especially after the arrest of the Princes that her zeal and
intelligence found occasion to manifest themselves. Madame de
Longueville, as has been said, instantly sought the aid of Anne de
Gonzagua when she learned that her two brothers and her husband were
prisoners. The news made her swoon, and her despair was afterwards
pitiable. The Princess Palatine was touched by it, and promised to
operate on behalf of the Princes. From that moment she became, without
entering into faction and especially without failing in her duties
towards a sovereign whom she loved, one of the most active friends of
the prisoners. Meetings were held under her roof to deliberate upon that
important affair, and, to compass her ends, she contrived to bring into
play the most varied resources. She began by interesting in the Princes'
destiny those even who might have been thought the most irreconcileable
enemies to them. However difficult this work was of accomplishment, she
reunited, as in a fasces, in a single will, personages widely separated
upon other points, and surprised to find that they were pursuing the
same object, for none of them knew the motives which influenced the
actions of the rest. On this head, Bossuet says, with somewhat excessive
laudation, she declared to the chiefs of parties how far she would bind
herself, and she was believed to be incapable of either deceiving or
being deceived. That is rather a hazardous assertion, for if she indeed
aided in the liberation of the Princes, none of the promises she
made--in all sincerity doubtless--became realised. But, says Bossuet
further, and this time with more precision, "her peculiar
characteristic was to conciliate opposite interests, and, in raising
herself above them, to discover the secret point of junction and knot,
as it were, by which they might be united." She had resolved to win over
the Duke d'Orleans, Madame de Chevreuse, De Retz, and the keeper of the
seals, Chateauneuf. She therefore signed with them four different
treaties. With the Duke d'Orleans she promised the hand of the young
Duke d'Enghien in marriage to one of the Prince's daughters; to Madame
de Chevreuse that of Mademoiselle de Chevreuse to the Prince de Conti;
to De Retz, the cardinal's hat; to Chateauneuf, the post of prime
minister. All consented to favour the princess's designs, and Mazarin,
whom she could not convince, found himself surrounded by enemies whose
union was formidable. That minister made allusion to the dread with
which he was inspired when he remarked some years afterwards to Don
Louis de Haro: "The most turbulent among the men does not give us so
much trouble to keep him in check as the intrigues of a Duchess de
Chevreuse or a Princess Palatine." In vain, according to his wont, did
he again attempt to temporise. Anne de Gonzagua, who was ready to open
fire with all her batteries, sought to terrify him by the perspective of
a menacing future. "She caused him to be informed that he was lost if he
did not determine upon giving the Princes their liberty, assuring him
that if he did not do it promptly he would see, in a few days, the whole
Court and every cabal banded against him, and that all aid would fail
him." Mazarin, obstinate in his determination, and unwilling to believe
that she had so thoroughly played her game as to hold in hand the
threads of so many intrigues, begged her to defer the matter, asked time
for reflection, and conducted himself in such a way in short that the
princess saw clearly that he only wanted to gain time. She therefore
hesitated no longer, but allowed those who were agitating impatiently
around her to commence action.

The party of the Princes had been dubbed by the name of the _New
Fronde_. The old, although it had lost its energy by its union with the
Court, preserved nevertheless its hatred to the prime minister. It was
not in De Retz's power to neutralise wholly these hostile dispositions;
but he could hinder them from being brought into dangerous activity. The
Coadjutor at first with that view acted in good faith, and remained
faithful in the first moments of the agreement which he had entered into
with the Queen. Probably it might then have been possible to attach him
finally to the Court party; but Mazarin could not believe that the
Coadjutor, so fertile in tricks, so full of finesse, was capable of
anything like frankness and generosity. In the practical experience of
life, mistrust has its perils as well as blind confidence, and failure
as often happens to us through our unwillingness to believe in virtue,
as through our inability to suspect vice. Mazarin judged after himself a
man who resembled him in many respects, but not in all. Moreover, he
feared lest he might seek to win the Queen's affection from him; and
that fear was not groundless. De Retz saw himself the object of the
suspicions and afterwards of the machinations of a power which laboured
at his destruction, whilst for that power he was compromising his
influence and his popularity. To reacquire it, he hastened, therefore,
to throw himself with all his adherents on the side of the Princes, and
saw no safety but in their deliverance. This alliance of the two camps,
so long enemies, was concluded between the Coadjutor and the Princess
Palatine, and rendered so firm and secret by the confidence with which
these two party chiefs inspired each other, that Mazarin, who
unceasingly dreaded such a union, and who always suspected it, did not
know it for certain until it revealed itself by its effects.[3]

    [3] Motteville--Joly--Lenet.

The parliament formed a fourth party. Not that that body was unanimous;
but it had within itself an honourable majority which was alike inimical
to the Frondeurs, the seditious, and the minister. The parliament
therefore would have been disposed to unite itself to the Princes'
party, and to lend it support; but to do so it would have been necessary
that the chiefs of that party should renounce all alliance with the
foreigner. Turenne and Madame de Longueville had joined with the
Spaniards to fight against France. The young Princess de Condé, with the
Dukes de Bouillon and de la Rochefoucauld, who had shut themselves up in
Bordeaux, had entered into an alliance with them, and had received from
them succour in the shape of money. The Spanish envoys in Paris
conferred daily with the chiefs of the old as of the new Fronde.

Gaston, who might have been the moderator of all these parties, formed
by himself a fifth among them. His irresolution prevented him giving
strength to any other of the factions, but he constituted a formidable
obstacle to all the rest. His inclination, as well as his interest,
should never have made him deviate from the Court party; yet he was
always opposed to it. Impelled by his jealousy of Condé and of the prime
minister, he acted in a manner contrary to his own wishes. He was,
however, neither wanting in intelligence nor finesse, nor even a certain
kind of eloquence; and the master-stroke of De Retz's address was to
have contrived, in furtherance of the object of his designs, to set
Gaston with the Fronde against the Princes, and afterwards for the
Princes against Mazarin.

The complication and the multiplicity of parties was as nothing in
comparison to that of private interests, which so crossed each other and
in so many different ways, which turned with such mobility, that, in the
ignorance which prevailed of the secret motives of the principal actors
in that drama so vivid, motley, and turbulent, nothing could be
predicated of what they would do, and a looker-on might have been
disposed at times to have pronounced them as insensates, who were rather
their own enemies than those of their antagonists.

If the libels of those times are to be credited, and especially the
satire in verse for which the poet Marlet was sentenced to be hanged,
the obstinacy with which the Queen exposed to danger her son's crown, by
retaining a minister detested by all, would be naturally explained by a
reason other than that of a reason of state. The advocate-general Talon,
Madame de Motteville, and the Duchess de Nemours exculpate Anne of
Austria on this head. They are three respectable and trustworthy
witnesses; and, without any doubt, that which they said they thought.
But the Duchess d'Orleans, Elizabeth-Charlotte, affirms in her
correspondence[4] that Anne of Austria had secretly married Cardinal
Mazarin, who was not a priest. She says that all the details of the
marriage were known, and that, in her time, the back staircase in the
Palais Royal was pointed out by which at night Mazarin reached the
Queen's apartments. She observes that such clandestine marriages were
common at that period, and cites that of the widow of our Charles the
First, who secretly espoused her equerry, Jermyn. One might be disposed
to think that the Duchess Elizabeth-Charlotte could have only followed
some tradition, and that her assertions cannot counterbalance the
statements of the contemporary personages above mentioned. But certain
species of facts are often better known long after the death of the
persons to whom they relate, than during their lifetime, or at a time
close upon their decease; they are not entirely unveiled until there no
longer exists any motive to keep them secret. Of the Queen's sentiments
towards Mazarin there can be no doubt after reading a letter which she
addressed to him under date of June 30, 1660, which is extant in
autograph,[5] the avowal she made to Madame de Brienne in her
oratory,[6] the confidences of Madame de Chevreuse to Cardinal de
Retz.[7] Moreover, whatever may have been the motives of Anne of
Austria's attachment to Mazarin, it is certain that they were
all-powerful over her. She lent herself to every project formed by her
minister for the increase of his power and fortune. The war in Bordeaux
was kindled because Mazarin desired that one of his nieces should be
united to the Duke de Candale, son of the Duke d'Epernon; and, in order
not to let the Swiss soldiers march thither without their pay, when
their aid was most necessary, Anne of Austria put her diamonds in
pledge, and would not allow Mazarin to be answerable for the sum
required to be disbursed.

    [4] Mém. sur la Cour de Louis XIV. et de la Régence,
    d'Elizabeth-Charlotte Duchesse d'Orléans, Mère du Regent. 1823,
    p. 319.

    [5] MS. Bibliothèque Nationale.

    [6] Loménie de Brienne, Memoirs, 1828.

    [7] Retz, Memoirs, edition 1836.



CHAPTER II

  THE YOUNG PRINCESS DE CONDÉ CONDUCTS THE WAR IN THE SOUTH.


TO generous and feeling hearts, Condé's misfortune presented all the
characteristics of a real romance. The majority of the women therefore
who meddled with politics were, through sympathy, of his party. The
glory of France under lock and key! The young hero arrested for treason,
and prisoner to whom? The foreign Cardinal Mazarin. All the spoils of
the Condés distributed amongst the _sbires_ of the favourite,--Normandy
to Harcourt, Champagne to L'Hospital, &c. A monstrous alliance between
King and people. The Queen keeping the Bastille in the hands of
Broussel's son--the highest posts bestowed upon the magistrates--a
reversal, in fact, of everything. Did not the French nobility rise to a
man against such a state of things?

No, everything was at a standstill. Neither Condé's military clients,
nor his numerous seigniories, nor his governments took any active part
whatsoever. Far from it, Madame de Longueville, as we have seen, who
thought to raise Normandy, everywhere met with a repulse in that
province. Neither Turenne nor she could do anything save by accepting
aid from Spain, for which Madame de Bouillon was also doing her best in
Paris.

But whilst that lovely amazon, Condé's sister, was occupied in her
endeavours to lure the hero of Stenay into the party of revolt by
intoxicating him with love, and wasting time in negotiation and parade,
a succour more direct and much more energetic was given to Condé from a
quarter he had the least expected--from his own chateau of Chantilly. He
had there left his aged mother, his young wife, and a son seven years
old. Mazarin hesitated to have these ladies arrested, fearing the force
of public opinion. The mother went to hide herself in Paris, and one
morning appeared before the Parliament, suppliant, weeping sorely,
stooping so far as to kneel in prayer, to flattery, and even to
falsehood. All being unavailing, she went home to die.

But most astonishing was the unexpected courage of Condé's young wife,
Claire Clemence de Maillé, that despised niece of Richelieu, whom the
victorious soldier had married under compulsion, and whose heir was the
son of the minister's absolute will. On the arrest of her husband she
had been confided to the care of a man of capacity--Lenet, from whose
"Memoirs" we have already cited. He at first conducted her and her son
in safety from Chantilly to Montrond, a stronghold of the Condés, but
fearing to be besieged in it, straightway to Bordeaux. The Parliament of
Guienne had had a deadly quarrel with Mazarin for imposing upon them
Epernon, a governor they detested, and whom the Cardinal was bent upon
allying by marriage with his own family. Great therefore was the emotion
of this city and parliament at seeing that young lady of two-and-twenty
in deep mourning, with her innocent boy, who caught the brave Bordelais
by their beards with his little hands, and besought their help towards
the liberation of his father. The Princess's retinue enhanced not a
little this favourable impression, formed as it was of high-born women,
for the most part young and charming.

The popular explosion was lively, as always happens among the people of
the south. But even the narrative of Lenet shows clearly the slender
foundation upon which this semblance of popular insurrection rested. The
lower orders, then living in great misery, hoped to obtain through the
Princess some opening for their foreign trade, which would better enable
them to dispose of their wines and help them to live. Mazarin kept down
the local Parliament, and carried everything through sheer terror.
Bouillon and La Rochefoucauld, the Princess's advisers, recommended that
a royal envoy should be cut to pieces. Lenet dreaded lest such an act,
somewhat over-energetic, might render his mistress less popular. Twice
or thrice the populace were very nearly putting the Parliament to the
sword, the majority of which was kept under through sheer terror of the
knife. Spain promised money, and they had the simplicity to believe her.
She hardly gave them a pitiful alms. Meanwhile, however, Mazarin, having
quietly occupied Normandy and Burgundy, made his way towards Guienne
with the royal army. The Bordelais showed an intrepid front, though
somewhat disquieted to see the soldiery about to gather the fruits of
the vintage instead of themselves. The Princess only maintained herself
in the place through the aid of the rabble _va-nu-pieds_, who feasted
and danced all night at her expense, and who shouted in her ears a
hundred ribald jests against Mazarin, compelling both herself and her
son to repeat them. This abasement into which she had fallen made her
desire peace for herself, and permission to leave the city, which was
granted to her, with vague promises of liberating Condé (3rd October,
1650).

The Duchess de Bouillon had been quite as ardent in politics during the
burlesque activity of the Fronde as Madame de Longueville; and although,
perhaps, equally beautiful, happily she was entirely devoted to her
domestic duties. Her husband on taking flight had been constrained to
leave her behind in Paris, she being near her accouchement, which
circumstance however did not prevent the Queen from giving an order for
her arrest. Although the royal guards were already in the house, the
Duchess contrived to effect the escape of her sons, and during that same
day gave birth to her babe. Shortly afterwards she found a means of
eluding the guard set over her, and would have rejoined her husband, had
her daughter not been attacked with small-pox, but having returned home
to nurse her, was arrested at her bedside and carried to the Bastille.
The Duchess de Chevreuse, always gallant, in spite of waning beauty,
constituted herself the mediatrix between the Queen and the _Frondeurs_;
and although her daughter had openly become the mistress of the
Coadjutor, it was already contemplated to make her the wife of the
Prince de Conti, as a condition of the arrangement by which he should be
set free. Beaufort still continued to be the obsequious lover of Madame
de Montbazon, and, through her, Mazarin was kept well acquainted with
all his secrets.

No other power than that of female influence could have attached the
French nobility to the Prince de Condé, and determined it to take up
arms for his release. In fact, his hauteur, his brusquerie, his
brutality even, had, in repeated instances, offended that body, and the
Queen imagined that the bulk of the French gentry would witness his
arrest with as much pleasure as the citizens. But the women had been
fascinated by the _éclat_ of his four victories; they agreed to call
him the champion, the hero of France, and it seemed to them that they
shared his heroism in devoting themselves to his cause. As for the
higher nobility, they were not bound by any political principle; they
were very indifferent to the grandeur of France; very ignorant of its
pretensions in foreign affairs, or to what it had been pledged with
other nations. They loved war in the first place for its dangers, and in
the second for the honours and wealth they got by fighting; but even in
the army, far from making fidelity and obedience a rule of conduct, they
cherished a spirit of independence and resistance to the Crown, and
would only allow themselves to be influenced by their chivalric usages.
They gloried in showing themselves reckless of the future, caring more
about the glitter of the present than steady progressive advancement;
equally prodigal of fortune as of life, they were prone to follow
impulse rather than calculation; so that what we should perhaps call a
reckless frivolity was looked upon by them as a sentiment invested with
all the charm of brilliant gallantry. Those even whom neither their
affection nor their interest summoned to the standards of the captive
Princes, rushed gaily from the midst of their ease and festivity into
civil war at the first prompting of their mistresses.

Gaston d'Orleans, after having consented to the imprisonment of the
Princes, only decided upon entering into the project for their
deliverance under promise of a marriage of his daughter, the Duchess
d'Alençon, with the boy-Duke d'Enghien, Condé's son. Turenne and La
Rochefoucauld, too, often thought less of their glory or the success of
their party, than of what might be agreeable to the Duchess de
Longueville, of whose love they were so envious. More obscure
_liaisons_, which have even escaped the anecdotic abundance of the
memoir-writers of those days, appear also to have exercised their
influence over the conduct of the highest personages. In a letter which
De Retz wrote to Turenne, and which he frankly characterises as being
remarkably silly, the Coadjutor does not disguise that amongst many
serious motives which he gives that great warrior for inducing him to
determine upon peace, he does not forget to hold out a hope of his
seeing once more a little grisette of the Rue des Petits-Champs, whom
Turenne loved with all his heart. The feeblest motives had influence
over such men, all young and ardent as they were--the followers of
different factions, though without prejudices, principles, convictions,
without hatred and without affection. The women therefore naturally
played important parts in all these events, to whom the species of
gallantry and worship of beauty held in honour by the Hôtel de
Rambouillet was quite familiar. Thus nothing could be expected of the
Duke de Beaufort, even in that which concerned him closest, if not
assured previously of the consent of the Duchess de Montbazon, who
exercised plenary power over him. Nemours, enamoured of the Duchess de
Chatillon, loved likewise by the Prince de Condé, warmly embraced the
cause of that Prince, because his mistress prompted him thereto; and the
Duchess de Nemours had moved heaven and earth to obtain Condé's
deliverance, in the hope that he would keep sharp watch over the Duchess
de Chatillon, and put a stop to her husband's infidelity.

De Retz too, notwithstanding the superiority of his intellect, allowed
himself to give way, through his inclination for the fair sex, to the
commission of indiscretions and imprudences which often placed his life
in danger, and caused his best-concerted measures to prove abortive. To
appease the jealousy of Mademoiselle de Chevreuse he permitted himself
to make use of a contemptuous expression concerning the Queen, which was
repeated, and which became the cause of the violent hatred she ever
afterwards bore him. The Princess de Guémenée, furious at having been
abandoned, offered the Queen, if she would consent to it, to procure the
disappearance of the Coadjutor by sending him an invitation, and then
having him confined in a cellar of her hotel. De Retz learned that a
design to assassinate him had been formed, and whenever he repaired to
the Hôtel de Chevreuse, by way of precaution placed sentinels outside
the gate of that mansion, and quite close to the Queen's sentries who
guarded the Palais-Royal, without heeding the effect such an excess of
insolence and scandal produced. With every kind of talent fitting to
dominate party spirit, he failed to acquire the confidence of anyone. He
regarded all alliance with the foreigner as odious and impolitic; and
notwithstanding, when his embarrassments increased, he lent an ear to
the Archduke's envoy, and even to that of Cromwell. At the same time,
full of admiration for the Marquis of Montrose, whom he called a hero
worthy of Plutarch, he contracted the closest friendship with the
Scottish royalist, and aided him to the utmost of his ability in the
efforts he was making to restore to the throne the legitimate King of
Great Britain. De Retz, in few words, appeared anxious to show himself
as taking pleasure in exhausting every kind of contrast. When the
intricate plot of the drama in which he was engaged had become so
complicated by his intrigues, that he no longer saw the possibility of
unravelling it, he sought means to retire from the situation with the
greatest advantage practicable for himself and friends, and to obtain
the Cardinal's hat. The marriage of Mademoiselle de Chevreuse with the
Prince de Conti became the essential condition of all the negotiations
which he carried on, whether with the Court or with the Duchess de
Chevreuse. The remembrance of an old and close friendship, the habit of
a familiarity contracted in youth, gave the Duchess de Chevreuse a means
of influence over that Queen, so fixed in her hatred, so inconstant in
her friendships. Anne of Austria, who then, moreover, found herself very
miserable through the obstacles which so many factions created, had
partially restored the Duchess to her confidence. Madame de Chevreuse
appeared also to have the same interests as De Retz, since, like him,
she desired intensely the union of her daughter with a Prince of the
blood. But she had large sums of money to recover from the Government,
and the success of her claims depended on the decision of the prime
minister. She therefore used her utmost tact with Mazarin, negotiating
at the same time with him, as well as with the Old and the New Fronde.
She turned to her own profit the influence that her connections at
Court, with the Coadjutor, and with the Princes gave her in all the
several factions. She was assisted in her intrigues by the Marquis de
Laignes, a man of courage but little intellect, who, from the time of
her exile at Brussels, had declared himself her lover in order to gain
importance in the faction of the Fronde, which he had embraced. As
little more of the attractions of her youth were left to Madame de
Chevreuse, save their pristine celebrity, she had not always to
congratulate herself upon the good humour and behaviour of De Laignes.
The latter had been until then wholly devoted to the Coadjutor; but De
Retz soon perceived that De Laignes entered into projects different from
his own. At length, to have some one who could be responsible to him
for Madame de Chevreuse, he endeavoured to substitute Hacqueville as a
go-between in the place of De Laignes. Hacqueville was the intimate
friend of De Retz and also of Madame de Sevigné; and seconded by Madame
de Chevreuse and Madame de Rhodes, De Retz might have succeeded in the
expulsion of Laignes, if Hacqueville would have consented to that
project. No man could be more obliging than Hacqueville; but,
notwithstanding the disposition he showed to be useful to his friends,
he shrank from such continual immolation of himself. Probably also he
was too honest a man to lend himself to such a procedure.

Madame de Sevigné,--in every way qualified to play a distinguished part
in the exciting game of politics,--was so entirely devoted to her
husband and children as to be a stranger to all these intrigues; but she
was more or less connected with the persons who seconded the Coadjutor's
projects, and consequently with the Duchess de Chevreuse. An article in
the "Muse Historique" of Loret shows how intimate was the connection of
Madame de Sevigné with that Duchess. In the month of July, 1850, on
returning from a promenade in the Cours, then the fashionable drive
among the highest society, the Marquis and Marchioness de Sevigné gave a
splendid supper to the Duchess de Chevreuse. The noisy manner in which
the Frondeurs expressed their delight made this nocturnal repast almost
assume the character of an orgie; and, for that reason, it became for
awhile the talk of the capital. The rhyming gazetteer thus expresses
himself on the subject:

  On fait ici grand' mention
  D'une belle collation
  Qu'à la Duchesse de Chevreuse
  Sevigné, de race frondeuse,
  Donna depuis quatre ou cinq jours,
  Quand on fut revenue du Cours.
  On y vit briller aux chandelles
  Des gorges passablement belles;
  On y vit nombre de galants;
  On y mangea des ortolans;
  On chanta des chansons à boire;
  On dit cent fois non--oui--non, voire.
  La Fronde, dit-on, y claqua;
  Un plat d'argent on escroqua;
  On repandit quelque potage,
  Et je n'en sais pas davantage.[1]

    [1] Loret, Muse Historique, liv. i., p. 28, Letter 10.

It will be seen from these details, that already the manners and customs
of the great world reflected the licence of the civil wars, and that
they no longer resembled those of which the Hôtel de Rambouillet still
presented a purer model. It may be possible also that there was some
exaggeration in Loret's description: he belonged to the Court party,
received a pension of two hundred crowns from Mazarin, and detested the
Fronde. His rhyming gazette was addressed to his protectress,
Mademoiselle de Longueville, so much the more opposed to the Fronde that
her stepmother was the heroine of that faction. Mademoiselle de
Longueville, whose harsh strictures upon the Condé family have been
cited, and who subsequently became the wife of the Duke de Nemours, is
often mentioned in the writings of her time, although she was never
mixed up in any political intrigue, nor took part in any event. Her
immense fortune, the clearness of her judgment, the elevation of her
sentiments, her grand airs, the severe dignity of her manners, and the
energy of her character, constituted her during the Regency and the
long reign of Louis XIV. a personage quite apart; who submitted herself
to no influence whatever, social or political, and who no more permitted
that absolute monarch to induce her to vary in her determinations, than
to change the fashion of her external habiliments.



CHAPTER III.

  STATE OF PARTIES ON THE LIBERATION OF THE PRINCES--THE CARDS AGAIN
  SHUFFLED, AND THE FACE OF THE SITUATION CHANGED.


AT the commencement of 1651 all France clamoured for Condé's liberation.
During the autumn Mazarin had led the Queen and the young King against
Bordeaux, then held by the Princess de Condé, carrying--as usual when
forced to use both means--a sword in one hand and a roll of parchment in
the other. Failing to carry the place with the first, the Cardinal began
to negotiate a treaty of peace, the principal item of which was full
pardon to the citizens, and by others an agreement that the Princess and
her son should retire to Montrond: on these terms the city yielded to
its sovereign. The Cardinal also obtained a victory in the field against
Turenne, who had entered the service of Spain and fired upon the
fleur-de-lis. But with this momentary success of Mazarin's cause rose
his pretensions and demands; and the Fronde, alarmed at his recovered
authority, changed its tactics as its Protean genius De Retz frequently
did his clothes--his cassock for a plumed hat and military cloak. It
demanded the trial or liberation of the prisoners it had helped to send
to Vincennes, without delay, and Mazarin removed them for safe custody
to Havre. It then pronounced sentence of banishment on the obnoxious
minister, and ordered him to quit the kingdom within fifteen days. The
town militia kept watch and ward over the Queen, by the command of the
Coadjutor, and hindered her flight to join the favourite. She could
offer no further resistance to those who now called themselves the
friends of Condé, but who were the very same persons who had fought him
in the field a few months before. Orders were given to set the captives
at liberty. Mazarin himself went to Havre to communicate the news of
their freedom, and was received by them with the contempt that he might
have expected. Condé took leave of the Cardinal with a ringing peal of
laughter, and with joyous acclamations, and bonfires, and firing of
guns, made his triumphal entry into Paris.

Condé was now master of the situation. He found himself equally courted
by the two other chief parties into which the State was divided--the
Queen's, supported by the Duke de Bouillon, and the now repentant and
pardoned Turenne--and the Fronde, which had fallen into the guidance of
the Duke d'Orleans, the Coadjutor, and the Duchess de Chevreuse. His own
was called "the Prince's," and comprised Rochefoucauld and other
personal friends and military admirers. The Duke d'Orleans had gone on
before to meet Condé as far as the plain of St. Denis, accompanied by
the two most conspicuous representatives of the Fronde, the Duke de
Beaufort and Retz, with the Coadjutor of Paris, and there they all
warmly embraced. The Duke, having taken the Prince into his carriage,
brought him in great pomp to the Palais Royal to salute the Queen Regent
and the young King, and thence to the Palais d'Orleans, where he was
feasted magnificently. Some days afterwards (February 25th) a royal
ordonnance recognised the innocence of the Princes Condé, Conti, and
the Duke de Longueville, and reinstated them in all their posts and
governments. On the 27th this ordonnance was confirmed in Parliament
amidst loud cheers. Condé thus found himself at the highest degree of
power to which a subject could reach. Misfortune had enhanced his
military glory; a long captivity, endured with an unalterable serenity
and high-hearted gaiety, had carried his popularity to the highest
pitch. He was the victor, and, as it were, the designated heir, of
Mazarin, who had fled before him, and with difficulty found a refuge
without the kingdom, on the banks of the Rhine.

Thus, Anne of Austria in some sort a prisoner, and Mazarin proscribed,
the nobility showed itself entirely devoted to the young hero whom it
recognized as its chief. Some among them at once proposed that the Queen
Mother should be confined in the Val-de-Grace, and that the Prince
should himself assume the Regency, others talked even of raising him to
the throne, but Condé did not fail to perceive that his newly acquired
power was not so solid as it was sought to make him believe.

Meanwhile, Mazarin having quitted Havre, and the inhabitants of
Abbeville refusing him passage through their town, he found an asylum
for a few days at Dourlens; but he was soon driven thence by the
proceedings of the Parliament against him. He then retired to Sedan,
where he took counsel with his friend Fabert, whom he had appointed
Commandant there. He next proceeded to Cologne, being treated with the
utmost distinction and hospitality in all the foreign towns through
which he passed.

Even in banishment, however, the old influence began to work. The
Cardinal from his place of retirement governed the Queen with as
absolute a sway as ever, and recommended her, as a keen stroke of
policy which would neutralize all parties, to take the young King to a
_Bed of Justice_, and cause him to declare his majority. Couriers were
going daily between Paris and Cologne; treaties between the Fronde and
Mazarin were intercepted or forged, and published in the capital; the
post of Prime Minister remained unfilled, and the Duke de Mercoeur,
notwithstanding all the thunders of Parliament, set out for Bruhl, with
the purpose of marrying Mazarin's niece. Everything announced that the
exile of that hated minister was but temporary, and Condé, perceiving
the object of all these moves, prepared for war, and silently took his
measures accordingly.

The nobility, who, from the beginning of February, had begun to assemble
in order to take part in the expulsion of Mazarin, now held their
meetings in the monastery hall of the Cordeliers, where might be seen
collected together as many as _eight hundred_ princes, dukes, and
noblemen, heads of the most considerable houses in France, all partisans
of Condé. As this numerical strength of the ennobled classes, together
with the multiplicity of titles among them, is somewhat startling to a
youthful English student, it may be well to remark that France had, in
fact, three aristocracies in the course of her annals from the Crusades
to the reign of Louis XIV. After the time of Louis XI., the
representatives of the _first_, or old feudal aristocracy, the
descendants of the men who were in reality the King's peers, and not his
actual subjects, were few and far between. These were the holders of
vast principalities, who maintained a kind of royal state in their own
possessions, and kept high courts of judicature over life and limb in
the whole extent of their hereditary fiefs. In the long English wars,
from Crécy to Agincourt, the great body of them disappeared, and only
here and there a great vassal was to be seen, distinguished in nothing
from the other nobles, except in the loftiness of his titles and the
reverence that still clung to the sound of his historic name. The
_second_ aristocracy arose among the descendants of the survivors of the
English and Italian wars. They claimed their rank, not as coming down to
them from the tenure of almost independent counties and dukedoms, but as
proprietors of ancestral lands, to which originally subordinate rights
and duties had been attached. Mixed with those, we saw the Noblesse of
the Robe, as the great law officers were called, who constituted a
parallel but not identical nobility with their lay competitors. The
_third_ aristocracy was now about to make its appearance, the creation
of Court favour, and badge of personal or official service--possessors
of a nominal rank without any corresponding duty--a body selected for
ornament, and not for use--and incorporating with itself, not only the
marquis and viscount, fresh from the mint of the minister or favourite,
but the highest names in France.

The aristocracy of the sword, and of ancient birth, had itself to blame
for this degradation. Great alterations in manners or government--such
as give a new character to human affairs--always seem brought about by
some strange relaxation of morals, or atrocity of conduct, which makes
society anxious for the change. The unfortunate custom in France which
gave every male member of a noble family a title equivalent to that of
its chief, so that a simple viscount with ten stalwart and penniless
sons gave ten stalwart and penniless viscounts to the aristocracy of his
country, had filled the whole land with a race of men proud of their
origin, filled with reckless courage, careless of life, and despising
all honest means of employment by which their fortunes might have been
improved. Mounted on a sorry steed and begirt with a sword of good
steel, the young cavalier took his way from the miserable castle on a
rock, where his noble father tried in vain to keep up the appearance of
daily dinners, and wondered how in the world all his remaining sons and
daughters were to be clothed and fed, and made his way to Paris. There
he pushed his fortune--fighting, bullying, gambling, and was probably
stabbed by some drunken companion and flung into the Seine. If he was
lucky or adroit enough, he stabbed his drunken friend and pushed _him_
into the stream; and, after a few months of suing and importunity,
obtained a saddle in the King's Guards, or a pair of boots in the
Musqueteers. At this time it came out that in twenty years of the reign
of Louis XIII. there had been eight thousand fatal duels in different
parts of the realm. Out of the duels which were daily carried on, four
hundred in each year had ended in the death of one of the combatants.
When the fiercest of English wars is shaking every heart in the kingdom,
there would be wailing and misery in every house if it were reported
that four hundred officers had been killed in a year. Yet these young
desperadoes were all of officer's rank, and the quarrel in which they
fell was probably either dishonourable or contemptible. Men fought and
killed each other for a word or a look, or a fashion of dress, or the
mere sake of killing. Where morality is loosened to the extent of a
disregard of life, we may be sure the general behaviour in other
respects is equally to be deplored. There was great and almost universal
depravity in the conduct of high and low. Vice and sensuality found
refuge and protection even in the presence of princesses and queens.
People residing in remote places heard only of the gorgeous licence in
which the great and powerful lived. They knew them only during their
visits to their ancestral homes as worn-out debauchees from the great
city, who brought the profligacy of the purlieus of the Louvre into the
peaceful cottages of the peasantry on their estates. It was, indeed, so
much the fashion to be wicked, that a gentleman was hindered from the
practice of his Christian or social duties by the fear of ridicule. The
life of man, therefore, and the honour of woman were held equally cheap;
and the blinded, rash, and self-indulgent nobility laid the foundation,
in contempt of the feelings of its inferiors and neglect of their
interests, for the terrible retribution which even now at intervals
might be seen ready to take its course.



CHAPTER IV.

  THE DUCHESSES DE LONGUEVILLE AND DE CHEVREUSE AND THE PRINCESS
  PALATINE IN THE LAST FRONDE.--RESULTS OF THE RUPTURE OF THE MARRIAGE
  PROJECTED BETWEEN THE PRINCE DE CONTI AND MADEMOISELLE DE CHEVREUSE.


WE must now revert to Condé's heroic sister. Having glanced somewhat
hastily at the brilliant part played by Madame de Longueville in the two
first epochs of the Fronde, the war of Paris and that which illuminated
the prison of Condé, we are now about to follow her through the third
and last period, which commences from the deliverance of the Princes, in
February, 1651, and only ends with the war of Guienne, in August,
1653;--the longest, the most disastrous, and at the same time most
obscure epoch of the civil war. It will be necessary to strip the mask
from more than one illustrious actor in it, exhibit the reverse of the
most showy medals, and the shadows which everywhere mingle with glory,
genius, and even virtue itself. The character of the Duchess de
Longueville has its charming, its sublime aspects; but, alas! it is far
from being irreproachable. In dwelling upon the least favourable portion
of her life, we shall often do well to remember that the errors of great
minds sometimes subserve their perfection, by the beneficent virtue of
the remorse to which they give rise, and that the sister of the Great
Condé must probably have felt in all its fulness the vanity of ambition
and of false grandeur, all the bitterness of guilty passions, in taking
an early farewell of them, to resume the austere path of duty, to
return, in fine, to Carmel and ascend to Port Royal.

Madame de Longueville had remained at Stenay with Turenne for some time
after her brother's and husband's liberation, both occupied in
disengaging themselves from the engagements which they had contracted
with Spain for the deliverance of the Princes, and with negotiating a
truce calculated to clear the way for the much-desired general peace.
Recalled by the pressing instances of her family, she had quitted Stenay
on the 7th of March, before the completion of her work. On arriving in
Paris "universal applause greeted her heroic deeds." Monsieur had
hastened to pay her a visit with Mademoiselle Montpensier, and a train
of ladies of the highest distinction. She went afterwards that same day
to present her homage to their Majesties, from whom she met with the
most gracious reception. That moment was, unquestionably, the most
brilliant of her whole career. In 1647, after the embassy to Munster,
her return to France and its Court had been also a veritable triumph, as
we have attempted to show; but the power of her house and the glory of
her brother constituted nearly all the merits of it. She only
contributed thereto the influence of her wit and beauty. After Stenay,
the _éclat_ which surrounded her was in some sort more personal. She had
just displayed eminent qualities which raised her almost to the level of
Condé. In Normandy she had exhibited herself as an intrepid adventuress,
and a skilful politician in the Low Countries. When, during the
imprisonment of her two brothers and her husband, her sister-in-law, the
Princess de Condé, had been forced at Bordeaux to recognize the royal
authority, she discovered that the destinies of her house had devolved
upon her. She had become the head of a great party. She had treated as
from power to power with Spain; her word had appeared a sufficient
guarantee to the Archduke Leopold and to the Count de Fuensaldagne. She
had held in hand such commanders as Turenne, La Moussaye, Bouteville;
and when, after the battle of Rethel, she seemed to be on the very verge
of destruction, she had succeeded in recovering the advantage, and in
contributing more than any one else to the deliverance of the Princes,
thanks to the profound negotiations carried on in her name by the
Princess Palatine. Whilst statesmen estimated her capacity, the
multitude admired her courage and constancy. She was, in short, in
possession of that political rôle with which La Rochefoucauld had
dazzled her gaze in order to conceal his own designs:--a glittering
chimera which, mingling itself with that of love, had seduced that
ardent and haughty soul of hers. She was then the idol of Spain, the
terror of the Court, one of the grandeurs of her family. We shall soon
see whether she can better sustain this new ordeal than she did the
first, at the close of the year 1647.

The Fronde gathered the fruit of its skilful conduct during the month of
January, 1651. It was that faction which, silencing its old animosities
and promptly extending its hand to the partisans of Condé, had
extricated him from prison, in order to acquire and place at its head,
together with the King's uncle, the lieutenant-general of the Kingdom,
the first prince of the blood, the victor of Rocroi and Lens, the hero
of the age. It carried everything before it--at Court, in parliament,
upon the public places; it had proscribed and put to flight Mazarin; it
held Anne of Austria a captive in her palace; already even it had
penetrated into the cabinet in the person of the aged Chateauneuf, in
whom ambition cherished beneath the snows of winter the vigour of youth,
and whose capacity was scarcely inferior to his ambition. The moment had
arrived for accomplishing the work already begun, and for putting into
execution the plan determined upon between the Princess Palatine and
Madame de Chevreuse.

Those two strong-minded women had conceived the idea of a grand
aristocratic league which should seat the Fronde upon an union of all
the interests which it comprised, close the avenues of France and the
Court to Mazarin, and under the auspices of the Duke d'Orleans and the
Prince de Condé form a government into which the friends of both should
enter, the most accredited representatives of every fraction of a party.
Further, the basis of this plan was that of a double marriage: on the
one side between the young Duke d'Enghien and one of the Duke d'Orleans'
daughters, on the other between the Prince de Conti and the daughter of
Madame de Chevreuse.[1] This latter marriage might be accomplished
immediately. Condé had accepted the proposition without any difficulty.
Madame de Longueville, far from opposing it at Stenay, had embraced the
idea of it with so much ardour that, in a letter to the Palatine of the
26th of November, 1650, after having weighed the different resolutions
to be taken, she stops at this latter, and concludes thus: "_this,
therefore, is what we must stick to_." That marriage was, in short, of a
supreme importance: it gave the house of Condé to the Fronde for ever,
and the Fronde to the house of Condé; for the Fronde was then Madame de
Chevreuse. She disposed, by her daughter, of the Coadjutor, who in his
turn disposed of the Duke d'Orleans, and by him of the parliament. It
was Madame de Chevreuse who, in 1650, had emboldened Mazarin to lay his
hand upon Condé, in making him see that he might strike that bold stroke
with impunity, since she answered to him for the secret connivance of
the Duke d'Orleans and the parliament, who were alone able to oppose it.
Here, Mazarin had committed an immense blunder: seeing himself delivered
from Condé, by the aid of the Fronde, having nothing more hostile to
cope with than the latter, he had imagined himself able to turn round
upon it, and had treated Madame de Chevreuse very cavalierly, who,
growing cold towards the Cardinal, and no longer finding it to her
account to serve him, had lent an ear to the propositions of Condé's
friends, and had procured his release from prison, reconciling to him
the Duke d'Orleans and the parliament, which at first she had stirred up
against him. She brought, moreover, to the house of Condé the most
politic mind of the Fronde, an audacity towering to the height of his
designs, a consummate experience, with the support of her three powerful
families, the houses of de Rohan, de Luynes, and Lorraine. She rendered
sure the alliance of the Duke d'Orleans and the Prince de Condé, and
completed the ruin of Mazarin by constructing a strong government which
probably might have succeeded ultimately in triumphing over the
affection of the Queen. She held in hand a statesman bred in the school
of Richelieu, and whom she judged capable of replacing Mazarin, the
former Keeper of the Seals--Châteauneuf, already a member of the
Cabinet. She believed herself certain of acquiring De Retz by means of
the Cardinal's hat. She had not the least objection to make to the
elevation of the friends of Condé, and she was ready to favour the
ambition of La Rochefoucauld, for whom formerly, in 1643, she had so
greatly importuned the Queen and Mazarin. Add to all this, that on
quitting the citadel of Havre, the young Prince de Conti had not beheld
the lovely Charlotte de Lorraine without being smitten with her charms,
and he himself strongly desired that marriage. Who, then, prevented it?
Who broke off the contracted engagement? Who struck at and wounded by
the self-same blow the Palatine and Madame de Chevreuse? Who restored
them both and for ever to the Queen and Mazarin? Who destroyed the
Fronde by dividing it? We shall find out by-and-by, but let us merely
say just now that it was the rupture of that marriage which again
shuffled the cards and changed the face of the situation. In pitting
against himself those who had so powerfully succoured him in his
misfortune, Condé ought at least to have drawn closer to the Court and
had a serious understanding with the Queen; but he tergiversated, and at
the end of some months of that wavering policy, he found himself
standing unmasked between the Court and the Fronde, both equally
discontented with him, repeating and exaggerating the blunder committed
by Mazarin. The greatest error during the course of a revolution is to
believe that the support of either of the parties who are in actual
collision may be dispensed with. At the close of a revolution the
attempt to dominate may be tried; during the crisis a choice must be
made. Mazarin had fallen through having tried to dominate the Fronde and
Condé at one and the same time; Condé lost himself in thinking to
dominate the Fronde and the Court.

    [1] Retz himself has taken care to inform us of his sad _liaison_
    with Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, throughout the whole of the second
    volume and beginning of the third of his Memoirs. Amsterdam edition,
    1731. That unfortunate lady died suddenly of a fever, unmarried, in
    1652. She was born in 1627.

It is an historical problem very difficult to solve, as to who was the
author of the rupture of the marriage projected between the Prince de
Conti and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse. We are well inclined to believe
that that individual at any rate was the chief author of the rupture to
whom it was the most profitable. The Queen and Mazarin, who from his
place of retirement governed her with as absolute a sway as ever, saw
from the first the danger which threatened them from such an alliance,
entirely unexpected as it was by both. The negotiations between Madame
de Chevreuse, while Condé was prisoner, and Madame de Longueville at
Stenay, had been conducted by the Palatine with such consummate skill
and perfect secrecy that neither the Queen nor Mazarin had the slightest
suspicion of them. When the rumour reached the ears of the Cardinal in
his retreat at Bruhl, near Cologne, he broke out against Madame de
Chevreuse with a violence the coarseness of which even was an
involuntary homage rendered to the profound ability of Marie de Rohan.
The Queen showed herself warmly opposed to it, and the ministers were
ordered to thwart in every way the projected alliance. They began,
therefore, to negotiate with Condé. As a result of these negotiations he
obtained in exchange for his government of Burgundy that of Guienne, one
of far greater importance; he was even led to indulge a hope that
Provence would be given to the Prince de Conti instead of Champagne and
La Brie, and the port and fortress of Blaye to La Rochefoucauld in
augmentation of his government of Poitou, although there was not the
slightest intention of fulfilling that hope. So states the Duchess de
Nemours, the enemy of the Fronde and the Condés, and who, having given
herself to the Court party, must have well known its intentions. De Retz
likewise doubts not that the Queen combated an alliance so evidently
opposed to her interests. Madame de Motteville, the Queen's close
friend, avows it. In short, it is certain, and we have hereupon the
irrefragable testimony of Madame de Motteville, that when the Queen had
succeeded in gaining over Condé, she caused Madame de Chevreuse to be
informed "that she desired that such marriage should not take place,
because it had been concerted for objects inimical to the royal
interests. This command was the cause of all these propositions falling
through and that they were no more spoken of."

But how did the Queen gain over Condé, and what part did Madame de
Longueville play in the affair? That is certainly what neither De Retz
could know, who was only aware of what passed in parliament, in the
Palais d'Orléans, and the Hôtel de Chevreuse; nor the Duchess de Nemours
and Madame de Motteville, who were not in the confidence of the Hôtel de
Condé: they could only repeat hereupon what they had heard said in the
Court circle, and they must be considered solely as the echoes of
reports which it suited the Queen to spread. That is so probable that
the one and the other, differing so widely as they did both in intention
and feeling, tell exactly the same tale. Madame de Motteville states
positively that Madame de Longueville, as soon as she returned from
Stenay, advised Condé to break with the Chevreuses, and that La
Rochefoucauld supported her in such design; and these are the motives
which she attributes to her:--"Madame de Longueville, who had been long
jealous of the beauty and graces of Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, could
little bear to contemplate the probability of her being raised to a rank
even more elevated than her own, and still less, that she should obtain
the great influence which such a person was likely to acquire over both
her princely brothers. She had, therefore, exerted all her influence
over Condé, and with him had been quite successful. But Conti was still
in the height of his passion for the beautiful and fascinating girl who
had been promised to him during his imprisonment; he supped every
evening at the Hôtel de Chevreuse, and his affections, as well as his
honour, were fully engaged." The Duchess de Nemours says the same thing
in the same terms.

Confidant and adviser of Madame de Longueville and of Condé, La
Rochefoucauld alone knew the whole truth, and could have told it to
posterity; but it was not to tell the truth that his memoirs were
penned, only too frequently to conceal it, to set in strong relief that
which had been well done, and slur over that which had been badly done,
or to cast the blame of it upon others. Attentive to the study of his
part, and to never accept a bad one, La Rochefoucauld says truly that
the Frondeurs, eagerly pressing forwards the marriage of the Prince de
Conti with Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, and seeing it retarded, "suspected
Madame de Longueville and the Duke de la Rochefoucauld of a design to
break it off, for fear that the Prince de Conti should escape from their
hands only to fall into those of Madame de Chevreuse and of the
Coadjutor;" but he endeavours to give a reason for these suspicions, and
to inform us whether they were well or ill founded. Instead of defending
himself, and Madame de Longueville, he accuses Condé of having "adroitly
increased the suspicions of the Frondeurs against his sister and La
Rochefoucauld, firmly believing that so long as they held that belief,
they would never discover the true cause of the postponement of the
marriage." And what was that true cause? Here it is, according to La
Rochefoucauld: it was that the Prince de Condé "not having as yet
either concluded or broken off his treaty with the Queen, and having
been informed that the keeper of the seals--Châteauneuf--was about to be
dismissed, wished to await that event to conclude the marriage, if
Cardinal Mazarin were ruined by M. de Châteauneuf, or to break it off
and make through that his court to the Queen, should M. de Châteauneuf
be driven away by the Cardinal."

This interpretation of Condé's conduct does not do him great honour, but
it is a very probable one. In the first place, if La Rochefoucauld knew
how to glide so cleverly over all the ticklish points in which he could
not appear to advantage, he did not, strictly speaking, tell lies; he
retires rather than attacks, unless hurried away by passion, and he was
never in a passion with Condé. And, further, the conduct which he
attributes to Condé springs quite naturally out of the false position in
which Condé had, by degrees, suffered himself to be placed.

Altogether, we are persuaded that Condé was then sincere. His sole
error, and it is that which marked his entire conduct during the Fronde,
was the not having had, either on this occasion or any other, a fixed
and unalterable object. On the 13th of April the Queen took the seals
from Madame de Chevreuse's friend, Châteauneuf, the representative of
the Fronde in the Cabinet, to give them to the gravest person of his
time, the first president, Mathieu Molé, a worthy servant of the State,
very little friendly to the Fronde, and who then was sufficiently
favourable towards the Prince de Condé. That same day she recalled to
the Council as Secretary of State the Count de Chavigny, who had been
formerly minister for Foreign Affairs under Richelieu. Formed in the
school of the great Cardinal, as well as Mazarin, ousted from place,
crafty and resolute, feeling himself capable of bearing the weight of a
ministry, Chavigny had beheld with a sufficiently ominous countenance,
after the death of their common master, the sudden elevation of a
colleague who had even begun by being his dependent. Since 1643, vanity
had turned him aside from the high road of ambition, and he had
entangled himself in the brakes of very complicated intrigues. In 1651,
he passed as the friend of Condé. It was then only, if we can believe La
Rochefoucauld, that Condé declared himself opposed to the marriage of
his youthful brother with Mademoiselle de Chevreuse; and it was time
that he opposed it, for that marriage was on the eve of accomplishment.
Conti gave proof of the most ardent passion for Mademoiselle de
Chevreuse; he paid her a thousand attentions which he hid from his
friends, and particularly from his sister, for whom he ever professed to
entertain an undivided adoration. He held long conferences with the
Marquis de Laigues and other intimate friends of Mademoiselle de
Chevreuse; it was even feared lest he should marry her without the
necessary dispensations and without the participation of the head of his
family. Condé, therefore, decided to act at once, and the reputation of
the fair lady afforded him a means of attack which he employed with
success upon his brother. He seems to have had no great difficulty in
attaining his object. The Prince de Conti soon received proof that she
was not by any means so immaculate as he had believed: her scarcely
doubtful connection with the Coadjutor was placed in its true light,
and, convinced that the object of his passion was unworthy the love of a
man of honour, he began to look upon her with horror. He even blamed
Madame de Longueville and the Duke de la Rochefoucauld for not having
warned him sooner of what was said of her in society. From that moment
means of breaking off the affair without acrimony were sought; but
the interests involved were too great, and the circumstances too piquant
not to renew and augment still more the old hatred of Madame de
Chevreuse and the Frondeurs against the Prince de Condé, and against
those whom they suspected of taking part in that which had just been
done.[2]

    [2] La Rochefoucauld, p. 69. Retz, tom, ii., p. 223.

This testimony would justify Madame de Longueville and La Rochefoucauld
himself for having urged Condé upon that disloyal and impolitic rupture,
if one could believe it to be entirely sincere; but it is very difficult
to admit that Madame de Longueville and her all-powerful adviser could
have remained strangers to a determination so important, and there are
many doubts and obscurities resting upon this delicate point. De Retz,
whose introspect was so penetrating, and who does not pride himself on
any great reserve in his judgments, knew not what opinion to
form--Condé, Madame de Longueville, and La Rochefoucauld having
afterwards assured him that they had had nothing to do with the rupture
of the marriage.

But whose soever was the hand that broke off the projected alliance of
the Condés with Madame de Chevreuse, it is beyond doubt that that had
lost Condé and saved Mazarin. All the errors which followed were derived
from that cardinal one. In it must be discerned the first link of that
chain of disastrous events which ended by dragging Condé into civil war.

The resentment of Madame de Chevreuse may well be imagined, when she
discovered that she had been tricked, that she had separated herself
from Mazarin and the Queen, and had drawn Condé out of prison only to
receive in exchange such an unpardonable outrage! Already, even a short
time before, when the Queen ousted Châteauneuf without consulting the
Duke d'Orleans, the wrath of the Frondeurs had been such, that at a
council held at the Palais d'Orleans of the whole party, it was proposed
to go, on the part of the lieutenant-general, and demand back the seals
from Mathieu Molé. The most violent expedients were suggested, and some
among the more hot-headed spoke of seizing their arms and descending
into the streets. Condé, who had not yet entirely broken with the
Frondeurs, and was present at this council with a few of his friends,
threw cold water upon every proposal that was made, and energetically
opposed the appeal to arms, declaring that he did not understand waging
"a war of paving-stones and _pots de chambre_," and that he felt himself
too much of a coward for such a campaign as that.

After some time passed in sharp discussion, the Duke retired into the
apartments of his wife with De Retz, and there a brief consultation
ensued, in which the Duchess d'Orleans, Madame de Chevreuse, and the
Coadjutor endeavoured to persuade him to arrest the leaders of the
opposite party, and rouse the people to insurrection. The Duke d'Orleans
was in some degree moved; Condé, Conti, and the Duke de Beaufort and
others, had retired into the library, and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse,
springing towards the door, exclaimed, "Nothing is wanting but a turn of
the key! It would be a fine thing indeed for a girl to arrest a winner
of battles!"

The impetuosity of Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, however, alarmed the timid
Duke d'Orleans. Had he been brought to it by degrees, he might have
consented to the act; but her movement towards the door startled him,
and he began to whistle,--which, as De Retz observes, was never a good
sign. Then declaring that he would consider of the matter till the next
morning, he walked quietly into the library, and suffered the guests to
depart in peace whom he had been so sorely tempted to make prisoners.

At the same time in the parliament all the violent measures taken
against Mazarin were renewed: he was banished and rebanished, with
confiscation of his possessions, and even his books and pictures were
ordered to be sold. A decree had already been passed declaring all
foreign cardinals incapable of serving in France, and of entering into
the ministry. They did not stop there, and certain councillors who were
not in the secrets of the party, and obeying only their passion,
proposed to exclude from the ministry even the French cardinals as being
still too dependent upon Rome. This sweeping motion was carried amid
loud cheers, which resounded through all parts of the hall. Whereupon
Condé laughingly remarked: "There's a fine echo." That same echo was the
ruin of De Retz's hopes, who only so passionately desired to become a
cardinal in order to succeed to Mazarin. Shortly afterwards the division
between Condé and the Old Fronde was declared, and Condé applied himself
to form an intermediate party, a new Fronde, which became sufficiently
powerful to disquiet Madame de Chevreuse and the Coadjutor.[3]
"Imagine," says the latter, "what the royal authority purged of
Mazarinism would have been, and the party of the Prince de Condé purged
of faction! More than all, what surety was there in M. the Duke
d'Orleans!"

    [3] De Retz, tom, ii., p. 205.

    [4] The same, p. 214.

But De Retz was not the only politician who terrified himself with the
idea of such a future looming thus darkly for France. Mazarin dreaded
it as much as he. His authority was almost universally thought to be for
ever annihilated; but a small number of courtiers who could read the
Queen's heart, judged otherwise, and owed to the skilful line of conduct
to which they adhered under these circumstances the high fortune to
which they attained in the sequel.

There is little doubt that, in the first instance, Condé might have
carried off the Regency from the Queen, deprived as she was of her prime
minister, and by her own acknowledgment incapable of governing by
herself; but then the direction of affairs belonged by right to the Duke
d'Orleans, of whom Condé was jealous. Condé, however, preferred to keep
the Regency in the Queen's hands, and by rendering himself formidable to
the Government, forcing it to reckon with him. If that union of the
Princes between themselves and the Fronde faction had subsisted, the
re-establishment of the royal authority would have been impossible: and
the commencement of the reign of Louis the Fourteenth, who, although he
had only completed his thirteenth year, was about, by the force of an
exceptional law, to be declared of age, would have offered the
spectacle, so frequent in French annals,[5] of a state a prey to the
divulsion of factions and the horrors of anarchy.

    [5] Retz--La Rochefoucauld--Joly.

But for the happiness of France and the Queen-Regent, Condé was as
unskilful in politics as he was great in war. He kept none of the
promises he had made to the chiefs of the Fronde, the authors of his
deliverance. The marriage of the Prince de Conti and Mademoiselle de
Chevreuse, which had been the base of the treaty, and involved other
engagements, was, as we have seen, remorselessly broken off. The Queen
Regent, in order to succeed in bringing back her favourite minister to
power, had the tact to conceal his advances, and therefore chose in the
first instance to replace him by Chavigny, who was his personal enemy.
Then she negotiated with all parties, and skilfully opposed the Fronde
to the Prince de Condé, the latter to the Duke d'Orleans, the parliament
to the assembly of the nobles, the aversion to Mazarin to the fear which
the Coadjutor inspired. Her ministers, whom she abused, had only the
semblance of power; all that was real was possessed by Mazarin. From
Bruhl, his place of exile, he governed France; the Queen adopted no
resolution without its having been inspired by him, or met with his
approval. Thus hidden by the Regent's mantle, the Cardinal followed with
vigilant eye the quarrels of the Prince de Condé and the Frondeurs,
fomenting them and inflaming them by every means at his disposal,
prodigalising to Condé promises which must in the highest degree have
alarmed the Fronde, and entangling him daily more and more in the meshes
of intricate, tortuous negotiations, until he had seen the separation,
for which he manoeuvred, irremediably consummated. Then he stopped,
and began insensibly even to fall back. The placing of Provence in the
Prince de Conti's hands was deferred; and in fact it was held in reserve
for the Duke de Mercoeur, the eldest son of the Duke de Vendôme, who
was seeking the hand of one of Mazarin's nieces; and it was also found
inexpedient to deprive the Duke de Saint-Simon of Blaye to give it to La
Rochefoucauld; and a thousand other difficulties of a like nature were
raised, which both astonished and irritated Condé. Since he broke with
the Fronde, it was apparently to unite himself with the Queen, and the
higher his ambition soared, the more necessary it was to cover it with
respect and deference, in order to hasten and secure the treaty on
foot, and to enchain the monarchy with his own fate. But the fiery Condé
was incapable of such a line of conduct. Finding unexpected obstacles
where previously he had met with facilities and hopeful anticipations,
he lost his temper, and resumed the imperious tone which already, in
1649, had embroiled him with the Queen and Mazarin.

It appears also that Madame de Longueville shared in the soaring
illusions of her brother, and that she bore but indifferently well her
newly blown prosperity. Madame de Motteville gives us to understand so
with her usual moderation, and the Duchess de Nemours rejoices to say so
with all the acrimony and doubtless also the exaggeration of hatred.[6]
It must, indeed, be owned, with the heroic instincts of Condé, Madame de
Longueville shared also his haughty spirit. All her contemporaries
ascribe to her an innate majesty which did not show itself on ordinary
occasions; far from it, she was simple, amiable, adding thereto, when
desirous of pleasing, a caressing and irresistible gentleness; but, with
people whom she disliked, she intrenched herself in a frigid dignity,
and Anne of Austria and she had never loved one another. A misplaced
haughtiness towards the Queen is attributed to her. One day, says Madame
de Nemours, she kept her waiting for two or three hours. It is very
doubtful whether Madame de Longueville could have so far forgotten
herself; but it is not impossible that she may have imagined, as well as
her brother, that the fortunes of their house, having emerged more
brilliant than ever from so rude a tempest, had no longer to dread the
recurrence of further ill-omened shocks.

    [6] Madame de Motteville, tom. iv., p. 346; Madame de Nemours,
    p. 106.

They deceived themselves: an immense peril was hanging over their heads.

Immediately that Madame de Chevreuse had seen that the Queen was growing
colder towards Condé, and did not seem disposed to keep the promises
that had been made him, her keen-sighted animosity instantly determined
her course of action, and being for ever separated from Condé, she again
drew towards the Queen with an offer of her services and those of her
entire party against the common enemy. Mazarin, recognising the error he
had committed in giving himself two enemies at the same time, and that
at that moment the redoubtable individual, the man who at any cost must
be destroyed, was Condé, very quickly forgot his grudges against Madame
de Chevreuse, and advised the acceptance of her propositions. The Queen,
it appears, was very averse to receive De Retz, or avail herself of his
services; she detested him almost as much as she did Condé, well knowing
that they were the two most dangerous enemies of him without whom she
did not believe that she could really reign. Mazarin exhorted her
himself to flatter De Retz's ambition, and, marvellously understanding
each other at a distance--almost as well as when in each other's
presence,--they composed and played out in the most perfect manner a
comedy of which De Retz himself seems to have been the dupe, and of
which Condé was very nearly being the victim.

Madame de Chevreuse has already been depicted both in good and evil, in
her natural intelligence, quickness, keen introspection, and political
genius, in her indomitable courage and audacity, and all that she was
capable of undertaking in order to attain her objects. It will now be
necessary to thoroughly understand De Retz's character, in order to
perceive clearly the peril with which Condé was menaced.

By nature yet more restless than ambitious, a bad priest, impatient of
his condition and having long struggled to emancipate himself from it,
Paul de Gondi had prepared himself for cabals by composing or
translating the life of a celebrated conspirator. Then, passing quickly
from theory to practice, he had entered into one of the most sinister
plots framed against Richelieu, and for his first experiment he had
accepted the task, he, a young abbé, of assassinating the Cardinal at
the altar during the ceremony of Mademoiselle de Montpensier's baptism.
In 1643, he had not hesitated to throw himself into the arms of the
_Importants_; but the title of Coadjutor of Paris, which had just been
conferred upon him as a recompense for the virtues and services of his
father, arrested him. The Fronde seemed created altogether expressly for
him. He shared the parentage of it along with La Rochefoucauld. In vain
in his Memoirs does he studiedly put forward general considerations:
like La Rochefoucauld, he was only working for himself, and at least had
the candour to own it. Compelled to remain in the Church, De Retz
desired to rise in it as high as possible. He aspired to a cardinal's
hat, and soon obtained it, thanks to his inscrutable manoeuvring; but
his supreme object was the post of prime minister, and to reach it, he
played that double game which he so craftily concerted and so skilfully
played out. Seeing that Mazarin and Condé were not heads of a government
which would leave to others acting with them any great share of
importance, he undertook to overthrow them, the one by the other, to
carve out his way between them by them, and to raise upon their ruin the
Duke d'Orleans, under whose name he would govern. To effect this he
incessantly urged alike the Duke, the parliament, and the people, to
demand, as the first condition of any reconciliation with the Court,
the dismissal of Mazarin, and at the same time he, under a mask,
exhibited himself as a benevolent conciliator between royalty and the
Fronde, promising the Queen, the indispensable sacrifice accomplished,
to smooth all difficulties, and to bring over to her the Duke d'Orleans
by separating him from Condé. Such was the real mainspring of all De
Retz's movements--even those seemingly the most contrary: first the
cardinalate, then the premiership under the auspices of the Duke
d'Orleans, associated in some sort with royalty, without Mazarin or
Condé. He was fain to hide his secret under the guise of the public
weal, but that secret revealed itself by the very efforts he made to
conceal it, and it did not escape the penetration of La Rochefoucauld,
his accomplice at the outset of the Fronde, afterwards his adversary,
who had a perfect knowledge of his character, and who had sketched it
with a masterly hand, as De Retz also thoroughly comprehended and
admirably depicted La Rochefoucauld. De Retz was indeed the evil genius
of the Fronde. He always hindered it from progressing whether led by
Mazarin or Condé, because he merely desired to have a weak government
which he could dominate. To arrive at that end, he was capable of
anything--tortuous intrigues, anonymous pamphlets, hypocritical sermons
from the pulpit, studied orations in parliament, popular insurrections
and desperate _coups de main_. Such was the man who, towards the end of
May, 1651, was admitted, much against her will, into the secret councils
of Anne of Austria.

Anything was to be tried, however, which might deliver her from the
exactions of Condé. It was absolutely necessary that she should either
grant his demands, or find some support to enable her to resist them.
She accordingly despatched Marshal du Plessis to speak with De Retz, at
the archbishopric, towards one o'clock in the morning, at which hour he
generally returned from his nocturnal visits to Mademoiselle de
Chevreuse. De Retz was willing to seize the opportunity of avenging
himself upon Condé, and probably judged he might do so without bringing
about the return of Mazarin. He accepted, then, at once the Queen's
invitation, and flung the letter of safe-conduct which she had sent him
into the fire, in order to show his confidence in her promises. The
following night, at twelve o'clock, he was brought into the Queen's
Oratory by a back staircase, and a long conversation ensued between
them. Anne of Austria was very caressing in her manner towards the
Coadjutor, and sought, after winning her way to his confidence, to
embroil him with Châteauneuf, by informing him that it was that friend
of Madame de Chevreuse who was the most opposed to his cardinalate,
because he wanted the hat for himself. It must be remembered that France
at that moment had the appointment of a cardinal at its disposition, and
it had been long promised to the Prince de Conti. Anne of Austria now
offered it to De Retz who, in reply, at the end of a long harangue,
during which the Queen interrupted him impatiently more than once,
assured her that he had not come there to receive favours, but to merit
them.

"What will you do for me, then?" asked the Queen. "What will you do?"

"Madam," replied he, "I will oblige the Prince de Condé to quit Paris
ere eight days are over, and will carry off the Duke d'Orleans from him
before to-morrow night."

The Queen, transported with joy, extended her hand to him saying--"Give
me your hand on that, and the day after to-morrow you are a cardinal,
and moreover the second amongst my friends."

A few days afterwards, De Retz and Madame de Chevreuse had raised the
entire Fronde against the Prince de Condé. The worthy archbishop had
announced his approach to the enemy he was about to attack by a cloud of
the same kind of libels, satires, and epigrams, which he had always
found so efficacious in prejudicing the people of Paris against any one
whom he thought fit to hold forth to popular odium. At the same time a
multitude of criers and hawkers were sent through the town, spreading,
at the very lowest price, all the sarcasms which had been composed at
the archbishopric in the morning, to render the conduct of Condé
ridiculous, contemptible, and hateful in the eyes of the multitude.

At length, when the Coadjutor believed that everything had been
sufficiently prepared, he made the Palatine write to inform the Queen
that he was about to go to the parliament. Mademoiselle de Chevreuse was
with the Regent at the time she received this intimation; and the
delight which it occasioned was so great that the virtuous and pious
Anne of Austria caught the archbishop's mistress in her arms, and kissed
her more than once, exclaiming, with no very great regard for decorum,
"You rogue! you are now doing me as much good as you have hitherto done
me harm."

De Retz kept his word, and went to the parliament, but the progress
against Condé was so slow that Mazarin, the Queen, and De Retz, began to
revolve more summary measures, and, towards the latter part of June,
their deliberations ended in a sinister project of again arresting or of
assassinating Condé.

This obscure affair, as yet only partially unveiled, and which probably
will never be so entirely, is not so dark and impenetrable, however, as
to prevent us from seeing, within the shadow thereof, fearful and
criminal purposes, to which even the more open vices of the age are
comparatively light. We are told by De Retz that the Marshal de
Hocquincourt, with more frankness than the rest, proposed in direct
terms to assassinate Condé. The Coadjutor himself, however, Madame de
Chevreuse, and other leaders of the Fronde, but above all Senneterre,
who had about this time obtained a great share of the Queen's
confidence, opposed not only the bold crime proposed at first by
Hocquincourt, but also all the schemes which he and others afterwards
suggested, and which, though apparently more mild, were all likely to
end in the same event.

Rumours of what was meditated soon reached the Prince's ears, who then
saw clearly the nature of his position. He perceived that he had
quarrelled thoroughly and for ever with the Frondeurs and with the
Queen, and that henceforth he was placed between imprisonment and
assassination. He felt certain that this time, should he fall into the
hands of his enemies, he would be treated far more harshly than in 1650,
and that probably he might never see the light again. He despised death,
but the idea of perpetual incarceration was insupportable to him, and
that idea fastening itself by degrees on his mind caused projects to
enter into it which until then had only momentarily crossed it.

Too high-minded to quit Paris as though he were terrified, Condé
exhibited no change in his conduct; merely confining himself to no
longer visiting the Palais-Royal or the Palais d'Orléans, and never
going abroad without a numerous escort of officers and retainers.
Already for some time past foreseeing the storm that was gathering
against him, he had taken serious measures to confront it: he had
strengthened all the fortresses that were in his hands. He had
despatched to Flanders the Marquis de Sillery, La Rochefoucauld's
brother-in-law, under pretext of finally disengaging Madame de
Longueville and Turenne from the treaties they had made with the
Spaniards in 1650, with secret instructions to renew them, and to
ascertain how far he might reckon on the assistance of Spain if he were
compelled to draw the sword. The Count de Fuensaldagne did not fail,
agreeable to the policy of his court, to promise much more than was
asked of him, and he omitted nothing calculated to stir up Condé to have
recourse to arms.

Chance had a share in urging Condé to take a further and almost decisive
step in the dangerous path that was opening before him. One evening,
just as he had lain down on his bed and was chatting with Vineuil, one
of his trusty friends, the latter received a note which directed him to
warn the Prince that two companies of guards were advancing on the side
of the Faubourg Saint-Germain. It was thought that those troops were
about to invest the hôtel. Condé jumped out of bed, dressed himself,
mounted his horse instantly, and, accompanied by a few attendants, took
his way through the faubourg Saint-Michel. On gaining the high road, he
heard the clatter of a somewhat strong body of horsemen approaching, and
thinking that it was the squadron in search of him, he fell back at
first in the direction of Meudon; then, instead of re-entering Paris,
when day broke he sought an asylum in his château of Saint-Maur. He
reached it on the morning of the 6th of July; and it may readily be
guessed what the effect, in Paris and throughout the kingdom, of such a
retreat was, and for such motives. The Princess de Condé, the Prince de
Conti, Madame de Longueville, La Rochefoucauld, the Duke de Nemours,
the Duke de Richelieu, the Prince's most intimate friends, and more than
one illustrious personage, such as the Duke de Bouillon and Turenne,
repaired immediately to Saint-Maur. In a day or two, Condé saw himself
surrounded by a court as brilliant and as numerous as that of the King,
and there he kept up a right royal festivity. After a while he sent a
considerable number of officers disguised into Paris, who bestirred
themselves in every quarter in his favour; and when he considered
himself in a position to hold his own against both the Queen and the
Frondeurs together, he quitted Saint-Maur and returned to his hôtel near
the Palais d'Orléans, desiring to put a good complexion on the aspect of
his affairs and to impose upon his enemies by that bold and high-minded
conduct.[7] He appeared again also in the parliament, now once more
become the battle-field of parties. De Retz, full of his own individual
hatred, augmented by that of Madame de Chevreuse, seconded at once by
the friends of the Duke d'Orleans and by those of the Queen, burning to
tear from the Court and win, by serving it, the cardinal's hat, the
object of his ardent desires, the necessary stepping-stone to his
ambition, brought all his courage and vanity towards enacting the part
of the Prince's enemy. And there, during the months of July and August,
in that pretended sanctuary of law and justice, passed all those
deplorable scenes which De Retz and La Rochefoucauld have related, and
in which Mazarin, from his retreat on the banks of the Rhine, rejoiced
to see his two enemies waste their strength, and work unwittingly but
surely their common ruin and his approaching triumph.

    [7] La Rochefoucauld, p. 83.

A crisis was clearly inevitable. Condé could no longer perceive any
sign of a pacific issue from the position in which he had been placed,
or rather in which he had placed himself, and at his right hand stood
Madame de Longueville and the Prince de Conti, who held no opinions
contrary to those of his sister, urging him to cut the knot which he
knew not how to untie. La Rochefoucauld stopped him for a moment on the
threshold of war, entreating Condé to allow him to undertake fresh
negotiations. The Prince consented willingly thereto. Madame de
Longueville was opposed to it. La Rochefoucauld, speaking to her with
that authority which his long devotion gave him, represented to her the
terrible responsibility which she took upon herself both towards Condé
and the State, and he obtained from her a promise that she would
withdraw for a time from the arena of strife, and accompany her
sister-in-law, the Princess de Condé, to Berri, and allow him to remain
in Paris by the side of Condé in order to make a last essay towards
conjuring the tempest.

The fitting moment has now arrived to examine the conduct of Madame de
Longueville in these grave conjunctures, the different feelings which
animated her, and the true and lamentable motive which determined her
thus to hurry her brother into civil war, and herself with him.

Let us remember:--Anne de Bourbon exhibited extraordinary contrasts in
her character, entirely opposite qualities which, developing themselves
in turn according to circumstances, gave a particular impress to
different periods of her life. She derived from nature and the Christian
education she had received a delicate and susceptible conscience, a
humility in her own eyes and before God that would have made her an
accomplished Carmelite; and at the same time she was born with that
ardour of soul which is termed ambition, the instinct of glory and of
grandeur. This instinct, which was also that of her house and her age,
soon obtained the mastery on emerging from her pious adolescence, and
when she despaired of overcoming her father's resistance to the serious
desire she had manifested of burying herself, at fifteen, in the convent
of the Rue St. Jacques, with her already formidable beauty and the
nascent desire to shine and to please. That desire was at once Madame de
Longueville's strength and weakness, the principle of her coquetry amid
the amusements of peace, as of her intrepidity in the midst of war and
danger. Once condemned to live in the world, she transferred the dreams
of glory which she dared not realise for herself, to gild her brother's
wreath of laurel,--that Louis de Bourbon, almost of the same age as
herself, the cherished companion of her infancy, so witty, so generous,
so bold, that he was at once a friend and a master, and the idol of her
heart, before another object had usurped the place or after he had
abandoned it. In the first and the last portion of her life, which are
incomparably the best, she referred everything to Condé, and Condé had a
confidence in her altogether boundless. The suspicious and penetrating
Mazarin had very early formed that opinion of her, and in the _carnets_,
to which he has confided his very inmost feelings, he depicts her with
the pen of an enemy, but of an enemy who knew her well. "Madame de
Longueville," says he, "has entire power over her brother. She desires
to see Condé dominate and dispose of all favours. If she is prone to
gallantry, it is by no means that she thinks of doing wrong, but in
order to make friends and servitors for her brother. She insinuates
ambitious ideas into his mind to which he is already only too much
inclined." If, in 1648, she became violently enraged against her
brother, it was that, fascinated and misled by La Rochefoucauld, she
thought that Condé, by serving the Court and Mazarin, was false to his
own fame. In 1649, she had only too far contributed to make him enter by
degrees upon that fatal path into which La Rochefoucauld had lured
herself. Here, pride nourished the hope of one day seeing the Condés
replace the D'Orleans. When, in 1850, a son was born to Gaston, the
little Duke de Valois, who did not live, she fretted at an event which
threatened to strengthen and perpetuate a house for which she had no
affection, and in a letter which has remained inedited up to the present
day, she allows the thoughts that had insinuated themselves into her
heart to appear. "I think," she writes to Lenet on the 22nd August,
1650, "that the news of the birth of M. d'Orleans' son will no more
rejoice my sister-in-law than it has delighted me. It is to my nephew
that we must offer our condolence." In 1651, that ambition was carried
to its highest pitch. Madame de Longueville experienced the natural
intoxication that the power and prosperity of her house was calculated
to give her; and when we think of what perils she had just surmounted,
by what homage she was surrounded on all sides, that she was then
thirty-two, that she was in all the splendour of her beauty, and also
under all the strength of her passions, we might well be disposed to
pardon her that fugitive intoxication, if it had not likewise drawn down
disastrous consequences upon herself, upon Condé, and upon her country.

And here again occurs the question we have just raised. Was it Madame de
Longueville who caused the rupture of the projected marriage between the
Prince de Conti and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse? If hers was the chief
fault, we look upon it with regret, that in the eye of posterity she
should bear the blame of such a fault. If she only yielded to the advice
of La Rochefoucauld, we have the more excuse for her, and assert that
the fault comes home to him. As we have seen, that affair is still
involved in much obscurity, and since De Retz himself hesitates, we
ought to feel well justified to hesitate in our turn. But it must be
confessed, the suspicions of the Frondeurs and the accusations of the
Queen's friends have such great weight that it is scarcely possible to
avoid attributing to Madame de Longueville a sufficiently large share in
the deplorable rupture whence so many evils sprang. Her complaisant
biographer, Villefore, is on this point in accordance with Madame de
Motteville. Without doubt the marriage of the Prince de Conti with
Mademoiselle de Chevreuse was far from meeting with universal approval.
The prudes of the Hôtel de Rambouillet, and Mademoiselle de Scuderi in
particular, protested strongly against such an alliance. The old outrage
was remembered which, in 1643, Madame de Montbazon, aided by Madame de
Chevreuse, had dared to perpetrate upon Madame de Longueville; the
audacious manners of the mother also, which seemed to have been
inherited by the daughter; the equivocal reputation of the latter, the
suspected and almost public _liaison_ which she carried on with De Retz.
Vain objections!--which Madame de Longueville could not allege, for she
perfectly well knew all that when at Stenay she had authorised the
Palatine to pledge her word for hers. Other reasons for her conduct must
therefore be sought, and the reasons can only be those which her enemies
have given, and in the foremost place the jealousy of influence, the
desire of retaining over her younger brother, the Prince de Conti, an
empire that Charlotte de Lorraine would, infallibly, have deprived her.

That irreparable error, in bringing about the perilous position in which
Condé speedily found himself, necessarily led Madame de Longueville to
the commission of another error, in some sort compulsory, and which was
the complement of the first; it is certain that more than anyone else
she incited her brother to take the resolution he ultimately determined
upon adopting. La Rochefoucauld says so, and all contemporary writers
repeat the same. We will merely make this essential remark: Madame de
Longueville had at first very readily entered into the reconciliatory
plans of Condé and La Rochefoucauld, and into their negotiations with
the Court; it was only when those designs had failed, when towards the
month of June negotiation had given place to violence, when she saw her
brother surrounded by assassins, liable at any moment to fall under the
blows of Hocquincourt, or to be flung again into the dungeons of
Vincennes, it was then that trembling with fear and indignation, and ill
as she was in health, she rushed to Saint-Maur; and that, finding there
the flower of the aristocracy and the army assembled, she felt her
warlike ardour of 1649 and 1650 rekindle. She thought that nothing could
resist on the field of battle the victor of Rocroy and Lens, seconded by
Turenne, who at Stenay had shown such a lively and tender attachment for
her, and the sentiment of which she had never ceased to treat with all
the exquisite tact of which she was capable. She had also great
confidence in Spain, which was at her feet, and lavished upon her every
kind of deference. She urged, therefore, Condé to fling further
perfidious and useless negotiations to the winds, and to appeal to the
fortune of arms.

But to these different motives, the force of which Madame de Longueville
summed up the value with the authority of her intelligence and
experience, was joined another still more potent over her heart, and
which had been the original mainspring of her resolutions and conduct.
La Rochefoucauld alone has no right to impute it to her as a crime. For
ourselves, we do not hesitate to make it known upon the evidence of
irrefragable testimony; for we are not composing a panegyric of Madame
de Longueville, but narrating certain passages of her life, in which
that of the seventeenth century, with its grandeurs and its miseries, is
so completely identified; and if we feel a sincere admiration for the
sister of the great Condé, that admiration does not close our eyes to
her errors. It is not unseemly to admire a heroine whose lofty qualities
are mingled with weaknesses which remind us of her sex. It is, moreover,
the first duty of history, such as we understand it, and desire to have
it understood, not to stop at the surface of events, but to seek for
their causes in the depths of the soul, in human passions and their
inevitable consequences.

As has been already said, Madame de Longueville did not love her
husband. Not only was he greatly her senior, but there was nothing about
him that responded to the ideal which that illustrious disciple of the
Hôtel de Rambouillet had formed for herself, and which she pursued in
vain through guilty illusions, until that which she sought and found at
its very source--no longer in the school of Corneille and of
Mademoiselle de Scuderi, but in that of her Saviour, in the Carmelite
convent and at Port Royal. Never was woman less prone to gallantry by
nature than Anne de Bourbon; but, as we have just remarked, her heart
and her imagination created in her the necessity of pleasing and of
being beloved; and it was that want, early cultivated by poetry,
romances, and the theatre, and somewhat later corrupted by the example
of the society in which she lived, which lured her far from the domestic
hearth, and hurried her into the brilliant and adventurous career amidst
which we find her in 1651. Then her greatest fear was to fall again into
her husband's hands. M. de Longueville had very willingly followed his
wife in the Fronde; his own discontentments of themselves drove him into
it, as well as his uncertain and mobile character which led him to
embark in novel enterprises with as much facility as it urged him to
abandon them. In 1649 he had figured as one of the generals of Paris,
and had raised Normandy against Mazarin. One year of imprisonment had
cooled him, and in 1651, having recovered his government of Normandy and
tasted some few months of that peaceful grandeur, he found it so much to
his liking as to be not readily tempted to re-embark upon a stormy
course of life at the age of nearly fifty-seven. Reports, only too true,
had informed him of what until then he had only surmised
imperfectly--the declared _liaison_ of his wife with La Rochefoucauld.
He had been greatly irritated at it, and Condé's enemies, with De Retz
at their head, carefully fostered his ill humour, and his daughter,
Marie d'Orléans, afterwards Duchess de Nemours, seconded them to the
utmost of her power.

She detested her stepmother, whose faults her strong common-sense led
her easily to scan, without her own vulgar and commonplace mind being
capable of comprehending the Duchess's great qualities. It was
impossible less to resemble each other. The one adored grandeur even to
the romantic and the chimerical, the other was entirely positive and
matter-of-fact, and absorbed with her own interest, especially in those
relating to her property. Alienated from the Fronde through the jealous
hatred she bore towards her stepmother, who in turn liked her almost as
little, and probably also did not take pains enough to manage her,
Mademoiselle turned towards the Queen, and strove to gain over her
father to the same party. Therein she succeeded by degrees. The Duke de
Longueville could not overtly separate himself from Condé, and at first
promised him all he required; then he shut himself up in Normandy, and
there followed a dubious line of conduct which neither compromised him
with the Court party nor that of Condé. But he recalled his wife
peremptorily, and sent her a mandate to rejoin him. That mandate was
pressing and threatening, and it terrified Madame de Longueville. She
knew that her husband had been informed of everything, and that he was
wholly given up to the influence of his daughter. She feared
ill-treatment; she felt certain at least that once in Normandy she would
no more quit it, and that her time would be passed between an aged,
irritated husband, and an overruling step-daughter, who would apply
themselves in concert to retain her in the solitude of a province, and
perhaps to make her expiate in confinement her bygone triumphs. The idea
of the sorrowful life which awaited her in Normandy produced very nearly
the same effect upon her as the thought of a second imprisonment upon
the mind of Condé. She sought for a means of avoiding that which was to
her the worst of all evils; there was an assured though dangerous
one--war, which would prevent her from repairing to Normandy, under the
pretext more or less specious that she could not abandon her brother.
Such was the design she formed within herself and very soon resolved
upon adopting, and the fresh negotiations which La Rochefoucauld
proposed thwarted her doubly. Should those negotiations prove successful
they would deprive her of the only pretext she had for not rejoining
her husband in Normandy, and she thought it strange that it was La
Rochefoucauld who would expose her to that peril. From that moment
doubtless angry explanations took place between them. She perceived that
La Rochefoucauld was wearied of his sacrifices, that he wished to
reconcile himself with the Court, repair his fortunes, and taste the
sweets of peace; whilst in the eyes of the superb princess the paramount
consideration with him, for whom she had done so much, ought to have
been never to forsake her, should they both together rush to certain
ruin. But La Rochefoucauld was no longer wound up to a tone so lofty,
worthy of the Great Cyrus and of their chivalrous love of 1648, and the
haughty Madame[8] was deeply wounded at the discovery. Nevertheless, she
was not insensible to what there was of reasonable in La Rochefoucauld's
advice, and not to incur the entire responsibility of the part which her
brother might take, she consented to follow her sister-in-law, the
Princess de Condé, and her nephew, the Duke d'Enghien, into Berri, one
of Condé's governments:--a journey which moreover had the advantage of
separating her from her husband. She set out, therefore, on the 18th of
July for Bourges, taking with her the elder of her two sons, the
younger, Charles de Paris, born in 1649, not being able to bear the
fatigue of the journey. M. de Longueville recalled her from Berri as he
had from the capital, and he insisted on the return of his son in terms
so forcible that she was compelled to comply, so far as the boy was
concerned. Thenceforward, being alone and exposing only herself, without
breaking with M. de Longueville, and by using all her wit to colour her
disobedience, she eluded his orders, remained in Berri, forming in the
depth of her heart the most ardent desire for war, but calm in
appearance; sometimes accompanying the Princess de Condé to Montrond, at
others making somewhat lengthened visits to the Carmelite convent at
Bourges. And thus she awaited the issue of the negotiations, counselled
and carried on by La Rochefoucauld, which should decide her destiny.

    [8] The name she figures under in the _Grand Cyrus_.

La Rochefoucauld must indeed have very earnestly longed to bring to a
close the life of fatigue and danger which he had for three years led,
to have been able to cherish any illusion as to the success of the steps
he was about again to take. Where was the hope of regaining the Fronde
which had just been outrageously deceived, after it had given itself to
the Prince de Condé in his misfortune, and had extricated him from it?
If La Rochefoucauld thought that the alliance of the Fronde was
necessary, he ought to have set about it sooner and at the proper time,
persuaded Condé and his sister to keep their word, and sealed the
alliance agreed upon between the Prince de Conti and Mademoiselle de
Chevreuse. He had not done so; and now that he had allowed a treacherous
war to spring up between Condé and the Fronde, by what charm did he
think he could suspend it? With the Queen also all negotiation was
exhausted and superfluous. An understanding should have been come to
with her when she was so disposed, when Condé was all-powerful, when he
could either have more readily abased or exalted the Crown: _Tum decuit
cum sceptra dabas_. But at the end of August, Condé, embroiled with the
Court and with the Fronde, had nothing left save his sword. That was
sufficient, doubtless, to make everybody tremble, but was it enough to
inspire confidence in anyone? La Rochefoucauld obtained, therefore, on
all sides to his advances only very vague responses. The time for
negotiation was passed irrevocably, and whilst La Rochefoucauld
exhausted himself in useless efforts, the Queen and the Fronde concluded
a treaty together, with the common design of overwhelming Condé.

This treaty was the work of Mazarin, the masterpiece of his political
skill. It authorised the Frondeurs to speak against the Cardinal in
parliament for some time forward in order to cover their secret
understanding. The hat was assured to the Coadjutor, high posts and
great advantages to the principal friends of Madame de Chevreuse, the
first rank in the cabinet given to Châteauneuf, and a solid peace
established between Mazarin and the powerful Duchess, under the
condition that his nephew Mancini, provided for with the duchy of Nevers
or that of Rethelois, should marry Mademoiselle de Chevreuse. The draft
of this projected treaty fell into the hands of Condé through the bearer
of the paquet in which it was enclosed being in the service of the
Marquis de Noirmoutier, and the Prince caused it to be printed in order
to ventilate and bring to light the alliance between the Frondeurs, the
Queen, and Mazarin. Madame de Motteville, so well informed of everything
relating to the Queen and the Cardinal, considers that treaty as
perfectly authentic, and she gives the different articles of it, "as the
best means for understanding the changes which were made by the Queen
immediately after the King's majority."

That majority had been declared on the 7th of September in a _Bed of
Justice_, with all the customary pomp. As the first Prince of the blood
did not think it possible to be present at it in safety, during that
evening the Queen in her indignation had whispered these significant
words to De Retz: "Either M. le Prince or I must perish."[9]

    [9] Retz, tom. ii. p. 291.



CHAPTER V.

  CONDÉ, URGED BY HIS SISTER, GOES UNWILLINGLY INTO REBELLION.


ANNE OF AUSTRIA now seriously prepared to make head against Condé, and
with that intent she rallied round her all the forces of the Fronde
united with those of the royal army. In fine, with the firm design of
inspiring the Fronde with perfect confidence, at the same time that the
nomination of France to the Cardinalate had devolved upon the Coadjutor,
the Queen again brought into the cabinet, as a sort of Prime Minister,
the statesman of the party, the friend and instrument of Madame de
Chevreuse, the aged but ambitious Châteauneuf, with the two-fold
engagement to serve Mazarin in secret and to contribute to the utmost of
his power to destroy Condé. In such arrangements, let it be thoroughly
understood, no one was acting with good faith: De Retz and Châteauneuf
in nowise proposed to re-establish Mazarin; Châteauneuf did not dream of
making another man's bed, but, once having attained power, he intended
to keep it for himself, and Mazarin was firmly resolved to dismiss
Châteauneuf as soon as he could. But if these crafty politicians were
ready to betray one another in everything else, there was one point on
which they were sincerely united--the destruction of Condé. At that they
laboured in concert, or rather vied with each other. Queen Anne
manifested therein a fervour, a constancy, a marvellous skill, and
succeeded in carrying off from Condé the chief supports of his great
strength. He saw that war was inevitable, and yet, says Sismondi, he
only yielded to it with repugnance. "You will have it so," said Condé at
last; "but understand that if I do draw the sword, I shall be the last
to return it to the scabbard." It was the women especially who hurried
their admirers into the _mêlée_.

Considering the nomination of the New Cabinet, with Châteauneuf at its
head, as a veritable declaration of war, Condé went to Chantilly, and,
it is said, had a very narrow escape from falling into an ambuscade
which the Court had prepared for him at Pontoise.

He remained for some few days at Chantilly, pensive and agitated in
presence of the great resolution he was on the eve of taking. The
mediation of the Duke d'Orleans, the only one he could accept, offered
no security, the Duke instead of governing the Coadjutor and Madame de
Chevreuse, was then governed by them. His individual inclination was to
come to an understanding with the Queen and even with Mazarin, as he had
very clearly shown. He had continually returned to it; but after so many
lying words and odious plots, the execution of which alone was wanting,
he thought he would be in a better position to treat solidly with the
Court at the head of a powerful and victorious army, than in the midst
of wretched intrigues, unworthy of his character, in which he
momentarily staked his honour and his life. He never permitted the idea
of raising himself above royalty to enter into his mind; he merely
thought that to obtain better conditions from it it was necessary to
render himself imposing to it, and to make himself feared. That is what
was then passing in his mind. Civil war inspired him with horror, and we
may learn from La Rochefoucauld,[1] who was then in his most intimate
confidence, that he long weighed "the consequences of so grave a
determination." Let us be chary, therefore, of accusing Condé of levity;
let us recognise that insensibly his position had become such that he
could neither remain in it nor quit it, in one way or another, save with
equal danger.

    [1] La Rochefoucauld, p. 76.

Among the different motives which rendered Condé averse to civil war,
the passion that he had just begun to feel for the Duchess de Châtillon
must not be forgotten. We shall return a little further on to this
episode in Condé's life. It is sufficient to remark here that it was
grievous to him to quit the lovely Duchess, who then was residing very
close to Chantilly, in the charming château of Merlon or Mello, near
Pontoise, the enjoyment of which had been granted to her for life by the
old Princess de Condé, Charlotte Marguerite de Montmorency, who expired
in her arms at Châtillon-sur-Loing, in December, 1650--a gracious grant,
which the Prince, her son, had hastened to ratify with a somewhat
interested generosity. Madame de Châtillon had her reasons of more than
one kind for being opposed to the war, and in the intimate counsels of
the Prince she urged him to an understanding with the Court. In that she
made common cause with La Rochefoucauld, and was in open quarrel with
Madame de Longueville. Sensible of Condé's passion without sharing it,
she managed that lofty lover with infinite tact, at the same time that
she was deeply enamoured of the young, handsome, and brave Duke Charles
Amadeus of Savoy, Nemours,[2] who from his youth and adventurous
instincts would have longed for war, and whom she alone, seconded by La
Rochefoucauld, retained in the party of peace.

    [2] Charles Amadeus had succeeded to the title and rank of his elder
    brother, the Duke de Nemours, one of Condé's intimate friends in
    youth, who had been killed early in action, even before Rocroy.
    Condé had transferred to Charles Amadeus the affection which he bore
    his brother. The young duke had married the beautiful Madlle. de
    Vendôme, daughter of Duke Cæsar, and sister of the Dukes de
    Mercoeur and Beaufort, and by her he had two daughters who became,
    one the Queen of Portugal, the other the Duchess of Savoy. At the
    death of the Duke de Nemours, in 1652, his title passed to his
    younger brother Henri de Nemours, Archbishop of Rheims, who then
    quitted the church, and espoused Madlle. de Longueville, the
    authoress of the Memoirs.

Everything, however, tended to precipitate Condé towards the fatal
resolution. Prudence did not permit him to remain any longer at
Chantilly,[3] and it behoved him to place himself beyond the risk of a
_coup-de-main_ by withdrawing to his government of Berri, whither he had
already sent his son, his wife, and his sister. It was, it is true, the
road to Guienne, but he might stop there. All the population was devoted
to him, and the tower of Bourges and the strong fortalice of Montrond
offered him a safe asylum.

    [3] La Rochefoucauld, p. 96.

Condé, even after reaching Berri, still hesitated, not wishing to take
any step before again conferring with his sister, who was then at
Montrond with the Princess. There he held a final council, a supreme
deliberation, at which Madame de Longueville, Conti, and La
Rochefoucauld were present. More than one grave motive urged him to war:
the well-founded dread of assassination or of a fresh incarceration, the
ardent hatred of his enemies, of the Queen and the Fronde, the power of
Châteauneuf which certainly had not been given him in vain, the
inutility of negotiations with people who seemed decidedly to have taken
their choice, the necessity of avoiding the fate of Henri de Guise, the
consciousness of his strength so soon as his foot should tread the
field of battle, the promises seemingly so sure of the Bouillons and
many others. At the same time, his good sense, his loyalty, the scarcely
stifled instincts of duty, and his innate aversion for anything which
resembled anarchy, restrained him; and in that prolonged and dubious
struggle between conflicting feelings, there were others which hurried
him onward. Madame de Longueville, the Prince de Conti, La Rochefoucauld
also urged him to declare himself against the Court, and Madame de
Longueville with more vivacity than anyone else.[4] Condé still
resisted, explaining to them all the strength of royalty, the ascendancy
of the King's name, the weakness and treachery of factions, the bad
faith of Spain. Then concluding by yielding, he addressed them in these
memorable words: "You commit me to a strange line of action, of which
you will tire sooner than I, and in which you will abandon me." He spoke
truly as regarded Conti, and perhaps also La Rochefoucauld; but it
remains to be seen whether Madame de Longueville, after having helped to
drive her heroic brother into civil war, did not follow him with an
inviolable constancy, whether she did not share, even to extremity, the
dangers and adversities of the Prince, and whether, during his long
exile, she reappeared for a single moment at Court or in those _salons_
of the Louvre and the Palais Royal, which had witnessed her early
successes, and in which her wit and beauty still promised her fresh
triumphs.

    [4] Mad. de Motteville.



CHAPTER VI.

  MADAME DE LONGUEVILLE COQUETS WITH THE DUKE DE NEMOURS.


HIS determination to unsheath the sword once taken, Condé put his plans
into execution without throwing one glance behind him. Having collected
together in Berri his family and chief supporters, he distributed
amongst them the several parts they had to play in their common
enterprise. After this, accompanied by La Rochefoucauld, he went to take
possession of his new government of Guienne, and there raise the
standard of insurrection, leaving in Berri his wife and son, his sister,
the Prince de Conti, the Duke de Nemours, with the President Violé and
others whom he nominated to important functions. He had placed his
brother at the head of affairs there, and given the military command to
the Duke de Nemours. But the result of these arrangements was
disappointing to him. The Duke de Nemours undoubtedly possessed the most
brilliant courage, but he had neither the talents nor the steadiness of
a general. Still absorbed with his passion for Madame de Châtillon, who,
as has been said, had long retained him in the party of peace, he found
in Berri a counter-attraction in Madame de Longueville who drew him
towards that of war; and it would seem that he occupied himself more
with paying court to the lovely lady than of raising and arming soldiers
and making Berri a focus of resistance, both political and military;
for very speedily the Prince de Conti and he were reduced to defend
themselves in Bourges instead of being able to operate in the open and
make any advance. The new Minister Châteauneuf showed himself worthy of
the confidence of Madame de Chevreuse and the Fronde. He made the Queen
understand that it was necessary to combat the revolt foot to foot from
its very first step, and he persuaded her to march herself with the
young King into Berri at the head of a strong army. He nobly inaugurated
the new ministry by that measure, which had two objects: the one direct
and immediate, to strangle the insurrection at its birth; the other
still more important, to set royalty at liberty far from Duke Gaston and
the Parliament. The city of Bourges, which had shown so much enthusiasm
on Condé's arrival, opened its gates to the King and Châteauneuf. The
strong tower which defended the city, offering no resistance, was taken
without a blow being struck, and instantly demolished. The Princess de
Condé, her son, Madame de Longueville, Conti, and Nemours were forced to
take refuge hastily in the citadel of Montrond. On learning that Palluan
was advancing on that fortress, Conti and Nemours not wishing that the
precious pledges confided to their charge should incur any risk, left
the Marquis de Persan in Montrond, and with what remained to them of
their faithful troops escorted the Princess, her son, and Madame de
Longueville as far as Guienne, which they reached by the end of the
month of October.

It was during that rapid journey and their very brief sojourn in Berri
that certain obscure relations, it would appear, were formed between the
Duke de Nemours and Madame de Longueville, the report of which reaching
Bordeaux, exaggerated probably by interested and malevolent underlings,
wounded La Rochefoucauld and drove him to a violent rupture. A loyal and
confiding explanation might have sufficed to disperse a cloud, such as
at times will obscure the most settled friendships. La Rochefoucauld
brewed a storm out of it which, thanks to his Memoirs, has sent its
echoes down to posterity. His separation from Madame de Longueville was
marked by an eagerness which excites the suspicion that he had longed
for it.[1] He ought at least to have stopped there, but hurried away by
an implacable resentment, he accused her, or caused her to be accused by
Condé, of having wished to betray his interests to serve those of the
Duke de Nemours, giving her even to understand that "if a like
prepossession took her for another, she was capable of going to the same
extremities if that person desired it."[2] The accusation is yet more
absurd than odious. The Duke de Nemours was not the least in the world a
party chief; he was a friend of Condé, whose fidelity could only be
shaken through his love for Madame de Châtillon. To detach him from
Madame de Châtillon was therefore to give him wholly to Condé. Moreover,
Madame de Châtillon, like La Rochefoucauld, was for peace, she had won
over the Duke de Nemours to it, and both together urged Condé thereto.
To carry off the Duke de Nemours from such conspiracy and to seduce him
to the war party, was to serve the interests of Condé like as his sister
intended. Thus the principal and the dominant motive of Madame de
Longueville's conduct was just the opposite of that which La
Rochefoucauld imputed to her. Let us add further that she had always had
a rivalry of beauty with Madame de Châtillon, and that her vanity was
not sorry to humiliate a rival whom she did not tolerate by depriving
her for a few days of a lover of whose attachment the latter fancied
herself perfectly secure. Love and the senses had nothing to do with it
in this matter. The gratification of the senses, it has already been
remarked, did not ensnare her; she was proof against their surprises.
Previously the Duke de Nemours had addressed his ardent homage to her,
but all the attractions of his handsome person and his lofty bearing had
made no impression upon her, and she only bestowed a thought on the
amiable Duke when she had some interest to forward by reviving such
conquest. And this is not an opinion hazarded at a venture; it is
furnished us by a person thoroughly well informed, and who had no
affection for Madame de Longueville; the testimony therefore is the more
valuable: "M. de Nemours[3] previously had not much pleased her, and
notwithstanding the attachment he appeared to entertain for her, as well
as all the good qualities and grand airs of which he could boast, she
had found nothing charming about him save the pleasure he showed himself
desirous of giving her by abandoning Madame de Châtillon for herself,
and that which she had of depriving a woman whom she did not like of a
friend of so much consequence." Now how far had this _liaison_ of a few
days gone? Bussy is the only contemporary who offers any reply to this
question in the cynical light of his _Histoire amoreuse des Gaules_. But
who would accept that satire literally? It proves only one thing, the
unfortunate notoriety which the imprudence of Madame de Longueville
derived from the Memoirs of La Rochefoucauld published in 1662. Before
those Memoirs saw the light, not a word is anywhere to be found on a
point as obscure as it is delicate. After, Bussy was delighted to repeat
La Rochefoucauld, and Madame de Longueville has thus fallen into the
scandalous chronicle.

    [1] "La Rochefoucauld, depuis assez longtemps ayant envie de la
    quitter, prit cette occasion avec joie."--Mad. de Nemours, p. 150.

    [2] La Rochefoucauld, edition 1662, p. 198.

    [3] Mad. de Nemours, pp. 149, 150.

Let us abstain from defending her; although even we should be convinced
that she knew where to stop in that dangerous game of coquetry, she is
not the less culpable in our eyes both towards La Rochefoucauld and
herself, and we do not hesitate to say that she went so far as to
deserve the calumny. Doubtless she was justly hurt by the incertitude of
La Rochefoucauld, who, after having plunged her into civil war in 1648
with no other motive than that of his own interest, would have made her
abandon it in 1651 through the same motive still; which at one moment
impelled her towards the Fronde, at another brought her back to the
Court, at the will of his fickle hopes, and linked her with Madame de
Châtillon for the purpose of engaging Condé in negotiations the success
of which involved their separation and procured her a prison in
Normandy. Yes--she had grave cause of complaint against La
Rochefoucauld. She might have quitted him, it is true, but not for
another. She had only one means of covering, of almost condoning the
single error of her life, which was to maintain faithful to it, or to
renounce it for virtue and Heaven. And it is just that which Madame de
Longueville appears to have done, if that sad and rapid episode had
remained unknown; but there is no favourable shade for those personages
who appear in the glaring front of the stage of this world; their
slightest actions do not escape the formidable light of history: the
weakness of a moment is recorded as an irredeemable error against them.
That of Madame de Longueville, fugitive as it may have been, dubious
even as it was, sufficed to tarnish a fidelity until then victorious
over so many trials; it needed to be atoned for by the sincere
conversion which was speedily about to follow it, and by five-and-twenty
years of the severest penitence; and still further it forces us to place
Anne de Bourbon, in the record of great sentiments and exalted loves,
above Heloise and Mademoiselle de la Vallière.

At any rate the assurance is consoling that this error, which we have
attempted neither to conceal nor extenuate, is the single one
perceptible in the private life of Madame de Longueville. But let us
turn aside from these wretched instances of feminine fragility in one of
the loftiest minds, in order to follow Condé and the march of events in
Guienne.

We will first, however, by a brief retrospect, endeavour to render the
shifting phases of the two Fronde wars more capable of being easily
followed.

Dating from the arrest of Broussel, nothing could exceed the rapidity of
events; the wheel of fortune had turned with such terrific mobility for
those of her favourites who sought to attach themselves to it. The
revolt had, in fact, broken out on the 26th of August, 1648; in January,
1649, the Court withdrew to Saint Germain, at the risk of never
re-entering Paris; in April, the sword of Condé imposed the treaty of
Saint Germain, and the King returned in October. Mazarin shortly
afterwards believed himself strong enough to arrest, in January, 1650,
Condé, Conti, and Longueville. A year after that bold _coup d'état_ he
was himself obliged to flee (February, 1651) from his enemies, and quit
France. At the end of eight months, Mazarin returned with an army to the
aid of royalty; but it required two years of negotiations, intrigues,
and patient waiting, it needed the errors which the indecision of the
Duke d'Orleans brought about, the rash violence of Condé, urged onwards
by his sister, it required, indeed, the entire ruin of France ere the
Cardinal could, after having led the young King by the hand to the very
gates of his capital, resume that place in the Louvre which he had
sagaciously abandoned.

It is difficult to narrate occurrences in their proper order during this
period: intrigues, broken promises, pledges given to two different
parties at the same time, such were the smallest misdeeds of all these
princes and prelates. As one step further in wrong-doing, they entered
into negotiations with the foreigner, and invited armies across the
frontier which devastated the provinces. And through what motives? Gondy
wished to avenge his former mistress, whom Conti had rejected, and whom
an agent of Condé, Maillard the shoemaker, had publicly insulted.
Condé's pretensions were nothing less than dragging at his heels a squad
of governors of towns and provinces who, at his summons, would be ever
ready to raise the standard of revolt and to impose the will of their
leader upon the head of the state, whether Minister, Queen, or King.
Orleans would not yield one jot to his young cousin of the blood-royal,
Condé; Madame de Longueville feared the severity of an outraged husband.
The civil war, in forcing her to flee from one end of France to the
other, or abroad, could alone delay her return to Normandy, her
re-establishment beneath the conjugal roof, towards which she had
conceived such an aversion.

Condé accused Gondy in the Parliament chamber of being author of a
_factum_ condemning severely the Prince's conduct. La Rochefoucauld,
getting Gondy between two doors, treacherously seized, and was about to
strangle him, had not the son of the first President, M. de
Champlatreux, come to the rescue, at the very moment that one of the
bullies in Condé's pay had drawn his dagger to despatch him.

Two days afterwards (17th of September) the King had attained his
thirteenth year, and one day beyond; and by the ordonnance of Charles V.
became of age and capable of governing for himself.

A change of ministry--Châteauneuf being recalled to head the Council and
Molé to the Seals--deprived Condé of all hope of imposing the conditions
of a reconciliation; therefore, as has been said, at a Council held at
Chantilly with his chief adherents, Conti, and the Dukes de Nemours and
La Rochefoucauld, he determined to set out for Berri. The impartial
student who examines the conduct of the Prince de Condé is at this
juncture compelled to draw an indictment against him, under pain of
belying his conscience and the truth; he must concede that Condé rashly
engaged in civil war, and exerted himself to drag France into it, solely
because he could not endure any authority above his own. He was desirous
of being first in the State, of disposing at will among his creatures of
honours, dignities, strongholds, and governments. On such conditions, he
would have consented to let Mazarin, Orleans, De Retz, or any other,
govern the realm, for the administration of which he felt himself that
he had neither the slightest inclination nor the smallest capacity
(October, 1651).

The Fronde is reputed, not without reason, to have been one of the most
interesting as well as _diverting_ periods in French history; that in
which the volatile and frivolous vivacity of the national character
shone with irresistible comicality. How striking was the contrast
between it in its main features and the great Civil War waged at the
same time in our own country! Yet the Fronde had its serious--terrible
aspect, too, in the wide-spread misery it entailed upon France, as may
be seen from the valuable statistical researches of M. Feillet. That
writer cites the following passage from the record of an eye-witness of
what he describes:[4]--"No tongue can tell, no pen describe, no ear may
hear that which we have seen (at Rheims, Châlons, Rethel, &c). Famine
and death on all sides, and bodies unburied. Those remaining alive pick
up from the fields the rotten oat-straw, and make bread of it by mixing
it with mud. Their faces are quite black; they have no longer the
semblance of human beings, but that of phantoms.... War has placed every
one on an equality; nobility lies upon straw, dares not beg, and
dies.... Even lizards are eaten, and dogs which have been dead perhaps
some eight days.... Moreover, in Picardy, a band of five hundred
children, orphans, and under seven years of age, was met with. In
Lorraine, the famished nuns quitted their convents and became
mendicants: the poor creatures gave themselves up to be dishonoured for
the sake of a morsel of bread. No pity, no remorse. An execrable and
sanguinary war upon the weak. In the heart of the city of Rheims, a
beautiful girl was chased from street to street for ten days by the
licentious soldiery; and as they could not catch her, they killed her by
shooting her down. In the vicinity of Angers, Alais, and Condom, upon
all the highways of Lorraine, women and children were indiscriminately
outraged, and left to die drenched in their blood."

    [4] La Misère dans la Fronde.

What could be more _diverting_? The Duke de Lorraine--that restless
knight-errant who preferred amusing himself with civil war to the quiet
enjoyment of his throne--amused the noble ladies of his acquaintance
with a recital of these pleasant incidents; his gallant army, he said,
was quite a providence for the old women....

After further pursuing his appalling statistics of the misery and
horrors inflicted by the Fronde at a later date, M. Feillet
remarks:--"And yet, notwithstanding all this suffering, which we have
only cursorily sketched, at Court nothing else was thought of but fêtes
and diversions; for the young and brilliant bevy of Mazarin's nieces had
come to increase the circle of beauties whom the youthful King and his
gay courtiers vied with each other in paying homage to, and
entertaining. The warm attachment of Louis for more than one of his
Minister's nieces, and especially Marie de Mancini, is well known. In
imitation of their Sovereign, the youthful nobility and a large portion
of the city gallants plunged into unrestrained dissipation--intervals of
licentiousness ever succeeding like periods of turbulence and anarchy.
Such heartless indifference to the sufferings of the people on the part
of the King and his Court evoked the following couplet, which was put
into the mouth of Louis by a contemporary pamphleteer:--

"Si la France est en deuil, qu'elle pleure et soupire;
 Pour moi, je veux chasser, galantiser et rire."

But we are somewhat anticipating events, and therefore return to them in
the order of time.



BOOK V.



CHAPTER I.

  CONDÉ'S ADVENTUROUS EXPEDITION.


CONDÉ passed several months in Guienne, occupied with strengthening and
extending the insurrection at the head of which he had placed himself,
and in repulsing as far as possible in the south the royal army,
commanded by the skilful and experienced Count d'Harcourt. Amidst very
varied successes, he learned from different quarters the bad turn which
the Fronde's affairs was taking in the heart of the kingdom, the
intrigues of De Retz who held the key of Paris, and the deplorable state
of the army on the banks of the Loire.

On receiving these tidings at Bordeaux in the month of March, 1652,
Condé saw clearly the double danger which menaced him, and immediately
faced it in his wonted manner. Instead of awaiting events which were on
the eve of taking place at a distance, he determined on anticipating
them, and formed an extraordinary resolution, of a character very much
resembling his great military manoeuvres, which at first sight appears
extravagant, but which the gravest reason justifies, and the temerity of
which even is only another form of high prudence. He formed the design
of slipping out of Bordeaux, traversing the lines of Count d'Harcourt,
to get over in the best way he might the hundred and fifty leagues which
separated him from the Loire and Paris, to appear there suddenly, and
to place himself at the head of his affairs.

He left behind him in Guienne a force sufficiently imposing to allow of
it there awaiting in security the successful results he was about to
seek. In possessing himself of Agen, Bergerac, Perigueux, Cognac, and
even for a moment of Saintes, and by pushing his conquests into Haute
Guienne, on the side of Mont-de-Marsan, Dax, and Pau, he had made
Bordeaux the capital of a small but rich and populous kingdom,
surrounded on all sides by a belt of strongholds, communicating with the
sea by the Gironde, and admirably placed for attack or defence. This
kingdom, backed as it was by Spain, was capable of receiving continuous
succour from Santander and St. Sebastian, and a Spanish fleet could
approach by the Tour de Corduan, bringing subsidies and troops, whilst
Count de Dognon's fleet, sailing from the islands of Ré and Oléron to
join it, might easily surround and even beat the royal fleet, then
forming at Brouage under the Duke de Vendôme. In 1650, during the
imprisonment of the princes, Bordeaux had defended itself for more than
six months against a considerable army with the young king at its head,
and which was directed by Mazarin in person. Condé, and all his family
were adored there, by reason of the hatred felt for his predecessor, the
imperious Duke d'Epernon. The Bordeaux parliament was also equally
involved in the Fronde as was that of Paris, with which it had allied
itself by a solemn declaration. Under the parliament was a brave and
ardent people, which furnished a numerous militia.

Condé had named the Prince de Conti his lieutenant-general--a prince of
the blood giving lustre to authority, dominating all rivalries, an
appointment calculated to render obedience more easy. He was aware of
Conti's levity, but he knew also that he was wanting neither in
intelligence nor courage. He believed in the ascendency which Madame de
Longueville had always exercised over her brother, and he hoped she
would guide him still. He had confidence in that high-souled sister whom
formerly he had so warmly loved; and although intrigues and a sinister
influence, to which we shall shortly further allude, had diminished the
high admiration he had had for her, and to which he later returned, he
reckoned upon her intelligence, upon her pride, upon that lofty courage
of which she had given so many proofs at Stenay. At his sister's side he
left his wife Claire Clémence de Maillé-Brézé, who had behaved so
admirably in the first Guienne war. He left her _enceinte_ with their
second child, and with her he gave to Bordeaux and placed as it were in
pledge in its hands, to hold the place of himself, the Duke d'Enghien,
the hope and stay of his house, the peculiar object of his tenderness.
So that there, he left behind him a government, he thought, which would
look well alike in the eyes of France and of Europe.

In reality, to what did Condé aspire? To constitute himself the head of
the nobility against the Court? The nobles thought it harsh to be so
treated. To commence another Fronde? To do that, it was necessary to
have the parliaments under his thumb; and he had already been compelled
to threaten the deputies of that of Aix with the bastinado. Did he look
forward to an independent principality, as he later on desired to obtain
from the Spaniards? Or rather did he think of snatching from the Duke
d'Orleans the lieutenant-generalship? It is difficult to divine what may
have passed through his capricious brain. He was constant in nothing. It
was seen later still that he would very willingly have changed his
religion, offering himself on the one side to Cromwell, and to become a
protestant in order to have an English army; on the other to the Pope,
if he would help to get him elected King of Poland.

The income of the Condés in 1609 amounted to ten thousand livres, and in
1649, besides the Montmorency estates, they held an enormous portion of
France. First, by the Great Condé, they had Burgundy, Berri, the marshes
of Lorraine, a dominant fortress in the Bourbonnais that held in check
four provinces. Secondly, by Conti, Champagne. Thirdly, by Longueville,
their sister's husband, Normandy. Fourthly, the Admiralty, and Saumur,
the chief fortress of Anjou, were in the hands of the brother of Condé's
wife; they fell in through his death, and were sold again by them as
though they were a family birthright. Later still, they negotiated for
the possession of Guienne and Provence.

Amidst the cares of administration and of war, Condé carried on an
assiduous correspondence with Chavigny, then fallen into disgrace, who
kept him well informed of the state of affairs at Court and in Paris.
They had assumed quite a new face during the last few months. Mazarin in
his exile had not learned without inquietude the ever-increasing success
of Châteauneuf. He saw him active and determined, accepted as a chief by
all colleagues, skilfully seconded by the keeper of the seals, Molé, and
by Marshal de Villeroi, the king's governor, an ambiguous personage,
very ambitious at bottom, and jealous of the Cardinal's favour with the
Queen. Châteauneuf, it is true, had only entered the Cabinet under the
agreement of shortly recalling Mazarin; but he incessantly asked for
fresh delay; he tried to make the Queen comprehend the danger of a
precipitate return,--the Fronde ready to arouse itself anew, the Duke
d'Orleans and the Coadjutor resuming their ancient opposition, and
royalty finding itself once more without any solid support. Anne of
Austria gradually acquiescing in these wise counsels, Mazarin, who at
first had with difficulty restrained the impatient disposition of the
Queen, finding her grown less eager, became alarmed: he saw that he was
lost should he allow such a rival to establish himself.[1] Therefore,
passing suddenly from an apparent resignation to an extraordinary
audacity, he had, towards the end of November 1651, broken his ban,
quitted his retreat at Dinan, and had resolutely entered France with a
small force collected together by his two faithful friends, the Marquis
de Navailles and the Count de Broglie, and led by Marshal Hocquincourt.
He had by main strength surmounted every obstacle, braved the decrees
and the deputies of the parliament, reached Poitiers where the Queen and
young Louis the Fourteenth had eagerly welcomed him; and there, in
January 1652, after speedily ridding himself of Châteauneuf, too proud
and too able to be resigned to hold the second rank, he had again taken
in hand the reins of government.

    [1] Mad. de Motteville, tom. v. p. 96.

This bold conduct, which probably saved Mazarin, came also to the
succour of Condé. The second and irreparable disgrace of the minister of
the old Fronde had exasperated him as well as had the umbrage given him
by the Duke d'Orleans. He thought himself tricked by the Queen, and had
loudly complained of it. Condé's friends had not failed to seize that
occasion to reconcile him with the Duke, and to negotiate a fresh
alliance between them; and as previously the Fronde and the Queen had
been united against Condé, so also at the end of January 1652, that
Prince and the Fronde in almost its entirety were united against
Mazarin.

Madame de Chevreuse alone, with her most intimate friends, remained
faithful to her hatred and the Queen, dreading far less Mazarin than
Condé, and choosing between them both for once and for all with her
well-known firmness and resolution. De Retz trimmed, followed the Duke
d'Orleans, using tact with the Queen, so that he might not lose the hat,
and without engaging himself personally with Condé.

If Burnet is to be believed, it was at this conjunction that Condé made
an offer to Cromwell to turn Huguenot, and embrace the faith of his
ancestors, in order to secure the aid of the English Puritans.

However that might be, it was not illusory to think that with such a
government and the continual assistance of Spain, Bordeaux might hold
out for at least a year, and give Condé time to strike some decisive
blows. The resolution that he took was therefore as rational as it was
great. It would have been a sovereign imprudence to remain in Guienne
merely to engage Harcourt in a series of trifling skirmishes, and after
much time and trouble take a few little paltry towns, when in the heart
of the kingdom a treason or a defeat might irreparably involve the loss
of everything, and condemn Bordeaux to share the common fate, after a
more or less prolonged existence. Taking one thing with another, Guienne
was doubtless a considerable accessory; but the grand struggle was not
to be made there; it was at Paris and upon the banks of the Loire that
the destiny of the Fronde and that of Condé too must be decided; it was
thither, therefore, that he must hasten. Every day brought him tidings
that jealousies, divisions, quarrels were increasing in the army, and he
trembled to receive, some morning, news that Turenne and Hocquincourt
had beaten Nemours and Beaufort, and were marching on Paris. Desirous of
preventing at any price a disaster so irreparable, he resolved to rush
to the point where the danger was supreme, where his unexpected presence
would strike terror into the souls of his enemies, revive the courage of
his partisans and turn fortune to his side. When Cæsar, on arriving in
Greece, learned that the fleet which was following him with his army on
board, had been dispersed and destroyed by that of Pompey, he flung
himself alone into a fisherman's bark under cover of night to cross the
sea into Asia to seek for the legions of Antony, and return with them to
gain the battle of Pharsalia. When Napoleon learned in Egypt the state
of France, from the shameful doings of the Directory, the agitation of
parties, and that already more than one general was meditating another
18th of Brumaire, he did not hesitate, and however rash it might appear
to attempt to pass through the English fleet in a small craft, at the
risk of being taken, or sent to the bottom, he dared every peril, and by
dint of address and audacity succeeded in gaining the shores of France.
Condé did the same, and at the end of March 1652, he undertook to make
his way from the banks of the Gironde to the banks of the Loire, without
other escort than that of a small number of intrepid friends, and
sustained solely by the vivid consciousness of the necessity of that
bold step, his familiarity with and secret liking for danger, his
incomparable presence of mind and his customary gaiety.

On Palm Sunday, 1652, Condé set forth upon his adventurous expedition.
He was accompanied by six persons, La Rochefoucauld and his youthful
son, the Prince de Marcillac, the Count de Guitaut, the Count de
Chavagnac, a valet named Rochefort, and the indefatigable Gourville,
under whose directions all the arrangements of the journey seem to have
been contrived. The whole party were disguised as common troopers, and
each took a false name, even amongst themselves. For some time they
followed the Bordeaux road, and using many precautions proceeded until
they reached Cahusac, where they encountered some troops belonging to La
Rochefoucauld; but being anxious almost as much to avoid their own
partizans as the enemy, Condé and his companions hid themselves in a
barn, while Gourville went out to forage. He succeeded in procuring some
scanty fare; and they rode on till some hours had passed after
nightfall, when they reached a little wayside inn, where Condé
volunteered to cook an omelet for the whole party. The hand, however,
which could wield a truncheon with such effect, proved somewhat too
violent for the frying-pan, and in the attempt to turn the omelet, he
threw the whole hissing mass into the fire.

The little band having reached a certain spot, quitted the main road,
and began to traverse the enemy's lines. For eight days they encountered
many perilous incidents and underwent incredible fatigue, riding
throughout the same horses, never stopping more than two hours to eat or
sleep, avoiding towns and crossing rivers as they best could; threading
at first the gorges of the Auvergne mountains, then descending by the
Bec d'Allier, and making their way to the Loire. The memoirs of La
Rochefoucauld and Gourville must be consulted for the details of that
extraordinary journey, and all the dangers it presented. No less than
ten times did they escape being taken and slain. Their wearied horses at
last could carry them no longer. La Rochefoucauld was tormented by the
gout, and his son was so worn out with fatigue that he fell asleep as
he went. Condé, whose iron frame resisted to the last, was alone
indefatigable, sleeping and working at will, and always cheerful and
good humoured.

Upon approaching Gien, at which place the Court then was, Condé had
twice very nearly fallen into the hands of parties sent out to take him
alive or dead. Having escaped almost by a miracle, on the last occasion,
soon after reaching Châtillon, he gained information that the army of
Beaufort and Nemours lay at about eight leagues from that place, and
hastened with all speed to join it. At length, to his great joy, he saw
the advanced guard before him, and several of the troopers came
galloping up with a loud "_Qui vive!_" Some of them, however, almost
instantly recognised Condé, and shouts of joy and surprise soon made
known through the whole army what had occurred.

He found the forces of the Fronde as divided as were its chiefs. He took
the command of it immediately; thus doing away with the principal cause
of the jealousy existing between Nemours and Beaufort. He reviewed and
reunited it, gave it one day's rest, seized, without striking a blow, on
Montargis and Château-Renard, and threw himself with the utmost rapidity
on the royal army. It was scattered in quarters distant from each other
for the convenience of foraging, and on account of the little dread with
which Beaufort and Nemours had inspired it. Marshal d'Hocquincourt was
encamped at Bleneau, and Turenne a little farther off, at Briare; the
two Marshals were to unite their forces on the morrow. Condé did not
give them time for that: that same evening, and during the nights of the
6th and 7th of April, 1652, he fell upon the head-quarters of
Hocquincourt, overwhelmed them, and succeeded in routing the rest,
thanks to one of those charges in flank which he in person ever led so
energetically. Hocquincourt, after fighting like a gallant soldier, was
forced to fall back for some leagues in the direction of Auxerre, having
lost all his baggage and three thousand horse. No sooner did Turenne
hear of the fact, than he sprang into the saddle, and marched with some
infantry both to the assistance of his brother officer and to the
defence of the King, who, resting secure at Gien, might have fallen into
the hands of the rebels. As he advanced through the darkness of the
night, the Marshal saw the quarters of Hocquincourt in one blaze of
fire, and exclaiming, with the appreciation which genius has of genius,
"The Prince de Condé is arrived!" he hurried on with the utmost speed.
Having neither cavalry nor artillery, and having sent word to
Hocquincourt to rally to him as soon as possible, he marched on in good
order throughout that long and dark night to join the bulk of his troops
which Navailles and Palluan were bringing up. For an instant he halted
in a plain where there stood a rather dense wood on his left, with a
marsh on his right. Those around Condé thought it an advantageous post;
Condé judged very differently. "If M. de Turenne makes a stand there,"
said he, "I shall soon cut him to pieces; but he will take good care not
to do so."[2] He had not left off speaking when he saw that Turenne was
already retiring, too skilful to await Condé in the plain and expose
himself to the Prince's formidable manoeuvres. A little further off,
he found a position much more favourable; there he firmly posted his
force, determined to give battle. In vain did his officers urge him not
to hazard an action, not to risk the last army which remained to the
monarchy, and to confine himself to covering Gien whilst awaiting the
coming of Hocquincourt. "_No_," replied he, "_we must conquer or perish
here._"

    [2] It is Tavannes who has preserved the details of this interesting
    incident.

Turenne, it is true, was very inferior in cavalry to Condé, but he had a
powerful and well-served artillery. Having encouraged his troops to do
their duty, he posted himself upon an eminence which he covered with
infantry and artillery, drew up his cavalry below in a plain too narrow
to permit of Condé deploying his own, and which could only be reached by
traversing a thick wood and a causeway intersected by ditches and boggy
ground. From such strong position, Condé could, in his turn, recognise
his illustrious disciple. No great manoeuvres were then practicable,
and as time did not permit of an attempt to turn Turenne, it was
necessary to crush him out of hand, if that were possible, before he
could effect a junction with Hocquincourt. The defile was the key of the
position; and both sides fought therein with equal fierceness. Turenne
defended himself sword in hand, and upon the six squadrons which Condé
hurled against him he opened a battery, as they passed, with terrible
execution, showing a courage equal to that of his heroic adversary.
Condé, judging from what he now saw, believed the position in the hands
of Turenne to be impregnable; and it being too late to execute any other
manoeuvres with success during that day, he continued to cannonade the
royalist army till the evening, without any other attempt to bring it to
a battle.

Napoleon has not spared Condé in this affair any more than other
critics. He sums all their opinions up in one piquant phrase, which it
appears he was unable to resist, and which made him smile in uttering
it. "Condé," said he, "for that once, was wanting in boldness." The
dictum is both brief and incisive, but there was no foundation for it,
in a military point of view. There was, in truth, no want of boldness on
Condé's part throughout that campaign: far from it, his whole line of
conduct was a succession of audacious actions and combinations. What
could be bolder than that forced journey of nearly ten days for more
than one hundred and fifty miles with half-a-dozen followers to go and
take the command of an army? What bolder than the resolution taken out
of hand to throw himself between Turenne and Hocquincourt, to cut in two
the royal army and to disperse one half of it before attacking the
other? Did Condé lose a moment in marching against Turenne and pursuing
him sword in hand? Was it his fault that he had to cope with a great
captain, who knew how to select an excellent position, and to maintain
himself in it with immovable firmness? In the attack of that position,
did Napoleon mean to reproach Condé with want of boldness? Turenne, it
is true, covered himself with glory, for he successfully resisted Condé;
but Condé, in not having been victorious, was not in the slightest
degree beaten. The strategy, therefore, on that occasion was
irreproachable. As will be seen, it was in his policy only that he
failed. Condé quitted the army at a very ill-timed moment, in our
opinion, but that step was taken through considerations which had
nothing to do with the science of war.

To revert for a moment to this much-criticised action of Bleneau.
Towards night, Hocquincourt appeared upon the field, having rallied a
considerable part of his cavalry. Condé then retired, finding that his
attempt was frustrated, and took the way to Montargis; while Turenne
rejoined the Court, and was received by the Queen with all the
gratitude which such great services merited. Her first words went to
thank him for _having placed the crown a second time upon her son's
head_.

The terror and confusion which had reigned in Gien during the whole of
the preceding night and that day may very well be conceived when it is
remembered that the safety of the King himself, as well as the Queen,
was at stake, and that the life of the favourite Minister might at any
moment be placed at the mercy of his bitterest enemy, justified in
putting him to death immediately by the highest legal authority in the
realm. Neither were the ill-disciplined and irregular forces of Condé at
all desirable neighbours to the troop of ladies who had followed the
Court; and, as soon as it was known that Condé had fallen upon
Hocquincourt, the whole of the little town was one scene of dismay and
confusion.

The royal army and that of Condé now both marched towards Paris, nearly
upon two parallel lines. But the great distress which the Court suffered
from want of money caused almost as much insubordination to be apparent
amongst the troops of the King as amongst those of the rebels. Little
respect was shown to Mazarin himself; and the young King was often
treated with but scanty ceremony, and provided for but barely.

After quitting the neighbourhood of Gien, Condé, urged by the desire of
directing in person the negotiations and intrigues which were going on
in Paris, left his army under the command of the celebrated Tavannes,
and hastened to the capital. The Count de Tavannes, whom he had selected
to fill his own place, was without doubt an excellent officer, one of
the valiant _Petits-maîtres_[3] who, upon the field of battle, served
as wings to the great soldier's thoughts, carried his orders everywhere,
executed the most dangerous manoeuvres, sometimes charging with an
irresistible impetuosity, at others sustaining the most terrible onsets
with a firmness and solidity beyond all proof. But though the intrepid
Tavannes was quite capable of leading the division of a great army, he
was not able enough to be its commander-in-chief, and he had not
authority over the foreign troops which the Duke de Nemours had brought
from Flanders, and which he made over, on accompanying Condé to Paris,
to the command of the Count de Clinchamp. The army, thus divided, was
capable of nothing great. Condé alone could finish what he had begun.
Once engaged in the formidable enterprise that he had undertaken against
the Queen and Mazarin, there was no safety for him but in carrying it
out even to the end. He ought, therefore, to have waged war to the
knife, if the expression be allowable, against Turenne, conquered or
perished, and to have constrained Mazarin to flee for good and all to
Germany or Italy, and the Queen to place in his hands the young King. To
do that, Condé should have had a definite ambition, an object clearly
determined; he ought to have plainly proposed to himself to assume the
Regency, or at least the lieutenant-generalship of the kingdom in the
place of Gaston, by will or by force, in order to concentrate all power
in his own hands; that he might become, in short, a Cromwell or a
William III.: and Condé was neither the one or the other. His mind had
been perturbed by sinister dreams; but, as has been remarked, he had at
heart an invincible fund of loyalty. Ambition was rather hovering round
him than within himself. But whatsoever it was he desired, and in every
hypothesis--for his secret has remained between Heaven and himself--he
did wrong in abandoning the Loire and leaving Turenne in force there.
That was the true error he committed, and not in wanting audacity, as
Napoleon supposed. It was not a military but a political error--immense
and irreparable. He might have crushed Turenne, and ought to have
attempted it, but he let him slip from his grasp. The opportunity once
lost did not return. Turenne until then was only second in rank; by a
glorious resistance he acquired from that moment, and it was forced upon
him to maintain, the importance of a rival of Condé. Mazarin grew from
day to day more emboldened; royalty, which had been on the very brink of
ruin, again rose erect, and the Court drew towards Paris; whilst,
prompted by his evil genius, quitting the field of battle wherein lay
his veritable strength, Condé went away to waste his precious time in a
labyrinth of intrigues for which he was not fitted, and in which he lost
himself and the Fronde.

    [3] Upon the _Petits Maîtres_, see Mad. de Sablé, chap. i. p. 44.



CHAPTER II.

  POLITICAL AND GALLANT INTRIGUES--THE DUCHESS DE CHÂTILLON'S SWAY OVER
  CONDÉ--SHAMEFUL CONSPIRACY AGAINST MADAME DE LONGUEVILLE.


CONDÉ arrived in Paris on the 11th of April, and found everything in the
utmost confusion. It would be impossible to follow all the petty
intrigues, or even make allusion to all the events which affected the
relative situations of the parties in the capital; but it may be
observed that the tendency of both parties was to hold themselves in the
neighbourhood of Paris. The chiefs of the Fronde hurried into the city,
to receive the congratulations due to their exploits from the fair
politicians who had won them to their cause. The Queen also established
her head-quarters near the capital, to be ready for any turn of popular
sentiment in her favour, and to hear the reports of her spies on the
proceedings of her enemies. She knew what dances were to be given, and
who were to attend the assemblies of the duchesses of the Fronde. On one
occasion when Turenne knew that half the officers of Condé's army were
engaged to a brilliant fête at the Duchess de Montbazon's, he made an
attack on the enemy's camp, and was only repulsed by the steadiness of
some old soldiers, who gave time for reinforcements to arrive. But the
crisis was at hand; for each party began to be suspicious of the other
gaining over its supporters--Mazarin lavishing promises of place and
money, and the Duchess de Châtillon, invested with full powers by
Condé, appearing in the opposite camp as the most irresistible
ambassadress that ever was seen.

Thus matters stood in the early summer of 1652, and "all that was most
subtle and serious in politics," La Rochefoucauld tells us, "was brought
under the attention of Condé to induce him to take one of two
courses--to make peace or to continue the war; when Madame de Châtillon
imbued him with a design for peace by means the most agreeable. She
thought that so great a boon might be the work of her beauty, and
mingling ambition with the design of making a new conquest, she desired
at the same time to triumph over the Prince de Condé's heart and to
derive pecuniary advantages from her political negotiations."

We have already cursorily mentioned the Duchess de Châtillon: it is now
indispensable, in order to thoroughly understand what is about to
follow, to know something more of that celebrated personage.

Isabella Angelique de Montmorency was one of the two daughters of that
brave and unfortunate Count de Montmorency Bouteville, who, the victim
of a false point of honour and of an outrageous passion for duelling,
was decapitated on the Place de Grève, on the 21st of June, 1627. She
was sister of François de Montmorency, Count de Bouteville, better known
as the illustrious Marshal de Luxembourg. Born in 1626, she had been
married in 1645 to the last of the Colignys, the Duke de Châtillon, one
of the heroes of Lens, killed in the action of Charenton in 1649. Left a
widow at twenty-three, her rare loveliness won for her a thousand
adorers. She was one of the queens of politics and gallantry during the
Fronde; and even, after manifold amours, at thirty-eight could boast of
captivating the Duke de Mecklenbourg, who espoused her in 1664. To
beauty, Madame de Châtillon added great intelligence, but an
intelligence wholly devoted to intrigue. She was vain and ambitious, and
at the same time profoundly selfish, moderately scrupulous, and somewhat
of the school of Madame de Montbazon. While both were young, she had
smitten Condé; but he had thought no more of her after becoming absorbed
with his love for Mademoiselle de Vigean. After that elevated passion,
so sorrowfully terminated,[1] and after the fugitive emotion with which
the lovely and virtuous Mademoiselle de Toussy could still inspire him,
Condé stifled his chevalaresque instincts and bade adieu to the _haute
galanterie_ of his youth and of the Hôtel de Rambouillet. A few
insignificant and commonplace attachments, of which no record has
survived, alone excepted, Madame de Châtillon only is known to have
captivated his heart for the last time; and that _liaison_ exercised
upon Condé and his affairs, at the epoch at which we have arrived, an
influence sufficiently great for history to occupy itself therewith, if
it would not be content with retracing consequences and as it were the
outline of events which pass across the stage of the world without being
understood, without penetrating to the true causes which are to be
discovered in the characters and passions of mankind. And, of all
passions, there is none at once more energetic and wide-grasping than
love. It occupies an immense place in human life, and in the loftiest as
well as the lowliest conditions. In our own times, we have seen it make
and mar kings. In an earlier epoch, by detaining Antony too long in
Cleopatra's arms at Alexandria, the formidable tempest gathered above
his head which nearly overwhelmed him at Munda. It played a great part
in the war which Henry IV. was about to undertake, when a sudden death
arrested him. One can scarcely resist a smile on seeing historians for
the most part taking no account of it, as a thing too frivolous, and
consigning it altogether to private life, as though that which agitates
the soul so powerfully were not the principle of that which blazes forth
exteriorly! No, the empire of beauty knows no limitation, and in no
instance did it show itself more potent than over those great hearts of
which Alexander the Great, Cæsar, Charlemagne, and Henry IV. of France
were the owners. We may well place Condé amongst such illustrious
company.

    [1] Mademoiselle de Vigean took the veil on the prince being forced
    to marry the niece of Cardinal Richelieu.

One graceful memento of Madame de Châtillon's power over Condé has
descended to our own day. At Châtillon-sur-Loing, in what remains of the
ancient château of the Colignys, which Isabelle de Montmorency derived
from her husband and left to her brother, in that salon of the noble
heir of the Luxembourgs, as precious for history as for art, wherein may
be seen collected together, by the side of the sword of the Constable
Anne, the likeness of Luxembourg on horseback, with his proud and
piercing glance, as well as the full-length portrait of Charlotte
Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess de Condé, in widow's weeds, there is
also a large and magnificent picture, representing a young woman of
ravishing beauty, with perfectly regular features, with the loveliest
bright chestnut hair, grey eyes of the softest expression, a swan-like
neck, of a slight and graceful figure, painted with a natural grandeur,
and embellished with all the attractions of youth, enhanced by an
exquisite air of coquetry. She is seated in an easy attitude. One of her
hands, carelessly extended, holds a bouquet of flowers; the other rests
upon the mane of a lion, whose head is drawn full-face, and whose
flaming eyes are unmistakably the terrible eyes of Condé when seen with
his sword drawn. Here we behold the beautiful Duchess de Châtillon at
twenty-five or twenty-six, and very nearly such as she has taken care to
describe herself in the _Divers Portraits_ of Mademoiselle de
Montpensier. The head stands out wonderfully. It would be impossible to
instance a more charming countenance, but it is somewhat deficient in
character and grandeur, and quite different from that of Madame de
Longueville. The latter's face was not so regularly symmetrical, but it
wore a far loftier expression, and an air of supreme distinction
characterised her entire person.

Madame de Châtillon and Madame de Longueville had been brought up
together, and very much attached during the whole of their early youth.
By degrees there sprung up a rivalry of beauty between them, and they
quarrelled thoroughly when Madame de Longueville perceived after the
death of Châtillon, that the young and beautiful widow, at the same time
that she was welcoming very decidedly the homage of the Duke de Nemours,
had also evident designs upon Condé. Madame de Longueville had her own
reasons for not being then very severe upon others, but she knew the
self-seeking heart of the fair Duchess, and she was alarmed for her
brother's sake. She feared lest Madame de Châtillon, having great need
of Court favour, might retain Condé in the engagements which he had with
Mazarin, while she herself was forced to drag him into the Fronde. The
quarrel was renewed in 1651, as we have seen, and it was in full force
in 1652. Madame de Châtillon and Madame de Longueville were then
disputing for Condé's heart: the one drew him towards the Court, fully
hoping that the Court would not be ungrateful to her; the other urged
him more and more upon the path of war. We have related how Madame de
Longueville, well knowing the strength of Condé's friendship for the
Duke de Nemours, who was in the chains of the Duchess, very
inopportunely mingled politics and coquetry in Berri, and tried the
power of her charms upon Nemours, in order to carry him off from Madame
de Châtillon and from the party of peace. No one ever knew how far
Madame de Longueville committed herself on that occasion; but, as we
have remarked, the slightest appearance was enough for La Rochefoucauld.
As he had only sought his own advantage in the Fronde, not finding it
therein, he began to grow tired, and asked for nothing better than to
put an end to the wandering and adventurous life he had been for some
years leading by a favourable reconciliation. Madame de Longueville's
conduct in cutting him to the quick in what remained of his tender
feelings for her, and especially in the most sensitive portion of his
heart--its vanity and self-love--gave him an opportunity or a pretext,
which he seized upon with eagerness, to break off a _liaison_ become
contrary to his interests. Thus, in April, 1652, when he returned to
Paris with Condé, and there found Madame de Châtillon, he entered at
once into all her prejudices and all her designs, as he afterwards owned
to Madame de Motteville:[2] he placed at her service all that was in him
of skill and ability, and descended to the indulgence of a revenge
against Madame de Longueville wholly unworthy of an honourable man, and
which after the lapse of two centuries is as revolting to every
right-minded person as it was to his contemporaries.

    [2] Mad. de Motteville, tom. v. p. 132. "M. de la Rochefoucauld m'a
    dit que la jalousie et la vengeance le firent agir soigneusement, et
    qu'il fit tout ce que Mad. de Châtillon voulut."

Madame de Châtillon was not contented with carrying off the giddy and
inconstant Duke de Nemours from his new love, then absent; she exacted
at his hands the public and outrageous sacrifice of her rival. The
reprisals of feminine vanity did not stop there: the ambitious and
intriguing Duchess went further, she undertook to ruin Madame de
Longueville in her brother's estimation. With that object she set
herself, with the assistance of La Rochefoucauld, to decry her in every
way to him, and sought even to persuade him that his sister was not
attached to him as she made it appear, and that she had promised the
Duke de Nemours to serve him at his expense; whilst Madame de
Longueville had never dreamed in any way of separating Nemours from
Condé, but only from her, Madame de Châtillon, purposely to engage him
more deeply in Condé's interests, in the light that she understood them.

Madame de Longueville's policy was very simple, and it was the true one,
the Fronde once admitted. Assuredly, it would have been better alike for
Madame de Longueville, for Condé, and for France not to have entered
upon that fatal path by which the national greatness was for ten years
arrested, and through which the house of Condé very nearly perished;
but, after having embraced that sinister step, no other alternative
remained to a firm and logical mind than to resolutely pursue its
triumph. And that triumph, in Madame de Longueville's eyes, was the
overthrow of Mazarin, a necessary condition of the domination of Condé.
Such was the end pointed out to her by La Rochefoucauld when engaging
her in the Fronde at the beginning of 1648, and she had never lost sight
of it. It was to attain it that she had flung herself into the Civil
War, and that she had ended by dragging therein her brother; that,
worsted at Paris in 1649, she had striven in 1650 to raise Normandy;
that she had risked her life, braved exile, made alliance with a foreign
enemy, and unfurled at Stenay the banner of the Princes. In 1651, she
had advised the resumption of arms, and now she maintained the
impossibility of laying them down, and that, instead of losing himself
in useless negotiations with the subtle and skilful Cardinal, it was
upon his sword alone that Condé should rely. She thought him incapable
of extricating himself advantageously from the intrigues by which he was
surrounded, and therefore urged him towards the field of battle. She had
always exercised a great sway over him, because he knew that her heart
was of like temper to his own; and if passion had not blinded him, he
would have rejected with disdain the odious accusations they had dared
to raise against her, as he had done in 1643, in the affair of the
letters attributed to her by Madame de Montbazon: he would have easily
recognised that Madame de Châtillon, Nemours, and La Rochefoucauld would
not have joined to blacken her in his eyes, as a vulgar creature ever
ready to betray him for the latest lover, save in the manifest design of
embroiling them both, of securing him, and of making him subserve their
particular views. Nemours alone knew what had taken place during that
journey from Montrond to Bordeaux, and the man who is base enough to
constitute himself the denouncer of a woman to whom he has paid the
warmest homage, is not very worthy of being believed on his word.
Besides Nemours has not himself spoken, but Madame de Châtillon and
Rochefoucauld, who have attributed to him certain sentiments, and we
know with what motive.

It would be difficult to imagine a conspiracy more disgraceful than that
formed at this juncture against Madame de Longueville; and that feature
in it the more shameful perhaps was that La Rochefoucauld himself boasts
of having invented and worked this machinery, as he terms it. The three
conspirators were dumb, but through different but equally despicable
reasons. Madame de Châtillon desired singly to govern Condé, and alone
to represent him at Court, in order to reap the profits of the
negotiation. Nemours was desirous of pleasing Madame de Châtillon, and
looked forward also to have his share in the great advantages promised
him; and, lastly, La Rochefoucauld was actuated by a pitiless spirit of
revenge, and in the hope of a reconciliation necessary to his own
immediate fortunes.

But here arose a delicate point, if we may speak of delicacy in such a
matter: in the whole cabal, the least odious was, after all, the Duke de
Nemours, more frivolous than perfidious, and who was deeply smitten with
Madame de Châtillon. He loved her, and was beloved. The return of the
Prince de Condé, with his well-declared pretensions, caused him cruel
suffering, and his rage threatened to upset the well-concerted scheme.
The lovely lady herself could not sometimes help being embarrassed
between an imperious prince and a jealous lover. Happily the future
author of the _Maxims_ was at hand. La Rochefoucauld took upon himself
to arrange everything in the best way possible. It was not very
difficult for him to direct Madame de Châtillon how to manage Condé and
Nemours both at once, and to contrive in such a way that she might
secure them both. He made the moody Nemours comprehend that, in truth,
he had no reason to complain of an inevitable _liaison_, "qui ne lui
devoit pas être suspecte, puisqu'on voulait lui en rendre compte, et ne
s'en servir que pour lui donner la principale part aux affaires." At the
same time, "he urged M. le Prince to occupy himself with Madame de
Châtillon, and to give her in freehold the estate of Merlon." In such a
fashion, thanks to the honest intervention of La Rochefoucauld, a good
understanding was kept up, and the conspiracy went quietly forwards.
Condé had no mistrust whatever. A veil had been cast over his eyes; his
martial disposition lulled asleep in the lap of pleasure and in a
labyrinth of negotiations, and cradled in the hope of an approaching
peace.



INDEX.


  AIGUILLON, Duchess d', her resentment against Condé for forcing her
      young nephew Richelieu into a clandestine marriage, i. 174.

  ANCRE, Marshal d', assassinated, i. 17.

  ANET, Château d', a haunt of conspirators against Mazarin, i. 105.

  ANNE OF AUSTRIA, Queen of Louis XIII. of France, her reception of Mad.
      de Chevreuse on her return from exile, i. 39;
    her dread of adventures and enterprises, 39;
    Mazarin's entire ascendancy over her, 47;
    hesitates to take a decided attitude between Mazarin and his
      enemies, 65;
    evidence of her love for Mazarin, 100;
    her Regency opens under most brilliant auspices, 101;
    the conspiracy to take Mazarin's life determines her to adopt his
      policy, 102;
    orders the arrest of Beaufort, 104;
    her lively displeasure at the duel between Guise and Coligny, 116;
    her jealous feeling against Madame de Longueville, 122;
    retires before the Fronde to St. Germain, 155;
    her endeavour to mortify the ladies of the Fronde by giving a
      day-light ball, 170;
    her delight at seeing Condé and the Frondeurs at daggers drawn, 174;
    secretly confers with De Retz relative to the arrest of Condé, Conti
      and Longueville; gives the fatal order for that _coup d'état_,176;
    orders the arrest of the Duchesses de Longueville and de
      Bouillon, 178;
    quits Paris for Rouen to confront Madame de Longueville, 180;
    the affirmation of the Duchess d'Orleans that the Queen had secretly
      married Mazarin, 201;
    evidence of such marriage, 202;
    finds herself in some sort a prisoner on the proscription of
      Mazarin, 216;
    seriously prepares to make head against Condé, 257;
    her fervour, constancy, and marvellous skill manifested towards
      weakening Condé, 258;
    the great danger of herself, the King, and Mazarin at Gien, 287.

  ANNE-GENEVIÈVE DE BOURBON-CONDÉ, Duchess de Longueville, her birth and
      parentage, i. 1;
    her desire for conventual seclusion, 5;
    her great personal beauty, 7;
    her character, 10;
    suitors for her hand, 12;
    married to the Duke de Longueville, 13;
    her conduct towards a crowd of adorers, 14;
    has a formidable enemy in the Duchess of Montbazon, 66;
    the quarrel between the rival Duchesses in the affair of the dropped
      letter, 71;
    public apology made her by Madame de Montbazon, 74;
    unoccupied with politics at this juncture, 79;
    error of the _Importants_ in not conciliating her, 79;
    scandalised by Coligny's championship of her in the duel with
      Guise, 117;
    said to have witnessed the duel from behind a window-curtain, 118;
    verses on the occasion, 118;
    Miossens (afterwards Marshal d'Albret) tries in vain to win her
      heart, 121;
    her two individualities of opposite natures, 122;
    her defective education, 122;
    character of her epistolary style, 123;
    the different kind of education given by Ménage to Madame de Sevigné
      and Madame de la Fayette, 124;
    the conquest of her heart and mind by La Rochefoucauld, 125;
    _résumé_ of her life (up to 1648), 131;
    queen of the Congress of Munster, 133;
    acquires a taste for political discussions and speculations, 134;
    Madame de Motteville's portrait of her at this period (1647), 135;
    she sacrifices everything for La Rochefoucauld, 140;
    exercises a somewhat ridiculous empire over her brother Conti, 142;
    fatal influence of her passion for La Rochefoucauld, 149;
    throws herself into the first Fronde, 149;
    ultimately involves in it every member of her family, 150;
    arrayed against her brother Condé in civil war, 154;
    she shares all the fatigues of the siege of Paris, 157;
    her energy and intrepidity, 158;
    is given up as a hostage to the Parliament by her husband, 159;
    gives birth to Charles de Paris, _the Child of the Fronde_, in the
      Hotel de Ville, 159;
    is reconciled to Condé, resumes her ascendancy over him, and
      detaches him from Mazarin, 162;
    her embarrassment on reappearing at Court, 163;
    the perilous path she is led into by her infatuation for La
      Rochefoucauld, 166;
    undertakes to mislead Condé and give him over to Spain, 167;
    the Queen orders her to be arrested; she escapes to Normandy with La
      Rochefoucauld, 179;
    her adventures in Normandy. She raises the standard of revolt at
      Dieppe, 180;
    pursued by the Queen, she assumes male attire and reaches Rotterdam
      and Stenay, 181;
    becomes the motive power of "_the Women's War_" or _Second_
      Fronde, 182;
    the message from her dying mother, 183;
    her gracious reception by their Majesties on her return from
      Stenay, 222;
    the most brilliant period of her career, 223;
    the idol of Spain, the terror of the Court, and one of the grandeurs
      of her family, 223;
    her motives for opposing the marriage of her brother with
      Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, 228;
    urges Condé to cut the knot, and make war upon the Crown, 246;
    her conduct, feelings and motives examined at this juncture, 247;
    was she the cause of the rupture of Conti's projected marriage, 248;
    peremptorily commanded to join her husband in Normandy, 253;
    she perceives a change in La Rochefoucauld's feelings, 254;
    follows the Princess de Condé into Berri, 254;
    the Duke de Nemours pays court to her, 262;
    certain obscure relations between them drives La Rochefoucauld to a
      violent rupture, 264;
    a rivalry of beauty leads her to humiliate Madame de Châtillon, 265;
    how Madame de Longueville fell into "the scandalous chronicle," 266;
    her grave cause of complaint against La Rochefoucauld, 266;
    Madame de Châtillon attempts to ruin her in Condé's estimation, 296;
    her fatal policy in the Fronde arrests the national greatness for
      ten years, and nearly ruins the House of Condé, 296;
    the disgraceful conspiracy formed against her, 298.

  ARISTOCRACY in France, its constitution in the reign of Louis XIV.,
      i. 217.


  BEAUFORT, Francis de Vendôme, Duke de (called the "King of the
      Markets"), a suitor for the hand of Anne de Bourbon, 12;
    a leader of the _Importants_, 15;
    a rival of Mazarin in the Queen's good graces, 52;
    his character as sketched by La Rochefoucauld, 52;
    becomes the led-captain of Madame de Montbazon, and the bitterest
      enemy of Mazarin, 53;
    his spite against Madame de Longueville, 71;
    his conduct in the affair of the dropped letters, 73;
    insinuates that they were from Coligny, 71;
    irritated at the banishment of Madame de Montbazon, he enters into a
      plot against Mazarin, 76;
    the ungovernable impetuosity of his vengeance against Madame de
      Longueville strongly stigmatised, 80;
    prepares an ambuscade to slay Mazarin, 95;
    the plot fails, 99;
    is arrested and imprisoned at Vincennes, 105;
    released by the Fronde and becomes master of Paris, 154;
    Madame de Montbazon exercises plenary power over him, 208;
    becomes one of the most conspicuous leaders of the Fronde, 215.

  BEAUPUIS, Count de, detected plotting against Mazarin, escapes to
      Rome, 86;
    his denunciation of the evils of Richelieu's inordinate authority,
      91.

  BEAUTY IN WOMAN, true definition of, 8.

  BOUILLON, de la Tour d'Auvergne, Duke de, conspires against
      Richelieu, 25;
    one of the party of the _Malcontents_, 109;
    joins Condé at Saint-Maur, 245.

  BOUILLON, Duchess de, given up as a hostage to the Fronde, 159;
    quite as ardent in politics as Madame de Longueville, 206;
    arrested by the Queen's order at her daughter's bedside, and thrown
      into the Bastille, 206.

  BRIDIEU, Marquis de, acts as second to Guise in duel with Coligny,
      113.

  BUCKINGHAM, George Villiers, Duke of, his political correspondence
      with Madame de Chevreuse, 19.

  BURNET, Bishop, his assertion of Condé's offer to Cromwell to turn
      Protestant, 280.

  BUSSY-RABUTIN, Count de, value of his satire of Madame de
      Longueville, 265.


  CAMPION, Alexandre de, his mission to Madame de Chevreuse, 28;
    his censure of Madame de Montbazon's conduct, 80.

  CAMPION, Henri de, attributes the conception of the plot to destroy
      Mazarin to Madame de Chevreuse in concert with Madame de
      Montbazon, 89;
    he stipulates with Beaufort that he should not strike Mazarin, 92;
    sought for by Mazarin, he takes refuge at Anet, and afterwards at
      Rome, 97.

  CANTECROIX, Beatrice de Cusance, Princess de, Charles, Duke de
      Lorraine madly enamoured of, 147.

  CAUMARTIN, Madame de, a portrait of Madame de Chevreuse sketched by De
      Retz to please the malignant curiosity of, 21.

  CHÂTEAUNEUF, Charles de l'Aubépine, Marquis de, released from an
      imprisonment of ten years, 34;
    why detested by the Princess de Condé, 40;
    restored to office through Madame de Chevreuse, 57;
    banished to Touraine, 106;
    bides his time for displacing Mazarin, and holds the seals on the
      Cardinal going into exile, 107;
    deprived of them by the Queen, 230;
    restored to office to serve Mazarin in secret, 257;
    nobly inaugurates his ministry by marching with the Queen and young
      King into Berri, 263;
    Mazarin learns with inquietude his ever-increasing success, 278;
    again displaced by Mazarin, 279.

  CHÂTILLON, Isabelle Angelique de Montmorency, Duchess de (sister of
      the illustrious Marshal de Luxembourg), the Great Condé's passion
      for her, 259;
    she urges Condé to an understanding with the Court, 259;
    manages her lofty lover with infinite tact, 259;
    is deeply enamoured of the young Duke de Nemours, 259;
    invested with full powers as an ambassadress by Condé, 291;
    her desire to triumph over Condé's heart, 291;
    her antecedents and character, 292;
    the important consequences of her liaison with Condé, 292;
    a portrait of her at twenty-five described, 293;
    causes of her quarrel with Madame de Longueville, 294;
    she exacts from Nemours the public and outrageous sacrifice of her
      rival, 296;
    attempts to ruin Madame de Longueville in Condé's estimation, 296;
    her embarrassment between an imperious Prince and a jealous
      lover, 298.

  CHAVIGNY, Count de, his career, 231.

  CHEVREUSE, Marie de Rohan, Duchess de, her illustrious lineage, 17;
    marries, first, Charles de Luynes, and afterwards Claude de
      Chevreuse, 17;
    as great favourite of Anne of Austria her extensive influence over
      the politics of Europe, 18;
    her personal characteristics, 18;
    summary of her character by Cardinal de Retz, 19;
    cause of her failure as a great politician, 20;
    her adventures in exile, 22;
    her great ascendancy over the cabinet of Madrid, 22;
    seeks refuge in England, 22;
    Richelieu's designs to effect her destruction, 23;
    acts as the connecting link between England, Spain and Lorraine
      during the Civil War in England, 24;
    negotiates with Olivarez for the destruction of Richelieu, 26;
    was she a stranger to the conspiracy of 1642? 26;
    abandoned by the Queen on its discovery, 30;
    her frightful position, 31;
    her perpetual exile decreed by the will of Louis XIII., 32;
    is dreaded by Mazarin, 33;
    her triumphant return to Court, 34;
    her position and political influence, 36;
    the new relations between her and the Queen, 39;
    she attacks Richelieu's system as adopted by Mazarin, 48;
    procures the return of Châteauneuf to office, 49;
    pleads for the Vendôme princes, 50;
    manoeuvres to secure the governorship of Havre for La
      Rochefoucauld, 53;
    the skill, sagacity, and address of her counter-intrigues, 55;
    tries the power of her charms on Mazarin, 55;
    devotes her whole existence to political intrigue and conspiracy,
      56;
    want of precaution in her attacks upon Mazarin, 58;
    her curious struggle for supremacy with the Prime Minister, 58;
    the head and mainspring of the _Importants_, 58;
    her tactics to displace Mazarin in favour of Châteauneuf, 59;
    she organises a _coup-de-main_ to destroy Mazarin, 62;
    arranges with the Cardinal the composition of Madame de Montbazon's
      apology, 74;
    her politic purpose of a fête to the Queen foiled by the insane
      pride of Madame de Montbazon, 76;
    her efforts to deprive Mazarin of supporters, 80;
    her share in Beaufort's plot, 82;
    Madame de Montbazon only an instrument in her hands, 89;
    her behaviour on the failure of the plot, 106;
    recommended by the Queen to withdraw from Court, 107;
    carries on a vast correspondence under the mantle of the English
      embassy with Lord Goring, Croft, Vendôme, and Bouillon, and the
      rest of the _Malcontents_, 109;
    her irritation at being prohibited from visiting the Queen of
      England, 143;
    Mazarin watches her every movement, 144;
    ordered to retire to Angoulême, she goes for a third time into
      exile, 144;
    her bark is captured by the English Parliamentarians and she is
      carried into the Isle of Wight, 146;
    Mazarin has Montresor arrested in hopes of possessing himself of her
      costly jewels, 146;
    applies herself to maintain an alliance between Spain, Austria and
      Lorraine--the last basis of her own political reputation, 147;
    preserves her sway over the Duke de Lorraine, 148;
    frustrates Mazarin's projects to win over the Duke, 148;
    becomes once more the soul of every intrigue planned against the
      government, 148;
    constitutes herself the mediatress between the Queen and the
      Frondeurs, 206;
    partially restored to the Queen's confidence, 210;
    assisted in her political intrigues by the Marquis de Laigues, 210;
    a splendid supper given to her by Madame de Sevigné, 211;
    forms a plan with the Princess Palatine of a grand aristocratic
      league against Mazarin, 224;
    the Fronde in 1651 was Madame de Chevreuse, 225;
    she procures Condé's release from prison, 225;
    her resentment at the rupture of her daughter's marriage, 232;
    she raises the entire Fronde against Condé, 242;
    opposes the schemes to assassinate Condé, 243;
    Châteauneuf, her friend and instrument, is made Prime Minister, 257;
    remains staunch to the Queen and Mazarin through the last Fronde,
      280.

  CHEVREUSE, Charlotte Marie de Lorraine, Mademoiselle de, her projected
      marriage with the Prince de Conti, 224;
    supreme importance of such marriage, 225;
    disastrous results of its rupture, 232;
    impetuously proposes to turn the key upon Condé, Conti and Beaufort
      at the Palais d'Orleans, 233;
    her suspected and almost public _liaison_ with De Retz, 249;
    dies suddenly of a fever, unmarried, 224.

  CINQ MARS, Henri de, undermines Richelieu with Louis XIII., 25;
    his death-warrant, 29.

  COLIGNY, Count Maurice de (grandson of the famous Admiral de Coligny),
      an adorer of Madame de Longueville, 14;
    the dropped letters falsely attributed to him, 71;
    as champion of Madame de Longueville, he challenges the Duke de
      Guise, 113;
    fatal result of the duel, 117;
    dies of his wounds and of despair, 117;
    scandalous verses on the occasion, 118.

  COETQUEN, Marquis de, hospitably receives Madame de Chevreuse when
      exiled, 146.

  CONDÉ, Louis de Bourbon, Prince de, arbiter of the political situation
      after Rocroy, 80;
    his furious anger at Madame de Montbazon's insult to his sister,
      111;
    hailed by the Queen as the liberator of France, 111;
    receives into his house Coligny wounded in duel with Guise, 116;
    the state in which he found Paris after his victory of Lens: he
      offers his sword to the Queen, 154;
    applies himself to giving the new _Importants_ a harsh lesson, 155;
    marches upon Paris and places it under siege, 156;
    the climax of his fame and fortune as defender and saviour of the
      throne, 164;
    he tyrannises over the Court and government, 168;
    he insults Mazarin and embarrasses the Queen, 169;
    his want of capacity for business, 172;
    his train of _petits-maîtres_, 172;
    on the murder of one of his servants he tries to crush the Fronde
      leaders, 173;
    forces the young Duke de Richelieu to marry clandestinely
      Mademoiselle de Pons, 174;
    wounds the Queen's pride by compelling her to receive Jarzé whom she
      had banished for fatuously believing that she had loved him, 175;
    arrested on the authority of his own signature and imprisoned at
      Vincennes, 177;
    what constituted the strength of the Princes' party in the Second
      Fronde, 188;
    the majority of the women who meddled with politics were, through
      sympathy, of his party, 203;
    his aged mother supplicates in vain for his release, and returns
      home to die, 204;
    his liberation effected by no other power than that of female
      influence, 206;
    he treats Mazarin with contempt at Havre, and on his release becomes
      master of the situation, 215;
    is courted by both the Fronde and Queen's party, 215;
    eight hundred princes and nobles partisans of Condé, 217;
    his sole error not having a fixed and unalterable object, 230;
    applies himself to form a new Fronde, 234;
    resumes the imperious tone which had previously embroiled him with
      the Queen and Mazarin, 237;
    Hocquincourt proposes to assassinate Condé, 243;
    he retreats to St. Maur and holds a Court there, 245;
    reappears in Parliament, 245;
    Châteauneuf and Mazarin labour to destroy him, 257;
    he narrowly escapes an ambuscade at Pontoise, 258;
    motives which rendered him averse to civil war, 259;
    his final determination to unsheath the sword, 260;
    raises the standard of revolt in Guienne, 262;
    his adventurous expedition, 275;
    to what did Condé aspire? 277;
    his inconstancy--offers himself to Cromwell and to become Protestant
      to have an English army, 278-280;
    the income and possessions of his family, 278;
    he escapes for the tenth time being taken and slain, 282;
    takes command of the Fronde forces and throws himself upon the royal
      army, 283;
    routs Hocquincourt and attacks Turenne unsuccessfully, 285;
    unjust accusation of Napoleon I. that Condé wanted boldness at
      Bleneau, 286;
    he leaves the army and hastens to Paris, 287;
    in abandoning the Loire he commits an immense and irreparable
      error, 289;
    invests Madame de Châtillon with full powers as an ambassadress,
      291;
    imbued by her with a design for peace by means the most
      agreeable, 291;
    a graceful memento of her power over him still existing in the
      ancient Château of the Colignys, 293;
    Madame de Châtillon and Madame de Longueville dispute for Condé's
      heart, 294;
    the overthrow of Mazarin a necessary condition of the domination of
      Condé, 296;
    is advised by his sister to rely upon his sword alone, 297.

  CONDÉ, Charlotte Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess de Bourbon
      (mother of the Great Condé and Madame de Longueville), her
      influence with Anne of Austria, 39;
    her detestation of Madame de Chevreuse, 40;
    tries to destroy her hold upon the Queen, 40;
    her lively resentment at the insult to her daughter in the affair of
      the dropped letters, 73;
    demands a public reparation from Madame de Montbazon, 74;
    her demeanour during the "mummeries" of the apology, 74;
    obtains the privilege of never associating with Madame de
      Montbazon, 75;
    supplicates in vain for Condé's release, and returns home to die,
      204.

  CONDÉ, Claire Clemence de Maillé, Princess de Bourbon (daughter of the
      Duke de Brézé, and wife of the Great Condé), shut up in Bordeaux
      with the Dukes de Bouillon and de Rochefoucauld during "the
      Women's War," 200, 204;
    only maintains herself in Bordeaux through the aid of the rabble
      _va-nu-pieds_, 205;
    forced to take refuge hastily in the citadel of Montrond, 263.

  CONTI, Armand de Bourbon, Prince de (brother of the Great Condé), his
      extravagant adoration of his sister, Madame de Longueville, 141;
    marries Anne Marie Martinozzi, niece of Mazarin, 142;
    declared _generalissimo_ of the army of the king, 159;
    the problem as to who was the author of the rupture of his marriage
      with Madame de Chevreuse, 227;
    his ardent passion for her, 231;
    is made lieutenant-general in Guienne by Condé, 276;
    finishes, where he begun life, with theology, 142.

  CORNEILLE, Pierre, his _Emilie_ painted as a perfect heroine, 82.


  FIESQUE, Gillona d'Harcourt, Countess de, 195.

  FOUQUEROLLES, Madame de, her terrible anxiety lest she should be
      compromised by the dropped letters, 73;
    confides the secret to La Rochefoucauld, 73;
    the letters are burnt in the Queen's presence, 73.

  FRONDE, the, what gave it birth and sustained it, 149;
    _Day of the Barricades_, 153;
    the royal power attacked by three parties simultaneously, 153;
    the adherents of the Fronde, 156;
    initiation of the Civil War, 159;
    sordid selfishness of the Frondeurs, 161;
    carries everything before it in 1651, 223;
    brief retrospect of the two Fronde wars, 267;
    one of the most interesting as well as diverting periods in French
      history, 269;
    contrast between its main features and the contemporary civil war in
      England, 270;
    the wide-spread misery it entailed on France, 270.


  GUISE, Henri, Duke de Guise (grandson of the _Balafré_), espouses the
      cause of Madame de Montbazon in the affair of the dropped
      letters, 73;
    confronts and defies the victorious Condés, 112;
    fights a duel with Coligny, the champion of Madame de
      Longueville, 115;
    his insulting words on unsheathing his sword, 115;
    result of the duel on party feeling in France, 117;
    his _liaison_ with Anne de Gonzagua, 193;
    becomes unfaithful to her and elopes with the Countess de
      Bossuet, 194.

  GUYMÉNÉ, Anne de Rohan, Princess de (sister-in-law of Madame de
      Chevreuse, and daughter-in-law of Madame Montbazon), her numerous
      crowd of old and young adorers, 37;
    her flirtation with Mazarin, 56;
    furious at having been abandoned by De Retz, offers the Queen to get
      him confined in a cellar, 209.


  HACQUEVILLE, Monsieur de, refuses to be a go-between of De Retz and
      Madame de Chevreuse, 211.

  HAUTEFORT, Marie de (afterwards Duchess de Schomberg), influence of
      her piety and virtue, 37;
    witnesses the arrest of Beaufort, 105.

  HENRIETTA MARIA, Queen of Charles I. of England, her warm reception of
      Madame de Chevreuse, 22;
    seeks an Asylum in France from the Parliamentarians, 143;
    asserted to have secretly married her equerry, Jermyn, 202.

  HOCQUINCOURT, Charles de Monchy, Marshal d', proclaims Madame de
      Montbazon "la belle des belles," 70;
    is beaten by Condé at Bleneau, 284.

  HOLLAND, Henry Rich, Earl of, his political correspondence with Madame
      de Chevreuse, 19;
    encourages the faction of Vendôme, Vieuville, and La Valette, 23.


  IMPORTANTS, the--Rochefoucauld's account of that faction, 77;
    irritated by the banishment of their fascinating lady-leader, Madame
      de Montbazon, they plot to murder Mazarin, 78;
    their ruin decided upon by the Queen and Mazarin, 79;
    their error in not conciliating Madame de Longueville, 79;
    was the plot real or imaginary--a point of the highest historical
      importance, 83;
    failure of the plot and ruin of the faction, 104.


  JOINVILLE, Prince de (son of Charles de Lorraine), suitor for the hand
      of Anne de Bourbon, 12.


  LAIGUES, Marquis de, declares himself a lover of Madame de Chevreuse
      to gain political importance, 210.

  LONGUEVILLE, Duchess de, see ANNE DE BOURBON.

  LONGUEVILLE, Marie d'Orleans, see Duchess de NEMOURS.

  LONGUEVILLE, Henry de Bourbon, Duke de, marries Anne de Bourbon, 13;
    titular lover of Madame de Montbazon, 70;
    plenipotentiary at the Congress of Munster in 1645, 132;
    gives up the Duchess as a hostage to the Fronde, 159;
    raises Normandy against Mazarin, 158;
    he imperatively commands the Duchess to join him in Normandy, 253.

  LORET, his rhyming description of the supper given by Madame de
      Sevigné to Madame to Chevreuse, 212.

  LORRAINE, Charles IV., Duke of, involved in the conspiracy of Soissons
      through Madame de Chevreuse, 26;
    prefers amusing himself with civil war to the quiet enjoyment of his
      throne, 271.

  LOUIS _the Just_ (XIII. of France), signs the death warrant of his
      favourite, Cinq Mars, 29;
    his decree of exile against Madame de Chevreuse, 33.

  LOUIS XIV., his majority declared, 256.

  LUYNES, Charles de, Favourite of Louis XIII., marries Marie de Rohan
      (afterwards Duchess de Chevreuse), 17

  LUYNES, the (late) Duke de, aided the Pope against the Garibaldians,
      18.


  MAULEVRIER, the Marquis de, writer of the dropped letters addressed to
      Madame de Fouquerolles, 13.

  MAZARIN, Jules, Cardinal, succeeds Richelieu as Prime Minister, 32;
    his origin, 44;
    is hated by the nobles, parliament, and middle classes, 44;
    installed in office, 45;
    his first service to Anne of Austria, 45;
    his striking personal resemblance to Buckingham, 46;
    how he obtained entire sway over the Queen-Regent, 47;
    applies himself to gain her heart, 47;
    finds a formidable opponent to his policy in Madame de
      Chevreuse, 48, 54;
    is terrified by her matrimonial projects, 54;
    flirts with Madame de Chevreuse, 55;
    his attentions to Madame de Guyméné, 56;
    his difficulty to make the Queen comprehend his policy towards
      Spain, 60;
    declares that Madame de Chevreuse would ruin France, 61;
    forewarned of a conspiracy to destroy him, 62;
    the great families opposed to him, 63;
    his anxieties and perplexities, 64;
    the relations between him and the Queen, 64;
    his intervention in the quarrel of the rival Duchesses, 74;
    his resolution in confronting the plot of the _Importants_, 79;
    did Mazarin owe all his great career to a falsehood cunningly
      invented and audaciously sustained? 83;
    the plan of the attack upon him, 92;
    escapes assassination from Beaufort's nocturnal ambuscade, 99;
    compels the Queen to choose her part by addressing himself to her
      heart, 102;
    becomes absolute master of the Queen's heart, 102;
    banishes the conspirators and arrests Beaufort, 106;
    his tactics and political sagacity, 111;
    first introduces Italian Opera at the French Court, 135;
    concludes a peace with the Fronde parliament, 161;
    insulted by Condé, 169;
    what constitutes the strength of his party in the _Second_
      Fronde, 187;
    goes into Guienne with the royal army, 205;
    banished by the Fronde, 215;
    treated with contempt by Condé at Havre, 215;
    with difficulty finds a refuge at Bruhl, 216;
    in his exile governs the Queen as absolutely as ever, 217;
    his immense blunder (in 1650), 225;
    rebanished and his possessions confiscated, 234;
    governs France from Bruhl, 236;
    foments quarrels between Condé and the Fronde, 236;
    composes with the Queen a political comedy of which De Retz became
      the dupe and Condé very nearly the victim, 238;
    the draught of his treaty with the Fronde, the masterpiece of his
      political skill, falls into Condé's hands, 256;
    alarmed at the success of Châteauneuf, he breaks his ban, and
      returns to France, 279;
    Condé and the Fronde united against him, 280;
    to gain supporters lavishly promises place and money, 290.

  MEDICI, Marie de (Queen of Henry IV. and mother of Louis XIII.), her
      imprisonment of Charlotte de Montmorency, 2;
    conspires against Richelieu, 28.

  MIOSSENS, Count de (afterwards Marshal d'Albret), tries unsuccessfully
      to win the heart of Madame de Longueville, 122;
    gives place to La Rochefoucauld, 130.

  MONTAGU, Lord, the intimate adviser of Queen Henrietta Maria, and
      slave of Madame de Chevreuse, 24;
    Anne of Austria's confidence in him, 37;
    his mission to Madame de Chevreuse, 38;
    becomes a bigot and a devotee, 38.

  MONTBAZON, Hercule de Rohan, Duke de (father of Madame de Chevreuse
      and the Prince de Guyméné), marries at sixty-one Marie d'Avangour
      aged sixteen, 67;
    recommends the example of Marie de Medici to his young wife and
      takes her to Court, 67.

  MONTBAZON, Marie d'Avangour, Duchess de, called by d'Hocquincourt "la
      belle des belles," the youthful stepmother of Madame de Chevreuse,
      her parentage and antecedents, 67;
    married at sixteen to a husband of sixty-one, 67;
    her personal and mental characteristics, 68;
    contrast in manners between her and Madame de Longueville, 69;
    her numerous adorers; the Duke de Beaufort her titular lover, 70;
    her malignant hatred of Madame de Longueville, 71;
    employs her influence over the houses of Vendôme and Lorraine to the
      injury of her rival, 71;
    the affair of the dropped letters, 71;
    the party of the _Importants_ espouse her cause, 73;
    she is compelled to make a public apology before the Queen and
      Court, 74;
    the pretended reconciliation only a fresh declaration of war, 75;
    her conduct at the collation given the Queen by Madame de
      Chevreuse, 76;
    is banished by the King's order, 76;
    she inveigles Beaufort into a plot to destroy Mazarin, 89.

  MONTESPAN, Françoise-Athenais de Rochechouart Mortemart, Duchess de,
      her fame as a beauty, 9;
    relations to her of the Dukes de Longueville and Beaufort, 14.

  MONTPENSIER, Anne Marie Louise d'Orleans (known as _La Grande
      Mademoiselle_), daughter of Gaston, Duke d'Orleans and cousin of
      Louis XIV., preserves the text of the dropped letters, 72;
    gives the two speeches made on the occasion of Madame de Montbazon's
      reparation, 74.

  MOTTEVILLE, Frances Bertaut, Madame de, her amusing recital of the
      "mummeries" in the affair of the dropped letters, 74;
    her account of the Queen's reception of the news of the abortive
      attempt to kill Mazarin, 103;
    her portrait of Madame de Longueville, 135;
    the principal motive which urged La Rochefoucauld to woo the
      Duchess, 140.


  NEMOURS, Marie d'Orleans, Duchess de (daughter of Henri, Duke de
      Longueville), her harsh censure of the pride and impracticability
      of the Condés, 165;
    quits Madame de Longueville to take refuge in a convent, 180;
    moves heaven and earth for the release of Condé that he might keep
      watch over the Duchess de Châtillon, 208;
    her character, 212;
    the enemy of the Fronde and the Condés, 227;
    her detestation of Madame de Longueville, 252.

  NEMOURS, Charles Amadeus, of Savoy, Duke de, prompted by the Duchess
      de Châtillon, his mistress, embraces the cause of Condé, 208;
    pays court to Madame de Longueville instead of making active war in
      Berri, 262;
    the obscure relations between them at this juncture, drives La
      Rochefoucauld to a violent rupture with Madame de Longueville,
      264.


  ORLEANS, Gaston, Duke d' (brother of Louis XIII.), conspires against
      Richelieu, 25;
    his incapacity to govern, 171;
    his jealousy of the influence of Condé and of Mazarin, 171;
    makes De Retz his confidant, who obtains his assent to the arrest of
      the Princes, 176;
    becomes the head of a fifth party in the Second Fronde, 200;
    consents to the liberation of the Princes on promise that his
      daughter should marry Condé's son, 207;
    governed by De Retz and Madame de Chevreuse, 258.


  PETITS-MAÎTRES, the train of Condé called, their character, 288.

  PALATINE, Anne de Gonzagua, Princess (widow of Edward Prince
      Palatine), peculiarities of her epistolary style, 124;
    her large intelligence, solidity, refinement and ingenuity of
      thought, 124;
    becomes the head and mainspring of the Princes' party, or Second
      Fronde, 179;
    the formidable political opponent of Mazarin, 179;
    her extraordinary political and diplomatical ability, 189;
    her antecedents, 190;
    her _liaison_ with Henri de Guise under a promise of marriage, 193;
    disguised in male attire she joins her lover at Besançon, 193;
    abandoned by the volatile de Guise, who elopes with the Countess de
      Bossuet, she returns to Paris, 194;
    is married to Prince Edward, Count Palatine of the Rhine, 194;
    by her conciliatory tact she obtains the esteem of all parties in
      the Fronde, 196;
    De Retz's eulogium and Madame de Motteville's opinion of her, 196;
    she operates on behalf of the imprisoned Princes, and negotiates
      four different treaties for their deliverance, 198;
    an alliance with the two camps concluded by her with De Retz, 224;
    she conducts with consummate skill the negotiation between Madame de
      Chevreuse and Madame de Longueville, 227.

  PHALZBOURG, Princess de (sister of Charles IV. of Lorraine), acts as a
      spy over Madame de Chevreuse in the interest of Mazarin, 147.

  POLITICAL INTRIGUE, an affair of fashion among the ladies of Anne of
      Austria's Court, 56.


  RAMBOUILLET, Hotel de, 9.

  RETZ, John Francis Paul Gondi, Cardinal de, the evil genius of the
      Fronde, 151;
    his influence over the Parisians as Coadjutor, 151;
    his character--ladies of gallantry his chief political agents, 152;
    his conspicuous merits and faults, 172;
    his master-stroke of address, 201;
    his best concerted measures abortive through his inclination for the
      fair sex, 208;
    fails to acquire the confidence of anyone--is threatened with
      assassination, 209;
    lends an ear to Cromwell and contracts a close friendship with
      Montrose, 209;
    has the same interests with Madame de Chevreuse in securing the
      union of her daughter with Conti, 210;
    an analysis of his character, antecedents, and aspirations, 293;
    admitted unwillingly into the secret councils of the Queen, 240;
    his midnight interview with Anne of Austria, 241;
    holds the key of Paris, 275;
    he trims and follows the Duke d'Orleans, 280.

  RICHELIEU, Cardinal de, his government through terror, 24;
    conspiracy to destroy him, 26-30;
    result of his efforts to consolidate the regal power, 32.

  RICHELIEU, Duke de, engaged to Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, but forced
      by Condé to marry clandestinely when under age, Mademoiselle de
      Pons, 174.

  ROCHEFOUCAULD, Francis, second Duke de la--his career as Prince de
      Marsillac, 127;
    his character of the Duchess de Longueville, 10;
    his advice to Madame de Chevreuse, 39;
    Madame de Fouquerolles confides to him the secret of the dropped
      letters, 73;
    he delivers her and her lover from their terrible anxiety, 73;
    seeks to hush up and terminate the quarrel of the rival Duchesses,
      80;
    constitutes himself the champion of Madame de Chevreuse's innocence
      of Beaufort's plot, 83;
    allies himself with that illustrious political adventuress, 128;
    desirous of securing to his party the master-mind of Condé to avenge
      himself of the Queen and Mazarin, 128;
    makes persistent love to Madame de Longueville and wins her
      heart, 129;
    his cynical maxim on the love of certain women, 129;
    his personal and mental characteristics, 137;
    the way in which he superseded Miossens as the lover of Madame de
      Longueville, 139;
    his sordid motive as her wooer, 140;
    his restless spirit and ever discontented vanity, 167;
    effects the escape from Paris of Madame de Longueville, 178;
    gives proof of a rare fidelity through the whole of "the Women's
      War," 183;
    his ancestral château of Verteuil razed to the ground by Mazarin's
      orders, 183;
    his conduct at this time contradicts the assertion that he never
      loved the woman he seduced and dragged into the vortex of
      politics, 184;
    his version of the true cause of the rupture of the marriage between
      Mademoiselle de Chevreuse and Conti, 229:
    grows weary of a wandering and adventurous life, 255;
    the report of certain obscure relations existing between Nemours and
      Madame de Longueville drives him to a violent rupture with the
      Duchess, 264;
    his accusation more absurd than odious, 264;
    to indulge his revenge against Madame de Longueville, he enters into
      all Madame de Châtillon's designs, 295;
    directs her how to manage Condé and Nemours both at once, 298.


  SCUDERY, Mademoiselle de, and the prudes of the Hotel de Rambouillet
      protest strongly against the marriage of Conti with Mademoiselle
      de Chevreuse, 249.

  SEGUIER, Pierre, Keeper of the Seals, his character, 49.

  SEVIGNÉ, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de, gives a splendid
      supper to the Duchess de Chevreuse, 211.

  SOISSONS, Count de, his conspiracy to destroy Cardinal de Richelieu,
      25.

  ST. MAURE, Countess of, the polish and precision of her epistolary
      style, 123.


  TAVANNES, Count de, a valiant _petit-maître_ to whom Condé gives
      command of the army after Bleneau, 257.

  TURENNE, Marshal de, raises the standard of revolt in behalf of the
      Fronde, 156;
    is won over to make a treaty with Spain by Madame de Longueville,
      182;
    thanked by the Queen after Bleneau, for having placed the crown a
      second time on her son's head, 287;
    achieves the importance of being a rival of Condé, 289;
    attacks the enemy's camp when half the officers of Condé's army were
      at Madame de Montbazon's fête, 290.


  VIGEAN, Mademoiselle de, Condé's love for, 292.

  VENDÔME, Duke Cæsar de, the faction of, with La Vieuville and La
      Valette, when emigrants in England, 23;
    his pretensions and agitated life, 51;
    decides to exile himself in Italy and await the fall of Mazarin,
      106.

  VITRY, Marshal de, prepares with Count de Cramail a _coup-de-main_
      against Richelieu, 25.



END OF VOL. I.



BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.



  +------------------------------------------------------------------+
  |Transcriber's Note                                                |
  |                                                                  |
  |                                                                  |
  |The following changes were made to the original text [correction  |
  |in brackets]:                                                     |
  |                                                                  |
  |Page   16: (afterwards Duke de Rochefoucald [Rochefoucauld])      |
  |Page   33: Angoulêsme [Angoulême], until after the peace be       |
  |Page   43: French language: ["]_La reine est si bonne!_"          |
  |Page   79: royal authority now seriously theatened [threatened].  |
  |Page   85: oppose testimony more distinterested [disinterested],  |
  |Page   85: confidental [confidential] letters furnish us.         |
  |Page  146: _varures_ [parures], valued at two hundred thousand    |
  |Page  157: troops, at the parades of the citizen soldiery.[,]     |
  |Page  165: exposed to one of those _coups d'êtat_ [d'état],       |
  |Page  179: the Secretary of State, La Veillière [Vrillière],      |
  |Page  184: firmness,["] says Lenet, "that he seemed as though     |
  |Page  202: Footnote 6: Leomeni[Loménie] de Brienne, Memoirs, 1828.|
  |Page  231: to look upon her with horror. "[removed]He even blamed |
  |Page  232: From that moment means of of[removed] breaking off     |
  |Page  232: and obscurities resting upon this deli- [delicate]     |
  |Page  234: missing anchor for Footnote 4                          |
  |Page  269: La Rouchefoucauld [Rochefoucauld], getting Gondy       |
  |Page  269: Rouchefoucauld [Rochefoucauld], he determined to set   |
  |Page  279: his ban, quitted his retreat at Dinan, and and[removed]|
  |Page  282: went out to forage. He suceeded[succeeded] in procuring|
  |Page  303: her personal characteristics, 18:[;]                   |
  |Page  310: attack's[attacks] the enemy's camp when half           |
  +------------------------------------------------------------------+





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