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Title: Richelieu, v. 2/3 - A Tale of France
Author: James, G. P. R. (George Payne Rainsford), 1801-1860
Language: English
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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.

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                               RICHELIEU,

                           A TALE OF FRANCE.

                    I advise you that you read
            The Cardinal's malice and his potency
            Together: to consider further, that
            What his high hatred would effect, wants not
            A minister in his power.
                           SHAKSPEARE.

                           IN THREE VOLUMES.

                                VOL. II.

                                LONDON:

                 HENRY COLBURN, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.

                                 1829.

                                LONDON:

                     PRINTED BY S. AND R. BENTLEY,
                      Dorset Street, Fleet Street.



                               RICHELIEU.



CHAPTER I.

     The motto of which should be "Out of the frying-pan into the fire."


The jingle of Claude de Blenau's spurs, as he descended with a quick
step the staircase of the Palais Cardinal, told as plainly as a pair of
French spurs could tell, that his heart was lightened of a heavy load
since he had last tried their ascent; and the spring of his foot, as he
leaped upon his horse, spoke much of renewed hope, and banished
apprehension.

But the Devil of it is--(for I must use that homely but happy
expression)--the Devil of it is, that the rebound of hope raises us as
much above the level of truth, as the depression of fear sinks us below
it: and De Blenau, striking his spurs into the sides of his horse,
cantered off towards St. Germain as gaily as if all doubt and danger
were over, and began to look upon bastilles, tortures, and racks, with
all the other et-cetera of Richelieu's government, as little better than
chimeras of the imagination, with which he had nothing farther to do.

Hope sets off at a hand gallop, Consideration soon contents herself with
a more moderate pace, and Doubt is reduced, at best, to a slow trot.
Thus, as De Blenau began to reflect, he unconsciously drew in the bridle
of his horse; and before he had proceeded one league on the way to St.
Germain's, the marks of deep thought were evident both in the pace of
the courser and the countenance of the rider; De Blenau knitting his
brow and biting his lip, as the various dangers that surrounded him
crossed his mind; and the gentle barb, seemingly animated by the same
spirit as his master, bending his arched neck and throwing out his feet
with as much consideration as if the firm _Chemin de St. Germain_ had
been no better than a quagmire.

De Blenau well knew that even in France a man might smile, and smile,
and be a villain; and that the fair words of Richelieu too often
preceded his most remorseless actions. He remembered also the warning of
Mademoiselle de Bourbon, and felt too strongly how insecure a warranty
was conscious innocence for his safety; but still he possessed that sort
of chivalrous pride which made him look upon flight as degrading under
any circumstances, and more especially so when the danger was most
apparent. Like the lion, he might have slowly avoided the hunters while
unattacked; but once pressed by the chace, he turned to resist or to
suffer. Such was the quality of his mind; and in the present instance he
resolved to await his fate with firmness, whatsoever that fate might
be.

I know not whether an author, like an Old Bailey witness, be, by the
laws in that case made and provided, obliged to tell, on every occasion,
not only the truth, but the whole truth: however, lest I should offend
against any known or unknown statute, be it remarked, that the whole
credit due to the determination of De Blenau is not to be attributed to
that great and magnanimous quality, called by some persons _undaunted
resolution_, and by others _fool-hardiness_; for in this as in almost
every other proceeding of the human heart, there were two or three
little personal motives which mingled with all his ideas, and, without
his knowing any thing about it, brought his reasoning to the conclusion
aforesaid.

Of these little motives I shall only pick out one as a specimen; but
this one in the breast of a young man of five and twenty, living in a
romantic age, and blest with a romantic disposition, may be considered
all sufficient. Now if it should be love!--As I write this volume
entirely for ladies, we are all agreed.--Love it was! and who is there
that will presume to say, Claude de Blenau was not completely justified
in resolving to hazard all, rather than part with Pauline de Beaumont?

As long as any hesitation had remained in the mind of De Blenau, he had
proceeded, as we have seen, with a slow unequal pace; but the moment his
determination was fixed, his thoughts turned towards St. Germain's, and
all his ideas concentrating into one of those daydreams, that every
young heart is fond to indulge, he spurred on his horse, eager to
realize some, at least, of the bright promises which hope so liberally
held forth. It was late, however, before he arrived at the end of his
journey, and internally cursing the etiquette which required him to
change his dress before he could present himself at the Palace, he sent
forward his Page to announce his return, and beg an audience of the
Queen.

His toilet was not long, and without waiting for the boy's return, he
set out on foot, hoping to join the Queen's circle before it separated
for the evening. In this he was disappointed. Anne of Austria was alone;
and though her eyes sparkled with gladness for his unexpected return,
and her reception was as kind as his good services required, De Blenau
would have been better pleased to have been welcomed by other lips.

"I could scarce credit the news till I saw you, _mon Chambellan_," said
the Queen, extending her hand for him to kiss; "nor can I truly believe
it is you that I behold even now. How have you escaped from that
dreadful man?"

"I will tell your Majesty all that has happened," replied the Count;
"and as I have a boon to ask, I think I must represent my sufferings in
your Majesty's cause in the most tremendous colours. But without a jest,
I have had little to undergo beyond a forced attendance at the
Cardinal's fête, where the only hard word I received was from L'Angeli,
the Duke of Enghien's fool, who, seeing my riding-dress, asked if I were
Puss in Boots." De Blenau then shortly related all that had occurred
during his stay in Paris. "And thus, Madam," he added, "you see that
Chavigni has kept his word; for had it not been for that promise, I
doubt not I should have been even now comfortably lodged in the
Bastille, with a table at his Majesty's expense."

The Queen mused for a moment without making any reply; but from her
countenance it seemed that she was not a little troubled by what she had
heard.

"De Blenau," said she at length, in a calm but melancholy voice, "there
is something concealed here. The Cardinal has deeper plans in view. As
Marie de Bourbon told you, they are plotting my ruin. When first I
entered France, that man of blood and treachery resolved to make me his
slave. He flattered my tastes, he prevented my wishes, like an insidious
serpent he wound himself into my confidence; and I was weak enough to
dream that my husband's minister was my best friend. With as much vanity
as insolence, he mistook condescension for love. He sought his
opportunity, and dared to insult my ears with his wishes. I need not
tell you, De Blenau, what was my reply; but it was such as stung him to
the soul. He rose from where he had been kneeling at my feet, and
threatened such vengeance, that, as he said, my whole life should be one
long succession of miseries. Too truly has he kept his word."--The Queen
paused, and as was often her custom when any circumstance called her
memory back to the bitter events of her past life, fell into a deep
reverie, from which it was not easy to rouse her.

"Too much of this," said she at length; "we must look to the present, De
Blenau. As the mother of two princes, Richelieu both hates and fears me;
and I see that they are plotting my ruin. But yours shall not be
involved therein.--De Blenau, you must fly till this storm has passed
by."

"Pardon me, madam," replied the Count, "but in this I cannot yield your
Majesty that obedience I would willingly show under any other
circumstances. I cannot, I must not fly. My own honour, madam, requires
that I should stay; for if flight be not construed into an evidence of
guilt, it may at least be supposed a sign of cowardice."

"Indeed, indeed! De Blenau," said the Queen, earnestly, "you must do as
I require; nay," she added, with a mixture of sweetness and dignity, "as
I command. If they can prove against you that you have forwarded letters
from me to my brother the King of Spain, they will bring you to the
block, and will most likely ruin me."

"I trust to the promise your Majesty gave me when first I undertook to
have those letters conveyed to your royal brother King Philip," answered
De Blenau: "you then pledged to me your word that they were alone of a
domestic nature, and that they should always continue so, without ever
touching upon one subject of external or internal policy, so that my
allegiance to my king, and my duty to my country, should alike remain
pure and inviolate. I doubt not that your Majesty has pointedly kept
this promise; and De Blenau will never fly, while he can lay his hand
upon his heart and feel himself innocent."

"Yes, but remember, my good youth," replied the Queen, "that this
Cardinal,--my husband's tyrant rather than his subject,--has commanded
me, his Queen, to forbear all correspondence with my brother, and has
narrowly watched me to prevent that very communication between Philip
and myself, which your kindness has found means to procure. Remember too
his remorseless nature; and then judge whether he will spare the man who
has rendered his precautions vain."

"Madam," replied De Blenau, "I do not fear; nothing shall make me fly.
Though there be no bounds to what the Cardinal dare attempt, yet his
power does not extend to make me a coward!"

"But for my sake," still persevered Anne of Austria, labouring to
persuade him to a measure on which she too well knew his safety
depended. "Remember, that if there be proved against me even so small a
crime as having sent those letters, my ruin is inevitable, and there are
modes of torture which will wrench a secret from the most determined
constancy."

"I fear me," replied De Blenau, "that some act of mine must have much
degraded me in your Majesty's opinion."

"No, no, my friend!" said the Queen; "not so indeed,--I do not doubt you
in the least: but I would fain persuade you, De Blenau, to that which I
know is best and safest."

"Your Majesty has now given me the strongest reasons for my stay,"
replied De Blenau, with a smile; "I have now the means of proving my
fidelity to you, and nothing shall tempt me to leave you at this moment.
But in the mean time there is one favour I have to request."

"Name it," replied, the Queen: "indeed, De Blenau, you might command
it."

"Your Majesty is too good," said the Count. "I will make my story as
brief as possible, but I must explain to you, that Mademoiselle de
Beaumont and myself were plighted to each other when very young."

"I know it, I know it all," interrupted the Queen, "and that you love
each other still; and believe me, my dear De Blenau, neither time nor
disappointment has so frozen my heart that I cannot enter warmly into
all you feel. Perhaps you never discovered that Anne of Austria was an
enthusiast.--But tell me, what difficulty has occurred between you?"

"Why, in truth, Madam," answered De Blenau, "the difficulty arises with
your Majesty."

"With me!" cried the Queen. "With me, De Blenau! impossible! Nothing
could give me more pleasure than to see your union. This Pauline of
yours is one of the sweetest girls that ever I beheld; and with all her
native un-bought graces, she looks amongst the rest of the court like a
wild rose in a flower-garden,--not so cultivated, in truth, but more
simply elegant, and sweeter than them all."

Those who say that all is selfishness, let them tell me how it is that
one simple word in praise of those we love, will give a thousand times
more pleasure than the warmest commendation of ourselves.

De Blenau's heart beat, and his eye sparkled, and he paused a moment ere
he could reply; nor indeed were his first sentences very distinct. He
said a great deal about her Majesty's goodness,--and his own
happiness,--and Pauline's excellence; all in that sort of confused way,
which would make it appear simple nonsense were it written down; but
which very clearly conveyed to the Queen how much he loved Pauline, and
how much obliged he was to her Majesty for praising her.

After this, he entered rather more regularly into a detail of those
circumstances which had induced Mademoiselle de Beaumont to suspect him.
"The point which seems to affect her most," continued De Blenau, "is the
visit with which Mademoiselle de Hauteford honoured me by your Majesty's
command, in order to receive from me the last letter from your Majesty
to the King of Spain, which I was unhappily prevented from forwarding
by my late wounds. Now this, as affecting the character of the Lady your
Majesty employed in the business, does certainly require some
explanation. In regard to every thing else, Pauline will, I feel sure,
consider my word sufficient."

"Oh, leave it all to me, leave it all to me!" exclaimed the Queen,
laughing. "What! jealous already is she, fair maid? But fear not, De
Blenau. Did she know you as well as I do, she would doubt herself sooner
than De Blenau. However, I undertake to rob the rose of its thorn for
you, and leave love without jealousy. A woman is very easily convinced
where she loves, and it will be hard if I cannot show her that she has
been in the wrong. But take no unworthy advantage of it, De Blenau," she
continued; "for a woman's heart will not hesitate at trifles, when she
wishes to make reparation to a man she loves."

"All the advantage I could ever wish to take," replied the Count,
"would be, to claim her hand without delay."

"Nay, nay--that is but a fair advantage," said the Queen. "Yet,"
continued she, after a moment's pause, "it were not wise to draw the
eyes of suspicion upon us at this moment. But there are such things as
private marriages, De Blenau."--

There was no small spice of romance in the character of Anne of Austria;
and this, on more than one occasion, led her into various circumstances
of danger, affecting both herself and the state. Of an easy and generous
spirit, she always became the partisan of the oppressed, and any thing
that interested or excited her feelings, was certain to meet
encouragement and support, however chimerical or hazardous; while plans
of more judgment and propriety were either totally discountenanced, or
improperly pursued. This appeared through her whole life, but more
especially at an after period, when the Government fell into her own
hands, and when, like a child with some fine and complicated machine,
she played with the engine of the state, till she deranged all its
functions.

It was, perhaps, this spirit of romance, more than any political
consideration, which, in the present instance, made her suggest to the
Count de Blenau the idea of a private marriage with Pauline de Beaumont;
and he, as ardent as herself, and probably as romantic, caught eagerly
at a proposal which seemed to promise a more speedy union with the
object of his love, than was compatible with all the tedious ceremonies
and wearisome etiquette attendant upon a court-marriage of that day.

"I shall not see your Pauline to-night," said the Queen, continuing the
conversation which this proposal had induced. "She excused herself
attending my evening circle, on account of a slight indisposition; but
to-morrow I will explain every thing on your part, and propose to her
myself what we have agreed upon."

"She is not ill, I trust?" said De Blenau.

"Oh no!" replied the Queen, smiling at the anxiety of his look, "not
enough even to alarm a lover, I believe."

This answer, however, was not sufficient for De Blenau, and taking leave
of the Queen, he sent for one of Madame de Beaumont's servants, through
whose intervention he contrived to obtain an audience of no less a
person than Louise, Pauline's _suivante_. Now Louise was really a pretty
woman, and doubtless her face might have claimed remembrance from many a
man who had nothing else to think of. De Blenau remembered it too, but
without any reference to its beauty, which, indeed, he had never stayed
to inquire into.

It must be remembered, that the morning previous to his journey to
Paris, the moment before he was joined by Chavigni, his eye had been
attracted by that nobleman, engaged in earnest conversation with a girl,
habited in the dress of dear Languedoc; and he now found in the
_soubrette_ of Mademoiselle de Beaumont, the very individual he had seen
in such circumstances. All this did not very much enhance the regard of
De Blenau towards Louise; and he satisfied himself with a simple inquiry
concerning her mistress's health, adding a slight recommendation to
herself, to take care whom she gossiped with while she remained at St.
Germain, conveyed in that stately manner, which made Louise resolve to
hate him most cordially for the rest of her life, and declare that he
was not half so nice a gentleman as Monsieur de Chavigni, who was a
counsellor into the bargain.

After a variety of confused dreams, concerning queens and cardinals,
bastilles and private marriages, De Blenau woke to enjoy one of those
bright mornings which often shine out in the first of autumn,--memorials
of summer, when summer itself is gone. It was too early to present
himself at the Palace; but he had now a theme on which his thoughts were
not unwilling to dwell, and therefore as soon as he was dressed, he
sauntered out, most lover-like, into the Park, occupied with the hope of
future happiness, and scarcely sensible of any external thing, save the
soothing influence of the morning air, and the cheerful hum of
awakening nature.

As time wore on, however,--and, probably, it did so faster than he
fancied,--his attention was called towards the Palace by an unusual
degree of bustle and activity amongst the attendants, who were now seen
passing to and fro along the terrace, with all the busy haste of a nest
of emmets disturbed in their unceasing industry.

His curiosity being excited, he quitted the principal alley in which he
had been walking, and ascending the flight of steps leading to the
terrace, entered the Palace by the small door of the left wing. As none
of the servants immediately presented themselves, he proceeded by one of
the side staircases to the principal saloon, where he expected to meet
some of the _valets de chambre_, who generally at that hour awaited the
rising of the Queen.

On opening the door, however, he was surprised to find Anne of Austria,
already risen, together with the Dauphin and the young Duke of Anjou,
the principal ladies of the court, and several menial attendants, all
habited in travelling costume; while various trunk-mails, saddle-bags,
portmanteaus, &c. lay about the room; some already stuffed to the gorge
with their appropriate contents, and others opening their wide jaws to
receive whatever their owners chose to cram them withal.

As soon as De Blenau entered this scene of unprincely confusion, the
quick eyes of Anne of Austria lighted upon him, and, advancing from the
group of ladies to whom she had been speaking, she seemed surprised to
see him in the simple morning costume of the court.

"Why, De Blenau!" exclaimed she, "we wait for you, and you have neither
boots nor cloak. Have you not seen the Page I sent to you?"

"No, indeed, Madam," replied De Blenau; "but having loitered in the Park
some time, I have probably thus missed receiving your commands."

"Then you have not heard," said the Queen, "we have been honoured this
morning by a summons to join the King at Chantilly."

"Indeed!" rejoined De Blenau thoughtfully, "What should this mean, I
wonder? It is strange! Richelieu was to be there last night: so I heard
it rumoured yesterday in Paris."

"I fear me," answered the Queen, in a low tone, "that the storm is about
to burst upon our head. A servant informs me, that riding this morning,
shortly after sunrise, near that small open space which separates this,
the forest of Laye, from the great wood of Mantes, he saw a large party
of the Cardinal's guard winding along towards the wooden bridge, at
which we usually cross the river."

"Oh I think nothing of that," replied the Count. "Your Majesty must
remember, that this Cardinal has his men scattered all over the
country:--but, at all events, we can take the stone bridge farther down.
At what time does your Majesty depart? I will but pay my compliments to
these ladies, and then go to command the attendance of my train, which
will at all events afford some sort of escort."

During this dialogue, the Queen had looked from time to time towards the
group of ladies who remained in conversation at the other end of the
apartment; and with that unsteadiness of thought peculiar to her
character, she soon forgot all her fears and anxieties, as she saw the
dark eye of Pauline de Beaumont wander every now and then with a furtive
glance towards De Blenau, and then suddenly fall to the ground, or fix
upon vacancy, as if afraid of being caught in such employment.

Easily reading every line expressive of a passion to which she had once
been so susceptible, the Queen turned with a playful smile to De Blenau.
"Come," said she, "I will save you the trouble of paying your
compliments to more than one of those ladies, and she shall stand your
proxy to all the rest. Pauline--Mademoiselle de Beaumont," she
continued, raising her voice, "come hither, Flower! I would speak a word
with you."

Pauline came forward--not unhappy in truth, but with the blood rushing
up into her cheeks and forehead, till timidity became actual pain, while
the clear cold blue eye of Mademoiselle de Hauteford followed her across
the room, as if she wondered at feelings she herself had apparently
never experienced.

De Blenau advanced and held out his hand. Pauline instantly placed hers
in it, and in the confusion of the moment laid the other upon it also.

"Well," said the Queen with a smile, "De Blenau, you must be satisfied
now. Nay, be not ashamed, Pauline; it is all right, and pure, and
natural."

"I am not ashamed, Madam," replied Pauline, seeming to gain courage from
the touch of her lover; "I have done De Blenau wrong in ever doubting
one so good and so noble as he is: but he will forgive me now, I know,
and I will never do him wrong again."

I need not proceed farther with all this. De Blenau and Pauline enjoyed
one or two moments of unmingled happiness, and then the Queen reminded
them that he had yet to dress for his journey, and to prepare his
servants to accompany the carriages. This, however, was soon done, and
in less than half an hour De Blenau rejoined the party in the saloon of
the Palace.

"Now, De Blenau," said the Queen, as soon as she saw him, "you are
prepared for travelling at all points. For once be ruled, and instead of
accompanying me to Chantilly, make the best of your way to Franche
Comté, or to Flanders, for I much fear that the Cardinal has not yet
done with you. I will take care of your interests while you are gone,
even better than I would my own; and I promise you that as soon as you
are in safety, Madame De Beaumont and Pauline shall follow you, and you
may be happy surely, though abroad, for a few short years, till
Richelieu's power or his life be passed away."

De Blenau smiled. "Nay, nay," replied he, "that would not be like a
gallant Knight and true, either to desert my Queen or my Lady Love.
Besides, I am inclined to believe that this journey to Chantilly bodes
us good rather than harm. For near three months past, the King has been
there almost alone with Cinq Mars, who is as noble a heart as e'er the
world produced, and is well affected towards your Majesty.--So I am
looking forward to brighter days."

"Well, we shall see," said the Queen, with a doubtful shake of the head.
"You are young, De Blenau, and full of hopes--all _that_ has passed away
with me.--Now let us go. I have ordered the carriages to wait at the end
of the terrace, and we will walk thither:--perhaps it may be the last
time I shall ever see my favourite walk; for who knows if any of us will
ever return?"

With these melancholy anticipations, the Queen took the arm of Madame de
Beaumont, and, followed by the rest, led the way to the terrace, from
which was to be seen the vast and beautiful view extending from St.
Germain's over Paris to the country beyond, taking in all the windings
of the river Seine, with the rich woods through which it flowed.

The light mists of an autumnal morning still hung about the various
dells and slopes, softening, but not obscuring the landscape; and every
now and then the sunbeams would catch upon a tower or a spire in the
distant landscape, and create a glittering spot amidst the dark brown
woods round about.

It is ever a bright scene, that view from St. Germain, and many have
been the royal and the fair, and the noble, whose feet have trod the
terrace of Henry the Fourth; but seldom, full seldom, has there been
there, a group of greater loveliness or honour than that which then
followed Anne of Austria from the Palace. The melancholy which hung over
the whole party took from them any wish for farther conversation, than a
casual comment upon the beauties of the view; and thus they walked on
nearly in silence, till they had approached within a few hundred yards
of the extremity, where they were awaited by the carriages prepared for
the Queen and her ladies, together with the attendants of De Blenau.

At that moment the quick clanging step of armed men was heard following,
and all with one impulse turned to see who it was that thus seemed to
pursue them.

The party which had excited their attention, consisted of a soldier-like
old man, who seemed to have ridden hard, and half-a-dozen chasseurs of
the guard, who followed him at about ten or twelve paces distance.

"It is the Count de Thiery," said De Blenau; "I know him well: as good
an old soldier as ever lived."

Notwithstanding De Blenau's commendation, Anne of Austria appeared
little satisfied with the Count's approach, and continued walking on
towards the carriages with a degree of anxiety in her eye, which
speedily communicated feelings of the same kind to her attendants.
Pauline, unacquainted with the intrigues and anxieties of the court, saw
from the countenances of all around that something was to be
apprehended; and magnifying the danger from uncertainty in regard to its
nature, she instinctively crept close to De Blenau, as certain of
finding protection there.

Judging at once the cause of De Thiery's coming, De Blenau drew the arm
of Pauline through his, and lingered a step behind, while the rest of
the party proceeded.

"Dear Pauline!" said he, in a low but firm tone of voice, "my own
Pauline! prepare yourself for what is coming! I think you will find that
this concerns me. If so, farewell! and remember, whatever be my fate,
that De Blenau has loved you ever faithfully, and will love you till his
last hour--Beyond that--God only knows! but if ever human affection
passed beyond the tomb, my love for you will endure in another state."

By this time they had reached the steps, at the bottom of which the
carriages were in waiting, and at the same moment the long strides of
the Count de Thiery had brought him to the same spot.

"Well, Monsieur de Thiery!" said Anne of Austria, turning sharp round,
and speaking in that shrill tone which her voice assumed whenever she
was agitated either by fear or anger; "your haste implies bad news. Does
your business lie with me?"

"No, so please your Majesty," replied the old soldier; "no farther than
to wish you a fair journey to Chantilly, and to have the pleasure of
seeing your Majesty to your carriage."

The Queen paused, and regarded the old man for a moment with a steady
eye, while he looked down upon the ground and played with the point of
his grey beard, in no very graceful embarrassment.

"Very well!" replied she at length; "you, Monsieur de Thiery, shall hand
me to my carriage. So, De Blenau, I shall not need your attendance.
Mount your horse and ride on."

"Pardon me, your Majesty," said De Thiery, stepping forward with an air
of melancholy gravity, but from which all embarrassment was now
banished. "Monsieur de Blenau," he continued, "I have a most unpleasant
task to accomplish: I am sorry to say you must give me up your sword;
but be assured that you render it to a man of honour, who will keep it
as a precious and invaluable charge, till he can give it back to that
hand, which he is convinced will always use it nobly."

"I foresaw it plainly!" cried the Queen, and turned away her head.
Pauline clasped her hands and burst into tears: but amongst the
attendants of De Blenau, who during this conversation had one by one
mounted the steps of the terrace, there was first a whisper, then a loud
murmur, then a shout of indignation, and in a moment a dozen swords were
gleaming in the sunshine.

Old De Thiery laid his hand upon his weapon, but De Blenau stopped him
in his purpose.

"Silence!" cried he in a voice of thunder; "Traitors, put up your
swords!--My good friends," added he, in a gentler tone, as he saw
himself obeyed, "those swords, which have before so well defended their
master, must never be drawn in a cause that De Blenau could blush to
own. Monsieur le Comte de Thiery," he continued, unbuckling his weapon,
"I thank you for the handsome manner in which you have performed a
disagreeable duty. I do not ask to see the _lettre de cachet_, which, of
course, you bear; for in giving you the sword of an honourable man, I
know I could not place it in better hands; and now, having done so,
allow me to lead her Majesty to her carriage, and I will then follow you
whithersoever you may have commands to bear me."

"Most certainly," replied De Thiery, receiving his sword; "I wait your
own time, and will remain here till you are at leisure."

De Blenau led the Queen to the carriage in silence, and having handed
her in, he kissed the hand she extended to him, begging her to rely upon
his honour and firmness. He next gave his hand to Pauline de Beaumont,
down whose cheeks the tears were streaming unrestrained. "Farewell,
dear Pauline! farewell!" he said. Her sobs prevented her answer, but her
hand clasped upon his with a fond and lingering pressure, which spoke
more to his heart than the most eloquent adieu.

Madame de Beaumont came next, and embraced him warmly. "God protect you,
my son!" said she, "for your heart is a noble one."

Mademoiselle de Hauteford followed, greeting De Blenau with a calm cold
smile and a graceful bow; and the rest of the royal suite having placed
themselves in other carriages, the cavalcade moved on. De Blenau stood
till they were gone. Raising his hat, he bowed with an air of unshaken
dignity as the Queen passed, and then turning to the terrace, he took
the arm of the Count de Thiery, and returned a prisoner to the Palace.



CHAPTER II.

     Which gives an example of "The way to keep him."


"Well, Sir," said De Blenau, smiling with feelings mingled of melancholy
resignation to his fate and proud disdain for his enemies, "imprisonment
is too common a lot, now-a-days, to be matter of surprise, even where it
falls on the most innocent. Our poor country, France, seems to have
become one great labyrinth, with the Bastille in the centre, and all the
roads terminating there. I suppose that such is my destination."

"I am sorry to say it is," replied his companion. "My orders are to
carry you thither direct; but I hope that your sojourn will not be long
within its walls. Without doubt, you will soon be able to clear
yourself."

"I must first know of what I am accused," replied the Count. "If they
cry in my case, as in that of poor Clement Marot, _Prenez le, il a mangé
le lard_, I shall certainly plead guilty; but I know of no state crime
which I have committed, except eating meat on a Friday.--It is as well,
perhaps, Monsieur de Thiery," continued he, falling into a graver tone,
"to take these things lightly. I cannot imagine that the Cardinal means
me harm; for he must well know that I have done nothing to deserve ill,
either from my King or my country. Pray God his Eminence's breast be as
clear as mine!"

"Umph!" cried the old soldier, with a meaning shake of the head, "I
should doubt that, De Blenau. You have neither had time nor occasion to
get it so choked up as doubtless his must be.--But these are bad
subjects to talk upon: though I swear to Heaven, Sir Count, that when I
was sent upon this errand, I would have given a thousand livres to have
found that you had been wise enough to set out last night for some other
place."

"Innocence makes one incautious," replied De Blenau; "but I will own, I
was surprised to find that the business had been put upon you."

"So was I," rejoined the other. "I was astonished, indeed, when I
received the _lettre de cachet_. But a soldier has nothing to do but to
obey, Monsieur de Blenau. It is true, I one time thought to make an
excuse; but, on reflection, I found that it would do you no good, and
that some one might be sent to whom you would less willingly give your
sword than to old De Thiery. But here we are at the Palace, Sir. There
is a carriage in waiting; will you take any refreshment before you go?"

The prospect of imprisonment for an uncertain period, together with a
few little evils, such as torture, and death, in the perspective, had
not greatly increased De Blenau's appetite, and he declined accepting
the Count de Thiery's offer, but requested that his Page might be
allowed to accompany him to Paris. The orders of Richelieu, however,
were strict in this respect, and De Thiery was obliged to refuse. "But,"
added he, "if the boy has wit, he may smuggle himself into the Bastille
afterwards. Let him wait for a day or two, and then crave of the gaoler
to see you. The prison is not kept so close as those on the outside of
it imagine. I have been in more than once myself to see friends who have
been confined there. There was poor La Forte, who was afterwards
beheaded, and the Chevalier de Caply, who is in there still. I have seen
them both in the Bastille."

"You will never see the Chevalier de Caply again," replied De Blenau,
shuddering at the remembrance of his fate. "He died yesterday morning
under the torture."

"_Grand Dieu!_" exclaimed De Thiery; "this Cardinal Prime Minister
stands on no ceremonies. Here are five of my friends he has made away
with in six months. There was La Forte, whom I mentioned just now, and
Boissy, and De Reineville, and St. Cheron; and now, you tell me, Caply
too; and if you should chance to be beheaded, or die under the torture,
you will be the sixth."

"You are kind in your anticipations, Sir," replied De Blenau, smiling at
the old man's bluntness, yet not particularly enjoying the topic. "But
having done nothing to merit such treatment, I hope I shall not be added
to your list."

"I hope not, I hope not!" exclaimed De Thiery, "God forbid! I think, in
all probability, you will escape with five or six weeks imprisonment:
and what is that?"

"Why, no great matter, if considered philosophically," answered De
Blenau, thoughtfully. "And yet, Monsieur de Thiery, liberty is a great
thing. The very freedom of walking amidst all the beauties of the vast
creation, of wandering at our will from one perfection to another, is
not to be lost without a sigh. But it is not that alone--the sense, the
feeling of liberty, is too innately dear to the soul of man to be parted
with as a toy."

While De Blenau thus spoke, half reasoning with himself, half addressing
his conversation to the old soldier by his side, who, by long service,
had been nearly drilled into a machine, and could not, consequently,
enter fully into the feelings of his more youthful companion, the
carriage which was to convey them to Paris was brought round to the gate
of the Palace at which they stood. Figure to yourself, my dearly beloved
reader, a vehicle in which our good friend, the Giant Magog, of
Guildhall, could have stood upright; its long sides bending inwards with
a graceful sweep, like the waist of Sir Charles Grandison in his best
and stiffest coat; and then conceive all this mounted upon an
interminable perch, connecting the heavy pairs of wheels, which,
straggling and far apart, looked like two unfortunate hounds coupled
together against their will, and eternally struggling to get away from
each other. Such was the _chaise roulante_ which stood at the gate of
the Palace, ready to convey the prisoner to Paris.

The preparations that had been made for De Blenau's journey to
Chantilly, now served for this less agreeable expedition; and the
various articles which he conceived would be necessary to his comfort,
were accordingly disposed about the vehicle, whose roomy interior was
not likely to suffer from repletion.

It is sad to say farewell to any thing, and more especially where
uncertainty is mingled with the adieu. Had it been possible, De Blenau
would fain have quitted St. Germain's without encountering the fresh
pain of taking leave of his attendants; but those who had seen his
arrest, had by this time communicated the news to those who had remained
in the town, and they now all pressed round to kiss his hand, and take a
last look of their kind-hearted Lord, before he was lost to them, as
they feared, for ever. There was something affecting in the scene, and
a glistening moisture rose even in the eye of the old Count de Thiery,
while De Blenau, with a kind word to say to each, bade them farewell,
one after another, and then sprang into the carriage that was to convey
him to a prison.

The vehicle rolled on for some way in silence, but at length De Blenau
said, "Monsieur de Thiery, you must excuse me if I am somewhat grave.
Even conscious rectitude cannot make such a journey as this very
palatable. And besides," he added, "I have to-day parted with some that
are very dear to me."

"I saw that, I saw that," answered the old soldier. "It was bad enough
parting with so many kind hearts as stood round you just now, but that
was a worse farewell at the end of the terrace.--Now out upon the policy
that can make such bright eyes shed such bitter tears. I can hardly get
those eyes out of my head, old as it is.--Oh, if I were but forty years
younger!"

"What then?" demanded De Blenau, with a smile.

"Why, perhaps I might have ten times more pleasure in lodging you safe
in the Bastille than I have now," answered De Thiery. "Oh, Monsieur de
Blenau, take my word for it, age is the most terrible misfortune that
can happen to any man; other evils will mend, but this is every day
getting worse."

The conversation between De Blenau and his companion soon dropped, as
all conversation must do, unless it be forced, where there exists a
great dissimilarity of ideas and circumstances. It is true, from time to
time, Monsieur de Thiery uttered an observation which called for a reply
from De Blenau; but the thoughts which crowded upon the young Count were
too many, and too overpowering in their nature, to find relief in
utterance. The full dangers of his situation, and all the vague and
horrible probabilities which the future offered, presented themselves
more forcibly to his mind, now that he had leisure to dwell upon them,
than they had done at first, when all his energies had been called into
action; and when, in order to conceal their effect from others, he had
been obliged to fly from their consideration himself.

A thousand little accessory circumstances also kept continually renewing
the recollection of his painful situation. When he dropped his hand, as
was his custom, to rest it upon the hilt of his sword, his weapon was
gone, and he had to remember that he had been disarmed; and if by chance
he cast his eyes from the window of the carriage, the passing and
repassing of the guards continually reminded him that he was a prisoner.
De Blenau was new to misfortune, and consequently the more sensible to
its acuteness. Nor did he possess that buoyant spirit with which some
men are happily gifted by nature--that sort of carelessness which acts
better than philosophy, raising us above the sorrows and uncomforts of
existence, and teaching us to _bear_ our misfortunes by _forgetting_
them as soon as possible. He had too much courage, it is true, to resign
himself to grief for what he could not avoid.--He was prepared to
encounter the worst that fate could bring; but at the same time he could
not turn his thoughts from the contemplation of the future, though it
offered nothing but dark indistinct shapes; and out of these his
imagination formed many horrible images, which derived a greater
appearance of reality from the known cruelty of Richelieu, in whose
power he was, and the many dreadful deeds perpetrated in the place to
which he was going.

Thus passed the hours away as the carriage rolled on towards Paris. It
may be well supposed that such a vehicle as I have described did not
move with any great celerity; and I much doubt whether the
act-of-parliament pace which hackney-coaches are obliged to adhere to,
would not have jolted the unhappy _chaise roulante_ limb from limb, if
it had been rigorously enforced. But it so happened that the machine
itself was the personal property of Monsieur de Thiery, who always
styled it _une belle voiture_; and looking upon it as the most perfect
specimen of the coach-building art, he was mighty cautious concerning
its progression. This the postilion was well aware of, and therefore
never ventured upon a greater degree of speed than might carry them over
the space of two miles in the course of an hour; but notwithstanding
such prudent moderation, the head of Monsieur de Thiery would often be
protruded from the window, whenever an unfriendly rut gave the vehicle a
jolt, exclaiming loudly, "_Holla! Postillon! gardez vous de casser ma
belle voiture_;" and sundry other adjurations, which did not serve to
increase the rapidity of their progress.

Such tedious waste of time, together with the curious gazing of the
multitude at the State-prisoner, and uncertain calculations as to the
future, created for De Blenau a state of torment to which the Bastille
at once would have been relief; so that he soon began most devoutly to
wish his companion and the carriage and the postilion all at the Devil
together for going so slowly. But, however tardily Time's wings seem to
move, they bear him away from us notwithstanding.--Night overtook the
travellers when they were about a league from Paris, and the heaviest
day De Blenau had ever yet known found its end at last.

Avoiding the city as much as possible, the carriage passed round and
entered by the Porte St. Antoine; and the first objects which presented
themselves to the eyes of De Blenau, after passing the gates, were the
large gloomy towers of the Bastille, standing lone and naked in the
moonlight, which showed nothing but their dark and irregular forms,
strongly contrasted with the light and rippling water that flowed like
melted silver in the fosse below.

One of the guards had ridden on, before they entered the city, to
announce their approach; and as soon as the carriage came up, the outer
drawbridge fell with a heavy clang, and the gates of the court opening,
admitted them through the dark gloomy porch into that famous prison, so
often the scene of horror and of crime. At the same time, two men
advancing to the door, held each a lighted torch to the window of the
carriage, which, flashing with a red gleam upon the rough stone walls,
and gloomy archways on either side, showed plainly to De Blenau all the
frowning features of the place, rendered doubly horrible by the
knowledge of its purpose.

A moment afterwards, a fair, soft-looking man, dressed in a black velvet
pourpoint, (whom De Blenau discovered to be the Governor,) approached
the carriage with an official paper in his hand, and lighted by one of
the attendant's torches, read as follows, with that sort of hurried
drawl which showed it to be a matter of form:--

"Monsieur le Comte de Thiery," said he, "you are commanded by the King
to deliver into my hands the body of Claude Count de Blenau, to hold and
keep in strict imprisonment, until such time as his Majesty's will be
known in his regard, or till he be acquitted of the crimes with which he
is charged, by a competent tribunal; and I now require you to do the
same."

This being gone through, De Thiery descended from the carriage, followed
by the Count de Blenau, whom the Governor instantly addressed with a
profound bow and servile smile.

"Monsieur de Blenau," said he, "you are welcome to the Bastille; and any
thing I can do for your accommodation, consistent with my duty, you
shall command."

"I hope you will let it be so, Sir Governor," said old De Thiery; "for
Monsieur de Blenau is my particular friend, and without doubt he will be
liberated in a few days. Now, Monsieur de Blenau," continued he, "I must
leave you for the present, but hope soon to see you in another place.
You will, no doubt, find several of your friends here; for we all take
it in turn: and indeed, now-a-days, it would be almost accounted a piece
of ignorance not to have been in the Bastille once in one's life. So,
farewell!" And he embraced him warmly, whispering as he did so, "Make a
friend of the Governor--gold will do it!"

De Blenau looked after the good old soldier with feelings of regret, as
he got into his _belle voiture_ and drove through the archway.
Immediately after, the drawbridge rose, and the gates closed with a
clang, sounding on De Blenau's ears as if they shut out from him all
that was friendly in the world; and overpowered by a feeling of
melancholy desolation, he remained with his eyes fixed in the direction
De Thiery had taken, till he was roused by the Governor laying his hand
upon his arm. "Monsieur de Blenau," said he, "will you do me the favour
of following me, and I will have the honour of showing you your
apartment."

De Blenau obeyed in silence, and the Governor led the way into the inner
court, and thence up the chief staircase to the second story, where he
stopped at a heavy door plated with iron, and sunk deep in the stone
wall, from the appearance of which De Blenau did not argue very
favourably of the chambers within. His anticipations, however, were
agreeably disappointed, when one of the attendants, who lighted them,
pulled aside the bolts, and throwing open the door, exposed to his view
a large neat room, fitted up with every attention to comfort, and even
some attempt at elegance. This, the Governor informed him, was destined
for his use while he did the Bastille the honour of making it his abode;
and he then went on in the same polite strain to apologize for the
furniture being in some disorder, as the servants had been very busy an
the chateau, and had not had time to arrange it since its last occupant
had left them, which was only the morning before. So far De Blenau might
have imagined himself in the house of a polite friend, had not the bolts
and bars obtruded themselves on his view wherever he turned, speaking
strongly of a prison.

The end of the Governor's speech also was more in accordance with his
office: "My orders, Monsieur de Blenau," said he in continuation, "are,
to pay every attention to your comfort and convenience, but at the same
time to have the strictest guard over you. I am therefore obliged to
deny you the liberty of the court, which some of the prisoners enjoy,
and I must also place a sentinel at your door. I will now go and give
orders for the packages which were in the carriage to be brought up
here, and will then return immediately to advise with you on what can be
done to make your time pass more pleasantly."

Thus saying, he quitted the apartment, and De Blenau heard the heavy
bolts of the door grate into their sockets with a strange feeling of
reluctance; for though he felt too surely that liberty was gone, yet he
would fain have shrunk from those outward marks of captivity which
continually forced the recollection of it upon his mind. The polite
attentions of the Governor, however, had not escaped his notice, and his
thoughts soon returned to that officer's conduct.

"Can this man," thought he, "continually accustomed to scenes of blood
and horror, be really gentle in his nature, as he seems to show
himself? or can it be that he has especial orders to treat me with
kindness? Yet here I am a prisoner,--and for what purpose, unless they
intend to employ the most fearful means to draw from me those secrets
which they have failed in obtaining otherwise?"

Such was the nature of his first thoughts for a moment or two after the
Governor had left him; but rousing himself, after a little, from
reveries which threw no light upon his situation, he began to examine
more closely the apartment which bade fair to be his dwelling for some
time to come.

It was evidently one of the best in the prison, consisting of two
spacious chambers, which occupied the whole breadth of the square tower
in the centre of the Bastille. The first, which opened from the
staircase and communicated with the second by means of a small door, was
conveniently furnished in its way, containing, besides a very fair
complement of chairs and tables of the most solid manufacture, that
happy invention of our ancestors, a corner cupboard, garnished with
various articles of plate and porcelain, and a shelf of books, which
last De Blenau had no small pleasure in perceiving.

On one of the tables were various implements for writing, and on another
the attendant who had lighted them thither had placed two silver lamps,
which, though of an antique fashion, served very well to light the whole
extent of the room. Raising one of these, De Blenau proceeded to the
inner chamber, which was fitted up as a bed-room, and contained various
articles of furniture in a more modern taste than that which decorated
the other. But the attention of the prisoner was particularly attracted
by a heavy iron door near the head of the bed, which, however, as he
gladly perceived, possessed bolts on the inside, so as to prevent the
approach of any one from without during the night.

So much of our happiness is dependent on the trifles of personal
comfort, that De Blenau, though little caring in general for very
delicate entertainment, nevertheless felt himself more at ease when, on
looking round his apartment, he found that at all events it was no
dungeon to which he had been consigned: and from this he drew a
favourable augury, flattering himself that no very severe measures would
ultimately be pursued towards him, when such care was taken of his
temporary accommodation.

De Blenau had just time to complete the perambulation of his new abode,
when the Governor returned, followed by two of the subordinate ministers
of the prison, carrying the various articles with which Henry de La
Mothe had loaded the _belle voiture_ of Monsieur de Thiery: and as the
faithful Page had taken care to provide fully for his master's comfort,
the number of packages was not small.

As soon as these were properly disposed about the apartment, the
Governor commanded his satellites to withdraw, and remained alone with
his prisoner, who, remembering the last words of the old Count de
Thiery, resolved, as far as possible, to gain the good will of one who
had it in his power not only to soften or to aggravate the pains of his
captivity, but even perhaps to serve him more essentially. De Thiery had
recommended gold, all-powerful gold, as the means to be employed; but at
first De Blenau felt some hesitation as to the propriety of offering
sordid coin to a man holding so responsible a situation, and no small
embarrassment as to the manner. These feelings kept him silent for a
moment, during which time the Governor remained silent also, regarding
his prisoner with a polite and affable smile, as if he expected him to
begin the conversation.

"I will try the experiment at all events," thought De Blenau. "I could
almost persuade myself that the man expects it."

Luckily it so happened, that amongst the baggage which had been prepared
for Chantilly, was comprised a considerable sum of money, besides that
which he carried about him: and now drawing forth his purse, the
contents of which might amount to about a thousand livres, he placed it
in the hands of the Governor.

"Let me beg you to accept of this, Monsieur le Gouverneur," said he,
"not as any inducement to serve me contrary to your duty, but as a
slight remuneration for the trouble which my being here must occasion."

The smooth-spoken Governor neither testified any surprise at this
proceeding, nor any sort of reluctance to accept what De Blenau
proffered. The purse dropped unrejected into his open palm, and it was
very evident that his future conduct would greatly depend upon the
amount of its contents, according as it was above or below his
expectation.

"Monseigneur," replied he, "you are very good, and seem to understand
the trouble which prisoners sometimes give, as well as if you had lived
in the Bastille all your life; and you may depend upon it, as I said
before, that every thing shall be done for your accommodation--always
supposing it within my duty."

"I doubt you not, Sir," answered De Blenau, who from the moment the
Governor's fingers had closed upon the purse, could hardly help
regarding him as a menial who had taken his wages: "I doubt you not; and
at the present moment I should be glad of supper, if such a thing can be
procured within your walls."

"Most assuredly it can be procured _to-night_, Sir," replied the
Governor; "but I am sorry to say, that we have two meager days in the
week, at which times neither meat nor wine is allowed by Government,
even for my own table: which is a very great and serious grievance,
considering the arduous duties I am often called upon to perform."

"But of course such things can be procured from without," said De
Blenau, "and on the days you have mentioned. I beg that you would not
allow my table to bear witness of any such regulations; and farther, as
I suppose that _you_, Sir, have the command of all this, I will thank
you to order your purveyor to supply all that is usual for a man of my
quality and fortune, for which he shall have immediate payment through
your hands."

The tone in which De Blenau spoke was certainly somewhat authoritative
for a prisoner; and feeling, as he proceeded, that he might give offence
where it was his best interest to conciliate regard, he added, though
not without pain,--

"When you will do me the honour to partake my fare, I shall stand
indebted for your society. Shall I say to-morrow at dinner, that I shall
have the pleasure of your company?"

The Governor readily accepted the invitation, more especially as the
ensuing day chanced to be one of those meager days, which he held in
most particular abhorrence. And now, having made some farther
arrangements with De Blenau, he left him, promising to send the meal
which he had demanded.

There is sometimes an art in allowing one's self to be cheated, and De
Blenau had at once perceived that the best way to bind the Governor to
his interest, was, not only to suffer patiently, but even to promote
every thing which could gratify the cupidity of his gaoler or his
underlings; and thus he had laid much stress upon the provision of his
table, about which he was really indifferent.

Well contented with the liberality of his new prisoner, and praying God
most devoutly that the Cardinal would spare his life to grace the annals
of the Bastille for many years, the Governor took care to send De Blenau
immediately the supper which had been prepared for himself: an act of
generosity, of which few gaolers, high or low, would have been guilty.

It matters little how De Blenau relished his meal; suffice it, that the
civility and attention he experienced, greatly removed his apprehensions
for the future, and made him imagine that no serious proceedings were
intended against him. In this frame of mind, as soon as the Governor's
servants had taken away the remains of his supper, and the bolts were
drawn upon him for the night, he took a book from the shelf, thinking
that his mind was sufficiently composed to permit of his thus occupying
it with some more pleasing employment than the useless contemplation of
his own fate. But he was mistaken. He had scarcely read a sentence,
before his thoughts, flying from the lettered page before his eyes, had
again sought out all the strange uncertain points of his situation, and
regarding them under every light, strove to draw from the present some
presage for the future. Thus finding the attempt in vain, he threw the
book hastily from him, in order to give himself calmly up to the impulse
he could not resist. But as the volume fell from his hand upon the
table, a small piece of written paper flew out from between the leaves,
and after having made a circle or two in the air, fell lightly to the
ground.

De Blenau carelessly took it up, supposing it some casual annotation;
but the first few words that caught his eye riveted his attention. It
began.

"To the next wretched tenant of these apartments I bequeath a secret,
which, though useless to me, may be of service to him. To-day I am
condemned, and to-morrow I shall be led to the torture or to death. I am
innocent; but knowing that innocence is not safety, I have endeavoured
to make my escape, and have by long labour filed through the lock of the
iron door near the bed, which was the sole fastening by which it was
secured from without. Unfortunately, this door only leads to a small
turret staircase communicating with the inner court; but should my
successor in this abode of misery be, like me, debarred from exercise,
and also from all converse with his fellow prisoners, this information
may be useful to him. The file with which I accomplished my endeavour is
behind the shelf which contains these books. Adieu, whoever thou art!
Pray for the soul of the unhappy Caply!"

As he read, the hopes which De Blenau had conceived from the comforts
that were allowed him fled in air. There also, in the same apartment,
and doubtless attended with the same care, had the wretched Caply
lingered away the last hours of an existence about to be terminated by a
dreadful and agonizing death. "And such may be my fate," thought De
Blenau with an involuntary shudder, springing from that antipathy which
all things living bear to death. But the moment after, the blood rushed
to his cheek, reproaching him for yielding to such a feeling though no
one was present to witness its effects. "What!" thought he, "I who have
confronted death a thousand times, to tremble at it now! However, let me
see the truth of what this paper tells;" and entering the bed-room, he
approached the iron door, of which he easily drew back the bolts, Caply
having taken care to grease them with oil from the lamp, so that they
moved without creating the smallest noise.

The moment that these were drawn, the slightest push opened the door,
and De Blenau beheld before him a little winding stone staircase,
filling the whole of one of the small towers; which containing no
chambers and only serving as a back access to the apartments in the
square tower, had been suffered in some degree to go to decay. The walls
were pierced with loopholes, which being enlarged by some of the stones
having fallen away, afforded sufficient aperture for the moonlight to
visit the interior with quite enough power to permit of De Blenau's
descending without other light. Leaving the lamp, therefore, in the
bed-room, he proceeded down the steps till they at once opened from the
turret into the inner court, where all was moonlight and silence, it
being judged unnecessary, after the prisoners were locked in for the
night, to station even a single sentry in a place which was otherwise so
well secured.

Without venturing out of the shadow of the tower, De Blenau returned to
his apartment, feeling a degree of satisfaction in the idea that he
should not now be cut off from all communication with those below in
case he should desire it. He no longer felt so absolutely lonely as
before, when his situation had appeared almost as much insulated as
many of those that the lower dungeons of that very building contained,
who were condemned to drag out the rest of their years in nearly
unbroken solitude.

Having replaced the paper in the book, for the benefit of any one who
might be confined there in future, De Blenau fastened the iron door on
the inside, and addressing his prayers to Heaven, he laid himself down
to rest. For some time his thoughts resumed their former train, and
continued to wander over his situation and its probable termination, but
at length his ideas became confused, memory and perception gradually
lost their activity, while fatigue and the remaining weakness from his
late wounds overcame him, and he slept.



CHAPTER III.

     Which shows a new use for an old Castle; and gives a good receipt
     for leading a man by the nose.


Now if the reader imagined that I wrote the whole of the twelfth chapter
of the last volume for the sole purpose of telling a cock and a bull
story about a country innkeeper and conjuror's first cousin, he was very
much mistaken. Let him immediately transport himself back to the little
village of Mesnil St. Loup, and let him remember the church, and the old
trees, and the ruined castle beyond, with all the circumstances
thereunto appertaining; and if any thing that has since passed has put
the particulars out of his mind, let him return to the aforesaid twelfth
chapter, and learn it by heart, as a penance for having forgotten it.
But if, on the contrary, he remembers it fully--I will go on with my
story.

It was in the old Chateau of St. Loup, near the village of Mesnil, on a
sultry evening about the end of September, that a party was assembled,
who, in point of rank and greatness of design, had seldom been equalled
within those walls, even when they were the habitation of the great and
beautiful of other days. But years and centuries had passed since they
had been so tenanted. The court-yard was full of weeds, and grass, and
tangled shrubs: the ivy creeping over the ruined walls obtruded its long
branches through the unglazed windows, and the breaches which the siege
of time had effected in the solid masonry, gave entrance to the wind of
night and the wintry tempest.

The chamber that had been chosen for a place of meeting on the present
occasion was one which, more than any other, had escaped the hand of
desolation. The casements, it is true, had long ceased to boast of
glass, and part of the wall itself had given way, encumbering with its
broken fragments the farther end of the great saloon, as it had once
been called. The rest, however, of the chamber was in very tolerable
repair, and contained also several pieces of furniture, consisting of
more than one rude seat, and a large uncouth table, which evidently had
never belonged to the castle in its days of splendour.

At the head of this table sat Gaston Duke of Orleans, the younger
brother of the King, leaning his head upon his hand in an attitude of
listless indifference, and amusing himself by brushing the dust which
had gathered on the board before him, into a thousand fanciful shapes
with the feather of a pen--now forming fortifications with lines and
parallels, and half moons and curtains--and then sweeping them all
heedlessly away--offering no bad image of the many vast and intricate
plans he had engaged in, all of which he had overthrown alike by his
caprice and indecision.

Near him sat his two great favourites and advisers, Montressor and St.
Ibal: the first of whom was really the inconsiderate fool he seemed;
the second, though not without his share of folly, concealed deeper
plans under his assumed carelessness. These two men, whose pride was in
daring every thing, affected to consider nothing in the world worth
trouble or attention, professing at the same time perfect indifference
to danger and uncomfort, and contending that vice and virtue were merely
names, which signified any thing, according to their application. Such
was the creed of their would-be philosophy; and Montressor lost no
opportunity of evincing that heedlessness of every thing serious which
formed the principal point of his doctrine. In the present instance he
had produced a couple of dice from his pocket, and was busily engaged in
throwing with St. Ibal for some pieces of gold which lay between them.

Two more completed the party assembled in the old Chateau of St. Loup.
The first of these was Cinq Mars: his quick and ardent spirit did not
suffer him to join in the frivolous pastimes of the others, but on the
contrary, he kept walking up and down the apartment, as if impatient
for the arrival of some one expected by all; and every now and then, as
he turned at the extremity of the chamber, he cast a glance upon the
weak Duke and his vicious companions, almost amounting to scorn.

Beside the Master of the Horse, and keeping an equal pace, was the
celebrated President De Thou, famed for unswerving integrity and the
mild dignity of virtuous courage. His personal appearance, however,
corresponded ill with the excellence of his mind; and his plain
features, ill-formed figure, and inelegant movements, contrasted
strongly with the handsome countenance and princely gait of Cinq Mars,
as well as the calm pensive expression of his downcast eye, with the
wild and rapid glance of his companion's.

As the time wore away, the impatience of Cinq Mars visibly increased;
and every two or three minutes he would stop, and look out from one of
the open casements, and then approaching the table would take one of
the torches, of which there were several lighted in the room, and
strike it against the wall to increase the flame. "It is very
extraordinary," cried he at length, "that Fontrailles has not yet
arrived."

"Oh! no, Cinq Mars," replied De Thou, "we are a full hour before the
time. You were so impatient, my good friend, that you made us all set
off long before it was necessary."

"Why, it is quite dark," said the Master of the Horse, "and Fontrailles
promised to be here at nine.--It is surely nine, is it not, Montressor?"

"Size ace," said the Gambler, "_quatre à quatre_, St. Ibal. I shall win
yet!"

"Pshaw!" cried Cinq Mars--"who will tell me the time? I wish we could
have clocks made small enough to put in our pockets."

"I will show you what will tell us the hour as well as if we had,"
answered De Thou. "Look out there in the west! Do you see what a red
light the sun still casts upon those heavy masses of cloud that are
coming up? Now the sun goes down at seven; so you may judge it can
scarce be eight yet."

"_Cinq quatre!_" cried Montressor, throwing. "I have lost, after
all--Monsieur De Thou, will you bet me a thousand crowns that it is not
past eight by the village clock of Mesnil St. Loup?"

"No, indeed!" replied the President; "I neither wish to win your money,
Monsieur Montressor, nor to lose my own. Nor do I see how such a bet
could be determined."

"Oh! if you do not take the bet, there is no use of inquiring how it
might be determined," rejoined Montressor. "Monseigneur," he continued,
turning to the Duke of Orleans, who had just swept away his last
fortification, and was laying out a flower-garden in its place; "can you
tell how in the name of fortune these chairs and this table came here,
when all the rest of the place is as empty as your Highness's purse?"

"Or as your head, Montressor," answered the Duke. "But the truth is,
they were the property of poor old Père Le Rouge, who lived for many
years in these ruins,--half-knave, half-madman,--till they tried and
burnt him for a sorcerer down in the wood there at the foot of the hill.
Since then it has been called the Sorcerer's Grove, and the country
people are not fond of passing through it, which has doubtless saved the
old Conjuror's furniture from being burnt for firewood; for none of the
old women in the neighbourhood dare come to fetch it, or infallibly it
would undergo the same fate as its master."

"So, that wood is called the Sorcerer's Grove," said St. Ibal, laughing:
"that is the reason your Highness brought us round the other way, is it
not?"

Gaston of Orleans coloured a good deal at a jest which touched too near
one of his prevailing weaknesses; for no one was more tinctured with the
superstition of the day than himself, yet no one was more ashamed of
such credulity. "No, no!" answered he; "I put no faith in Père Le Rouge
and his prophecies. He made too great a mistake in my own case to show
himself to me since his predictions have proved false, I will answer for
him."

"Why, what did he predict about you, Monseigneur?" asked De Thou, who
knew the faith which the Duke still placed in astrology.

"A great deal of nonsense," answered the Duke, affecting a tone very
foreign to his real feelings. "He predicted that I should marry the
Queen, after the death of Louis. Now, you see, I have married some one
else, and therefore his prophecy was false. But however, as I said,
these chairs belonged to him: where he got them I know not--perhaps from
the Devil; but at all events, I wish he were here to fill one now; he
would be a good companion in our adventures." As he spoke, a bright
flash of lightning blazed through the apartment, followed by a loud and
rolling peal of thunder, which made the Duke start, exclaiming, "Jesu!
what a flash!"

"Your Highness thought it was Père Le Rouge," said St. Ibal; "but he
would most likely come in at the door, if he did come; not through the
window."

Gaston of Orleans heard the jests of his two companions without anger;
and a moment or two after, Cinq Mars, who stood near one of the
dilapidated casements, turned round, exclaiming, "Hark! I hear the sound
of a horse's feet: it is Fontrailles at last. Give me a torch; I will
show him where we are."

"If it should be the Devil now----" said Montressor, as Cinq Mars left
the room.

"Or Père Le Rouge," added St. Ibal.

"Or both," said the Duke of Orleans.

"Why for cunning and mischief they would scarcely supply the place of
one Fontrailles," rejoined St. Ibal. "But here comes one or the
other,--I suppose it is the same to your Royal Highness which."

"Oh, yes!" answered the Duke, "they shall all be welcome. Nothing like
keeping good company, St. Ibal."

As he spoke, Cinq Mars returned, accompanied by Fontrailles, both
laughing with no small glee. "What makes ye so merry, my Lords?"
exclaimed Montressor; "a laugh too good a thing to be lost. Has Monsieur
de Fontrailles encountered his old friend Sathanus by the road-side, or
what?"

"Not so," answered Cinq Mars, "he has only bamboozled an innkeeper. But
come, Fontrailles, let us not lose time: will you read over the articles
of alliance to which we are to put our names; and let us determine upon
them to-night, for, if we meet frequently in this way, we shall become
suspected ere our design be ripe."

"Willingly for my part," replied Fontrailles, approaching the table, and
speaking with some degree of emphasis, but without immediately deviating
into declamation. "There certainly never was a case when speedy decision
was more requisite than the present. Every man in this kingdom, from the
King to the peasant, has felt, and does now feel, the evils which we are
met to remedy. It is no longer zeal, but necessity, which urges us to
oppose the tyranny of this daring Minister. It is no longer patriotism,
but self-defence. In such a case, all means are justifiable; for when a
man (as Richelieu has done) breaks through every law, human and divine,
to serve the ungenerous purpose of his own aggrandizement; when he
sports with the lives of his fellow-creatures with less charity than a
wild beast; are we not bound to consider him as such, and to hunt him to
the death for the general safety?"

De Thou shook his head, as if there was something in the proposition to
which he could not subscribe; but Cinq Mars at once gave his unqualified
assent, and all being seated round the table, Fontrailles drew forth
some papers, and proceeded.

"This, then, is our first grand object," said he: "to deprive this
tyrant, whose abuse of power not only extends to oppress the subject,
but who even dares, with most monstrous presumption, to curb and
overrule the Royal authority, making the Monarch a mere slave to his
will, and the Monarch's name but a shield behind which to shelter his
own crimes and iniquities--I say, to deprive this usurping favourite of
the means of draining the treasures, sacrificing the honour, and
spilling the blood of France; thereby to free our King from bondage, to
restore peace and tranquillity to our country, and to bring back to our
homes long banished confidence, security, and ease--To this you all
agree?"

A general assent followed, and Fontrailles went on.

"Safely to effect our purpose, it is not only necessary to use every
energy of our minds, but to exert all the local power we possess. Every
member, therefore, of our association will use all his influence with
those who are attached to him by favour or connexion, and prepare all
his vassals, troops, and retainers, to act in whatsoever manner shall
hereafter be determined, and will also amass whatever sums he can
procure for the general object. It will also be necessary to concentrate
certain bodies of men on particular points, for the purpose of seizing
on some strong fortified places. And farther, it will be advisable
narrowly to watch the movements of the Cardinal, in order to make
ourselves masters of his person."

"But whose authority shall we have for this?" demanded De Thou; "for
while he continues Prime Minister by the King's consent, we are
committing high treason to restrain his person."

"We must not be so scrupulous, De Thou," rejoined Cinq Mars; "we must
free his Majesty from those magic chains in which Richelieu has so long
held his mind, before we can expect him to do any thing openly: but I
will take it upon me to procure his private assent. I have sounded his
inclinations already, and am sure of my ground. But proceed,
Fontrailles: let us hear what arrangements you have made respecting
troops, for we must have some power to back us, or we shall fail."

"Well, then," said Fontrailles, "I bring with me the most generous
offers from the noble Duke of Bouillon. They are addressed to you, Cinq
Mars, but were sent open to me. I may as well, therefore, give their
contents at once, and you can afterwards peruse them at your leisure.
The Duke here offers to place his town and principality of Sedan in our
hands, as a depôt for arms and munition, and also as a place of retreat
and safety, and a rendezvous for the assembling of forces. He farther
promises, on the very first call, to march his victorious troops from
Italy, when, as he says, every soldier will exult in the effort to
liberate his country."

"Generously promised of the Duke," exclaimed Montressor, slapping the
table with mock enthusiasm. "My head to a bunch of Macon grapes, he
expects to be prime minister in Richelieu's place."

"The Duke of Bouillon, Monsieur de Montressor," replied Cinq Mars
somewhat warmly, "has the good of his country at heart; and is too much
a man of honour to harbour the ungenerous thought you would attribute to
him."

"My dear Cinq Mars, do not be angry," said Montressor. "Don't you see
how much the odds were in my favour? Why, I betted my head to a bunch
of grapes, and who do you think would be fool enough to hazard a full
bunch of grapes against an empty head? But go on, Fontrailles; where are
the next troops to come from?"

"From Spain!" answered Fontrailles calmly; while at the name of that
country, at open war with France, and for years considered as its most
dangerous enemy, each countenance round the table assumed a look of
astonishment and disapprobation, which would probably have daunted any
other than the bold conspirator who named it.

"No, no!" exclaimed Gaston of Orleans, as soon as he had recovered
breath. "None of the Spanish Catholicon for me;" alluding to the name
which had been used to stigmatize the assistance that the League had
received from Spain during the civil wars occasioned by the accession of
Henry IV. to the throne. "No, no! Monsieur de Fontrailles, this is high
treason at once."

St. Ibal was generally supposed, and with much appearance of truth, to
have some secret connexion with the Spanish court; and having now
recovered from the first surprise into which he had been thrown by the
bold mention of an alliance with that obnoxious country, he jested at
the fears of the timid and unsteady Duke, well knowing that by such
means he was easily governed. "Death to my soul!" exclaimed he. "Your
Highness calls out against high treason, when it is what you have lived
upon all your life! Why, it is meat, drink, and clothing to you. A
little treason is as necessary to your comfort as a dice-box is to
Montressor, a Barbary horse to Cinq Mars, or a bird-net and
hawking-glove to the King. But to speak seriously, Monseigneur," he
continued, "is it not necessary that we should have some farther support
than that which Monsieur de Bouillon promises? His enthusiasm may have
deceived him;--his troops may not be half so well inclined to our cause
as he is himself;--he might be taken ill;--he might either be arrested
by the gout, to which he is subject; or by the Cardinal, to whom we all
wish he was not subject. A thousand causes might prevent his giving us
the assistance he intends, and then what an useful auxiliary would Spain
prove. Besides, we do not call in Spain, to fight against France, but
for France. Spain is not an enemy of the country, but only of the
Cardinal; and the moment _that_ man is removed, who for his sole
interest and to render himself necessary has carried on a war which has
nearly depopulated the kingdom, a lasting and glorious peace will be
established between the two countries; and thus we shall confer another
great benefit on the nation."

"Why, in that point of view, I have no objection," replied the Duke of
Orleans. "But do you not think that Louis will disapprove of it?"

"We must not let him know it," said Montressor, "till Richelieu is
removed, and then he will be as glad of it as any one."

"But still," rejoined the Duke with more pertinacity than he generally
displayed, "I am not fond of bringing Spanish troops into France. Who
can vouch that we shall ever get rid of them?"

"That will I," answered St. Ibal. "Has your Highness forgot what good
faith and courtesy the Spanish government has shown you in your exile;
as also the assistance it yielded to your late Royal Mother? Besides, we
need not call in a large body of troops. What number do you propose,
Fontrailles?"

"The offer of Spain is five thousand," replied Fontrailles; "with the
promise of ten thousand more, should we require it. Nothing can be more
open and noble than the whole proceeding of King Philip. He leaves it
entirely to ourselves what guarantee we will place in his hands for the
safety of his troops."

"Well, well," said the Duke of Orleans, getting tired of the subject, "I
have no doubt of their good faith. I am satisfied, St. Ibal; and
whatever you think right, I will agree to. I leave it all to you and
Montressor."

"Well then," said Fontrailles hastily, "that being settled, we will
proceed--"

"Your pardon, gentlemen," interposed De Thou, "I must be heard now--Your
schemes extend much farther than I had any idea of--Cinq Mars, I was not
informed of all this--had I been so, I would never have come here. To
serve my country, to rid her of a Minister who, as I conceive, has
nearly destroyed her, who has trampled France under his feet, and
enthralled her in a blood-stained chain, I would to-morrow lay my head
upon the block--Frown not, Monsieur de Fontrailles--Cinq Mars, my noble
friend, do not look offended--but I cannot, I will not be a party to the
crime into which mistaken zeal is hurrying you. Are we not subjects of
France? and is not France at war with Spain? and though we may all wish
and pray God that this war may cease, yet to treat or conspire with that
hostile kingdom is an act which makes us traitors to our country and
rebels to our King. Old De Thou has but two things to lose--his life and
his honour. His life is valueless. He would sacrifice it at once for
the least benefit to his country. He would sacrifice it, Cinq Mars, for
his friendship for you. But his honour must not be sullied: and as
through life he has kept it unstained, so shall it go with him unstained
to his last hour. Were it merely personal danger you called upon me to
undergo, I would not bestow a thought upon the risk: but my fame, my
allegiance, my very salvation are concerned, and I will never give my
sanction to a plan which begins by the treasonable proposal of bringing
foreign enemies into the heart of the land."

"As to your salvation, Monsieur le President," said Montressor, "I'll
undertake to buy that for you for a hundred crowns. You shall have an
indulgence to commit sins _ad libitum_, in which high treason shall be
specified by name. Now, though these red-hot heretics of Germany, who
seem inclined to bring that fiery place upon earth, which his Holiness
threatens them with in another world, and who are assisted by our
Catholic Cardinal with money, troops, ammunition, and all the
hell-invented implements of war,--though these Protestants, I say, put
no trust in the indulgences which their apostacy has rendered cheap in
the market, yet I am sure you are by far too staunch a stickler for all
antique abuses to doubt their efficacy. I suppose, therefore, when
salvation can be had for a hundred crowns, good Monsieur de Thou, you
can have no scruple on that score--unless indeed you are as stingy as
the dog in the fable."

"Jests are no arguments, Monsieur de Montressor," replied De Thou, with
stern gravity; "you have a bad habit, young Sir, of scoffing at what
wiser men revere. Had you any religion yourself of any kind, or any
reason for having none, we might pardon your error, because it was
founded on principle. As for myself, Sir, what I believe, I believe from
conviction, and what I do, I do with the firm persuasion that it is
right; without endeavouring to cloak a bad cause with a show of spirit,
or to hide my incapacity to defend it with stale jokes and profane
raillery. Gentlemen, you act as you please; for my part I enter into no
plan by which Spain is to be employed or treated with."

"I think it dangerous too," said the unsteady Duke of Orleans.

"Ten times more dangerous to attempt any thing without it," exclaimed
Fontrailles.--"Should we not be fools to engage in such an enterprise
without some foreign power to support us? We might as well go to the
Palais Cardinal, and offer our throats to Richelieu at once."

Montressor and St. Ibal both applied themselves to quiet the fears of
the Duke, and soon succeeded in removing from his mind any apprehensions
on the score of Spain: but he continued from time to time to look
suspiciously at De Thou, who had risen from the table, and was again
walking up and down the apartment. At length Gaston beckoned to Cinq
Mars, and whispered something in his ear.

"You do him wrong, my Lord," exclaimed Cinq Mars indignantly, "I will
answer for his faith. De Thou," he continued, "the Duke asks your
promise not to reveal what you have heard this night; and though I think
my friend ought not to be suspected, I will be obliged by your giving
it."

"Most assuredly," replied De Thou; "his Highness need be under no alarm.
On my honour, in life or in death, I will never betray what I have heard
here. But that I may hear as little as possible, I will take one of
these torches, and wait for you in the lower apartments."

"Take care that you do not meet with Père Le Rouge, Monsieur de Thou,"
exclaimed St. Ibal as De Thou left them.

"Cease your jesting, gentlemen," said Cinq Mars; "we have had too much
of it already. A man with the good conscience of my friend De Thou, need
not mind whom he meets. For my own part, I am resolved to go on with the
business I have undertaken; I believe I am in the right; and if not, God
forgive me, for my intentions are good."

The rest of the plan was soon settled after the President had left the
room; and the treaty which it was proposed to enter into with Spain was
read through and approved. The last question which occurred, was the
means of conveying a copy of this treaty to the Court of King Philip
without taking the circuitous route by the Low Countries. Numerous
difficulties presented themselves to every plan that was suggested, till
Fontrailles, with an affectation of great modesty, proposed to be the
bearer himself, if, as he said, they considered his abilities equal to
the task.

The offer was of course gladly accepted, as he well knew it would be:
and now being to the extent of his wish furnished with unlimited powers,
and possessed of a document which put the lives of all his associates in
his power, Fontrailles brought the conference to an end: it being agreed
that the parties should not meet again till after his return from Spain.

A few minutes more were spent in seeking cloaks and hats, and
extinguishing the torches; and then descending to the court-yard, they
mounted their horses, which had found shelter in the ruined stable of
the old castle, and set out on their various roads. By this time the
storm had cleared away, leaving the air but the purer and the more
serene; and the bright moon shining near her meridian, served to light
Cinq Mars and De Thou on the way towards Paris, while the Duke of
Orleans and his party bent their steps towards Bourbon, and Fontrailles
set off for Troyes to prepare for his journey to Spain.



CHAPTER IV.

     Intended to prove that keen-sighted politicians are but buzzards
     after all, and to show how Philip the woodman took a ride earlier
     than usual.


I wish to Heaven it were possible, in a true story, to follow the old
Greek's rule, and preserve at least unity of place throughout. It would
save a great deal of trouble, both to writer and reader, if we could
make all our characters come into one hall, say their say, and have done
with it. But there is only one place where they could be supposed to
meet--heroes and heroines, statesmen and conspirators, servant and
master, proud and humble--the true Procrustes' bed which is made to fit
every one. However, as before I could get them there, the story would be
done, and the generation passed away, I must even violate all the
unities together, and gallop after my characters all over the country,
as I have often seen a shepherd in the Landes of France, striding here
and there upon his long stilts after his wilful and straggling sheep,
and endeavouring in vain to keep them all together. I must ask the
reader, therefore, to get into the chaise with me, and set off for
Chantilly; and as we go, I will tell him a few anecdotes, just to pass
the time.

It was a common custom with Louis the Thirteenth to spend a part of the
morning in that large circular piece of ground at Chantilly, called
then, as now, the Manège; while his various hunters, in which he took
great delight, were exercised before him. Here, while the few gentlemen
that generally accompanied him, stood a step behind, he would lean
against one of the pillars that surrounded the place, and remark, with
the most minute exactitude, every horse as it passed him, expressing his
approbation to the grooms when any thing gave him satisfaction. But on
the same morning which had witnessed at St. Germain the arrest of De
Blenau, something had gone wrong with the King at Chantilly. He was
impatient, cross, and implacable: and Lord Montague, an English
nobleman, who was at that time much about him, remarked in a low voice
to one of the gentlemen in waiting, "His Majesty is as peevish as a
crossed child, when Cinq Mars is absent."

The name of his Grand Ecuyer, though spoken very low, caught the King's
ear.

"Do any of you know when Cinq Mars returns?" demanded he. "We never
proceed well when he is not here.--Look at that man now, how he rides,"
continued Louis, pointing to one of the grooms; "would not any one take
him for a monkey on horseback? Do you know where Cinq Mars is gone, _Mi
Lor_?"

"I hear, Sire," replied Lord Montague, "that he is gone with Monsieur de
Thou to Troyes, where he has an estate, about which there is some
dispute, which Monsieur de Thou, who is learned in such matters, is to
determine."

"To Troyes!" exclaimed the King, "that is a journey of three days--Did
not some of you tell me, that Chavigni arrived last night, while I was
hunting?"

"I did so, please your Majesty," replied one of the gentlemen; "and I
hear, moreover, that the Cardinal himself slept at Luzarches last night,
with the purpose of being here early this morning."

"The Cardinal at Luzarches!" said the King, a cloud coming over his
brow. "It is strange I had not notice--We shall scarce have room for
them all--I expect the Queen to-night--and the Cardinal and her Majesty
are as fond of each other as a hawk and a heron poulet."

Louis was evidently puzzled. Now the best way to cut the Gordian knot of
an _embarras_, is to run away from it, and let it settle itself. It is
sure to get unravelled somehow; and by the time you come back, a
thousand to one the fracas is over. Louis the Thirteenth, who of all men
on earth hated what is called in the vulgar tongue _a piece of work_,
except when he made it himself, was very much in the habit of adopting
the expedient above mentioned, and, indeed, had been somewhat a loser by
the experiment. However, it was a habit now, confirmed by age, and
therefore more powerful than Nature. Accordingly, after thinking for a
moment about the Queen and the Cardinal, and their mutual hatred, and
their being pent up together in the small space of Chantilly, like two
game cocks in a cock-pit; and seeing no end to it whatever, he suddenly
burst forth--

"Come, Messieurs, I'll go hunt. Quick! saddle the horses!" and casting
kingly care from his mind, he began humming the old air _Que ne suis je
un Berger!_ while he walked across the manège towards the stables. But
just at that moment, Chavigni presented himself, doffing his hat with
all respect to the King, who could not avoid seeing him.

Louis was brought to bay, but still he stood his ground. "Ah! good day,
Monsieur de Chavigni," exclaimed he, moving on towards the stables.
"Come in good time to hunt with us. We know you are free of the forest."

"I humbly thank your Majesty," replied the Statesman; "but I am
attending the Cardinal."

"And why not attend the King, Sir? Ha!" exclaimed Louis, his brow
gathering into a heavy frown. "It is our will that you attend us, Sir."

Chavigni did not often commit such blunders, but it was not very easy to
remember at all times to pay those external marks of respect which
generally attend real power, to a person who had weakly resigned his
authority into the hands of another: and as the Cardinal not only
possessed kingly sway, but maintained kingly state, it sometimes
happened that the King himself was treated with scanty ceremony. This,
however, always irritated Louis not a little. He cared not for the
splendour of a throne, he cared not even for the luxuries of royalty;
but of the personal reverence due to his station, he would not bate an
iota, and clung to the shadow when he had let the substance pass away.
The Statesman now hastened to repair his error, and bowing profoundly,
he replied, "Had I not thought that in serving the Cardinal I best
served your Majesty, I should not have ventured on so bold an answer;
but as your Majesty is good enough to consider my pleasure in the chase,
and the still greater pleasure of accompanying you, your invitation will
be more than an excuse for breaking my appointment with the Cardinal."

To bear the burthen of forcing one of the Council to break his
engagement with the prime Minister, and all for so trifling a cause as
an accidental hunting-party, was not in the least what the King wished
or intended, and he would now very willingly have excused Chavigni's
attendance; but Chavigni would not be excused.

The wily Statesman well knew, that Richelieu had that day a point to
carry with the King of the deepest importance as to the stability of
his power. The Queen, whom the Cardinal had long kept in complete
depression, being now the mother of two princes, her influence was
increasing in the country to a degree that alarmed the Minister for his
own sway. It was a principle with Richelieu always to meet an evil in
its birth; and seeing plainly that as the King's health declined--and it
was then failing fast--the party of Anne of Austria would increase, if
he did not take strong measures to annihilate it--he resolved at once to
ruin her with her husband, to deprive her of her children, and, if
possible, even to send her back to Spain. "And then," thought he, "after
the King's death I shall be Regent.--Regent? King! ay, and one more
despotic than ever sat upon the throne of France. For twenty years this
young Dauphin must be under my guidance; and it will be strange indeed
if I cannot keep him there till my sand be run." And the proud man, who
reasoned thus, knew not that even then he trembled on the verge of the
grave.

    "Ainsi, dissipateurs peu sages
       Des rapides bienfaits du temps,
     Nos désirs embrassent des âges,
       Et nous n'avons que des instans."

However, the object of his present visit to Chantilly was to complete
the ruin of the Queen; and Chavigni, who suffered his eyes to be blinded
to simple right and wrong by the maxims of State policy, lent himself
entirely to the Cardinal's measures, little imagining that personal
hatred had any share in the motives of the great Minister whose steps he
followed.

A moment's reflection convinced Chavigni that he might greatly promote
the object in view by accompanying the King in the present instance. He
knew that in difficult enterprises the most trifling circumstances may
be turned to advantage; and he considered it a great thing gained at
that moment, to lay Louis under the necessity of offering some amends,
even for the apparent trifle of making him break his appointment with
Richelieu. In riding with the King, he would have an opportunity of
noting the Monarch's state of mind, which he perceived was unusually
irritated, and also of preparing the way for those impressions which
Richelieu intended to give: and accordingly he avoided with consummate
art any subject which might open the way for Louis to withdraw his
previous order to accompany him.

Having already followed one royal hunt somewhat too minutely, we will
not attempt to trace the present; only observing that during the course
of the day, Chavigni had many opportunities of conversing with the King,
and took care to inform him that the campaign in the Netherlands was
showing itself much against the arms of France; that no plan was formed
by the Government, which did not by some means reach the ears of the
Spanish generals, and consequently that all the manoeuvres of the
French troops were unavailing; and from this, as a natural deduction, he
inferred, that some one at the court of France must convey information
to the enemy; mingling these pleasant matters of discourse, with sundry
sage observations respecting the iniquity and baseness of thus
betraying France to her enemies.

Louis was exactly in the humour that the Statesman could have wished.
Peevish from the absence of Cinq Mars, and annoyed by the unexpected
coming of Richelieu, he listened with indignation to all that Chavigni
told him, of any one in France conveying intelligence to a country which
he hated with the blindest antipathy.

The predominant passion in the King's mind had long been his dislike to
Spain, but more especially to Philip, whom he regarded as a personal
enemy: and Chavigni easily discerned, by the way in which the news he
conveyed was received, that if they could cast any probable suspicion on
the Queen, (and Chavigni really believed her guilty,) Louis would set no
bounds to his anger. But just at the moment he was congratulating
himself upon the probable success of their schemes, a part of the storm
he had been so busily raising fell unexpectedly upon himself.

"Well, Monsieur de Chavigni," said the King, after the chase was over,
and the Royal party were riding slowly back towards Chantilly, "this
hunting is a right noble sport: think you not so, Sir?"

"In truth I do, Sire," replied Chavigni; "and even your Majesty can
scarce love it better than myself."

"I am glad to hear it, Sir," rejoined the King, knitting his brows;
"'tis a good sign. But one thing I must tell you, which is, that I do
not choose my Royal forests to be made the haunt of worse beasts than
stags and boars.--No wolves and tigers.--Do you take me, Sir?"

"No, indeed, Sire," replied Chavigni, who really did not comprehend the
King's meaning, and was almost tempted to believe that he had suddenly
gone mad. "Allow me to remind your Majesty that wolves are almost
extinct in this part of France, and that tigers are altogether beasts of
another country."

"There are beasts of prey in every part of the world," answered the
King. "What I mean, Sir, is, that robbers and assassins are beginning
to frequent our woods; especially, Sir, the wood of Mantes. Was it that,
or was it the forest of Laye, in which the young Count de Blenau was
attacked the other day?"

It was not easy on ordinary occasions to take Chavigni by surprise, and
he was always prepared to repel open attack, or to parry indirect
questions, with that unhesitating boldness, or skilful evasion, the
proper application of which is but one of the lesser arts of diplomacy;
but on the present occasion, the King's question was not only so
unexpected as nearly to overcome his habitual command of countenance,
but was also uttered in such a tone as to leave him in doubt whether
Louis's suspicions were directed personally towards himself. He replied,
however, without hesitation: "I believe it was the wood of Mantes, Sire;
but I am not perfectly sure."

"You, of all men, ought to be well informed on that point, Monsieur de
Chavigni," rejoined the King, "since you took care to send a servant to
see it rightly done."

The matter was now beyond a doubt, and Chavigni replied boldly: "Your
Majesty is pleased to speak in riddles, which I am really at a loss to
comprehend."

"Well, well, Sir," said Louis hastily, "it shall be inquired into, and
made plain both to you and me. Any thing that is done legally must not
be too strictly noticed; but I will not see the laws broken, and murder
attempted, even to serve State purposes."

Thus speaking, the King put his horse into a quicker pace, and Chavigni
followed with his mind not a little discomposed, though his countenance
offered not the slightest trace of embarrassment. How he was to act, now
became the question; and running over in his own mind all the
circumstances connected with the attack upon the Count de Blenau, he
could see no other means by which Louis could have become acquainted
with his participation therein, than by the loquacity of Philip, the
woodman of Mantes: and as he came to this conclusion, Chavigni
internally cursed that confident security which had made him reject the
advice of Lafemas, when the sharp-witted Judge had counselled him to
arrest Philip on first discovering that he had remarked the livery of
Isabel and silver amongst the robbers.

In the present instance the irritable and unusually decided humour of
the King, made him fear that inquiries might be instituted immediately,
which would not only be dangerous to himself personally, but might
probably overthrow all those plans which he had been labouring, in
conjunction with the Cardinal, to bring to perfection. Calculating
rapidly, therefore, all the consequences which might ensue, Chavigni
resolved at once to have the Woodman placed in such a situation as to
prevent him from giving any farther evidence of what he had seen. But
far from showing any untimely haste, though he was the first to dismount
in the court-yard in order to offer the King his aid in alighting, yet
that ceremony performed, he loitered, patting his horse's neck, and
giving trifling directions to his groom, till such time as Louis had
entered the Palace, and his figure had been seen passing the window at
the top of the grand staircase. That moment, however, Chavigni darted
into the Chateau, and seeking his own apartments, he wrote an order for
the arrest of Philip the woodman, which with the same despatch he placed
in the hands of two of his most devoted creatures, adding a billet to
the Governor of the Bastille, in which he begged him to treat the
prisoner with all kindness, and allow him all sort of liberty within the
prison, but on no account to let him escape till he received notice from
him.

We have already had occasion to see that Chavigni was a man who
considered State-policy paramount to every other principle; and
naturally not of an ungentle disposition or ignoble spirit, he had
unfortunately been educated in a belief that nothing which was expedient
for the statesman could be discreditable to the man. However, the
original bent of his mind generally showed itself in some degree, even
in his most unjustifiable actions, as the ground-work of a picture will
still shine through, and give a colour to whatever is painted above it.
In the present instance, as his only object was to keep the Woodman out
of the way till such time as the King's unwonted mood had passed by, he
gave the strictest commands to those who bore the order for Philip's
arrest, to use him with all possible gentleness, and to assure his wife
and family that no harm was intended to him. He also sent him a purse,
to provide for his comfort in the prison, which he well knew could not
be procured without the potent aid of gold.

The two attendants, accustomed to execute commands which required
despatch, set out instantly on their journey, proceeding with all speed
to Beaumont, and thence to Pontoise, where crossing the river Oise they
soon after arrived at Meulan: and here a dispute arose concerning the
necessity of calling upon two Exempts of that city to aid in arresting
Philip the woodman, the one servant arguing that they had no such orders
from their Lord, and the other replying that the said Philip might have
twenty companions for aught they knew, who might resist their authority,
they not being legally entitled to arrest his Majesty's lieges. This
argument was too conclusive to be refuted; and they therefore waited at
Meulan till the two Exempts were ready to accompany them. It being night
when they arrived at Meulan, and the two Exempts being engaged in
"potations deep and strong," drinking long life to the Cardinal de
Richelieu, and success to the royal prisons of France, some time was of
course spent before the party could proceed. However, after the lapse of
about an hour, discussed no matter how, they all contrived to get into
their saddles, and passing the bridge over the Seine, soon reached the
first little village, whose white houses, conspicuous in the moon-light,
seemed, on the dark back-ground of the forest, as if they had crept for
protection into the very bosom of the wood; while it, sweeping round
them on every side, appeared in its turn to afford them the friendly
shelter that they sought.

All was silence as they passed through the village, announcing plainly
that its sober inhabitants were comfortably dozing away the darkness.
This precluded them from asking their way to Philip's dwelling; but
Chavigni had been so precise in his direction, that notwithstanding the
wine-pots of Meulan, the two servants, in about half an hour after
having entered the wood, recognized the _abreuvoir_ and cottage, with
the long-felled oak and piece of broken ground, and all the other
_et-cetera_, which entered into the description they had received.

There is nothing half so amusing as the bustle with which little people
carry on the trifles that are intrusted to them. They are so important,
and so active, one would think that the world's turning round upon its
axis depended upon them; while all the mighty business of the universe
slips by as quietly as if the wheels were oiled; and the government of
a nation is often decided over a cup of coffee, or the fate of empires
changed by an extra bottle of Johanisberg.

But to return. Chavigni's two servants, with the two Exempts of Meulan,
were as important and as busy as emmets when their hill is disturbed--or
a _sous-secretaire_ when he opens his first despatch, and receives
information of a revolution in the Isle of Man--or the fleas in an
Italian bed, when you suddenly light your candle to see what the Devil
is biting you so infernally--or the Devil himself in a gale of wind--or
any other little person in a great flurry about nothing. So having
discovered the cottage, they held a profound council before the door,
disputing vehemently as to the mode of proceeding. One of the Exempts
proposed to knock at the door, and then suddenly to seize their prisoner
as he came to open it; but Chavigni's servants, though somewhat dipped
in the Lethean flood, in which the Exempts of Meulan had seduced them to
bathe, remembered the strict orders of their master, to treat Philip
with all possible gentleness, and judging that the mode proposed might
startle him, and affect his nerves, they decided against the motion.

A variety of other propositions were submitted, and rejected by the
majority, each one liking nobody's suggestion but his own; till one of
the Exempts, not bearing clearly in mind the subject of discussion,
knocked violently at the door, declaring it was tiresome to stand
disputing on their feet, and that they could settle how they should gain
admission after they had got in and sat down.

This seemed a very good motion, and settled the matter at once; and
Philip, who was in that sound and fearless sleep which innocence,
content, and labour can alone bestow, not exactly answering at first,
they all repeated the noise, not a little enraged at his want of
attention to personages of such high merit as themselves.

The moment after, the Woodman appeared at the window, and seeing some
travellers, as he imagined, he bade them wait till he had lighted a
lamp, and he would come to them. Accordingly, in a moment or two Philip
opened the door, purposing either to give them shelter, or to direct
them on their way, as they might require; but when the light gleamed
upon the black dresses of the Exempts, and then upon the well-known
colours of Isabel and silver, the Woodman's heart sank, and his cheek
turned pale, and he had scarcely power to demand their errand.

"I will tell you all that presently," replied the principal servant of
the two, who, like many another small man in many another place, thought
to become great by much speaking. "First let us come in and rest
ourselves; for as you may judge by our dusty doublets, we have ridden
far and hard: and after that I will expound to you, good friend, the
cause of our coming, with sundry other curious particulars, which may
both entertain and affect you."

Philip suffered them to enter the house, one after another, and setting
down the lamp, he gazed upon them in silence, his horror at gentlemen
in black coats and long straight swords, as well as those dressed in
Isabel and silver, being quite unspeakable.

"Well, Monsieur Philip le Bucheron," said the spokesman, throwing
himself into the oaken settle with that sort of percussion of breath
denoting fatigue: "you seem frightened, Monsieur Philip; but, good
Monsieur Philip, you have no cause for fear. We are all your friends,
Monsieur Philip."

"I am glad to hear it, Sir," replied the Woodcutter; "but may I know
what you want with me?"

"Why, this is the truth, Monsieur Philip," replied the servant, "it
seems that his Majesty the King, whom we have just left at Chantilly, is
very angry about something,--Lord knows what! and our noble employer,
not to say master, the Count de Chavigni, having once upon a time
received some courtesy at your hands, is concerned for your safety, and
has therefore deemed it necessary that you should be kept out of the
way for a time."

"Oh, if that be the case," cried Philip, rubbing his hands with
gladness, "though I know not why the King's anger should fall on me, I
will take myself out of the way directly."

"No, no, Monsieur Philip, that won't do exactly," answered the servant.
"You do not know how fond my master is of you; and so concerned is he
for your safety, that he must be always sure of it, and therefore has
given us command to let you stay in the Bastille for a few days."

At that one word _Bastille_, Philip's imagination set to work, and
instantly conjured up the image of a huge tower of red copper, somewhat
mouldy, standing on the top of a high mountain, and guarded by seven
huge giants with but one eye apiece, and the like number of fiery
dragons with more teeth and claws than would have served a dozen. If it
was not exactly this, it was something very like it; for Philip, whose
travels had never extended a league beyond the wood of Mantes, knew as
much about the Bastille as Saint Augustin did of Heaven,--so both drew
from their own fancy for want of better materials.

However, the purse which Chavigni's attendants gave him in behalf of
their master, for they dared not withhold his bounty, however much they
might be inclined, greatly allayed the fears of the Woodman.

There is something wonderfully consolatory in the chink of gold at all
times; but in the present instance, Philip drew from it the comfortable
conclusion, that they could not mean him any great harm when they sent
him money. "I know not what to think," cried he.

"Why, think it is exactly as I tell you," replied the servant, "and that
the Count means you well. But after you have thought as much as you
like, get ready to come with us, for we have no time to spare."

This was the worst part of the whole business. Philip had now to take
leave of his good dame Joan, which, like a well-arranged sermon,
consisted of three distinct parts; he had first to wake her, then to
make her comprehend, and then to endure her lamentation.

The first two were tasks of some difficulty, for Joan slept tolerably
well--that is to say, you might have fired a cannon at her ear without
making her hear--and when she was awake, her understanding did not
become particularly pellucid for at least an hour after. This on
ordinary occasions--but on the present Philip laboured hard to make her
mind take in that he was arrested and going to the Bastille. But finding
that her senses were still somewhat obdurate, and that she did nothing
but rub her eyes, and stretch and yawn in his face, he had recourse to
the same means morally, which he would have used physically to cleave an
oak; namely, he kept shouting to her, "Bastille! Bastille! Bastille!"
reiterating the word upon her ear, just in the same manner that he would
have plied the timber with his axe.

At length she comprehended it all. Her eye glanced from the inner room
upon the unwonted guests who occupied the other chamber, and then to the
dismayed countenance of her husband; and divining it suddenly, she threw
her arms round the athletic form of the Woodman, bursting into a passion
of tears, and declaring that he should not leave her.

Of course, on all such occasions there must follow a very tender scene
between husband and wife, and such there was in the present instance:
only Joan, availing herself of one especial privilege of the fair sex,
did not fail, between her bursts of tears and sobs, to rail loudly at
the Cardinal, the King, and all belonging to them, talking more high
treason in five minutes, than would have cost any _man_ an hour to
compose; nor did she spare even the Exempts, or the two gentlemen in
Isabel and silver, but poured forth her indignation upon all alike.

However, as all things must come to an end, so did this; and Philip was
carried away amidst the vain entreaties his wife at length condescended
to use.

The only difficulty which remained was, how to mount their prisoner,
having all forgot to bring a horse from Meulan for that purpose; and
Philip not choosing to facilitate his own removal by telling them that
he had a mule in the stable.

However it was at length agreed, that one of the Exempts should walk to
the next town, and that Philip should mount his horse till another could
be obtained. As the party turned away from the hut, the chief servant,
somewhat moved by the unceasing tears of Joan, took upon him to say that
he was sure that Charles the Woodman's son, who stood with his mother at
the door, would be permitted to see his father in the Bastille, if they
would all agree to say, that they did not know what was become of him,
in case of any impertinent person inquiring for him during his absence.

This they all consented to, their grief being somewhat moderated by the
prospect of communicating with each other, although separated; and
Philip once more having bid his wife and children adieu, was carried on
to a little village, where a horse being procured for him, the whole
party took the road to Marly, and thence proceeded to Paris with all
possible diligence.

Day had long dawned before they reached the Bastille, and Philip, who
was now excessively tired, never having ridden half the way in his life,
was actually glad to arrive at the prison, which he had previously
contemplated with so much horror.

Here he was delivered, with the _lettre de cachet_, and Chavigni's note,
to the Governor; and the servant again, in his own hearing, recommended
that he should be treated with all imaginable kindness, and allowed
every liberty consistent with his safe custody.

All this convinced the Woodcutter, as well as the conversation he had
heard on the road, that Chavigni really meant well by him; and without
any of those more refined feelings, which, however they may sometimes
open the gates of the heart to the purest joys, but too often betray the
fortress of the breast to the direst pains, he now felt comparatively
secure, and gazed up at the massy walls and towers of the Bastille with
awe indeed, but awe not unmingled with admiration.



CHAPTER V.

     Which shows that diadems are not without their thorns.


This shall be a short Chapter, I am determined; because it is one of the
most important in the whole book.

During the absence of the King and Chavigni in the chase, two arrivals
had taken place at Chantilly very nearly at the same moment. Luckily,
however, the Queen had just time to alight from her carriage, and seek
her apartments, before the Cardinal de Richelieu entered the court-yard,
thus avoiding an interview with her deadly enemy on the very
threshold,--an interview, from which she might well have drawn an
inauspicious augury, without even the charge of superstition.

As soon as Chavigni had (as far as possible) provided for his own safety
by despatching the order for Philip's arrest, he proceeded to the
apartments of Richelieu, and there he gave that Minister an exact
account of all he had heard, observed, and done; commenting particularly
upon the violent and irascible mood of the King, and the advantages
which might be thence derived, if they could turn his anger in the
direction that they wished.

In the mean while Louis proceeded to the apartments of the Queen, not
indeed hurried on by any great affection for his wife, but desirous of
seeing his children, whom he sincerely loved, notwithstanding the
unaccountable manner in which he so frequently absented himself from
them.

Never very attentive to dress, Louis the Thirteenth, when any thing
disturbed or irritated him, neglected entirely the ordinary care of his
person. In the present instance he made no change in his apparel,
although the sports in which he had been engaged had not left it in a
very fit state to grace a drawing-room. Thus, in a pair of immense
jack-boots, his hat pressed down upon his brows, and his whole dress
soiled, deranged, and covered with dust, he presented himself in the
saloon where Anne of Austria sat surrounded by the young Princes and the
ladies who had accompanied her to Chantilly.

The Queen immediately rose to receive her husband, and advanced towards
him with an air of gentle kindness, mixed however with some degree of
apprehension; for to her eyes, long accustomed to remark the various
changes of his temper, the disarray of his apparel plainly indicated the
irritation of his mind.

Louis saluted her but coldly, and without taking off his hat. "I am glad
to see you well, Madam," said he, and passed on to the nurse who held in
her arms the young Dauphin.

The child had not seen its father for some weeks, and now perceiving a
rude-looking ill-dressed man, approaching hastily towards it, became
frightened, hid its face on the nurse's shoulder, and burst into tears.

The rage of the King now broke the bounds of common decency.

"Ha!" exclaimed he, stamping on the ground with his heavy boot, till the
whole apartment rang: "is it so, Madam? Do you teach my children, also,
to dislike their father?"

"No, my Lord, no, indeed!" replied Anne of Austria, in a tone of deep
distress, seeing this unfortunate _contretems_ so strangely misconstrued
to her disadvantage. "I neither teach the child to dislike you, nor
_does_ he dislike you; but you approached Louis hastily, and with your
hat flapped over your eyes, so that he does not know you. Come hither,
Louis," she continued, taking the Dauphin out of the nurse's arms. "It
is your father; do not you know him? Have I not always told you to love
him?"

The Dauphin looked at his mother, and then at the King, and perfectly
old enough to comprehend what she said, he began to recognize his
father, and held out his little arms towards him. But Louis turned
angrily away.

"A fine lesson of dissimulation!" he exclaimed; and advanced towards his
second son, who then bore the title of Duke of Anjou. "Ah, my little
Philip," he continued, as the infant received him with a placid
smile,--"you are not old enough to have learned any of these arts. You
can love your father without being told to show it, like an ape at a
puppet-show."

At this new attack, the Queen burst into tears.

"Indeed, indeed, my Lord," she said, "you wrong me. Oh, Louis! how you
might have made me love you once!" and her tears redoubled at the
thought of the past. "But I am a weak fool," she continued, wiping the
drops from her eyes, "to feel so sensibly what I do not deserve--At
present your Majesty does me deep injustice.--I have always taught both
my children to love and respect their father. That name is the first
word that they learn to pronounce; and from me they learn to pronounce
it with affection. But oh, my Liege! what will these dear children think
in after years, when they see their father behave to their mother, as
your Majesty does towards me?"

"Pshaw!" exclaimed the King, "let us have no more of all this. I hate
these scenes of altercation. Fear not, Madam; the time will come, when
these children will learn to appreciate us both thoroughly."

"I hope not, my Lord"--replied the Queen fervently--"I hope not. From
me, at least, they shall never learn all I have to complain of in their
father."

Had Anne of Austria reflected, she would have been silent; but it is
sometimes difficult to refrain when urged by taunts and unmerited
reproach. That excellent vial of water, which the Fairy bestowed upon
the unhappy wife, is not always at hand to impede the utterance of
rejoinders, which, like rejoinders in the Court of Chancery, only serve
to urge on the strife a degree farther, whether they be right or wrong.
In the present case the King's pale countenance flushed with anger.
"Beware, Madam, beware!" exclaimed he. "You have already been treated
with too much lenity--Remember the affair of Chalais!"

"Well, Sir!" replied the Queen, raising her head with an air of dignity:
"Your Majesty knows, and feels, and has said, that I am perfectly
guiltless of that miserable plot. My Lord, my Lord! if _you_ can lay
your head upon your pillow conscious of innocence like mine, you will
sleep well; _my_ bosom at least is clear."

"See that it be, Madam," replied Louis, darting upon her one of those
fiery and terrible glances in which the whole vindictive soul of his
Italian mother blazed forth in his eyes with the glare of a basilisk.
"See that it be, Madam; for there may come worse charges than that
against you.--I have learned from a sure source that a Spaniard is
seeking my overthrow, and a woman is plotting my ruin," he continued,
repeating the words of the Astrologer; "that a Prince is scheming my
destruction, and a Queen is betraying my trust--so, see that your bosom
_be_ clear, Madam." And passing quickly by her, he left the apartment,
exclaiming loud enough for all within it to hear, "Where is his Eminence
of Richelieu? Some one, give him notice that the King desires his
presence when he has leisure."

Anne of Austria clasped her hands in silence, and looking up to Heaven
seemed for a moment to petition for support under the new afflictions
she saw ready to fall upon her; and then without a comment on the
painful scene that had just passed, returned to her ordinary
employments.



CHAPTER VI.

     Containing a great many things not more curious and interesting
     than true.


In the old Chateau of Chantilly was a long gallery, which went by the
name of the _Cours aux cerfs_, from the number of stags' heads which
appeared curiously sculptured upon the frieze, with their long branching
horns projecting from the wall, and so far extended on both sides as to
cross each other and form an extraordinary sort of trellis-work
architrave, before they reached the ceiling.

The windows of this gallery were far apart, and narrow, admitting but
little light into the interior, which, being of a dingy stone colour,
could hardly have been rendered cheerful even by the brightest sunshine;
but which, both from the smallness of the windows and the projection of
a high tower on the other side of the court, was kept in continual
shadow, except when in the longest days of summer the sun just passed
the angle of the opposite building and threw a parting gleam through the
last window, withdrawn as quickly as bestowed.

But at the time I speak of, namely, two days after the Queen's arrival
at Chantilly, no such cheering ray found entrance. It seemed, indeed, a
fit place for melancholy imaginings; and to such sad purpose had Anne of
Austria applied it. For some time she had been standing at one of the
windows, leaning on the arm of Madame de Beaumont, and silently gazing
with abstracted thoughts upon the open casements of the corridor on the
other side, when the figures of Richelieu and Chavigni, passing by one
of them, in their full robes, caught her eye; and withdrawing from the
conspicuous situation in which she was placed, she remarked to the
Marchioness what she had seen, and observed that they must be going to
the council-chamber.

Thus began a conversation which soon turned to the King, and to his
strange conduct, which ever since their arrival had continued in an
increasing strain of petulance and ill-temper.

"Indeed, Madam," said the Marchioness de Beaumont, "your Majesty's
gentleness is misapplied. Far be it from me to urge aught against my
King; but there be some dispositions to have their vehemence checked and
repelled; and it is well also for themselves, when they meet with one
who will oppose them firmly and boldly."

"Perhaps, De Beaumont," replied the Queen, "if I had taken that course
many years ago, it might have produced a happy effect; but now, alas! it
would be in vain; and God knows whether it would have succeeded even
then!"

As she spoke, the door of the gallery opened, and an officer of the
Council appeared, notifying to the Queen that his Majesty the King
demanded her presence in the council-chamber.

Anne of Austria turned to Madame de Beaumont with a look of melancholy
foreboding. "More, more, more still to endure," she said: and then
added, addressing the officer, "His Majesty's commands shall be
instantly obeyed; so inform him, Sir.--De Beaumont, tell Mademoiselle de
Hauteford that I shall be glad of her assistance too. You will go with
me, of course."

Mademoiselle de Hauteford instantly came at the Queen's command, and
approaching her with a sweet and placid smile, said a few words of
comfort to her Royal mistress in so kind and gentle a manner, that the
tears rose in the eyes of Anne of Austria.

"De Hauteford!" said she, "I feel a presentiment that we shall soon
part, and therefore I speak to you now of what I never spoke before. I
know how much I have to thank you for--I know how much you have
rejected for my sake--The love of a King would have found few to refuse
it. You have done so for my sake, and you will have your reward."

The eloquent blood spread suddenly over the beautiful countenance of the
lady of honour. "Spare me, spare me, your Majesty," cried she, kissing
the hand the Queen held out to her. "I thought that secret had been
hidden in my bosom alone. But oh let me hope that, even had it not been
for my love for your Majesty, I could still have resisted. Yes! yes!"
continued she, clasping her hands, and murmuring to herself the name of
a higher and holier King, "yes! yes! I could have resisted!"

The unusual energy with which the beautiful girl spoke, on all ordinary
occasions so calm and imperturbable, showed the Queen how deeply her
heart had taken part in that to which she alluded; and perhaps female
curiosity might have led her to prolong the theme, though a painful one
to both parties, had not the summons of the King required her immediate
attention.

As they approached the council-chamber, Madame de Beaumont observed that
the Queen's steps wavered.

"Take courage, Madam," said she. "For Heaven's sake, call up spirit to
carry you through, whatever may occur."

"Fear not, De Beaumont," replied the Queen, though her tone betrayed the
apprehension she felt. "They shall see that they cannot frighten me."

At that moment the _Huissier_ threw open the door of the
council-chamber, and the Queen with her ladies entered, and found
themselves in the presence of the King and all his principal ministers.
In the centre of the room, strewed with various papers and materials for
writing, stood a long table, at the top of which, in a seat slightly
raised above the rest, sat Louis himself, dressed, as was usual with
him, in a suit of black silk, without any ornament whatever, except
three rows of sugar-loaf buttons of polished jet,--if these could be
considered as ornamental. His hat, indeed, which he continued to wear,
was looped up with a small string of jewels; and the feather, which fell
much on one side, was buttoned with a diamond of some value; but these
were the only indications by which his apparel could have been
distinguished from that of some poor _avoué_, or _greffier de la cour_.

On the right hand of the King was placed the Cardinal de Richelieu, in
his robes; and on the left, was the Chancellor Seguier. Bouthilliers,
Chavigni, Mazarin, and other members of the council, filled the rest of
the seats round the table; but at the farther end was a vacant space, in
front of which the Queen now presented herself, facing the chair of the
King.

There was an angry spot on Louis's brow, and as Anne of Austria entered,
he continued playing with the hilt of his sword, without once raising
his eyes towards her. The Queen's heart sank, but still she bore an
undismayed countenance, while the Cardinal fixed upon her the full
glance of his dark commanding eyes, and rising from his seat, slightly
inclined his head at her approach.

The rest of the Council rose, and Chavigni turned away his eyes, with an
ill-defined sensation of pain and regret; but the more subtle Mazarin,
ever watchful to court good opinion, whether for present, or for future
purposes, glided quietly round, and placed a chair for her at the table.
It was an action not forgotten in after days.

A moment's pause ensued. As soon as the Queen was seated, Richelieu
glanced his eye towards the countenance of the King, as if to instigate
him to open the business of the day: but Louis's attention was deeply
engaged in his sword-knot, or at least seemed to be so, and the Cardinal
was at length forced to proceed himself.

"Your Majesty's presence has been desired by the King, who is like a God
in justice and in equity," said Richelieu, proceeding in that bold and
figurative style, in which all his public addresses were conceived, "in
order to enable you to cast off, like a raiment that has been soiled by
a foul touch, the accusations which have been secretly made against you,
and to explain some part of your conduct, which, as clouds between the
earth and the sun, have come between yourself and your royal husband,
intercepting the beams of his princely approbation. All this your
Majesty can doubtless do, and the King has permitted the Council to hear
your exculpation from your own lips, that we may trample under our feet
the foul suspicions that appear against you."

"Lord Cardinal," replied the Queen, calmly, but firmly, "I wonder at the
boldness of your language. Remember, Sir, whom it is that you thus
presume to address--The wife of your Sovereign, Sir, who sits there,
bound to protect her from insult and from injury."

"Cease, cease, Madam!" cried Louis, breaking silence. "First prove
yourself innocent, and then use the high tone of innocence, if you
will."

"To you, my Lord," replied the Queen, "I am ready to answer every
thing, truly and faithfully, as a good wife, and a good subject; but not
to that audacious vassal, who, in oppressing and insulting me, but
degrades your authority and weakens your power."

"Spare your invectives, Madam," said the Cardinal calmly, "for, if I be
not much mistaken, before you leave this chamber you will be obliged to
acknowledge all that is contained in the paper before me; in which case,
the bad opinion of your Majesty would be as the roar of idle wind, that
hurteth not the mariner on shore."

"My Lord and Sovereign," said the Queen, addressing Louis, without
deigning to notice the Cardinal, "it seems that some evil is laid to my
charge; will you condescend to inform me of what crime I am accused,
that now calls your Majesty's anger upon me?--If loving you too
well,--if lamenting your frequent absence from me,--if giving my whole
time and care to your children, be no crimes, tell me, my Lord, tell me,
what I have done."

"What you have done, Madam, is easily told," exclaimed Louis, his eyes
flashing fire. "Give me that paper, Lord Cardinal;" and passing hastily
from article to article of its contents, he continued: "Have you not,
contrary to my express command, and the command of the Council,
corresponded with Philip of Spain? Have you not played the spy upon the
plans of my Government, and caused the defeat of my armies in Flanders,
the losses of the Protestants in Germany, the failure of all our schemes
in Italy, by the information you have conveyed? Have you not written to
Don Francisco de Mello, and your cousin the Archduke? Have you not----"

"Never, never!" exclaimed the Queen, clasping her hands, "never, so help
me Heaven!"

"What!" cried Louis, dashing the paper angrily upon the table. "Darest
thou deny what is as evident as the sun in the noonday sky? Remember,
Madam, that your minion, De Blenau, is in the Bastille, and will soon
forfeit his life upon the scaffold, if his obstinacy does not make him
die under the _question_."

"For poor De Blenau's sake, my Lord," replied the Queen,--"for the sake
of as noble, and as innocent a man as ever was the victim of tyranny, I
will tell you at once, that I have written to Philip of Spain--my own
dear brother. And who can blame me, my Lord, for loving one who has
always loved me? But I knew my duty better than ever once to mention
even the little that I knew of the public affairs of this kingdom: and
far less, your Majesty, did I pry into secret plans of State policy for
the purpose of divulging them. My letters, my Lord, were wholly
domestic. I spoke of myself, of my husband, of my children; I spoke as a
woman, a wife, and a mother; but never, my Lord, as a Queen; and never,
never as a spy.

"As to De Blenau, my Lord, let me assure you, that before he undertook
to forward those letters, he exacted from me a promise, that they
should never contain any thing which could impeach his honour, or his
loyalty. This, my Lord, is all my crime, and this is the extent of his."

There was a degree of simplicity and truth in the manner of the Queen,
which operated strongly on the mind of Louis. "But who," said he, "will
vouch that those letters contained nothing treasonable? We have but your
word, Madam; and you well know that we are at war with Spain, and cannot
procure a sight of the originals."

"Luckily," replied Anne of Austria, her countenance brightening with a
ray of hope, "they have all been read by one whom your Majesty yourself
recommended to my friendship. Clara de Hauteford, you have seen them
all. Speak! Tell the King the nature of their contents without fear and
without favour."

Mademoiselle de Hauteford advanced from behind the Queen's chair; and
the King, who, it was generally believed, had once passionately loved
her, but had met with no return, now fixed his eyes intently upon the
pale, beautiful creature, that, scarcely like a being of the earth,
glided silently forward and placed herself directly opposite to him.
Clara de Hauteford was devotedly attached to the Queen. Whether it
sprang from that sense of duty which in general governed all her
actions, or whether it was personal attachment, matters little, as the
effect was the same, and she would, at no time, have considered her life
too great a sacrifice to the interest of her mistress.

She advanced then before the Council, knowing that the happiness, if not
the life of Anne of Austria, might depend upon her answer; and clasping
her snowy hands together, she raised her eyes towards Heaven, "So help
me God at my utmost need!" she said, with a clear, slow, energetic
utterance, "no line that I have ever seen of her Majesty's writing--and
I believe I have seen almost all she has written within the last five
years--no line that I have seen, ever spoke any thing but the warmest
attachment to my Lord the King; nor did any ever contain the slightest
allusion to the politics of this kingdom, but were confined entirely to
the subject of her domestic life;--nor even then," she continued,
dropping her full blue eyes to the countenance of the King, and fixing
them there, with a calm serious determined gaze, which overpowered the
glance of the Monarch, and made his eyelid fall--"nor even then did they
ever touch upon her domestic sorrows."

Richelieu saw that the King was moved: he knew also the influence of
Mademoiselle de Hauteford, and he instantly resolved upon crushing her
by one of those bold acts of power which he had so often attempted with
impunity. Nor had he much hesitation in the present instance, knowing
that Louis's superstitious belief in the predictions of the Astrologer
had placed the Monarch's mind completely under his dominion.
"Mademoiselle de Hauteford," said he in a stern voice, "answer me. Have
you seen all the letters that the Queen has written to her brother,
Philip King of Spain, positively knowing them to be such?"

"So please your Eminence, I _have_," replied Mademoiselle de Hauteford.

"Well then," said Richelieu, rising haughtily from his chair while he
spoke, "in so doing you have committed misprision of treason, and are
therefore banished from this court and kingdom for ever; and if within
sixteen days from this present, you have not removed yourself from the
precincts of the realm, you shall be considered guilty of high treason,
and arraigned as such, inasmuch as, according to your own confession,
you have knowingly and wilfully, after a decree in council against it,
concealed and abetted a correspondence between persons within the
kingdom of France, and a power declaredly its enemy."

As the Cardinal uttered his sentence in a firm, deep, commanding voice,
the King, who had at first listened to him with a look of surprise, and
perhaps of anger, soon began to feel the habitual superiority of
Richelieu, and shrunk back into himself, depressed and overawed: the
Queen pressed her hand before her eyes; and Chavigni half raised
himself, as if to speak, but instantly resumed his seat as his eye met
that of the Cardinal.

It was Mademoiselle de Hauteford alone that heard her condemnation
without apparent emotion. She merely bowed her head with a look of the
most perfect resignation. "Your Eminence's will shall be obeyed," she
replied, "and may a gracious God protect my innocent Mistress!" Thus
saying, she again took her place behind the Queen's chair, with hardly a
change of countenance--always pale, perhaps her face was a little paler
but it was scarcely perceptible.

"And now," continued Richelieu in the same proud manner, assuming at
once that power which he in reality possessed,--"and now let us proceed
to the original matter, from which we have been diverted to sweep away a
butterfly. Your Majesty confesses yourself guilty of treason, in
corresponding with the enemies of the kingdom. I hold in my hand a paper
to that effect, or something very similar, all drawn from irrefragable
evidence upon the subject. This you may as well sign, and on that
condition no farther notice shall be taken of the affair; but the matter
shall be forgotten as an error in judgment."

"I have _not_ confessed myself guilty of treason, arrogant Prelate,"
replied the Queen, "and I have not corresponded with Philip of Spain as
an enemy of France, but as my own brother. Nor will I, while I have
life, sign a paper so filled with falsehoods as any one must be that
comes from your hand."

"Your Majesty sees," said Richelieu, turning to the King, from whom the
faint sparks of energy he had lately shown were now entirely gone. "Is
there any medium to be kept with a person so convicted of error, and so
obstinate in the wrong? And is such a person fit to educate the children
of France? Your Majesty has promised that the Dauphin and the Duke of
Anjou shall be given into my charge."

"I have," said the weak Monarch, "and I will keep my promise."

"Never! never!" cried the Queen vehemently, "never, while Anne of
Austria lives! Oh, my Lord!" she exclaimed, advancing, and casting
herself at the feet of the King; with all the overpowering energy of
maternal love, "consider that I am their mother!--Rob me not of my only
hope,--rob me not of those dear children who have smiled and cheered me
through all my sorrows. Oh, Louis! if you have the feelings of a father,
if you have the feelings of a man, spare me this!"

The King turned away his head, and Richelieu, gliding behind the throne,
placed himself at the Queen's side. "Sign the paper," said he, in a low
deep tone, "sign the paper, and they shall not be taken from you."

"Any thing! any thing! but leave me my children!" exclaimed the Queen,
taking the pen he offered her. "Have I your promise?"

"You have," replied he decidedly. "They shall not be taken from you."

"Well, then!" said Anne of Austria, receiving the paper, "I will sign
it; but I call Heaven to witness that I am innocent; and you, gentlemen
of the Council, to see that I sign a paper, the contents of which I know
not, and part of which is certainly false." Thus saying, with a rapid
hand she wrote her name at the bottom of the page, threw down the pen
and quitted the apartment.

The Queen walked slowly, and in silence, to the apartments allotted to
her use, without giving way to the various painful feelings that
struggled in her bosom; but once arrived within the shelter of her own
saloon, she sank into a chair, and burst into a flood of tears.
Mademoiselle de Hauteford, who stood beside her, endeavoured in vain for
some time to calm her agitation, but at length succeeding in a degree.

"Oh, Clara!" said the Queen, "you have ruined yourself for my sake."

"I hope, Madam," replied the young lady, "that I have done my duty,
which were enough in itself to reconcile me to my fate; but if I could
suppose that I have served your Majesty, I should be more than rewarded
for any thing I may undergo."

"You have served me most deeply on this and every occasion," answered
the Queen; "and the time may come, when the affection of Anne of Austria
will not be what it is now,--the destruction of all that possess
it.--But why comes Mademoiselle de Beaumont in such haste?" she
continued, as Pauline, who had been absent in the gardens of the Palace,
and unconscious of all that had lately passed, entered the saloon with
hurry and anxiety in her countenance.

"Please your Majesty," said Pauline, and then suddenly stopped, seeing
that the Queen had been weeping. "Proceed, proceed! wild rose," said
Anne of Austria; "they are but tears--drops that signify nothing."

"As I was walking in the gardens but now," continued Pauline, "a little
peasant boy came up to me, and asked if I could bring him to speech of
your Majesty. I was surprised at his request, and asked him what was his
business; when he told me that he brought you a letter from the
Bastille. This seemed so important that I made bold to take him into the
Palace by the private gate, and concealed him in my apartments, till I
had informed you of it all."

"You did right, Pauline, you did right," replied the Queen. "It must
surely be news from De Blenau. Bring the boy hither directly--not by the
anteroom, but by the inner apartments--You, Clara, station Laporte at
the top of the staircase, to see that no one approaches."

Pauline flew to execute the Queen's commands, and in a few minutes a
clatter was heard in the inner chamber, not at all unlike the noise
produced by that most unfortunate animal a cat, when some mischievous
boys adorn her feet with walnut-shells.

The moment after, the door opened, and Pauline appeared leading in a
fine curly-headed boy of about ten years old. He was dressed in hodden
grey, with a broad leathern belt round his waist, in which appeared a
small axe and a knife, while his feet, displaying no stockings, but
with the skin tanned to the colour of Russia leather, were thrust into a
pair of unwieldy _sabots_, or wooden-shoes, which had caused the clatter
aforesaid.

"Take off his _sabots_, take off his _sabots_," cried the Queen, putting
her hands to her ears. "They will alarm the whole house."

"_Dame oui!_" cried the boy, slipping his feet out of their
incumbrances. "_J'avons oublié, et vous aussi, Mademoiselle_," turning
to Pauline, who, anxious to hear of De Blenau, would have let him come
in, if he had been shod like a horse.

The little messenger now paused for a moment, then having glanced his
eye over the ladies at the other end of the room, as if to ascertain to
which he was to deliver his credentials, advanced straight to the Queen,
and falling down upon both his knees, tendered her a sealed packet.

"Well, my boy," said Anne of Austria, taking the letter, "whom does this
come from?"

"My father, the Woodman of Mantes," replied the boy, "told me to give it
into the Queen's own hand; and when I had done so, to return straight to
him and not to wait, for fear of being discovered."

"And how do you know that I am the Queen?" asked Anne of Austria, who
too often suffered her mind to be distracted from matters of grave
importance by trifling objects of amusement. "That lady is the Queen,"
she continued, pointing to Madame de Beaumont, and playing upon the
boy's simplicity.

"No, no," said Charles, the Woodman's son, "she stands and you sit; and
besides, you told them to take off my _sabots_, as if you were used to
order all about you."

"Well," rejoined the Queen, "you are right, my boy: go back to your
father, and as a token that you have given the letter to the Queen,
carry him back that ring;" and she took a jewel from her finger, and put
it into the boy's hand. "Mademoiselle de Beaumont," she continued, "will
you give this boy into the charge of Laporte, bidding him take him from
the Palace by the most private way, and not to leave him till he is safe
out of Chantilly."

According to Anne of Austria's command, Pauline conducted Charles to the
head of the staircase, at which had been stationed Laporte, the
confidential servant of the Queen, keeping watch to give notice of any
one's approach. To him she delivered her charge with the proper
directions, and then returned to the saloon, not a little anxious to
learn the contents of De Blenau's letter. I will not try to explain her
sensations. Let those who have been parted from some one that they love,
who have been anxious for his safety, and terrified for his danger, who
have waited in fear and agony for tidings long delayed--let them call up
all that they felt, and tinging it with that shade of romance, which
might be expected in the mind of a young, feeling, imaginative,
Languedocian girl of 1643, they will have something like a picture of
Pauline's sensations, without my helping them a bit.

"Come hither, my wild rose," said the Queen, as she saw her enter. "Here
is a letter from De Blenau, full of sad news indeed. His situation is
perilous in the extreme; and though I am the cause of all, I do not know
how to aid him."

Pauline turned pale, but cast down her eyes, and remained without
speaking.

"Surely, Pauline," said the Queen, misinterpreting her silence, "after
the explanations I gave you some days ago, you can have no farther doubt
of De Blenau's conduct?"

"Oh no indeed! Madam," replied Pauline, vehemently, "and now that I feel
and know how very wrong those suspicions were, I would fain do something
to atone for having formed them."

"Thou canst do nothing, my poor flower," said the Queen, with a
melancholy smile. "However, read that letter, and thou wilt see that
something must soon be done to save him, or his fate is sealed. De
Blenau must be informed that I have acknowledged writing to my brother,
and all the particulars connected therewith; for well I know that
Richelieu will not be contented with my confession, but will attempt to
wring something more from him, even by the _peine forte et dure_."

Pauline read, and re-read the letter, and each time she did so, the
colour came and went in her cheek, and at every sentence she raised her
large dark eyes to the Queen, as if inquiring what could be done for
him. Each of the Queen's ladies was silent for a time, and then each
proposed some plan, which was quickly discussed and rejected, as either
too dangerous, or totally impracticable. One proposed to bribe the
Governor of the Bastille to convey a letter to De Blenau, but that was
soon rejected: another proposed to send Laporte, the Queen's valet de
chambre, to try and gain admittance; but Laporte had once been confined
there himself, and was well known to all the officers of the prison: and
another mentioned Seguin, Anne of Austria's surgeon; but he also was not
only too well known, but it appeared, from what De Blenau had informed
the Queen of his conference with Richelieu, that the very words of the
message which had been sent by him on the night of the young Count's
rencontre with the robbers, had been communicated to the Cardinal; and
the whole party forgot that Louise, the _soubrette_, had been present
when it was delivered.

In the mean while, Pauline remained profoundly silent, occupied by many
a bitter reflection, while a thousand confused schemes flitted across
her mind, like bubbles floating on a stream, and breaking as soon as
they were looked upon. At length, however, she started, as if some more
feasible plan presented itself to her thoughts----"I will go!" exclaimed
she,--"Please your Majesty, I will go."

"You, Pauline!" said the Queen, "you, my poor girl! You know not the
difficulties of such an undertaking. What say you, Madame de Beaumont?"

"That I am pleased, Madam, to see my child show forth the spirit of her
race," replied the Marchioness. "Nor do I doubt of her success; for sure
I am Pauline would not propose a project which had no good foundation."

"Then say how you intend to manage it," said the Queen, with little
faith in the practicability of Pauline's proposal. "I doubt me much, my
sweet girl, they will never let you into the Bastille. Their hearts are
as hard as the stones of the prison that they keep, and they will give
you no ingress for love of your bright eyes."

"I do not intend to make that a plea," replied Pauline, smiling in
youthful confidence; "but I will borrow one of my maid's dresses, and
doubtless shall look as like a _soubrette_ as any one. Claude directs
us, here, to ask at the gate for Philip the woodman of Mantes. Now he
will most likely be able to procure me admission; and if not, I can but
give the message to him and be sent away again."

"Oh, no, no!" cried the Queen, "give no messages but in the last
extremity. How do we know that this Woodman might not betray us, and
raise Richelieu's suspicions still more? If you can see De Blenau,
well---- I will give you a letter for him; but if not, only tell the
Woodman to inform him, that I have confessed all. If that reach the
tyrant's ears, it can do no harm. Your undertaking is bold, Pauline:
think you your courage will hold out?"

The boundaries between emulation and jealousy are very frail, and Madame
de Beaumont, who regarded the services which Mademoiselle de Hauteford
had rendered the Queen with some degree of envy, now answered for her
daughter's courage with more confidence than perhaps she felt. But
Pauline's plan yet required great arrangement, even to give it the
probability of success. With a thousand eyes continually upon their
actions, it was no very easy matter even to quit Chantilly without
calling down that observation and inquiry which would have been fatal to
their project.

To obviate this difficulty, however, it was agreed that Pauline should
accompany Mademoiselle de Hauteford, whose sentence of banishment
required her immediate presence in Paris, for the arrangement of her
affairs. On their arrival in that city, the two ladies were to take up
their abode with the old Marchioness de Senecy, one of the Queen's most
devoted adherents, and to determine their future proceedings by the
information they received upon the spot.

The greatest rapidity, however, was necessary to any hope of success,
and neither Pauline nor Mademoiselle de Hauteford lost any time in their
preparations. The Queen's letter to De Blenau was soon written. Pauline
borrowed from her maid Louise, the full dress of a Languedoc peasant,
provided herself with a considerable sum of money, that no means might
be left untried, and having taken leave of her mother, whose bold
counsels tended to raise her spirits and uphold her resolution, she
placed herself in the _chaise roulante_ beside Mademoiselle de
Hauteford, buoyed up with youthful confidence and enthusiasm.

It was rather an anxious moment, however, as they passed the gates of
the Palace, which by some accident were shut. This caused a momentary
delay, and several of the Cardinal's guard (for Richelieu assumed that
of a bodyguard amongst other marks of royalty) gathered round the
vehicle with the idle curiosity of an unemployed soldiery. Pauline's
heart beat fast, but the moment after she was relieved by the appearance
of the old _concierge_, or porter, who threw open the gates, and the
carriage rolled out without any question being asked. Her mind, however,
was not wholly relieved till they were completely free of the town of
Chantilly, and till the carriage slowly mounting the first little hill,
took a slight turn to avoid a steeper ascent, showing them the towers of
the chateau and the course of the road they had already passed, without
any human form that could afford subject for alarm.

Pauline, seeing that they were not followed, gave herself up to
meditations of the future, firmly believing that their departure had
entirely escaped the observation of the Cardinal. This, however, was not
the case. He had been early informed that one of the Queen's carriages
was in preparation to carry some of the ladies of honour to Paris; but
concluding that it was nothing more than the effect of that sentence of
banishment which he had himself pronounced against Mademoiselle de
Hauteford, he suffered Pauline and her companion to depart without
inquiry or obstruction; although some of the many tools of his power had
shut the Palace gates, as if by accident, till his decision was known.

As the carriage rolled on, and Pauline reflected in silence upon the
task she had undertaken, the bright colouring of the moment's enthusiasm
faded away; the mists in which hope had concealed the rocks and
precipices around her path, no longer intercepted her view, and the
whole difficulties and dangers to which she exposed herself, presented
themselves one after another to her sight. But the original motives
still remained in full force. Her deep romantic attachment to De Blenau,
her sense of duty to the Queen, and that generosity of purpose which
would have led her at any time to risk her life to save the
innocent--much more the innocent and loved--of these, nothing could
deprive her; and these kept up her resolution, although the very
interest which her heart took in the success of her endeavour, made her
magnify the dangers, and tremble at the thought of failure.



CHAPTER VII.

     Which shows what they did with De Blenau in the Bastille, and what
     he himself did to get out of it.


As a young member of what is technically called the _lower house_, or
otherwise the House of Commons, when first he goes down after his
election to take the oaths and his seat, his heart fluttering both with
pride and timidity, most conscientiously resolves to be independent in
all his opinions, and determines heroically to have no party: so had I,
when I entered upon the arduous duties of giving this work to the public
in its present form, determined heroically to have no hero; but to do
equal justice to all the several characters, and let each reader find a
hero for himself.

However, pursuing the course of the abovementioned young member of the
Commons House of Parliament, who soon begins to perceive, that it is as
easy to eat oysters and brown sugar, as to vote with a party to whom he
has a natural antipathy; or for the needle to fly from the magnet as for
him to keep aloof from that faction to which individual interests,
long-indulged habits, and early prejudices attach him; so, I soon began
to find that my own feelings more particularly inclining me to the Count
de Blenau, I unconsciously made him the hero of my tale, dilated on his
history, enlarged upon his character, quitted him with regret, and
returned to him with pleasure.

At present, however, the course of my tale naturally conducts me once
more to the gloomy walls of the Bastille, to give some account of the
circumstances which led to the latter events of the last chapter; and
consequently I feel no hesitation in once more taking up the history of
my Hero.

The sleep of the Count de Blenau was fully as sound within the Bastille
as ever it had been in his own hotel at St. Germain: nor was it till the
day was risen high that he awoke, on the first morning after his
imprisonment.

It was some moments before he could remember his precise situation, so
profound had been his sleep. But the unpleasant parts of our fate soon
recall themselves to our senses, though we may forget them for a time;
and the narrow windows, the iron door, and the untapestried walls,
speedily brought back to De Blenau's recollection many a painful
particular, to which sleep had given a temporary oblivion.

On rising, he missed in some degree the attendance to which he was
accustomed; but nevertheless he contrived to get through the business of
the toilet, without much difficulty; although no page was ready at his
call, no groom prepared to adjust every part of his apparel. He then
proceeded into the outer chamber, which he mentally termed his saloon,
and would willingly have ordered his breakfast, but his apartments
afforded no means of communicating with those below, except by the iron
door already mentioned; the secret of which was of too great importance
to be lost upon so trifling an occasion.

No remedy presented itself but patience, and proceeding to the window,
which opened at will to admit the air, but which was strongly secured on
the outside with massy iron bars, he endeavoured to amuse the time by
looking into the court below, in which he could occasionally catch a
glimpse of some of his fellow-prisoners, appearing and disappearing, as
they sometimes emerged into the open space within his sight, and
sometimes retired into the part, which the thickness of the walls in
which the window was placed, hid from his view.

They were now apparently taking their morning's walk, and enjoying the
privilege of conversing with each other--a privilege which De Blenau
began to value more highly than ever he had done. Amongst those that he
beheld were many whom he recognised, as having either known them
personally, or having seen them at the court, or with the army; and the
strange assemblage of all different parties which met his eye in the
court-yard of the Bastille, fully convinced him, that under the
administration of a man who lived in constant fear that his ill-gotten
power would be snatched from him, safety was to be found in no tenets
and in no station.

Here he beheld some that had been of the party of Mary de Medicis, and
some who had been the avowed followers of Richelieu himself; some that
the Minister suspected of being too much favoured by the King, and some,
as in his own case, who had been attached to the Queen. One he saw who
was supposed to have favoured the Huguenots in France, and one that had
assisted the Catholic party in Germany.

"Well," thought De Blenau, "I am but one out of the many, and whatever
plan I had pursued, most probably I should have found my way here
somehow. Wealth and influence, in despotic governments, are generally
like the plumes of the ostrich, which often cause her to be hunted down,
but will not help her to fly."

Whilst engaged in such reflections, De Blenau heard the bolts of the
door undrawn, and the Governor of the prison entered, followed by his
servant loaded with the various requisites for so substantial a meal as
a breakfast of that period. De Blenau and the Governor saluted each
other with every outward form of civility; and the Count, perceiving
that his _custodier_ still lingered after the servant had disposed the
various articles upon the table and had taken his departure, luckily
remembered that this was one of the _jours maigres_ of which he had
heard, and invited his companion to partake of his morning meal. The
Governor agreed to the proposal _sans cérémonie_, and having done ample
justice to the dish of stewed partridges, which formed the principal
ornament of the table, he himself finished a bottle of the celebrated
wine of Suresnes, which is one of the things now lost to the _bons
vivants_ of Paris.

De Blenau was not so much importuned by hunger as to envy the Governor
the very large share he appropriated of the viands before him; and he
had plenty of leisure to remark, that his companion performed his feats
of mastication with a wonderful degree of velocity. But the Governor had
a reason for thus wishing to hurry, what was to him a very agreeable
occupation, to its conclusion; for he had scarcely poured out the last
goblet of his wine, and was still wiping and folding up his case-knife,
(which, by the way, was the constant companion of high and low in those
days, and the only implement they had for cutting their food,) when the
door opened, and a servant appeared, giving the Governor a significant
nod, which was answered by a sign of the same kind.

Upon this the man retired, and the door being closed, the well-filled
official turned to De Blenau,--"I did not tell you before, Monsieur le
Comte," said he, "for fear of taking away your appetite; but we have had
a message this morning from Monsieur Lafemas,--you have heard of
Monsieur Lafemas, doubtless?--importing that he would soon be here to
put some questions to you. Now, Monsieur de Blenau, you are a gentleman
for whom I have a great regard, and I will give you a hint which may be
of service to you. If in the examination which you are about to undergo,
there be any questions to which you do not find it convenient to reply,
do not refuse to answer them, but speak always in such a manner as to
bear two interpretations, by which means I have known many a prisoner
avoid the torture, and sometimes go on from examination to examination,
till they gave him his liberty from pure weariness."

De Blenau bowed, already determined as to the course he should pursue.
"When do you expect this worthy Judge?" he demanded. "I am perfectly
unconcerned as to his coming, let me assure you, though I feel obliged
by your consideration for my appetite."

"He is here now, Sir," replied the Governor; "we had better, if you
please, join him in the audience-hall. That servant came to announce his
arrival."

"I will follow you instantly," replied the Count; upon which the
Governor rose and opened the door.

The moment De Blenau had passed out, the guard, who had been stationed
at the head of the stairs, followed at the distance of a couple of
paces, while the Governor led the way. In this order they proceeded to
the inner court, which they had to pass before they could reach the
audience-chamber. This open space was still filled by the prisoners,
who, glad of the little liberty allowed them, seldom retired to their
cells, except when obliged by the regulations of the prison. The moment
De Blenau appeared in the court, there was a slight stir amongst its
tenants, and the question of, "Who is he? who is he?" circulated rapidly
among them.

"It is the Count de Blenau, by St. Louis!" exclaimed a deep voice,
which De Blenau remembered to have heard somewhere before; but, though
on looking round he saw several persons that he knew, he could not fix
upon any one in particular as the one who had spoken.

He had not time, however, for more than a momentary glance, and was
obliged to pass on to the door of the audience-hall, which opened into a
little narrow passage leading from the court. Here De Blenau paused for
an instant to collect his thoughts, and then followed the Governor, who
had already entered.

The audience-hall of the Bastille was a large oblong chamber, dimly
lighted by two high Gothic windows, which looked into the outer court.
The scanty gleam of daylight which would have thus entered, had the
space been open, was impeded by the dust and dirt of many a century, and
by the thick crossing of the leaden framework, while its progress into
the hall itself was also farther obstructed by several heavy columns
which supported the high pointed arches of the roof.

This roof, the apartment having been originally intended for the chapel,
would have afforded a relief to the dullness of the rest by its
beautiful proportions, and the highly finished tracery with which it was
adorned, had the eye been able to reach it; but the rays, which from the
causes above mentioned were barely enough to illuminate the lower part
of the hall, were lost before they could attain its height, leaving it
in that profound obscurity, which cast a double gloom upon the space
below.

The pavement of this melancholy hall was damp and decayed, many of the
stones having strayed from their bed of mortar, and become vagrant about
the apartment; and the furniture, if it might be so called, far from
filling it, served only to show its size and emptiness. At the farther
extremity was a long table, at the end of which, in a chair somewhat
elevated, sat the Judge Lafemas, with a Clerk at a desk below him, and
two or three Exempts standing round about.

Near the end next De Blenau was another chair, which he conceived to be
placed for his use; while between two of the pillars, sitting on a
curious machine, the use of which De Blenau at once suspected, appeared
an ill-favoured muscular old man, whose lowering brow and doggedness of
aspect seemed to speak of many a ruthless deed.

As the Count entered, the door closed after him with a loud clang; and
advancing to the table, he took his seat in the vacant chair, while the
Governor placed himself at a little distance between him and the Judge.

"Well, Monsieur de Blenau," said Lafemas in that sweet mild tone which
he always assumed when not irritated by the taunts of Chavigni, "This is
the last place where I could have wished to meet a nobleman whose
general character has always engaged my most affectionate esteem."

De Blenau knew Lafemas to be one of the meanest and most viperous of the
Cardinal's tools, and not feeling much moved to exchange courtesies with
him, he merely acknowledged the Judge's salutation by a silent bow,
while the other proceeded: "I have requested the pleasure of your
society for a space, in order to ask you a few questions; your reply to
which will, doubtless, soon procure your liberation from this unpleasant
place."

"I trust so, Sir," replied the Count, "as the detention of an innocent
person must occasion fully as much discredit to his Majesty's
Government, as it does inconvenience to the person himself."

"You are quite right, you are quite right," rejoined the sweet-tongued
Judge. "Indeed, my very object in coming is to obtain such answers from
you as will convince the Cardinal de Richelieu, who, though a profound
minister, is somewhat suspicious withal,--to convince him, I say, that
you are innocent; of which, on my conscience, and as I believe in the
Saviour, I have no doubt myself.--In the first place, then," he
continued, "tell me as a friend, have you any acquaintance in Brussels?"

"I have!" replied De Blenau decidedly.

"That is honourable,--that is candid," said the Judge. "I told you,
Monsieur le Gouverneur, that we should have no difficulty, and that
Monsieur de Blenau would enable me easily to establish his
innocence.--Pray do you correspond with these friends," he continued,
"and by what means?"

"I do correspond with them; but seldom: and then by any means that
occur."

"Monsieur de Blenau," exclaimed Lafemas, "I am enchanted with this
frankness; but be a little more specific about the means. If you have no
particular objection to confide in me, mention any channel that you call
to mind, by which you have sent letters to the Low Countries."

De Blenau felt somewhat disgusted with the sweet and friendly manner of
a man whose deeds spoke him as cruel and as bloody-minded as a famished
tiger; and unwilling to be longer mocked with soft words, he replied,
"Sometimes by the King's courier, Sir; sometimes by the Cardinal's: and
once I remember having sent one by your cousin De Merceau, but I
believe that letter never reached its destination; for you must
recollect that De Merceau was hanged by Don Francisco de Mello, for
ripping open the bag, and purloining the despatches."

"We have nothing to do with that, my dear Count," said Lafemas,
struggling to maintain his placidity of demeanour.--"The next thing I
have to inquire is,"--and he looked at a paper he held in his hand:
"Have you ever conveyed any letters to the Low Countries for any one
else?"

De Blenau answered in the affirmative; and the Judge proceeded with a
series of questions, very similar to those which had been asked by
Richelieu himself, artfully striving to entangle the prisoner by means
of his own admissions, so as to force him into farther confessions by
the impossibility of receding. But beyond a certain point De Blenau
would not proceed.

"Monsieur Lafemas," said he in a calm firm tone, "I perceive that you
are going into questions which have already been asked me by his
Eminence the Cardinal Prime Minister. The object in doing so is
evidently to extort from me some contradiction which may criminate
myself; and therefore henceforward I will reply to no such questions
whatsoever. The Cardinal is in possession of my answers; and if you want
them, you must apply to him."

"You mistake entirely, my dear Count," said Lafemas; "on my salvation,
my only object is to serve you. You have already acknowledged that you
have forwarded letters from the Queen,--why not now inform me to whom
those letters were addressed? If those letters were not of a treasonable
nature, why did she not send them by one of her own servants?"

"When a Queen of France is not allowed the common attendants which a
simple gentlewoman can command, she may often be glad to use the
servants and services of her friends. My own retinue, Sir, trebles that
which the Queen has ever possessed at St. Germain's. But, without going
into these particulars, your question is at once replied to by
reminding you, that I am her Majesty's Chamberlain, and therefore her
servant."

"Without there were something wrong, Monsieur de Blenau," said Lafemas,
"you could have no objection to state whether you have or have not
conveyed some letters from her Majesty to Don John of Austria, Don
Francisco de Mello, or King Philip of Spain. It is very natural for a
Queen to write to her near relations, surely!"

"I have already said," replied De Blenau, "that I shall reply to no such
questions, the object of which is alone to entangle me."

"You know not what you are exposing yourself to," rejoined the Judge;
"there are means within this prison which would easily compel an
answer."

"None," replied De Blenau, firmly. "My resolution is taken, and no power
on earth can shake it."

"Really, Monsieur de Blenau, it would hurt me to the heart to leave you
to the dreadful fate which your mistaken determination is likely to
call upon you. I could weep, truly I could weep, to think of what you
are calling upon your own head;" and the Judge glanced his eye towards
the machine, which we have already noticed, and from which the old man
rose up, as if preparing for his task.

"You mean the torture?" said De Blenau, looking at it without a change
of countenance. "But let me tell you, Monsieur Lafemas, that you dare
not order it to a man of my rank, without an express warrant for the
purpose; and, even if you had such authority, not all the torture in the
world would wring one word from me. Ask that instrument of tyranny,
Sir," and he pointed to the Executioner,--"ask him how the noble Caply
died; and so would De Blenau also."

Lafemas looked at the Governor, and the Governor at the Executioner, and
so round. One of the dreadful secrets of the Bastille had evidently
escaped beyond those precincts to which they were fearfully confined; no
one could divine how this had occurred, and each suspected the other. A
temporary silence ensued, and then Lafemas proceeded:

"The torture! no, Monsieur de Blenau: God forbid that I should think of
ordering such a thing! But let me advise you to answer; for I must, of
course, report your refusal to the Cardinal Prime Minister, and you know
that he is not likely to consider either your rank or your fortune, but
will, in all probability, order you the Question ordinary and
extraordinary instantly."

"The guilt be his then!" said De Blenau. "I have already told you my
resolution, Sir; act upon it as you think fit."

Lafemas seemed at a loss, and a whispering consultation took place
between him and the Secretary, who seemed to urge more vigorous measures
than the Judge himself thought proper to pursue; for their conference
was terminated by Lafemas exclaiming in a tone not sufficiently low to
escape De Blenau's ear, "I dare not, I tell you--I dare not--I have no
orders.--Monsieur de Blenau," he continued aloud, "you may now retire,
and I must report your answers to the Cardinal. But let me advise you,
as a sincere friend, to be prepared with a reply to the questions you
have now refused to answer, before we next meet; for by that time I
shall have received his Eminence's commands, which, I fear, will be more
severe than my heart could wish."

De Blenau made no reply, but withdrew, escorted as before; and it were
needless to deny, that, notwithstanding the coolness with which he had
borne his examination, and the fortitude with which he was prepared to
repel the worst that could be inflicted, his heart beat high as the door
of the audience-hall closed behind him, and he looked forward to
returning to his apartments with more pleasure than a captive usually
regards the place of his confinement.

The many agitating circumstances which had passed since, had completely
banished from his thoughts the voice which he had heard pronounce his
name, on the first time of his crossing the court; but as he returned,
his eye fell upon the form of a tall, strong man, standing under the
archway; and he instantly recognized the Woodman of the forest of
Mantes.

De Blenau had spoken to him a thousand times in his various
hunting-excursions, and he could not help being astonished to meet him
in such a place, little dreaming that he himself was the cause. "What,
in the name of Heaven!" thought he, "can that man have done to merit
confinement here? Surely, Richelieu, who affects to be an eagle of the
highest flight, might stoop on nobler prey than that."

As these thoughts crossed his mind, he passed by the foot of the little
tower, containing the staircase which communicated with his apartments
by the iron door in the inner chamber. This had evidently been long
disused; and on remembering the position of the two chambers which he
occupied, he conceived that they must have been at one time quite
distinct, with a separate entrance to each, the one being arrived at by
the turret, and the other by the chief staircase. He had, however, only
time to take a casual glance, and wisely refrained from making that
very apparent; for the Governor, who walked beside him, kept his eyes
almost constantly fixed upon him, as if to prevent any communication
even by a sign with the other prisoners.

On arriving at his chamber, the Governor allowed him to pass in alone,
and having fastened the door, returned to Lafemas, leaving De Blenau to
meditate over his situation in solitude. The first pleasure of having
escaped from immediate danger having subsided, there was nothing very
cheering to contemplate in his position. His fate, though postponed,
seemed inevitable. Richelieu, he knew, was no way scrupulous; and the
only thing which honour could permit him to do, was to defend the
Queen's secret with his life.

The Queen herself indeed might relieve him from his difficulty, if he
could find any way of communicating with her. But in looking round for
the means, absolute impossibility seemed to present itself on all sides.
In vain he sought for expedients; his mind suggested none that a second
thought confirmed. He once contemplated inducing the Governor to forward
a letter by the temptation of a large bribe; but a moment's reflection
showed him that it was a thousand to one that the smooth-spoken officer
both accepted his bribe and betrayed his trust.

Many other plans were rejected in a like manner, from a conviction of
their impracticability, till at length a vague thought of gaining an
interview with the Woodman of Mantes, and, if possible, engaging him to
bribe some of the inferior officers of the prison, crossed De Blenau's
mind; and he was still endeavouring to regulate his ideas on the
subject, when the bolts were once more withdrawn, and the Governor again
entered the apartment.

"Let me congratulate you, Monsieur de Blenau," said he, with a look of
sincere pleasure, which probably sprang more from the prospect of
continued gain to himself than any abstract gratification in De Blenau's
safety. "Monsieur Lafemas is gone, and as the Cardinal is at Chantilly,
you will be safe for three or four days at least, as nothing can be
decided till his Eminence returns."

De Blenau well knew how to estimate the kindness of his friend the
Governor; but though he put its proper value upon it, and no more, he
felt the necessity of striving to make his interested meanness act the
part of real friendship.

"Well, Monsieur le Gouverneur," said he, assuming a cheerful air, "I
suppose, then, that I shall remain with you a day or two longer; nor
should I, indeed, care so much for the confinement, where I am so well
treated, if I had some one to wait upon me whom I have been accustomed
to."

"I do not know how that could be arranged," replied the Governor
thoughtfully; "I would do any thing to serve you, Monsieur de Blenau,
consistent with my duty, but this is quite contrary to my orders; and if
I were to allow you one of my own servants, it would put me completely
in his power."

"Oh, that would not do at all," said De Blenau; "but are there not some
of the inferior prisoners--" The Governor's brow darkened.--"Of course,"
continued the Count, "you would have to pay them for their trouble--and
I, of course, would reimburse you. If you think that three hundred
crowns would induce one of them to wait on me for the time I am here, I
would willingly pay the money into your hands, and you could make all
the necessary arrangements for the purpose."

The countenance of the Governor gradually cleared up as De Blenau spoke,
like a sheltered lake that, after having been agitated for a moment by
some unwonted breeze, soon relapses into its calm tranquillity, when
that which disturbed it has passed away. The idea of appropriating, with
such unquestioned facility, the greater part of three hundred crowns,
was the sun which thus speedily dispersed the clouds upon his brow: and
he mused for a moment, calculating shrewdly the means of attaining his
object.

"The worst of it is," said he at length, "that we have no inferior
prisoners. They are all prisoners of State in the Bastille---- But
stay," he added, a felicitous idea crossing his mind, "I remember there
was a man brought here this morning by Chavigni's people, and they told
me to give him all possible liberty, and employ him in the prison if I
could."

"That will just do then," said De Blenau, inwardly praying that it might
be the honest Woodman of Mantes. "He can visit me here occasionally
during the day, to see if I have need of him, and the guard at the door
can take good care that I do not follow him out, which is all that your
duty demands."

"Of course, of course," replied the Governor; "it is your safe custody
alone which I have to look to: and farther, I am ordered to give you
every convenience and attention, which warrants me in allowing you an
attendant at least. But here comes your dinner, Sir."

"Dinner!" exclaimed De Blenau, "it surely is not yet noon." But so it
proved: the time had passed more quickly than he thought: nor indeed had
he any reason to regret the appearance of dinner, for the substantial
and luxurious meal which was served up at his expense on that _jour
maigre_ did not prove any bad auxiliary in overcoming whatever scruple
yet lingered about the mind of Monsieur le Gouverneur. At every mouthful
of _Becasse_, his countenance became more placable and complacent, and
while he was busily occupied in sopping the last morsels of his _Dorade_
in the _sauce au cornichons_, and conveying them to the capacious
aperture which stood open to receive them, our prisoner obtained his
full consent that the person he had mentioned should have egress and
regress of the apartment; for which liberty, however, De Blenau was
obliged to pay down the sum of three hundred crowns under the specious
name of wages to the attendant.

This arrangement, and the dinner, came to a conclusion much about the
same time; and the Governor, who had probably been engaged with De
Blenau's good cheer much longer than was quite consistent with his other
duties, rose and retired, to seek the inferior prisoner whose name he
could not remember, but whom he piously resolved to reward with a crown
_per diem_, thinking that such unparalleled liberality ought to be
recorded in letters of gold.

In regard to De Blenau, the Governor looked upon him as the goose with
the golden eggs; but more prudent than the boy in the fable, he resolved
to prolong his life to the utmost of his power, so long, at least, as he
continued to produce that glittering ore which possessed such wonderful
attraction in his eyes. De Blenau, however, was not the goose he thought
him; and though he waited with some impatience to see if the person on
whom so much might depend, were or were not his honest friend the
Woodman, yet his thoughts were deeply engaged in revolving every means
by which the cupidity of the Governor might be turned to his own
advantage.

At length the bolts were undrawn, and the prisoner, fixing his eyes upon
the door, beheld a little old man enter, with withered cheeks and sunken
eyes; a greasy night-cap on his head, and a large knife suspended by the
side of a long thin sword, which sometimes trailed upon the ground, and
sometimes with reiterated blows upon the tendons of his meagre shanks,
seemed to reproach them for the bent and cringing posture in which they
carried the woodcock-like body that surmounted them.

"Well, Sir!" said De Blenau, not a little disappointed with this
apparition; "are you the person whom the Governor has appointed to wait
upon me?"

"_Oui, Monsieur_," said the little man, laying his hand upon his heart,
with a profound inclination of his head, in which he contrived to get
that organ completely out of sight, and, like a tortoise, to have
nothing but his back visible. "_Oui, Monsieur_; I am _Cuisinier
Vivandier_, that is to say, formerly _Vivandier_; at present, _Cuisinier
Aubergiste ici à la porte de la Bastille, tout près_. I have the honour
to furnish the dinner for Monseigneur, and I have come for the plates."

"Oh, is that all!" cried De Blenau; "take them, take them, my good
friend, and begone."

The little man vowed that Monseigneur did him too much honour, and
gathering up his dishes with admirable dexterity, he held the heap with
his left arm, reserving his right to lay upon his heart, in which
position he addressed another profound bow to De Blenau, and left the
apartment. The prisoner now waited some time, getting more and more
impatient as the day wore on. At length, however, the door once more
opened, and Philip the woodman himself appeared.

Between Philip and the young Count there was of course much to be
explained, which, requiring no explanation to the reader, shall not be
here recapitulated. Every circumstance, however, that Philip told,
whether of his writing the letter to inform him of the plots of
Chavigni and Lafemas, or of the manner and apparent reason of his being
dragged from his cottage to the Bastille, concurred to give De Blenau
greater confidence in his new ally; and perhaps Philip himself, from
having suffered a good deal on De Blenau's account, felt but the greater
inclination to hazard still more. Between two persons so inclined,
preliminaries are soon adjusted: nor had De Blenau time to proceed with
diplomatic caution, even had he had reason to suspect the sincerity of
the Woodman. The dangers of his situation admitted no finesse; and,
overleaping all ceremonies, he at once demanded if Philip would and
could convey a letter from him to the Queen.

Of his willingness, the Woodman said, there was no doubt; and after a
moment's thought he added, that he had reason to hope that opportunity
also would be afforded him. "It will be dangerous," said he, "but I
think I can do it."

"Tell me how, good friend," demanded De Blenau, "and depend upon it,
whatever risks you run on my account, whether I live or die, you will
be rewarded."

"I want no reward, Sir," answered Philip, "but a good cause and a good
conscience; and I am sure, if I serve you, I am as well engaged as if I
were cutting all the fagots in Mantes. But my plan is this: They tell
me, that my children shall always be allowed to see me. Now I know my
boy Charles, who is as active as a _picvert_, will not be long before he
follows me. He will be here before nightfall, I am sure, and he shall
take your letter to the Queen."

De Blenau remained silent for a moment. "Was it your son who brought
your letter to me?" demanded he. The Woodman assented; and the Count
continued: "He was a shrewd boy, then. At all events, it must be risked.
Wait, I will write, and depend upon you."

The Woodman, however, urged that if he stayed so long, suspicion might
be excited; and De Blenau suffered him to depart, desiring him to return
in an hour, when the letter would be ready. During his absence, the
prisoner wrote that epistle which we have already seen delivered. In it
he told his situation, and the nature of the questions which had been
asked him by Lafemas. He hinted also that his fate was soon likely to be
decided; and desired, that any communication which it might be necessary
to make to him, might be conveyed through the Woodman of Mantes.

More than one hour elapsed after this letter was written before Philip
again appeared. When he did so, however, he seemed in some haste.
"Monsieur le Comte," said he, "my son is here. They have let me take him
into my cell to rest, but I dare not be absent more than a moment, for
fear they suspect something. Is the letter ready?"

De Blenau placed it in his hand, and would fain have added some gold.
"The Queen is at Chantilly," said he, "and your son will want money for
his journey."

"No, no, Sir," replied Philip, "that is no stuff for a child. Let him
have a broad-piece, if you like, to help him on, but no more."

"Well then," said the Count, "accept the rest for your services. I have
more in that valise."

"Not so, either, Monseigneur," answered the Woodman. "Pay for what is
done, when it is done;" and taking the letter and one gold piece, he
left the apartment.



CHAPTER VIII.

     Which shows that Accident holds Wisdom by the leg, and like a
     pig-driver with a pig, often makes her go forward by pulling her
     back.


The heavy carriage which conveyed Pauline de Beaumont towards Paris
rolled on with no great rapidity, and the time, to her anxious mind,
seemed lengthened to an inconceivable degree. Towards night, every
little town they entered she conceived to be the capital, and was not
undeceived till Mademoiselle de Hauteford observed, that they had set
out so late she was afraid they would be obliged to pass the night at
Ecouen.

In her companion Pauline found but little to console or soothe her under
the anxiety and fear which the dangerous enterprise she had undertaken
naturally produced. Mademoiselle de Hauteford had little either of
warmth of heart or gentleness of disposition; and such were the only
qualities which could have assimilated with Pauline's feelings at that
time.

In combating the passionate love with which the King had regarded her,
Mademoiselle de Hauteford had entirely triumphed over her own heart, and
having crushed every human sensation that it contained, she substituted
a rigid principle of duty, which, like the mainspring of a piece of
clock-work, originated all her actions, making them regular without
energy and correct without feeling.

In the present instance, she seemed to look upon the task which Pauline
had undertaken as a thing which ought to be done, and therefore that no
doubt or hesitation of any kind could remain upon her mind. She talked
calmly of all the difficulties and dangers which presented themselves,
and of the best means of obviating them; but did not offer the least
consolation to the fears of a young and inexperienced girl, who had
taken upon herself a bold and perilous enterprise, in which her own
happiness was at stake, as well as the lives and fortunes of others. The
indifferent coolness with which she spoke of risks and obstacles was far
from reassuring Pauline, who soon dropped the conversation, and sinking
into herself, revolved all the circumstances in her mind; her heart
sometimes beating high with hope, sometimes sickening at the thought of
failure.

Thus in silence the travellers proceeded to Ecouen, where, from the
lateness of the hour, they were obliged to pass the night; but leaving
it early the next morning, they reached Paris in a short time, and
alighted at the hotel of the Marchioness de Senecy. That Lady, it
appeared, was absent, having left Paris some time before for a distant
part of the country; but this was no disadvantage, as Mademoiselle de
Hauteford was well known to the servants that remained in the house, and
she did not in the least hesitate to take up her abode there on the
service of the Queen, though the mistress of the mansion herself was
absent.

At Ecouen, Pauline had dressed herself in the clothes of her maid
Louise, and on alighting at the hotel de Senecy, was taken by the
servants for the _soubrette_ of Mademoiselle de Hauteford. All this was
to her wish; and not a little delighted with the first success of her
disguise, she affected the _ton paysan_, and treated the domestics with
the same familiarity which they showed towards her.

An old and confidential servant of the Queen was the only male attendant
who accompanied them to Paris, and he took especial care not to
undeceive the others in regard to Mademoiselle de Beaumont's rank,
though he had more than once nearly betrayed the secret by smiling at
the Lady's maid airs which Pauline contrived to assume. This task,
however, was not of long duration; for Pauline's anxiety would not
suffer her to remain inactive, and she accordingly pressed her companion
to set out speedily for the Bastille, afraid that under any long delay
her courage, which she felt to be failing every moment, might give way
entirely, and that she might at length prove unequal to accomplish her
undertaking.

Mademoiselle de Hauteford, whose acquaintance with the city qualified
her to act as guide, readily agreed to proceed immediately on their
expedition; and Pauline's disguise as _soubrette_ not permitting her to
make use of a mask like her companion, she covered her head as far as
she could with a large capuchin of brown tafetas, which, however, was
all-insufficient to conceal her face. This being done, she followed the
Lady of honour into the street, and in a moment found herself immersed
in all the bustle and confusion of the capital.

Poor Pauline's senses were almost bewildered by the crowd; but
Mademoiselle de Hauteford, leaning on her arm, hurried her on as far as
the Rue St. Antoine, where she stopped opposite to the Church of St.
Gervais, or rather the narrow dirty street which leads towards it.

Here she directed Pauline straight on to the Bastille, and pointing out
the church, told her that she would wait there for her return, offering
up prayers for the success of her enterprise.

The magnificent peristyle of the Church of St. Gervais, which the
celebrated De Brosse is said to have pronounced the most perfect of his
works,--observing, like Solon on the Athenian Laws, that it was not,
indeed, the best that could be formed, but the best that could be
adapted to the old gothic building which he was directed to
improve,--was then in the first gloss of its novelty, and amongst the
many sombre smoky buildings that she had passed, offered to Pauline's
eye a bright and conspicuous landmark, which she felt sure she could not
mistake. She took, however, another glance, and then hurried on towards
the Bastille.

Totally ignorant of Paris and all that it contained; young, beautiful
and timid; engaged in an undertaking full of danger and difficulty, and
dressed in a manner to which she was unaccustomed; Pauline de Beaumont
shrank from the glance of the numerous passengers that thronged the Rue
St. Antoine; and every eye which, attracted by her loveliness, or by the
frightened haste with which she proceeded, gazed on her with more than
common attention, she fancied could see into her bosom, and read the
secret she was so anxious to conceal.

At length, however, her eye rested on a group of heavy towers,
presenting nothing but massy stone walls, pierced with loop-holes, and
surmounted at various distances with embrasures, through the aperture of
which the threatening mouths of some large cannon were occasionally
visible. Sweeping round this gloomy building was a broad fosse filled
with water, which prevented all approach but at one particular point,
where a drawbridge, suspended by two immense chains, gave access to the
outer court. But even here no small precaution was taken to guard
against any who came in other than friendly guise; for the gate which
terminated the bridge on the inner side, besides the security afforded
by its ponderous doors and barricadoes, possessed two flanking-towers,
the artillery of which commanded the whole course of the approach.

Pauline had often heard the Bastille described, and its horrors
detailed, by the guests who occasionally visited her mother's château in
Languedoc; but, whatever idea she had formed of it, the frowning
strength and gloomy horrors which the original presented, far outdid the
picture her imagination had drawn; and so strong was the sensation of
fear which it produced upon her mind, that she had nearly turned back
and run away the moment she beheld it. An instant's reflection, however,
reawakened her courage.

"Claude de Blenau," she thought, "immured within those walls! and do I
hesitate when his life, perhaps, depends upon my exertion?" That thought
was enough to recall all her resolution; and rapidly crossing the
drawbridge, she passed what is called the _grille_. But here her farther
progress was stayed by a massy door covered with plates and studs of
iron, which offered none of those happy contrivances either of modern
or ancient days, by which people within are called upon to communicate
with people without. There was no horn, as in the days of chivalry, and
if there had been, Pauline could not have blown it; but still worse,
there was neither bell nor knocker; and the door, far from imitating the
gates of Dis, in standing open night and day, seemed most determinately
shut, although the comparison might have held in many other respects.
With shaking knees and trembling hands Pauline tried for some moments to
gain admission, but in vain. The gate resisted all her weak efforts, her
voice was scarcely audible, and vexed, wearied, and terrified, and not
knowing what to do, she burst into a flood of tears.

At about a hundred yards on the other side of the fosse, forming one
corner of the Rue St. Antoine, on the face of which it seemed a wart, or
imposthume, stood a little narrow house of two stories high, the front
of which displayed an immense board covered with a curious and
remarkable device. This represented no other than the form of an
immense wild boar, with a napkin tucked under his chin, seated at a
table, on which smoked various savoury dishes, of which the above
ferocious gentleman appeared to be partaking with a very wild-boarish
appetite. Underneath all was written, in characters of such a size that
those who ran might read, _Au Sanglier Gourmand_, and then followed a
farther inscription, which went to state that Jacques Chatpilleur,
_autrefois Vivandier de l'Armée de Perpignan, à present Aubergiste
Traiteur_, fed the hungry, and gave drink to those that thirsted, at all
hours of the day and night.

Every one will allow that this man must have been blessed with a
charitable disposition; and it so happened that, standing at his own
door, with his heart opened by the benign influence of having cooked a
dinner for the Count de Blenau, he beheld the ineffectual efforts of
Pauline de Beaumont to gain admission into the Bastille.

The poor little man's heart was really moved; and skipping across the
drawbridge, he was at her side in a moment. "What seek you, _charmante
demoiselle_?" demanded the _aubergiste_, making her a low bow; and then
observing her tears, he added, "_Ma pauvre fille_, do not weep. Do you
wish to get in here?"

"Yes, indeed," replied Pauline; "but I cannot make them hear."

"There are many who want to get out, who cannot make them hear either,"
said the _aubergiste_: "but they shall hear me, at all events." So
saying, he drew forth his knife, with a flourish which made Pauline
start back, and applied the handle with such force to the gate of the
prison, that the whole place echoed with the blows. Immediately, a
little wicket was opened, and the head of a surly-looking Porter
presented itself at the aperture.

"Philip the Woodman! Philip the Woodman!" said he, as soon as he heard
Pauline's inquiries. "Who is he, I wonder? We have nothing to do with
woodmen here. Oh, I remember the man. And we are to break through all
rules and regulations for him, I suppose? But I can tell Monsieur
Chavigni, or whoever gave the order, that I shall not turn the key for
any one except at proper hours; so you cannot see him now, young
woman--you cannot see him now."

"And is not this a proper hour?" asked Pauline. "I thought mid-day was
the best time I could come."

"No!" answered the Porter, "I tell you no, my pretty demoiselle; this is
the dinner-hour, so you must come again."

"When can I come then, Sir?" demanded Pauline, "for I have journeyed a
long way to see him."

"Why, then you are in need of rest," replied the other, "so you will be
all the better for waiting till evening. Come about seven o'clock, and
you shall see him."

"Cannot I see him before that?" asked the young lady, terrified at the
delay.

"No! no! no!" roared the Porter, and turned to shut the wicket; but
bethinking him for a moment, he called after Mademoiselle de
Beaumont--"Who shall I tell him wants him, when I see him?"

Pauline was unprepared with an answer, but the necessity of the moment
made her reply, "His daughter;" trusting that, as there must be some
understanding between him and De Blenau, the Woodman would conceive her
errand, and not betray any surprise, whether he had a daughter or not.

During this conversation, the _aubergiste_ had remained hard by, really
compassionating Pauline's disappointment.

"_Ma pauvre fille_," said he, as the wicket closed, "I am very sorry
that they treat you so; but they are great brutes in these prisons. _Bon
Dieu!_ you look very pale. Come in with me here to my little place, and
take some soup, and rest yourself till the time comes round."

Pauline thanked him for his offer, but declined it, of course; telling
him, that she was going to the house of a friend who waited for her; and
then taking leave of the good _aubergiste_, she left him interested in
her sorrow, and enchanted by her sweet manner.

"_La pauvrette!_" said he, as he turned him home, "_Elle a bien l'air
d'une femme de qualité ça. Il y a quelque chose la dessous, ou je me
trompe._"

In the mean while, Pauline returned to the Church of St. Gervais, where
she found Mademoiselle de Hauteford still on her knees in the Chapel of
St. Denis.

Pauline's recital of what had happened, called forth but few remarks
from her companion, who only observed, that seven would be an unpleasant
hour, for that by that time night began to fall. To Mademoiselle de
Beaumont, however, night seemed more favourable to her enterprise than
day, when the trepidation which she felt was visible to every passing
eye; and she congratulated herself on the prospect of the darkness
covering the agitation which might lead to suspicion if observed.

I shall not follow the two ladies through the remaining part of the
day. Suffice it, that Mademoiselle de Hauteford employed herself in
preparations for the long journey which the Cardinal's sentence of
banishment required her to take, and that Pauline's time passed in
anxiety and apprehension, till the hour came for her once more to visit
the Bastille.

As soon as the long hand upon the dial pointed towards the Roman
capitals IX. and the shorter one to VII. the two ladies set out in the
same guise, and on the same route, as in the morning, with only this
difference in their proceedings, that the old domestic of the Queen, who
had accompanied them to Paris, received orders to follow at a few paces
distance, well armed with sword and pistol.

It was now quite dark, and the streets not being so crowded as when she
before passed through them, Pauline proceeded more calmly, except when
the torch-bearers of some of the gay world of Paris flashed their
flambeaux in her eyes as they lighted their lords along to party or
spectacle. At the Church of St. Gervais she again left Mademoiselle de
Hauteford with the servant; and now, well acquainted with the way, ran
lightly along till she arrived at the Bastille, where, not giving her
resolution time to fail, she passed the drawbridge, and entered the
outer gate, which was at that moment open. Before her stood the figure
of the Porter, enjoying the cool evening air that blew through the open
gate into the court. His hand rested upon the edge of the door, and the
moment Pauline entered, he pushed it to with a clang that made her heart
sink.

"Whom have we here," said he, "that comes in so boldly? Oh, so! is it
you, _ma belle demoiselle_?" he continued, as the light of the lanterns
which hung under the arch fell upon her countenance:--"well, you shall
see your father now. But first, I think, you had better go and speak to
the Governor; he is a man of taste, and would like such a pretty
prisoner, no doubt; perhaps he might find a warrant for your detention."

Pauline's heart sank at the idea of being carried before the Governor,
well knowing how little competent she was to answer any inquiries
concerning her errand; but the excess of fear will often give courage,
and the most timid animals turn and resist when pressed to extremity.
Thus Pauline summoned up all her resolution, and remembering the
allusion which the Porter had made to Chavigni's orders in favour of the
Woodman, she replied boldly: "This is no time for jesting, Sir! and as
to detaining me, it would be as much as the Governor's post is worth, if
it came to Monsieur de Chavigni's ears that he ever thought of such a
thing."

"So, so!" cried the Porter with a grin, "you are a friend of Monsieur de
Chavigni's. So--I thought there was something made him so careful of yon
sour old Woodman. These great Statesmen must have their little
relaxations. So that is it, Mademoiselle? He takes especial care of the
father for the daughter's sake."

There was a drop or two of the warm blood of Languedoc flowing in
Pauline's veins with all her gentleness, and her patience now became
completely exhausted. "Well, Sir!" she answered, "all I have to say to
you is, that if I meet with any insolence, it may cost you dear. So
bring me to see my father, or refuse me at once."

"I am not going to refuse you, my pretty demoiselle," replied the
Porter; "though, truly, you speak more like a lady of quality than a
Woodman's daughter. Now I'll swear you are Madame la Comtesse's
_suivante_. Nay, do not toss your head so impatiently; your father will
be here in a minute; he knows of your having called at the wicket this
morning, and is to come here to see you at seven--But here is the
Governor, as I live--going to take a twilight walk, I suppose."

As he spoke, the Governor approached: "Whom have you got here, porter?"
he asked, while he eyed Pauline with one of those cool luxurious glances
that made her shrink.

"This is the Woodman's daughter, Sir," replied the man, "who wishes to
speak with her father."

"By the keys of St. Peter! which are something in my own way," exclaimed
the Governor, "thou art a beautiful daughter for a Woodman. Art thou
sure thy mother did not help thee to a better parentage? What is thy
father's name?"

Terrified, confused, and ignorant of the Woodman's name, Pauline
faltered forth, unconscious of what she said, "I do not know."

"Ha! ha! ha! thou sayest well, my pretty damsel," cried the Governor
laughing, and thinking that she answered his jest in kind. "It is a wise
father that knows his own child; and why not a wise child that knows his
own father? But without a joke, what is your supposed father's name?"

"My supposed father!" repeated Pauline, in the same state of
perturbation; "Oh, Philip the Woodman."

"Nay, nay," replied the Governor, "that does not answer my meaning
either. What is the surname of this Philip the Woodman?"

The impossibility of answering overpowered her. Pauline had not the most
remote idea of Philip's name, and another instant would indubitably have
betrayed all; but at the moment the Governor asked his question, Philip
had entered the court. He had heard the last sentence, saw Pauline's
embarrassment, and divining its cause, with quick presence of mind
caught her in his arms, and kissed her on both cheeks, with that sort of
fatherly affection which would have deceived the Governor's eyes by day,
much less by the fainter light of the lanterns in the archway.

"My dear child!" cried he, "how art thou? and how is thy mother?" And
then turning to the Governor, without giving her time to reply, he went
on, "My name, Sir, which you were asking but now, is Philip Grissolles,
but I am better known by the name of Philip the Woodman, and some folks
add the name of the wood, and call me Philip the Woodman of Mantes."

"Philip Grissolles!" said the Governor; "very well, that will do. It was
your surname that I wished to know, for it is not put down in the order
for your detention, and it must be inserted in the books. And now,
Monsieur Philip Grissolles, you may take your daughter to your cell; but
remember that you have to wait upon the Count de Blenau in half an hour,
by which time I shall have returned. You can leave your daughter in your
cell till you have done attending the Count, if you like."

He then proceeded to the gate, and beckoning to the Porter, he whispered
to him, "Do not let her go out till I come back. It is seldom that we
have any thing like that in the Bastille! Doubtless, that Woodman would
be glad to have her with him; if so, we will find her a cell."

Philip turned his ear to catch what the Governor was saying, but not
being able to hear it distinctly, he addressed himself to Pauline loud
enough to reach every one round. "Come," said he, "_ma fille_, you are
frightened at all these towers and walls and places; but it is not so
unpleasant after one is in it either. Take my arm, and I'll show you the
way."

Pauline was glad to accept of his offer, for her steps faltered so much
that she could hardly have proceeded without assistance; and thus,
leaning on the Woodman, she was slowly conducted through a great many
narrow passages, to the small vaulted chamber in which he was lodged.

As soon as they had entered, the Woodman shut the door, and placing for
Pauline's use the only chair that the room contained, he began to pour
forth a thousand excuses for the liberty he had taken with her cheek. "I
hope you will consider, Mademoiselle, that there was no other way for me
to act, in order to bring us out of the bad job we had fallen into. The
Porter of the prison told me this morning that my daughter was coming
to see me, and knowing very well I had no daughter, I guessed that it
was some one on the Count de Blenau's account; but little did I think
that it was you, Mademoiselle--you that I saw in the wood of Mantes on
the day he was wounded."

Pauline was still too much agitated with all that had passed to make any
reply, and sitting with her hands pressed over her eyes, her thoughts
were all confusion, though one terrible remembrance still predominated,
that she was there--in the very heart of the Bastille--far from all
those on whom she was accustomed to rely--habited in a disguise foreign
to her rank--acting an assumed character, and engaged in an enterprise
of life and death.

All this was present to her, not so much as a thought, but as a feeling;
and for a moment or two it deprived her not only of utterance, but of
reflection. As her mind grew more calm, however, the great object for
which she came began again to recover the ascendency; and she gradually
regained sufficient command over her ideas to comprehend the nature of
the excuses which Philip was still offering for his presumption, as he
termed it.

"You did perfectly right," replied Pauline; "and, having extricated us
from a dangerous predicament, merit my sincere thanks. But now," she
continued, "without loss of time I must see the Count de Blenau."

"See the Count de Blenau!" exclaimed Philip in astonishment.
"Impossible, Mademoiselle! utterly impossible! I can deliver a letter or
a message; but that is all I can do."

"Why not?" demanded Pauline. "For pity's sake, do not trifle with me. If
you have free admission to his prison, why cannot you open the way to
me?"

"Because, Mademoiselle, there is a sentinel at his door who would not
allow you to pass," replied Philip. "I have no wish to trifle with you,
indeed; but what you ask is merely impossible."

Pauline thought for a moment. "Cannot we bribe the sentinel?" she
demanded. "Here is gold."

"That is not to be done either," answered Philip. "He is not allowed to
speak to any one, or any one to speak to him. The first word, his fusil
would be at my breast; and the second, he would fire: such are his
orders, Mademoiselle, and be sure he would obey them."

"Well then," cried Pauline, "fly to the Count de Blenau, tell him that
there is a lady here from the Queen, with a letter which she must not
trust to any one else, and ask him what is to be done--but do not stay
long, for I am afraid of remaining here by myself."

The Woodman promised not to be a moment, and hastened to the Count de
Blenau's apartment, where the wary sentinel, as usual, examined him well
to ascertain his identity before he gave him admission. He then entered
and communicated as rapidly as possible to De Blenau the message he had
received.

"It is Mademoiselle de Hauteford, without doubt," said De Blenau
thoughtfully; "I must see her by all means."

"See her, Sir!" exclaimed Philip. "The guard will never let her pass. It
is quite impossible."

"Not so impossible as you think. The gates of the inner court do not
shut, I think, till nearly nine--Is there any one in the court?"

"No one, Sir," answered the Woodman; "all the State prisoners were
locked up at six."

"Well then, Philip," proceeded De Blenau, "do you know a small tower in
the court, where you just see through the archway part of an old flight
of steps?"

"Oh yes, I know it well," replied Philip. "The tower is never used now,
they tell me. There is a heap of rubbish in the doorway."

"Exactly," said the Count. "Now, my good Philip, bring the lady with all
speed to that tower, and up the old flight of steps till you come to a
small iron door: push that with your hand, and you will find that it
brings you into the inner room, where I will wait for you."

Philip's joy and astonishment found vent in three _Bon Dieu's!_ and
three _Est-il possible_'s and rushing away without more loss of time, he
flew to Pauline, whose stay in his cell had been undisturbed by any
thing but her own anxious fears. These, however, magnified every sound
into the approach of some one to be dreaded. Even the footstep of the
Woodman made her heart beat with alarm; but the news he brought far more
than compensated for it, and, inspired with new hope, she followed him
gladly through the gloomy passages which led to the inner court.

The darkness which pervaded the unlighted avenues of the Bastille was so
great, that Pauline was obliged to follow close upon Philip's footsteps
for fear of losing her way. The Woodman, however, was a little in
advance, when a faint light showed that they were approaching the open
air, and Pauline began to catch an indistinct glimpse of the dark
towers that surrounded the inner court. But at that moment Philip drew
back:--"There is some one in the court," he whispered: "Hark!"--and
listening, she clearly heard the sound of measured steps crossing the
open space before her.

"It is the guard," said the Woodman, in the same low voice; "they are
going to relieve the sentinel at the Count's door." He now waited till
they were heard ascending the stairs, and then, "Quick, follow me across
the court, Mademoiselle," he said; "for they go through this passage on
their return."

Pauline was about to follow him as he desired, but her dress caught upon
one of the staples of the doorway. Philip attempted to disentangle it
for her, but in vain, his efforts only fixed it the more. Pauline
herself tried to tear it away, but the soubrette's stout serge-dress
would not tear. In the mean time they heard the "_Qui vive?_" of the
sentinel, the countersign returned, the relief of the guard; and by the
time that Philip had by main strength torn away the dress from the
staple that had caught it, the steps of the soldiers were again heard
descending the staircase from the prison of De Blenau.

"For God's sake, Mademoiselle," whispered the Woodman, "run back as
quickly as you can to my cell, for we cannot pass now without their
seeing us. I will wait here, for they would hear my heavy feet in the
passage, and follow us both; but if I can stop them a while, I will, to
give you time."

Pauline doubted not that she could remember the turnings, and, gliding
along as fast as possible, she endeavoured to find her way back. As she
went, she heard some words pass between Philip and the guard; and
immediately after, she distinguished that they had entered the passage,
for the echoing tramp of their feet, reverberated by the low arches,
seemed following close upon her. Terrified and agitated, she flew on
with the speed of lightning. But we all know how difficult it is to
retrace any course we have pursued in the dark; and in her haste and
confusion, Pauline lost the turning she ought to have taken, and, afraid
of going back, even after she discovered her mistake, she paused for a
moment in a state of alarm and suspense, little short of agony.

She could now distinctly hear the guard approaching, and not knowing
where the passage might terminate, or what might obstruct the path, she
felt her way with her hand along the wall, till at length she discovered
a small recess, apparently one of those archways which gave entrance to
the various cells, for beneath her fingers she felt the massy bolts and
fastenings which secured it from without. She had scarce a moment to
think, but, placing herself under the arch, she drew back as far as
possible, in the hope that sheltered by the recess, and concealed by the
darkness, the guard would pass her by unnoticed.

It was a dreadful moment for poor Pauline. The soldiers were not so near
as the echoes of the place had led her to imagine; and she had several
minutes to wait, holding her breath, and drawing herself in, as if to
nothing, while the tramp of the armed feet came nearer and nearer, till
at length she felt, or fancied that she felt, their clothes brush
against her as they passed; and then heard their steps becoming fainter
and more faint as they proceeded to some other part of the building.

It was not till all was again silent, that Pauline ventured, still
trembling with the danger she had just escaped, to seek once more the
path she had lost in her terror. But her search was now in vain; she had
entirely forgot the turnings that she had taken in her flight, and in
the darkness only went wandering on from one passage to another,
starting at every sound, and always convinced that she was mistaken, but
not knowing in what direction to seek the right.

At length, however, she found herself at a gateway which led into what
seemed an open court, and imagining from the towers she saw round about,
that she had arrived once more at the spot from which she had been
frightened by the approach of the guards, she resolved again to seek
more cautiously the cell of the Woodman, to which, of course, he would
return in search of her. But as she turned to put this resolve in
execution, she perceived a light coming down the passage towards her;
and without giving herself a moment to reflect that it might possibly be
the Woodman himself, fear seized her again, and darting across the
court, she looked round for some place of concealment.

Exactly opposite, she perceived another archway similar to the one she
had left, and concealing herself within it, she paused to see who it was
that followed, it just occurring to her mind at that instant, that
perhaps she was in full career away from the very person she wished to
find. But, the moment after, the light appeared in the archway, and
glancing on the face of the man who carried it, discovered to her the
features of the Governor.

This sight was not calculated to allay her fears; but her alarm was
infinitely increased when she perceived that he began crossing the court
towards the spot where she stood. Flight again became her resource, and,
turning to escape through the passages to which she supposed that
archway led, as well as the others, she struck her foot against some
steps and had nearly fallen. Recovering herself, however, without loss
of time she began ascending the steps that lay before her, nor stopped,
till reaching a small landing-place, she looked through one of the
loopholes in the wall, and beheld the Governor directing his course to
another part of the building.

Satisfied that he did not follow her, but faint and out of breath with
the speed she had employed in her flight, Pauline paused for a moment's
repose; and stretching out her hand, she leaned against a door which
stood at the top of the staircase:--however, it afforded her no support,
for the moment she touched it, it gave way under her hand, and flying
open, discovered to her a well-lighted apartment. New terror seized upon
Pauline; her eyes were dazzled by the sudden glare, and drawing back she
would have fallen headlong down the stairs, but at that instant she was
caught in the arms of De Blenau.



CHAPTER IX.

     Which gets Pauline out, and Philip in, and leaves De Blenau in the
     middle.


The tumult of joy and surprise--the mutual explanations--the delight of
De Blenau--the relief to Pauline--with the thousand little _et-cetera_
of such a meeting, I must leave to the reader's imagination, which will
doubtless do much more justice to every circumstance than could the
quill of a foolish bird such as I hold in my hand. Neither shall I
dilate upon the surprise of Philip the woodman, when, on coming to
inform De Blenau that he had lost the lady in the windings of the
Bastille, he discovered that she had found her way to the object of her
search without his sage guidance. One piece of information, however, he
conveyed, which hurried their conference towards a conclusion. The
Governor, he said, who had been absent, had returned, and was then
engaged in visiting the western wards; and therefore he might be shortly
expected in that part of the prison.

This unpalatable news reminded Pauline to deliver the letter from the
Queen, which in the joy and agitation of their first meeting she had
neglected to do. De Blenau looked it over with a hurried glance. "She
commands me," said he, "to confess all exactly as it occurred; but on
one or two points I have already refused to answer, and if I do so now
without producing the Queen's warrant for my conduct, I shall be held a
base coward, who betrays his trust for fear of the torture."

"And do you hesitate, Claude?" demanded Pauline, rather
reproachfully--"do you hesitate to take the only means which can save
you? Do you think nothing of what I feel? You, Claude, may be proof
against corporeal torture; but I can not endure much longer the mental
agony I have suffered since you have been confined here, especially when
I reflected that even while you were acting most nobly, I was suspecting
you ungenerously. If you love me as you profess, dear Claude, you will
take the means that the Queen directs to ensure your safety."

"Well, dearest Pauline," replied De Blenau, yielding to the
all-persuasive eloquence of woman's lips, "I will do as you wish, and
endeavour to pursue such measures as will be both safe and honourable.
But now conclude what you were telling me, of having lost yourself in
the prison, and how you found your way hither."

It may be necessary to explain, that while this conversation had taken
place between De Blenau and Pauline in the inner apartment, Philip the
woodman had remained in the outer chamber, keeping watch with his ear
to the door which communicated with the staircase, in order to apprise
them in time of the Governor's approach. Pauline now had not time to
conclude her little history of perilous escapes and dangers ere Philip
entering from the outer chamber interrupted her: "Fly down the stairs,
Mademoiselle," cried he, "and wait at the bottom till I join you. The
Governor is coming, for I hear other steps on the stairs as well as
those of the sentinel at the top."

Prisons are not places for great ceremonies, nor for all the mighty
delicacies of general society; so Pauline suffered De Blenau to press
his lips upon hers unreproved, and then fled down the back staircase
with the speed of light; after which the Count shut and bolted the iron
door, and passed into the outer chamber, while the Woodman bustled about
in the inner one, arranging the Count's apparel for the night, and
appearing much more busy than he really was.

Thus every thing was as it should be when the Governor entered; but
still there was an angry spot upon his brow, and with but a slight
inclination to De Blenau, he looked through the door between the two
chambers, saying, "Well, Mr. Woodman of Mantes, where is your daughter?
She is not in your cell."

"You have made sure of that in person, I suppose," replied Philip, in
his usual surly manner.

"Whether I have or not," answered the Governor, "does but little
signify. I ask where is your daughter? We must have no strangers
wandering about the Bastille."

"I know my child's beauty as well as you do, Monsieur," replied Philip,
"and was too wise to leave her in my cell, where every one that chose
would have liberty and time to affront her, while I was attending upon
Monsieur le Comte here: so I made her come with me, and set her under
the archway of the old tower to wait till I was done. Now, if Monsieur
has done with me, I will go and conduct her to the outer gate, and
never with my will shall she set her foot within these walls again."

"I have no farther need of you to-night, Philip," said De Blenau, as the
Woodman stood at the door ready to depart; and then seeing that the
Governor turned to follow him out, he added, "Monsieur le Gouverneur,
will you sup with me this evening?"

Philip quitted the room, but the Governor was obliged to stay to reply.
"With pleasure, Sir, with pleasure," said he. "I will be back with you
immediately, before my servant brings the plates; but I must first take
the liberty of seeing this demoiselle out of the prison gates." He then
left De Blenau, and having bolted the door, followed the Woodman quickly
down the steps. Philip, however, had gained so much upon him, that he
had time to whisper to Pauline, whom he found waiting in the archway:
"The Governor is coming, but do not be alarmed. Let him think that I
bade you wait for me here till I had attended the Count."

Pauline, however, could not help being alarmed. While the excitement of
her enterprise had continued, it afforded a false sort of courage, which
carried her through; but now that her object was gained, all her native
timidity returned, and she thought of encountering the Governor again
with fear and trembling. Nor had she much time to recall her spirits
before he himself joined them.

"Well, my fair demoiselle," he cried, "I think if I had known that you
were waiting here all alone in the dark, I should have paid you a
visit;" and he raised the lamp close to Pauline's face, which was as
pale as death. "Why, you look as terrified," proceeded the Governor, "as
if you had been committing murder. Well, I will light you out, and when
you come to-morrow, you will not be so frightened. At what hour do you
come, eh?"

"I desire that you would not come at all," said Philip aloud, as he
followed the Governor, who was escorting Pauline along with an air of
gallantry and badinage which did not at all set off his thin demure
features to advantage, especially in the unbecoming light of the lamp
that flickered upon them but at intervals, tipping all the acute angles
of his countenance with not the most agreeable hue. "I desire that you
would not come at all: you have been here once too often already. Let
your brother Charles come the next time."

The Governor darted a glance at Philip, which certainly evinced that his
face could take on, when it liked, an expression of hatred, malice, and
all uncharitableness; and in a minute or two after, by some means, the
lamp went out in his hands. "Here, Philip," cried he, "take the lamp,
and get a light."

"Your pardon, Sir," answered the sturdy Woodman; "not till I have seen
my daughter beyond the gates."

"Philip Grissolles, or Philip the Woodman, or whatever you call
yourself," cried the Governor, "are you mad? Do you know what you are
about? Go and fetch me a light instantly, or refuse me at your peril."

"I do refuse then," replied the Woodman, who had learned by conversation
with the Porter and turnkeys, how much power the Governor had placed in
his hands by permitting him to attend upon the Count de Blenau; "I am
your prisoner, Sir," he continued, "but not your servant."

"I have allowed you to act as such in the prison," said the Governor,
"and there are no servants here but mine."

"In suffering me to attend upon the Count de Blenau," rejoined Philip
boldly, "you have outstepped your duty, and broken the express order of
the Cardinal. So much have I learned since I came here--therefore allow
my daughter to depart quietly, Sir. We shall find a light in the
Porter's room."

"By Heavens! I have a mind to detain the girl all night, for your
insolence," cried the Governor, stamping with rage.

"Oh, for God's sake do not!" exclaimed Pauline, clasping her hands; but
Philip came close up to him,--"You dare not," said he, in a low voice;
"for your head, you dare not." And then added aloud to Pauline, "Come
along, my child; Monsieur le Gouverneur will let you out."

During this altercation they had continued to proceed; and the Governor,
knowing that his violation of the Cardinal's commands with regard to the
strict confinement of De Blenau, might bring his head to the block if
sifted thoroughly, thought it best to abstain from irritating a person
who not only possessed, but knew that he possessed, so much power. Not
that he would not willingly have silenced the Woodman by some of those
infallible means which were much resorted to in that day; but that he
knew Chavigni was not easily satisfied on such points; and thus being
in a situation which is popularly expressed by "the horns of a
dilemma," like a good Christian as he was, he chose rather to risk
discovery than commit a murder which would undoubtedly be found out.
Under these circumstances, he permitted Philip and Pauline to proceed to
the gates, and ordered the Porter to give the young lady egress, taking
care, however, to follow them all the way till they arrived at the last
gate opening upon the drawbridge, which, at the time they arrived, had
not been yet raised for the evening.

Pauline's heart beat with glad impatience as the Janitor put his key
into the lock, whose bolt grating harshly, as it was withdrawn, produced
to her ears most excellent music.

It so unfortunately happened, however, that at the moment the gate swung
heavily back upon its hinges, Charles, the Woodman's son, presented
himself for admission; and having before had free access to his father,
was proceeding calmly through the open door, without taking any notice
of Mademoiselle de Beaumont, whom he did not recognize in her disguise.

"What!" exclaimed the Governor, whose Bastille habits rendered him quick
to the slightest suspicion; "do you not speak to your sister?"

"Sister!" said the boy, confounded; "I have no sister!"

Pauline saw that in another moment all would be lost; and darting past
the Governor, she was through the gate, and over the drawbridge in a
moment.

"_Nom de Dieu!_" cried the Governor: "Follow her, Letrames!--quick,
quick!"

The Turnkey was on Pauline's footsteps in a minute; but she had gained
so much in the first instance, that she would certainly have escaped
with ease, if an envious stone had not obstructed her path at the bottom
of the glacis, and striking her foot, occasioned her to fall. Pauline
uttered a scream of both pain and fear; and two steps would have brought
the Turnkey to the spot where she lay, when suddenly a small,
strange-shaped figure in white, skipped over her prostrate form, and
interposed between her and her pursuer.

"_Ventre Saint Gris!_" cried the redoubtable Jacques Chatpilleur,
_cuisinier aubergiste_, who thus came to her assistance--"You shall not
touch her!" and drawing the long rapier that hung beside his
carving-knife, he made a pass so near the breast of the Turnkey, that
the official started back full ten paces, not knowing, in the dim light
of the hour, what hobgoblin shape thus crossed his purpose. "_Maraud!_"
continued the _aubergiste_, "Who are you that dare to injure this
demoiselle? under the very walls of the Bastille, too, contrary to the
peace and quiet of His Majesty's true subjects! Get thee gone! or I will
spit thee like a _chapon de maine_, or rather skewer thee like an
ortolan under the wings."

This professional allusion, together with a moment's reflection,
enabled Letrames, the turnkey, to call to mind the _ancien vivandier_;
and showering upon him a thousand harsh epithets for his interference,
he called upon him to stand aside, and let him secure his prisoner;
still, however, standing aloof from the point of the weapon,--for
Jacques Chatpilleur, while _vivandier_ to the army, had shown that he
could gather laurels with his sword, as well as with his knife; and had
as often, to use Sancho's expression, given his enemies a bellyfull of
dry blows, as he had filled his friends with more dainty fare; with this
difference, however, that the drubbings he bestowed gratis.

In the present instance, he either did not, or would not, know the
Turnkey; and continued vociferating to him to hold off, and tell who he
was, with such reiteration, that for some time the other had no
opportunity of replying. At length, however, he roared, rather than
said, "_Jacques Diable!_ you know me well enough; I am Letrames,
_Géolier au château_."

The _aubergiste_ looked over his shoulder, and seeing that Pauline was
no longer visible, he very quietly put up his rapier, saying, "_Mais mon
Dieu! mon ami_, why did you not tell me that before? _Je vous en demande
mille pardons_;" and seizing the Turnkey in his arms, he embraced him,
making a thousand excuses for having mistaken him, and hugging him with
a sort of malicious affection, which quite put a stop to his pursuit of
Pauline.

The only benediction that the gaoler thought proper to bestow on the
little _aubergiste_, was a thousand curses, struggling all the time to
free himself from the serpent folds of Chatpilleur's embrace. But it was
not till the _aubergiste_ had completely satisfied himself, that he
suffered Letrames to escape, and then very composedly offered to assist
him in the pursuit, which he well knew would now be ineffectual.

The darkness of the night had prevented this scene from being visible
from the gates of the Bastille, and Letrames, on his return to the
prison, was too wise to complain of the conduct of our friend
Chatpilleur; a _vivandier_ at the gates of the Bastille being much too
convenient an acquaintance to be quarrelled with upon trifles.

During his absence, the wrath of the Governor turned upon Philip the
woodman. "What is the meaning of this? Villain!" exclaimed he, "this is
none of your daughter! Fouchard! La Heuterie!" he called aloud to some
of his satellites--"quick! bring me a set of irons! we shall soon hear
who this is, Monsieur Philip Grissoles!"

"You will never hear any thing from me more than you know already,"
replied Philip; "so put what irons on me you like. But you had better
beware, Sir Governor; those that meddle with pitch will stick their
fingers. You do not know what you may bring upon your head."

"Silence, fool!" cried the Governor, in a voice that made the archway
ring; "you know not what you have brought upon your own
head.--Fouchard! La Heuterie! I say, why are you so long? Oh, here you
come at last. Now secure that fellow, and down with him to one of the
black dungeons!--Porter, turn that young viper out," he continued,
pointing to Charles, who stood trembling and weeping by his father's
side; "Turn him out, I say!--we will have no more of these traitors than
we have occasion for."

At the word the _dark dungeon_, Philip's courage had almost failed him,
and it was not without an effort that he kept his sturdy limbs from
betraying his emotion, while the gaolers began to place the irons on his
wrists and ancles: but when he heard the order to drive forth his son,
he made a strong effort and caught the boy in his arms: "God bless you,
Charles! God bless you, my boy! and fear not for me," he exclaimed,
"while there is a Power above."

It was a momentary solace to embrace his child, but the Porter soon tore
the boy from his arms, and pushing him through the gate closed it after
him, rejoicing that he should no more have to turn the key for any of
the Woodman's family. "Now," said he, "now we shall have no more
trouble; I hate to see all our good old rules and regulations broken
through. I dare say if his Eminence the Cardinal--God protect him!--were
to follow this Monsieur Chavigni's advice, we should have every thing
out of order; and all the good store of chains and irons here in the
lodge would get rusty for want of use."

"Peace, peace!" cried the Governor: "La Heuterie, take that fellow down,
as I told you. He shall have the question to-morrow, and we shall see if
he finds that so easy to bear. Away with him, quick!--A fool I was to be
so deceived!--I suspected something when she stammered so about her
father's name." So saying, he turned to hear the report of Letrames, who
at that moment returned from his unsuccessful pursuit of Pauline.

In the mean while, the gaolers led Philip, who moved with difficulty in
his heavy irons, across the first and second court, and opening a low
door in the western tower displayed to his sight a flight of steps
leading down to the lower dungeons. At this spot La Heuterie, who seemed
superior in rank to his fellow-turnkey, lighted a torch that he had
brought with him at his companion's lantern, and descending to the
bottom of the steps, held it up on high to let Philip see his way down.
The Woodman shuddered as he gazed at the deep gloomy chasm which
presented itself but half seen by the glare of the torch, the light of
which glancing upon the wall in different places, showed its green damp
and ropy slime, without offering any definite limit to the dark and
fearful vacuity. But he had no time to make any particular remark, for
the second gaoler, who stood at his side, rudely forced him on; and
descending the slippy stone steps, he found himself in a large long
vault, paved with round stones, and filled with heavy subterranean air,
which at first made the torch burn dim, and took away the Woodman's
breath. As the light, however, spread slowly through the thick darkness,
he could perceive three doors on either hand, which he conceived to give
entrance to some of those under-ground dungeons, whose intrinsic horror,
as well as the fearful uses to which they were often applied, had given
a terrific fame to the name of the Bastille, and rendered it more
dreaded than any other prison in France.

During this time they had paused a moment, moving the torch slowly
about, as if afraid that it would be extinguished by the damp, but when
the flame began to rise again, La Heuterie desired his companion to
bring the prisoner to number six, and proceeding to the extremity of the
vault, they opened the farthest door on the left, which led into a low
damp cell, cold, narrow, and unfurnished, the very abode of horror and
despair. Into this they pushed the unfortunate Woodman, following
themselves, to see, as they said, if there was any straw.

"Have you brought some oil with you?" demanded La Heuterie, examining a
rusty iron lamp that hung against the wall: "This is quite out."

"No, indeed," replied Fouchard, "and we cannot get any to-night: but he
does not want it till day. It is time for him to go to sleep."

"No, no," rejoined the other, who seemed at least to have some human
feeling; "do not leave the poor devil without light. Give him your
lantern, man; you can fetch it to-morrow, when you come round to trim
the lamps."

The man grumbled, but did as La Heuterie bade him; and having fastened
the lantern on the hook where the lamp hung, they went away, leaving
Philip to meditate over his fate in solitude.

"I have brought it on myself at last," thought the Woodman, as looking
round him he found all the horrors he had dreamed of the Bastille more
than realized; and his spirit sank within him. Cut off from all
communication with any human being, he had now no means of making his
situation known; and the horrible idea of the torture shook all his
resolution and unmanned his heart.

It would hardly be fair to pursue the course of his reflections any
farther; for if, when he remembered his happy cottage in the wood of
Mantes, and his wife, and his little ones, a momentary thought of
disclosing all he knew crossed the Woodman's mind, the next instant, the
ruin of the Queen, the death of the good Count de Blenau, and a train of
endless ills and horrors to those who confided in him, flashed across
his imagination, and nerved his heart to better things. He called to
mind every generous principle of his nature; and though but a humble
peasant, he struggled nobly against the dishonouring power of fear.

Sleep, however, was out of the question; and he sat mournfully on the
straw that had been placed for his bed, watching the light in the
lantern, as inch by inch it burned away, till at last it gleamed for a
moment in the socket--sank--rose again with a bright flash, and then
became totally extinguished. He now remained in utter darkness, and a
thousand vague and horrible fancies crowded upon his imagination while
he sat there, calculating how near it was to day, when he fancied that
even the momentary presence of the gaoler would prove some relief to the
blank solitude of his situation. Hour after hour, however, passed away,
and no glimpse of light told him it was morning. At length the door
opened and the gaoler appeared, bringing with him a fresh lighted lamp,
thus offering a frightful confirmation of Philip's fears that the beams
of day never penetrated to the place of his confinement.

The gaoler took down the lantern, and having fastened the lamp in its
place, gave to the unfortunate Woodman a loaf of bread and a pitcher of
water. "Come!" exclaimed Fouchard, in a tone which spoke no great
pleasure in the task; "get up; I am to take off your irons for you: and
truly, there is no great use of them, for if you were the Devil himself,
you could not get out here."

"I suppose so," answered Philip. "But I trust that it will not be long
before I am released altogether."

"Why, I should guess that it would not," answered the gaoler, in
somewhat of a sarcastic tone, still continuing to unlock the irons;
"People do not in general stay here very long."

"How so?" demanded Philip anxiously, misdoubting the tone in which the
other spoke.

"Why," replied he, "you must know there are three ways, by one of which
prisoners are generally released, as you say, _altogether_; and one way
is as common as another, so far as my experience goes. Sometimes they
die under the torture; at other times they are turned out to have their
head struck off; or else they die of the damp: which last we call being
_Home sick_." And with this very consolatory speech he bundled up the
irons under his arm, and quitted the cell, taking care to fasten the
door behind him.



CHAPTER X.

     Showing what it is to be a day after the Fair; with sundry other
     matters, which the reader cannot fully comprehend without reading
     them.


Having now left the Woodman as unhappy as we could wish, and De Blenau
very little better off than he was before; we must proceed with Pauline,
and see what we can do for her in the same way.

It has been already said that, in the hurry of her flight, she struck
her foot against a stone, and fell. This is an unpleasant accident at
all times, and more especially when one is running away; but Pauline
suffered it not to interrupt her flight one moment longer than
necessary. Finding that some unexpected obstacle had delayed her
pursuer as well as herself, she was upon her feet in a moment; and
leaving him to arrange his difference with Monsieur Chatpilleur in the
best way he could, she flew on towards the Rue Saint Antoine, without
stopping to thank her deliverer; and, indeed, without knowing that the
good _aubergiste_, taking a sincere interest in her fate, had, at the
hour appointed, waited at the door of his auberge till he saw her enter
the Bastille, and then, from some undefined feeling that all would not
go right, had watched anxiously to see her safe out again.

The interest not being reciprocal, Pauline had forgot all about the
_aubergiste_; and only seeing that some one obstructed her pursuer, she
fled, as I have said before, to the Rue Saint Antoine. She passed
Jacques Chatpilleur's little auberge, without any exchange of sentiment,
even with the _Sanglier Gourmand_, and darted by the boutique of a
_passementier_ with the same celerity. The next shop was a _marchand de
broderie et de dentelle_, with a little passage, or _cul de sac_,
between it and the following house, which was occupied by a
_brocanteur_, both which trades requiring daylight in aid of their
operations, were at that hour firmly closed with bolt and bar, nor shed
one solitary ray to light the passenger along the streets.

Just as she had come opposite to the first of these, Pauline found some
one seize her robe behind, and the next minute a large Spanish cloak was
thrown over her head, while a gigantic pair of arms embracing her waist,
raised her from the ground, and bore her along the street. Naturally
conceiving that she was in the power of some of her pursuers from the
Bastille, Pauline did not perceive, in the dreadful agitation of the
moment, that she was carried in a different direction; and, giving
herself up for lost, she yielded to her fate without scream or cry.
Whoever it was that held her, carried her like a feather; but after
striding along through several turnings, he paused, placed her on the
ground, and still holding the cloak over her head with one hand, seemed
to open a door with the other. The next moment he raised her again,
though in a different position, and carried her up what was evidently a
small winding staircase, at the top of which he again opened a door,
where, even through the cloak, Pauline could perceive that they had
entered some place which contained a powerful light. The moment the door
was open, some one exclaimed, "It is her! Oh Jesu! yes, it is her!" in a
voice which sounded so like that of her maid Louise that Pauline was
more than ever bewildered. The person who had carried her, now placed
her in a chair, and taking the additional security of tying the cloak
over her head, communicated for a few minutes with the other person in
whispers; after which Pauline fancied that some one quitted the room.
The covering was then removed from her eyes, and she found herself in a
small, meanly-furnished apartment, whose only occupant, besides
herself, was a handsome man, of very gigantic proportions, and of that
sort of daring aspect which smacked a little of the bravo. He was well
dressed in a pourpoint of green lustring, braided with gold lace,
slightly tarnished; the _haut-de-chausses_ was of the same, tied down
the side with red ribbons; and the cloak which he removed from Pauline's
head seemed to form a part of the dress, though he had deprived himself
of it for the moment, to answer the purpose in which we have seen it
employed. On the whole, he was a good-looking cavalier, though there was
a certain air of lawlessness in his countenance and mien which made
Pauline shrink.

"Nay, do not be afraid, Mademoiselle," said he, with a strong Norman
accent: "_Point de danger, point de danger_;" and he strove to reassure
her to the best of his power. He possessed no great eloquence, however,
at least of the kind calculated to calm a lady's fears; and the only
thing which tended to give Pauline any relief, was the manifest respect
with which he addressed her, standing cap in hand, and reiterating that
no harm was intended or could happen to her.

She listened without attending, too much frightened to believe his words
to their full extent, and striving to gain from the objects round about
some more precise knowledge of her situation. She was evidently not in
the Bastille; for the door of the room, instead of offering to her view
bolts and bars, of such complicated forms that, like the mousetrap, they
would have puzzled the man that made them, was only fastened by a single
wooden lock, the key of which, like a dog's tongue in a hot day, kept
lolling out with a negligent inclination towards the ground, very much
at ease in its keyhole. The more Pauline gazed around her, the more she
was bewildered; and after resolving twenty times to speak to the Norman,
and as often failing in courage, she at last produced an articulate
sound, which went to inquire where she was. The Norman, who had been
walking up and down the room, as if waiting the arrival of some one,
stopped in the midst, and making a low inclination, begged to assure
Mademoiselle that she was in a place of safety.

The ice being broken, Pauline demanded, "Did not I hear the voice of my
maid Louise?"

"No; it was my wife, Mademoiselle," replied her companion drily; and
recommencing his perambulations, the young lady sank back into herself.
At length a tap was heard at the door, and the Norman starting forward
went on the outside, closing it after him, though not completely; and of
the conversation which ensued between him and some other man, Pauline
could catch detached sentences, which, though they served but little to
elucidate her position to herself, may be of service to the reader.

At first all was conducted in a whisper, but the Norman soon broke
forth, "Sachristie! I tell you she got in. I did not catch her till she
was coming out."

"Monseigneur will be precious angry with us both," answered the other.
"How I missed you, I cannot imagine; I only went to call upon _la petite
Jeanette_, and did not stay five minutes."

"And I just stepped into the _Sanglier Gourmand_," rejoined our Norman,
"which is opposite, you know. There I thought I could see all that went
on. But that _maraud_, Jacques Chatpilleur, was always at his door about
something; so finding that I could not get my second bottle of wine, I
went down to the _cave_ for it myself; and she must have passed while I
was below."

"How did you find out, then, that she had got into the Bastille?"
demanded the other.

The Norman's reply was delivered in so low a tone that Pauline could
only distinguish the words--"Heard a scream--saw her running past like
mad--threw the cloak over her, and brought her here."

"Perhaps she was not in, after all," rejoined the other; "but at all
events, we must tell Monseigneur so. You swear you caught her just as
she was going in, and I'll vow that I was there and saw you."

A new consultation seemed to take place; but the speakers proceeded so
rapidly, that Pauline could not comprehend upon what it turned exactly,
although she was herself evidently the subject of discussion. "Oh, she
will not tell, for her own sake," said one of the voices. "She would be
banished, to a certainty, if it was known that she got in; and as to the
folks at the Bastille, be sure that they will hold their tongues."

Something was now said about a letter, and the voice of the Norman
replied, "Monseigneur does not suppose that she had a letter. Oh, no!
trust me, she had none. It was word of mouth work, be you sure. They
were too cunning to send a letter which might be stopped upon her. No,
no, they know something more than that."

"Well, then, the sooner we take her there, the better," rejoined the
other; "the carriage is below, but you must blind her eyes, for she may
know the liveries."

"Ah! your cursed livery betrayed us once before," answered the Norman.
"_Holla! la haut! mon Ange_, give me a kerchief; I will tie her eyes
with that, for the cloak almost smothers her, poor little soul!"

A light step was now heard coming down stairs, and a third person was
added to the party without. What they said, Pauline could not make out;
but though speaking in a whisper, she was still confident that she
distinguished the voice of her maid Louise. "Harm!" said the Norman,
after a moment, "we are going to do her no harm, _chère amie_! She will
be down there in Maine, with the Countess, and as happy as a Princess.
Give this gentleman the trunk-mail, and get yourself ready against I
come back; for we have our journey to take too, you know, _ma petite
femme_."

The Norman now laid his hand upon the lock; there was a momentary bustle
as of the party separating; and then entering the room, he informed
Pauline that she must allow him to blindfold her eyes. Knowing that
resistance was in vain, Pauline submitted with a good grace; and, her
fears considerably allayed by the conversation she had overheard,
attempted to draw from the Norman some farther information. But here he
was inflexible; and having tied the handkerchief over her eyes, so as
completely to prevent her seeing, he conducted her gently down the
stairs, taking care to keep her from falling; and having arrived in the
open air, lifted her lightly into a carriage, placed himself by her
side, and gave orders to drive on.

The vehicle had not proceeded many minutes, when it again stopped; and
Pauline was lifted out, conducted up a flight of stone steps, and then
led into an apartment, where she was placed in a fauteuil, the luxurious
softness of which bespoke a very different sort of furniture from that
of the chamber which she had just left. There was now a little bustle,
and a good deal of whispering, and then every one seemed to leave the
room. Fancying herself alone, Pauline raised her hand, in order to
remove the handkerchief from her eyes, at least for a moment; but a loud
"_Prenez garde!_" from the Norman, stopped her in her purpose, and the
next instant a door opened, and she heard steps approaching.

"Shut the door," said a voice she had never heard before. "Marteville,
you have done well. Are you sure that she had no conversation with any
one within the prison?"

"I will swear to it!" answered the Norman, with the stout asseveration
of a determined liar. "Ask your man Chauvelin, Monseigneur; he was by,
and saw me catch hold of her before she was at the gate."

"So he says," rejoined the other; "but now leave the room. I must have
some conversation with this demoiselle myself. Wait for me without."

"Pardie!" muttered the Norman, as he withdrew; "he'll find it out now,
and then I'm ruined."

"Mademoiselle de Beaumont," said the person that remained, "you have
been engaged in a rash and dangerous enterprise--Had you succeeded in
it, the Bastille must have been your doom, and severe judgment according
to the law. By timely information on the subject, I have been enabled to
save you from such a fate; but I am sorry to say that, for the safety of
all parties, you must endure an absence from your friends for some
time."

He paused, as if expecting a reply; and Pauline, after a moment's
consideration, determined to answer, in order to draw from him, if
possible, some farther information concerning the manner in which he had
become acquainted with her movements, and also in regard to her future
destination. "I perceive, Sir," said she, "from your conversation, that
you belong to the same rank of society as myself; but I am at a loss to
imagine how any gentleman presumes to attribute dangerous enterprises,
and actions deserving imprisonment, to a lady, of whom he neither does,
nor can know any thing."

"My dear young lady," replied her companion, "you make me smile. I did
not think that I should have to put forth my diplomatic powers against
so fair and so youthful an opponent. But allow me to remind you that,
when young ladies of the highest rank are found masquerading in the
streets at night, dressed in their servants' garments, they subject
their conduct, perhaps, to worse misconstructions than that which I have
put upon yours. But, Mademoiselle de Beaumont, I know you, and I know
the spirit of your family too well to suppose that any thing but some
great and powerful motive could induce you to appear as you do now.
Withdraw that bandage from your eyes, (I have no fear of encountering
them,) and look if that be a dress in which Mademoiselle de Beaumont
should be seen."

Pauline's quick fingers instantly removed the handkerchief, and raising
her eyes, she found that she was placed exactly before a tall Venetian
mirror, which offered her a complete portrait of herself, sitting in an
immense arm-chair of green velvet, and disguised in the costume of a
Languedoc _paysanne_. The large _capote_, or hood, which she had worn,
had been thrust back by the Norman, in order to blindfold her eyes, and
her dark hair, all dishevelled, was hanging about her face in glossy
confusion. The red serge _jupe_ of Louise had acquired in the passages
of the Bastille no inconsiderable portion of dust; and near the knee on
which she had fallen at the foot of the glacis, it was stained with
mire, as well as slightly torn. In addition to all this, appeared a
large rent at the side, occasioned by the efforts of Philip the woodman
to disengage it from the staple on which it had caught; and the black
bodice had been broadly marked with green mould, in pressing against the
wall while the guards passed so near to her.

Her face also was deathly pale, with all the alarm, agitation, and
fatigue she had undergone; so that no person could be more different
from the elegant and blooming Pauline de Beaumont than the figure which
that mirror reflected. Pauline almost started when she beheld herself;
but quickly recovering from her surprise, she cast her eyes round the
room, which was furnished in the most splendid and costly manner, and
filled with a thousand objects of curiosity or luxury, procured from all
the quarters of the globe.

Her attention, however, rested not upon any of these. Within a few paces
of the chair in which she sat, stood a tall elegant man, near that
period of life called the middle age, but certainly rather below than
above the point to which the term is generally applied. He was
splendidly dressed, according to the custom of the day; and the neat
trimming of his beard and mustaches, the regular arrangement of his dark
flowing hair, and the scrupulous harmony and symmetry of every part of
his apparel, contradicted the thoughtful, dignified expression of his
eyes, which seemed occupied with much higher thoughts. Vandyke has
transmitted to us many such a physiognomy, and many such a dress; but
few of his costumes are more splendid, or his countenances more
dignified, than was that of the stranger who stood beside Mademoiselle
de Beaumont.

He paused for a moment, giving her time to make what examination she
liked of every thing in the apartment; and as her eye glanced to
himself, demanded with a smile, "Well, Mademoiselle de Beaumont, do you
recollect me?"

"Not in the least," replied Pauline: "I think, Sir, that we can never
have seen each other before."

"Yes, we have," answered her companion, "but it was at a distance.
However, now look in that glass, and tell me--Do you recollect
_yourself_?"

"Hardly!" replied Pauline, with a blush, "hardly, indeed!"

"Well then, fair lady, I think that you will no longer demand my reasons
for attributing to you dangerous enterprises, and actions, as you say,
deserving imprisonment; but to put an end to your doubts at once, look
at that order, where, I think, you will find yourself somewhat
accurately described." And he handed to Pauline a small piece of
parchment, beginning with the words of serious import '_De par le roy_,'
and going on to order the arrest of the Demoiselle Pauline, daughter of
the late Marquis de Beaumont, and of the Dame Anne de la Hautière; with
all those good set terms and particulars, which left no room for mistake
or quibble, even if it had been examined by the eyes of the sharpest
lawyer of the _Cour des Aides_.

"What say you now, Mademoiselle de Beaumont?" demanded her companion,
seeing her plunged in embarrassment and surprise.

"I have nothing to say, Sir," replied Pauline, "but that I must submit.
However, I trust that, in common humanity, I shall be allowed to see my
mother, either when I am in prison, or before I am conveyed thither."

"You mistake me," said the other; "you are not going to a prison. I only
intend that you should take a little journey into the country; during
the course of which all attention shall be paid to your comfort and
convenience. Of course, young lady, when you undertook the difficult
task of conveying a message from the Queen to a prisoner in the
Bastille, you were prepared to risk the consequences. As you have not
succeeded, no great punishment will fall upon you; but as it is
absolutely necessary to the Government to prevent all communication
between suspected parties, you must bear a temporary absence from the
Court, till such time as this whole business be terminated; for neither
the Queen, nor any one else, must know how far you have succeeded or
failed."

Pauline pleaded hard to be allowed to see her mother, but in vain. The
stranger was obdurate, and would listen to neither entreaties,
promises, nor remonstrances. All she could obtain was, the assurance
that Madame de Beaumont should be informed of her safety, and that,
perhaps, after a time she might be permitted to write to her. "Listen to
me," said the stranger, cutting short the prayers by which she was
attempting to influence him. "I expect the King and Court from Chantilly
within an hour; and before that time you must be out of Paris. For your
convenience, a female servant shall attend you, and you will meet with
all the respect due to your rank; but for your own sake, ask no
questions, for I never permit my domestics to canvass my affairs with
any one--nay, they are forbidden ever to mention my name, except for
some express and permitted purpose. I will now leave you, and send
Mathurine to your assistance, who will help you to change your dress
from that _coffre_. You will then take some refreshment, and set out as
speedily as possible. At the end of your journey, you will meet with
one to whose care I have recommended you, and you will then learn in
whose hands you are placed. At present, I have the honour of bidding you
farewell."

The uncertainty of her fate, the separation from her mother, the vague
uneasy fear attendant upon want of all knowledge of whither she was
going, and the impossibility of communicating with her friends under any
event, raised up images far more terrifying and horrible to the mind of
Pauline, than almost any specific danger could have done; and, as her
companion turned away, she hid her face in her hands and wept.

Hearing her sob, and perhaps attributing her tears to other motives, he
returned for a moment, and said in a low voice: "Do not weep, my dear
child! I give you my honour, that you will be well and kindly treated.
But one thing I forgot to mention. I know that your object was to visit
the Count de Blenau; and I know, also, that a personal interest had
something to do in the matter. Now, Mademoiselle de Beaumont, I can
feel for you; and it may be some comfort to know, that M. de Blenau has,
at least, one person in the Council, who will strive to give to the
proceedings against him as much leniency as circumstances will admit."

This said, he quitted the apartment, and in a moment after Pauline was
joined by the female servant of whom he had spoken. She was a staid,
reputable-looking woman, of about fifty, with a little of the primness
of ancient maidenhood, but none of its acerbity. And, aware of Pauline's
rank, she assisted her to disentangle herself from her uncomfortable
disguise with silent respect, though she could not help murmuring to
herself. "_Mon Dieu! Une demoiselle mise comme ça._" She then called the
young Lady's attention to the contents of the _coffre_, asking which
dress she would choose to wear; when, to her surprise, Pauline found
that it contained a considerable part of her own wardrobe. Forgetting
the prohibition to ask questions, she could not help demanding of
Mathurine how her clothes could come there; but the servant was either
ignorant, or pretended to be so, and Pauline could obtain no
information. As soon as she was dressed, some refreshments were placed
on the table by Mathurine, who received them from a servant at one of
the doors, which she immediately closed again, and pressed Pauline to
eat. Pauline at first refused; but at length, to satisfy her companion,
who continued to insist upon it with a degree of quiet, persevering
civility, that would take no refusal, she took some of the coffee, which
was at that time served up as a rarity. As soon as ever the domestic
perceived that no entreaty would induce her to taste any thing else, she
called in a servant to carry the _coffre_ to the carriage, and then
notified to Pauline that it was time for them to depart.

Pauline felt that all resistance or delay would be vain; and she
accordingly followed Mathurine down a magnificent staircase into a
court-yard, where stood a _chaise roulante_, the door of which was held
open by the Norman we have already mentioned, while two men-servants
appeared ready mounted to follow the vehicle, as soon as it set out.
Mathurine placed herself by Pauline's side when she had entered; and the
Norman, having closed the door, opened the _porte-cochère_ of the court,
and the carriage drove out into the street.

We will not take the trouble of following Mademoiselle de Beaumont on
her journey, which occupied that night and the two following
days:--suffice it to say, that on the evening of the second day they
arrived in the beautiful neighbourhood of Château du Loir. The smiling
slopes, covered with the first vines; the rich fruit-trees hanging
actually over the road, and dropping with the latest gifts of liberal
Nature; the balmy air of a warm September evening; the rosy cheeks of
the peasantry; and the clear, smooth windings of the river Loir,[A] all
announced that they were approaching the land of happy Touraine: and
after putting her head more than once from the window, Mathurine, with a
smile of pleasure, pointed forward, exclaiming, "_Voilà le Château_."

[A] Not the Loire.

Pauline's eyes followed to the point where the other's hand directed
them; and upon a high ground, rising gently above the trees which
crowned a little projecting turn of the river, she beheld a group of
towers and pinnacles, with the conical-slated roofs, multifarious
weathercocks, long narrow windows, one turret upon the back of another,
and all the other distinctive marks of an old French château.



CHAPTER XI.

     In which De Blenau finds that he has got the rod in his own hand,
     and how he uses it; together with a curious account of a tremendous
     combat and glorious victory.


I can easily imagine myself, and I dare say the reader will not find
much difficulty in fancying, that the Count de Blenau suffered not a
little inquietude while he remained in uncertainty respecting Pauline's
free exit from the Bastille.

Take and draw him, as Sterne did his captive. See him walking up and
down the chamber with the anxiety of doubt upon his brow and in his
heart, listening for every sound in the court-yard, catching the
footstep of the sentinel at his door, and fancying it the return of the
Governor,--hope struggling against fear, and fear remaining
victor,--conjuring up a thousand wild, improbable events, and missing
the true one; and, in short, making his bosom a _hell_ wherein to
torment his own heart.

Thus did Claude de Blenau, during that lapse of time which the Governor
might reasonably be supposed to be occupied in the duties of his office.
But when a longer time passed, and still no news arrived of Pauline's
escape, the uncertainty became too great for mortal endurance; and he
was about to risk all, by descending into the court through the turret,
when the challenge of the sentinel announced the approach of some one,
and in the next moment the Governor entered the room, his pale features
flushed with anger, and his lip quivering with ill-subdued rage.

"Monsieur de Blenau!" said he, in a tone that he had never before
presumed to use towards his wealthy prisoner, "here is something wrong.
There has been a woman in the prison to-night, passing for that rascal
Woodman's daughter: and I am given to understand, that she has brought
either letter or message to you. But I will ascertain the truth--By
Heaven! I will ascertain the truth!"

"Have you detained her, then?" exclaimed De Blenau, losing all caution
in his fears for Pauline.

"Oh, ho! Monsieur le Comte," said the Governor, fixing on him his keen
and angry eye; "then you do know that she has been here? But do you
know, Sir, that it may cost me my head?"

"Very possibly, if you tell any body," replied De Blenau; who by this
time had recovered his self-possession, and had, upon reconsideration,
drawn from the Governor's speech a different conclusion from that which
he had formed at first; feeling sure, that if Pauline had not escaped,
his anger would have taken a calmer form. "Listen to me, Sir Governor,"
continued he firmly, after having determined in his own mind the line of
conduct which he ought to pursue: "let us deal straightforwardly towards
each other, and like friends as we have hitherto done. We are both in
some degree in each other's power. On your part, do not attempt to
entrap me into any acknowledgment, and I will show you that I will not
make use of any advantage you may have given me----"

"I do not understand your meaning, Sir," cried the Governor, still
angrily: "I have given you no advantage. By Heaven! I will have the
apartment searched;--ay, Sir, and your person too."

"Will you so?" replied De Blenau, coolly drawing from his bosom the
Queen's billet, and approaching the edge to the lamp so that it caught
fire. The Governor started forward to seize it; but the strong arm of
the Count held him at a distance, till the few lines the Queen had
written were irretrievably destroyed; and then freeing him from his
grasp, he pointed to a chair, saying, "Now, Monsieur le Gouverneur, sit
down and listen to a few words of common sense." The Governor placed
himself in the chair with a look of bitter malignity; but this softened
down gradually into an expression of thoughtful cunning, as De Blenau
proceeded--"Thus stands the case," said the Count; "I was committed to
your charge, I think, with positive orders not to allow me communication
with any person whatsoever--was it not so?" The Governor assented: "It
so happened, however," continued the Count with a smile, "that at our
very first interview, you conceived a friendship for me of the most
liberal and disinterested nature," (the Governor bit his lip,) "a sort
of love at first sight; and, for the sake of my accommodation, you not
only broke through the positive commands of the Cardinal Prime Minister,
in suffering me once to have communication with another person, but
allowed such to take place at all times, according to my pleasure; and
also took especial pains to procure the attendance of the person I
wished, paying him with my money, for which, and other excellent
purposes, you have, within the space of six days, received from me
upwards of one thousand crowns."

The Governor winced most desperately; and fully convinced, that a tale
so told, would readily convey his head under the axe of the executioner,
if it reached the ears of Richelieu, he cursed himself for a fool, De
Blenau for a knave, and Philip the woodman for something between the
two; most devoutly wishing both the others at the Devil, so he could
slip his own neck out of the halter.

De Blenau, without much skill in reading the mind's construction by the
face, easily divined what was passing in his companion's bosom; and
perceiving him to be much in the situation of a lame dog, he resolved
still to apply the lash a little, before he helped him over the stile.
"Well, Sir Governor," continued he; "now we will suppose, as a mere
hypothesis to reason upon, that, through this very liberty which your
disinterested kindness has allowed me, I have received those
communications from without, which it was the Cardinal's great object to
prevent. How ought you to act under such circumstances? Ought you to go
to the stern, unrelenting Richelieu, and say to him,--'May it please
your Eminence, I have intentionally and wilfully broken through every
order you gave me--I have taken the utmost pains that they should not be
observed; and I have so far succeeded in thwarting your designs, that
Monsieur de Blenau, from whom I have received one thousand crowns, and
from whom I expect a thousand more the moment he is liberated--I say,
that this good friend of mine, and your enemy, has gained all the
information which you wished to prevent,'--This would be a pretty
confession of faith!"

De Blenau paused, and the Governor bit his lip; but after a moment, he
looked the Count full in the face, and replied, "Perhaps it might be the
best way."

De Blenau, however, was not to be deceived; he saw terror in the deadly
hue of the Governor's pale cheek, and the anxious rolling of his sunken
eye, and he went on--"Perhaps it might be the best way--to have your
head struck off without delay; for what would your confession avail the
Cardinal now, after the mischief is done?--Would it not be better to say
to yourself,--'Here is a young nobleman, whom I believe to be
innocent--for whom I have a regard--whom I have served already, and who
is both willing and able to reward any one who does serve him; and who,
lastly, will never betray me, let happen what will. Under these
circumstances, should I not be a fool of the first water, to inquire
into a matter, the truth of which I am very unlikely to discover, and
which, if I do, it will be my duty to disclose: whereas, standing as the
affair does now, without my knowledge in the least, my ignorance makes
my innocence, and I betray no one. Even supposing that the whole be
found out, I am no worse than I was before, for the story can but be
told at last; while, if the Count be liberated, which most likely he
will, instead of losing my office, or my head, I shall gain a thousand
crowns to indemnify me for all the trouble I have had, and shall ensure
his friendship for life.' Now, Monsieur le Gouverneur, this is what you
ought to say to yourself. In my opinion, the strength of argument is all
on one side. Even if there were any thing to know, you would be a fool
to investigate it, where you must of necessity be your own accuser;
where all is to be lost, and nothing can be gained."

"You argue well, Monsieur de Blenau," answered the Governor,
thoughtfully; "and your reasoning would be convincing, if it extended to
all the circumstances of the case. But you do not know one half;--you do
not know, that Chavigni, from whose eyes nothing seems hidden, knew of
this girl's coming, and sent me an order to detain her, which that
sottish fool the Porter never gave me till she had escaped--How am I to
get over that, pray?"

"Then, positively, she has escaped?" demanded De Blenau.

"Yes, yes, she has escaped!" replied the Governor pettishly: "you seem
to consider nothing but her; but, let me tell you, Monsieur de Blenau,
that you are fully as much concerned as I am, for if they discover that
she has got in, you will have a touch of the _peine forte et dure_, to
make you confess who she is, and what she came for."

"Truly, I know not what can be done," answered the Count. "Chavigni
seems to know all about it."

"No, no! he does not know all," replied the Governor; "for he says here,
in his note, that if a young lady dressed in a _jupe_ of red serge, with
a black bodice, comes to the gate of the prison, asking any thing
concerning the Count de Blenau, we are to detain her: now she never
mentioned your name, and, God knows, I heeded not what she was dressed
in."

"Then the matter is very simple," replied the Count; "no such person as
he bade you detain, has been here. This is no matter of honour between
man and man, where you are bound to speak your suspicions as well as
your knowledge. No person has come to the gate of the prison asking any
thing concerning me; and so answer Chavigni."

"But the Porter, Monsieur de Blenau," said the officer, anxiously,--"he
may peach. All the other dependents on the prison are my own, placed by
me, and would turn out were I to lose my office; but this porter was
named by the Cardinal himself.--What is to be done with him?"

"Oh! fear not him," answered De Blenau; "as his negligence was the cause
of your not receiving the order in time to render it effectual, your
silence will be a favour to him."

"True! true!" cried the Governor, rubbing his hands with all the rapture
of a man suddenly relieved from a mortal embarrassment: "True! true!
I'll go and bully him directly--I'll threaten to inform the Cardinal,
and Chavigni, and the whole Council; and then--when he begins to fancy
that he feels the very rope round his neck--I'll relent, and be
charitable, and agree to conceal his mistake, and to swear that the lady
never came.--How will Chavigni know? She will never confess it herself,
and at that hour it was too dark for any one to watch her up to the
gates.--_Morbleu!_ that will do precisely."

"I see little or no danger attending upon it," said the prisoner; "and,
at all events, it is a great deal better than conveying your neck into
the noose, which you would certainly do by confessing to Richelieu the
circumstances as they have occurred."

"Well, well, we will risk it, at all events," replied the Governor, who,
though not quite free from apprehension respecting the result, had now
regained his usual sweet complacency of manner. "But one thing, Monsieur
de Blenau, I am sure you will promise me; namely, that this attempt
shall never be repeated, even if occasion should occur: and for the
rest--with regard to your never betraying me, and other promises which
your words imply, I will trust to your honour."

De Blenau readily agreed to what the Governor required, and repeated his
promises never to disclose any thing that had occurred, and to reward
his assistance with a thousand crowns, upon being liberated. Mindful of
all who served him, he did not forget Philip the woodman; and deeply
thankful for the escape of Pauline, was the more anxious to ascertain
the fate of one who had so greatly contributed to the success of her
enterprise.

"Speak not of him! speak not of him!" exclaimed the Governor, breaking
forth into passion at De Blenau's inquiries. "This same skilful plotter
attends upon you no longer. You will suffer some inconvenience for your
scheme; but it is your fault, not mine, and you must put up with it as
best you may."

"That I care not about," replied De Blenau. "But I insist upon it that
he be treated with no severity. Mark me, Monsieur le Gouverneur: if I
find that he is ill used, Chavigni shall hear of the whole business. I
will risk any thing sooner than see a man suffer from his kindness for
me."

"You paid him well, of course," said the Governor, drawing up his lip,
"and he must take his chance. However, do not alarm yourself for him: he
shall be taken care of--only, with your good leave, Seigneur Comte, you
and he do not meet again within the walls of the Bastille.--But in the
name of Heaven! what clatter is this at the door?" he exclaimed,
starting from his chair, at a most unusual noise which proceeded from
the staircase.

The Governor, indeed, had good reason to be astonished; for never was
there a more strange and inconsistent sound heard within the walls of a
prison, than that which saluted their ears. First came the "_Qui vive?_"
of the sentinel; to which a voice roared out, "_Le Diable!_" "_Qui
vive?_" cried the sentinel again, in a still sharper key. The answer to
this was nothing but a clatter, as the Governor had expressed it, such
as we might suppose produced by the blowing up of a steam-kitchen: then
followed the discharge of the sentinel's firelock; and then sundry blows
given and received upon some hard and sonorous substance, mingled with
various oaths, execrations, and expletives then in use amongst the lower
classes of his Christian Majesty's lieges, making altogether a most
deafening din.

At this sound the Governor, as little able to conceive whence it
originated as De Blenau himself, drew his sword, and throwing open the
door, discovered the redoubtable Jacques Chatpilleur, _Cuisinier
Aubergiste_, striding in triumph over the prostrate body of the
sentinel, and waving over his head an immense stew-pan, being the
weapon with which he had achieved the victory, and through which
appeared a small round hole, caused by the ball of the soldier's
firelock. In the mean while was to be seen the sentinel on the ground,
his iron morion actually dented by the blows of his adversary, and his
face and garments bedabbled, not with blood, indeed, but with the
_Poulet en blanquette_ and its white sauce, which had erst been tenant
of the stew-pan.

"Victoria! Victoria! Victoria!" shouted the _aubergiste_, waving his
stew-pan; "Twice have I conquered in one night! Can Mieleraye or
Bouillon say that? Victoria! Victoria!" But here his triumph received a
check; for looking into the unhappy utensil, he suddenly perceived the
loss of its contents, which had flown all over the place, the
treacherous lid having detached itself during his conflict with the
sentinel, and sought safety in flight down the stairs. "_Mon Poulet! mon
Poulet!_" exclaimed he, in a tone of bitter despair, "_le nid y est,
mais l'oiseau est parti_,--the nest is there, but the bird is flown.
_Helas, mon Poulet! mon pauvre Poulet!_" and quitting the body of his
prostrate foe, he advanced into the apartment with that sort of zig-zag
motion which showed that the thin sinewy shanks which supported his
woodcock-shaped upper man, were somewhat affected by a more than usual
quantity of the generous grape.

The whole scene was so inexpressibly ludicrous, that De Blenau burst
into an immoderate fit of laughter, in which the Governor could not help
joining, notwithstanding his indignation at the treatment the sentinel
had experienced. Recovering himself, however, he poured forth his wrath
upon the _aubergiste_ in no measured terms, demanding how he dared to
conduct himself so in the Royal Chateau of the Bastille, and what had
become of the Count de Blenau's supper, adding a few qualificatory
epithets, which may as well be omitted.

"_Eh bien, Monsieur! Eh bien!_" cried the _aubergiste_, with very little
respect for the Governor: "as for the gentleman there, lying on his
belly, he ought to have let me in, and not fired his piece at me. He
knew me well enough. He might have cried _Qui vive?_ once,--that was
well, as it is the etiquette."

"But why did you not answer him, _sacré maraud_?" cried the Governor.

"I did answer him," replied the other, stoutly. "He cried _Qui vive?_
and I answered _Le Diable, car le Diable vive toujours_. And as for the
supper, I have lost it all. _Je l'ai perdu entre deux mâtins._ The first
was a greedy Norman vagabond, who feeds at my auberge; and while I was
out for a minute, he whips me up my _matelot d'anguille_ from out of the
_casserole_, and my _dinde piquée_ from the spit, and when I came back
five minutes after, there was nothing left but bare bones and empty
bottles. Pardie! And now I have bestowed on the head of that varlet a
_poulet en blanquette_ that might have comforted the stomach of a King.
_Oh Dieu! Dieu! mes malheurs ne finiront jamais._ Oh! but I forgot," he
continued, "there is still a _fricandeau à l'oseille_ with a cold
_paté_, that will do for want of a better.--_Monseigneur, votre
serviteur_," and he bowed five or six times to De Blenau; "_Monsieur le
Gouverneur, votre très humble_," and bowing round and round to every
one, even to the sentinel, who by this time was beginning to recover his
feet, the tipsy _aubergiste_ staggered off, escaping the wrath of the
Governor by the promise of the _fricandeau_, but not, however, without
being threatened with punishment on the morrow.



CHAPTER XII.

     The bureau of a Counsellor of State, or how things were managed in
     1642.


"Marteville, you have served me essentially," said the Count de Chavigni
as soon as he had left Pauline in what was called the ladies' hall of
the Hotel de Bouthilliers, addressing the tall Norman, whom the reader
has already recognised beyond a doubt. "You know I never suffer any good
service to go without its reward; therefore I will now pay you yours,
more especially as I have fresh demands to make upon your zeal. Let us
see how our accounts stand;" and approaching a small table, which served
both for the purposes of a writing-desk and also to support a strong
ebony cabinet clasped with silver, he drew forth a bunch of keys and
opened a drawer plated with iron, which contained a quantity of gold and
silver coin. Chavigni then seated himself at the table, and the Norman
standing on his right hand, they began regularly to balance accounts,
the items of the Norman's charge being various services of rather a
curious nature.

"For stopping the Archduke's courier," said Chavigni, "and taking from
him his despatches--fifty crowns is enough for that."

"I demand no more," said Marteville; "any common thief could have done
it."

"But, by the way, I hope you did not hurt him, for he came with a safe
conduct."

"Hurt him! no," replied the Norman: "we are the best friends in the
world. When I met him on the road, I told him civilly that I must have
his despatches; and that I would either cut his throat or drink a bottle
with him, whichever he liked: so he chose the latter, and when we
parted, he promised to give me notice the next time he came on the same
errand."

"The rascal!" said Chavigni, "that is the way we are served. But now we
come to this business of the Count de Blenau--what do you expect for the
whole concern?"

"Nay but, Monseigneur, you forget," exclaimed the other; "there is one
little item before that. Put down,--for being an Astrologer."

"Why, I have given you fifty crowns on that account already," rejoined
the Statesman; "you are exorbitant, Seigneur Marteville."

"That fifty crowns went for my expenses--all of it," replied the other.
"There was my long black robe all covered with gimcracks; there was my
leathern belt, painted with all the signs under heaven; there was my
white beard, and wig, which cost me ten good crowns at the shop of
Jansen the Peruquier: besides the harness of my horse, which was made to
suit, and my Astrologer's bonnet, which kept all fast upon my head.
Now, Monseigneur, you cannot give me less than fifty crowns, for being
out two nights, and running the risk of being burnt alive."

"I think not," said Chavigni, "so let that pass. But to come to the
other business."

"Why, first and foremost," replied the Norman, marking each article as
he named it, by laying the index of his right hand upon one of the
immense fingers of his left,--"For making love to Mademoiselle's maid."

"Nay, nay, nay!" cried Chavigni, "this is too much. That must be part of
the dower I have promised with her, of which we will talk presently. But
have you married her?"

"No," answered the Norman, "not yet. We will see about that hereafter."

Chavigni's cheek reddened, and his brow knit into a heavy frown. "No
evasions, Sir. I commanded you, when you took her away last night from
Chantilly, to marry her directly, and you agreed to do so. Why is it not
done?"

"If the truth must be told, Monseigneur, it is not done, because it goes
against a Norman gentleman's stomach to take up with any body's
cast-offs."

"Do not be insolent, Sir," cried the Statesman. "Did I not give you my
honour that your suspicion was false? Know, Sir, that though Chavigni
may sometimes condescend to converse with you, or may appear to trifle
for a moment with a girl like this Louise, it is merely to gain some
greater object that he does so; and that unless it be for some State
purpose, he never honours such beings with his thoughts."

"Well, well, Monseigneur," replied the other, seeing the fire that
flashed in his Lord's eye, "I will marry her: _Foy de Normand!_ Don't be
angry; I will marry her."

"_Foy de Normand!_ will not do," said Chavigni. "It must be this very
night."

"_Eh bien! Eh bien! Soit_," cried the Norman, and then muttered to
himself with a grin, "I've four wives now living; a fifth won't make
much difference."

"What murmur you, Sir?" demanded the Statesman. "Mark me! in one hour
from hence you will find a priest and two witnesses in the Cardinal's
chapel! When you are married, the priest will give you a certificate of
the ceremony, carry it to my intendant, and upon the sight of it he will
pay you the sum we agree upon. Now, proceed with your demands."

"Well then, Monseigneur," continued Marteville, "what is the information
concerning Mademoiselle's coming to Paris worth?"

"It is worth a good deal," replied Chavigni, "and I will always pay more
for knowledge of that kind than any acts of brute force. Set that down
for a hundred crowns, and fifty more for catching the young lady, and
bringing her here; making altogether two hundred and fifty."

"Yes, Sir, yes; but the _dot_--the dowry you mentioned," cried the
Norman. "You have forgot that."

"No, I have not," replied Chavigni. "In favour of Louise, I will make
the sum up one thousand crowns, which you will receive the moment you
have married her."

"Oh! I'll marry her directly, if that be the case," cried the Norman.
"_Morbleu!_ that makes all the difference."

"But treat her kindly," said Chavigni. "With the stipend of a thousand
crowns, which I allow you yearly, and what you can gain by particular
services, you may live very well; and perhaps I may add some little
gratification, if you please me in your conduct towards your wife."

"Oh! I'll be the tenderest husband living," cried the Norman, "since my
gratification depends upon her's. But I'll run and fetch her to be
married directly, if you will send the Priest, Monseigneur."

"Nay, stop a moment," said the Statesman. "You forget that I told you I
had other journeys for you to take, and other services for you to
perform."

"No, Sir," answered the Norman, "all is prepared to set out this very
night, if you will tell me my errand."

Chavigni paused for a moment, and remained in deep thought, gnawing his
lip as if embarrassed by doubts as to the best manner of proceeding.
"Mark me, Marteville," said he at length: "there are two or three sorts
of scoundrels in the world, amongst whom I do not look upon you as the
least." The Norman bowed with the utmost composure, very well aware of
the place he held in Chavigni's opinion. "There are, however, some good
points about you," continued the Statesman; at which Marteville bowed
again. "You would rob, kill, and plunder, I believe, without remorse,
any one you hated or did not care about; but I do not think you would
forget a kindness or betray a trust."

"Never!" said the Norman: "red-hot pincers will not tear from me what is
intrusted to my honour."

"So be it, then, in the present instance," said Chavigni; "for I am
obliged to give you the knowledge of some things, and to enter into
explanations with you, which I do not often do with any one. You must
know, then, I have information that on the same day that Monsieur de
Cinq Mars set out from Chantilly with Monsieur de Thou, the Duke of
Orleans, with Montressor and St. Ibal, took their departure from
Moulins, and the Count de Fontrailles from Paris. They all journeyed
towards the same point in Champagne. I can trace Fontrailles to Troyes,
the Duke and his companions to Villeneuve, and Cinq Mars and De Thou to
Nogent, but no farther. All this might be accidental, but there are
circumstances that create suspicion in my mind. Cinq Mars, when he set
forth, gave out that he went to his estate near Troyes, in which I find
he never set his foot; and when he returned, his conference with Louis
was somewhat long. It might have been of hawks and hounds, it is true;
but after it, the King's manner both to the Cardinal and myself was cold
and haughty, and he suddenly took this resolution of coming to Paris
himself to examine into the case of the young Count de Blenau:--in
short, I suspect that some plot is on foot. What I require of you then
is, to hasten down to Champagne; try to trace each of these persons, and
discover if they had a conference, and where; find out the business that
brought each of them so far, examine their track as you would the slot
of a deer, and give me whatever information you collect; employ every
means to gain a thorough knowledge of all their proceedings--force,
should it be required--but let that be the last thing used. Here is this
signet, upon the sight of which all the agents of Government in the
different towns and villages will communicate with you." And he drew
from his finger a small seal ring, which the Norman consigned to his
pocket, his hands being somewhat too large to admit of his wearing it in
the usual manner.

"The Duke of Orleans and his pack I know well," answered Marteville,
"and also Cinq Mars and De Thou; but this Count de Fontrailles--what
like is he, Monseigneur?"

"He is a little ugly mean-looking man," replied Chavigni; "he frequently
dresses himself in grey, and looks like a sorcerer. Make him your first
object; for if ever there was a devil of cunning upon earth, it is
Fontrailles, and he is at the bottom of the plot if there be one."

"You traced him to Troyes, you say, Monseigneur? Had he any pretence of
business there?"

"None," answered Chavigni; "my account says that he had no attendants
with him, lodged at the _Auberge du Grand Soleil_, and was poorly
dressed."

"I will trace him if he were the Devil himself," said the Norman; "and
before I see you again, Monseigneur, I shall be able to account for each
of these gentry."

"If you do," said Chavigni, "a thousand crowns is your reward; and if
you discover any plot or treasonable enterprise, so that by your means
they may be foiled and brought to justice, the thousand shall grow into
ten thousand, and you shall have a place that will give you a life of
luxury."

The Norman's eyes sparkled at the anticipation, and his imagination
pourtrayed himself and his five wives living together in celestial
harmony, drinking the best vintages of Burgundy and Epernay, eating of
the fat of the land, and singing like mad. These blissful ideas were
first interrupted by the sound of horses' feet in the court. "Hark!"
cried Chavigni, "they are putting the horses to the carriage; go down,
and see that all be prepared for the young lady's journey."

"Instantly," answered the Norman, "and after that I will carry Louise to
the Priest, finger your Lordship's cash, and we will set off for
Troyes."

"Do you intend to take her with you?" demanded Chavigni, in some
surprise.

"Nay, my Lord, you would not wish me to leave my bride on our wedding
night, surely," replied the Norman, in a mock sentimental tone. "But the
truth is, I think she may be useful. Woman's wit will often find a way
where man's wisdom looks in vain; and as I have now, thanks to your
bounty, two good horses, I shall e'en set Louise upon one of them, and
with the bridle rein over my arm lead her to Brie, where, with your good
leave, we will sleep, and thence on upon our journey. Travelling with a
woman, no one will suspect my real object, and I shall come sooner at my
purpose."

"Well, so be it then," answered the Statesman. "You are now, as you
wished to be, intrusted with an affair of more importance than stopping
a courier, or carrying off a weak girl; and as the reward is greater, so
would be the punishment in case you were to betray your trust. I rely on
your honour; but let me hint at the same time, that there is such a
thing as the rack, which has more than once been applied to persons who
reveal State secrets. Keep good account of your expenses, and such as
are truly incurred for the Government, the Government wall pay."

Thus ended the conference between Chavigni and the Norman, neither of
whom we shall follow much farther in this volume. Of Chavigni it is only
necessary to say, that immediately after the departure of Pauline he
proceeded to the Louvre to wait the arrival of Louis the Thirteenth, who
soon after entered Paris, accompanied by the Queen, Cinq Mars, and all
the usual attendants of the court, and followed by the Cardinal and
those members of the Council who had not previously arrived along with
Chavigni.

In regard to the Norman, inspired by the agreeable prospect of a
thousand crowns, he was not long in visiting the Chapel of the Palais
Cardinal, where the Priest speedily united him to a black-eyed damsel
that he brought in his hand. Who this was, it does not suit me to
discover to the reader. If he have found it out already, I cannot help
it; but if he have not, I vow and protest that in the whole course of
this true history I will afford him no farther explanation; no, not even
in the last sentence of the last page of the last volume.

Immediately after their marriage the Norman put his bride upon horseback
and proceeded to Brie, each carrying behind them a valise, containing a
variety of articles which would doubtless greatly edify the reader to
learn, but which unfortunately cannot now be detailed at full length,
the schedule having been lost some years after by one of their
collateral descendants in the great fire of London, where it had found
its way in consequence of the revocation of the edict of Nantes. All
that can be affirmed with certainty is, that in the valise of the Norman
were three shirts and a half with falling collars, according to the
fashion of that day; a pourpoint or doublet of blue velvet, (which was
his best,) and a cloak to match; also (of the same stuff) a
_haut-de-chausses_, which was a machine then used for the same purpose
as a pair of breeches now-a-days; and over and above all the rest was
his Astrologer's robe and grey beard, folded round a supernumerary brace
of pistols, and a small stiletto. Into the Lady's wardrobe we shall not
inquire: suffice it to say, that it accompanied its mistress safe from
Brie to Troyes, where, putting up at the _Grand Soleil_, the Norman
began his perquisitions concerning Fontrailles.

Now having left all my friends and acquaintances at sixes and sevens, I
shall close this volume; and if the reader be interested in their fate,
he may go on to the next, in which I mean utterly to annihilate them
all, leaving nothing behind but the sole of the Count de Blenau's shoe,
with FINIS at the bottom of the page.

                       END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.

                                LONDON:
                     PRINTED BY S. AND R. BENTLEY,
                      Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

aud the servant again=> and the servant again {pg 118}





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