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Title: A Gallant of Lorraine; vol. 1 of 2 - François, Seigneur de Bassompierre, - Marquis d'Haronel, Maréchal de - France, 1579-1646
Author: Williams, H. Noel (Hugh Noel)
Language: English
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                         A GALLANT OF LORRAINE

                                VOL. I.

     “C’étoit un homme de grande qualité, beau, bien fait, quoique d’une
     taille un peu épaisse. Il avoit bien de l’esprit et d’un caractère
     fort galant. Il avoit du courage, de l’ambition et l’âme du grand

                            BUSSY-RABUTIN TO MADAME DE SCUDÉRY,
                            AUGUST 16, 1671.



                      From an engraving by Lasne.


                               A GALLANT
                              OF LORRAINE

                      MARQUIS D’HAROUEL, MARÉCHAL
                         DE FRANCE (1579-1646)


                           H. NOEL WILLIAMS

                  “THE BROOD OF FALSE LORRAINE,” ETC.

                           _IN TWO VOLUMES_

                        _With 16 Illustrations_

                                VOL. I

                    _LONDON: HURST & BLACKETT, LTD.
                       PATERNOSTER HOUSE, E.C._


Although the _Mémoires_ of the Maréchal de Bassompierre are acknowledged
to be one of the chief authorities for the history of France during the
early part of the seventeenth century, they have never been translated
into English, nor, if we except the charming but all too brief sketch of
the marshal by Comte Boudet de Puymaigre in his _Poètes et Romanciers de
la Lorraine_ (Paris, 1848), has any biography of their author yet been
attempted. That such should be the case is certainly very surprising,
since seldom can a man have led so eventful a life, or played so many
different parts with distinction, as did François de Bassompierre.
Soldier, courtier, diplomatist, gallant and wit, he was to the Courts of
Henri IV and Louis XIII very much what the celebrated Maréchal de
Richelieu was to that of Louis XV, and when on that fatal February day
in 1631 the gates of the Bastille closed upon him, not to reopen for
twelve long years, one of the most interesting careers in French history
practically terminated. In my endeavour to give a full and authentic
account of this career, I have naturally found my chief source of
information in Bassompierre’s own _Mémoires_, which he wrote, or rather
arranged and revised, during his imprisonment in the Bastille; but I
have also consulted a large number of other works, both contemporary and
modern. Most of these are mentioned either in the text or the footnotes,
but I desire to take this opportunity of acknowledging my great
indebtedness to the admirable notes of the Marquis de Chantérac, who so
ably edited the edition of the marshal’s _Mémoires_ published by the
Société de l’Histoire de France.


LONDON, _May_, 1921.




Birth of François de Bassompierre--Origin of the Bassompierre family--A
romantic legend--His grandfather--His father--His early years--He and
his younger brother Jean are sent to the University of Pont-à-Mousson,
and afterwards to that of Ingoldstadt--Their studies at
Ingoldstadt--Death of their father, Christophe de Bassompierre--Journey
of the two brothers through Italy--Their return to Lorraine.....pp. 1-14


Visit of the Bassompierre family to Paris--François dances in a ballet
before Henri IV at Monceaux--He is presented to the King, who receives
him very graciously--He decides to enter the service of Henri IV--He
escorts his Majesty’s mistress, Gabrielle d’Estrées, Duchesse de
Beaufort, to Paris--Sudden illness and death of the duchess--Extravagant
grief of Henri IV, who, however, soon finds consolation in the society
of Henriette d’Entragues--Affray between the Prince de Joinville and the
Grand Equerry Bellegarde at Zamet’s house, where the King is
staying--Visit of Bassompierre to Lorraine--He returns to Paris.....pp. 15-29


Bassompierre accompanies Henri IV in his campaign against Charles
Emmanuel of Savoy--His narrow escape at the taking of Montmélian--He
goes with the King to visit Henriette d’Entragues, Madame de Verneuil,
at La Côte-Saint-André, and reconciles Henri IV with his
mistress--Marriage of the King to Marie de’ Medici--Presentation of
Madame de Verneuil to the Queen--Visit of Bassompierre to Lorraine--He
returns to find the royal _ménage_ in a very troubled state, owing to
the jealousy of the wife and the mistress--He assists at a conference,
in which the Chancellor recommends the King to get rid of Madame de
Verneuil at any cost--He accompanies the Maréchal de Biron on a visit to
England--He is present at the arrest of Biron at Fontainebleau, in June,
1602--Condemnation and execution of the marshal.....pp. 30-37


Bassompierre sets out for Hungary to serve as a volunteer in the
Imperial Army against the Turks--His journey to Vienna--He learns that
the commander-in-chief of the army is General von Rossworm, a mortal
enemy of the Bassompierre family--He is advised by his friends in Vienna
to take service in the Army of Transylvania, instead of in that of
Hungary, but declines to change his plans--He sups more well than wisely
at Gran--His arrival in the Imperialist camp before Buda--Position of
the hostile armies--Bassompierre is presented to Rossworm--He narrowly
escapes being killed or taken prisoner by the Turks--He takes part in a
fierce combat in the Isle of Adon, and has another narrow escape--He is
reconciled with Rossworm--Massacre of eight hundred Turkish
prisoners--Failure of a night-attack planned by the Imperialist
general--Gallant but foolhardy enterprise of the Hungarians--The Turks
bombard the Imperialist headquarters--Termination of the
campaign--Bassompierre returns with Rossworm to Vienna.....pp. 38-49


Bassompierre goes to Prague, where the Imperial Court is in
residence--He is presented by Rossworm to the lords of the Council--He
dines at the house of Prestowitz, Burgrave of Karlstein, and falls in
love with his widowed daughter, “Madame Esther”--Bassompierre and
Rossworm engage in an amorous adventure, from which they narrowly escape
with their lives--Bassompierre plays tennis with Wallenstein, with the
Emperor Maximilian an interested spectator--He is presented to the
Emperor, who receives him very graciously and commissions him to raise
troops in Lorraine for service against the Turks--Bassompierre, Rossworm
and other nobles parade the streets masked and have an affray with the
police--Singular sequel to this affair--Bassompierre spends the Carnival
with the Prestowitz family at Karlstein--Amorous escapade with “Madame
Esther”--Bassompierre sets out for Lorraine--He engages in a
drinking-bout with the canons of Saverne which very nearly has a fatal
termination--Death of his brother Jean, Seigneur de Removille, at the
siege of Ostend--Grievances of Bassompierre against the French
Government--Henri IV promises that “justice shall be done him” and
invites him to return to his Court--Bassompierre renounces his intention
of entering the Imperial service and sets out for France.....pp. 50-63


Bassompierre arrives at Fontainebleau and is most graciously received by
Henri IV--He falls in love with Marie d’Entragues, sister of the King’s
mistress--The conspiracy of the d’Entragues--The Sieur d’Entragues and
the Comte d’Auvergne are arrested and conveyed to the Bastille, and
Madame de Verneuil kept a prisoner in her own house--Jacqueline de Bueil
temporarily replaces Madame de Verneuil in the royal affections--The
King, unable to do without the latter, sets her and her father at
liberty--Bassompierre becomes the lover of Marie d’Entragues--He is
dangerously wounded by the Duc de Guise in a tournament, and his life is
at first despaired of--He recovers--Attentions which he receives during
his illness from the ladies of the Court.....pp. 64-70


Quarrel between Bassompierre and the Marquis de Cœuvres--Bassompierre
sends his cousin the Sieur de Créquy to challenge the marquis to a
duel--The King sends for the two nobles and orders them to be reconciled
in his presence--Bassompierre and Créquy are forbidden to appear at
Court, but are soon pardoned--Visit of Bassompierre to Plombières--He
returns to Paris, and “breaks entirely” with Marie d’Entragues--The
Chancellor, Pomponne de Bellièvre, ordered to resign the Seals--His
conversation with Bassompierre at Artenay--Bassompierre wins more than
100,000 francs at play--He is reconciled with Marie d’Entragues--He
joins Henri IV at Sedan--The adventure of the King’s love-letter--Henri
IV gives orders that a watch shall be kept on Marie d’Entragues’s house
to ascertain if Bassompierre is secretly visiting that lady--A comedy of
errors--Madame d’Entragues surprises her daughter and
Bassompierre.....pp. 71-86


A strange adventure--Bassompierre sent as Ambassador Extraordinary to
Lorraine to represent Henri IV at the marriage of the Duke of Bar and
Margherita di Gonzaga--He returns to Paris and orders a gorgeous suit,
which is to cost fourteen thousand crowns, for the baptism of the
Dauphin and Madame Élisabeth, though he has only seven hundred in his
purse--He wins enough at play to pay for it--Charles III of Lorraine
writes to request his presence at the Estates of Lorraine--Henri IV
refuses him permission to leave France, but he sets out notwithstanding
this--He is arrested by the King’s orders at Meaux, but set at liberty
on his promising to return to Court--He is allowed to leave for Lorraine
a few days later--Affair of the Prince de Joinville and Madame de
Moret.....pp. 87-94


Amusements of Bassompierre during the winter of 1608--His
gambling-parties--Embarrassment which the fact of having several
love-affairs on his hands simultaneously sometimes occasions him--Death
of Charles III of Lorraine--Bassompierre goes to Nancy to attend the
Duke’s funeral--Gratifying testimony which he receives during his
absence of the esteem in which he is held by the ladies of the Court of
France--“The star of Venus is very much in the ascendant over
him”--Marriage arranged between Marie d’Entragues and the Comte d’Aché,
of Auvergne--The affair is broken off--Frenzied gambling at the Court:
gains of Bassompierre--Secret visits paid by him and the Duc de Guise to
Madame de Verneuil and Marie d’Entragues at Conflans--Visit of the Duke
of Mantua to the Court of France.....pp. 95-99


Enviable position of Bassompierre at the Court of France--The Connétable
de Montmorency offers him the hand of his beautiful daughter Charlotte,
the greatest heiress in France--The marriage-articles are drawn up--The
consent of Henri IV is obtained--The Duc de Bouillon, whom Bassompierre
has offended, endeavours to persuade the King to withdraw his sanction
and to marry Mlle. de Montmorency to the Prince de Condé (_Monsieur le
Prince_)--Henri IV falls madly in love with the young lady--Singular
conversation between the King and Bassompierre, in which his Majesty
orders the latter to renounce his pretensions to Mlle. de Montmorency’s
hand--Astonishment and mortification of Bassompierre, who, however,
yields with a good grace--Bassompierre falls ill of chagrin and remains
for two days “without sleeping, eating or drinking”--He is persuaded by
his friend Praslin to return to the Louvre--Mlle. de Montmorency is
betrothed to the Prince de Condé--Bassompierre falls ill of tertian
fever, but rises from his sick-bed to fight a duel with a Gascon
gentleman--The combatants are separated by friends of the
latter--Serious illness of Bassompierre.....pp. 100-118


The body of a man who has been assassinated opposite Marie d’Entragues’s
house mistaken for that of Bassompierre--Bassompierre wins a wager of a
thousand crowns from the King--Marriage of the Prince de Condé and Mlle.
de Montmorency--Henri IV informs Bassompierre of his intention to send
him on a secret mission to Henri II, Duke of Lorraine, to propose an
alliance between that prince’s elder daughter and the Dauphin--Departure
of Bassompierre--He arrives at Nancy and challenges a gentleman to a
duel, but the affair is arranged--His first audience of Duke Henri
II--Irresolution of that prince, who desires to postpone his answer
until he has consulted his advisers--Negotiations of Bassompierre with
the Margrave of Baden-Durlach--He returns to Nancy--Continued hesitation
of the Duke of Lorraine--Memoir of Bassompierre: his prediction of the
advantages which Lorraine would derive from being incorporated with
France abundantly justified by time--The Duke gives a qualified
acceptance of Henri IV’s propositions--Difficulty which Bassompierre
experiences in inducing him to commit his reply to writing.....pp. 119-131


Return of Bassompierre to the French Court--Frenzied passion of Henri IV
for the young Princesse de Condé--His extravagant conduct--Condé flies
with his wife to Flanders--Grief and indignation of the King, who
summons his most trusted counsellors to deliberate upon the affair--Sage
advice of Sully, which, however, is not followed--The Archduke Albert
refuses to surrender the fugitives--Condé retires to Milan and places
himself under the protection of Spain--Failure of an attempt to abduct
the princess--Henri IV and his Ministers threaten war if the lady is not
given up--The “Great Design”--Bassompierre appointed Colonel of the
Light Cavalry and a Counsellor of State--His account of the last days
and assassination of Henri IV.....pp. 132-145


Incidents at the Court and in Paris after the assassination of Henri
IV--Meeting between Bassompierre and Sully--Marie de’ Medici declared
Regent--Her difficult position--Return of Condé--Greed and arrogance of
the grandees--Quarrel between the Comte de Soissons and the Duc de
Guise--Grievance of _Monsieur le Comte_ against Bassompierre--He
persuades Madame d’Entragues to endeavour to compel Bassompierre to
marry her daughter Marie--Proceedings instituted against that
gentleman--Announcement of the “Spanish marriages”--Magnificent fêtes in
the Place-Royale--Intrigues at the Court--The Princes and Concini in
power--Assassination of the Baron de Luz by the Chevalier de
Guise--Marie de’ Medici and the Princes--Conversation of the Regent with
Bassompierre--Bassompierre reconciles the Guises with the
Queen-Mother--The Chevalier de Guise kills the son of the Baron de Luz
in a duel--The Princes, on the advice of Concini, retire from
Court.....pp. 146-164


The affair of Montferrato--Intrigues of Concini with Charles Emmanuel of
Savoy--Arrest of Concini’s agent Maignan--Bassompierre warns the Italian
favourite of his danger and advises him to throw himself on the clemency
of the Queen-Mother--Concini follows his advice and is pardoned and
shielded by Marie de’ Medici, while his agent is executed--Bassompierre
goes to Rouen, where the d’Entragues’s action against him is to be
heard--The Regent recommends his cause to the judges--The d’Entragues
object to the constitution of the court, and the case is
adjourned--Duplicity of Concini--He intrigues to ruin Bassompierre with
the Queen-Mother--Semi-disgrace of Bassompierre--He is reconciled with
Marie de’ Medici--He is appointed Colonel-General of the Swiss--The
Princes surprise Mézières--Peace of Saint-Menehould--Bassompierre
accompanies Louis XIII and the Queen-Mother to the West.....pp. 165-176


Bassompierre, during his absence in Lorraine, condemned by the
Archbishop of Aix to espouse Mlle. d’Entragues, on pain of
excommunication--The archbishop’s decision quashed by the Parlement of
Paris--Financial and amatory embarrassments of Bassompierre--Death of
his mother--The action which the d’Entragues have brought against him
finally decided in his favour--Condé withdraws from Court and issues a
manifesto against the Government--Civil war begins--Marriage of Louis
XIII and Anne of Austria--Peace of Loudun--Fall of the old Ministers of
Henri IV--Concini and the shoemaker--Condé becomes all-powerful--He
obliges Concini to retire to Normandy--Arrogance of Condé and his
partisans, who are suspected of conspiracy to change the form of
government--The Queen-Mother sends for Bassompierre at three o’clock in
the morning and informs him that she has decided upon the arrest of the
Princes--Preparations for this _coup d’état_--Arrest of Condé--Concini’s
house sacked by the mob--The Comte d’Auvergne and the Council of
War--Bassompierre conducts Condé from the Louvre to the Bastille.....pp.


Serious illness of the young King, who, however, recovers--Bassompierre
and Mlle. d’Urfé--Gay winter in Paris--Richelieu enters the Ministry as
Secretary of State for War--His foreign policy--His energetic measures
to put down the rebellion of the Princes--Return of Concini--His
arrogance and presumption--Singular conversation between Bassompierre
and Concini after the death of the latter’s daughter--Policy pursued by
Marie de’ Medici and Concini towards Louis XIII--Humiliating position of
the young King--His favourite, Charles d’Albert, Seigneur de
Luynes--Bassompierre warns the Queen-Mother that the King may be
persuaded to revolt against her authority.....pp. 196-207


Bassompierre joins the Royal army in Champagne as Grand Master of the
Artillery by commission--Surrender of Château-Porcien--Bassompierre is
wounded before Rethel--He sets out for Paris in order to negotiate the
sale of his office of Colonel-General of the Swiss to Concini--He visits
the Royal army which is besieging Soissons--A foolhardy act--Singular
conduct of the garrison--The Président Chevret arrives in the Royal camp
with the news that Concini has been assassinated--Details of this
affair--Bassompierre continues his journey to Paris--His adventure with
the Liègeois cavalry of Concini.....pp. 208-218


Bassompierre arrives in Paris--Marie de’ Medici is exiled to
Blois--Bassompierre’s account of the parting between Louis XIII and his
mother--The rebellious princes return to Court and are pardoned, but
Condé remains in the Bastille--His wife solicits and receives permission
to join him there--Arrest of the Governor and Lieutenant of the
Bastille, on a charge of conniving at a secret correspondence between
Barbin and the Queen-Mother--Bassompierre is placed temporarily in
charge of the fortress--The Prince and Princesse de Condé are
transferred to the Château of Vincennes--Bassompierre goes to Rouen to
attend the assembly of the Notables--A rapid journey.....pp. 219-224


Luynes succeeds to the power and wealth of Concini--Trial and execution
of Concini’s widow, Leonora Galigaï--Luynes begins to direct affairs of
State--His marriage to Marie de Rohan--Conduct of the Duc d’Épernon--His
quarrel with Du Vair, the Keeper of the Seals--His disgrace--He begins
to intrigue with the Queen-Mother--Escape of the latter from
Blois--Treaty of Angoulême--The Court at Tours--Arnauld d’Andilly’s
account of Bassompierre’s lavish hospitality--Favours bestowed by the
King on Bassompierre--Meeting between Louis XIII and the
Queen-Mother--Liberation of Condé--Bassompierre entertains the King at
Monceaux--He is admitted to the Ordre du Saint-Esprit.....pp. 225-234


The grandees, irritated by the increasing power and favour of Luynes,
decide to make common cause with the Queen-Mother against him--Departure
of Mayenne from the Court--He is followed by Longueville, Nemours,
Mayenne and Retz--Formidable character of the insurrection--Bassompierre
receives orders to mobilise a Royal army in Champagne--He informs the
King that the Comte de Soissons, his mother, the Grand Prieur de Vendôme
and the Comte de Saint-Aignan intend to leave Paris to join the
rebels--Alarm and indecision of Luynes--Advice of Bassompierre--It is
finally decided to allow them to go--Success of Bassompierre in
mobilising troops in Champagne, despite great difficulties--The Duc de
Bouillon sends a gentleman to him to endeavour to corrupt his
loyalty--Reply of Bassompierre--The town and château of Dreux surrender
to him--He joins the King near La Flèche with an army of 8,600
men--Combat of the Ponts-des-Cé--Peace of Angers.....pp. 235-254


Refusal of the Protestants of Béarn to restore the property of the
Catholic Church--Louis XIII and Luynes resolve on rigorous measures and
set out for the South--Visit of Bassompierre to La Rochelle--He joins
the King at Bordeaux--Arrest and execution of d’Arsilemont--The
Parlement of Pau declines to register the Royal edict, and Louis XIII
determines to march into Béarn--Bassompierre charged with the transport
of the army across the Garonne, which is accomplished in twenty-four
hours--Béarn and Lower Navarre are united to the Crown of
France--Coldness of the King towards Bassompierre--Bassompierre learns
that this is due to the ill offices of Luynes, who regards him as a
rival in the royal favour--He is informed that Luynes is “unable to
suffer him to remain at Court”--Bassompierre decides to come to terms
with the favourite, and it is arranged that he shall quit the Court so
soon as some honourable office can be found for him--The Valtellina
question--Bassompierre appointed Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court
of Spain--Birth of a son to Luynes.....pp. 255-270


An alliance with Luynes’s niece, Mlle. de Combalet, proposed to
Bassompierre--His journey to Spain--His entry into Madrid--He is visited
by the Princess of the Asturias, the grandees and other distinguished
persons--His meeting with the Duke of Ossuña--His audience of Philip III
postponed owing to the King’s illness--Commissioners are appointed to
treat with Bassompierre over the Valtellina question--Death of Philip
III--His funeral procession--An indiscreet observation of the Duke of
Ossuña to one of Bassompierre’s suite is overheard and leads to the
arrest of that nobleman.....pp. 271-285


Bassompierre’s audience of the new King, Philip IV--The Procession of
the Crosses--An old flame--Good Friday at Madrid--Anxiety of the Queen’s
ladies-in-waiting to see Bassompierre--His visit to them--He is
commissioned by Louis XIII to present his condolences to Philip IV--He
is informed that etiquette requires him to leave Madrid as though to
return to France and then to make another formal entry--Revolution of
the palace at Madrid: fall of the late King’s Ministers--The Count of
Saldagna ordered by Philip IV to marry Doña Mariana de Cordoba on pain
of his severe displeasure--Bassompierre offers to facilitate the escape
of Saldagna to France, but the latter’s courage fails him at the last
moment--Negotiations over the Valtellina--Treaty of
Madrid--Bassompierre’s pretended departure for France--He visits the
Escurial, returns to Madrid and makes a second ceremonious entry--The
audience of condolence--State entry of Philip IV into
Madrid--Termination of Bassompierre’s embassy--He returns to
France.....pp. 286-298


A new War of Religion breaks out in France--Luynes created
Constable--Louis XIII and Duplessis-Mornay--Bassompierre joins the Royal
army before Saint-Jean d’Angély--Capitulation of the town--Bassompierre
returns with Créquy to Paris--He is “in great consideration” amongst the
ladies--Apparent anxiety of Luynes for the marriage of his niece to
Bassompierre--The King and the Constable resolve to lay siege to
Montauban--Bassompierre decides to rejoin the army without waiting for
orders from the latter--He arrives at the King’s quarters at the Château
of Picqueos--Dispositions of the besieging army--Narrow escape of
Bassompierre while reconnoitring the advanced-works of the town--A
gallant Swiss--Death of the Comte de Fiesque--Heavy casualties amongst
the besiegers--The Seigneur de Tréville--Bassompierre and the women of
Montauban--Death of Mayenne--The Spanish monk--An amateur
general--Disastrous results of carrying out his orders--Furious sortie
of the garrison--Bassompierre is wounded in the face--An amusing
incident--The Cévennes mountaineers endeavour to throw reinforcements
into Montauban--A midnight _mêlée_.....pp. 299-319




From an engraving by Lasne.

         FACING PAGE



From an engraving by Aubert.


From an engraving by Barbant.



From an engraving by Aubert.

OF FRANCE      238

From a contemporary print.


From the painting by Velasquez.

A Gallant of Lorraine


     Birth of François de Bassompierre--Origin of the Bassompierre
     family--A romantic legend--His grandfather--His father--His early
     years--He and his younger brother Jean are sent to the University
     of Pont-à-Mousson, and afterwards to that of Ingoldstadt--Their
     studies at Ingoldstadt--Death of their father, Christophe de
     Bassompierre--Journey of the two brothers through Italy--Their
     return to Lorraine.

François de Bassompierre was born at the Château of Harouel, in
Lorraine, on Palm Sunday, April 12, 1579, “at four o’clock in the
morning.” His family, which was one of the most ancient and illustrious
of Lorraine, appears to have owed its name to the village of Betstein,
or Bassompierre,[1] near Sancy, which formed part of its possessions
until 1793, when it was confiscated and sold by the Government of
Revolutionary France, with the rest of the Bassompierre property. If we
are to believe the very confusing documents which François de
Bassompierre collected about his family, it descended from the German
House of Ravensberg, but, according to the learned genealogist, Père
Anselme, its origin can be traced to the latter part of the thirteenth
century, to one Olry de Dompierre, who became possessed of the fief of
Bassompierre by marriage, and whose son, Simon, adopted the name, which
became that of his descendants.

However that may be, it was undoubtedly a very old family indeed, as
well as a distinguished one, and, like most old families, had its
mysterious traditions; but, at any rate, the legend of the Bassompierres
had nothing sinister about it.

The story goes that during the transitory reign of that Adolph of Nassau
who lost his Imperial crown and his life at the Battle of Spire, there
lived a certain Comte d’Angerveiller, or d’Orgeveiller. This nobleman,
as he was returning home one evening from hunting--it was a
Monday--stopped to rest at a summer-house situated in a wood a little
distance from his château. There, to his astonishment, he found a young
and beautiful woman--a fairy, it is said--(She must surely have been the
last of the race!)--apparently awaiting his arrival. And the pair were
so well pleased with one another at this first interview, that for two
whole years they failed not to meet every Monday at the same rendezvous,
“the count pretending to his wife that he had gone to shoot in the

However, as time went on, the countess began to conceive suspicions,
“and one morning entered the summer-house, where she found her husband
with a woman of perfect beauty, and both asleep. And being unwilling to
awaken them, she merely spread over their feet a kerchief which she was
wearing on her head, which, being perceived by the fairy, she uttered a
piercing cry and began to lament, saying that she must see her lover no
more, nor even be within a hundred leagues of him; and so left him,
having first bestowed upon him these three gifts--a spoon, a goblet and
a ring, for his three daughters, which, said she, they must carefully
preserve, as, if they did this, they would bring good fortune to their
families and descendants.”

Well, a lord of Bassompierre, an ancestor of the marshal, married one of
the three daughters of the Comte Orgeveiller, who brought him as her
dowry, together with certain fat lands, the spoon; and, in memory of
this tradition, the town of Épinal, of which he had been burgrave, was
obliged to offer to him and his descendants, on a certain day each year,
by way of quit-rent, a spoonful from every measure of corn sold within
its walls.

The ancestors of Bassompierre had served in turn the Emperors and great
princes of Germany, the Dukes of Burgundy, the Kings of France and the
Dukes of Lorraine, and had ended by occupying the highest offices at the
Court of Nancy. To go no further back than two generations, we find the
marshal’s grandfather, François de Bassompierre, high in the favour of
the Emperor Charles V, to whom he was successively page of honour,
gentleman of the Chamber, and Captain of the German Guard. In 1556 he
accompanied his Imperial master to the gates of the Monastery of Yuste,
where he witnessed Charles’s last adieu to the world, and received from
his hand a valuable diamond ring, which was ever afterwards religiously
preserved in the Bassompierre family.

In 1552 Henri II, King of France, invaded Lorraine and established a
protectorate over the duchy; and François de Bassompierre, who, some
years before, had been sent by Charles V as Ambassador Extraordinary to
Nancy to assist in the government of Lorraine, during the minority of
its youthful sovereign, Charles III, was required to send his youngest
son, Christophe, to the French Court, as a hostage for his good
behaviour. The little boy--then about five years old--was brought up
with the Duc d’Orléans, afterwards Charles IX, who “either on account of
the conformity in their ages or some other reason, conceived a great
affection for him,” and admitted him to the closest intimacy. In
consequence, when the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis left Christophe at
liberty to return to Lorraine, he preferred to remain in France, until,
in 1564, when barely seventeen, he set off for Hungary to serve under
one of his uncles, Colonel de Harouel, against the Turks. Here he made
the acquaintance of Henri de Lorraine, Duc de Guise, who had also gone
crusading on the Danube, and a warm friendship sprang up between the two
lads, which lasted until Guise’s tragic death in 1589. “My father,”
writes Bassompierre, “always preserved for him (Guise) his devotion and
his service, and the said Sieur de Guise esteemed him above all his
other servants and intimates, calling him ‘_l’amy du cœur_.’”[2]

Returning to France, after two years’ service in Hungary, Christophe de
Bassompierre was entrusted by Charles IX with the command of 1,500
_reiters_, at the head of whom he distinguished himself at the Battles
of Jarnac and Montcontour, in both of which he was wounded. In 1568 he
was sent by the King with a body of _reiters_ to the Netherlands, to the
assistance of Alva, and took part in the Battle of Gemmingen, in which
Alva defeated the Duke of Nassau. On his return to the French Court
after the Peace of Saint-Germain, Charles IX proposed to reward his
military services by marrying him to one of the two daughters of the
late Maréchal de Brissac. Christophe, however, who was poor and a cadet
of his House, represented to his Majesty that these damsels, who had
little money and great pretensions, were ill suited to him who had none,
and who needed it; “but that if he would do him the favour of marrying
him to the niece of the said marshal Louise le Picart de Radeval,[3] who
was an heiress, and whose aunt, Madame de Moreuil, intended to give her
100,000 crowns, it would do him much more good and make his fortune. And
this the King did, in spite of her relations and in spite of the girl
herself, who did not like him, because he was poor, a foreigner and a

Of this union, so inauspiciously begun, five children were born--three
sons, of whom François was the eldest, and two daughters.[4]

Almost immediately after his marriage, Christophe was obliged to leave
his bride, to take part in the siege of La Rochelle, which was
interrupted by the news that the Duc d’Anjou (afterwards Henri III), who
commanded the Catholic army, had been elected to the throne of Poland.
Christophe was one of those chosen to accompany the prince to his
kingdom, and set out for Poland, “with a great and noble retinue”; but,
on reaching Vienna, he received orders from Charles IX to raise a levy
of _reiters_ for service against the Huguenots and “_Politiques_” and
return to France with all speed. He performed a like service for Henri
III in 1575, at the time of the revolt of Alençon, but in 1585 resigned
his pensions and offices and threw in his lot with the Duc de Guise and
the League, to whom his skill in recruiting mercenaries from Germany and
Switzerland proved of great assistance.

After the King’s surrender to the demands of the League, at the Peace of
Nemours, in July of that year, Christophe’s pensions and offices were
restored to him, and in 1587, when the great army of _reiters_ under
Dohna and Bouillon invaded France, we find him commissioned by Henri III
to raise a new levy of 1,500 horse. These troops were stationed with the
main army, commanded by Henri III in person on the Loire, but Christophe
himself preferred to serve under Guise on the Lorraine frontier. Here he
was seized with a serious illness, which necessitated his return home
and prevented him taking part in Guise’s victories at Vimory and Auneau.

Christophe was at Blois at the time of the assassination of Guise in
December, 1588, but, warned in time, he succeeded in effecting his
escape from the town before the principal adherents of the duke were
arrested, and, exasperated by the fate of his friend and patron, raised
large levies in Germany for the service of the Leaguer princes. He
fought under Mayenne against Henri IV at Arques and Ivry, in which
latter engagement he was twice wounded and obliged to return to
Lorraine. He returned to France in 1593, to assist, as representative of
Duke Charles III, at the Estates of the League, where he offered very
effective opposition to the proposal of the ultra-Catholic party to
confer the crown of France on the Infanta Clara Eugenia. The conversion
of Henri IV having caused him to abandon any projects which he might
have had in France, he now devoted himself to re-establishing the
affairs of the Duke of Lorraine, which were in sad disorder, and was
appointed by that prince Grand Master of his Household and
Superintendent of Finance. In July, 1534, he signed, on behalf of the
duke, in Henri IV’s camp before Laon, a treaty by which Charles III
undertook to observe complete neutrality between France and Spain.

This gallant old warrior was an excellent father and spared no expense
to give his sons the most thorough education which it was possible for
them to obtain. François de Bassompierre’s early years were passed at
the Château of Harouel.

     “I was brought up in this house,” he writes, “until October, 1584,
     when I first remember seeing Henri, Duc de Guise, who was concealed
     at Harouel, for the purpose of treating with several colonels of
     _landsknechts_ and _reiters_ for the levies of the League. At this
     time I began to learn to read and write, and afterwards the
     rudiments. My tutor was a Norman priest, named Nicolas Ciret.”

In the autumn of 1587, on the approach of the invading army of Dohna and
Bouillon, Madame de Bassompierre and her children had to leave Harouel
and take refuge at Nancy. The invaders burned the town of Harouel, but
appear to have left the château untouched.

On the return of the family to Harouel, François and his younger brother
Jean, who now shared his studies, were given another tutor, named
Gravet, “and two young men, called Clinchamp and La Motte, the one to
teach us to write, the other to dance, play the lute and music.” They
passed the next four years partly at Harouel and partly at Nancy, where,
in the autumn of 1591, François saw for the first time Charles de
Lorraine, Duc de Guise, who had recently effected his romantic escape
from the Château of Blois,[5] and with whom he was to be on such
intimate terms in later years.

In October, 1591, the two boys went, accompanied by their masters, to
study at Freiburg, but only remained there five months, “because Gravet,
our tutor, killed La Motte, who taught us to dance.” In consequence of
this unfortunate affair, they returned to Harouel, but towards the end
of 1592 were sent to continue their studies at the University of
Pont-à-Mousson, founded by Duke Charles III and his uncle the Cardinal
de Lorraine, and early in the following year reached the first class.
They passed the Carnival of 1593 at Nancy, where they took part in a
tournament, “dressed _à la Suisse_.” At its conclusion they returned to
Pont-à-Mousson, where, shortly afterwards, their father brought them a
German tutor, George von Springesfeld, in place of the homicidal Gravet.
At the Carnival of 1594 they again went to Nancy, to assist at the
marriage of William II, Duke of Bavaria, and Marie Élisabeth, younger
daughter of the Duke of Lorraine, when it was decided that they should
accompany the bridal pair back to Bavaria, and keep their terms at the
University of Ingoldstadt. They travelled in the duke’s suite by way of
Heidelberg, Spire, Neustadt, Donauworth and Landshut, the party being
splendidly entertained by the various nobles at whose houses they
stopped; but the journey did not end without a tragic incident, in which
François de Bassompierre had a narrow escape of his life.

At Donauworth, where they were delayed for two or three days by the
swollen condition of the Danube, he went out in a boat with the duke and
some of his attendants, to reconnoitre the passage of the river. As they
were nearing the castle in which the duchess was lodged, William II
ordered one of his pages to load and fire a pistol, in order to announce
their approach to his consort. The pistol missed fire, and, while the
page was examining the priming, it suddenly went off and killed an old
nobleman of the prince’s suite, who was sitting close to Bassompierre.

At Ingoldstadt the two brothers, and the elder in particular, would
certainly not appear to have wasted much time:--

     “We went on with rhetoric for a little while, and then proceeded to
     logic, which we studied in an abridged form, and in three months
     passed on to physics and occasionally studied the sphere. In the
     month of August we went to Munich, whither the duke had invited us
     to spend the stag-hunting season, which they call _Hirschfeiste_,
     with him. At the end of the hunting-season, which lasted a month,
     we returned to Ingoldstadt, and continued our studies until
     October, when we quitted physics, having got to the books _De
     Animâ_. And, as we had still seven months to remain, I set myself
     to study the institutes of law, in which I employed an hour;
     another hour I spent in cases of conscience; an hour in the
     aphorisms of Hippocrates; and an hour in the ethics and politics of
     Aristotle, upon which studies I was so intent that my tutor was
     obliged, from time to time, to draw me away from them, in order to
     divert my mind. I continued my studies during the rest of that year
     and the early part of 1596.”

But what contributed a good deal more than this bizarre erudition to
give to the future marshal that perfect aplomb, those graceful
accomplishments and charming manners to which he owed his fortune, was
the journey through Italy which he and his brother undertook after they
had completed their course at Ingoldstadt and returned to Harouel, which
was then a house of mourning, as their father, Christophe de
Bassompierre, had died just before they left Bavaria.

In the autumn of 1596 they set out for the South, accompanied by the
Sieur de Malleville, an old gentleman, who acted as their _gouverneur_,
Springesfeld, their German tutor, and one of their late father’s
gentlemen, and travelled by way of Strasbourg, Ulm, Augsburg, Munich,
Innsbrück and Trent to Verona, where they were the guests of the Counts
Ciro and Alberto Canossa, the latter of whom had once been page to
William II of Bavaria. From Verona they proceeded to Mantua and Bologna,
and then, crossing the Apennines, arrived at Florence.

Here they received a gracious message from Ferdinand I, Grand Duke of
Tuscany, who had married Christine of Lorraine, daughter of Charles III,
inviting them to visit him at his country-seat at Lambrogiano, to which
one of the prince’s carriages would be sent to convey them. On the day
following their arrival at Lambrogiano, the Grand Duchess invited the
elder brother to walk with her in the gardens, where they met her niece
Marie de’ Medici, to whom she presented him. Bassompierre little
imagined as he made his reverence that the young princess whom he was
saluting was the future Queen of France. In the evening they left
Lambrogiano and returned to Florence, where they remained for a few days
and then set out for Rome, by way of Sienna and Viterbo.

At Rome they stayed a week, in order to perform the various devotions
customary for good Catholics who visited the Eternal City, and waited
upon several of the cardinals to whom they had letters of introduction,
and also upon the Spanish Ambassador, the Duke of Sessa, who had been a
friend of their father, and whose acquaintance they had made some years
before when he passed through Lorraine on his way to France. The
Ambassador provided them with passports and with letters of
recommendation to the Viceroy of Naples, and they set out for that city,
stopping on the road at Gaëta, Capua, and Aversa.

On their arrival at Naples, they lost no time in presenting the letters
which the Duke of Sessa had given them to the Viceroy, Don Henriques de
Guzman, Count of Olivares, “who, on opening them, inquired if we were
the sons of that M. de Bassompierre, colonel of _reiters_, who had come
to the succour of the Duke of Alva in Flanders, by orders of the late
King Charles. And when we told him that we were, he embraced us most
affectionately, assuring us that he had loved our father as his own
brother, and that he was the most noble and generous cavalier whom he
had ever known; adding that he would treat us, not only as persons of
quality, but as his own children, which, indeed, he did, giving us all
the proofs of affection and good-will possible to imagine.”

At Naples, the brothers passed a considerable part of their time in
practising equitation, under the guidance of two celebrated Italian
riding-masters; but at the beginning of 1597 their course of instruction
was interrupted by an attack of small-pox. On their recovery, they
returned to Rome, where they remained until after Easter, the only
incident of importance which marked their second visit to the Papal city
being their rescue of a French gentleman named Saint-Offange, who had
killed another in a duel, from the pursuit of the law.

From Rome they went to Florence, where they resumed the riding-lessons
which the small-pox had interrupted at Naples.

     “As for our other exercises,” writes Bassompierre, “we had Messire
     Agostino for dancing, Messire Marquino for fencing, Guilio Parigi
     for fortification, in which Bernardo della Girandolla also
     sometimes assisted. We continued these lessons all the summer, and
     also witnessed the festivities of Florence, such as the _calcio_
     and the _palio_, the plays and some marriages within and without
     the palace.”

While at Florence, they paid short visits to Pisa, Lucca, and Leghorn,
and early in November left the Tuscan city and took the road to Bologna,
whence they travelled by way of Faenza, Forli, and Ancona to Loretto. At
Loretto, where they arrived on Christmas Eve, they were invited by
Cardinal Gallio to stay at the Palazzo Santa-Casa. They spent the night
in devotions in the chapel, and on Christmas Day the cardinal appointed
the elder Bassompierre one of the witnesses to the opening of the
alms-boxes, “which amounted to six thousand crowns for the last quarter
of the year.”

At Loretto our young travellers, inspired doubtless by their visit to
that famous shrine with the desire to do and dare something for the sake
of Holy Church, embarked in a strange adventure:--

     “There were a great many other French gentlemen at Loretto, besides
     ourselves, and we all took the resolution to go together into
     Hungary to the wars before we returned home. Having mutually
     promised this, on the day after Christmas we all set out in a body,
     to wit: MM. de Bourlemont and d’Amolis, brothers; MM. de Foncaude
     and de Chasneuil, brothers; the Baron de Crapados and my brother
     and I. But, since the nature of Frenchmen is fickle, at the end of
     three days’ journey some of us, who had not our purses sufficiently
     well-lined for a long journey or who had a stronger desire to
     return to our homes than the rest, began to say that it was useless
     to go so far in search of fighting when we had it near at hand;
     that we were in the midst of the Papal army, marching to the
     conquest of Ferrara, which had devolved on the Pope by the death
     of Duke Alphonso; that Don Cesare d’Este retained possession of it,
     contrary to all right;[6] that this was not less just and holy a
     war than that of Hungary, and that in a week we should be face to
     face with the enemy; whereas, if we went to Hungary, the armies
     would not take the field for four months.

     “These persuasions prevailed on our minds, and we resolved that we
     would all go next day to Forli, to offer our services to Cardinal
     Aldobrandini,[7] legate of the army, and that I should speak in the
     name of us all, which I did, to the best of my ability. But the
     legate received us so coolly, and gave us so poor a welcome, that
     in the evening, at our lodging, we did not know how sufficiently to
     express the resentment and anger with which his indifference had
     inspired us.

            *       *       *       *       *

     “Then my brother began to say that in truth we had only got what we
     deserved; that, not being subjects of the Pope, nor in any way
     concerned in this war, we had gone inconsiderately to attack a
     prince of the House of Este, to which France had so many
     obligations, which had ever been so courteous to foreigners and
     particularly to Frenchmen, and which was so nearly allied, not only
     to the Kings of France, from whom that family was descended in the
     female line, but also to the families of Nemours and Guise; and
     that, if we were good for anything, we should go and offer our
     services to this poor prince whom the Pope wanted unjustly to
     despoil of a State possessed by so long a line of his ancestors.

     “So soon as he had said these words, all the company expressed, not
     only their appreciation, but also their firm resolve to proceed on
     the morrow straight to Ferrara, to throw themselves into the town.
     I have related all this, first, to make known the volatile and
     inconstant character of Frenchmen, and, secondly, to show that
     Fortune is generally mistress and director of our actions, since
     we, who had intended to bear arms against the Turks, did, in point
     of fact, take them up against the Pope.”

Travelling by way of Bologna, where their company was reinforced by the
Comte de Sommerive, younger son of the famous Duc de Mayenne, of the
League, the Chevalier de Verdelli, a friend of the Bassompierres, and
several other adventurous young gentlemen, they arrived on January 3 at
Ferrara. The duke received them with great honours and cordiality, but
he was very irresolute on the question of the war, alleging that his
coffers were well-nigh empty; that the King of Spain had declared for
the Pope, and that the Venetians, who had encouraged him to resist the
Pontiff, refused to assist him openly, and that the support that they
were prepared to give him secretly was of very little account. In this
state of mind he went, on the Feast of Kings, to hear Mass at a church
near the palace, accompanied by a great retinue of lords and gentlemen,
when the priests immediately quitted the altars, without finishing the
masses they had begun, and retreated from them as excommunicated
persons. This incident decided Don Cesare to send the Duchess of Urbino,
sister of the late Duke Alphonso, to treat with the Legate;[8] and,
accordingly, next day the band of young Frenchmen who had come to offer
him their services took leave of him and went their several ways.

The Bassompierres went to Rovigo and thence to Padua, when Johann
Tserclas, Count von Tilly, elder brother of the famous captain of the
Thirty Years’ War, who was then studying at the University of Padua,
invited them to dinner, and the following day accompanied them on a
visit to Venice, where they remained a week. On leaving Venice, they
returned to Padua, and, after a short stay there, set out for Genoa,
stopping on the way at Mantua. At Genoa they lodged at the house of the
German consul, and “my brother and I both fell in love with the consul’s
daughter, whose name was Philippina, to such a degree that for some days
we did not speak to one another.” Which of the two brothers Philippina
preferred, Bassompierre does not tell us.

Among the distinguished persons whose acquaintance they made at Genoa
were the two brothers Ambrosio and Frederico Spinola, the former of
whom, afterwards Duke of San Severino and Marquis of los Balbazes, was
to earn such renown as a general in the service of Spain. Frederico, who
also entered the Spanish service, was killed in a naval combat off
Ostend in May, 1603.

From Genoa our travellers proceeded to Tortona, and thence to Milan,
where they stayed for some days and were very hospitably entertained by
the Spanish governor at the citadel. They then set out on their homeward
journey, accompanied by the Chevalier de Verdelli and Don Alfonso
Casale, Spanish Ambassador to Switzerland. They travelled by way of the
St. Gotthard, stopping at Como, Lugano, Lucerne and Basle, and in the
early summer arrived safely at Harouel, after an absence of more than a
year and a half.


     Visit of the Bassompierre family to Paris--François dances in a
     ballet before Henri IV at Monceaux--He is presented to the King,
     who receives him very graciously--He decides to enter the service
     of Henri IV--He escorts his Majesty’s mistress, Gabrielle
     d’Estrées, Duchesse de Beaufort, to Paris--Sudden illness and death
     of the duchess--Extravagant grief of Henri IV, who, however, soon
     finds consolation in the society of Henriette d’Entragues--Affray
     between the Prince de Joinville and the Grand Equerry Bellegarde at
     Zamet’s house, where the King is staying--Visit of Bassompierre to
     Lorraine--He returns to Paris.

In September, 1598, the Archduke Albert, son of the Emperor Maximilian
II, passed through Lorraine on his way to Italy, there to take ship for
Spain to marry the Infanta Clara Eugenia, Philip II’s daughter, by
Élisabeth of France, and become through her the sovereign of the
Netherlands.[9] The Comte de Vaudemont, younger son of Charles III of
Lorraine, went to meet the archduke at Vaudrevange, and invited the
brothers Bassompierre to accompany him. They were duly presented to the
prince, who received them very cordially and “told them their name was
very dear to all his House.”

On their return from this little journey, the whole Bassompierre family
began to prepare for a visit to France, Madame de Bassompierre, like a
loyal Frenchwoman, being anxious that her sons should be presented to
Henri IV, in the hope that they might decide to enter his service. She
was, however, at pains to conceal the real object of her journey from
the Count von Mansfeld,[10] whom her late husband had associated with
her in the guardianship of his children, and whose consent was required
before they could leave Lorraine.

     “The Count von Mansfeld,” writes Bassompierre, “gave his consent
     very unwillingly, because he wished us to enter the service of the
     Catholic King [Philip III of Spain]; and it was only on condition
     that, after we had been some time at the Court of France and in
     Normandy (where my mother made him believe that we had some
     business affairs to transact), we should proceed from there to the
     Court of Spain, and should not commit ourselves until our return
     from both. He made us promise further that, when we wished to make
     our choice, we should follow the advice that might be given us in
     the matter by our principal friends and relatives.”

At the beginning of October, the Bassompierres left Harouel and on the
12th of that month arrived in Paris, where they took up their quarters
at the Hôtel de Montlor, in the Rue Saint-Thomas-du-Louvre.

Henri IV was then lying ill at the Château of Monceaux, near Meaux,
which he had presented to his beloved Gabrielle d’Estrées, Duchesse de
Beaufort, in 1595, and reported to be in considerable danger. The only
courtier of Madame de Bassompierre’s acquaintance who was with him at
the time was Gaspard de Schomberg, father of the marshal, to whom she
wrote to inquire when her sons could be presented to his Majesty.
Schomberg replied that it was impossible to think of such matters as
presentations in the condition the King was in, and advised her to
remain in Paris until Henri IV was sufficiently recovered to return to
the capital. This she decided to do, and meantime sent her sons to pay
their court to Catherine de Bourbon, the King’s sister, who was about to
marry the Duke of Bar, eldest son of Charles III of Lorraine. The
princess was very gracious to the young men, and, says Bassompierre,
“had the intention of marrying me to Mlle. Catherine de Rohan,[11] in
order to keep her near her when she went to Lorraine, but I had at that
time no inclination towards marriage.”

Several of Madame de Bassompierre’s relatives and friends of her late
husband came to visit the Bassompierres at the Hôtel de Montlor, amongst
them being Charles de Balsac, Seigneur de Dunes--“_le bel_
Entraguet”--the hero of the famous Duel of the Mignons; Jacques de
Harlay, Seigneur de Chanvallon, a former lover of Marguerite de Valois,
Queen of Navarre; Charles de Cossé, Maréchal de Brissac, and the Comte
(afterwards) Duc de Gramont. One day, when Henri IV’s health was
beginning to mend, the Duc de Bellegarde, First Gentleman of the Chamber
and Grand Equerry to the King--_Monsieur le Grand_, as he was commonly
styled--arrived in Paris on a short visit, and Gramont presented
François de Bassompierre to him. Bellegarde received the lad very
cordially, and pressed him to dine with him, saying that he had invited
some of the most brilliant gentlemen of the Court. During dinner a
suggestion was made to organise a ballet to amuse their convalescent
sovereign and to go to Monceaux to dance it, and was received with

     “They said,” continues Bassompierre, “that I must be one of the
     party, but, thought I declared that I should be most delighted, I
     added that it appeared to me that, as I had not yet been presented
     to the King, I ought not to take part in the ballet. M. de
     Joinville[12] then said: ‘That need not stand in your way; for we
     shall arrive at Monceaux early in the day, when you can be
     presented to the King, and in the evening we shall dance the
     ballet.’ So I learned it with the others, who were MM.
     d’Auvergne,[13] de Sommerive, _le Grand_,[14] de Gramont, de
     Termes,[15] the young Schomberg,[16] Saint-Luc, Pompignan,
     Messillac and Maugiron, whose names I have decided to set down,
     since they represented a select band of persons so handsome and so
     well-made that it was impossible to find their superiors. At my
     suggestion, they made up as barbers, in order to poke fun at the
     King, who had placed himself in the hands of persons of that trade
     for the cure of a wart which he had.”

After this aristocratic troupe had rehearsed the ballet to their
satisfaction, they set out for Monceaux, but were met on the way by a
messenger from the King, who expressed his regret that he was unable to
lodge them at the château, where at that time there was but little
accommodation, and desired them to stop at Meaux, to which he would send
coaches that evening to bring them and their “props” to Meaux.
Bassompierre was thus disappointed in his expectation of being presented
to the King before the ballet. However, it was decided that he should
take part in it all the same.

The party accordingly proceeded to Meaux, where they dressed for the
ballet, and then bestowed themselves, with their pages, the musicians,
and all their paraphernalia in six of the royal coaches, and set off for
Monceaux, where they danced their ballet, which appears to have caused
the good-natured monarch, who took the jest at his expense in excellent
part, much amusement.

     “After which,” says Bassompierre, “as we were removing our masks,
     the King rose and came amongst us, and inquired where Bassompierre
     was. Then all the princes and nobles presented me to him to embrace
     his knees; and he received me most affectionately, and I should
     never have believed that so great a King would have shown so much
     kindness and familiarity towards a young man of my condition.
     Afterwards, he took me by the hand and presented me to the
     Duchesse de Beaufort, his mistress, whose gown I kissed; and the
     King, in order to give me the opportunity of saluting and kissing
     her, stepped aside.”

Humility was certainly not a fault of this young gentleman from
Lorraine, who had a nice appreciation of his own attractions. And he
proceeds to relate with complacency how, a few days later, they danced
again the same ballet at the Tuileries, for the diversion of Catherine
de Bourbon and Gabrielle d’Estrées, who, by permission of her royal
lover, had come to Paris expressly to witness it again, and that “when
the twenty-four men and women came forward to perform the dances, all
the spectators were delighted to behold a selection of such handsome
persons. So that, when the dances were over, they insisted on their
being performed again, an incident which I have never seen happen

Undoubtedly, if we are to judge from his portraits, which belong,
however, to the time of Louis XIII, that is to say, to a period when he
had already passed the brilliant years of his youth, Bassompierre may be
pardoned his satisfaction at his personal appearance. These depict him
as of middle height and very well made, though his figure is a little
inclined to _embonpoint_. The face is of an almost perfect oval, framed
in long blond curls which descend to the richly-embroidered lace which
covers his shoulders. The nose, which sinks a little in joining the
forehead, dominates two small moustaches, separated above the mouth and
ending in carefully-pomaded points. A “_royale_”--or, as it has been
called since the time of the Second Empire, an “_impériale_”--extends
from immediately under the lower lip to the extremity of the chin, and
imparts to the whole physiognomy that intelligent expression which is to
be observed in all the portraits of the time of Louis XIII. However, if
Bassompierre had arranged his beard in quite a different manner, his
features would not have been less intelligent or less pleasing; his
agreeable smile and bright brown eyes would have always sufficed to
animate his countenance and to denote a man made for successes of all

In December, Henri IV, being sufficiently recovered to leave Monceaux,
removed for change of air to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where he lodged at
the Deanery, as did Gabrielle, and where he had his last natural son by
the duchess--Alexandre de Vendôme, afterwards Grand Prior of
France--baptised.[17] In the evening there was a grand ballet, in which
Bassompierre took part, “dressed as an Indian.”

The Court remained at Saint-Germain until after the marriage of
Catherine de Bourbon with the Duke of Bar, which was celebrated on
January 30, 1599, when it returned to Paris; but at the beginning of
Lent the King set out for Fontainebleau. Bassompierre, however, remained
for a few days longer in Paris, and was the last to bid farewell to that
singular personage the Maréchal de Joyeuse, whom Voltaire has so well
described in these two lines:

    “Vicieux, pénitent, courtisan, solitaire,
     Il prit, quitta, reprit la cuirasse et la haire,”

before he finally quitted the world for the convent.

“My cousin,” Henri IV had remarked to Joyeuse a little while before, as
they were standing one day on a balcony, beneath which a crowd had
gathered, “those people down there do not appear very well pleased at
seeing an apostate King and an unfrocked monk together.” This pleasantry
struck Joyeuse to the quick and this time he resumed the hair-shirt, not
to put it off again. And as in those days people obeyed their religious
convictions without deeming it necessary to advertise the fact to the
public, Joyeuse, having spent the evening in the midst of the gayest
company in Paris, withdrew to the convent where he had resolved to
spend the remainder of his days, without saying a word of his intention
to anyone.

     “After we had supped together at the Hôtel de Retz,” writes
     Bassompierre, “at midnight I bade him good night at the
     postern-door of his lodging, the threshold of which he merely
     crossed, and then repaired to the Capuchins, where he ended his
     days piously.”

Bassompierre was by this time firmly established in the good graces of
the King, for whom he had already conceived so warm an admiration and
affection that he had decided to enter his service. We will allow him to
speak himself on this occasion, inasmuch as he does so with a
sensibility and gratitude very unusual with him, and which one does not
find in his _Mémoires_, except when Henri IV is in question:

     “Two days later I went to Fontainebleau, and, one day, as someone
     had told the King that I had some beautiful Portuguese pieces and
     other gold coins, he asked me if I would play for them against his
     mistress. On my agreeing to do this, he made me stay and play with
     her while he was at the chase, and in the evening he played too.
     This put me on terms of great familiarity with the King and the
     duchess, and when we were talking one day about the reason which
     led me to come to France, I told him [the King] frankly that I did
     not come with any intention of engaging in his service, but merely
     to pass some time there, and then to do the same at the Court of
     Spain, before I came to any determination as to the conduct of my
     future life; but that he had so charmed me, that, if he would
     accept my service, I would go no further to seek a master, but
     would devote myself to him until death. He embraced me and assured
     me that I should not find a better master than he would be to me,
     or one who would love me more or contribute more to my fortune or
     advancement. This was on a Tuesday, March 12 [1599]. Henceforth, I
     looked upon myself as a Frenchman; and I can say that, from that
     time, I experienced from him so much kindness, so much affability,
     and such proofs of good-will, that his memory will be deeply graven
     in my heart during the remainder of my days.”

On the approach of Holy Week, Bassompierre requested the King’s
permission to go to Paris to perform his Easter devotions, when Henri IV
informed him that he should go with him on the Tuesday to Melun, whither
he proposed to escort the Duchesse de Beaufort, who also wished to
perform her devotions in the capital, and next day continue his journey
to Paris.

We must here explain that it had been for some months generally known
that the Very Christian King, notwithstanding the strenuous opposition
of his great Minister Sully and his faithful adviser Duplessis-Mornay,
fully intended to marry his Gabrielle, as soon as he could obtain the
dissolution of his marriage with Marguerite de Valois. Such a resolution
aroused universal alarm. The duchess had many friends and few enemies,
but not even her most devoted partisans could maintain that her birth
and previous life fitted her to be the Queen of France, while it was
obvious that the claims of her legitimated sons, and of those who might
be born in wedlock, would add another element of discord to those
already existing. After considerable difficulty, on February 7, 1599,
Marguerite, who had declared that it was “repugnant to her to put in her
place a woman of such low extraction, and of so impure a life as the one
about whom rumour speaks,”[18] was at length persuaded to sign the
necessary procuration, which Henri IV lost no time in sending to Rome.
But Clement VIII disapproved of his Majesty’s choice, less probably on
account of Gabrielle’s obvious unsuitability to share a throne than
because she was the intimate friend of Catherine de Bourbon, Duchess of
Bar, and Louise de Coligny, Princess of Orange. These two ladies were
amongst the most stubborn heretics in Europe, and his Holiness did not
doubt that, urged by them, Gabrielle would use all her influence with
the King in favour of their co-religionists. He, therefore, refused to
dissolve the marriage, sheltering himself behind the difficulties
regarding the succession in which the new union which the King was
contemplating would involve France. This paternal solicitude for his
kingdom did not deceive Henri IV, who, impatient at the delay,
instructed his representative at the Vatican to hint that, if the Holy
Father continued contumacious, the eldest son of the Church might be
tempted to behave in an exceedingly unfilial manner, and follow the
example of his last namesake on the throne of England. Whether, with
this threat hanging over him, Clement would eventually have yielded is a
matter of opinion; but an unexpected event came to relieve the tension.

Bassompierre duly accompanied the King and the duchess to Melun,
Gabrielle, who was in an advanced state of pregnancy, being carried in a
litter. At supper Henri IV said to him: “Bassompierre, my mistress
wishes to take you with her in her barge to-morrow to Paris. You will
play cards together by the way.” That night they slept at Savigny, about
midway between Fontainebleau and the capital, and the following morning
(April 6) the King accompanied the duchess to the bank of the Seine,
where her barge was awaiting her, in which she embarked with
Bassompierre, the Duc de Montbazon, Captain of the Guards, the Marquis
de la Varenne and her waiting-women.

At the moment of parting from her royal lover, Gabrielle broke down and
began to sob bitterly, declaring that she had a presentiment that she
should never see him again. The King, after vainly endeavouring to
console her, was on the point of yielding and taking her back to
Fontainebleau. But, in view of their intended marriage, he attached
great importance to the duchess performing her Easter devotions in the
capital, and, after repeated embraces, he freed himself from her
detaining arms and gave the signal for the barge to start.

About three o’clock in the afternoon, Gabrielle reached Paris, and
disembarked on the quay near the Arsenal, where her brother-in-law, the
Maréchal de Balagny, her brother the Marquis de Cœuvres, Madame de
Retz, and the duchesse and Mlle. de Guise were awaiting her. She rested
for a while at her sister’s house, where a number of distinguished
persons called upon her, and then went to sup at the house of Sebastian
Zamet,--“the lord of the 1,800,000 crowns”--an Italian financier, who
had risen from a very humble position to great wealth and the personal
friendship of Henri IV. After supper she attended the _Tenebræ_ at the
Couvent du Petit Saint-Antoine, then renowned for its fine music. During
the service she was taken ill and was carried to Zamet’s house, where
she recovered sufficiently to go to the apartments of her aunt Madame de
Sourdes, at the Deanery of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, where she always
stayed when paying a short visit to Paris, as she did not make use of
her own house in the Rue Fromenteau, which communicated with the Louvre,
except when the Court happened to be in residence. Next day, though
still feeling far from well, she attended Mass at her parish church,
Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois. She was borne in a litter, by the side of
which walked the Duc de Montbazon, in virtue of his position as Captain
of the Guards, and escorted by archers; while the Lorraine princesses
and a number of ladies of high rank followed in coaches. In the church
she was again taken ill, and, on returning to the deanery, fell into
violent convulsions. On the 9th--Good Friday--she gave birth to a
still-born child, after which the surgeons who attended


her proceeded to bleed the unfortunate woman four times. The consequence
was that poor Gabrielle died the following morning (April 10); the only
wonder is that she did not die before! The public, learning that she had
been taken ill shortly after supping with Zamet, persisted in the belief
that she had been poisoned--Italians bore a sinister reputation in those
days, and, indeed, down to a much later period--but this theory is now
generally discredited.[19]

     “On Good Friday,” writes Bassompierre, “while we were at the sermon
     on the Passion at Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, La Varenne came to
     tell the Maréchal d’Ornano[20] that the duchess had just died,[21]
     and that we ought to prevent the King, who was travelling post to
     Paris, from coming there; and he begged him to go and meet him, in
     order to stop him. I was with the marshal at the sermon, and he
     asked me to accompany him, which I did. We met the King beyond La
     Saussaye, near Villejuif, travelling at the top speed of his
     horses. When he saw the marshal, he suspected that he was the
     bearer of bad news, which caused him to weep bitterly. Finally,
     they made him alight at the Abbey of La Saussaye, where they laid
     him on a bed. He gave vent to every excess of grief which it is
     possible to describe. At length, a coach having arrived from Paris,
     they placed him in it to return to Fontainebleau, whither all the
     princes and nobles had hastened to find him. We went with him to
     Fontainebleau, and when he had mounted to the great Salle de la
     Cheminée, he begged all the company to return to Paris to pray God
     for his consolation. He kept with him _Monsieur le Grand_, the
     Comte du Lude, Termes, Castelnau de Charosse, Montglat, and
     Frontenac; and, as I was taking my leave with all those whom he had
     dismissed, he said to me: ‘Bassompierre, you were the last who was
     with my mistress; stay with me to talk to me of her.’ So I remained
     also, and we were eight or ten days without the company being
     augmented, if one excepts certain of the Ambassadors, who came to
     condole with him[22] and then returned to Paris immediately.”

During this time the King remained prostrated with grief. “My
affliction,” he wrote to his sister Catherine, “is incomparable, like
the person who is the cause of it. Regrets and tears will accompany me
to the tomb. The root of my love is dead and will never put forth
another branch.”

But alas! how changeable are the affections of kings! Scarcely two
months had passed[23] before his Majesty had embarked in a new
love-affair, with Henriette d’Entragues, whom he created Marquise de
Verneuil, that ambitious, greedy, intriguing woman, who, later, was to
conspire with the enemies of France against her royal lover. Nor did
this attachment prevent him from seeking amusement in other directions
and honouring with his fugitive attentions, not only divers beauties of
the Court, whose names Bassompierre does not hesitate to hand down to
fame, but even that vulgar class which the chronicler qualifies with a
word so explicit that we dare not repeat it.

The following scene described by Bassompierre is too typical of the life
of Henri IV and his immediate entourage to be omitted. It occurred
during a flying visit to Paris which the King and a few of his
favourites paid in July, 1599, while the Court was in residence at

     “The King had no retinue on this journey, and dined with a
     president and supped with a prince or noble as the humour took him.
     Mlle. d’Entragues was not yet his mistress,[24] and he used
     sometimes to pass the night with a pretty wench called la Glaude.
     It happened one evening that, after he had been supping with M.
     d’Elbeuf[25], the King came to pass the night with this girl at
     Zamet’s house, and when, after we had undressed him, we were about
     to enter the King’s coach, which was to take us back to our
     lodging, M. de Joinville and _Monsieur le Grand_ quarrelled,
     touching something which the former pretended that _Monsieur le
     Grand_ had told the King about him and Mlle. d’Entragues.[26] In
     consequence, _Monsieur le Grand_ was wounded in the buttock, the
     Vidame de Mans received a thrust through the body, and La Rivière
     one in the stomach. After M. de Praslin had caused the doors of
     the house to be shut, and M. de Chevreuse [Joinville] had taken his
     departure, they asked me to go to the King and tell him what had
     occurred. The King rose, put on his dressing-gown and, taking up
     his sword, came on to the stairs, where the others were standing,
     while I preceded him, carrying a taper. He was intensely annoyed,
     and sent the same night to the First President[27] to command him
     to come to him on the morrow with the Court of the Parlement, when
     he directed them to investigate the affair and to show no favour to
     anyone. This they did, and proceeded to summon before them the
     Comte de Cramail, Chasseron, and myself to give evidence. And the
     King bade us go and answer the questions which the commissioners
     might put to us, which we did; and proceedings were instituted
     against the offender. But, by reason of the pressing entreaties
     which Monsieur, Madame, and Mlle. de Guise[28] addressed to the
     King, the affair went no further, and two months later the
     Constable[29] brought about a reconciliation at Conflans.”

In November, Bassompierre obtained permission from the King to go to
Lorraine, to persuade Charles IV to free him from the security which his
late father had given for some 50,000 crowns which the duke had borrowed
at the time of the marriage of his elder daughter to the Grand Duke of
Tuscany, an obligation which had been causing him considerable
uneasiness. In Lorraine he remained for some six weeks, “more for the
love which I bore Mlle. de Bourbonne[30] than for the other affair.”

Early in the New Year he returned to Paris, where the charms of Mlle. de
Bourbonne were soon forgotten for those of a lady whom he calls la
Raverie and who was presumably a star of the _demi-monde_. The courtiers
of Henri IV were, however, quite capable of losing their hearts to two
or more ladies at the same time, following the example of their royal
master, who “fell in love that winter with Madame de Boinville and Mlle.
Clin.”[31] In addition to love-making, he danced in several ballets, one
of which was appropriately called _le Ballet des Amoureux_.


     Bassompierre accompanies Henri IV in his campaign against Charles
     Emmanuel of Savoy--His narrow escape at the taking of
     Montmélian--He goes with the King to visit Henriette d’Entragues,
     Madame de Verneuil, at La Côte-Saint-André, and reconciles Henri IV
     with his mistress--Marriage of the King to Marie de’
     Medici--Presentation of Madame de Verneuil to the Queen--Visit of
     Bassompierre to Lorraine--He returns to find the royal _ménage_ in
     a very troubled state, owing to the jealousy of the wife and the
     mistress--He assists at a conference, in which the Chancellor
     recommends the King to get rid of Madame de Verneuil at any
     cost--He accompanies the Maréchal de Biron on a visit to
     England--He is present at the arrest of Biron at Fontainebleau, in
     June, 1602--Condemnation and execution of the marshal.

In February, 1600, Charles Emmanuel of Savoy paid a visit to the Court
to negotiate personally with the King about the matter of the marquisate
of Saluzzo, which, in 1588, the Duke, taking advantage of the internal
troubles of France, had invaded and annexed, and the restoration of
which Henri IV was now demanding. Charles Emmanuel offered to enter into
an alliance with France against Spain, and assist her to conquer the
Milanese, if only Henri IV would forgo his claims on Saluzzo, and
lavished costly gifts and large sums of money upon the Ministers and the
mistress in order to gain their support. But the King was adamant on the
question of Saluzzo, and on February 27 the Duke was obliged to sign a
treaty, whereby he engaged within three months either to surrender the
marquisate, or, as compensation, the county of Bresse, the valley of
Barcellonnette, the valley of the Stura, Pérousse, and Pinerolo.

Towards the middle of May, as Charles Emmanuel had as yet taken no steps
to carry out his engagements, Henri IV began moving troops towards the
frontier of Savoy, and he himself, accompanied by a few of his
intimates, amongst whom was Bassompierre, set out for Lyons, having sent
the rest of the Court on in advance to await him at Moulins. At Moulins,
where he was the guest of Queen Louise, widow of the late King, he
stayed for some little time “principally on account of la Bourdaisière,
with whom he was in love”[32]; and it was not until the beginning of
July that he arrived at Lyons. Here he remained three weeks, to see what
action Charles Emmanuel proposed to take. That prince, however, had
signed the treaty of February merely for the purpose of gaining time;
and the promises of Spain, which feared, above all things, to see France
once more in possession of Saluzzo, decided him to break his word. At
the expiration of the three months he solicited a further delay or an
amelioration of the conditions of the treaty, hoping that the expected
rebellion of the Maréchal de Biron and the Comte d’Auvergne, whom, by
specious promises, he had succeeded in seducing from their allegiance to
their sovereign, would break out before Henri IV was ready to take the

Henri IV, however, was not deceived, and summoned the Duke to declare
immediately what his intentions were. The latter, after many
tergiversations, announced that he was prepared to surrender Saluzzo.
But when the King despatched officers to take possession of the chief
places in the marquisate, he refused to surrender them; and on August
11, Henri IV, at the end of his patience, declared war at Lyons.

Bassompierre has left us an interesting account of the campaign which
followed--a campaign of invasion undertaken by an army scarcely more
numerous than a brigade to-day; but which, thanks to the improvements in
the artillery which Sully had introduced and the valour of the troops,
proved entirely successful. He himself underwent his “baptism of fire”
at the taking of the town of Montmélian, where he served with the
regiment of the Sire (afterwards the Maréchal) de Créquy. His military
career came very near to ending as well as beginning at Montmélian, for,
in the darkness, he lost his way and was cut off from his comrades, “so
that I was for more than an hour at the mercy of the fire from the
citadel, at twenty paces from the ditch.” By what seems like a miracle,
however, he was not hit, and, at length a sergeant, whom Créquy had sent
to find him, arrived and guided him to a place of safety.

Charles Emmanuel, for once entirely wrong in his calculations, was
unable to offer any effective resistance to the invaders of his realm;
France remained tranquil; Biron, traitor though he was, in spite of
himself, mastered Bresse; Chambéry, the capital of Savoy, surrendered to
Henri IV after but a show of resistance; the citadel of Montmélian,
fondly deemed impregnable, fell before Sully’s new siege-guns; and the
Duke, seeing himself beaten, sued for peace, and, on New Year’s Day,
1601, signed a treaty with France, by which he retained Saluzzo, in
exchange for the cession of Bresse, Bugey, Valromey and Gex.

Whilst engaged in the conquest of Savoy, Henri IV went to visit Madame
de Verneuil at Grenoble, as he had hastened at the peril of his life to
throw himself at the feet of the Comtesse de Gramont (“_la belle_
Corisande”) after the Battle of Coutras. The years had not changed him
and he made these journeys as eagerly as a gallant of half his age.

     “I had intended,” writes Bassompierre, “to go with M. Lesdiguières
     to the valley of Marenne, which he was going to subdue, but the
     King ordered me to follow him. He went to sleep at La Rochette, and
     on the morrow dined at Grenoble. And having there learned that
     Madame de Verneuil was about to arrive at Saint-André de la
     Costé,[33] he set out to go to her and lent me one of his own
     horses to follow him. I rode the whole way at a trot, and was so
     tired that, when I arrived, I could scarcely stand. The King and
     Madame de Verneuil had a quarrel on meeting,[34] so that the King
     was going back in anger, and said to me: ‘Bassompierre, order our
     horses to be saddled for us to return.’ I told him that I would
     willingly order his to be saddled, but that, as for mine, I should
     declare myself on Madame de Verneuil’s side and should stay with
     her. And, after going to and fro several times, in order to
     reconcile two persons who were well inclined to it, I made peace
     between them and we slept at Saint-André. The next day the King
     went to Grenoble and took Madame de Verneuil with him.”

“No one,” writes Boudet de Puymaigre, “makes us understand better than
does Bassompierre the character of Henri IV, that extraordinary man,
great on the field of battle, where his inspired language, in accord
with his deeds, elevates him often to the sublimity of the epopee;
skilful and even adroit in the government of his realm, causing at need
acts which were merely the outcome of political necessity to be
attributed to his clemency; in his private life, despotic and
good-humoured at the same time, often duped by his mistresses and
blinded by his passions. Such as he was, he remains the type of the
popular king, and posterity has done honour even to his faults, for it
has enshrined the name of ‘_la belle_ Gabrielle’ amidst the trophies of
the Battle of Ivry. ‘His tragic end,’ remarks Chateaubriand, ‘has
contributed not a little to his renown; to disappear appropriately from
life is a condition of glory.’”

Just a month before peace was signed with the Duke of Savoy, Marie de’
Medici, whom the Duc de Bellegarde, acting as proxy for his master, had
married at Florence on Oct. 6, 1600, arrived at Lyons. Henri IV joined
her there a few days later, and on December 17 the marriage was
celebrated with great splendour. On the arrival of the royal bride at
Nemours, the King caused Madame de Verneuil to be presented to her. As
the sultana came forward, he explained who she was: “This young lady is
my mistress; she will be your obedient and humble servant!” Then, as the
scant curtsey which was all the salutation which Henriette vouchsafed
the Queen appeared to hold out little hope of the fulfilment of this
promise, he placed his hand on her head and bent it down, until she
kissed the hem of her rival’s dress.

It must be acknowledged that his Majesty could hardly have contrived an
introduction better calculated to exasperate the temper of both women.
Nevertheless, on this occasion, the Queen contrived to dissimulate her
feelings, and, according to Bassompierre, gave Madame de Verneuil a very
good reception--“_bonne chère_,” as they said then.

In January, 1601, Bassompierre again went to Lorraine, to visit his
mother, who was ill, and remained there three months. He returned in
company with the Duchess of Bar and her father-in-law, Charles III of
Lorraine, who were on their way to pay a visit to the Court, which was
then in residence at Monceaux. The Château of Monceaux, so closely
associated with memories of “_la belle_ Gabrielle,” had just been
presented to the Queen by Henri IV, and Marie de’ Medici entertained her
distinguished guests with lavish hospitality. The royal ménage was,
however, in a very troubled state, for the wife and the mistress were
already at daggers drawn, and between them the Very Christian King was
having a decidedly unpleasant time of it. Matters, indeed, had come to
such a pass that Henri IV was contemplating the advisability of marrying
Madame de Verneuil, with a rich dowry, to some needy foreign prince, and
thus removing her from his Court; and Bassompierre was called upon to
assist at a sort of council between the King, Sully, and the Chancellor,
Pomponne de Bellièvre, the last of whom strongly urged his Majesty to
get rid of the lady at any cost:--

     “The King inquired if he should give something to Madame de
     Verneuil in order to marry her to a prince, who she declared, was
     willing to espouse her, if she had 100,000 crowns. M. de Bellièvre
     (the Chancellor) said: ‘Sire, I am of opinion that you should give
     100,000 crowns to this young lady to procure a suitable husband.’
     And when M. de Sully made answer that it was very easy to speak of
     100,000 crowns, but very difficult to find them, the Chancellor,
     without looking at him, rejoined: ‘Sire, I am of opinion that you
     should take 200,000 crowns and give it to this young lady to marry
     her, and even 300,000, if you cannot do it for less. And that is my
     advice.’ The King repented afterwards of not having approved and
     followed this counsel.”

In September, 1601, Henri IV was at Calais, and Queen Elizabeth came to
Dover, partly in the hope that her old ally would visit her to discuss
the advisability of joint action against Spain. The King, however, was
unwilling to alarm the Catholics or to do anything which might
precipitate a renewal of the war with Spain, and he also perhaps feared
that Elizabeth might seize the opportunity to demand the repayment of
certain advances of money which she had made him during his struggle
against the League, and which it would be highly inconvenient to refund
just then. Accordingly, he dispatched the Maréchal de Biron to offer his
excuses and regrets to the Queen; and Biron persuaded Bassompierre, who
had just arrived at Calais from a journey to Verneuil upon which the
King had sent him, to accompany him to England.

     “We did not find the Queen in London,” writes Bassompierre. “She
     was making a progress, and was at a country-house called Basin,[35]
     forty leagues distant, which belonged to the Marquis of
     Vincester.[36] The Queen notified her intention of receiving us at
     another country-house, called The Vine, a league from Basin,
     whither M. de Biron was conducted. He was very honourably received
     by the Queen, who went a-hunting next day with fifty ladies on
     hackneys and sent for M. de Biron to join the hunt. On the morrow,
     he took leave of the Queen and returned to London, where, after
     remaining three days, he repassed the sea.”

The first news which greeted Bassompierre and the marshal on their
arrival at Boulogne, near which contrary winds had obliged them to land,
was the birth of the Dauphin (afterwards Louis XIII), which had taken
place on September 27, 1601.[37]

Bassompierre was present at Fontainebleau that evening in the following
June, when Biron, after refusing Henri IV’s magnanimous offer of pardon
on condition that he would confess the truth concerning his treasonable
dealings with the Duke of Savoy, was arrested by the Marquis de Vitry,
Captain of the Château of Fontainebleau, as he was passing from the
King’s cabinet into the Chambre de Saint-Louis, and requested to give up
his sword.

     “I was in the Chamber,” he writes, “having withdrawn to the window
     with M. de Montbazon and La Guesle.[38] We approached the marshal,
     who asked M. de Montbazon to go and beg the King that he might be
     allowed to retain his sword, adding: ‘What treatment, Messieurs,
     for a man who has served as I have!’ M. de Montbazon went to the
     King and returned to say that the King desired him to give up his
     sword, upon which he permitted them to take it away.”

Biron was conducted to the Bastille, where his captivity was shared by
the Comte d’Auvergne, who had been arrested at the same time.[39] Later
that evening, Henri IV sent for Bassompierre and other nobles, and
placed before them the letters which La Fin, the instigator of the
conspiracy, who had subsequently turned informer, had given him. They
were all written in Biron’s own hand.

The marshal was arraigned for high treason before the Parlement of
Paris, the peers of the realm being summoned to take their places
amongst the judges, as was the custom when one of their number was on
his trial. The evidence of the accused’s guilt was overwhelming, and he
was unanimously sentenced to death. On July 31, 1602, he was beheaded in
the courtyard of the Bastille, it having been decided to spare him the
ignominy of a public execution in the Place de Grève. The pusillanimous
Comte d’Auvergne was pardoned and set at liberty in the following
October, thanks to the intercession of his half-sister, Madame de


     Bassompierre sets out for Hungary to serve as a volunteer in the
     Imperial Army against the Turks--His journey to Vienna--He learns
     that the commander-in-chief of the army is General von Rossworm, a
     mortal enemy of the Bassompierre family--He is advised by his
     friends in Vienna to take service in the Army of Transylvania,
     instead of in that of Hungary, but declines to change his plans--He
     sups more well than wisely at Gran--His arrival at the Imperialist
     camp before Buda--Position of the hostile armies--Bassompierre is
     presented to Rossworm--He narrowly escapes being killed or taken
     prisoner by the Turks--He takes part in a fierce combat in the Isle
     of Adon, and has another narrow escape--He is reconciled with
     Rossworm--Massacre of eight hundred Turkish prisoners--Failure of a
     night-attack planned by the Imperialist general--Gallant but
     foolhardy enterprise of the Hungarians--The Turks bombard the
     Imperialist headquarters--Termination of the campaign--Bassompierre
     returns with Rossworm to Vienna.

Peace having been concluded between France and Savoy, tranquillity
reigned for the moment in Europe, except in Hungary, where the eternal
conflict between the Cross and the Crescent continued to be waged as
bitterly as ever. In those days, war, with very few exceptions, was the
only road which led to honour and renown, and when Christians were at
peace with one another, the Turks became the objective of all
adventurous spirits, who went to fight the Infidel in Hungary, Crete, or
Malta as their ancestors flocked to the Crusades. Moreover, it was not
without mortification that the German relatives of Bassompierre, who had
seen all his family entirely devoted to the profession of arms, beheld
him passing his youth at the Court of France in voluptuous idleness,
and, to wean him from it, they obtained for him the offer of the command
of a regiment of 3,000 men which the Circle of Bavaria had agreed to
contribute to the Imperial Army in Hungary for the campaign of 1603.
Bassompierre, however, though willing enough to go to Hungary, had the
good sense to decline this post, “not deeming it fitting,” he writes,
“that, without any knowledge of the country, I should straightway take
command of 3,000 men,” and decided to serve as a simple volunteer.

Accordingly, about the middle of August, 1603, having obtained leave of
absence from the King, he left Paris, and travelled by way of Nancy and
Strasbourg to Ulm, where his attendants, whom he had sent on in advance,
had procured two large boats for his passage down the Danube. In these
he and his suite, which appears to have been quite an imposing one, as
befitted a gentleman of such ancient lineage and one of the favourites
of the King of France, embarked and proceeded to Neuburg, where he was
very hospitably entertained by Duke William II, who, a few years before,
had abdicated his throne in favour of his son, now Maximilian I.
Continuing his journey, with stoppages at Ingoldstadt, Ratisbon, and
Linz, at the beginning of the second week in September he arrived in
Vienna, where he found the Prince de Joinville, who had been temporarily
banished from France,[40] Frederick, Count von Salm, and several other
gentlemen of his acquaintance, both French and German, most of whom
were, like himself, on their way to win honour and glory, or
peradventure to find a soldier’s grave, on the plains of Hungary.

Some of these modern Crusaders came to dine with Bassompierre on the
day following his arrival in Vienna, and from them he learned a most
unwelcome piece of intelligence, namely, that the commander-in-chief of
the Imperial forces in Hungary under whom he was about to take service
was none other than General von Rossworm, a mortal enemy of the
Bassompierre family.

It appears that some fifteen years before, in the time of the League,
Rossworm had served in France under Bassompierre’s father, by whom he
had been placed in charge of the town of Blancmesnil. Rossworm had taken
advantage of his position to abduct a young lady of noble birth who had
taken refuge at Blancmesnil with her mother, and whom he promised to
marry, but subsequently discarded, after subjecting the poor girl to the
most abominable treatment. On ascertaining the facts of the case,
Christophe de Bassompierre, burning with righteous indignation, vowed
that the German should pay for his villainy with his head; but the
latter, warned in time, fled from Blancmesnil and for some little while
succeeded in evading pursuit. Eventually, however, he was run to earth
at Amiens, and would undoubtedly have been executed, had not the Sieur
de Vitry, who commanded the light cavalry of the League, and who
happened to be under some personal obligation to Rossworm, found means
to enable him to escape. Rossworm subsequently returned to Germany and
entered the Imperial service, and being, though a pretty bad scoundrel,
even for a German soldier of fortune of those times, a very brave man
and a most capable officer, rose step by step, until at length he was
appointed to the command of the Imperial army in Hungary.[41] He had
cherished the most implacable resentment against Christophe de
Bassompierre, and while the two young Bassompierres were studying at
Ingoldstadt, they received warning that Rossworm, in order to avenge
himself upon the father, had actually planned to have the sons
assassinated. On being informed of this, Christophe complained to the
Duke of Bavaria, who had just appointed Rossworm to the command of the
regiment of foot which Bavaria was about to send to Hungary. The Duke
promptly deprived Rossworm of that post, a step which had served to
incense that worthy still further against the Bassompierres.

Bassompierre’s friends in Vienna, on being informed by him how matters
stood, did not fail to represent to him the danger of placing himself in
the power of so unscrupulous and vindictive a man as Rossworm had proved
himself to be, and endeavoured to persuade him to renounce his intention
of going to Hungary and take service instead in the Army of
Transylvania, under its distinguished leader, George Basta. Finding,
however, that the young Lorrainer, though he quite appreciated the risk
he would be incurring, was indisposed to change his plans, they invited
to meet him at dinner Siegfried Colowitz, an Hungarian colonel, who had
just arrived in Vienna on a brief furlough, and laid the matter before

Colowitz, who had taken so great a fancy to Bassompierre that he had
insisted on making _brudershaft_ with him, expressed the opinion that
Rossworm was too unpopular in the army to attempt any open violence
against his new friend, and that, if he were so imprudent as to do so,
he himself had 1,200 Hungarian cavalry under his command, and his
brother Ferdinand 1,500 _landsknechts_, who would obey their orders
without question. However, as it was possible that Rossworm might have
recourse to some other means of injuring Bassompierre, he proposed that
the latter should take up his quarters in his own part of the camp,
where he would guarantee his safety.

Towards the end of September, Bassompierre having spent the interval in
purchasing the tents, carts, horses, and other things which he
required, left Vienna, in company with the Prince de Joinville, and
continued his journey down the Danube. At Gran, the governor, Count
Althann, came to meet them, bringing with him horses for them to ride to
the citadel, where he informed them that he was expecting two other
distinguished guests, in the persons of the Bishop of Erlau and Count
Illischezki, one of the chief nobles of Hungary, whom the Emperor had
appointed as deputies to treat, in conjunction with himself, for peace.
At the citadel, the two young gentlemen appear to have supped more well
than wisely:--

     “He [Count Althann],” writes Bassompierre, “entertained M. de
     Joinville and myself to a most excellent supper, at which we drank
     in moderation. But, unhappily, the deputies having arrived, orders
     were given to serve it up again, and we remained at table until
     midnight; by which time we were so drunk that we lost all
     consciousness and had to be carried back to our boats.”

On September 27th they arrived at Waitzen, on the left bank of the
Danube, where they were met by Ferdinand Colowitz, who handed
Bassompierre a letter from his brother Siegfried, in which he informed
him that, at his request, the Count von Tilly, who, in his younger days,
had served under Christophe de Bassompierre and was now a major-general
in the Imperial Army, had broken the news of the coming of Christophe’s
son to the commander-in-chief, who had emphatically disclaimed any evil
intentions towards the young man, although he would prefer to have no
intercourse with him. Colowitz added that should Rossworm, despite what
he had said, attempt any violence, half the army would rise against him.

Bassompierre was naturally much relieved at this news, and that
afternoon he went with Joinville to Rossworm’s head-quarters, where he
was duly presented to the general and courteously, if somewhat coldly,
received. Afterwards, he proceeded to the Isle of Adon, where Siegfried
Colowitz’s cavalry were posted, and where his servants had already put
up his tent at a little distance from that of the Hungarian colonel.

It may be as well here to explain the situation of affairs at the moment
when Bassompierre joined the army.

In the campaign of the preceding year, the Christians had captured Pesth
and the lower town of Buda, situated on the opposite bank of the Danube.
This year their army, which was composed of some 30,000 infantry and
10,000 cavalry, to which, as in the time of the Crusades, almost every
country in Europe had contributed its quota, was encamped on the left
bank of the Danube, covering Pesth and threatening Buda. The Turks were
encamped on the right bank of the river, and their objective was the
revictualling of Buda and the recovery of Pesth or Gran. Rossworm had
strongly occupied the Isle of Adon, situated between the hostile camps,
and it was in this island that most of the fighting took place. The
Turks had occupied a small island, about 1,500 paces in circumference,
which lay between the Isle of Adon and their own camp, and had built a
bridge of boats from this island to the right bank. They had also made
several attempts to construct another bridge from the little island to
the left bank, but this was constantly broken by the fire of the
Imperialist artillery. They, however, occasionally succeeding in
crossing over to the Isle of Adon, and even to the Imperialists’ side of
the river, in caiques and on rafts, under cover of darkness, but had
never yet succeeded in securing a footing there.

Hardly had Bassompierre finished supper that evening than a message
arrived from Siegfried Colowitz to inform him that a reconnoitring party
of the enemy had just landed on the island, and to request him, if he
were in the mood for a little fighting, to put on his armour and have a
horse saddled, as he was about to attack them. Shortly afterwards,
Colowitz himself rode up, accompanied by a hundred or so of his
Hungarians, one of whom he ordered to dismount and give his horse to
Bassompierre, whose own charger he considered too heavy an animal for
the work before them. They then galloped away, and, having come upon the
Turks, charged them vigorously and forced them to beat a hasty retreat
to their caiques and return to their own side of the river.

The following night, however, the Turks succeeded in landing on the
island in considerable force from caiques and pontoons, on the same spot
which they had just reconnoitred and began hurriedly constructing
entrenchments, with the object of holding the Imperialists at bay long
enough to enable the rest of the Ottoman army to be brought across. They
were so fiercely attacked, however, that they were soon obliged to

A few days later, Bassompierre had a narrow escape of being killed or
taken prisoner.

     “At daybreak on September 29,” he writes, “we issued from our great
     entrenchment with 200 Hungarian horse to reconnoitre the enemy; but
     we had not gone three hundred paces, when we perceived some hundred
     horsemen in front of us. The Hungarians, according to their custom,
     were dispersed in all directions, and we had not more than thirty
     with us, all of whom took to flight so soon as the enemy appeared.
     But I, who could not imagine that the Turks had advanced so far,
     and who could not distinguish them from the Hungarians, thought
     that they belonged to us, until an Hungarian fugitive called out to
     me: ‘_Heu, domine, adsunt Turcae!_’ which caused me to retreat

At the beginning of October the Turks resolved upon a great effort to
drive the Imperialists from the Isle of Adon. Rossworm, however, had
received warning of the enemy’s intention, and of the day and hour when
the attempt would be made; and, though he might easily have prevented
the Turks from reaching the island, he decided to allow them to pass the
river and then to fall suddenly upon them. With this purpose, he
brought, under cover of night, the greater part of his army over to the
island, and placed in ambush a body of 4,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry,
the latter including the regiment of Siegfried Colowitz, to which
Bassompierre and Joinville were attached. These troops swooped down upon
the Turks before they had had time to form in order of battle after
effecting their landing, and routed them with terrible slaughter, great
numbers being cut down, while many more were drowned in the Danube, into
which they had thrown themselves to escape the lances and sabres of the
pursuing cavalry.

In this engagement Bassompierre again had a narrow escape. He was
mounted that day on a magnificent Spanish stallion, for which he had
given a thousand crowns; but he was a very mettlesome animal and by no
means easy to ride, and, having been wounded below the eye by a javelin
in the first charge, while, at the same time, his curb-chain broke, he
became quite unmanageable and bolted after the flying enemy at breakneck
speed. Bassompierre endeavoured in vain to stop him, and then, seeing
that he had far outstripped his comrades and was alone in the midst of
the fugitives, he bore hard on the left rein and succeeded in turning
him in that direction. But he had only diverted the maddened animal’s
course, without checking his speed, and found himself being carried
towards a body of some thousand Turks who had not yet been engaged and
were retreating in good order. A few seconds more and he would have been
in the middle of them, when, happily for him, his equerry Des Essans,
who had been riding hard to overtake his master, came up and, seizing
the runaway’s bridle, managed to hold him long enough to enable
Bassompierre to throw himself out of the saddle, within twenty paces of
the Turks. The latter, though very reluctant to forgo the chance of
killing and despoiling so magnificent a cavalier--for Bassompierre tells
us that he was arrayed that day “in a suit of gilded armour, very
beautifully chased, with a number of plumes and scarves upon himself and
his horse”--were too hard pressed by their pursuers to turn aside, and
continued their retreat, leaving him and Des Essans unmolested. The
faithful equerry had, however, not escaped unscathed, as, in seizing the
bridle of his master’s horse, he had been somewhat badly wounded in the
leg by Bassompierre’s sword, which was suspended from his wrist.

Having procured another horse, Bassompierre continued the pursuit of the
enemy to the bank of the river, and then, accompanied by Joinville, made
his way to the spot where Rossworm and his staff were gathered, “seated
on some dead Turks.” On seeing Bassompierre, the general rose and
announced that he wished to say a few words.

     “And, after having praised me for what he had just seen me do, and
     observed that I should not be a member of the family to which I
     belonged if I were not valiant, he continued: ‘The late M. de
     Bassompierre, your father, was my master, but he wished to put me
     to death unjustly. I desire to forget that outrage and to remember
     only the obligations under which he had previously placed me, and
     to be henceforth, if you wish it, your friend and your servant.’
     Then I dismounted from my horse and advanced to salute him and
     thank him in the most suitable terms that I could think of. Upon
     which, turning towards the two princes, the Prince de Joinville and
     the Landgrave of Hesse, and the colonels and other officers who
     were with him, he said: ‘Gentlemen, I could not effect this
     reconciliation or offer these assurances of friendship to M. de
     Bassompierre in a better place, after a better action, or before
     more noble witnesses. I invite you to dine with me to-morrow, and
     him also, to confirm again what has just occurred.’ And this we all
     promised to do.”

After this victory the Imperialists returned to their camp on the left
bank of the river, where Rossworm ordered all the Turkish prisoners
taken in the battle to be put to death, “because they embarrassed the
army.” “It was a very cruel thing,” adds Bassompierre, “to see more
than 800 men who had surrendered slaughtered in cold blood.”
Nevertheless, the butchery of prisoners appears to have been an only too
common practice in the wars between the Cross and the Crescent, which
were conducted on both sides with the most pitiless ferocity.

Next day Bassompierre dined with the commander-in-chief and his staff,
when they confirmed “with the bottle and a thousand protestations of
friendship, the reconciliation which had been effected on the field of
battle.” To do Rossworm justice, he was perfectly sincere in his desire
to terminate his feud with the Bassompierre family, and he and the young
volunteer soon became firm friends.

The Turks still held the little island, and had preserved intact the
bridge of boats by which communication with their army on the right bank
of the Danube was maintained. They had mounted on this island six pieces
of cannon, which completely commanded the approach from the left bank of
the river, so that any attempt to capture it by day would have been out
of the question, even if the bridge of boats had not enabled the enemy
to hurry reinforcements across at the first alarm. Rossworm, however,
considered that, if the communications of the garrison of the island
with their army could be temporarily interrupted by the destruction of
this bridge, a night attack might very well prove successful.

On the night of October 8-9 he determined to make the attempt, and
accordingly dispatched engineers to blow up the bridge, while a large
force was brought into the Isle of Adon, and boats and rafts collected
to ferry them across. The engineers duly succeeded in destroying the
bridge, but the Hungarians, who formed the advance-guard of the
attacking force, remained inactive in their boats in the middle of the
river, awaiting the arrival of a body of pikemen whom they had demanded
as supports, in case there should be cavalry on the island. The
consequence was that the Turks were given time to send over
reinforcements, and the opportunity was lost.

Rossworm returned to his camp in great wrath, anathematizing the
Hungarians, whom he accused of cowardice. The Hungarian chiefs
indignantly repudiated such an aspersion, and, to redeem their
reputation, volunteered to cross the river and construct a fort in the
plain between Buda and the Turkish camp. Rossworm accepted this offer,
though it is difficult to understand how he could have countenanced an
undertaking which could have no other result than the useless sacrifice
of gallant lives; and on the night of October 10-11, some 1,300
Hungarians landed on the right bank, unperceived by the enemy, and began
to entrench themselves.

They worked desperately all night, but when morning dawned, a Turkish
flotilla appeared upon the scene, and bombarded their
hastily-constructed fort from the river; while the enemy in great force
assailed it from the land side. After an heroic resistance, the
Hungarians were obliged to abandon it, with the loss of some 300 men,
and retreat to the caiques which were waiting to take them off. So
fierce was the pursuit that some of the Turkish cavalry spurred their
horses into the water to attack the caiques, and two were made prisoners
with their steeds.

Rossworm had placed a number of cannon in the Isle of Adon to cover the
retreat of the Hungarians, but only two of these pieces appear to have
come into action, which Bassompierre tells us the general ascribed to
the fact that, the day being a Sunday, most of the artillerymen were

Shortly after this, the Turks brought up some twenty guns to a height
overlooking the Imperialist headquarters, which they bombarded heavily
and persistently. One day, whilst Bassompierre was playing cards with
the general and two other officers, a shot passed right through the
tent, whilst on another, when visiting Annibal de Schomberg, a shot
struck the tent-pole and brought the whole tent down upon the heads of
its occupants. Finally, after this unpleasant state of things had lasted
for five days, Rossworm decided to remove his headquarters to a valley
where cannon-shot could not reach him, upon which the bombardment

Towards the middle of November, the Turks, having succeeded in their
main objective, that of revictualling Buda, struck their camp and
marched back to Belgrade, where their army was disbanded. Rossworm,
after leading a flying column along the river and capturing one or two
not very important places, with the idea of showing that the campaign
had not been wholly without results on the Imperialists’ side, disbanded
his troops likewise, and set out for Vienna, accompanied by


     Bassompierre goes to Prague, where the Imperial Court is in
     residence--He is presented by Rossworm to the lords of the
     Council--He dines at the house of Prestowitz, Burgrave of
     Karlstein, and falls in love with his widowed daughter, “Madame
     Esther”--Bassompierre and Rossworm engage in an amorous adventure,
     from which they narrowly escape with their lives--Bassompierre
     plays tennis with Wallenstein, with the Emperor Maximilian an
     interested spectator--He is presented to the Emperor, who receives
     him very graciously and commissions him to raise troops in Lorraine
     for service against the Turks. Bassompierre, Rossworm and other
     nobles parade the streets masked and have an affray with the
     police--Singular sequel to this affair--Bassompierre spends the
     Carnival with the Prestowitz family at Karlstein--Amorous escapade
     with “Madame Esther”--Bassompierre sets out for Lorraine--He
     engages in a drinking-bout with the canons of Saverne, which very
     nearly has a fatal termination--Death of his brother Jean, Seigneur
     de Removille, at the siege of Ostend--Grievances of Bassompierre
     against the French Government--Henri IV promises that “justice
     shall be done him” and invites him to return to his
     Court--Bassompierre renounces his intention of entering the
     Imperial service and sets out for France.

In Vienna, Bassompierre remained for six weeks, where he “passed his
time extremely well,” and about the middle of January, 1604, set out for
Prague, where the Imperial Court was then in residence.

     “At Prague,” he writes, “I found Rossworm, who since our
     reconciliation had been on terms of the closest friendship with me.
     He came, the following morning, to my lodging in his coach to take
     me to the hall of the Palace of Prague,[42] where we walked up and
     down until the Council rose, when the lords of the Council came to
     salute Rossworm, whom they held in great respect, on account of his
     being commander-in-chief of the Army. He then presented me to them,
     begging them to honour me with their friendship and saying many
     kind things concerning me.”

On leaving the Palace, Rossworm took Bassompierre to dine with an old
Bohemian noble named Prestowitz, who occupied the post of burgrave of
Karlstein, the fortress in which the Imperial regalia and all the
charters of Bohemia were preserved. The burgrave had two sons, the elder
of whom was Grand Falconer of the Empire, while the younger, Wolf von
Prestowitz, had served with Bassompierre in the recent campaign, and
aspired to the command of the cavalry regiment which Bohemia was to send
to Hungary that year. For which reason the family were exceedingly civil
to the great Rossworm, who could do much to obtain this post for the
young man. The burgrave also possessed four young and pretty daughters.
Rossworm, it appeared, was in love with the youngest girl, Sibylla;
while Bassompierre promptly lost his heart to the third daughter, named
Esther, “a young lady of excellent beauty, eighteen years of age, widow
since six months of a gentleman called Briczner, to whom she had been
married a year.”

     “We were nobly received and entertained at Prestowitz’s house,” he
     continues, “and after dinner there was dancing, when I began to
     fall in love with Madame Esther, who made me understand that she
     was not displeased with my design, which I revealed to her as I was
     leaving the house. For she responded in such a way as to afford me
     the means to write to her, and to tell me the places which she
     visited, so that I might go there. I went also to see her sometimes
     at her house, under cover of the friendship which had sprung up
     between her younger brother and myself, when we were in Hungary.”

His new-born passion for “Madame Esther” did not, however, prevent our
gentleman from indulging in other amorous adventures of a much less
excusable character:

     “On our return from dining with the Prestowitz family, Rossworm,
     thinking to oblige me, engaged me in a rather unfortunate affair.
     He had bargained with an innkeeper of the New Town that, for two
     hundred ducats, he should surrender to him his two daughters, who
     were very beautiful. I am of opinion, as will appear from the
     sequel, that he had taken advantage of this poor man when he was
     drunk to obtain such a promise from him. When we had arrived within
     some two hundred paces of this inn, we alighted from our coach,
     which we ordered to turn round and await our return; and Rossworm
     and I, with a page of his, who was to act as interpreter, went the
     rest of the way on foot.

     “We found the father in the room where the stove stood, and with
     him his two daughters, who were going about their work. He was very
     astonished to see us, and still more so when Rossworm made him
     understand that each of us had brought him a hundred ducats for
     what the innkeeper had promised him. Thereupon the man cried out
     that he had never promised any such thing, and, opening the window,
     shouted twice: ‘_Mortriau! Mortriau!_’ that is to say, ‘Murder!’
     Then Rossworm held his poniard to the innkeeper’s throat, and
     directed the page to tell him that if he spoke to the neighbours or
     did not order his daughters to do our will, he was a dead man, and
     told me to take away one of the girls.... But I, who had been at
     first under the impression that I was engaged in an affair in which
     all the parties were in accord, answered that I did not intend to
     touch the girls. Rossworm then said that, if I did not wish to do
     so, I must come and hold my poniard to the father’s throat, and
     that he would take one of the girls away.... This I did very
     reluctantly; and the poor girls wept.”

The odious Rossworm had already seized upon one of the unfortunate girls
to drag her away, when a great shouting reached their ears, and looking
out of the window, he saw a large and threatening crowd, which had come
in response to the innkeeper’s cries for help, gathered before the
house. Thereupon he let his intended victim go, and told Bassompierre
that they were in grave danger, and would need all their courage and
presence of mind if they wanted to leave that house alive. Then, turning
to the innkeeper, he told him--or rather made the page do so--that he
would kill him, if he did not contrive their escape from the mob. Now,
the innkeeper was wearing a long smock, under which Rossworm placed his
poniard, pressing the point against the man’s flesh, and told
Bassompierre to give his dagger to the page, that he might do likewise.
In this fashion they went out of the room and along the passage to the
door of the inn, where the trembling Boniface gave some apparently
satisfactory explanation to his neighbours, for the latter, who, of
course, could not see the poniards pressed against his back, began to

Then Rossworm and the page, imagining that the danger was over, sheathed
their poniards, and they and Bassompierre began to walk away in the
direction of their coach. But they had gone but a few paces, when the
innkeeper, recovering from his alarm, began to shout: “Murder! Murder!”
again with all the strength of his lungs. They took to their heels and
ran for their lives, pursued by an infuriated mob, who pelted them with
volleys of stones, which they had apparently collected at the first

     “Then Rossworm cried out to me: ‘Brother, _sauve qui peut!_ If you
     fall, do not expect me to pick you up, for each of us must look to
     his own safety.’ We ran pretty fast, but the rain of stones
     incommoded us greatly, and one of them, striking Rossworm in the
     back, brought him to the ground. I, who did not wish to treat him
     in the manner in which he had just announced his intention of
     treating me, raised him up and helped him along for some twenty
     paces, when, happily, we reached our coach. Into this we threw
     ourselves, and were soon in safety in the Old Town, having escaped
     from the paws of more than four hundred people.”

Next day, Rossworm, presumably out of gratitude to Bassompierre for
having saved his life at the risk of his own, secured for him the high
privilege of admission to the Emperor’s ante-chamber, which was usually
only accorded to princes and very great nobles. Here he appears to have
met the Count von Wallenstein, the great captain of the Thirty Years’
War, then a youth of twenty, who, a few days later, challenged him to a
match at tennis. During the game the Emperor appeared at a window of the
palace which overlooked the tennis-court, and remained there for some
time, an interested spectator. The following morning his Majesty gave
orders that Bassompierre should be presented to him, and received him
very graciously indeed, observing that his family had always been
faithful servants of the Imperial House, and that he had heard that he
had conducted himself very well in Hungary. He added that, if he wished
to enter his service and would inform him of what post he desired, he
would be very pleased to appoint him to it. Maximilian spoke in Spanish
and requested Bassompierre to reply in the same language.

Shortly after this, the Emperor sent the Count von Fürstenberg to inform
Bassompierre that he proposed making certain changes in the cavalry of
the Imperial Army, and that if he were willing to go to Lorraine and
raise three new companies of light horse and three of musketeers for
service in Hungary, he would appoint him colonel of a thousand horse.
This offer Bassompierre accepted, “foreseeing,” says he, “that France
would remain at peace for a long while, and urged thereto by the intense
love with which Madame Esther had inspired me.”

His attachment to this young lady, however, made him far from anxious to
hasten his departure for Lorraine, and he therefore decided to postpone
it until after the Carnival, which “Madame Esther,” who had returned to
Karlstein, intended to pass at Prague. But, to his great disappointment,
her father, the burgrave, fell ill and she was obliged to remain at
Karlstein. However, notwithstanding the absence of his inamorata, he
contrived to spend a very pleasant time, “with continual feasts and
festivities and very high play at prime between five or six of us, to
wit, Count von Stahrenberg, President of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Adam
Galpopel, Grand Prior of Bohemia, Kinsky, Rossworm and myself. And there
was not an evening in which I did not win or lose two or three thousand

On the occasion of the marriage of the Emperor’s Grand Equerry, which
took place during the Carnival, and the festivities in connection with
which lasted several days, Bassompierre arranged with Rossworm and six
other nobles to parade the town on horseback, masked and splendidly
dressed. As they were passing the Town Hall, some constables came up to
Bassompierre and Rossworm, who, preceded by their pages bearing their
swords aloft, were riding at the head of the party, and informed them
that the Emperor had forbidden anyone to pass through the town masked.
They, however, pretended that they did not understand Sclavonic, and
rode on. No attempt was made to stop them, but, on their return, they
found chains stretched across all the streets leading to the square in
which the Town Hall stood, except the one by which they entered, and, so
soon as they had passed, chains were stretched across that also. Then a
whole company of constables appeared upon the scene, and, beginning with
the hindmost of the party, seized their companions, who, not having
brought their swords with them, were unable to offer any resistance, and
haled them off to prison. Meanwhile, Bassompierre and Rossworm had taken
their swords from their pages, but they did not draw them. However, when
one of the constables attempted to seize the bridle of Bassompierre’s
horse, Rossworm struck him on the hand with his sheathed sword, and, the
blade, breaking through the scabbard, wounded the man somewhat severely.
They were immediately surrounded by more than two hundred police, but,
drawing their swords, they contrived to prevent them from closing with
them and dragging them off their horses, though not without receiving a
volley of blows on their backs and arms.

     “This went on for some time,” continues Bassompierre, “until a
     chief justice came out of the Town Hall and raised his bâton (which
     they call _regimentstock_). Upon this, all the constables laid
     their halberds on the ground; and Rossworm (who knew the custom)
     threw down his sword and called out to me to do the same instantly.
     I did so, otherwise I should have been declared a rebel to the
     Emperor and punished as such. Rossworm asked me to answer when the
     judge began to question us, as he did not wish to be recognised.
     The judge inquired who I was, and I told him without disguising
     anything. He then asked the name of my companion, and I answered
     that it was Rossworm, whereupon he offered us the most profuse
     apologies. Rossworm, annoyed that I had given his name, when he saw
     that it was useless to deny it, fell into a rage and threatened the
     judge and the constables that he would complain to the Emperor and
     the Chancellor and have them severely punished. They tried every
     means to appease him, but he, as well as myself, had been too well
     beaten to be satisfied with words. They delivered up to us our six
     companions, who were more fortunate than ourselves, since they had
     suffered nothing worse than a fright, and we rode away. In the
     evening we attended the wedding festivities as though nothing had
     happened. But, next morning, Rossworm went to the Chancellor, to
     whom he spoke very arrogantly, and the Chancellor, to satisfy us,
     threw more than 150 constables into prison. Their wives were every
     day at my door to obtain a pardon for them, and I solicited
     Rossworm very earnestly to grant it. But he was inexorable, and
     made them lie a fortnight in prison during the rigour of winter,
     from the effects of which two of them died. Finally, with great
     difficulty, I contrived to get the rest set at liberty.”

The imprisonment of these unfortunate constables, who had only done
their duty, was indeed a singular way for a Government to encourage the
faithful execution of its orders!

In the town of Prague the New Calendar was in use, but among the
Hussites, in the country districts of Bohemia, it was not observed. In
consequence, after the Carnival was over at Prague, it lasted another
ten days in the country, and the Burgrave Prestowitz invited
Bassompierre, Rossworm, and two Bohemian nobles named Stavata and
Colwrat to come and spend a second Carnival at Karlstein, at which a
large party of nobles and ladies were to assemble. Colwrat was a great
admirer of the Countess Millessimo, the eldest sister of Bassompierre’s
inamorata, while Stavata was just embarking in a romance with her second
sister, the not-too-devoted wife of a gentleman named Colowitz; and “on
Ash Wednesday the four lovers of the four daughters of the burgrave
travelled to Karlstein in the same coach.”

At Karlstein Bassompierre appears to have spent an even more agreeable
time than during the Carnival at Prague:

     “We found there more than twenty ladies, including several who were
     very beautiful, and it is needless to say we were made welcome by
     the daughters of the house, but principally by my lady, who was
     enraptured to see me, as I was to see her. For I was desperately in
     love with her, and I can say that never in my life did I pass ten
     days more agreeably or better employed than those I passed there,
     being always at table, at the ball, in the sleigh, or engaged in
     another and better occupation. At length, the Carnival being over,
     we returned to Prague, with great regret on their part and ours,
     but very satisfied with our little journey.”

Before leaving Karlstein, Bassompierre had extracted a promise from
“Madame Esther” that she would take an early opportunity of coming to
Prague; but, as the worthy burgrave fell ill again, very probably in
consequence of the quantity of rich food and strong wine which he had
consumed during the Carnival, she was unable to do this. However, she
hastened to atone to her lover for his disappointment, for “she made him
come in disguise to Karlstein, where he spent five days and six nights
concealed in a chamber near her own.”

On his return from this amorous escapade, Bassompierre prepared to set
out for Lorraine, and, having received his despatches and an order on
the Lorraine treasury for the payment of the troops which he had
undertaken to raise in the duchy,[43] he left Prague on Palm Sunday,
accompanied alone by Cominges-Guitaut, Seigneur de Fléac, a French
gentleman who had served with him in Hungary, and a German _valet de

He spent the first night of his journey at Karlstein, ostensibly to bid
adieu to the burgrave and his family, but, in reality, to take farewell
of “Madame Esther,” who was, of course, very disconsolate at the
departure of her lover, though Bassompierre promised that, so soon as he
had raised his levy, he would return to her side for a little while,
before leading his horsemen into Hungary. As he was still “_éperdument
amoureux_,” and to such a degree that he assures us that the charms of
some very beautiful ladies whom he met at a country-house at which he
stopped on the following day, and where, sad to relate, both he and his
friend Guitaut got very drunk, were powerless to make the smallest
impression upon him, he no doubt fully intended to keep his word; but,
as events turned out, poor “Madame Esther” was never to see him again.

Travelling by way of Pilsen and Ratisbon, he arrived at Munich, where
his friend William II. of Bavaria entertained him very hospitably and
“offered him the command of the regiment of foot which Bavaria
maintained in Hungary, in any year that he cared to accept it, provided
he would notify him before Easter.” The Duke also lent him one of his
own coaches, which brought him to Augsburg, where he took horse to
Strasbourg, and a few days after Easter reached Saverne, and put up at
an inn, with the intention of continuing his journey early on the

At Saverne an adventure befell him which might very well have had a
fatal termination:--

     “I sat down to table to sup, before going to visit the canons at
     the castle; but, as I was about to begin, they arrived to take me
     to the château and lodge me there. They were the Dean of the
     Chapter, François de Crehange, the Count von Kayl, and the two
     brothers von Salm-Reifferscheid. They had already supped and were
     half-drunk. I begged them, since they had found me at table, to sit
     down with me, instead of taking me to sup at the castle. This they
     did, and in a short time Guitaut and I had contrived to make them
     so drunk, that we were obliged to have them carried back to the
     castle. I remained at my inn, and, at daybreak on the morrow, I
     mounted my horse, thinking to depart; but they had, the previous
     night, given orders that I was not to be allowed to pass, for they
     wished to have their revenge on me for having made them drunk. I
     was, therefore, compelled to remain and dine with them, which I had
     great cause to regret. For, in order to intoxicate me, they put
     brandy in my wine; at least, that is my opinion, though they
     afterwards assured me that they had not done so, and that it was
     only a wine of Leiperg, very strong and heady. Anyway, I had
     scarcely drunk ten or twelve glasses before I lost all
     consciousness and fell into such a lethargy that it was necessary
     to bleed me several times, to cup me and to bind my arms and legs
     with garters. I remained at Saverne five days in this condition,
     and lost to such a degree the taste for wine, that for two years I
     was not only unable to drink it, but even to smell it, without

So perhaps, after all, this very painful experience may have proved to
be a blessing in disguise.

On his recovery, Bassompierre proceeded to Harouel, but learning that
his mother was at Toul, set out thither, stopping for a few days on his
way at the Abbey of Épinal, of which an aunt of his, Yolande de
Bassompierre, was the Superior. Here he met again his cousin Yolande de
Livron, with whom he had fallen in love two years before, and who
happened also to be a guest of the abbess. This damsel had lately
married the Comte des Cars, but this did not prevent her from being
exceedingly agreeable to her handsome kinsman, and “the fires of their
old passion blazed up again.” However, perhaps fortunately for the young
countess, Bassompierre was soon obliged to continue his journey to Toul,
whence he returned with his mother to Harouel.

Their home-coming was a sad one, for, while at Toul, Madame de
Bassompierre had learned that her second son, Jean, Seigneur de
Removille, who towards the end of the previous year had quitted the
service of France for that of Spain, had died from the effects of a
wound which he had received at the siege of Ostend, and, the day after
their arrival at Harouel, the poor young man’s body was brought there
for burial. Bassompierre was genuinely grieved at the death of his
brother, to whom he had been much attached, and whom he describes as “a
man of high courage and good sense, which, joined to a handsome
presence, would have assured his fortune”; and he was greatly incensed
against Henri IV, or, rather, against Sully, whom he regarded as
indirectly responsible for the sad event.

This requires some explanation.

It appears that, during the Wars of Religion, the French Government had
become indebted to Christophe de Bassompierre for various large sums,
amounting in all to about 140,000 crowns, which Christophe had paid the
troops whom he had raised for their service. As it was not convenient
for the Treasury to discharge the debt, it was decided that certain
estates belonging to the Crown in Normandy--Saint Sauveur-le-Vicomte,
Saint-Sauveur-Landelin, and the barony of Nehou, should be mortgaged to
Christophe, the estates to be administered by persons appointed by him.
It was anticipated that the revenues of these lands would be sufficient
to pay the interest on the money which he had advanced; but this did not
prove to be the case, and the arrears of interest continued to mount up,
until at the time of his death they had reached a very large sum.
However, being on the whole satisfied with the arrangement which had
been made, Christophe does not appear to have taken any steps to press
his claims upon the French Government, nor did his family do so after
his death. But, in the autumn of 1601, Sully, seeing an opportunity of
mortgaging these lands on more favourable terms, persuaded Henri IV to
issue a decree which provided that the money advanced by Christophe
should be refunded to his heirs, with the addition of a sum which
represented less than half of the accumulated interest due to them. The
King--or rather his Minister--defended this decision on the ground that
of late years the Saint-Sauveur lands had become much more valuable, and
had--or ought to have--produced a revenue in excess of the interest due.

Bassompierre protested warmly to the King against the injustice of this
decree, and asked that it should be annulled; and Henri IV, a little
ashamed of the shabby manner in which he had allowed his favourite to be
treated, promised him, shortly before Bassompierre’s departure for
Hungary, that “within two months he should be satisfied.”

However, as time went on, without anything being done, Removille, with
whom his brother had left full authority to settle the matter with the
Government, took upon himself to remind the King of his promise. Henri
IV returned an evasive answer, upon which Removille, who was far less
tactful than his elder brother, spoke to his Majesty “without that
respect or restraint that he ought to have employed.” This brought upon
him a severe reprimand from the King, and, burning with resentment, the
young man promptly quitted Henri IV’s service and entered that of Spain,
in which he met an untimely death.

Nor was this all, for, shortly before Removille’s death, Henri IV,
learning that he had been raising a regiment of foot in Lorraine to
serve in Flanders, and that Bassompierre was raising a body of horse,
concluded, not unnaturally, that the troops which the latter was
recruiting were also destined for Flanders, and that he too had quitted
his service for that of Philip III. Thereupon he seized the Château of
Saint-Sauveur and ejected Bassompierre’s servants.

This news, which reached him almost simultaneously with that of his
brother’s death, served to incense Bassompierre still further against
Henri IV and his advisers, and it is very probable that the Court of
France would have seen him no more, had not the King, ascertaining that
the elder brother’s levy was intended for service against the Turks in
Hungary and that the younger was dead, hastened to make amends for his
high-handed action, and directed Zamet to write Bassompierre a letter of
explanation. In this letter Bassompierre was informed that his Majesty
was greatly surprised and pained that he should desire to quit his
service without cause; that he had not yet allowed the decree of the
Council to be executed, and had only taken possession of the Château of
Saint-Sauveur because Removille had become a Spanish subject and the
château was Crown property; and that he fully intended to make an
arrangement which would be satisfactory to him.

Bassompierre replied that nothing was further from his desire than to
leave the King’s service, but, unless the decree were annulled, he would
be so impoverished that it would be no longer possible to live as
befitted his rank at his Majesty’s Court. This letter had the desired
effect, for Henri IV was really much attached to the gay and lively
Lorrainer, who was a man after his own heart; and, shortly afterwards,
Bassompierre received a letter in the King’s own hand inviting him to
return to the Court, when “he would soon see how good a master he was.”

Bassompierre, feeling sure that the King would keep his word, however
much Sully might protest, decided to return to France forthwith, and
accordingly sent a messenger to Vienna to inform the Emperor that he was
summoned to France by private affairs of the highest importance, and
that it would therefore be impossible for him to raise the troops which
he had intended to recruit for his Imperial Majesty’s service. At the
same time, he returned in full the money which he had received for that
purpose, although he had already disbursed a portion of it. This very
honourable action served to mollify any resentment which the Emperor
might otherwise have felt; and he replied, through Rossworm, that he
should not appoint a colonel of his foreign cavalry for the present, but
would keep the post open for Bassompierre, in case he desired to return
to Hungary the following year.


     Bassompierre arrives at Fontainebleau and is most graciously
     received by Henri IV--He falls in love with Marie d’Entragues,
     sister of the King’s mistress--The conspiracy of the
     d’Entragues--The Sieur d’Entragues and the Comte d’Auvergne are
     arrested and conveyed to the Bastille, and Madame de Verneuil kept
     a prisoner in her own house--Jacqueline de Bueil temporarily
     replaces Madame de Verneuil in the royal affections--The King,
     unable to do without the latter, sets her and her father at
     liberty--Bassompierre becomes the lover of Marie d’Entragues--He is
     dangerously wounded by the Duc de Guise in a tournament, and his
     life is at first despaired of--He recovers--Attentions which he
     receives during his illness from the ladies of the Court.

Towards the end of August, 1604, Bassompierre arrived in Paris, where
his numerous friends, he tells us, were so delighted to see him that it
was three days before they would permit him to continue his journey to
Fontainebleau, whither the Court had recently removed; and when he at
last contrived to get away, so many of them desired to accompany him,
that it required no less than forty post-horses to convey them.

At Fontainebleau he met with so warm a welcome both from the King and
the ladies of the Court, that he thought no more of returning to

     “The King was on the great terrace before the Cour du Cheval Blanc
     when we arrived, and awaited us there, receiving me with a thousand
     embraces. He then led me into the apartment of the Queen, his wife,
     who lodged in the apartment above his own, and I was well received
     by the ladies, who thought me not ill-looking for an inveterate
     German who had spent a year in his own country. On the morrow the
     King lent me his own horses to hunt the stag. It was St.
     Bartholomew’s Day, August 24; and he himself would not hunt on a
     day whereon he had once been in such great danger. On my return
     from the chase I joined him in the Salle des Étuves, where we
     played lansquenet.”

Henri IV lost no time in annulling the obnoxious decree concerning the
Saint-Sauveur property and restoring it to Bassompierre, who was thus
enabled to live “a most delightful life” at the Court, and indulge to
the full his inclination for lavish display, gambling, and love-making:

     “I then fell in love with Antragues, and was also in love with
     another handsome woman. I was in the flower of my youth, rather
     well-made and very gay.”

The lady whom Bassompierre invariably refers to in his _Memoirs_ as
“Antragues,” without any prefix, was Marie de Balsac d’Entragues,
younger sister of Madame de Verneuil. Marie was quite as pretty as
Henriette--indeed, by not a few she was considered the prettiest woman
at the Court--and if she lacked something of the wit and vivacity which
made the reigning sultana so attractive, she was not without
intelligence. As one might expect in a child of Marie Touchet, she was
wholly devoid of moral sense. But she was neither mercenary nor
ambitious, or, at any rate, far less so than her sister; and several
exalted personages appear to have sighed for her in vain, including
Henri IV, who, like Louis XV, in later times, had not the smallest
objection to the presence of two or more members of the same family in
his seraglio.

At the time, however, when his Majesty appears to have made advances to
the younger sister, his relations with the elder had been temporarily
interrupted by the episode which is known as the Conspiracy of the

In the summer of 1604, acting upon a warning received from James I of
England, the French Government had caused one Morgan, an agent of Spain,
to be arrested in Paris, and documents found upon this person indicated
that he had relations of a highly suspicious character with François
d’Entragues, his daughter, Madame de Verneuil, and his stepson, the
Comte d’Auvergne. One fine morning, a party of the King’s guards arrived
at the Château of Malesherbes, where three moats and draw-bridges
always raised protected its lord, as he fondly imagined, from surprise.
Four of the soldiers, however, succeeded in gaining admission to the
château, disguised as peasant-women with butter and eggs to dispose of,
overpowered the sentries and admitted their comrades. D’Entragues was
arrested and carried off to the Bastille, and with him a voluminous
correspondence between the conspirators and the Court of Madrid,
containing proposals for the assassination of Henri IV, and a promise
signed by Philip III to recognise Henriette’s son as heir to the French
throne, in the event of the King’s death. The Comte d’Auvergne once more
found himself in the Bastille, while Madame de Verneuil was confined to
her own house and strictly guarded. D’Entragues and his step-son were
arraigned for high treason, convicted and sentenced to death; and
Henriette was remanded until further evidence could be procured. The
King’s advisers were urgent that the law should be allowed to take its
course; but Henri IV, though he had made a valiant attempt to overcome
his infatuation for Madame de Verneuil, and with the idea of driving out
fire by fire, had taken unto himself a new sultana, in the person of
Jacqueline de Bueil,[44] felt that he must have his Henriette back, and
all the more because she affected to scorn him and refused to sue for
his pardon. Dead though he might be to all sense of decency where his
passions were concerned, he felt that, if he cut off her father’s head,
he could scarcely again be her lover, and that d’Entragues’ life must
therefore be spared. And if d’Entragues were spared, he could not well
send his fellow-conspirator--the last scion of the House of Valois--to
the scaffold, though, as this was Auvergne’s second experiment in high
treason, he was even more deserving of death. And so d’Entragues and his
daughter were set at liberty; while Auvergne remained in the Bastille,
nor did he emerge from it until more than ten years later.

Early in 1605 we find the King again in amorous correspondence with the
woman who had been conspiring against him, entreating her to love him to
whom all the rest of this world compared with her was as nothing; and,
after keeping him at a distance for a little while, Henriette graciously
consented to accord him her favours once more. Henceforth, Jacqueline de
Beuil was merely retained as a refuge when the marchioness happened to
be spiteful and the Queen sulky.

In those days rough horseplay was much in vogue, and during the Carnival
of 1605, bands of young nobles rode through the streets of Paris, masked
and arrayed in glittering armour. When two of these bands met, they
charged vigorously and strove to unhorse one another, and though the
points of the lances they carried were carefully padded, and they
wielded heavy cudgels gaily decorated with crimson ribbons, instead of
swords, very shrewd blows and thrusts were exchanged. On one occasion,
Bassompierre, who was accompanied by his brother-in-law Saint-Luc, and
two of their friends, met another party, headed by the Duc de Nemours
and the Comte de Sommerive, who challenged him to a mimic combat later
in the day in the Place de Cimetière Saint-Jean, it being agreed that
both sides might bring as many supporters as they could get together.
Both parties repaired to the field of battle in considerable force, but
that of Nemours and Sommerive had the advantage in numbers.
Nevertheless, victory rested with Bassompierre and his friends, who
drove their opponents through the streets in disorder, and “he had the
satisfaction of seeing one of his rivals in the affections of Mlle.
d’Entragues soundly beaten before the eyes of that lady, who was
watching them from one of the windows of her house.” Nor was this all,
for a day or two later Mlle. d’Entragues gave the victor a rendezvous.

This _bonne fortune_ of Bassompierre, however, came very near to costing
him his life:

     “The Tuesday following, which was the first day of March, in the
     morning, the King being at the Tuileries, said to M. de Guise: ‘Ah!
     Guisard, d’Entragues despises us all and dotes on Bassompierre. I
     don’t speak without certainty.’ ‘Sire,’ replied M. de Guise, ‘you
     have means enough to avenge yourself. As for me, I have none other
     than that of a knight-errant. I will therefore break three lances
     with him this afternoon in open field, in whatever place you shall
     be pleased to appoint.’ The King gave us permission, and said that
     it should be in the Louvre, and that he would have the court
     sanded. He [Guise] chose his brother M. de Joinville for his second
     and M. de Termes for third; while I chose M. de Saint-Luc and the
     Comte de Sault. We all six went to dine and arm ourselves at
     Saint-Luc’s lodging; and, as we always kept armour and caparisons
     ready for all occasions, my friends and I wore silver armour, with
     silver and white plumes and silk stockings of the same colours. M.
     de Guise and his supporters wore black and gold, on account of the
     imprisonment of the Marquise de Verneuil, with whom he was at that
     time secretly in love. Then we repaired to the Louvre, preceded by
     our horses and attendants.

     “My friends and I, who were the first to enter the lists, placed
     ourselves by the side of the old building; M. de Guise and his
     seconds took up their station beneath the windows of the Queen’s
     apartment. Our course was the length of the Salle des Suisses. It
     happened that M. de Guise was mounted on a little horse called
     Lesparne, while I was riding a big charger which the Comte de
     Fiesque had given me. He took the lower ground, while I was on the
     wall side, so that I towered over him, and, instead of breaking his
     lance while raising it, he broke it while lowering it, in such a
     way that, after splintering it for the first time against my
     casque, he splintered it the second against my tasset; and the
     lance penetrated my stomach and lodged in that great bone which
     connects the hip and the loins. And there the lance broke again,
     and a stump longer than a man’s arm remained attached to the thigh
     bone. I broke my lance against his breastplate, and, though I felt
     that I was mortally wounded, I finished my course, and they helped
     me to dismount near the King’s private staircase, and _Monsieur le
     Grand_ and the elder Guitaut aided me to ascend to M. de Vendôme’s
     apartment, below the King’s chamber.”

Here someone, without awaiting the arrival of the surgeons, was so
ill-advised as to pull the broken stump of the lance from the wound,
with the result that part of the entrails came out with it; and, though
the surgeons when they came contrived to replace them, Bassompierre
seemed in desperate case:--

     “The King, the Constable, and all the chief personages of the Court
     stood around, many weeping, as they thought that I should not live
     an hour. Nevertheless, I did not appear cast down, nor did I think
     I should die. Many ladies were there and helped to dress my wound,
     and, as I insisted on returning to my lodging, the Queen sent me
     the chair in which she was carried about, for she was then
     pregnant. The people followed me with many marks of sorrow. When I
     arrived at my lodging, I lost my sight, which made me think I was
     very ill, so that they made me confess and bled me at the same
     time. Yet I did not believe I should die, and laughed all the time.

     “So soon as I received my wound, the King ordered the tournament to
     stop, and never permitted one afterwards. This was the only one in
     open field which had taken place in France for one hundred years,
     and they were never renewed.”

Youth and a splendid constitution saved him, and the attentions he
received from the ladies of the Court appear to have consoled him for
the pain which he had to endure:

     “I cannot say how much I was visited during my illness, and
     particularly by ladies. All the princesses were there, and the
     Queen sent on three occasions her maids-of-honour, who were brought
     by Mlle. de Guise to pass whole afternoons. This lady, who
     considered herself obliged to assist in nursing me, as it was her
     brother who had given me my wound, was there most of the time. My
     sister, Madame de Saint-Luc, who, so long as I was in danger,
     always slept at the foot of my bed, received the ladies, and, with
     the exception of the day after I was wounded, the King came every
     afternoon to see me, and partly also to see my pretty companions.”

After being obliged to keep his bed for about a fortnight, he was
allowed to get up and take the air in a chair, an object of sympathetic
interest to all the ladies of the Court and town. His wound healed
rapidly, and by Easter, though still somewhat lame, he felt sufficiently
recovered to challenge the Marquis de Cœuvres, brother of Gabrielle
d’Estrées, to a duel.


     Quarrel between Bassompierre and the Marquis de
     Cœuvres--Bassompierre sends his cousin the Sieur de Créquy to
     challenge the marquis to a duel--The King sends for the two nobles
     and orders them to be reconciled in his presence--Bassompierre and
     Créquy are forbidden to appear at Court, but are soon
     pardoned--Visit of Bassompierre to Plombières--He returns to Paris,
     and “breaks entirely” with Marie d’Entragues--The Chancellor,
     Pomponne de Bellièvre, ordered to resign the Seals--His
     conversation with Bassompierre at Artenay--Bassompierre wins more
     than 100,000 francs at play--He is reconciled with Marie
     d’Entragues--He joins Henri IV at Sedan--The adventure of the
     King’s love-letter--Henri IV gives orders that a watch shall be
     kept on Marie d’Entragues’s house to ascertain if Bassompierre is
     secretly visiting that lady--A comedy of errors--Madame d’Entragues
     surprises her daughter and Bassompierre.

One day, in the King’s cabinet, Bassompierre, in taking his handkerchief
from his pocket, drew out with it a _billet-doux_ he had just received
from Marie d’Entragues, which fell to the ground and lay there
unperceived by him. An Italian banker named Sardini picked it up, and
the Marquis de Cœuvres having told him that it was his, he gave it
him. Cœuvres read the letter and then sent a message to Bassompierre,
asking him to meet him that night before the Hôtel de Soissons and to
come alone, as he had something of importance to communicate to him.
Bassompierre, not a little surprised, since he and the marquis were on
far from good terms with one another, kept the appointment and found
Cœuvres awaiting him, in company with a friend of his, the Comte de
Cramail, although in his letter he had given him to understand that
there was to be no witness to their meeting.

The marquis began by reproaching Bassompierre with “certain bad offices
which he asserted that he had rendered him,” and then went on to say
that, notwithstanding this, he esteemed him too much not to desire his
friendship, and aspired to serve, rather than injure, him, in proof of
which, although that morning a letter written to him by Mlle.
d’Entragues had fallen into his hands, he had made no use of it, but
sent it at once to the fair writer by the hand of Sardini. Bassompierre,
believing that he was speaking the truth, “made him a thousand
protestations of service and affection,” after which Cœuvres informed
him that the King was aware that he had found a letter written by some
lady to him and had demanded to see it, and asked Bassompierre to send
him as soon as possible one which he had received from another woman, to
enable him to satisfy his Majesty’s curiosity. Bassompierre complied
with this request, which was an easy matter enough, as, like his royal
master, he generally had more than one love-affair on hand, and,
besides, was in the habit of carefully preserving all the epistles which
he received from the fair. At the same time, he sent a message to Mlle.
d’Entragues to apprise her of the mishap which had befallen her letter
and to inquire if she had received it from Cœuvres.

     “But, as she wrote that she had seen no one sent by the marquis,
     furious with anger and transported with resentment, I went straight
     to the marquis’s house to recover the letter, or to punish him. On
     the way, however, I met M. d’Aiguillon[45] and M. de Créquy, who
     stopped me to inquire whither I was bound. ‘I am going,’ I replied,
     ‘to the Marquis de Cœuvres’ house, to get back from him a letter
     which Antragues wrote me and which he has found. And, if he does
     not give it up, I am resolved to kill him!’ They remonstrated with
     me, pointing out that, in going to kill a man in his own house,
     amongst all his servants, I was running a great danger, without the
     means of escaping it; that he [Cœuvres] would be very cowardly
     if he surrendered the letter to me when I went to him in this
     manner; and that it would be better to send one of my friends. And
     Créquy offered to go.”

Bassompierre reluctantly consented, and Créquy accordingly proceeded to
Cœuvres’s house. The marquis, at first, flatly refused to give up the
letter, declaring that Fortune had brought it to him to enable him to
avenge himself on Bassompierre for the ill that he had done him. Créquy
pointed out that, if he were so imprudent as to do this, Bassompierre
would certainly call him out, in which case one of them would probably
be killed, while the victor would be sure to incur the severe
displeasure of the King. Cœuvres thereupon began to waver, and
finally told him to come back early on the following morning, when he
would let him know his decision. When Créquy returned, the marquis, who,
Bassompierre believes, had, in the meantime, sent La Varenne with the
letter to the King and received it back again, told him that he would
himself take the letter to Mlle. d’Entragues, if this would satisfy the
lady’s admirer.

“To this I agreed,” writes Bassompierre, “resolved, nevertheless, to
fight with this trickster, though I was anxious first to get Antragues
out of the affair.”

The marquis took the letter to the lady, and, shortly afterwards,
Bassompierre received a message from his mistress, informing him that it
was her good pleasure that he should be reconciled to Cœuvres, for
which purpose he was to come to her house that afternoon at five
o’clock, where he would find the marquis waiting to embrace him. Much
against his will, he obeyed, and a formal reconciliation took place
between the two gentlemen, who then separated, secretly hating one
another more bitterly than ever. In the evening, as Bassompierre was
leaving his lodging to go to the Louvre, the Grand Equerry, the Duc de
Bellegarde, arrived and told him that the King, having learned that he
had quarrelled with the Marquis de Cœuvres, forbade him, on pain of
death, to call the latter out. Bassompierre replied, laughing, that it
would be easy to obey his Majesty, as he and the marquis were now the
best of friends.

Notwithstanding the royal command, Bassompierre was determined to fight
the purloiner of his love-letter, though, as he did not wish Mlle.
d’Entragues’s name to be mixed up in the affair, he had decided to allow
two or three days to pass and then to quarrel with him on some other
matter. A pretext was easily found, and Créquy, who, now that the letter
had been recovered, had altered his views on the question of a duel
between them, repaired to Cœuvres’s house as the bearer of a formal
challenge. The marquis, however, had no desire to oblige the fire-eating
Lorrainer; possibly, he thought that he might get the worst of the
encounter, but, more probably, since he appears to have been brave
enough, he feared the displeasure of the King. Anyway, he refused to see
Créquy, although the latter called on two or three occasions; and,
meanwhile, Henri IV, having been warned of Bassompierre’s bellicose
intentions, again interfered, and, sending for him and Cœuvres,
ordered them to be reconciled in his presence. He then told Bassompierre
that he had gravely offended him by daring to call out the marquis in
the face of his express command, and forbade him to come to the Louvre
or to any place where the Court might be. His anger extended to Créquy,
and, not only did he forbid him the Court, but even talked of depriving
him of the command of the regiment of guards to which he had just been
appointed. However, thanks to the solicitations of the ladies of the
Court, the Queen interceded with the King on behalf of the offenders,
and Henri IV, who had reasons of his own for wishing to keep his consort
in a good humour, relented so far as to allow them to return. For some
little time he pretended to ignore their presence, but he soon grew
tired of this, and admitted them once more to his favour.

In May, Bassompierre went to Plombières, the baths of which had been
recommended by the doctor, as his thigh was still causing him a good
deal of pain. He travelled thither accompanied by several of his
friends from the Court, and an imposing suite, which included a band of
musicians whose services he had engaged, and remained there three
months, enjoying “all the amusements which a young man, rich, debauched,
and extravagant, could desire.” His mother, his sister, Madame de
Saint-Luc, his younger brother, who had assumed Jean de Bassompierre’s
title of Seigneur de Removille, and a number of friends from Lorraine
joined him there, and he appears to have passed a very agreeable time,
to which a love-affair with a Burgundian lady, named Madame de Fussé,
contributed not a little.

About the middle of August, by which time he was completely cured,
learning that Henri IV had set out at the head of a small army for the
Limousin, where the friends of that incorrigible intriguer the Duc de
Bouillon were threatening to cause trouble, and that there was a chance
of seeing a little fighting, he returned to Paris to prepare to follow
the King. On his arrival, he had a violent quarrel with Marie
d’Entragues, and “broke with her entirely.” What was the cause of the
rupture he does not tell us; possibly, the lady may have been seeking
consolation for his absence in the devotion of some rival admirer;
possibly, she may have heard of the attentions which he had been paying
to Madame de Fussé at Plombières and had taken umbrage. Anyway, complete
as it may have been at the time, it was soon healed.

After spending a couple of days with a merry party at the Comtesse de
Sault’s château at Savigny, amongst whom he doubtless contrived to
dissipate any inclination to melancholy which his breach with Mlle.
d’Entragues may have caused him, Bassompierre set out for the South. At
Artenay, he met the aged Chancellor, Bellièvre, who, to his profound
mortification, had just been directed by the King to surrender the Seals
to Nicolas Brulart, afterwards Marquis de Sillery, though Bellièvre was
to remain Chancellor and head of the Council.

     “I found him,” writes Bassompierre, “walking in a garden with
     certain _maîtres des requêtes_, who were returning with him to
     Paris. He said to me: ‘Monsieur, you behold in me a man who goes to
     seek a grave in Paris. I have served the Kings to the best of my
     ability, and when they saw that I was no longer capable, they sent
     me to take repose and to attend to the safety of my soul, of which
     their affairs had prevented me from thinking.’ And when, a little
     later, I told him that he would continue to serve them and to
     preside at the Council as Chancellor, he replied: ‘My friend, a
     Chancellor without seals is an apothecary without sugar.”

Leaving the mortified Chancellor to continue his journey to Paris, where
he died a year later, Bassompierre took the road to Orléans, where he
found the Queen, whose pregnancy had prevented her following her husband
to the Limousin, and Mlle. de Guise, who, while he was at Plombières,
had married the Prince de Conti. From Orléans he proceeded to Limoges,
which Henri IV had made his headquarters, and, though he was
disappointed in his hope of seeing some fighting, since the rebels
submitted without any attempt at resistance, he had no reason to regret
his journey to the South, as he won at play more than 100,000 francs.

In November, he returned with the King to Fontainebleau, whither the
Queen and the ladies of the Court had proceeded, and, shortly
afterwards, followed their Majesties to Paris, where he and Mlle.
d’Entragues appear to have taken an early opportunity of making up their

In the early spring, Henri IV, with a small army and a powerful
battering-train, set out for Sedan, to teach the Duc de Bouillon a
much-needed lesson. That troublesome nobleman, however, finding that
neither the French Protestants nor Spain were disposed to move a finger
to assist him, prudently decided to sue for pardon, and surrendered his
impregnable fortress before a shot had been fired against it. The terms
he obtained from the sovereign whose authority he had so long defied
were favourable in the extreme, no punishment being inflicted upon him
beyond the occupation of Sedan for five years by a body of the royal
troops under a Huguenot commander.

Having settled with the Duc de Bouillon, Henri IV wrote to Bassompierre,
Guise, and Bellegarde, ordering them to join him. On their arrival they
found the King making preparations for his formal entry into Sedan,
which took place the following day. In the morning Bouillon presented
himself before his Majesty, who read to him his _abolition_, to which
the duke listened with becoming humility. But the moment it was handed
to him his manner changed, and he became as haughty and arrogant as
ever, and even had the presumption to alter the order in which the King
had marshalled his troops for the procession through the town.

After remaining a few days longer at Sedan, Henri IV went to Busancy,
whence he despatched Bassompierre to Paris, to inquire, on his behalf,
after the health of his former consort, Queen Margot, “who had lost
Saint-Julian Date, her gallant, slain by a gentleman named Charmont
[_sic_], whose head the King had caused to be cut off in
consequence,”[46] and to carry letters to his two chief sultanas,
Madame de Verneuil and the Comtesse de Moret.[47]

Bassompierre, impatient to see Marie d’Entragues, went first to the
house of her sister, Madame de Verneuil, where he hoped to find her, and
was not disappointed. Having saluted the ladies and executed his
commission, he had the imprudence to mention that he was going to call
upon Madame de Moret, for whom he had also a letter from the King. That
was quite enough to pique the curiosity of the marchioness, who at once
determined to see the correspondence which the Béarnais was carrying on
with her rival, and asked Bassompierre to give her the letter. That
gentleman naturally objected, but Marie d’Entragues joined her commands
to the request of her sister, and he weakly allowed himself to be
persuaded. Madame de Verneuil broke the seal, and having read the
amorous epistle, handed it back to Bassompierre--presumably, it
contained nothing of much importance, otherwise, she would have been
quite capable of retaining


From an engraving by Aubert.]

or destroying it--observing that in an hour he could get a seal made
similar to that with which the letter was fastened, and that, when he
had sealed it again, no one would suspect that it had ever been tampered
with. Bassompierre, relying on this assurance, sent his _valet de
chambre_ with the letter into the town to get a replica of the seal
made; but, as ill luck would have it, the man went to an engraver named
Turpin, who happened to be the very same person who had made the
original for the King. Turpin, recognising his handiwork and suspecting
that something was wrong, seized the valet by the collar, with the
intention of handing him over to the police. But the latter, who was a
strong and active fellow, contrived to wrench himself free and hurried
off to warn his master, leaving his hat and cloak, together with the
King’s letter, in the hands of the engraver.

Bassompierre, much disturbed by this misadventure, hid his valet, who,
he tells us, would have been hanged within two hours if he had been
caught, and then went to call on Madame de Moret. Having decided that
his best plan was to brazen it out, he told the countess that having
been entrusted by the King with a letter for her, he had unfortunately
opened it, in mistake for a _poulet_ which a lady had sent him; that,
through fear of being suspected of having acted intentionally, he had,
instead of coming to her at once to offer his apologies, as he, of
course, should have done, been so imprudent as to try and get a similar
seal made, and that his servant, having by ill chance gone to the King’s
engraver, the latter, his suspicions aroused, had retained the letter.
If Madame de Moret wished to have it, she had only to send someone to
explain the matter to Turpin, and no doubt the engraver would give it
up. The countess believed, or pretended to believe, this not very
probable story, and sent one of her servants to Turpin to claim her
letter; but was informed that it was no longer in his hands, but in
those of Séguier, President of the Tournelle, or criminal court of the
Parlement of Paris, to whom the honest engraver had deemed it his duty
to transmit it without delay.

Here was a fresh complication and one which caused Bassompierre no
little disquietude, as he did not know Séguier personally, and the
latter had the reputation of being a most austere magistrate, who would
be certain to sift the matter to the very bottom. Resourceful though he
was, he was for the moment at a loss how to act, but, finally, resolved
to go and see Madame de Loménie, wife of Antoine de Loménie, one of the
Secretaries of State, with whom he was on very friendly terms, and beg
her to intervene in order to hush up this unfortunate affair, either by
persuading Séguier to surrender the letter, or by writing to her
husband, who was on his way to Paris with the King, to ask him to give
some plausible explanation to his Majesty.

This time Fortune was on his side. He found the Minister’s wife seated
at her writing-desk and apparently very busy. She was engaged, she told
him, in drafting a very important letter to her husband concerning a
singular adventure. Bassompierre, having an idea that this singular
adventure might well have some relation to his own, pressed her to tell
him more, upon which the lady explained that an attempt had been made
that morning to counterfeit the King’s seal; that the man who had been
sent to the engraver had unfortunately succeeded in effecting his
escape, but that the letter of which he was the bearer had been seized,
and that the President Séguier had just sent it to her, with the request
that she would forward it to her husband, in order that he might lay it
before the King, when perhaps they would be able to get to the bottom of
the matter. And Madame de Loménie added that she would willingly give
2,000 crowns to solve this imbroglio.

Bassompierre, with a sigh of relief, offered to enlighten her for
nothing, and proceeded to furnish her with the same explanation of the
affair which he had already given Madame de Moret. Madame de Loménie
accepted it, and, after having given him a good lecture, promised to
smooth things over for him, on condition that he would go on the morrow
to Villers-Cotterets, where the King and her husband had just arrived,
and take with him a report of the matter which she would draw up.
Bassompierre agreed readily enough, as may be imagined, and, having
called again upon Madame de Verneuil to obtain her answer to the King’s
letter, and also upon Madame de Moret, who wrote likewise to thank his
Majesty, although she had not received the one intended for her, set out
for Villers-Cotterets, where Henri IV laughed heartily over the
adventure, of which he does not appear to have suspected the true

A few days later, Henri IV, in celebration of his bloodless victory over
the Duc de Bouillon, made a sort of triumphal entry into Paris, where he
was received with salvoes of artillery and loud acclamations from the
populace. The effect of this ceremony, however, appears to have been
somewhat spoiled by the extraordinary attitude assumed by the rebellious
vassal whom he had just brought to heel, and who rode along bowing and
smiling to the people who thronged the streets and the windows and roofs
of the houses, for all the world as if he himself were the hero of the
day and the object of all the acclamations.

     “He [the King],” writes Bassompierre, “desired M. de Bouillon to
     march immediately before him, and this he did, but with such
     assurance and audacity, that it was impossible to decide whether it
     was the King who was leading him in triumph or he the King.”

Henri IV only remained a few days in Paris, and then went to
Fontainebleau; but Bassompierre did not accompany him, being desirous of
enjoying the society of Marie d’Entragues, of whom, since their
reconciliation, he was more enamoured than ever.

Bassompierre’s conquest of Mlle. d’Entragues had naturally aroused a
good deal of jealousy amongst the less fortunate admirers of that young
lady, who were numerous and distinguished, and included both the King
and the Duc de Guise. As yet, however, they had no actual proof of his
_bonne fortune_, as the intrigue was conducted with unusual discretion.
It was his habit, he tells us, to enter the house in the Rue de la
Coutellière, where Marie lived with her mother, late at night, by a back
entrance, “whereby I ascended to the third floor, which Madame
d’Entragues had not furnished, and her daughter, by a secret staircase
leading from her wardrobe, came to join me there, when her mother had
fallen asleep.”

Henri IV, piqued by the assurances of several of Bassompierre’s rivals,
and principally by Guise, that Marie d’Entragues made game of them all
and preferred the handsome Lorrainer, gave orders, just before his
departure for Fontainebleau, to have the house watched.

     “As he was in love with Antragues, M. de Guise and several others
     also, who were all jealous of me, because they believed me to be on
     better terms with her than themselves, plotted together to have me
     spied upon, in order to discover if I entered her house, and if I
     saw her privately; and the King commanded those whom he had charged
     to watch it, to take their orders from M. de Guise and to report to
     him if they saw anything.”

The sequel was a most amusing comedy of errors.

A day or two later, Bassompierre, who had an assignation with his
inamorata that night, happened to sup with the Grand Equerry, the Duc de
Bellegarde. During the meal it came on to rain heavily, and, as he had
come unprovided with a cloak, he borrowed one from his host, and,
wrapped in this, made his way, at about eleven o’clock, to the Rue de la
Coutellière, without noticing that the Cross of the Ordre du
Saint-Esprit, of which none but Princes of the Blood, very great
nobles, and Ministers of State, were members, was attached to the cloak.
The spies posted around Madame d’Entragues’s house were more observant,
and one of them at once hurried off to inform the Duc de Guise that they
had just seen a young Knight of the Ordre du Saint-Esprit enter the
house by a back door. Guise immediately sent two of his _valets de
chambre_ to identify the gentleman when he left, which did not happen
until four o’clock in the morning. But Bassompierre caught sight of them
before they saw him, and, recognising them as the duke’s servants,
pulled his cloak over his face, though he had little hope of escaping
detection, since he was well known to them both. The valets, however,
deceived by the Cross of the Saint-Esprit, reported to their master that
Mlle. d’Entragues’ midnight visitor was the Grand Equerry, since they
were aware that there was no other Knight of the Order in Paris at the
time in the least likely to have such a _bonne fortune_.

In the morning, Bassompierre wrote to Mlle. d’Entragues to inform her of
the espionage of which he had been the object, and to urge her to be on
her guard. On his side, the Duc de Guise went between nine and ten
o’clock to the Grand Equerry’s house, but was told that Bellegarde had
given directions that he could see no one until the evening, as he had
been kept awake all night by violent toothache. This seemed to confirm
his suspicions in regard to the Grand Equerry, since a man who had not
returned from an assignation until four o’clock in the morning would
naturally desire to sleep until late in the day; and chuckling at the
thought of Bassompierre’s mortification when he learned that he had a
successful rival, he made his way to that gentleman’s lodging.

Bassompierre, like Bellegarde, was still in bed when the duke arrived,
but, having told the servants that he had come to see their master on a
matter of urgency, he was conducted to his room.

“I beg you to put on your dressing-gown,” said he so soon as he entered;
“I have a word to say to you.”

     “I felt quite sure,” writes Bassompierre, “that he intended to tell
     me that I had been seen leaving Antragues’s house, and determined
     to deny it positively. But, on the contrary, he continued: ‘What
     would you say if the Grand Equerry were preferred by Antragues to
     you and everyone, and she were in the habit of receiving him at
     night?’ I told him that I should decline to believe it, as neither
     he nor she had any inclination for the other. ‘_Mon Dieu_,’ said
     he, ‘how easy to deceive are lovers! I thought as you do;
     nevertheless, it is true that he went to her house last night, and
     did not leave until four o’clock this morning. He was seen to go
     in, and my _valets de chambre_ themselves saw him come out, with so
     little care that he had not even troubled to wear a cloak without
     the cross of the Order, to disguise himself.’

     “Thereupon, he called one of the valets, D’Urbal by name, and
     inquired whether he had not seen _Monsieur le Grand_ leave
     Antragues’s house. ‘Yes, Monseigneur,’ the man answered, ‘as
     plainly as I see M. de Bassompierre there.’ I dared not look in the
     face of this valet, who had seen me that same morning leaving the
     house, and believed that it was a trick to make game of me; but, as
     I turned away, I perceived on a chair _Monsieur le Grand’s_ cloak,
     which my valet had folded in such a way that the cross of the Order
     was visible, and ought to have been easily seen by M. de Guise, if
     he had not been so much occupied just then. I sat down upon it,
     fearing lest M. de Guise should catch sight of the cross, and
     pretending to be disconsolate as he was, I complained bitterly of
     the fickleness of Antragues. I refused to rise from my seat on the
     cloak, although M. de Guise invited me to go for a walk with him,
     until I had told my valet to take it away, when M. de Guise should
     be looking in another direction, and hide it in a wardrobe.”

So soon as the duke had taken his departure, Bassompierre wrote to his
mistress to inform her of this new incident. Marie d’Entragues had the
caustic spirit of her family, and it pleased her, in order to perpetuate
this comedy of errors and avert suspicion from Bassompierre, to show
herself exceedingly gracious to the Grand Equerry when she met him that
afternoon, so that Bellegarde, who was not without vanity, was himself
deceived, and began to think he had made an impression upon the lady.
The consequence was that when, on the morrow, Guise, who could not keep
silent, although he and Bassompierre had agreed to say nothing to the
Grand Equerry about it, began to rally that gentleman upon his supposed
_bonne fortune_, the latter defended himself so feebly, that all the
jealousy of Guise and of the King, when he heard of the affair, was
turned in his direction, and the real gallant was able to continue his
nocturnal visits to the Rue de la Coutillière with but few precautions.

However, they had warned Madame d’Entragues to take better care of her
daughter--it was certainly high time that she did--and one fine June
morning, happening to awake very early, she drew aside the curtain of
her bed, and saw, to her astonishment, that that of Marie, who slept in
the same room, was empty. She rose at once and went into her wardrobe,
where she found the door leading to the secret staircase, which was
always kept locked, open.

     “She began to scream,” relates Bassompierre, “and, at the sound of
     her voice, her daughter rose in haste and went to her. I,
     meanwhile, shut the door and took my departure, very troubled about
     what might come of this affair, which was that her mother chastised
     her, and caused the door of the room where we were that night to be
     broken open, so that she might enter, and was very amazed to find
     this apartment furnished with splendid furniture purchased from
     Zamet. Then all intercourse was broken off; but I made my peace
     with the mother through the intervention of Mlle. d’Asy, at whose
     house I saw her, when I asked her pardon so many times, coupled
     with the assurance that we had not gone beyond kissing, that she
     pretended to believe me. She went to Fontainebleau, and I went
     also, but I did not venture to speak to Antragues except secretly,
     because the King did not approve of it.[48] However, lovers are
     resourceful enough to find opportunities for occasional meetings.”


     A strange adventure--Bassompierre sent as Ambassador Extraordinary
     to Lorraine to represent Henri IV at the marriage of the Duke of
     Bar and Margherita di Gonzaga--He returns to Paris and orders a
     gorgeous suit, which is to cost fourteen thousand crowns, for the
     baptism of the Dauphin and Madame Élisabeth, though he has only
     seven hundred in his purse--He wins enough at play to pay for
     it--Charles III of Lorraine writes to request his presence at the
     Estates of Lorraine--Henri IV refuses him permission to leave
     France, but he sets out notwithstanding this--He is arrested by the
     King’s orders at Meaux, but set at liberty on his promising to
     return to Court--He is allowed to leave for Lorraine a few days
     later--Affair of the Prince de Joinville and Madame de Moret.

About the middle of June of that year, Henri IV despatched Bassompierre
as Ambassador Extraordinary to Lorraine, to represent him at the
marriage of the Duke of Bar (whose first wife, Catherine de Bourbon, had
died in 1604) to Margherita di Gonzaga, daughter of Vincenzo I, Duke of
Mantua, and Eleanor de’ Medici, sister of the Queen; and, at the same
time to request the Duchess of Mantua to become godmother to the
dauphin, and the Duke of Lorraine godfather to Madame Élisabeth, eldest
daughter of the King.

Bassompierre accordingly left Fontainebleau for Paris, where he met with
another love-adventure, which delayed his departure for Lorraine for
several days, and which we shall allow him to relate himself, since--to
borrow his own words--“though it was not of great consequence, it was,
nevertheless, extravagant”:

     “For the past four or five months, every time I passed over the
     Petit-Pont--for in those days the Pont-Neuf was not built--a
     handsome woman, a sempstress at the sign of the Two Angels, made me
     deep courtesies and followed me with her eyes so far as she could.
     And, when I remarked her behaviour, I looked at her also and
     saluted her with greater care. It happened that, when I arrived in
     Paris from Fontainebleau, and was crossing the Petit-Pont, so soon
     as she saw me approaching, she placed herself at the door of her
     shop, and said to me as I passed: ‘Monsieur, I am your very humble
     servant.’ I returned her greeting and, turning round from time to
     time, I perceived that she followed me with her eyes so long as she
     was able. I had travelled post from Fontainebleau, and had brought
     one of my lackeys with me, intending to send him back to
     Fontainebleau the same evening with letters for Antragues and for
     another lady there. I made him alight and give his horse to the
     postilion to lead, and sent him to tell the young woman that,
     perceiving the care that she had to see me and salute me, if she
     desired a more private view of me, I was willing to meet her in
     whatever place she might choose to appoint. She told the lackey
     that this was the best news that one could have brought her and
     that she would go wherever I wished.

     “I accepted this proposal and asked my lackey if he knew of some
     place to take her, which he did, saying that he knew a woman named
     Noiret, to whose house he would conduct her.... And in the evening
     I went there, and found a very beautiful woman, twenty years of
     age, who had her head dressed for the night, wearing naught but a
     very fine shift, and a short petticoat of green flannel and a
     _peignoir_ over her. She pleased me mightily, and I can say that
     never had I seen a prettier woman....

     “I asked her if I could not see her again, and said that I should
     not leave Paris until Sunday, this being Thursday night. She
     answered that she desired it more ardently than I did, but that it
     would not be possible, unless I stayed the whole of Sunday, in
     which case she would see me on Sunday night.... I was easy to
     persuade, and told her that I would remain all Sunday and meet her
     at night in the same place. Then she rejoined: ‘Monsieur, I know
     well that I am in a house of ill-fame, to which, however, I came
     willingly, in order to see you, with whom I am so deeply in
     love.... Well, once is not habit, and though, urged by passion, I
     have come once to this house, I should be a public wanton if I were
     to return a second time. I have never surrendered myself to any
     man but my husband and yourself--may I die in misery if I speak not
     the truth!--and I have no intention of surrendering myself to
     another. But what would one not do for a man whom one loves, and
     for a Bassompierre? That is why I came to this house, but it was to
     be with a man who has rendered it honourable by his presence. If
     you wish to see me again, it must be at the house of one of my
     aunts, who lives in the Rue du Bourg-l’Abbé, next to the Rue aux
     Ours, the third door on the side of the Rue Saint-Martin. I will
     await you there from ten o’clock until midnight, and later still,
     and will leave the door open. At the entrance there is a little
     passage, through which you must go quickly, for the door of my
     aunt’s room opens on to it, and you will find a stair, which will
     bring you to the second floor.’

     “I agreed to this proposal, and, having despatched the rest of my
     suite on their journey towards Lorraine, I came at ten o’clock to
     the door which she had indicated, and saw a great light, not only
     on the second floor, but on the third and first as well; but the
     door was closed. I knocked to announce my arrival, but I heard a
     man’s voice asking who I was. I went back to the Rue aux Ours, and
     having returned for the second time, finding the door open, I
     entered and mounted to the second floor, where I found that the
     light which I had seen proceeded from the straw of the beds which
     they were burning, and two naked bodies lying upon the table in the
     room. Thereupon, I withdrew, greatly amazed, and, in going out, I
     met some ‘crows,’[49] who asked me what I sought, and I, to make
     them give way, drew my sword, and so passed out and returned to my
     lodging, somewhat disturbed by the unexpected sight which I had
     beheld. I drank three or four glasses of neat wine, which is a
     German remedy against the plague, and then went to bed, as I
     intended to leave for Lorraine the following morning, which I did.
     And, although I afterwards sought as diligently as possible to
     learn what had become of this woman, I was never able to discover
     anything. I even went to the Two Angels, where she lodged, to
     inquire who she was, but the tenants of the house told me nothing,
     save that they knew that she was the former tenant. I have decided
     to relate this adventure, because, although she was a person of
     humble condition, she was so pretty that I have regretted her, and
     would have given much to see her again.”[50]

At Nancy, Bassompierre, as the representative of the King of France and
a personal friend of Charles III of Lorraine, was received with great
honour and very sumptuously lodged and entertained. At the marriage
ceremony and the _fêtes_ which followed it he appeared in great
magnificence, and this, in conjunction with his handsome face and
ingratiating manners, without doubt made a deep impression upon the
ladies of the Court. However, owing presumably to the official position
which he occupied, he appears to have refrained from making any fresh
conquests--at any rate, he does not record any; and, after having
obtained the consent of the Duchess of Mantua and the Duke of Lorraine
to stand godmother and godfather to Henri IV’s children, he set out for

On his arrival, he found himself in sore distress of mind. The baptism
of the Dauphin and Madame Élisabeth was fast approaching, and having
imprudently worn all the new suits which he possessed at the marriage
_fêtes_ at Nancy, he had none in which to appear at it, or, at least,
none which he considered worthy of so great an event. To appear in one
which he had donned on some previous occasion was not to be thought of
for a moment; his reputation as the most elegant and most recklessly
extravagant gentleman of the Court would infallibly be lost. As well ask
a modern professional beauty to wear the same toilette twice in a
season! To add to his distress, he had spent so much money on his
mission to Lorraine, for the post of Ambassador Extraordinary, in those
days, though very gratifying to the vanity, was ruinously expensive to
the pocket, that he had only a few hundred crowns in his purse, and the
acolytes of Fashion were so overwhelmed with orders for the ceremony
that they were actually impertinent enough to insist upon money down.
Finally, they were reported to be so busy that, even if the financial
difficulty were overcome, it was very improbable that he could get a
costume of sufficient magnificence completed in time. Was ever so
splendid a gallant in so sad a case?

However, Fortune once more came to his aid.

     “Just as my sister (Madame de Saint-Luc), Madame de Verderonne,[51]
     and la Patière,[52] who had come to greet me on my arrival, had
     informed me that all the tailors and embroiderers were so busy
     that it was impossible to get a suit made, in came my own tailor,
     Tallot by name, and my embroiderer with him, to tell me that, on
     the rumours of the magnificence of the baptism, a merchant of
     Antwerp had brought a horse-load of pearls that are sold by weight,
     and that with these they could make me a suit which would surpass
     anything at the baptism; and my embroiderer offered to undertake
     it, if I paid him six hundred crowns for his work alone. The ladies
     and I fixed upon the suit, which required not less than fifty
     pounds’ weight of pearls; and I decided that it should be of violet
     cloth-of-gold, with palm-branches interlacing. In short, before the
     tailor and embroiderer withdrew, I, who had only seven hundred
     crowns in my purse, had ordered them to undertake a suit which was
     to cost me fourteen thousand. At the same time, I sent for the
     merchant, who brought me samples of his pearls, and with whom I
     settled the price by weight. He demanded four thousand crowns
     earnest money, but for this I put him off till the morrow. M.
     d’Épernon[53] passed before my lodging, and, knowing that I had
     arrived, came to see me and told me that he had some good company
     coming to sup at his house and play afterwards, and asked me to be
     of the party. I took my seven hundred crowns and with them won five
     thousand. The next day the merchant came, and I paid him his four
     thousand crowns earnest money. I also gave something to the
     embroiderer, and went on to win at play, not only enough to pay for
     the suit and a diamond sword, which cost five thousand crowns, but
     had five or six thousand left wherewith to amuse myself.”

Bassompierre accompanied the King to Villers-Cotterets to meet the Duke
of Lorraine and the Duchess of Mantua. On the way the King turned aside
to pay a visit to his former mistress, Charlotte de Essars, Comtesse de
Romorantin, who was staying at the Abbey of Sainte-Perrinne, the
superior of which was her aunt. Time seems to have dealt leniently with
the fair Charlotte, who appeared, according to Bassompierre, more
beautiful than ever.

The King conducted his distinguished guests to Paris, where they were
magnificently entertained. But, as the plague was increasing in the
capital, it was decided that the baptism should take place at
Fontainebleau. So the Parisians were deprived of the opportunity of
admiring Bassompierre’s fourteen-thousand-crown suit and diamond
scabbard, and he had to rest content with the sensation which they
doubtless created at the Court.

       *       *       *       *       *

In February, 1607, Charles III of Lorraine wrote to Bassompierre begging
him, as a personal favour, to assist at the approaching meeting of the
Estates of Lorraine, where his influence with the nobility of the duchy
might serve to remove some of the difficulties which he feared that he
might have with that body. Bassompierre, accordingly, requested leave of
absence of Henri IV, but his Majesty was unwilling to let him go,
because, he explains, he had been winning his money at play and he
wanted to have his revenge, and put him off on two or three occasions.
At last, in despair of obtaining permission, he determined to go without
it, and one day, when the Court was at Chantilly, he slipped away
unperceived and set out for Paris. On the road he met the Ducs
d’Aiguillon and de Bouillon, and begged them not to tell the King that
they had seen him; but the two dukes, probably supposing that he was
bound on some amorous adventure which he wished to keep from his
Majesty’s knowledge, denounced him so soon as they arrived at Chantilly.
The consequence was that when Bassompierre reached Meaux, he found the
provost of that town and two exempts of the King’s guards, whom his
Majesty had sent to head him off, waiting to arrest him. In great
indignation, he despatched one of his suite to Chantilly, with letters
for the King and Villeroy, one of the Secretaries of State, protesting
against the indignity to which he was being subjected; and the
following day the provost came to inform him that he had received orders
to set him at liberty, provided he would give his word to return to the
Court. On his arrival at Chantilly he was sent for by the King, who
laughed heartily at his crestfallen demeanour, telling him that he had
now had an opportunity of seeing the good order that he maintained in
his realm, which no one could leave without his consent; but that he
only wanted him to remain ten days longer, when he would give him
permission to go to Lorraine. He added that his stay would not be
unprofitable; and he was as good as his word, for during this time the
vexed question of the Saint-Sauveur lands was finally settled, to
Bassompierre’s entire satisfaction.

Before leaving for Lorraine, Bassompierre endeavoured to do a good turn
to his friend the Prince de Joinville and Madame de Moret, who had been
so imprudent as to fall in love with one another, and warned them that
the King intended to surprise them together, in which event he had vowed
to make a public example both of the presumptuous noble who had dared to
violate the sanctity of the royal seraglio and of his faithless sultana.
The lovers, however, did not profit by his warnings, and, while on his
way to Nancy, he learned that, though the King had not succeeded in
surprising them, he had discovered enough to confirm his suspicions, and
had banished Joinville from the Court for the second time. Bassompierre
at once turned back and came to Paris incognito, “in order to see Madame
de Moret and offer to serve her in her affliction”; but his presence was
discovered and reported to Madame d’Entragues, who, suspecting that he
had returned with the object of paying surreptitious visits to her
daughter, promptly locked that flighty young lady up until he had taken
his departure.


     Amusements of Bassompierre during the winter of 1608--His
     gambling-parties--Embarrassment which the fact of having several
     love-affairs on his hands simultaneously sometimes occasions
     him--Death of Charles III of Lorraine--Bassompierre goes to Nancy
     to attend the Duke’s funeral--Gratifying testimony which he
     receives during his absence of the esteem in which he is held by
     the ladies of the Court of France--“The star of Venus is very much
     in the ascendant over him”--Marriage arranged between Marie
     d’Entragues and the Comte d’Aché, of Auvergne--The affair is broken
     off--Frenzied gambling at the Court: gains of Bassompierre--Secret
     visits paid by him and the Duc de Guise to Madame de Verneuil and
     Marie d’Entragues at Conflans--Visit of the Duke of Mantua to the
     Court of France.

Bassompierre begins his journal for the year 1608 in the following

     “In the year 1608 I embarked in an affair with a blonde lady. I won
     a great deal at play that year, and gave away much at the Foire. We
     danced a number of ballets.... I had more mistresses at the Court,
     and was on excellent terms with Antragues. M. de Vendôme also
     danced a ballet, in which the King would have Cramail, Termes, and
     myself, who were called _les dangereux_, assist. We went to dance
     it at M. de Montpensier’s, who rose to see it, though he was

After Easter the King went to Fontainebleau, where on April 25 the Queen
gave birth to her third son, Gaston, Duc d’Anjou, afterwards Duc
d’Orléans. Bassompierre, however, excused himself from accompanying his
Majesty, apparently on the plea of illness, and remained in Paris,
where, he tells us, he passed his time very agreeably.

     “I pretended to be suffering from a weakness of the lungs, so that
     no one saw me until midday, when all the Court came to my lodging
     to pass the time until nine o’clock in the evening, when I made
     believe to retire, on account of my delicate state of health; but
     it was to pass the night in good company.”

The “good company” he speaks of was a little coterie of gamblers, “eight
or ten worthy men of the town, and of the Court, M. de Guise, Créquy,
and myself,” who played for tremendously high stakes, since Bassompierre
had considerately introduced amongst them a Portuguese merchant named
Fernandez, who came prepared to make good the losses of those upon whom
Fortune happened to frown, in return for approved security. This kind of
arrangement was so convenient that, when the King returned from
Fontainebleau, he wished to be of the party, which met every day either
at the Louvre, Zamet’s, or the Marquis de Roquelaure’s; and doubtless
the organiser of these _séances_, who appears to have been one of the
luckiest gamblers who ever turned a card or rattled a dice-box, and the
accommodating Fernandez, derived substantial benefits from them.

In July, Queen Marguerite gave a grand _fête_ at the Arsenal, the
principal feature of which was the then fashionable pastime of tilting
at the ring. Bassompierre, of course, attended it, very splendidly
arrayed, but also very reluctantly, since, as he naïvely explains, those
gentlemen who, like himself, had several love-affairs on their hands
simultaneously were often sadly embarrassed at these great assemblies,
since all the ladies whom they professed to adore were sure to be
present, and it was practically impossible to pay sufficient attention
to one without giving umbrage to the others.

     “I thought,” he continues, “that I should experience great
     difficulty there; but Fortune came to my aid in such fashion that,
     without neglecting anyone, I contented all. For, in short, having
     stationed myself unintentionally beneath the Queen’s stand, where
     Mlle. de Montmorency[55] was sitting, Pérault,[56] who had served
     with me in Hungary, insisted on my taking his place; and then, for
     the first time, I spoke to her and strove to insinuate myself into
     her good graces, little imagining what was to happen later. After
     the _fête_ was over, I was delighted to see that I had contented
     all the ladies with whom I was on good terms, and that not one of
     them had had reason to be jealous of another, a thing which very
     rarely happened on such occasions.”

On May 14, 1608, Charles III of Lorraine, who had been in bad health for
some time past, died. Bassompierre went to Nancy to attend his funeral,
and was away three weeks, during which, he tells us, he received the
most gratifying testimony to the esteem in which he was held by the
ladies of the Court of France:--

     “It is impossible to describe how much care the ladies took to send
     me frequently news of themselves and to despatch couriers to me
     with letters and presents. The star of Venus was very much in the
     ascendant over me. I returned to Paris, and four ladies in a coach
     came beyond Pantin to meet me, making believe that they were merely
     taking a drive. They placed me in their coach and brought me to the
     Porte de Saint-Honoré, where I remounted my horse to enter Paris.”

On his arrival in the capital, he learned that Marie d’Entragues had
gone, with her mother and Madame de Verneuil, to Malesherbes, to marry a
certain Comte d’Aché, of Auvergne; but, as may be supposed, his other
lady-loves made every effort to console him for his loss, which, in
point of fact, proved to be only a temporary one, since the parties were
unable to agree about the marriage-articles, and the affair was broken
off. In after years Bassompierre had good reason to regret that the
projected marriage had not taken place, in which event he would have
been spared great trouble and expense.

The King, learning that he had returned, wrote telling him to come at
once to Fontainebleau, where the Court was then in residence, and
informing him that, although he had until then been the greatest gambler
in his circle of friends, since his absence in Lorraine a Portuguese
gentleman named Pimentel had appeared upon the scene, who played much
higher than even he did. He must lose no time in redeeming his lost

Bassompierre hastened to obey, and plunged once more into this ruinous
amusement--ruinous, that is to say, to others, for, as we know, he was
well able to take care of himself--with all the zest begotten of a three
weeks’ abstinence from the card-table. For, though he had probably
gambled at Nancy, the stakes in vogue there must have seemed a mere
bagatelle compared with those for which Henri IV and his intimates

     “We remained some days at Fontainebleau,” he says, “playing the
     most frenzied game that I have ever heard of. Not a day passed on
     which there were not gains or losses of 20,000 pistoles. The
     counters of the least value which were used were for 50 pistoles.
     The highest were worth 500 pistoles; so that it was possible to
     hold in one’s hand at one time counters to the value of 50,000
     pistoles. I won that year there more than 500,000 francs at play,
     notwithstanding that I was distracted by a thousand follies of
     youth and love. The King returned to Paris, and from there went to
     Saint-Germain. Play on the same scale continued, and Pimentel won
     more than 200,000 crowns.”

In July, Madame d’Entragues and her two daughters returned from
Malesherbes, and went to stay at Conflans, Madame de Verneuil in one
house, and Madame d’Entragues and Marie in another. Marie, however,
frequently found a pretext for spending the night with her elder sister,
and on these occasions, says Bassompierre, “M. de Guise and I played the
part of knights-errant and went to visit them.” After a short stay at
Conflans, the d’Entragues returned to Paris, where Marie and
Bassompierre had another quarrel--for what reason he does not tell
us--and “he broke entirely with her.” Like the last, however, it would
not appear to have been of long duration.

At the beginning of August, the Duke of Mantua came to the French Court,
where, as the husband of the Queen’s sister, he was magnificently
entertained. His Highness, however, seems to have spent a considerable
part of his visit at the card-tables, for, “being a great gambler, he
was delighted to take part in the high play which went on, which was to
him extraordinary.” When the Duke took his departure, Bassompierre, who
spoke Italian fluently, was deputed to accompany him on his homeward
journey so far as Montargis.


     Enviable position of Bassompierre at the Court of France--The
     Connétable de Montmorency offers him the hand of his beautiful
     daughter Charlotte, the greatest heiress in France--The
     marriage-articles are drawn up--The consent of Henri IV is
     obtained--The Duc de Bouillon, whom Bassompierre has offended,
     endeavours to persuade the King to withdraw his sanction and to
     marry Mlle. de Montmorency to the Prince de Condé (_Monsieur le
     Prince_)--Henri IV falls madly in love with the young
     lady--Singular conversation between the King and Bassompierre, in
     which his Majesty orders the latter to renounce his pretensions to
     Mlle. de Montmorency’s hand--Astonishment and mortification of
     Bassompierre, who, however, yields with a good grace--Bassompierre
     falls ill of chagrin and remains for two days “without sleeping,
     eating or drinking”--He is persuaded by his friend Praslin to
     return to the Louvre--Mlle. de Montmorency is betrothed to the
     Prince de Condé--Bassompierre falls ill of tertian fever, but rises
     from his sick-bed to fight a duel with a Gascon gentleman--The
     combatants are separated by friends of the latter--Serious illness
     of Bassompierre.

Bassompierre had now fairly established his claim to be regarded as “the
most amiable and elegant gentleman of the Court,” and his position was
in every way an enviable one. He was idolised by the ladies to a degree
that no gallant has ever been either before or since his time, with the
possible exception of the too-celebrated Maréchal de Richelieu, in the
days of Louis XV;[57] liked and admired by the men, who looked upon him
as “the glass of fashion and the mould of form;” so great a favourite of
the King that his Majesty grumbled whenever he absented himself from
Court, and there seemed no rank or office, however high, to which he
might not ultimately aspire; and, though not wealthy, as wealth was
accounted in those days at the Court of France, enabled, thanks to his
extraordinary good fortune at play, to vie with the greatest in the
land in luxury and extravagance. “It would have been well,” says a
writer of the time, Tallemant des Réaux, “if there had always been at
the Court someone like him; he did the honours and received and
entertained foreigners. I used to remark that he was at the Court what
_Bon Accueil_ was in the romance of _la Rose_. People everywhere used to
call a man a Bassompierre, if he excelled in good looks and the elegance
of his appearance and manners.”

But Bassompierre possessed more solid claims to the universal popularity
which he enjoyed than these. He was not only an adept at all manly
exercises, but a good musician, a sound classical scholar, and a master
of four languages: French, German, Spanish, and Italian. Despite his
follies, his innumerable gallantries, his gambling, and his prodigality,
he possessed a vein of sound common-sense, which caused him to be
consulted frequently by those who were in pecuniary or other
embarrassments; and he was a kindly, good-natured man, who held aloof
from the intrigues of the Court, never spoke ill of anyone, and was
always ready to do a service to a friend who needed it. And he was now
about to receive the most flattering tribute to his better qualities
possible to imagine--one, indeed, which he could not have hoped for even
in his fondest dreams--namely, the offer of a bride who was at once the
most beautiful girl at the Court, the greatest heiress in France, and,
with a single exception,[58] the young lady of the highest rank in the
land after the daughters of the Princes of the Blood.

       *       *       *       *       *

One day, in October, 1608, the old Connétable de Montmorency, with whom
Bassompierre had always been a great favourite, invited him to dine with
him on the morrow, at the same time impressing upon him the importance
of not failing to be there, which was no doubt a very necessary
precaution, in view of the frequency with which that young gentleman’s
love-affairs and gambling-parties must have necessitated the breaking of
other social engagements. On his arrival at Montmorency’s hôtel, he
found that the Duc d’Epernon, the Marquis de Roquelaure, Zamet, and a
_maître des requêtes_ named La Cave, had also been invited, all four
being intimate friends of both the Constable and himself; and from their
presence he divined that some important matter which must concern him
very closely was in the wind.

After dinner, Montmorency conducted his guests into his chamber, where
they were joined by Du Tillet-Girard, his confidential secretary, and
his physician Rancin, the latter of whom the Constable directed to
station himself at the door and on no account to allow their privacy to
be interrupted. Then, in a solemn speech, the old nobleman proceeded to
inform them of the reason which had led him to invite them there that

Having, he said, arrived at the close of life, he had deemed it his duty
to look around him for a man to whom he might give his youngest daughter
in marriage--one who might be agreeable both to himself and to her; and,
although he might choose amongst all the princes in France, he preferred
his daughter’s happiness to her elevation, and to see her, during the
rest of his days, living in joy and contentment. For which reason, the
esteem which he had so long entertained for the person and family of M.
de Bassompierre had decided him to offer him what others of far higher
rank would most gladly accept. And he had wished to do this in the
presence of his best friends, who were likewise M. de Bassompierre’s,
and to tell him that, having loved him as dearly as if he were his son,
he desired to make him so by marrying him to his daughter, being assured
that she would be happy with him, knowing as he did his good qualities;
and that M. de Bassompierre, on his part, would hold himself honoured in
marrying the daughter and grand-daughter of Constables of France; while
he (Montmorency) would be happy the rest of his days if he saw them both
living happily and contentedly together. He added that it was his
intention to give his daughter a dowry of 100,000 crowns, while she
would receive another 50,000 on the death of his younger brother;[59]
and if nothing prevented M. de Bassompierre from accepting the offer
which he now made him, he would instruct Du Tillet-Girard to draw up, in
conjunction with whatever person he might choose to appoint, the

     “There were tears of joy in his eyes when he finished speaking,”
     writes Bassompierre, “and, as for me, I was so overcome by an
     honour as unhoped for as it was dear to me, that words failed me to
     express what I felt. At length, I told him that this honour so
     great and so unexpected which he, in his generosity, designed for
     me deprived me of the power of speech; that I could only marvel at
     my good fortune; that it was above all my expectations, as it was
     above my deserts; that it could only be repaid by very humble
     service and infinite submission; that my life would be too short to
     requite it, and that I could only offer him entire devotion to his
     will; that it was not a husband whom he would give his daughter,
     but a being by whom she would be incessantly adored like a goddess
     and respected like a queen, and that he had not chosen a son-in-law
     so much as a domestic servant of his House, whose every action
     would be guided by his intentions and wishes alone; and that if
     anything abated the excess of my joy, it was the apprehension that
     Mlle. de Montmorency, who could choose from all the marriageable
     princes in France, might regret renouncing the quality of princess,
     of which she ought with reason to be assured, to occupy that of a
     simple lady; and that I would prefer to die and lose the honour
     which Monsieur le Connétable designed for me than occasion her the
     least regret or discontent. And upon that, as I occupied a rather
     low seat close to his own, I placed a knee to the ground, and,
     taking his hand, kissed it, while he held me in a long embrace.
     After which, he told me not to entertain any fear of that, as,
     before speaking to me, he had consulted his daughter, and found her
     perfectly disposed to fulfil all the wishes of her father, and
     particularly in that which was not disagreeable to her.

     “MM. d’Épernon and de Roquelaure approved the choice which the
     Constable had made of my person, and said more kind things
     concerning me than I merited; as did also Zamet, La Cave, and Du
     Tillet-Girard; and they then all embraced me, praising the
     Constable’s choice and felicitating me on my good fortune. After
     this, the Constable told them that it was not opportune to reveal
     this affair, and that he entrusted it to their discretion until the
     time came to divulge it; because he was not just then in the good
     graces of the King, since he had refused his consent to the
     marriage which the King had desired to bring about between M. de
     Montmorency[60] and Mlle. de Verneuil,[61] his daughter. This they
     promised him, and I likewise.

     “The Constable requested me to come to him again in the evening,
     when Madame d’Angoulême, his sister-in-law[62] would be there,
     saying that he intended to speak before her


From an engraving by Barbant.]

     and his daughter of his decision to give the latter to me in
     marriage. On my arrival, he said to me before her: ‘My son, here is
     a wife whom I am keeping for you; salute her.’ This I did, and
     kissed her. Then he spoke to her and to Madame d’Angoulême, who
     seemed very content with the choice which her brother-in-law had
     made of me for her niece.”

The following day, the Princess de Conti, who had been let into the
secret, took Madame de Bassompierre to the Constable’s hotel and
presented her to the Duchesse d’Angoulême, who received her very
graciously, observing: “We shall be the two mothers of our newly-married
pair, and I know not whether you or I, Madame, will be the most
rejoiced.” Madame de Bassompierre then had an interview with the
Constable, who impressed upon her the importance of keeping the affair
secret for the present, and proposed that, meanwhile, their respective
men of business should meet and draw up the marriage-articles. This was
accordingly done, Du Tillet-Girard acting for the one side, and
Bauvillier, Procurator-General of the Cour des Monnaies, for the other;
and a draft was submitted to the Constable and Madame de Bassompierre,
and duly approved by them.

Shortly after this, the Constable, who, Bassompierre tells us, did not
seem able to see enough of his prospective son-in-law or to think of
anything but advancing his interests, proposed to give him at once
50,000 crowns out of his daughter’s promised dowry, to enable him to
purchase the post of Colonel-General of the Light Cavalry, whose
occupant, the Comte d’Auvergne, was then in the Bastille and likely to
remain there indefinitely, though his wife, the Constable’s eldest
daughter, had been allowed to receive the salary attached to it. Madame
de Bassompierre, however, offered to find this sum, and suggested that,
in lieu of the dowry of 100,000 crowns, Montmorency should give her son
the estate of La Fère-en-Tardenois, near Château-Thierry, with remainder
to his daughter and any children which might be born of the marriage.
To this the Constable readily agreed, and, at the same time, told
Bassompierre to make ready to come secretly to Chantilly, where he
intended that the marriage should be celebrated so soon as possible, in
the presence of none but members of his family and a few intimate
friends. However, their common friend Roquelaure, who was making great
efforts to reconcile the King to Montmorency, sought to dissuade the
latter from this step, pointing out that, if he gave his daughter in
marriage without previously informing his Majesty and obtaining his
approval, he would offend him still more; while the King would certainly
be seriously annoyed if so great a favourite of his as Bassompierre were
to marry without consulting him.

Now, Henri IV had, some time before this, expressed a desire that
Bassompierre should become one of his First Gentlemen of the Chamber, in
place of the Duc de Bouillon, whose haughty airs displeased his Majesty,
and had promised to give him 20,000 crowns to assist him to purchase
this coveted office from the duke. He had also sent a gentleman of his
Household to Bouillon to sound him upon the matter, and the latter had
intimated his willingness to resign his post, in consideration of
receiving the sum of 50,000 crowns, though it was believed that he would
accept a smaller sum. Anyway, he was coming to the Court almost
immediately, for the purpose of settling the matter. Roquelaure, who was
much attached to Bassompierre, and had himself suggested to Henri IV
that he should aid him to purchase the post, told the Constable that the
announcement of his approaching marriage would be an excellent
opportunity for Bassompierre to obtain from the King the 20,000 écus he
had been promised, for which otherwise he might have to wait long,
since, where money was concerned, the Béarnais was far more ready to
promise than to perform.

Bassompierre was of the same opinion, and, since the Constable was not
just then on visiting terms with his sovereign, it was decided that he
and Roquelaure should wait upon Henri IV that evening, and that, after
the former had acquainted the King with his matrimonial intentions, the
latter should inform him that he came on behalf of the Constable to
demand his Majesty’s consent to his daughter’s marriage. This they did,
and the King, not only expressed his warm approval of the marriage, but
declared that, in view of such a happy event, he felt that he could no
longer remain on bad terms with the Constable, and sent Bassompierre to
tell the old nobleman to come and see him on the morrow, when he might
rest assured that he would be well received.

The following day, after receiving the Constable, whom he treated very
graciously, Henri IV, at Bassompierre’s request, paid a visit to the
Duchesse d’Angoulême, and told her that he had come, not as the King,
but as Bassompierre’s personal friend, to see the young lady whom he was
about to marry and to rejoice with her that so admirable a husband had
been chosen for her. And he said all manner of kind things about
Bassompierre, and spoke much of the affection which he entertained for

So far everything had gone smoothly, but now an obstacle arose.

That same evening the Duc de Bouillon arrived at Court. The King at once
spoke to him about the proposed purchase of his post of First Gentleman
of the Chamber by Bassompierre, and he answered that he had come to
arrange the matter. Bassompierre, who was present, with several other
nobles and gentlemen, exchanged a few words with the duke, as did the
rest of the company; but he forgot to pay him a visit on the morrow, as
he most certainly ought to have done, seeing that Bouillon was the
Constable’s nephew,[63] and “for all manner of other reasons.” His
unfortunate omission appears to have wounded the pride of this most
haughty of nobles, who was already none too well disposed towards the
projected marriage, since he believed that it was the work of the Duc
d’Épernon, of whom, Bassompierre tells us, he had been all his life
intensely jealous. He therefore resolved to do what he could to prevent
it, and that evening, when he was talking to the King, who had just
returned from the Queen’s apartments, “where he had seen Mlle. de
Montmorency, whom he and everyone had found perfect in beauty,” he told
him that he was greatly astonished that his Majesty should have given
his consent to the marriage, since the Prince de Condé, the first Prince
of the Blood,[64] was of an age to marry, and that, while it was
inexpedient that he should marry a foreign princess, there were no young
ladies of sufficiently high rank for him to wed in France, with the
exception of Mlle. de Mayenne and Mlle. de Montmorency. Well, no one who
had his sovereign’s interests at heart could possibly counsel his union
with Mlle. de Mayenne, since the remnant of the League was still too
powerful for it to be prudent to strengthen it by a marriage between the
daughter of its former chief and the first Prince of the Blood. On the
other hand, there could be no such objection to his marriage with Mlle.
de Montmorency, which would give him no new connections, since he was
already related to the Montmorencys on his mother’s side.[65] And he
besought his Majesty very humbly to weigh the counsel which he had had
the honour to give him and to reflect well upon it. This the King
promised to do, and the interview ended.

It happened that the next day had been appointed by the Queen for the
rehearsal of a grand ballet entitled _les Nymphes de Diane_, which some
of the ladies of the Court, carefully chosen for their grace and beauty,
were to dance during the approaching Carnival, Mlle. de Montmorency
being amongst the number. The rehearsal took place in the great hall of
the Louvre, from which all the masculine portion of the Court, with the
exception of the King, the Grand Equerry, the Duc de Bellegarde, and
Montespan, the Captain of the Guards, were rigorously excluded. The
sight of Mlle. de Montmorency, who, according to Mézeray, had been cast
for the part of Diana, in the costume of ancient Greece, proved
altogether too much for the susceptible monarch, and inspired him with
sentiments very different from those which that chaste goddess was
supposed to implant in the hearts of men. In a word, he straightway fell
madly in love with her. “_Monsieur le Grand_,” writes Bassompierre,
“faithful to his habit of praising to excess anything new, and
particularly Mlle. de Montmorency, infused into the excitable mind of
the King that love which afterwards caused him to commit so many

The same evening the King was attacked by his old enemy, the gout, in so
severe a form that he was obliged to keep his bed for a fortnight; and,
most unfortunately as it was to prove for Bassompierre, the Constable
also fell ill of the same malady, so that the wedding, which it had been
decided was to take place almost immediately at Chantilly, had to be
postponed until the old gentleman was well enough to leave Paris.

Meanwhile, Bassompierre had learned that the Duc de Bouillon was
endeavouring to prevent the marriage. That nobleman, it appears, had
told Roquelaure, who lost no time in informing his friend, that “M. de
Bassompierre wanted to have his office of First Gentleman of the
Chamber, and said nothing to him about it; that he wanted to marry his
niece, and said not a word to him upon the matter; but that he would
burn his books if he had either his office or his niece.”

Having already represented to the King the advisability of reserving the
hand of Mlle. de Montmorency for the Prince de Condé, the duke sought an
interview with Condé himself and proposed the match to him, pointing out
that this alliance would give him for relatives all the grandees of
France, who would become the very humble servants of a personage of his
exalted rank, and that, if he did not marry Mlle. de Montmorency, he
would probably have to spend the remainder of his days in single
blessedness, because the King would not allow him to wed a foreign
princess, and there was no other young lady in France of suitable rank,
with the exception of Mlle. de Mayenne, and the King would never consent
to his marrying her. These arguments were not without effect, and
eventually Condé authorised him to approach the Constable on his behalf.

The Constable, warned by Bassompierre of his nephew’s machinations, told
him not to allow them to disquiet him, since whatever match was proposed
to him he should refuse it, adding that he knew M. de Bouillon’s ways
far too well to be persuaded by him. He was as good as his word, and
when Bouillon spoke to him on the subject, he met with a sharp rebuff,
the Constable telling him that he had no need to seek a husband for his
daughter, as he had found one, and that he already had the honour of
being _Monsieur le Prince’s_ great-uncle, which was enough for him.

During the illness of Henri IV, Bellegarde, Gramont, and Bassompierre
took it in turn to sit up with him at night, the long hours being passed
in reading to him d’Urfé’s sentimental romance _Astrée_, which was then
enjoying a great vogue, or in conversation, for the King suffered so
much pain that sometimes he was unable to sleep at all. It was the
custom of the Princesses of the Blood to visit the sick-room daily; and
the Duchesse d’Angoulême on more than one occasion brought her niece
with her. One day, while the duchess was talking to one of his
gentlemen, Henri IV, who did not disguise the pleasure which Mlle. de
Montmorency’s visits gave him, called the girl to his bedside, told her
that he intended to love her as if she were his own daughter, and that
she should be lodged in the Louvre when Bassompierre was on duty as
First Gentleman of the Chamber. He then desired her to tell him frankly
whether she were pleased with the marriage which had been arranged for
her, because, if it were not to her liking, he would soon find means to
break it, and marry her to his nephew, the Prince de Condé. The damsel
replied demurely that, since it was her father’s wish, she would esteem
herself very happy with M. de Bassompierre. And, writes that gentleman,
“he [the King] told me afterwards that these words made him resolve to
break my marriage, from fear lest, if I married her, she should love me
too much to be agreeable to him.”

     “M. de Gramont,” continues Bassompierre, “sat up with the King that
     night, during which he slept but little, for love and the gout keep
     those whom they attack very much awake. At eight o’clock the
     following morning he sent a page of the Chamber to fetch me, and,
     when I came, inquired why I had not sat up with him the previous
     night. I answered that it was M. de Gramont’s night, and that the
     next was mine. He told me that he had not closed an eye, and that
     he had often thought of me. Then he made me place myself on a
     hassock by his bedside (as was customary for those who entertained
     him when he was in bed), and went on to tell me that he had been
     thinking of me and of a marriage for me. I, who suspected nothing
     so little as what he was going to say, replied that, but for the
     Constable’s attack of gout, my marriage would already have been
     concluded. ‘No,’ said he, ‘I thought of marrying you to Mlle.
     d’Aumale,[66] and, in consideration of this marriage, of renewing
     the duchy of Aumale in your person.’[67] I asked him if he wished
     to give me two wives, upon which, after a deep sigh, he replied:

     “‘Bassompierre, I wish to speak to you as a friend. I am not only
     in love, but madly and desperately in love, with Mlle. de
     Montmorency. If she marries you, and loves you, I shall hate you;
     if she loves me, you will hate me. It is better that this should
     not be the cause of interrupting our friendly intercourse, for I
     have much affection for you. I am resolved to marry her to my
     nephew the Prince de Condé,[68] and to retain her about the person
     of my wife. She will be the consolation and support of the old age
     upon which I am about to enter. I shall give my nephew, who is
     young and cares more for the chase than for ladies, a hundred
     thousand francs a year, wherewith to amuse himself, and I do not
     desire any other favour from her than her affection, without
     pretending to anything further.’”

Bassompierre’s astonishment and dismay at this announcement can well be
imagined. But he was above all things a courtier, and, aware that
opposition to the infatuated monarch’s will would be worse than futile,
he resolved to make a virtue of necessity, and proceeded to assure the
King of his joy at being afforded an opportunity of showing his devotion
to his Majesty, by cheerfully resigning to him what he valued more than
his own life.

But let us allow him to continue his narrative of this singular

     “While he was telling me this, I was reflecting that, were I to
     reply that I refused to abandon my suit, it would be but a useless
     impertinence, because he was all-powerful; and, having decided to
     yield with a good grace, I said:--

     “‘Sire, I have always ardently desired a thing which has happened
     to me when I was least anticipating it, which was the opportunity
     of showing your Majesty, by some signal proof, the extreme and
     ardent devotion which I cherish for you, and how truly I love you.
     Assuredly, I could not have met with one more suitable than
     this--of abandoning without pain and without regret an alliance so
     illustrious, and a lady so perfect and so passionately beloved by
     me, since by this resignation which I am making I please in some
     way your Majesty. Yes, Sire, I renounce it for ever, and trust that
     this new love may bring you as much joy as the loss of it would
     occasion me distress, were it not that the consideration of your
     Majesty prevents me feeling it.’

     “Then the King embraced me and wept, assuring me that he would make
     my fortune as if I were one of his natural children, and that he
     loved me dearly, of which I should be assured, and that he would
     recompense my honesty and my friendship. The arrival of the princes
     and nobles made me rise, and, when the King recalled me and told me
     again that he intended me to marry his cousin d’Aumale, I answered
     that he had the power to prevent my marriage, but, as for marrying
     elsewhere, ‘that is a thing which I will never do.’ And with that
     our conversation terminated.”

That day Bassompierre dined with the Duc d’Épernon, to whom he related
what the King had said to him. D’Épernon was disposed to make light of
the matter. “It is merely a caprice of the King,” said he, “which will
pass as quickly as it came. Do not be alarmed about it; for when
_Monsieur le Prince_ understands what the King’s intentions are, he will
not commit himself.” Bassompierre tried to persuade himself that such
was the case, and, on the duke’s advice, said nothing to anyone else
about the matter.

In the evening, as he and two or three other gentlemen were playing at
dice with the King at a table placed beside his bed, the Duchesse
d’Angoulême entered the room with her niece, whom she had brought, it
appeared, in response to a message from his Majesty. The King
immediately ceased playing and had a long and earnest conversation with
the duchess on the further side of the bed. Then he called Mlle. de
Montmorency and spoke to her also for a long time. It was evident that
he informed her that Bassompierre had renounced his pretensions to her
hand, and that he intended to bestow it upon the Prince de Condé, for
when the conversation came to an end and the girl turned away, she
glanced in her unfortunate suitor’s direction and shrugged her pretty

     “This simple action,” writes Bassompierre, “pierced me to the heart
     and affected me to such a degree that, feeling quite unequal to
     continuing the game, I simulated a bleeding of the nose and left
     the first cabinet and the second. On the stairs the _valets de
     chambre_ brought me my cloak and hat. My money I had left to take
     care of itself, but Beringhen[69] gathered it up. At the bottom of
     the staircase I found M. d’Épernon’s coach, and, entering it, I
     told the coachman to drive me to my lodging. I met my _valet de
     chambre_ and went up with him to my room, where I instructed him to
     say that I was not at my lodging; and I remained there two days,
     tormented like one possessed, without sleeping, eating, or
     drinking. People believed that I had gone into the country, as I
     was in the habit of playing such pranks. At length, my valet,
     fearing that I should die or lose my reason, acquainted M. de
     Praslin, who was much attached to me, of the state in which I was,
     and he came to see me, in order to divert my mind.”

M. de Praslin succeeded in persuading Bassompierre that there was still
something to live for, and brought him that evening to the Louvre, where
“everyone was at first astonished to see that in the space of two days
he had become so thin, pale and changed as to be unrecognisable.”

A few days later, the Prince de Condé announced his intention of
marrying Mlle. de Montmorency. The prince, who was by no means an
amiable young man, had taken a dislike to Bassompierre, whose
pretensions to the young heiress’s hand would, but for the intervention
of the King, have most certainly been preferred to his own; and
happening to meet his discomfited rival, said to him with obvious
malice: “M. de Bassompierre, I beg you to come to my hôtel this
afternoon and accompany me to Madame d’Angoulême’s, whither I propose
going to pay my respects to Mlle. de Montmorency.”

“I made him a low bow,” says Bassompierre, “but I did not go there.”

It is probable that the loss of Mlle. de Montmorency’s dowry and all the
advantages which his alliance with so illustrious a family would have
brought him distressed Bassompierre a good deal more than the loss of
the young lady herself.

     “It is true,” says he, “that there was not at that time under
     Heaven a being more beautiful than Mlle. de Montmorency, nor one
     more graceful or perfect in every respect. She had made a deep
     impression upon my heart; but, as it was a love which was to be
     regulated by marriage, I did not feel my disappointment so much as
     I should otherwise have done.”

Nor had he far to look for consolation, and “in order not to remain idle
and to console myself for my loss, I sought diversion in making my peace
with three ladies, with whom I had totally broken in expectation of
marrying--one of them being Antragues.”

If, however, like a true courtier, he had been ready to bow to the
caprice of his sovereign, and to make the best of the situation, his
vanity had been wounded far too deeply for him to allow himself “to be
led in triumph”--as he expresses it--by Condé, when that prince’s formal
betrothal to Mlle. de Montmorency took place:

     “I was that morning in the King’s apartments, when _Monsieur le
     Prince_, after speaking to several others, approached me and said:
     ‘M. de Bassompierre, I beg you to come this afternoon to my hôtel
     and accompany me to my betrothal at the Louvre.’ The King, seeing
     him speak to me, inquired what he had said. ‘He has asked of me,
     Sire,’ I replied, ‘a thing which I am unable to do.’ ‘And why?’
     said he. ‘It is to accompany him to his betrothal. Is he not
     sufficiently great to go alone, and can he not be betrothed without
     me being present? I answer that, if there is no one to accompany
     him but myself, he will be very badly escorted.’ The King said that
     it was his wish that I should go, to which I replied that I begged
     his Majesty not to command me, for go I would not; that his Majesty
     ought to be content that I had renounced my passion at the first
     expression of his desires and wishes, without desiring to force me
     to be led in triumph, after having ravished away my wife and all my
     happiness.’ The King, who was the best of men, said to me: ‘I see
     well, Bassompierre, that you are angry, but I assure you that you
     will fail not to go when you have reflected that he who has asked
     you is my nephew, first prince of my blood.’ Upon which he left me
     and, taking MM. de Praslin and Termes aside, ordered them to go and
     dine with me and persuade me to go, since duty and decorum demanded
     it of me. And this I did, after a little remonstrance, but in such
     fashion that I did not set out until the princesses were conducting
     the _fiancée_ to the Louvre, and were passing before my lodging,
     which obliged me to accompany her with the gentlemen who had dined
     with me. And then, from the gate of the Louvre, we returned to find
     _Monsieur le Prince_, whom we met as he was leaving the Pont-Neuf
     to come thither. The betrothal took place in the gallery of the
     Louvre, and the King maliciously leant upon my shoulder and kept me
     close to the affianced couple during the whole ceremony.”

Two days afterwards, Bassompierre fell ill of tertian fever, and one
morning, while he lay in bed, he received a visit from a Gascon
gentleman named Noé, who had, or imagined he had, some grievance against
him, and who had come to inquire whether he might have the honour of
fighting a duel with him, so soon as his strength would permit.
Bassompierre replied that he had enough and to spare whenever it was a
question of giving another gentleman satisfaction, and, rising
forthwith, ordered a horse to be saddled, dressed, and rode off to the
“field of honour,” which M. de Noé had appointed at Bicêtre. It was
hardly the kind of day which even a hale man would have chosen to
indulge in one of these little affairs, as there was a thick fog, and
the ground was two feet deep in snow. But he scorned to turn back, and
at length reached the rendezvous, where he found his adversary awaiting

It had been agreed that, as Bassompierre was in no condition to fight on
foot, the combat should take place on horseback; but just as it was
about to begin, two Gascons, named La Gaulas and Carbon, with a third
man called Le Fay, all of whom were apparently friends of Noé, came
galloping up, with the intention of preventing the duel, and called out
to that fire-eating gentleman: “You can meet some other time.”

Bassompierre, however, having put himself to so much inconvenience just
to oblige M. de Noé, was highly indignant at the interruption, and,
resolved not to return to Paris without striking at least one blow,
shouted to his adversary to mount his horse, and rode towards him. Noé,
who was as anxious to get at Bassompierre as the latter was to get at
him, threw himself into the saddle, and though his friends endeavoured
to intercept him, he contrived to evade them; and he and Bassompierre
were about to cross swords when Carbon urged his horse against the flank
of Noé’s with such force that he bore both the animal and its rider to
the ground. Noé was soon in the saddle again, but the fog was now so
thick that it was quite impossible for one man to recognise another,
with the consequence that Bassompierre came near to killing La Gaulas,
whom he mistook for Noé. This mishap put an end to the combat, and
Bassompierre, who was feeling so ill that he could scarcely sit his
horse, made his way to Gentilly, where fortunately he found some
friends of his, who assisted him back to Paris.

One might suppose that, after this adventure, our gentleman would have
been content to remain in bed for a day or two; but, since there
happened to be a grand ballet at the Arsenal that evening, at which all
the Court was to be present, and which he was particularly anxious to
attend, he must needs array himself in all his bravery and go out into
the snow and fog again. The result of this imprudence was that he fell
dangerously ill and was at one time at death’s door; and the spring had
come before he was about again.


     The body of a man who has been assassinated opposite Marie
     d’Entragues’s house mistaken for that of Bassompierre--Bassompierre
     wins a wager of a thousand crowns from the King--Marriage of the
     Prince de Condé and Mlle. de Montmorency--Henri IV informs
     Bassompierre of his intention to send him on a secret mission to
     Henri II, Duke of Lorraine, to propose an alliance between that
     prince’s elder daughter and the Dauphin--Departure of
     Bassompierre--He arrives at Nancy and challenges a gentleman to a
     duel, but the affair is arranged--His first audience of Duke Henri
     II--Irresolution of that prince, who desires to postpone his answer
     until he has consulted his advisers--Negotiations of Bassompierre
     with the Margrave of Baden-Durlach--He returns to Nancy--Continued
     hesitation of the Duke of Lorraine--Memoir of Bassompierre: his
     prediction of the advantages which Lorraine would derive from being
     incorporated with France abundantly justified by time--The Duke
     gives a qualified acceptance of Henri IV’s propositions--Difficulty
     which Bassompierre experiences in inducing him to commit his reply
     to writing.

Soon after Bassompierre’s recovery an incident occurred which brought
him and his love-affairs rather more prominently before the public than
he altogether cared about.

In the same street in which Madame d’Entragues and her younger daughter
were then living, there lodged an Italian equerry of the Queen, named
Camille Sanconi. This Sanconi was in love with his landlady, and finding
her one fine night in the company of a rival admirer, he or his servants
gave the latter several sword-thrusts, and then threw him into the
street in his night-attire. The unfortunate man’s wounds were mortal,
and he had scarcely managed to drag himself along for fifty paces, when
he fell down dead, directly beneath the window of the room occupied by
Marie d’Entragues.

     “Some passer-by,” writes Bassompierre, “seeing the dead body,
     believed that it was I, on account of the spot where it lay, and
     came battering at the door of my lodging, saying that I had been
     assassinated at Madame d’Entragues’s house, and then thrown out of
     the window, and that my servants ought to go to succour me
     promptly, if I were still alive, or to bring me back, if I were
     dead. As chance would have it, I had left my lodging, in disguise,
     to visit a lady, a circumstance which seemed to my servants to
     afford such strong confirmation of this story, that they
     thoughtlessly rushed off to where the body which had been taken for
     mine was lying, and the more impetuous ones having thrown
     themselves upon it, prevented the more prudent from examining it
     closely; and all bore it away to my lodging. On the way thither
     they were met by other servants of mine who carried torches, by the
     light of which they perceived that the corpse was that of another
     man, upon which they carried it to the house of a surgeon, where
     the officers of the law soon came to take possession of it. This
     affair occasioned a rather great scandal, and my servants to become
     the laughing-stock of the town.”

Early in May, the Court went to Fontainebleau, and Bassompierre followed
it shortly afterwards. On his arrival, he found that the engineers had
just begun to let the water into the canal which had recently been
constructed there; and the King offered to wager a thousand crowns that
in two days it would be quite full. Bassompierre took the bet and won it
easily, as it was more than a week before the canal was full.

On May 17, the Prince de Condé and Charlotte de Montmorency were married
at Chantilly, the wedding having been delayed until then owing to the
necessity of awaiting the Papal dispensation for the marriage of blood
relations. Shortly afterwards, the bridal pair joined the Court at
Fontainebleau, but the young princess only remained there a week, and
then went with her mother-in-law to the Château of Valery, near Sens,
one of Condé’s country-houses.

One day, while the Court was at Fontainebleau, the King sent for
Bassompierre and announced that he proposed to send him on a secret
mission of the highest importance to his Majesty’s brother-in-law, Henri
II, Duke of Lorraine. By his first marriage with Catherine de Bourbon,
the Duke had had no children; but by his second marriage with Margherita
di Gonzaga, at which, it will be remembered, Bassompierre had assisted
in the quality of Ambassador Extraordinary, he had two daughters, the
Princesses Nicole and Claude; and the chief object of the mission which
he was now to undertake was to propose, on behalf of the King, an
alliance between the elder princess and the Dauphin, and to employ all
his powers of persuasion to induce the Duke to consent to it. These
would be needed, for the Lorrainers, like the people of all small
countries, were always exceedingly suspicious about the designs of their
powerful neighbours; and, though the prospect of one of his daughters
sharing the throne of France might flatter the pride of Henri II, his
subjects would probably regard the affair in a very different light.
However, the advantages to be derived from such an alliance were so
great that the King was determined to spare no expense to bring it
about, and, with the idea that corruption might succeed where other
means might fail, he authorised Bassompierre “to offer pensions up to
the value of 12,000 crowns to any private persons whom he should judge
capable of assisting him in this affair.” Finally, “in order to
encourage him to serve him the more zealously on this occasion, he
offered to marry him to Mlle. de Chemillé[70] and to re-establish in his
favour the estate of Beaupreau into a duchy and peerage.” “But,”
continues Bassompierre, “I was so over head and ears in love just then,
that I told him that, if he desired to do me any favour, I begged that
it might not be by way of marriage, since by marriage he had done me so
much injury.”

Henri IV was most anxious that Bassompierre should set out at once for
Lorraine, and this the latter promised to do. But, on reaching Paris, he
reflected that the marriage of the Duc de Vendôme, the King’s son by
Gabrielle d’Estrées, which was to be a very splendid affair indeed, was
to take place at Fontainebleau in ten days’ time, and that it would be a
thousand pities to miss it, even if he had to go there in disguise. He
therefore decided to postpone his departure until after the wedding and
to spend the interval in Paris, confining himself, we may suppose, to
the company of such of his friends as might be trusted not to reveal his
presence there to the King, who, of course, imagined him to be well on
his way to Lorraine. He soon had reason to regret having disobeyed his
sovereign’s commands, for, during the ten days he spent in the capital,
his usual extraordinary good fortune at play for once entirely deserted
him, and he contrived to lose no less a sum than 25,000 crowns, which
seems a somewhat exorbitant price to pay for the pleasure of attending
even the most magnificent of weddings.

Having witnessed the ceremony, so carefully disguised that his identity
would not appear to have been even suspected, he returned to Paris and
started the same day for Lorraine, from which, after his mission had
been accomplished, he had orders to proceed to Germany, to sound the
Margrave of Baden-Durlach as to the attitude he was likely to assume in
the event of a war between France and the House of Austria, for which
Henri IV had long been making preparations.

The King had not failed to impress upon his emissary the importance of
not allowing it to be suspected that he had come to Lorraine with any
diplomatic object in view, and, faithful to these instructions,
Bassompierre, instead of going at once to Nancy, proceeded to Harouel,
where, in honour of his arrival, his mother kept open house, and he was
visited by a great many of the nobles of Lorraine. At Harouel he
remained for some days and then proceeded to Nancy, “just as if he had
no other business there than to pay his respects to the princes and pass
the time.”

On the morrow of his arrival, one of his servants came to complain to
him that he had been chastised by a gentleman named Du Ludre, whom he
had in some way offended. Bassompierre at once sent that gentleman a
challenge to mortal combat, apparently forgetting, in his indignation at
the affront which had been offered him in the person of his servant,
that if Du Ludre happened to be an expert swordsman and were to kill or
even wound him seriously, there would be an end to the mission with
which the King had charged him. Happily, however, the gentleman in
question turned out to be a pacifist, who, though ready enough to cane
insolent lackeys, had no desire to cross swords with their masters; and,
calling upon Bassompierre, he offered him so many excuses and apologies
that, instead of fighting, the latter ended by embracing him.

This incident, trivial in itself, had, nevertheless, an important
consequence, since no one was now likely to suspect a gentleman so ready
to seek the “field of honour” of having come to Nancy on an important
diplomatic mission.

However, in order to leave nothing to chance, he waited nearly a week,
and then asked for an audience of the Duke, who was greatly surprised
when he presented his credentials, and still more when he learned the
object of his mission. Henri II was a timid and irresolute prince,
always profoundly suspicious of the great Powers on either side of him,
and his first question to Bassompierre was whether he were to understand
that the troops which the King of France had lately assembled on the
Lorraine frontier were intended to act against him, in the event of his
being unable to comply with the wishes of his Majesty. Bassompierre
hastened to assure him that they were assembled for a very different
purpose, namely, to prevent the annexation of the duchy of Clèves by the
House of Austria, a step which would be so detrimental to the interests
of France that the King was determined not to permit it.[71] The prince,
evidently much relieved, then said that the proposition which had just
been made him was of such importance that he must have time to consider
it and to consult his advisers, and inquired how long Bassompierre could
give him. The latter replied that his Highness might take so long as he
pleased, and said that he would go and visit some of his relatives in
Germany and return for his answer in a fortnight’s time. He begged him,
however, to refrain from admitting anyone to his confidence upon whose
discretion he could not implicitly rely, as it was of the utmost
importance that the matter should be kept secret. The Duke said that he
proposed to consult Bouvet, President of Lorraine, to which
Bassompierre, who was on friendly terms with the President, readily

In the course of the day, Bouvet came to visit Bassompierre and told him
that he had never seen the duke in such perplexity before. He himself
seemed not unfavourably disposed to the French alliance, and
Bassompierre seized the occasion to hint that, if he could persuade his
Highness to consent to it, he would not find the Very Christian King
ungrateful. But the President, who was an honest man, indignantly
repudiated such a suggestion, observing that “he was a good servant of
his master, who was able to make him and all his family wealthier than
they had any desire to be.” Bassompierre hastened to offer his
apologies, and they parted very amicably.

Next day Bassompierre set out for Germany, accompanied by an old friend,
the Count von Salm, whose sister was married to the Margrave of
Baden-Durlach, to whom, as we have mentioned, he was also accredited. He
was at pains, however, not to allow the count to suspect that his
intended visit to the latter’s brother-in-law was other than a friendly

With this object he travelled leisurely, stopping at Strasbourg, Saverne
and other places, to visit people whom he knew. At Saverne, where he had
such a painful experience five years earlier, he was again entertained
by the canons of the Chapter, but on this occasion appears to have risen
from table in a condition to which no one could take exception. He made
up for this moderation, however, a day or two later, at a supper-party
to which he was invited by the Count and Countess von Hanau, relatives
of Salm, where all the company, including apparently the hostess, got
“terribly drunk.”

Having ascertained that the Margrave of Baden-Durlach was at one of his
country-houses near Lichtentau, he and Salm proceeded thither and were
very hospitably entertained. He refrained from saying anything about the
object of his visit until the day of his departure, when, as the company
rose from the dinner-table, he said, in a low voice, to the Margrave
that he had a message of importance to deliver to him, at the same time
giving him a significant look. The Margrave thereupon inquired, in a
loud tone, whether M. de Bassompierre were proceeding direct to France
after his return to Nancy, and, on being told that such was his
intention, asked him to step into his cabinet, since, if he were
disposed to do him a kindness, he had a little commission for him to
execute there.

So soon as they were alone, Bassompierre showed the Margrave his
credentials and informed him that he had been sent by his master to
ascertain if he could reckon upon his support, in the event of a war
between France and the House of Austria. The Margrave replied that the
King could certainly count upon him, adding, however, that he by himself
could do but little. If his Majesty would do him the honour of following
his counsel, he would at once enter into communication with his
relatives, the Duke of Würtemberg, the Margrave of Anspach, and the
Landgraves of Hesse and Darmstadt, all of whom he would find very
disposed to serve him.

Bassompierre now had an opportunity of showing that he had in him
something of the stuff whereof successful diplomatists are made, and he
did not fail to seize it. Although he had received no instructions
whatever from Henri IV in regard to any of the princes mentioned, whose
attitude the King had probably considered far too doubtful to justify
him in disclosing to them his plans, he did not hesitate to assure the
Margrave that he had been charged to visit them all, as well as the
Elector Palatine, provided he could do so without exciting suspicion.
Unfortunately, however, this condition could not be fulfilled, as the
Duke of Würtemberg, whom he had intended to visit at Stuttgart, had gone
to Anspach to attend the wedding of its ruler, and to follow him there
would be too risky a proceeding; the Elector Palatine had gone to the
Upper Palatinate to hunt, and he could find no pretext sufficiently
plausible for approaching the Landgraves of Hesse and Darmstadt. He
had, therefore, he continued, written to the King to explain the
difficulties with which he had to contend and to ask for fresh
instructions, and had received orders to confine himself to visiting the
Margrave, and, if he found him as well-disposed towards the cause of his
Majesty as the latter hoped and believed him to be, to request him to
undertake the chief direction of his negotiations with the princes of
Germany, and to advise him as to which of them would be most inclined to
aid him, by what means they ought to be approached, what letters ought
to be written to them, which of their Ministers it would be advisable to
gain over to his interests, and so forth.

The Margrave, little suspecting that the young diplomatist before him
was acting entirely on his own responsibility, and highly flattered by
such a tribute to his importance, readily promised to undertake what was
required of him, and proposed that his private secretary, Huart, who
possessed his entire confidence, should accompany Bassompierre back to
France, on the pretext of attending to some business affairs of his
master there, and act as a means of communication between the Margrave
and the French Government.

Very satisfied with the result of his visit to the Margrave,
Bassompierre returned to Nancy, where he found despatches from Henri IV
awaiting him, in which he was instructed to sound the Duke of Lorraine
in regard to the Clèves affair. He had no difficulty in obtaining from
the Duke an assurance that he would preserve the strictest neutrality;
but on the question of the proposed marriage between his elder daughter
and the Dauphin, the poor prince appeared quite unable to come to a
decision. At length, after keeping Bassompierre waiting for nearly three
weeks, he sent him, through the President Bouvet, a very flattering
message, in which he informed him that the remembrance of the great
services which his family had rendered the House of Lorraine, and the
esteem which he entertained for M. de Bassompierre personally, had
decided him that he could not do better than ask his advice as to the
answer he should make to the King.

Bassompierre replied that it was impossible for him to act as the
counsellor of a sovereign to whom he was accredited; but, at the same
time, he would be very willing to submit to his Highness the different
answers which it would be possible for him to make to his master’s
proposition, and leave him to choose between them.

He then proceeded to draft a long and elaborate memoir, which occupies
many pages of his _Journal_, wherein, notwithstanding that he had just
expressly declined the honour of advising the Duke of Lorraine, he
proceeded to give that prince some very sound counsel indeed. Space
forbids us to attempt even a summary of this document, but, in the light
of subsequent events, one portion of it is of real interest.

Combating the objection that the marriage of the Duke’s elder daughter
to the Dauphin might lead, in the event of the extinction of the male
line of the House of Lorraine, to the duchy being incorporated with
France, Bassompierre, as a loyal son of Lorraine, boldly declared his
opinion that such an occurrence would be wholly to the advantage of his
compatriots, whose national customs and institutions would be respected
by France as she had respected those of Brittany, while, like the
Bretons, able and ambitious Lorrainers would find in the service of
France opportunities for advancement which they could never hope to meet
with in their own little country. If, on the contrary, the Duke were to
reject the French alliance and give his daughter to a prince of the
House of Austria, which, in a like eventuality, would regard Lorraine
merely as a new province to be exploited for the benefit of the Spanish
or Imperial Exchequer, or to some German or Italian sovereign of the
second rank, whose descendants, brought up in a distant country, would
have nothing in common with the people of Lorraine and would be
powerless to protect them from the aggression of their powerful
neighbours, their lot would be very different.

Time has abundantly justified what Bassompierre wrote, and it is not a
little unusual to find so much sagacity and good sense concealed beneath
so frivolous an exterior.

In conclusion, Bassompierre pointed out that there were four answers
which the Duke of Lorraine might make to the proposal which he had
received from Henri IV: (1) An absolute refusal, which the writer, of
course, strongly deprecated; (2) A refusal based on the ground that the
parties were not yet of marriageable age, accompanied by a promise not
to entertain a proposal for his daughter’s hand from any other quarter,
so long as the King of France continued in the same mind; (3) An
acceptance, accompanied by a stipulation that the affair should be kept
secret, until he had had time to gain the approval of his subjects and
of his relatives, which he would undertake to do as soon as possible;
(4) An unqualified acceptance.

This memoir was duly submitted to the duke, and, the following day, the
President Bouvet came to see Bassompierre, and told him that his
unfortunate master was in a pitiable state of uncertainty, now inclining
to one decision and now to another. “I think,” said he, “that what you
have proposed to his Highness has given him the means to decide, but you
have more embarrassed him than ever; and I believe that, if you had
given him one counsel, he would have followed it, because he wishes to
follow all four, not knowing which to choose.” He was, however, of
opinion that he would eventually choose the third, and anyway he had
promised to let Bassompierre have his answer in two days’ time.

Bouvet added that whatever answer Bassompierre carried back to the King
it would be a verbal one, since the proposal had been made verbally;
besides which the duke entertained the strongest objection to
committing his reply to writing.

Bassompierre then said that he had received express orders from the King
that, in the event of the Duke giving an absolute or qualified
acceptance, he was to hand him a written offer, signed by him on behalf
of his Majesty; that the King had also instructed him to bring back a
reply signed by the Duke; and that he could take no other message. “The
affair is of importance,” he continued, “subject to disavowal; I am
young and a new Minister, and, apart from that, a vassal of his
Highness. I might easily be suspected of having added or taken away,
suppressed or invented, something in the affair. For which reasons I
desire that his letter and his seal should speak, and that I should be
the bearer only.”

Bouvet replied that he feared that it would be very difficult indeed to
persuade the timorous prince to consent to what was required of him. To
which Bassompierre rejoined that, if the Duke persisted in his refusal
to give him a written answer, the only alternative was for him to send
Bouvet, or some other duly accredited agent, to Henri IV to acquaint him
with his decision.

The next morning the Duke invited Bassompierre to play tennis with him
that afternoon, and, on his arrival at the palace, led him into the
gallery of the tennis-court and told him that he was “fully resolved to
conform to the wishes of the King and accept the honour which he wished
to do him”; stipulating, however, that he should be allowed time to
dispose his subjects favourably to the idea of such an alliance and to
overcome the objections of his relatives. And he requested Bassompierre
to beg the King very humbly on his behalf to observe the most absolute
secrecy in regard to the affair, until the time should come to reveal

Bassompierre had, however, all the difficulty in the world to get this
decision committed to writing and signed by the Duke. The poor prince
appeared convinced that, if this were done, some unauthorised use would
be made of the document. He feared his subjects; he feared his
relatives; above all, he feared the ill-will of the Courts of Vienna and
Madrid; and he protested that he would prefer to die rather than the
affair should become known. At last, however, he yielded, and at the
beginning of September Bassompierre returned to France with his answer
duly signed and sealed.


     Return of Bassompierre to the French Court--Frenzied passion of
     Henri IV for the young Princesse de Condé--His extravagant
     conduct--Condé flies with his wife to Flanders--Grief and
     indignation of the King, who summons his most trusted counsellors
     to deliberate upon the affair--Sage advice of Sully, which,
     however, is not followed--The Archduke Albert refuses to surrender
     the fugitives--Condé retires to Milan and places himself under the
     protection of Spain--Failure of an attempt to abduct the
     princess--Henri IV and his Ministers threaten war if the lady is
     not given up--The “Great Design”--Bassompierre appointed Colonel of
     the Light Cavalry and a Counsellor of State--His account of the
     last days and assassination of Henri IV.

On Bassompierre’s return to Court, Henri IV expressed himself highly
satisfied with the results of his mission and “gave him very great
proofs of his good-will.” Scarcely, however, had he concluded his
account of his diplomatic activities than the King “requested an
audience of _him_, in order to tell him of his passion for _Madame la
Princesse_ and of the unhappy life that he was leading separated from
her.” “And assuredly,” adds Bassompierre, “this love of his was a
frenzied one, which could not be contained within the bounds of

We must here explain that this interesting little affair had not been
developing at all in accordance with his Majesty’s anticipations. Condé
had accepted with becoming gratitude the handsome pension which the King
had bestowed upon him and appeared far more interested in his wife’s
dowry than in her person; while the fair Charlotte, on her side,
scarcely troubled to conceal her indifference to a husband who was shy,
awkward, and close-fisted, and lacking in all those qualities calculated
to appeal to the imagination of a young girl. Indeed, there can be no
doubt that she preferred the company of the King, despite his grey hairs
and his wrinkled visage, and she appears to have given the amorous
monarch no little encouragement, though perhaps innocently enough.

But Condé, with all his faults, was an honourable man, and when he
clearly understood the odious part which his royal “uncle” intended
should be his; when he saw the King, usually so painfully neglectful of
his person, powdered and scented and bedecked like the youngest gallant
of his Court; when he learned that he was bombarding his wife with
passionate sonnets, obligingly composed for him by Malherbe and other
facile rhymesters; when he heard that the princess had stepped one night
on to the balcony of her apartments and there unbound her hair and
allowed it to fall about her shoulders to gratify a whim of her elderly
admirer, who stood beneath “transported with admiration”; when, in
short, he found that the King’s infatuation was the talk of Court and
town, he began, as his Majesty expressed it, “to play the devil.” And,
after several angry scenes, in which Henri IV entirely lost his temper,
and all sense of dignity and decorum along with it, and Condé appears to
have forgotten the respect which he owed to his sovereign in his
resentment against the man who wished to dishonour him, the prince
carried off his wife to the Château of Muret, in Picardy, not far from
the Flemish frontier.

The lovelorn King followed his inamorata, and, dressed as one of his own
huntsmen, and with a patch over his eye, stood by the roadside to see
her pass; and, in the same disguise, penetrated into a house where she
was dining, and when she appeared at a window, kissed one hand to her,
while he pressed the other to his heart.

A few days later, Condé received a letter from the King, written in a
strain half-coaxing, half-menacing, summoning him to Court, to be
present at the approaching accouchement of the Queen. Etiquette required
that the first Prince of the Blood should be in attendance on these
auspicious occasions, and it was impossible for him to refuse. But he
came alone. Henri IV was furious, and his anger rendered him so
insupportable to those about him, that Marie de’ Medici herself begged
Condé to send for his wife, promising to keep strict watch over her.
Such was the King’s wrath that he could not trust himself to interview
his kinsman personally, but sent for his secretary, Virey, and bade him
tell his master that, if he declined to bow to his will, or attempted
any violence against his wife, he would give him cause to rue it. He
added that, if he had been still only King of Navarre, he would have
challenged the prince to a duel.

After receiving this message, Condé decided to feign submission, and
accordingly begged his Majesty’s permission to fetch his wife. This
request, as we may suppose, was readily granted, and on November 25--the
day on which the ill-starred Henrietta Maria was born--he set out for

On the evening of the 29th, while Henri IV was playing cards with the
Comte de Soissons--_Monsieur le Comte_, as he was styled--Bassompierre,
Guise, d’Épernon, and Créquy in his private cabinet, word was brought
him that a messenger had arrived from Picardy, with intelligence that
_Monsieur le Prince_ had early that morning left Muret in a coach with
his wife, accompanied by his equerry the Baron de Rochefort, Virey, and
two of the princess’s ladies. Condé had given out that he was bound on a
hunting-expedition; but the messenger--an archer of the Guard named
Laperrière--had ascertained from his father, who was in the prince’s
service, that the party had taken the road to Flanders.

     “I sat nearest to the King,” writes Bassompierre, “and he whispered
     in my ear: ‘Bassompierre, my friend, I am lost. That man is taking
     his wife into a wood. I know not if it is to kill her or to take
     her out of France. Take care of my money and continue the game,
     while I go to learn further particulars.’ Then he went with
     d’Elbène[72] into the Queen’s apartments.

     “After the King had gone, _Monsieur le Comte_ begged me to tell him
     what had happened. I replied that his nephew and niece had fled.
     MM. de Guise, d’Épernon and de Créquy asked me the same question,
     and I gave them the same answer. Upon this they all withdrew from
     the game, and I, taking the opportunity of returning to the King
     the money which he had left on the table, entered the room where he

     “Never did I see a man so distressed or so frantic. The Marquis de
     Cœuvres, the Comte de Cramail, d’Elbène, and Loménie were with
     him, and to each suggestion that one of them made he forthwith
     assented: such as to send the Captain of the Watch after _Monsieur
     le Prince_ with his archers; to send Balagny[73] to Bouchain to try
     and catch him; to send Vaubecourt [governor of the county of
     Beaulieu-en-Argonne], who was then in Paris, to the frontier of
     Verdun to prevent his passage in that direction; and other
     ridiculous things.”

Meanwhile, the distracted monarch had sent to summon his most trusted
counsellors, as though for an affair of State of the first importance;
and, as each one arrived, he hurried up to him to inform him of what had
occurred and to ask his advice.

     “The Chancellor[74] was the first to arrive, and the King, having
     acquainted him with the matter, demanded of him what ought to be
     done. He answered gravely that this prince was taking the wrong
     road; that it was to be regretted that he had not been better
     counselled; and that he ought to have moderated his impetuosity.
     ‘That is not what I am asking you, _Monsieur le Chancelier_,’ cried
     the King angrily. ‘What I desire is your advice.’ The Chancellor
     then said that severe proclamations ought to be issued against him
     and against all who should follow him or render him aid, whether by
     money or counsels.

     “As he said this, M. de Villeroy entered, and the King impatiently
     demanded his advice. He shrugged his shoulders and appeared to be
     very astonished at the news; and then said that letters ought to be
     written to all the King’s Ambassadors at foreign Courts to acquaint
     them with _Monsieur le Prince’s_ departure without permission of
     the King and contrary to his orders, and to instruct them to take
     such steps with the princes to whom they were accredited as would
     cause them to refuse him an asylum in their dominions, or to send
     him back to his Majesty.”

The Président Jeannin had arrived at the same time as Villeroy, and the
King demanded his advice also. The President was for strong measures,
and said without hesitation that his Majesty ought immediately to send
one of the captains of his Guards after _Monsieur le Prince_ to
endeavour to bring him back. If that could not be effected, then an
envoy ought to be despatched to the sovereign in whose dominions he had
taken refuge to demand that he should be surrendered, and, in case that
was refused, to threaten war. In his opinion, there could be little
doubt that he had gone to Flanders, to demand an asylum of the Archduke
Albert, Sovereign of the Netherlands; but, since Condé was not
personally acquainted with that prince, he did not suppose that the
latter was privy to his flight, and, unless he were to receive express
orders from Madrid to protect him, he would in all probability prefer to
send him back, or, at any rate, order him to leave Flanders, rather than
risk trouble with France.

     “The King,” continues Bassompierre, “approved of this expedient,
     but he did not wish to decide until he had heard what M. de Sully
     had to say about the matter. The latter entered some time after the
     others, in a rough,

[Illustration: HENRI IV., KING OF FRANCE.]

     abrupt manner. The King went up to him and said: ‘M. de Sully,
     _Monsieur le Prince_ has fled and has taken his wife with him.’
     ‘Sire,’ answered he, ‘I am not surprised; and, if you had followed
     the counsel I gave you a fortnight since, when he left to go to
     Muret, you would have put him in the Bastille, and I should have
     kept him safe for you.’ ‘Well,’ said the King, ‘the thing is done;
     it is useless to say more about it; but tell me what I ought to do
     now.’ ‘By God, Sire! I know not,’ he replied; ‘but let me go back
     to the Arsenal, where I shall sup and sleep, and in the night I
     shall think of some good counsel, which I will bring you in the
     morning.’ ‘No,’ said the King, ‘I wish you to give it me at once.’
     ‘I must think,’ said he, and with that he turned to the window
     which looked into the courtyard, and for a little time drummed upon
     it with his fingers. Then he came back to the King, who said:
     ‘Well, have you thought of something?’ ‘Yes, Sire,’ said he. ‘And
     what ought I to do?’ ‘Nothing, Sire.’ ‘What! Nothing?’ cried the
     King. ‘Yes, nothing,’ said M. de Sully. ‘If you do nothing at all,
     and show that you do not care about him, people will despise him;
     no one will assist him, not even the friends and servants whom he
     has here; and in three months, urged by necessity,[75] and by the
     little account that one takes of him, you will get him back on
     whatever conditions you please. But if you show that you are uneasy
     and are anxious to have him back, they will regard him as a
     personage of importance; he will be assisted with money by those
     without the realm; and divers persons, thinking to do you a
     despite, will protect him, although they would have left him alone
     if you had not troubled about him.’”

The King, however, was in no mood to follow this sage counsel, and
preferred the strong measures proposed by Jeannin. He accordingly
launched the Captain of the Watch in pursuit of the fugitives, and, when
that officer returned empty-handed, sent Praslin to Brussels, where, as
was generally expected, Condé had taken refuge, to demand his surrender
from the Archduke Albert. The Archduke felt that he could not without
shame deliver up a prince who came to seek an asylum against an
all-powerful monarch who was endeavouring to dishonour his wife. On the
other hand, he did not wish to offend Henri IV and afford him a pretext,
which he might be only too ready to seize, for breaking the peace. He
therefore tendered his good offices and made every effort to bring about
an accommodation. But the King insisted on Condé’s unconditional
submission and immediate return; while the prince demanded a place of
surety on the frontier, with a convenient back-door, to enable him, at
the first alarm, to leave the kingdom again.

The attitude assumed by Henri IV was so threatening, that Condé, judging
it to be unsafe to remain in Flanders, confided his wife to the care of
the Archduchess and took refuge at Milan, the governor of which, the
Count de Fuentes, was a declared enemy of Henri IV and France. He had
already appealed to Spain for protection; and Philip III instructed his
Ambassador at the French Court, Don Inigo de Cardenas, to inform Henri
IV that “he had taken the Prince de Condé under his protection, with the
object of acting as a mediator in the matter and contributing by all
means in his power to the repose and happiness of the Very Christian
King.” The remainder of the despatch, however, shows that Philip was
actuated by very different motives.

Condé’s departure from Brussels did not leave the Archduke in a less
difficult position. It was not the prince, but the princess, whose
return Henri IV most eagerly desired. He endeavoured to have her carried
off, but the attempt failed.[76] He obliged the Constable to demand that
she should be sent back to the paternal roof. The Archduke replied that
he could not do so, except by her husband’s desire.

The King was the more exasperated by the resistance of the Archduke, as
he had reason to believe that his ridiculous passion was returned. The
princess, this child of sixteen, who had no affection for her husband
and resented the inconvenience to which he had subjected her in order to
save her honour, weary of her exile, far from her relatives and the
Court of France, did not refuse the letters and presents of the King.
Her entourage and Madame de Berny, the wife of the French Ambassador at
Brussels, chanted continually the praises of her crowned adorer. She
received verses in which Malherbe depicted in touching terms the grief
of the great Alcandre. But Henri IV himself, in a letter to one of his
agents, is not less pathetic:--

“I am writing to my beautiful angel: I am so worn out by these pangs
that I am nothing but skin and bone. Everything disgusts me. I avoid
company, and if, to observe the usage of society, I allow myself to be
drawn into some assemblies, my wretchedness is complete.”

The princess, in her turn, appealed to “his heart,” and besought him, as
“her knight,” to effect her deliverance.

For his “pangs” Henri IV regarded the Archduke and the Spaniards as
responsible. Already on December 9, 1609, he had caused the Pope to be
informed that “if the Spaniards contemplated employing the person of
_Monsieur le Prince_ to stir up trouble in his realm, he had the means
and the courage to resent it, and to avenge the injuries and the
offences which they might be able to do him.” The conduct of the
Archduke was irreproachable; he had merely safeguarded his own dignity,
and it was certainly not his fault that Condé was not reconciled to the
King. But Philip III and his Government, although they had neither
foreseen nor aided the prince’s flight, were now asking themselves what
advantage they might derive from it. In the event of war with France,
the first Prince of the Blood would be a valuable ally, and it is not
improbable that a most imprudent manifesto which Condé issued at Milan,
wherein, after detailing his grievances against Henri IV, he claimed to
be the rightful heir to the throne of France, on the ground that the
King’s first marriage had not been truly annulled, was inspired by
Spain, with the idea of still further widening the breach between him
and his sovereign.

Henri IV and his Ministers, finding persuasion of no avail with the
Court of Brussels, had recourse to threats, representing that, unless
the fair Charlotte were surrendered, war would follow. “Peace and war
depend on whether the princess is or is not given up,” said Jeannin to
Pecquius, the Archduke’s Ambassador in Paris; and the King himself
reminded him that Troy fell because Priam would not surrender Helen.

The gravity of the situation was enhanced by the warlike preparations
which were going on all over France for the execution of the “Great
Design”: the scheme of liberating Europe from the domination of the
House of Austria and of giving France her rightful place in the world
which Henri IV had cherished ever since his accession to the throne. It
was, however, believed by many that these formidable preparations had no
other object that the forcible recovery of the Princesse de Condé, and
Malherbe wrote:--

    “Deux beaux yeaux sont l’empire
     Pour que je soupire.”

The question of how far the course of events was influenced by Henri
IV’s infatuation for the Princesse de Condé has been much discussed. The
probability is that the affair did little more than determine the King
to hasten by a few weeks the war so long resolved upon, and that this
was due rather to his irritation against the Spaniards for their support
of Condé than to the refusal of the Court of Brussels to surrender the
princess. Henri had not scrupled to use the large forces assembled for
quite a different purpose as a bugbear to frighten the Archduke. But
when the latter refused to purchase security by a compliance
inconsistent with his honour, it was not on Brussels that the French
armies prepared to march. On the contrary, a few days before his death,
the King in the most friendly terms requested the Archduke’s permission
to lead his troops across his territory to the assistance of his German
allies, a permission granted by the Archduke, notwithstanding the
opposition of the Spanish party in his Council.

By the end of April France was ready to strike. Châlons, Mezières and
Metz were the chief rendezvous. The King hoped to have 30,000 men on
foot, to join them on May 15, and to march at their head into the
duchies. A second army under Lesdiguières was to enter Piedmont, where
it would effect a junction with the forces of the Duke of Savoy, and
then proceed to invade the Milanese. A third army was to observe the
Pyrenees. Maurice of Nassau, with 30,000 Dutch, was to join Henri IV in

Never had Bassompierre stood higher in the royal favour than on the eve
of the outbreak of war. Henri, anxious to make amends to him for the
loss of Charlotte de Montmorency and her dowry, and to recompense him
for the zeal and ability which he had shown in his mission to Lorraine
and Germany in the previous year, overwhelmed him with benefits. He
appointed him, quite unsolicited, Colonel of the Light Cavalry, made him
a Counsellor of State, gave him 50 guards, and a pension of 4,000
crowns, and again proposed to marry him to the heiress of Beaupréau and
revive in her favour the duchy of that name. “But,” says Bassompierre
ingenuously, “I was then in the high follies of my youth, in love in so
many quarters, and well received in most, that I had not the leisure to
think of my advancement.”

But the sun which shone upon him with such warmth and splendour was now
about to be clouded for ever. The tragic end of the first Bourbon King
has been so often told that we have no intention of narrating it; but
there are circumstances recorded by Bassompierre which are not to be
found in the memoirs and correspondence of his contemporaries, and which
afford a curious insight into the state of Henri IV’s mind just before
his assassination:--

     “We now entered that unhappy month of May, fatal to France, by the
     loss sustained therein of our good King.

     “I shall relate many things touching the presentiment which the
     King had before his death, and which gave warning of that event. A
     little while before, he said to me: ‘I know not how it is,
     Bassompierre, but I cannot persuade myself that I am going into
     Germany; neither does my heart tell me that you are going into
     Italy.’ Several times he said to me, and to others also: ‘I believe
     that I shall die soon.’ And on the first day of May he returned
     from the Tuileries by way of the grand gallery, leaning upon M. de
     Guise on one side, and upon me on the other (for he always leaned
     on someone), and, on leaving us to enter the Queen’s cabinet, said:
     ‘Don’t go away; I am going to tell my wife to dress, that she may
     not keep me waiting for dinner.’ For he usually dined with her.
     While we waited, leaning on the iron balustrade overlooking the
     courtyard of the Louvre, the maypole which had been planted in the
     middle of the courtyard fell down, without being disturbed by the
     wind or for any apparent cause, and tumbled in the direction of the
     little staircase leading to the King’s chamber. Upon which I said
     to M. de Guise: ‘I would have given a great deal rather than this
     should have happened. It is a very bad omen. May God preserve the
     King, who is the May of the Louvre!’ ‘How can you be so foolish as
     to think seriously of such a thing?’ he replied. ‘In Italy and
     Germany,’ I rejoined, ‘they would take much more account of such an
     omen than we do here. May God preserve the King and all belonging
     to him!’

     “The King, who had but stepped into the Queen’s cabinet and out
     again, here came up very softly to listen to us, for he imagined
     that we spoke of some woman; and, hearing all that I said, broke
     in upon our talk, saying: ‘You are fools to amuse yourselves with
     such prognostications. For the last thirty years all the
     astrologers and charlatans who pretend to be wise have predicted to
     me every year that I was fated to die; and in that year wherein I
     shall actually die, all the omens which have occurred in the course
     of it will be remarked and thought a great deal of, while nothing
     will be said of those which happened in preceding years.’

     “The Queen had a peculiar and ardent desire to be crowned before
     the King’s departure for Germany. The King did not wish it, both by
     reason of the expense and because he did not like these grand
     festivals. Yet, since he was the kindest husband in the world, he
     consented and delayed his departure until she should make her entry
     into Paris.[77] He commanded me to stay also, which I did because
     of his desire, and also because the Princesse de Conti had asked me
     to be her cavalier at the ceremony of the _Sacre_ and the

     “The Court went on May 12 to stay at Saint-Denis, to be in
     readiness for the morrow, the day of the Queen’s _Sacre_, which was
     celebrated with the greatest possible magnificence. The King, on
     this occasion, was extraordinarily gay.[79] In the evening everyone
     returned to Paris.

     “The following morning, the 14th of the said month, M. de Guise
     passed by my lodging and took me to go and meet the King, who had
     gone to hear Mass at the Feuillants. On the way we were told that
     he was returning by the Tuileries, upon which we went to intercept
     him and found him talking to M. de Villeroy. He left him, and
     taking M. de Guise and myself, one on either side of him, said: ‘I
     come from the Feuillants, where I saw the chapel which Bassompierre
     is having built there, and on the door he has had placed this
     inscription: _Quid retribuam. Domino pro omnibus que retribuit
     mihi?_ And I said that, since he was German, he should have put:
     _Calicem salutaris accipiam._’ M. de Guise laughed heartily and
     said to him: ‘You are, to my mind, one of the most agreeable men in
     the world, and our destiny created us for one another. For, had you
     been a man of middling station, I would have had you in my service,
     cost what it might; but, since God has made you a great king, it
     could not be otherwise than that I must belong to you.’ The King
     embraced him, and me also, and said: ‘You don’t know me now; but I
     shall die one of these days; and, when you have lost me, you will
     know my worth and the difference there is between me and other
     men.’ Upon this I said to him: ‘_Mon Dieu_, Sire, why do you never
     cease afflicting us by saying that you will soon die? These are not
     good words to utter; you will live, if it please God, long and
     happy years. There is no felicity in the world equal to yours; you
     are but in the flower of your age, in perfect strength and health
     of body, full of honours beyond any other mortal, in the tranquil
     enjoyment of the most flourishing country in the world; loved and
     adored by your subjects; possessed of property, of money, of
     beautiful residences, a beautiful wife, beautiful mistresses and
     beautiful children, who are growing up. What more could you have or
     desire to have?’ Then he sighed and said: ‘My friend, all this I
     must leave.’”

Before parting from the King, Bassompierre informed him that he had
received a complaint from the captains of the Light Cavalry, of which he
had recently been appointed Colonel, that their companies were
insufficiently armed and that they were unable to obtain the weapons
which they required, and begged his Majesty to give orders that these
should be supplied to them. Henri IV told him to come to him that
afternoon at the Arsenal, where he proposed to go to visit Sully, who
was ill, and he would direct the Minister to let him have the arms he
wanted. And, upon Bassompierre observing that he would very willingly
give Sully at the same time the money which they were worth, to enable
him to replace them, he laughingly replied by quoting two verses from a
well-known song, which ran:

    “Que je n’offre à personne,
     Mais à vous je les donne.”

Bassompierre thanked his Majesty, kissed his hand and withdrew, little
imagining that he was never to see him alive again.

     “After dinner,” he says, “I went to visit Descures[80] in the
     Place-Royale, to inquire about the routes which the different
     companies [of the Light Horse] were to follow; and then I proceeded
     to the Arsenal, to await the King, as he had told me to do. But
     alas! it was in vain, for, shortly afterwards, came people crying
     out that the King had been wounded, and that he was being carried
     back to the Louvre. I ran like a madman, seized the first horse I
     could find, and rode full gallop towards the Louvre. Opposite the
     Hôtel de Longueville I met M. de Blérencourt,[81] who was returning
     from the Louvre, and he whispered to me: ‘He is dead!’ I ran up to
     the barriers which the French Guards and the Swiss had occupied,
     with lowered pikes, and _Monsieur le Grand_ and I passed under the
     barriers and ran to the King’s cabinet, where we saw him stretched
     on his bed, and M. de Vic,[82] Counsellor of State, seated on the
     same bed. He had put his cross of the Order to the King’s lips, and
     was bidding him think of God. Melon, his chief physician, was in
     the _ruelle_, and some surgeons, who wanted to dress his wounds;
     but he was already gone.... Then the chief physician cried: ‘Ah! it
     is all over; he has gone!’ _Monsieur le Grand_, on arriving, went
     down on his knees in the _ruelle_ of the bed, and took one of the
     King’s hands and kissed it. As for myself, I had thrown myself at
     his feet, which I embraced, weeping bitterly....”


     Incidents at the Court and in Paris after the assassination of
     Henri IV--Meeting between Bassompierre and Sully--Marie de’ Medici
     declared Regent--Her difficult position--Return of Condé--Greed and
     arrogance of the grandees--Quarrel between the Comte de Soissons
     and the Duc de Guise--Grievance of _Monsieur le Comte_ against
     Bassompierre--He persuades Madame d’Entragues to endeavour to
     compel Bassompierre to marry her daughter, Marie--Proceedings
     instituted against that gentleman--Announcement of the “Spanish
     marriages”--Magnificent fêtes in the Place-Royale--Intrigues at the
     Court--The Princes and Concini in power--Assassination of the Baron
     de Luz by the Chevalier de Guise--Marie de’ Medici and the
     Princes--Conversation of the Regent with Bassompierre--Bassompierre
     reconciles the Guises with the Queen-Mother--The Chevalier de Guise
     kills the son of the Baron de Luz in a duel--The Princes, on the
     advice of Concini, return from Court.

On that fatal day, when the knife of Ravaillac changed the destinies of
France and of Europe, Louis XIII, the successor of the murdered King,
was not yet nine years old. The fear of troubles within the realm and of
complications without exacted the immediate institution of a regency,
and Villeroy and the Chancellor, Brulart de Sillery, exhorted Marie de’
Medici, who was lying upon her bed prostrated with grief, to act “as man
and as King.”

The great nobles, out of pity or the desire to assert their own
importance, were zealous in the Queen’s cause; and some who had scarcely
been on bowing terms with each other for years were seen to embrace and
vow to die together sword in hand if the necessity should arise.

D’Épernon, Colonel-General of the French infantry, caused the approaches
to the Louvre and the Pont-Neuf to be occupied by the French Guards;
Guise, with part of a force of some 300 horse which he and Bassompierre
had mustered, proceeded to the Hôtel de Ville to obtain from the
Corporation a formal recognition of the new King and Regent; while
Bassompierre, with the remainder, paraded the streets “to appease
tumults and seditions.” Sully alone showed himself undecided, feeble and
timorous. At the news of the King’s assassination, ill though he was, he
had mounted his horse and set out for the Louvre, accompanied by some
forty of his guards and attendants. Near the Place Saint-Jean he met
Bassompierre and his cavalcade, the sight of whom appears to have filled
him with misgivings.

     “He began,” writes Bassompierre, “to say to us in lachrymose tones:
     ‘Gentlemen, if the service which you have vowed to the King, whom,
     to our great misfortune, we have just lost, is also imprinted in
     your souls, as it ought to be in those of all good Frenchmen, swear
     now at once to preserve the same fidelity to the King his son and
     successor, and that you will employ your blood and your life to
     avenge his death.’

     “‘Monsieur,’ I replied, ‘it is we who are making others take this
     oath, and we have no need of anyone to exhort us to do a thing to
     which we are already so committed.’

     “I know not whether my answer surprised him, or whether he repented
     of having come so far from his fortress; but he turned back
     forthwith, and went to shut himself up in the Bastille, sending at
     the same time to seize all the bread that could be found in the
     markets and the bakers’ shops. He sent orders also to M. de Rohan,
     his son-in-law, to face about with 6,000 Swiss who were in
     Champagne, and of whom he was Colonel General, and to march
     straight on Paris.... MM. de Praslin and de Créquy went to invite
     him to present himself before the King, like all the other
     grandees; but he did not come until the morrow, when M. de Guise
     brought him with difficulty, after which he countermanded his
     orders to his son-in-law and the Swiss, who had already advanced a
     day’s march towards Paris.”

Of the Princes of the Blood who might have been able to aspire to the
regency, one, Condé, was a voluntary exile in the dominions of the King
of Spain; the other, the Comte de Soissons, had left Paris in high
dudgeon before the coronation of the Queen, because Henri IV had refused
to permit _Madame la Comtesse_ to wear on her ceremonial mantle a row of
_fleurs de lys_ more than the wife of his legitimated son the Duc de
Vendôme. As for the Prince de Conti, he was deaf, afflicted with an
impediment in his speech, and almost imbecile. Outside the Princes of
the Blood, and in the absence of the States-General, there was only one
power recognised by all--the Parlement of Paris. And to this body Marie
de’ Medici at once addressed herself.

In her name, the Procurator-General demanded that “now and without
adjourning, the Parliament should provide, as it had been accustomed to
do, for the regency and the government of the realm.” The Parlement was
too convinced of its right and too flattered by the part it was asked to
play to hesitate. But, as a matter of form, it was proceeding to
deliberate upon the matter, when d’Épernon, in his doublet, with his
drawn sword in his hand, swaggered into the chamber, and, having begged
the assembly to excuse his discourtesy, invited it to hasten. As he
left, Guise entered in the same costume, took his seat and protested his
devotion to the Crown. The First President, Achille de Harlay, solemnly
ordered the duke’s words to be recorded; and the Court unanimously
declared the Queen Mother Regent, “to have the administration of the
affairs of the realm during the minority of the said lord her son,
together with all power and authority.” It was quick work: Henri IV had
not been dead two hours.

It was much, without doubt, to have settled so expeditiously the future
government of France. But what a task for a woman, for a foreigner, for
one, too, who bore a name little calculated to reassure the bulk of the
nation, which remembered only too well the troubles in which the rule of
another Medici had involved it, to be called upon to exercise supreme
power in circumstances so difficult! Without, a war on the point of
breaking out; within, princes affecting an entire independence and even
negotiating with the foreigner; a turbulent nobility whom even the
strong hand of Henri IV had not always been able to keep in check; the
Protestant party entrenched in the West and South of France, with its
own organisation, its privileges, its places of surety; finally, the
governors of the different provinces, possessed of the most extensive
powers and strong enough to renounce practically all obedience to the
Crown. Marie de’ Medici has often been reproached with weakness, and
weak in many ways she certainly was; but it would have required the
energy and the resolution of an Elizabeth or a Catherine the Great to
have steered the ship of State uninjured through the shoals and
quicksands which beset its course.

The Regent retained the Ministers of the late King, Villeroy, Jeannin,
Sillery, and Sully, and, to calm the apprehensions of the Protestants,
lost no time in confirming the Edict of Nantes. But the war so long
meditated against the House of Austria was promptly abandoned, though a
small army under Le Châtre and Rohan was sent to co-operate with Maurice
of Nassau in recovering Juliers, which was handed over to the Electors
of Brandenburg and Neuburg, on their undertaking not to interfere with
the exercise of the Catholic religion in that duchy.

It was a wise decision, since there were embarrassments enough within
half-a-mile of the Louvre. The Princes of the Blood had returned;
Soissons, three days after the death of Henri IV; Condé, in the middle
of July. The former complained that the regency had been settled in his
absence, and demanded the post of Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom. To
appease him, Marie de’ Medici gave him the post of governor of Normandy
and a _gratification_ of 200,000 crowns. Condé, to the Regent’s great
relief, was apparently well-disposed towards the new government, and, to
confirm him in his peaceable intentions, she purchased for 400,000
crowns the Hôtel de Gondi, in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, and presented
it to him, together with furniture to the value of 40,000 crowns;
confirmed him in all his offices and appointments; increased his pension
to 200,000 crowns, and gave him a large sum to pay his debts. The Regent
hoped, by setting a price upon them, to keep within bounds all the
ambitions of the grandees; it was her system of government. She paid
Guise’s debts, and authorised him to marry the immensely wealthy widow
of the Duc de Montpensier, a union to which, for political reasons,
Henri IV would never have consented; she promised to pay the debts of
the Duc de Nevers; she accorded to all the governors the right of
appointing their successors.

“The grandees did not weary of receiving, and said to one another: ‘The
time of kings has passed, and that of great nobles and princes has come;
we must take every advantage of it.’” Their arrogance and ostentation
knew no bounds. They seldom left their houses unless accompanied by
numerous and brilliant escorts. Fifteen hundred cavaliers went to meet
Condé on the day of his arrival in Paris; the Duc de Guise had a suite
of five or six hundred horse. The young King remained almost alone in
the Louvre, and Marie de’ Medici was obliged to reconstitute the two
hundred gentlemen halberdiers, disbanded by Henri IV, from motives of

Happily for the Crown, the grandees were divided, and such parties as
did exist were merely associations of a few covetous nobles, animated by
no common motive except that of filling their pockets. The Guises,
flattered and lavishly paid, boasted of their loyalty to the Regent.
Bouillon was at enmity with Sully, like himself a chief of the
Protestants. The Prince de Conti had for some years been on bad terms
with his brother, the Comte de Soissons, and at the beginning of 1611
their antipathy to one another found vent in a violent quarrel, in which
Guise, whose sister, it will be remembered, Conti had married, found
himself involved, and which threatened for a moment to develop into a
sort of civil war.

     “It happened,” writes Bassompierre, “that, three days after these
     nuptials [the marriage of Guise to the Duchesse de Montpensier],
     the Prince de Conti quarrelled with the Comte de Soissons, his
     brother, because their coaches had collided in passing one another,
     and their coachmen had fought. M. de Guise, whom the Queen had
     desired, that same evening, to go to M. de Conti to compose this
     quarrel, set out the following morning from the Hôtel de
     Montpensier, where he had passed the night, to go to the Abbey of
     Saint-Germain, where the Prince de Conti was lodging, and was
     accompanied by twenty-five or thirty horse. He happened to pass the
     Hôtel de Soissons, which was on his way, and this gave offence to
     _Monsieur le Comte_, who summoned his friends and told them that M.
     de Guise had come to defy him. Thereupon M. de Guise’s friends
     flocked to the Hôtel de Guise in such numbers that there were more
     than a thousand gentlemen assembled there. _Monsieur le Comte_ sent
     to beg _Monsieur le Prince_ to come to him, and together they
     proceeded to the Louvre to demand of the Queen that she should call
     M. de Guise to account for his insolence. Nevertheless, _Monsieur
     le Prince_ was playing in this affair the part of the friendly
     arbitrator, and said that he should take neither side, and only
     desired to reconcile the parties and to prevent disorder.

     “This tumult lasted all that day and the following one, upon which
     the Queen, apprehending graver disturbances, gave directions that
     the chains should be made ready to be put up at the first order,
     and that, in every quarter, the citizens should be prepared to take
     up arms on the instant that the command to do so was sent them.

     “However, all the day following was employed in seeking means to
     accommodate the affair, each of the Princes having a captain of the
     Gardes du Corps near his person to protect him. In the evening,
     _Monsieur le Prince_ sent to ask M. de Guise to send him one of his
     confidential friends; and M. de Guise, having taken counsel with
     the princes and nobles who supported him, as to whom they should
     choose to act as envoy, finally, on their advice, asked me to go.”

Bassompierre then goes on to relate at great length his interview with
Condé, to whom he pointed out that Guise could have had no intention of
“defying” _Monsieur le Comte_, since, if such had been his object, he
would have sallied forth with a much more imposing retinue than a mere
score or so of attendants, and would have passed before the front
entrance of the Hôtel de Soissons, whereas he had only passed the corner
of the house. The prince appears to have been greatly impressed by this
argument, and, after Bassompierre had been backwards and forwards
several times between Condé’s house and the Hôtel de Guise, the
momentous affair was satisfactorily settled.

But it did not end here, so far as he himself was concerned. For
“_Monsieur le Comte_ was mortally offended with those who had assisted
M. de Guise in his quarrel, and particularly with me, who had formerly
professed to be his servant; and, to revenge himself upon me, he
determined that I should see Antragues no more.”

The prince accordingly sought an interview with Madame d’Entragues, whom
he reproached with allowing her family to be dishonoured by the
notorious intimacy between Bassompierre and her younger daughter, adding
that, as he was distantly related to the d’Entragues, he felt that his
own honour was concerned in the matter.

Now, it had happened that, in the previous August, Marie d’Entragues had
given birth to a son, of whom Bassompierre did not deny the paternity;
indeed, on the lady informing him that she proposed to present him with
a pledge of her affection, he had, following the famous example of Henri
IV with her elder sister, given his inamorata a letter containing a
promise of marriage in the event of her bearing him a son. But this
letter was written merely for the purpose of appeasing the wrath of
Madame d’Entragues, who was threatening to turn her erring daughter out
of the house. For Bassompierre had not the least intention of
regularising his connection with this too-celebrated beauty, of whom, if
he were the most favoured, he was far from being the only successful
admirer; indeed, to do so would mean the loss of a considerable fortune,
since his mother had threatened to disinherit him if he married the
lady.[83] He had, therefore, at the same time, demanded and obtained
from Marie d’Entragues a letter which purported to be an answer to his
own, in which she expressly disclaimed any intention of taking advantage
of his offer. This, in the opinion of “three famous advocates” whom he
had taken the precaution to consult, effectually discharged him from his

Well, Bassompierre’s letter was in the possession of Madame d’Entragues,
who, however, of course, knew nothing of the one which her daughter had
given that gentleman; and when the Comte de Soissons reproached her with
her indifference to Mlle. Marie’s indiscretions, she informed him that
she was not so careless a mother as he appeared to imagine, and could
easily prove it. The prince pressed her to do so, upon which she
triumphantly showed him the promise of marriage.

     “_Monsieur le Comte_,” says Bassompierre, “very pleased to have
     found an opportunity of injuring me, assured her of his protection
     and begged her to follow his counsel in this affair, in which he
     promised to secure for her a favourable result. This foolish woman,
     to satisfy the malignity of _Monsieur le Comte_, placed herself
     entirely in his hands, and he counselled her to press me to execute
     this promise, and, in case of my refusal, to cause me to be
     summoned before the diocesan court.”

Madame d’Entragues did not fail to follow this advice and, on meeting
with a flat refusal from Bassompierre, promptly instituted proceedings
against him.

     “I soon recognised the hand which had cast this stone at me, and
     _Monsieur le Comte_ boasted publicly that he was in a position to
     ruin me in fortune or honour. I assembled a council of my advocates
     to learn how I was to comport myself in this situation. They were
     unanimously of opinion that, in strict justice, I had nothing to
     fear, but that _Monsieur le Comte_ was a redoubtable enemy, and
     advised me to drag the affair out until a favourable time arrived.”

Bassompierre endeavoured to persuade the Regent to intervene in his
behalf, but, though Marie de’ Medici, with whom he was a favourite,
since he was one of the few nobles whose loyalty to the Crown admitted
of no question, was very sympathetic and promised him every assistance
in her power, her position was far too precarious just then to admit of
her offending a Prince of the Blood. All he could do, therefore, was to
act upon the advice of the legal luminaries whom he had consulted; and,
on various pretexts, he succeeded in deferring his appearance before the
diocesan court for some months, at the end of which he appealed to the
jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Sens, who was the metropolitan of the
Bishop of Paris. This insured him a further respite, and, before the
case came on for trial, he appealed to the Parlement of Paris, and was
beginning to plume himself on his astuteness, when the Comte de Soissons
interposed and got the affair transferred to the Parlement of Rouen, to
the great consternation of Bassompierre, who knew that Soissons would
not scruple to use all his influence as Governor of Normandy to
prejudice that body against him.

The annoyance and expense which this affair was occasioning him, and for
which, it must be admitted, he is hardly entitled to much sympathy, did
not prevent Bassompierre from continuing his life of pleasure, and he
took a prominent part in the splendid fêtes in honour of the double
betrothal of Louis XIII to Anne of Austria, and of the Infant Philip,
afterwards Philip IV of Spain, to Élisabeth of France, eldest daughter
of Henri IV. For Marie de’ Medici had completely reversed the foreign
policy of her husband, and Spanish influence was once more in the
ascendant at the Court of France.

These fêtes, originally fixed to begin on March 25, 1612, the day on
which the formal announcement of the approaching marriage was made at
the Louvre, in the presence of the Spanish Ambassador and the officers
of the Crown of France, had been postponed until April 5, owing to the
death of the Queen’s brother, Vincenzo I, Duke of Mantua. Their
principal feature was a carousal in the Place-Royale on a scale of
unprecedented magnificence, in which Bassompierre appeared as one of the

     “At three o’clock in the afternoon, the Queens, princesses and
     ladies took their places on the stands which had been prepared for
     them, besides which there were all round the Place-Royale, rising
     from the pavement to the level of the first floor of the houses,
     other stands holding 200,000 people. Then the cannon placed on the
     bastion fired a salvo, after which the thousand Musketeers who
     lined the barriers fired another, a very beautiful one. This
     finished, M. de Praslin, marshal of the camp of the challengers,
     emerged from the Palace of Felicity, from which came the sound of
     all kinds of musical instruments. He was splendidly mounted and
     attired, and was followed by twelve lackeys habited in black velvet
     bordered with gold lace. He came, on our behalf, to demand from the
     Constable (who occupied a private stand with the Maréchal de
     Bouillon, de la Châtre, de Brissac, and de Souvré) the camp which
     he had promised us. The Constable and the marshal descended from
     their stand and advanced to that of the King and Queen; and the
     Constable said: ‘Madame, the challengers demand the camp which I
     have promised them by your Majesty’s order.’ The Queen answered:
     ‘Monsieur, grant it them.’ Upon which the Constable said to M. de
     Praslin: ‘Take it; the King and the Queen accord it you.’ Then he
     returned to us, and the great door of the palace, which was
     opposite that of the Minims, was flung open, and we entered the
     camp, preceded by all our retinue, war-chariots, giants,[84] and
     other things so beautiful that it is impossible to describe them in
     writing; and I shall only say that nearly five hundred persons and
     two hundred horses took part in our entry alone, all habited and
     caparisoned in crimson velvet and white cloth-of-silver, and our
     costumes were so richly embroidered that nothing could exceed them
     in magnificence. Our entry cost the five challengers 50,000
     écus.[85] The troupe of the Prince de Conti entered after ours,
     followed by that of M. de Vendôme, who danced a very beautiful
     ballet on horseback.[86] Then came M. de Montmorency, who entered
     alone, and the Comte d’Ayen[87] and the Baron d’Ucelles,[88] under
     the names of Amadis and Galaor.

     “We [the challengers] kept the lists against all these opponents,
     and when the night drew near, the fête was concluded by a new salvo
     of cannon, followed by that of the thousand Musketeers; and, when
     darkness fell, there was the most beautiful display of fireworks
     over the Château of Felicity that was ever seen in France.

     “On the morrow, at two o’clock in the afternoon, we returned to the
     camp in the same order as on the first day, together with the
     troupe of M. de Longueville,[89] who made his entry alone,[90] of
     the Nymphs,[91] of the Knights of Felicity, that of d’Effiat and
     Arnaut,[92] and, the last, that of the twelve Roman emperors,[93]
     all of whom ran against us, and the fête was terminated by the same
     salvoes and another display of fireworks.”

On the following day, “because all the innumerable people of Paris had
not been able to witness this fête,” the various troupes passed in
procession through the town, that of the challengers, resplendent in
their crimson velvet and cloth-of-silver, bringing up the rear.

The fête concluded with a grand tilting-match in the Place-Royale, the
prize being a ring of great value given by _Madame Royale_, the future
Queen of Spain, which was won by the Marquis de Rouillac, a nephew of

At night there was another display of fireworks, a salvo fired by two
hundred cannon, a bonfire at the Hôtel de Ville, and an illumination of
Paris with “lanterns made of coloured paper, in such great profusion in
every window that the whole town seemed on fire.”

In November the old Connétable de Montmorency took leave of the Regent
and the young King and retired from Court to spend his last days in
retirement on his estates of Languedoc. “We escorted him to Moret,”
writes Bassompierre, “where he feasted us, and afterwards bade farewell
to his chief friends, with so many tears that we thought that he would
die in that place. He was a good and noble lord, who loved me as though
I were his own son; I am under a great obligation to honour his

       *       *       *       *       *

The fêtes in honour of the betrothal of the young King and his eldest
sister were but a brief interlude in the sordid struggle for place and
power between the ambitious and greedy princes and nobles which had
begun before Henri IV was in his grave. Marie de’ Medici distributed
honours and emoluments with a lavish hand, increased the pensions of the
grandees and made serious inroads into the millions accumulated in the
coffers of the Bastille by the prudent Sully, who in January, 1611, had
resigned his post of Comptroller of the Finances, on finding that he was
no longer listened to, and that he could not maintain his position
“without offending the Princes.” But the appetites she strove to satisfy
were insatiable, and the more she gave, the more she was expected to

After the death of the Comte de Soissons, the most restless of the
Bourbons, at the beginning of November, 1612, the Regent forsook Guise
and d’Épernon, who had until then enjoyed a large measure of her favour,
and, at the instigation of Concini, that singular Italian adventurer who
governed her through his wife Leonora Galigaï, the Queen’s _dame
d’atours_ and confidante, and for whom she had purchased the marquisate
of Ancre, allied herself with Condé and his friends Bouillon, Nevers,
and Mayenne.[1]

     “At this time,” says Bassompierre, “the aspect of the Court
     entirely changed; for a close alliance was formed by _Monsieur le
     Prince_, MM. de Nevers, Mayenne,[94] Bouillon, and the Marquis
     d’Ancre; and the Queen threw herself entirely on that side. The
     Ministers were discredited, and no longer had any power, and
     everything was done according to the desire of these five persons
... MM. de Guise, d’Épernon, de Joinville, and the Grand Equerry
     were very much out of favour.”

In December, Guise and d’Épernon sent for Bellegarde, who was in his
government of Burgundy, to come to Court, “in order to strengthen their
tottering party”; but on his way thither he was met by a messenger from
Marie de’ Medici, with orders forbidding him to come to Paris, and he
was obliged to return to his government.

The chief agent in Concini’s intrigues was the old Baron de Luz, who had
formerly been an adherent of the Guises, but had been persuaded by the
favourite to enter the service of the Queen, or rather his own. The
Guises avenged themselves for what they were pleased to call his treason
in characteristic fashion. About midday on January 5, 1613, the
Chevalier de Guise, the youngest of the brothers, stopped Luz as he was
driving in his coach along the Rue Saint-Honoré, challenged him to fight
him there and then, and, without giving the old man time to draw his
sword, ran him through the body and killed him.

This affair created an immense sensation.

     “The Queen was extremely exasperated,” writes Bassompierre. “I
     went, just at this time, to the Louvre, and found her in tears, and
     that she had sent for the Princes and Ministers to hold a council
     on the affair. She said to me as soon as I entered: ‘You see,
     Bassompierre, how I am treated, and what a brave action it was to
     kill an old man without defence and without warning. But these are
     the tricks of the family. It is a repetition of the Saint-Paul
     affair.’[95] There was a great murmur against this action, and
     everyone was scandalised to learn that a great crowd of the
     nobility had assembled at the Hôtel de Guise, and that M. de Guise
     was coming accompanied by a large retinue to speak to the Queen.
     Upon this, the Queen was advised to send M. de Châteauvieux to see
     the said Sieur de Guise and forbid him to approach the Queen until
     she sent for him, and to command, in her Majesty’s name, all those
     who had gone to his hôtel to disperse.”

Châteauvieux returned and reported that Guise had advised his adherents
to obey the Queen’s command, but that three or four of them, including
the Comte de la Rochefoucauld, Master of the Wardrobe to the King, had
shown marked reluctance to do so. It was thereupon resolved that La
Rochefoucauld should be exiled to his estates, and that the Parlement
should be directed to hold an inquiry into the affair and bring the
Chevalier de Guise to trial.

The Parlement, however, seemed in no hurry to do what was required of
it, for the Guises still retained much of their traditional popularity
with all classes of the Parisians, and before many days had passed, an
event occurred which obliged the Queen to abandon all idea of punishing
the assassin.

For some little time Marie de’ Medici had been chafing beneath the
domination of the Princes, who set altogether too high a price upon
their loyalty. Condé, indeed, appeared to consider that, now that his
brother Soissons was dead, he was entitled to receive double wages; and
one fine morning Nevers, Mayenne, and Concini waited upon the Queen and
demanded, on his behalf, the government of Château-Trompette, the
citadel of Bordeaux, pointing out that, since _Monsieur le Prince_ was
Governor of Guienne, it was only fitting that the citadel of the chief
town in his government should be entrusted to him also. Now, Marie had
heard the late King say that if, in the time of Henri III, this fortress
had been in his hands, he would have made himself Duke of Guienne, and
she knew that its governor had always been one in whose loyalty to the
Crown the most implicit confidence could be placed. She determined to
resist and to be reconciled with the Guises and the Ministers.

Dissembling her indignation, she informed Nevers and his friends that
she would think the matter over, upon which they pressed her for a
speedy answer, saying that _Monsieur le Prince_ was impatient to know
her decision. This she promised, and then, changing the subject,
informed them that she had just discovered a love-affair in which
Bassompierre was engaged and which she knew he was very anxious should
not be discovered. What ought she to do? “You should tell him about it,
Madame,” answered Nevers. Upon which she turned to Bassompierre, and,
beckoning him to follow her, moved to one of the windows.

Here, standing with her back to the room, so that none might see her
face, she told him that the matter upon which she desired to speak to
him was very different from the one she had mentioned. She then asked
him if Guise had spoken to him about the exile of his friend La
Rochefoucauld. Bassompierre answered that the duke had done so, and
begged him to make intercession with the Queen for his recall, and that
he had added that, if he were not successful, he must persuade Condé to
use his influence, and make La Rochefoucauld’s recall the price of his
reconciliation with that prince and his friends. The Queen was silent
for a moment, while “four or five tears welled up in her eyes.” Then,
recovering herself, she said: “These wicked men have made me leave those
princes [the Guises] and despise them, and have made me also abandon and
neglect the Ministers; and then, seeing me deprived of support, they
wish to usurp my authority and ruin me. See how they have come to demand
insolently for _Monsieur le Prince_ the Château-Trompette, and they will
not remain content with that. But, if I am able, I will surely prevent
them obtaining it.”

“Madame,” answered Bassompierre, “do not distress yourself; when you
will, I am sure that these princes and Ministers will be at your
disposal; at least, we must find some way to bring them back.”

The Regent then told him to come to her when she had finished dinner,
and that, meanwhile, she would think of some way to effect this.

At the hour when her Majesty usually rose from table Bassompierre
returned, and followed her into her cabinet, pretending that he had some
favour to ask of her.

     “As I entered, she said to me, ‘I have eaten nothing but fish, to
     such a degree is my stomach weakened and turned. If this continues
     long, I believe that I shall lose my reason. In one word,
     Bassompierre, you must endeavour to bring M. de Guise back to me.
     Offer him a hundred thousand crowns in cash, which I will arrange
     to give him.’ ‘Madame,’ I replied, ‘I will serve you well and
     faithfully.’ ‘Offer him,’ said she, ‘the post of
     lieutenant-governor of Provence for his brother, the Chevalier.[96]
     Offer his sister the reversion of the Abbey of Saint-Germain,[97]
     and assure him that La Rochefoucauld shall be recalled. In short,
     provided that I can withdraw him from this cabal and that I am
     assured of his support, I give you _carte blanche_.’”

Bassompierre assured her that, as she had empowered him to make the
Guises such a generous bid for their support, he had no fear that he
should return to her “without having completed the purchase.” And, in
point of fact, on the following day he returned triumphant, pluming
himself not a little on having succeeded without the necessity of
promising the post of lieutenant-governor of Provence to the Chevalier
de Guise, “having endeavoured,” said he to Marie de’ Medici, “to act
like those prudent valets who bring back at the bottom of the purse a
part of the money which their masters give them to settle their bills.”

The Queen, however, was so pleased at the success of his negotiations
that she, nevertheless, determined to offer the post in question to the
chevalier, in order that the reconciliation between her and his family
might be the more complete, and directed Bassompierre to inform the
Princesse de Conti of her gracious intentions.

A few days after these humiliating concessions to the rapacity of the
House of Guise, the Chevalier killed the son of the Baron de Luz in a
duel at Charenton, though it is only fair to the former to observe that
the other had called him out, and that the combat had been conducted in
strict accordance with the rules governing these “affairs of honour.”

On this occasion, Bassompierre, experienced courtier though he was, is
unable to conceal his astonishment:--

     “And here I saw a strange instance of the changes of the Court;
     that when the Chevalier de Guise killed the father, the Queen
     commanded the Parlement to take cognizance of it, to institute
     proceedings against him and to try him; but when, in less than a
     week afterwards, he killed the son, so soon as he returned from the
     combat, the Queen sent to visit and to inquire how his wounds

Guise being thus reconciled with the Queen, no difficulty was
experienced in persuading d’Épernon to follow his example, after which
Bassompierre addressed himself to the Ministers, who, tired of being
mere cyphers, were only too ready to forgive and forget; and, in an
interview between Marie de’ Medici and Jeannin at the Luxembourg, an
understanding was arrived at.

The Princes and Concini were outwitted. In any case, the latter
pretended to be. Hearing the Queen give directions that seats were to be
reserved for d’Épernon, and his friend Zamet also, at a play which was
to be performed in her apartments, he remarked to Bassompierre in that
strange mixture of Italian and bad French which he affected in moments
of excitement: “_Par Dio, Mousu, je me ride moy della chose deste monde.
La roine a soin d’un siège pour Zamet, et n’en a point pour M. du Maine
[Mayenne]; fiez-vous à l’amore dei principi._”

He advised Condé and his friends to accept the situation and withdraw
from Court, predicting that the Regent would soon grow weary of the
exigencies of the Guises, and promising to watch over their common
interests. And this the Princes decided to do.


     The affair of Montferrato--Intrigues of Concini with Charles
     Emmanuel of Savoy--Arrest of Concini’s agent Maignan--Bassompierre
     warns the Italian favourite of his danger and advises him to throw
     himself on the clemency of the Queen-Mother--Concini follows his
     advice, and is pardoned and shielded by Marie de’ Medici, while his
     agent is executed--Bassompierre goes to Rouen, where the
     d’Entragues’ action against him is to be heard--The Regent
     recommends his cause to the judges--The d’Entragues object to the
     constitution of the court, and the case is adjourned--Duplicity of
     Concini--He intrigues to ruin Bassompierre with the
     Queen-Mother--Semi-disgrace of Bassompierre--He is reconciled with
     Marie de’ Medici--He is appointed Colonel-General of the Swiss--The
     Princes surprise Mézières--Peace of Saint-Menehould--Bassompierre
     accompanies Louis XIII and the Queen-Mother to the West.

In the spring trouble arose with Charles Emmanuel of Savoy, who was
disputing the claim of Ferdinando di Gonzaga to the throne of Mantua,
and had invaded Montferrato. The French Government, judging it dangerous
to allow the Duke of Savoy, an uncertain friend and a possible enemy, to
get possession of Casale, one of the strongest places in Italy,
announced its intention of supporting Ferdinando, and Concini, on the
pretext that it was desirable that France should present a united front
in the event of hostilities breaking out, persuaded Marie de’ Medici to
summon the Princes to Court. Spain, however, in order to prevent French
intervention in Italy, hastened to send orders to the Governor of the
Milanese to compel Charles Emmanuel to abandon his prey, and that
prince, recognising the impossibility of resistance, evacuated

It was believed, for a moment, that the affair of Montferrato would
bring about the ruin of the Concini. The Duke of Savoy, to assure the
neutrality of France, had succeeded in corrupting the Italian
favourites of the Queen and several other prominent persons, and had
kept up an active correspondence with Concini, the agent employed by the
latter being a priest named Maignan. An intercepted letter caused the
arrest of this man, who, in the admissions that were extorted from him,
comprised Concini, his creature the advocate Dolet, and the Marquis de

On the day Maignan was arrested, Bassompierre, who was with the Court at
Fontainebleau, happened to sup with Zamet, where he met Loménie, the
Secretary of State. It had been Loménie’s duty to be present at the
first examination of the prisoner, and he told Bassompierre of the
serious admissions that the man had made and the names he had mentioned.
He added that he was to be examined further on the following morning,
when doubtless still more interesting revelations would be forthcoming.

Now, Bassompierre was on intimate terms with Concini, for, though he
would appear to have despised him heartily, the Italian’s influence with
the Queen made him a valuable friend, besides which he was in the habit
of winning large sums from him at play. He accordingly decided to warn
him of the danger which threatened him, and went that same night to his
house, but was told that he was in bed and could not be disturbed. He
had therefore to wait until the following day, when he stopped him as he
was about to enter the chapel to hear the Whit-Sunday sermon, invited
him to take a turn in the cloisters, and, so soon as they were alone,
inquired bluntly: “Who is Maignay?”

     “At these words, utterly astounded, he said to me: ‘_Pourquoi,
     Mousou, de Masnay? Que sol dir Magnat? Che cosa e Maignat?_’ ‘You
     are deceiving me,’ I rejoined. ‘You know him better than I do, and
     you pretend to know nothing about him.’ ‘_Per Dio, Mousou!_’ he
     exclaimed, ‘I do not know Magnat; I do not understand what you
     mean; I do not know who he is.’ ‘Monsieur, Monsieur,’ said I, ‘I
     speak to you as your servant and friend, not as a judge or a
     commissioner. Maignan was arrested yesterday and examined
     forthwith, again in the evening, and this morning for the third
     time. He was arrested in the act of posting a packet of letters,
     which speaks of many things and mentions persons by their names. If
     you are aware of it already, I have only lost time in telling you;
     but, if you are not, I think that, as your servant, I gain much by
     warning you of it, in order that you may extricate M. Dolet from
     this affair, in which people will endeavour to involve him.’ He
     said to me, very confused: ‘I, Mousou, I do not think that M. Dolet
     knows who Magnat is. It is no concern of mine.’ ‘Monsieur,’ I
     replied, ‘I shall only take in this affair the part which you wish
     to give me in order to serve you; that is my sole object and
     intention.’ He thanked me and left me abruptly.”

That afternoon the Queen went for a drive in the park, and Bassompierre
accompanied her, occupying a seat in the Grand Equerry’s coach. As they
were driving by the side of the canal, one of Concini’s gentlemen came
galloping up and informed Bassompierre that his master wished to see him
immediately, and he sprang from his horse and offered it him. “Ah! he
wants to win my money,” remarked Bassompierre, as he prepared to mount;
and when the Queen inquired where he was going, he replied that he was
going to play cards with the Marquis d’Ancre. He rode back to the
palace, and found Concini awaiting him in the Cour Ovale.

     “He led me,” he writes, “into the Queen’s gallery, shut the door
     upon us and walked to the end of it without speaking a word. At
     length, drawing himself up, he said: ‘M. _Bassompier_, my good
     friend, I am undone; my enemies have gained the ascendancy over the
     Queen’s mind, in order to ruin me.’ Thereupon he began to utter
     strange blasphemies and wept bitterly. I allowed him to rave a
     little, and then said to him: ‘Monsieur, it is no time to swear and
     to weep when affairs press; you must open your heart and reveal
     the wound to the friend to whom you desire to entrust its cure. I
     imagine that you sent for me to tell me of the evil, not to bewail
     it.’ ‘The Ministers have reduced me to extremities,’ he replied;
     ‘they desire to ruin me and M. Dolet likewise.’”

Bassompierre told him that he had many remedies against the enmity of
the Ministers, of which the most efficacious were the good graces of the
Queen, which he would undoubtedly possess when he returned to his duty
and abandoned all practices which were not agreeable to her Majesty. He
had also, he continued, his innocence to plead for him, and, if that
were not as complete as might be desired, it would be advisable to
interview, and come to some arrangement with, the commissioners who had
the examination of Maignan in hand (for he did not doubt that that was
his present difficulty), and “to have recourse to the kindness and
compassion of the Queen, who would receive him, he felt assured, with
open arms, provided he spoke to her with sincerity of heart and an
entire resignation to her will.”

Concini followed his advice and proceeded to throw himself upon the
clemency of the Queen, “in whom he found all kinds of gentleness and
kindness.” Marie de’ Medici, indeed, was unable to dispense with either
the husband or the wife. “The one,” observes Henri Martin, “dominated
her by habit and by the superiority of an active and restless mind over
a mind indolent and dull; the other probably by a warmer feeling.”[98]
She accepted all their excuses; the two commissioners by whom Maignan
was tried suppressed everything which might compromise Concini and his
accomplices;[99] and while the unfortunate agent was condemned to death
and broken on the wheel, the man who had employed him--this precious
rascal who had sought to betray the country upon which he had so long
been battening--was raised to new honours. The Queen only exacted from
him that he should be reconciled with the Ministers and definitely
abandon the party of the Princes. And, as the price of his obedience,
she gave him, in the following November, the bâton of a marshal of

       *       *       *       *       *

Towards the end of May, Bassompierre went to Rouen to make arrangements
for the conduct of his case in the action which the d’Entragues were
bringing against him, and which, on various pretexts, he had succeeded
in delaying until now. He found, to his disgust, however, that the
plaintiff had stolen a march upon him, for, though he applied in turn to
all the chief advocates of the Parlement of Rouen, not one of them would
undertake the case, the reason being that they had all been consulted by
the other side, which, of course, rendered it impossible for them to
hold a brief for the defence.

He returned to Paris and complained bitterly to Marie de’ Medici of the
sharp practice of which the d’Entragues had been guilty. Upon which she
said: “_Mon Dieu!_ Bassompierre, the Procurator of the Estates of
Nantes, who is so eloquent, is eligible to plead your cause, for he was
formerly an advocate of Rouen. He is here now.” And she sent for him and
ordered him to undertake the case, which he did very ably.

At the beginning of June, Bassompierre returned to Rouen, “accompanied
or followed by over 200 gentlemen,” and accompanied, too, by the good
wishes of the Queen, who did not confine her good offices to providing
him with an advocate. She wrote to the Maréchal de Fervacques, the
Governor of Rouen, “to assist him in all that he might demand of him”;
she ordered her own company of light horse, which was in garrison at
Évreux, to come to meet him and escort him to Rouen; she sent one of her
gentlemen with letters recommending his cause to all the presidents and
counsellors of the Parlement; and every other day she despatched a
courier to ascertain how the case was proceeding.

All Normandy appears to have flocked to Rouen to attend this _cause
célèbre_, and seldom had the old city been so gay.

     “Numbers of ladies who were there, many strangers who came, and the
     band of nobles whom I had brought, made all the time I spent at
     Rouen, where I remained a month, pass like the Carnival, with
     continual banquets, balls and assemblies.”

There can be little doubt that, in this breach of promise, popular
sympathy was with the faithless gallant rather than the injured lady.
But Bassompierre’s friends were denied the pleasure of applauding his
victory at the Palais de Justice, for, after the case had been in
progress for some time, the d’Entragues, seeing that the day was likely
to go against them, succeeded in obtaining an adjournment for six
months, to enable the King’s Council to decide whether the Court was
impartially constituted; their contention being that some of the judges
were related to the defendant on his mother’s side.

       *       *       *       *       *

Not long after Bassompierre’s return to Court, the post of
lieutenant-governor of Poitou became vacant, and, as he was anxious to
secure this office for his brother-in-law Saint-Luc, he solicited
Concini’s good offices with the Queen, thinking, not unnaturally, that,
after the service he had lately rendered him, the Italian would be only
too ready to oblige him. Concini assured both Bassompierre and his
brother-in-law that he would do everything in his power for them, and
appeared delighted at the opportunity of discharging the obligation
under which the former had placed him. Nevertheless, the post was given
to Condé’s favourite, the Baron de Rochefort, at Concini’s earnest
entreaty, the Queen told Bassompierre, as she herself preferred

So much for the favourite’s sense of gratitude! But this was not all:

     “The Marquis d’Ancre told me the same day that he was in despair
     that the Queen had given that place to Rochefort, and he begged me
     to assure M. de Saint-Luc that he had done all he could in his
     favour, but that the authority of _Monsieur le Prince_ had
     prevailed. I, who knew what the Queen had told me, replied that,
     when he wanted me to impose upon some indifferent third person, I
     was very much at his service; but that, when it was a question of
     deceiving my own brother-in-law, I begged him to employ someone
     else, since we were too nearly related.”

After this, Saint-Luc, as was only to be expected, was somewhat cold in
his manner towards Concini, whereupon that worthy, persuaded that this
was due to his brother-in-law’s influence, determined to be avenged and,
says Bassompierre, “assisted by his wife, began to instill into the
Queen’s mind the belief that I boasted of the kindness which she showed
me, and that people were talking about it; and they told her that I was
estranging her servants from her, and that I was turning everyone
against her.”

This intrigue was only too successful, and on Bassompierre’s return to
Fontainebleau from a visit to Paris, whither he had been sent by the
Queen to settle a quarrel between the Duc de Montbazon and the Maréchal
de Brissac, he perceived a change in her Majesty’s manner towards him,
which seemed rather less cordial than usual. This continued for some
days and was succeeded by an “entire coldness.”[101]

Bassompierre remained in this state of semi-disgrace for about a month,
when, his patience exhausted, he “resolved to quit the Court of France
and the service of the King and Queen, although several beautiful ladies
performed the impossible to turn him from this design.” He accordingly
asked Sauveterre, the usher of the Queen’s cabinet, to obtain for him an
audience of her Majesty, in order that he might request her permission
to retire from the Court and France, which Sauveterre did. But, no
sooner was he in the royal presence than, to his astonishment and
relief, the Queen, addressing him with all her old cordiality, said:
“Bassompierre, I am going to-morrow to Paris. [She was going to visit
her younger son, the Duc d’Orléans--_Monsieur_, as he was called--who
was lying ill at the Louvre.] I have ordered everyone to remain here;
but, as for you, if you wish to come, I give you permission. But do not
go by the same road, so that they may not say that I have made an
exception to the general rule.”

Next day, Bassompierre went to Paris, accompanied by Créquy and
Saint-Luc, and awaited the Queen’s arrival at the Louvre, where he
assisted her to alight from her coach and escorted her to _Monsieur’s_
apartments. “The others then retired,” says he, “and I remained until
she was in her cabinet, when I had full leisure to speak to her, and
left her with the assurance that she did not believe any of the things
which they had tried to persuade her to believe against me, concerning
which I gave her a complete explanation.”

Early in 1614, Condé and the other Princes who, in the preceding year,
had been allied with Concini, indignant at the latter’s reconciliation
with the Ministers and jealous of his increasing favour, retired from
Court and assumed so threatening an attitude that Marie de’ Medici
decided to raise an army without delay, and applied to the Swiss Cantons
for a levy of 6,000 men, who were intended to form the nucleus of this
force. Now, the Colonel-General of the Swiss in the French service, who
would, of course, take command of the new levy, was the Duc de Rohan, a
nobleman of whose loyalty the Regent was exceedingly suspicious, and
with good reason, since, when hostilities broke out, he entered into an
alliance with the Princes. She therefore resolved to purchase this post
from him and to appoint in his place someone in whom she had absolute

At a meeting of the Council called to decide the question of Rohan’s
successor, Villeroy suggested that the post should be given to the Duc
de Longueville, by which means, he assured the Queen, she would
certainly draw him away from the party of the Princes, which he seemed
more than half-inclined to join. Her Majesty, however, very sensibly
preferred to bestow it on someone who would not regard his appointment
as in the nature of a bribe to do his duty, and proposed that
Bassompierre should be the new Colonel-General, “both on account of the
German tongue, which he had in common with the Swiss, and because he was
their neighbour.” Upon this, Villeroy pointed out that, by the ancient
conventions of the Kings of France with the Swiss Cantons, it was
expressly provided that the Colonel-General should be a prince of the
Blood Royal of France or, at any rate, a prince of some other royal
house.[102] The Queen then proposed the Chevalier de Guise, who was a
prince of the House of Lorraine; but to this Villeroy objected, on the
ground that the Guises had already been overwhelmed with benefits and
that to add to them would be bound to create a great deal of jealousy.
And the Council rose without any decision having been arrived at.

     “As she returned to her cabinet,” writes Bassompierre, “she said to
     me: ‘Bassompierre, if you had been a prince, I would have given you
     to-day a fine appointment.’ ‘Madame,’ I replied, ‘if I am not a
     prince, it is not because I should not have been very glad to be
     one. Nevertheless, I can assure you that there are princes who are
     greater fools than myself.’ ‘I should have been very pleased if you
     had been one,’ said she, ‘because that would have saved me from
     seeking for a suitable person for the post I speak of.’ ‘Madame,
     may I ask what it is?’ ‘To appoint a Colonel-General of the Swiss,’
     said she. ‘And why, Madame, can I not be Colonel-General, if it is
     your wish?’ On which she told me that the Swiss had a convention
     with the King according to which no one but a prince could be their

Bassompierre saluted her Majesty and withdrew, anathematizing the
wretched convention which stood between him and one of the highest
offices under the Crown, and wondering whether by any possibility the
obstacle could be overcome. Of that there seemed but little chance, as
time pressed, and perhaps by the morrow the post would have been filled.
Fortune favoured him, however, for, as he was on his way to dinner, he
happened to meet Colonel Gaspard Gallaty, a veteran Swiss officer in the
service of France,[103] with whom he was on very friendly terms. To him
he related what the Queen had just told him, when Gallaty said that he
believed he possessed sufficient influence with his countrymen to
persuade them to accept him as their Colonel-General, notwithstanding
the convention. And he offered to set out at once for Switzerland to
obtain their consent, and begged Bassompierre to return to the Queen and
tell her that, if she wished to give him the post, the Swiss would

     “She [the Queen] said to me, ‘I give you a fortnight; nay, I will
     give you three weeks, for this; and if you can obtain the consent
     of the Swiss, I will give you the post. Then I spoke to Gallaty,
     who asked me to obtain permission for him to go to his own country,
     saying that he would set out in two days’ time. And this he did,
     and, within the time that he had promised me he sent me a letter
     from the Cantons, who were assembled at Soleure, to authorise the
     levy which the King was demanding from them, by which they informed
     the King that, if it pleased him to honour me with this charge,
     they would accept me as willingly as any prince whom he might give

By the Queen’s orders, Bassompierre then communicated with Rohan, who
was in Poitou, and, as he feared that it might be some little time
before the Treasury saw its way to pay the large sum demanded by that
nobleman for the surrender of his post, he himself offered to advance
it; and on March 12, 1614, he took the oath as Colonel-General of the

Two days later, news arrived that the Princes had surprised Mézières,
from which place Condé despatched a lengthy memorial to the Queen,
setting forth the grievances of himself and his party, protesting
against the Spanish marriage and demanding the convocation of the
States-General. The seizure of Mézières was followed by that of
Sainte-Menehould, but the arrival of the Swiss, in two regiments, each
3,000 strong, of whom Bassompierre at once went to take the command,
greatly perturbed the rebels, and there can be no doubt that at the
cost of a little bloodshed the Regent could easily have crushed the
insurrection. Instead of doing so, she preferred to treat, and the
result of the negotiations which ensued was the Peace of
Sainte-Menehould (May 15, 1614), which stipulated that the
States-General should be convoked; that Condé should hold Amboise, as a
place of surety, until the meeting of the States, and receive a sum of
450,000 livres; that Mayenne, who was already Governor of the
Île-de-France, should have the reversion of the government of Paris,
together with 300,000 livres; Longueville 100,000 livres, and Bouillon
“the doubling of his gendarmes.” It was a direct incentive to the
Princes to take up arms again on the first convenient opportunity.

As the Duc de Vendôme, who had retired into his government of Brittany,
showed himself discontented with the peace and had, not only refused to
dismantle the fortifications of Lamballe and Quimper, as he was required
to do by the treaty, but had even seized upon Vannes, Marie de’ Medici,
on the advice of Villeroy, decided to show the young King to his people,
and to “go in person to pacify the western provinces.” Bassompierre
accompanied her, with one of the two regiments of Swiss, the other
having been disbanded on the signing of peace, and was employed in
superintending the razing of the fortifications which Vendôme had
erected. The appearance of the young King aroused great enthusiasm in
the West, and Vendôme soon decided to make his submission.

Louis XIII returned to Paris, and on October 2 proceeded in great state
to the Parlement to declare his majority. He thanked his mother “for
having taken so many pains on his behalf, and begged her to continue to
govern and command as heretofore.” “I desire and I order,” he added,
“that you be obeyed in everything and everywhere, and that you be after
me the chief of my Council.”


     Bassompierre, during his absence in Lorraine, condemned by the
     Archbishop of Aix to espouse Mlle. d’Entragues, on pain of
     excommunication--The archbishop’s decision quashed by the Parlement
     of Paris--Financial and amatory embarrassments of
     Bassompierre--Death of his mother--The action which the d’Entragues
     have brought against him finally decided in his favour--Condé
     withdraws from Court and issues a manifesto against the
     Government--Civil war begins--Marriage of Louis XIII and Anne of
     Austria--Peace of Loudun--Fall of the old Ministers of Henri
     IV--Concini and the shoemaker--Condé becomes all-powerful--He
     obliges Concini to retire to Normandy--Arrogance of Condé and his
     partisans, who are suspected of conspiracy to change the form of
     government--The Queen-Mother sends for Bassompierre at three
     o’clock in the morning and informs him that she has decided upon
     the arrest of the Princes--Preparations for this _coup
     d’état_--Arrest of Condé--Concini’s house sacked by the mob--The
     Comte d’Auvergne and the Council of War--Bassompierre conducts
     Condé from the Louvre to the Bastille.

In January, 1615, Bassompierre set out for Lorraine, to visit his
mother, who was lying dangerously ill at Nancy. “The joy of seeing me,”
says he, “restored her to some degree of health,” and, after remaining
with her a fortnight, he went to visit some of his friends in Germany.
About Easter he returned to Nancy, and was about to set out for France
when he received a most astonishing piece of intelligence.

It appears that the d’Entragues, aware that their plea that the court at
Rouen was improperly constituted was certain to be overruled by the
King’s Council and the case sent back to Rouen for trial, in which event
their chance of obtaining a verdict would be a very remote one, had
decided to appeal to Rome, and proceeded to petition the Pope to direct
that the affair should be adjudicated upon by ecclesiastical
commissioners appointed by his Holiness. The petition was granted,
though it would appear to have been very unusual for the Vatican to do
so, unless it had first been ascertained whether the other party were
willing for the case to be submitted to a Papal tribunal; and one of the
commissioners appointed was the Bishop of Dax. But, by some error, due
no doubt to the similarity of names, the Papal authority to try the case
was sent, not to this prelate, but to the Archbishop of Aix. Now, the
Archbishop of Aix, if we are to believe Bassompierre, was “a needy
rogue, and generally regarded as mad”; and when the Bishop of Beauvais,
at whose suggestion the appeal to Rome had been made, and whom the
writer accuses of being in love with Marie d’Entragues, offered him a
bribe of 1,200 crowns to defeat the ends of justice, he promptly
accepted it. Thereupon, without condescending to consult his
fellow-commissioners he sent a citation to Bassompierre’s house,
summoning him to appear before him; and, after waiting three days,
without troubling to ascertain whether that gentleman had ever received
the citation, and without hearing any evidence, pronounced, on his own
authority, the promise of marriage--which he had not even seen, as it
was, with the other documents connected with the case, at Rome--good and
valid, and condemned Bassompierre to execute it within fifteen days
after Easter, on pain of excommunication.

On learning of these extraordinary proceedings, Bassompierre returned to
Paris in all haste, and appealed to the Parlement; and that body, always
very jealous of Papal interference with matters which it considered
within its own jurisdiction, promptly quashed the archbishop’s decision.
He then went to the Queen-Mother, who, “indignant, like everyone else,
at the infamy of this man,” issued an order for the prelate’s arrest,
which Bassompierre set out to execute, at the head of 200 stalwart
Swiss. The archbishop, however, had prudently gone into hiding, where he
remained until the Nuncio and the other bishops, fearing a scandal,
succeeded in pacifying the infuriated Bassompierre, “the Nuncio giving
him his word that within three months at latest his Holiness would
quash, as the Parlement had already done, all the proceedings of this
fool. And this he did.”

This new development of the d’Entragues affair was only one of many
difficulties which beset Bassompierre on his return to Paris:--

     “I found myself on my return in very great perplexity; not only in
     consequence of this affair, but also on account of six hundred
     thousand livres which I owed in Paris, without any means of paying
     them; and my creditors, who, on seeing me set out to visit my
     mother, who was dangerously ill, entertained some hope that, with
     the property I should inherit from her, I should be able to satisfy
     them, now that I was returned and my mother recovered, lost all
     hope of settling their affairs with me, and were consequently very
     mutinous. There was a quarrel in a certain house between a husband
     and wife on my account, which gave me pain; and, worst of all,
     there was a girl for whom I daily feared a discovery attended with
     a great scandal and evil consequences for me.”

However, his fortunate star prevailed over these complicated effects of
his extravagant and amorous propensities:--

     “It happened that, within a few days, I heard of the quashing of
     the proceedings of this precious Archbishop of Aix, and of the
     death of my mother, which brought me fifty thousand crowns in money
     and saleable property to the value of a hundred thousand, so that I
     paid seven hundred thousand livres of debts, which placed me
     greatly at my ease; the quarrel between the husband and wife was
     made up (August); the girl was happily brought to bed without
     anyone knowing of it (August 5); and I went to Rouen, where I
     gained my case against Antragues finally and completely. So that at
     the same, or within a little, time I was delivered from all these
     divers and distressing inconveniences.”

Towards the end of March, Condé, who for weeks past had been secretly
fomenting opposition to the Court, left Paris, followed, at intervals,
by his chief adherents, and issued a manifesto protesting against the
Ultramontane tendencies of the Government and the Spanish marriage.
Marie de’ Medici, who intended shortly to set out for the Spanish
frontier to make the exchange of the princesses and conclude the
marriage of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, and naturally feared to
leave Condé behind her, sent him a letter from the King commanding the
prince to accompany him. But Condé excused himself from following his
Majesty until he had remedied the evils of the State, of which he
designed the Maréchal d’Ancre as the principal author.

The Queen-Mother, in consequence, was obliged to raise two armies: one
to escort the King and herself to Bordeaux, the other to watch the
princes. The latter force was placed under the command of the Maréchal
de Bois-Dauphin, with Praslin as his chief of staff; and to this
Bassompierre and the Swiss were attached.

The King and his mother left Paris on August 17, Bassompierre and the
Swiss accompanying them so far as Bernis, not far from Sceaux, where
they received orders to return and join Bois-Dauphin’s army. Before
doing so, however, Bassompierre went to Rouen, where on September 4 the
Parlement pronounced judgment in his favour; and this unedifying affair,
which had dragged on for nearly four years and must have involved both
sides in enormous expense, finally terminated. He then returned in
triumph to Paris, whence he proceeded to Meaux, where Bois-Dauphin had
established his headquarters.

Bassompierre gives a long and detailed account of the operations which
ensued, through which, however, we do not propose to follow him, since
they are of little interest, consisting mainly of unimportant skirmishes
and the reduction of such places as had declared for the Princes or had
been seized by them. In what fighting took place he appears to have
displayed both courage and activity; while he endeavoured, though
without success, to impart some of his own energy to the old Maréchal de
Bois-Dauphin, who, in his youth, had been one of the most dashing
officers in the armies of the League, but with age had grown slow and
cautious. Happily for the marshal, Condé was equally incapable;
otherwise, he would no doubt have taken advantage of his opponent’s
inaction to march upon Paris.

Meanwhile, the Court had reached Bordeaux in safety, from which town the
greater part of the Royal army was despatched to the frontier to fetch
the Infanta Anne of Austria, whom Philip III, undisturbed on his side by
war’s alarms, had brought from Madrid. The exchange of the princesses
took place at Andaye, on the Bidassoa, after which Anne of Austria,
escorted by the Royal troops, set out for Bordeaux, where her marriage
with Louis XIII was celebrated on November 28.

Her object accomplished, Marie de’ Medici became anxious for peace at
any price, while Condé and his friends, now deprived of their chief
pretext for rebellion and aware that the Queen would be prepared to pay
them handsomely to return to their allegiance, had no desire to prolong
the war. A suspension of arms having been agreed upon, a congress met at
Loudun to negotiate peace, which was signed on May 3, 1616.

Its terms were another triumph for the party of the Princes, and
particularly for their leader, who, in exchange for his government of
Guienne, received that of Berry and of the citadel and town of Bourges,
the right of signing all the decrees of the Council, and 1,500,000
livres, to compensate him for the inconvenience and expense to which he
had been put in being obliged to take up arms against his sovereign. He
was certainly finding rebellion a most profitable occupation. The other
grandees, his accomplices, received altogether 6,000,000 livres.

The Peace of Loudun brought about the downfall of the Ministers of Henri
IV. In both peace and war they had shown only weakness, which is
scarcely surprising, considering that the Chancellor, the youngest of
the three, was seventy-two. He was obliged to surrender the Seals to Du
Vair, First President of the Parlement of Toulouse; while Villeroy and
Jeannin were also dismissed, and replaced by Mangot, First President of
the Parlement of Bordeaux, and the Queen-Mother’s intendant Barbin, an
intelligent and energetic man, who was devoted to Concini and Marie de’

As for Concini, he was more in favour at Court than ever; nevertheless,
his position was not altogether an enviable one, since, though he was
temporarily reconciled with Condé, Mayenne and Bouillon were breathing
fire and slaughter against him and were quite capable of putting their
threats into execution should a favourable occasion present itself;
while he had rendered himself odious to the Parisians by an act of
intolerable insolence.

It happened that, one night during the war, Concini had wished to leave
Paris by the Porte de Bussy, in order to go to Saint-Germain. But, as he
had neglected to provide himself with the necessary passport--such
trifles being, of course, beneath the notice of so great a man--the
officer of the citizen militia in charge of the gate, who, when not
girded with a sword, followed the peaceful occupation of a shoemaker,
had refused to let him out. The shoemaker was only doing his duty, but
Concini was furious, and, so soon as peace was signed, determined to be
revenged, and accordingly sent two of his lackeys to chastise the
impertinent fellow who had dared to put such an affront upon a marshal
of France. The sequel was a tragedy, for the shoemaker shouted for help
with all the strength of his lungs; the people came running from all
directions to his assistance, seized the unfortunate lackeys, and, after
keeping them locked up for some days, hanged them in front of the
shoemaker’s shop, vowing that they would serve their master in the same
way when they could lay their hands on him.

All things considered, it is not surprising that the marshal should have
decided that the air of Paris was just then unsuited to his health and
remained at his country seat at Lesigny, though even there he appears to
have been far from safe from his enemies, since Bassompierre tells us
that “MM. de Mayenne and de Bouillon made an attempt to blow him up with
a petard, but did not succeed.”

However, on July 20 Condé returned to Paris, to be received with
enthusiasm by the people, though surely no one was ever less deserving
of popular acclamations than this vain, greedy, and meddlesome young
man, who had not scrupled to plunge his country into the miseries of
civil war to serve his own selfish ends! Unwilling to offend the prince
by failing to pay him his respects, Concini thereupon decided to go to
Paris, even at the risk of his life, and wrote to Bassompierre, who had
apparently quite forgiven him for the shabby way he had behaved two
years before, asking him to meet him at the Porte Saint-Antoine at three
o’clock on the following afternoon, with as many friends as he could

At the appointed hour Bassompierre proceeded to the Porte Saint-Antoine,
accompanied by thirty horse, passing on the way the Hôtel de Mayenne,
which stood at the corner of the Rue Saint-Antoine and the Rue du
Petit-Musc. Presently, Concini appeared, riding in his gilded coach,
which was surrounded by forty mounted retainers, all, of course, armed
to the teeth. The marshal alighted, and mounted a horse which
Bassompierre had brought for him, and the two cavalcades joined forces
and proceeded through the streets to the Louvre. Here they waited while
Concini entered to salute the Queen, and then made their way to the
Hôtel de Condé, in the Faubourg Saint-Germain. By this time the
marshal’s escort, swollen by the accession of friends of his own and
Bassompierre’s, amounted to over one hundred horse; but it seemed as
though even this force might be insufficient to protect him, as the
first person whom they saw on entering the courtyard of the Hôtel de
Condé was Concini’s enemy the shoemaker. His presence in that
aristocratic mansion was no doubt accounted for by the fact that it was
part of _Monsieur le Prince’s_ policy to court the leaders of the
populace, as the Guises had done so effectively in days gone by.

No sooner did the shoemaker catch sight of Concini, than he hurried
away, shouting out that he was going to raise the people of his quarter
against the Italian. The latter, greatly alarmed, paid his respects to
Condé as briefly as etiquette would permit, and then he and his escort
turned their horses’ heads towards the river. On this occasion,
Bassompierre and his followers rode some two hundred paces ahead of
Concini, as it had been decided that if, as was fully expected, they
found the Pont-Neuf occupied by an armed mob too numerous to allow of
them cutting their way through, the vanguard should hold the enemy in
check, while the marshal, under the protection of the rest, retreated to
the shelter of the Hôtel de Condé. To their relief, however, the bridge
was unoccupied--apparently the shoemaker had not had sufficient time to
mobilise his quarter--and they reached the Porte Saint-Antoine in
safety, where Concini reentered his coach and returned to Lesigny.

After Condé’s return to Paris, the management of affairs fell almost
entirely into his hands, and his hôtel was besieged at all hours by
petitioners and sycophants. “Almost all the grandees,” says
Bassompierre, “were of his party and his cabal, and even MM. de
Guise[104] joined him, under pretext of dissatisfaction with the
Maréchal d’Ancre and his wife.”

At the beginning of August, Concini returned to his


From an engraving by Aubert.]

house in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, emboldened apparently by a promise
of his protection which Condé had given him. A few days later, having
some business with the prince, he had the hardihood to go to the Hôtel
de Condé, attended by a suite of thirty gentlemen, at a time when Condé
was giving a sumptuous fête in honour of Lord Hay, the British
Ambassador Extraordinary, to which all the princes and great nobles had
been invited. The company were at table when he arrived, but he went
into the banquet-hall, in which he found Bouillon, Mayenne and other
sworn enemies of his, spoke with Condé for some time, and then took his
departure, “all these gentlemen glaring at him and he at them.”

Next morning, the prince sent for Concini and told him that he had had
great difficulty on the previous day in restraining his friends from
falling upon him and killing him as he was leaving his hôtel, and that
they all threatened to abandon him if he did not withdraw his protection
from the marshal. In consequence, he was unable to protect him any
longer, and he counselled him strongly to retire to Normandy, of which
province he had recently been appointed lieutenant-general, in exchange
for the surrender of a similar office in Picardy. Concini followed the
prince’s advice--or rather his orders--went to the Louvre to take leave
of the King and the Queen-Mother, and left Paris the next day (August
15). “It is impossible to say,” adds Bassompierre, “how much his
departure discredited the Queen-Mother, when it was seen that a servant
of hers could not live in safety in Paris, save so long as _Monsieur le
Prince_ pleased; while it augmented the reputation and authority of
_Monsieur le Prince_.”

Chief of the grandees and also chief of the King’s counsellors, Condé
might perhaps have been content to live on good terms with the
Queen-Mother and to use with moderation the large share of power which
she had abandoned to him. “But his partisans were unable to suffer their
reunion.” Longueville surprised Péronne; Bouillon, the “demon of
rebellion,” the turbulent Mayenne, the restless Vendôme, urged him to
seize the supreme power, on pain of abandoning him. He is said to have
avowed to Barbin that “it was plain that nothing more remained for him
but to remove the King from his throne and put himself in his place.” If
he had really entertained any such intention, he would hardly have made
a confidant of one of the most devoted of the Queen-Mother’s adherents;
but, any way, the Court believed that he was secretly stirring up the
people and the clergy and tampering with the officers of the Guards and
the captains of the citizen militia, and was plotting to change the form
of government. On the advice probably of the new Ministers Barbin and
Mangot, and of Concini’s wife, Marie de’ Medici resolved to forestall
Condé by arresting him, together with Bouillon, Mayenne, and Vendôme.
Fearing that the officers of the Guards might refuse to lay hands on the
first Prince of the Blood, she decided to dispense with their services
and to entrust the task to the Marquis de Thémines, a brave old Gascon
noble who had served with distinction in the Wars of Religion, assisted
by d’Elbène, a captain of light cavalry.

     “On Thursday, the first day of September, at three o’clock in the
     morning,” says Bassompierre, “I was awakened by a gentleman-servant
     of the Queen named La Motte, who came to tell me, on her behalf, to
     come to the Louvre, disguised and alone, which I did. On entering
     the Louvre, I found one of the Gardes du Corps of the King named La
     Barre, who happened to be on guard that night. La Barre was
     Quartermaster of the Swiss, and I told him to come with me into the
     Queen’s ante-chamber and wait at the door while I entered her
     chamber, as I did not doubt that it was some matter relating to the
     Swiss which was the cause of my being sent for.

     “I found the Queen in deshabille, with MM. Mangot and Barbin on
     either side of her, while M. de Fossé[105] was standing a little
     way behind them. As I entered, she said to me: ‘You do not know why
     I have sent for you so early, Bassompierre.’ ‘Madame,’ I answered,
     ‘I do not know the reason.’ ‘I will tell you anon,’ said she, and
     then began to walk about, and so continued for near half-an-hour;
     while I spoke to M. de Fossé, whom I was very astonished to see
     there, as the Queen had dismissed him for having accompanied the
     Commandeur de Sillery when he was exiled from the Court.[106]

     “At length, the Queen entered her cabinet, bidding us follow her,
     and said to me: ‘I intend to make prisoners of _Monsieur le Prince_
     and MM. de Vendôme, Mayenne, and Bouillon. I desire that the Swiss
     be here at eleven o’clock this morning, that is to say, about the
     Tuileries, for, if I am forced by the people to leave Paris, I
     shall retire with them to Mantes. I have my jewels packed up and
     40,000 crowns in gold--they are here--and I shall take my children
     with me, if I am forced to go, though I pray that God may forbid
     it, and I do not think it will be necessary. But I am fully
     resolved to submit to any peril and inconvenience that I may
     encounter rather than lose my authority and suffer that of the King
     to perish. I desire also that, when the time arrives, you will go,
     with your Swiss, to the gate [of the Louvre], to resist an attack,
     if one should be made, and to die there for the service of the
     King, as I promise myself that you will be ready to do.’ ‘Madame,’
     I replied, ‘I shall not deceive the good opinion that you entertain
     of me, as you will know to-day, if such should be the case.
     Meantime, Madame, be pleased to permit me to go and summon the
     Swiss from their quarters.’ ‘No,’ said she, ‘you shall not go out.’
     ‘It is strange of you, Madame,’ said I, ‘to distrust a man to whom
     you are confiding the person of the King, your own, and those of
     your children. However, I have at this door a man whom I can trust,
     and I will send him to the quarters of the Swiss. Rely on me,
     Madame, and rest assured that the fête will not be spoiled by me.’
     She permitted me to go out, and I sent La Barre to fetch the Swiss.
     I asked her what she intended to do with the French Guards, when
     she said that she feared that M. de Créquy[107] had been won over
     by _Monsieur le Prince_. ‘Not against the King, Madame,’ said I,
     ‘for I know that for the King he would die a thousand deaths, if
     that were possible.’ Upon that she said: ‘I must send for him, and
     neither of you must go out until _Monsieur le Prince_ has entered.’
     She sent also for M. de Saint-Géran[108]; while La Curée[109] came
     with the King when he descended to the Queen-Mother’s apartments at
     nine o’clock. The Queen spoke to these gentlemen, and when I asked
     her by whom _Monsieur le Prince_ was to be arrested, she answered:
     ‘I have provided for that.’

     “_Monsieur le Prince_ came at eight o’clock to attend the Council,
     and the Queen-Mother, looking at him as everyone came to hand him
     petitions, said: ‘There is the King of France, but his royalty will
     be like that of the Twelfth Night King; it will not last long.’

     “Upon that, she despatched Créquy and myself to the gate of the
     Louvre to place the Guards under arms, and meantime she sent to
     summon _Monsieur le Prince_ to her presence. Afterwards she sent to
     tell us that if _Monsieur le Prince_ came to the gate, we should
     arrest him. We sent back word that this was so important an order
     that we ought to have it from her own lips, and that she should
     have given it us while we were in her chamber; but that, if it
     pleased her to send a lieutenant of the Guards du Corps to arrest
     him, we would render him every assistance, and, meantime, I would
     give orders that no one was to pass out of the gate. And I placed
     thirty Swiss halberdiers there, while Créquy gave a like order to
     the French Guards.

     “A moment later, there came a _valet de chambre_ of the Queen to
     tell us that _Monsieur le Prince_ had been arrested.”[110]

So soon as the arrest of Condé had been effected, Saint-Géran and La
Curée, with detachments of the Gensdarmes and Light Cavalry of the
Guard, were sent to apprehend Bouillon, Mayenne, and Vendôme; but all
three princes had prudently taken to flight.

Much to the relief of Marie de’ Medici, the bulk of the populace
remained unmoved, though the Dowager-Princesse de Condé drove about the
streets, crying out: “To arms, good people! The Maréchal d’Ancre has
caused _Monsieur le Prince_ to be assassinated!” A crowd, however,
collected before Concini’s house in the Faubourg-Saint-Germain, broke in
the door and sacked it from basement to attic, after which they were
proceeding to demolish it, when the French Guards arrived and dispersed

     “A little while after the arrest of _Monsieur le Prince_,” says
     Bassompierre, “some rioters, or some members of the said prince’s
     household, began to throw stones against the windows of the
     Maréchal d’Ancre’s house. Then, others joining them with the hope
     of plunder, took the pieces of timber from beyond the Luxembourg,
     which was then being built, to break open the door of the said
     house. Eight or ten men and women who were within escaped,
     terror-stricken, by a back door; and a number of masons from the
     Luxembourg having joined the mob, they entered and pillaged this
     rich house, in which they found furniture worth more than 200,000
     crowns. So soon as the Queen-Mother heard of it, she ordered M. de
     Liancourt, Governor of Paris, to go and put a stop to the tumult.
     He went with the archers of the Watch, but, perceiving that it was
     no place for him, returned; and the people continued to pillage all
     day, and were not interfered with.... The next day the King
     commanded M. de Créquy to take the companies of the French Guards
     just relieved from duty and drive away the people, who were
     continuing, not to plunder--for that was already accomplished--but
     to demolish the Maréchal d’Ancre’s house. This M. de Créquy did,
     and placed soldiers there to guard it.”

The same day that Condé was arrested, the King, at his mother’s request,
created Thémines a marshal of France. His appointment, Bassompierre
tells us, aroused great indignation amongst a number of gentlemen who
considered that their own military services gave them a better claim to
that dignity, and they complained loudly, the loudest of all being M. de
Montigny, formerly Governor of Paris, who, while travelling to the
capital that morning, had met Vendôme flying for his life, and had
obligingly lent him his own post-horses, which were fresh, as the
prince’s were exhausted. To pacify Montigny, the King created him a
marshal likewise. Then Saint-Géran, “perceiving that it was only
necessary to complain to get what one wanted,” extorted from his Majesty
a written promise that he too should be made a marshal, while Créquy
obtained a brevet of duke and peer. The Queen-Mother said to
Bassompierre that evening: “Bassompierre, you have not asked for
anything like the others.” “Madame,” was the diplomatic answer, “an
occasion on which we have only performed our simple duty is not one on
which to ask for recompense. But I hope that when, by great services, I
shall have merited them, the King will bestow upon me honours and
emoluments without my asking him.”

On September 5, Marie de’ Medici instituted a Council of War, to which
she summoned the Maréchal de Brissac, Praslin, Saint-Luc, Saint-Géran,
and Bassompierre, and also the recently dismissed Ministers Villeroy and
Jeannin, to discuss the means of raising an army to combat the fugitive
princes, who had established themselves at Soissons, where their
adherents were gathering round them. This Council, however, had only
held one or two meetings, under the presidency of the Maréchal de
Brissac, when a most embarrassing incident caused its sittings to be

It will be remembered that, in 1605, the Comte d’Auvergne, Charles IX’s
son by Marie Touchet, now Madame d’Entragues, had been condemned to
death for high treason, a sentence subsequently commuted by Henri IV to
perpetual imprisonment in the Bastille. This commutation, however, had
not been a formal one, so that the death-sentence remained nominally
suspended over the captive’s head. At the end of the previous June, the
Queen-Mother had set Auvergne at liberty, with the object of opposing
him to the cabal of the Princes; and when, a few weeks later, the news
arrived that Longueville had seized Péronne, she sent him, at the head
of two companies of the French Guards and a detachment of cavalry, to
invest the place. But, by some extraordinary oversight, she had omitted
to furnish Auvergne with the usual letters of _abolition_, and, in the
absence of his sovereign’s formal pardon for his offences, he occupied a
position somewhat analogous to that of a convict on ticket-of-leave.

A day or two after the Council of War had been appointed, Auvergne
returned from Péronne, and asked Barbin whether he were expected to
attend its sessions. Barbin gave him to understand that he was; and at
the next meeting of the Council the prince entered the room and coolly
took his seat at the head of the table. Brissac was so overcome with
astonishment and indignation that he was quite unable to utter any
protest; but Bassompierre, boiling with rage at the sight of a man who
had twice conspired against the life of his beloved master, and was
still technically a traitor under sentence of death, presuming to
attend, much less to preside, over their counsels, rose at once and
moved to one of the windows, beckoning Saint-Géran and Créquy to follow
him. His friends shared his indignation, and, having consulted together,
they called Brissac and told him that it would be “a reproach and a
shame to him” if he suffered the Comte d’Auvergne to take his place. The
marshal thereupon declared that, provided that they and La Curée would
support him--for these four with their troops were masters of the
Louvre--he would kill the count with his own hand, if he returned for
the afternoon session and again took his place at the head of the
council-board. The others applauded this decision, but, happily, Praslin
joined them, and, on learning of what was intended, pointed out that the
wisest course would be to request the Queen-Mother to order the Comte
d’Auvergne not to attend the Council or to suspend its sessions, whereby
they would escape the “inconvenience” which might arise were a marshal
of France to kill a Prince of the Blood at the council-board.

It was decided to follow his advice, and to delegate to him the duty of
informing the Queen-Mother that they would not permit the count to
preside over the Council or even attend it. Marie de’ Medici, we are
told, took their remonstrances in very good part, and, since she did not
care to offend Auvergne by excluding him from the Council, decided that
that body should not meet again.

On September 25, Guise and his brother Joinville, who had followed the
other princes to Soissons, with the apparent intention of throwing in
their lot with them, returned to Paris and came to the Louvre to pay
their respects to the Queen-Mother and assure her of their unalterable
fidelity. Her Majesty received them very graciously; nevertheless, she
appears to have entertained a strong suspicion that they had other
motives in returning to the capital. For that evening, when the
courtiers were retiring from her apartments, she desired Bassompierre to
remain, as she wished to speak to him, and said: “Bassompierre, I have
resolved to transfer _Monsieur le Prince_ from here, and intend to
entrust his removal to you. Here is the Maréchal de Thémines, who
arrested him, and who has guarded him in the Louvre with difficulty. But
it is to be feared that, if I keep him here any longer, some attempt may
be made to rescue him, which could easily be done.... Besides, if he
remains here, the King and I are prevented from leaving, should we
desire to go to Saint-Germain or some other place, since, in that event,
he would no longer be in security. In consequence, I have resolved to
place him in the Bastille, and desire that you should take charge of his

“She then told me,” says Bassompierre, “that it was the King’s intention
that I should not wait for _li honori, li bieni, li carichi_. These were
her words.”

Bassompierre replied that the honour of her Majesty’s confidence was in
itself sufficient recompense for the slight service which she was
demanding of him, and that he would readily undertake to conduct the
prince safely to the Bastille. About this she need have no fear, since,
even if Condé’s adherents were to get wind of what was intended, long
before they had had time to gather in sufficient numbers to attempt a
rescue, he would have the prisoner under lock and key again.

He then inquired if the Queen-Mother had any orders to give as to the
manner of the prince’s removal, and, on being told that she left all the
arrangements entirely to his discretion, proceeded to form the escort,
which was composed of 200 of the French Guards and 100 Swiss, chosen
from those who were posted before and behind the Louvre--for the palace
was guarded night and day, like a beleaguered fortress upon which an
assault might at any moment be delivered--another body of 50 Swiss, whom
he summoned from their quarters in the Faubourg Saint-Honoré, a few of
his own and the Queen’s gentlemen, on horseback, a dozen men of the
Gardes du Corps, and six of the Swiss of the Guard (the _Cent-Suisses_).
The French Guards were posted opposite the gate of the Louvre; the rest
were drawn up in the courtyard, where a coach was in waiting to convey
the prisoner and Thémines, who was to ride with him, to the Bastille.

His preparations completed, Bassompierre, accompanied by Thémines,
ascended to the room where Condé was confined, and awakened the prince,
“who was in great apprehension,” being evidently under the impression
that they had come to conduct him to execution. Thémines having
reassured him on this score, he went with the marshal down to the
courtyard and entered the coach; Bassompierre mounted his horse, and the
cortège moved off. Bassompierre, with the mounted gentlemen and fifty of
the Swiss, led the way; then came the coach, guarded on either side by
the Gardes du Corps and the Swiss of the Guard, with their partizans and
halberds; while the French Guards and the rest of the Swiss brought up
the rear. Thus they wended their way through the dark, silent streets
towards the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, no one being encountered on their
march save a few belated pedestrians, and, in less than an hour after
they left the Louvre, the gates of the Bastille had closed upon the
first Prince of the Blood.

Before setting out for the Bastille, Bassompierre had judged it
advisable to send a messenger to assure the Duc de Guise, whose hôtel
lay on their way[111] and who, he thought, might take alarm if he
learned that soldiers were approaching, that nothing was intended
against him. The messenger was only just in time, for Guise, warned by
a friend living near the Louvre that troops were assembling at the
palace, and persuaded that his arrest was their objective, had promptly
decided on flight; and he and some of his attendants were already
dressed and preparing to get to horse.


     Serious illness of the young King, who, however,
     recovers--Bassompierre and Mlle. d’Urfé--Gay winter in
     Paris--Richelieu enters the Ministry as Secretary of State for
     War--His foreign policy--His energetic measures to put down the
     rebellion of the Princes--Return of Concini--His arrogance and
     presumption--Singular conversation between Bassompierre and
     Concini, after the death of the latter’s daughter--Policy pursued
     by Marie de’ Medici and Concini towards Louis XIII--Humiliating
     position of the young King--His favourite, Charles d’Albert,
     Seigneur de Luynes--Bassompierre warns the Queen-Mother that the
     King may be persuaded to revolt against her authority.

At the end of October, Louis XIII fell ill, and on All-Hallows’ Eve “had
a convulsion, which it was apprehended would develop into apoplexy.” His
physicians were of opinion that if he had a second attack it would
probably prove fatal; and Marie de’ Medici, on learning of this, sent
for Bassompierre and kept him at the Louvre all night, so as to be in
readiness to summon the Swiss to her support, in the event of the King’s
death. However, the young monarch passed a good night, and by the
morning all danger was over.

On the following day, Bassompierre set out for Burgundy, at the head of
300 cavalry, to meet and take command of a new levy of two regiments of
Swiss, raised to assist the Government in dealing with the rebellious
Princes. He left Paris with no little reluctance, since he had just
embarked in a new love-affair with Mlle. d’Urfé, who is described by
Tallemant des Réaux as the flower of the Queen’s maids-of-honour; and it
was naturally most provoking to have to go campaigning at such a moment.
However, love had to give place to duty.

Bassompierre’s orders were to hold the Swiss and his little force of
cavalry at the disposal of Bellegarde, Governor of Burgundy, who had
been sent into the Bresse to the assistance of Charles Emmanuel’s heir,
the Prince of Piedmont, who was defending Savoy against an army
commanded by his kinsman, the Duc de Nemours. This army had originally
been raised by Nemours to co-operate with the forces of Charles Emmanuel
in the war which had broken out between him and Spain; but the duke had
been persuaded, by the specious promises of the Governor of Milan, to
turn it against his relatives. However, on reaching Provins,
Bassompierre learned that, through the intervention of Bellegarde, a
treaty had been signed between the Prince of Piedmont and Nemours, and
that the latter had disbanded his army.

At Saint-Jean de Losne, near Beaune, he met the Swiss, and, having
administered to them the usual oath of fidelity, led them to
Châtillon-sur-Seine, where he received orders to send one regiment into
the Nivernais and the other into Champagne, to be distributed amongst
different garrisons in those provinces.

At the beginning of December, he returned to Paris, eager to sun himself
once more in the smiles of Mlle. d’Urfé; and his disgust may therefore
be imagined when, scarcely had he arrived, than he received a visit from
his kinsman, the wealthy Duc de Cröy,[112] who informed him that the
same lady’s charms had made so deep an impression upon him that he
proposed to lay, not only his heart, but his ancient title and all his
possessions at her feet. And, all unconscious that his relative had a
prior claim to Mlle. d’Urfé’s affections, he begged him to make, on his
behalf, a formal proposal for her hand to her parents.

Dissimulating his mortification, Bassompierre accepted this commission;
but, as he is not ashamed to confess, with the intention of preventing
the marriage, if by any means that could be effected. However, “his
efforts were in vain, for the duke surmounted all the difficulties that
he put in his way,” and at the beginning of 1617 Mlle. d’Urfé became
Duchesse de Cröy.

Bassompierre did not, as we may suppose, waste much time in regrets for
the loss of his inamorata, since, notwithstanding that a civil war was
in progress and that almost every day brought such cheerful intelligence
as that one gentleman’s château had been sacked or another’s unfortunate
tenants rendered homeless, the winter of 1617 in Paris was a very gay
one, and what with dancing, gambling and love-making, his days and
nights must have been pretty well occupied:--

     “I won that year at the game of trictrac, from M. de Guise, M. de
     Joinville and the Maréchal d’Ancre, 100,000 crowns. I was not out
     of favour at the Court, nor with the ladies, and had a number of
     beautiful mistresses.”

To turn, however, from trivial to important matters.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the end of 1616 Bassompierre writes in his journal:

     “During my journey to Burgundy, the Seals had been taken away from
     M. du Vair and given to Mangot, and Mangot’s charge of Secretary of
     State to M. de Lusson.”

Now, the “M. de Lusson” of whom Bassompierre speaks was none other than
Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Bishop of Luçon, afterwards
Cardinal de Richelieu, who on November 30, 1616, had entered the
Ministry as Secretary of State for War.

Scarcely had this great man touched public affairs than it was
recognised that a firmer and surer hand was guiding the helm; a new
spirit seemed to be infused into the Government. The tone of Henri IV
suddenly reappeared in French diplomacy, and the ambassadors at Courts
opposed to the pretensions of the House of Austria, justly alarmed by
the Spanish marriages, were instructed to inform the sovereigns to whom
they were accredited that these marriages were by no means to be
regarded as portending any intention on the part of the Very Christian
King to embrace the interests of Spain or the Holy See, to the detriment
of the old alliances of France or to the principle of religious
toleration in his realm.

And, at the same time as he reassured the old allies of France,
Richelieu took energetic measures to put down rebellion at home. He
appealed to public opinion by the issue of pamphlets and proclamations,
in which he effectively combated the arguments advanced by the Princes
to justify their revolt, and pointed out that these same men who
complained of the disorder of the finances had themselves bled the State
to the tune of over fourteen million livres--he gave a schedule showing
the sums paid to each of them--not counting the emoluments of the
charges bestowed upon them and the pensions and _gratifications_
accorded to their friends and servants.

Nor did he confine himself to words. This time, the Government, inspired
by him, showed none of its accustomed pusillanimity. A royal declaration
was launched against Nevers, who, now that Condé was in prison, had
assumed the leadership of his party; a second against Mayenne, Vendôme,
and Bouillon; three armies were raised to take the field against them,
which one by one reduced their strongholds to submission; the estates of
many of their supporters were sequestrated; soldiers who had taken up
arms to join them were, if captured, hanged without mercy; and, finally,
a decree, duly registered by the Parlement, notwithstanding that it
struck at at least one of that body, provided for the confiscation of
the property of all the rebels.

It was the misfortune of Richelieu and his colleagues that they passed
for the creatures of a foreign favourite detested by everyone. At the
beginning of December, 1616, Concini, who had remained in Normandy since
the scene at the Hôtel de Condé which had led to his compulsory
withdrawal from the capital, returned to Paris, more arrogant and more
presumptuous than ever, and burning to avenge the humiliations he had
suffered. To strike terror into the partisans of the Princes, he caused
gibbets to be erected in different parts of the town; he “caused
everyone to be watched and spied upon, even in the houses, to see who
entered or left Paris,” and “imprisoned those who gave him the smallest
umbrage, without any form of trial.” Already in possession of the
citadel of Caen, he occupied the Pont-de-l’Arche, the strongest fortress
in Normandy; proposed to rebuild the fort of Sainte-Catherine, above
Rouen, which had been destroyed during the Wars of Religion; acquired by
purchase the governments of Meulan, Pontoise, and Corbeil; offered
Bassompierre 600,000 livres for his post of Colonel-General of the
Swiss, and was credited with the intention of getting himself named
Constable of France. It was evident that he contemplated making himself
a sort of king in Normandy, and that, when the Princes were crushed,
there would be no limits to his ambition. He had, however, at the
beginning of 1617, a moment of alarm and despondency. The death of his
only daughter, Marie Concini, to whom he was tenderly attached and for
whom he had dreamed of some alliance which would unite his fortunes to
those of one of the great families of France, struck him with a
superstitious fear, as the precursor of the ruin of himself and his

     “The marshal’s daughter fell ill and died,” writes Bassompierre,
     “at which both he and his wife were cruelly afflicted. I shall
     relate a conversation which passed between him and myself on the
     day of her death, by which one may see that he had a prevision of
     what afterwards happened to him.

     “I went to visit him on the morning of that day, and again after
     dinner, at that little house on the Quai du Louvre to which he and
     his wife had retired. But he had given orders that I was to be
     requested to defer our interview until some other time, and
     afterwards he sent to ask me to come to see him at his house in the
     evening. Finding him in sore distress, I endeavoured sometimes to
     console, sometimes to divert, him; but his grief augmented the more
     I spoke to him, and he answered nothing to all I said, save:
     ‘Signor, I am undone! Signor, I am ruined! Signor, I am miserable!’
     At last, I bade him consider the character of a marshal of France,
     which he represented, and which did not permit of him indulging in
     lamentations, pardonable in his wife, but unworthy of him. And I
     went on to say that assuredly he had lost a very amiable daughter
     and one who would have been very useful to advance his fortunes,
     but that he had four nieces to take his daughter’s place, who might
     afford him as much consolation, if he brought them to live with
     him, and much support to his fortunes, by means of alliances with
     four of the great families of France, of which he would have the
     choice. And I said several other things which God inspired me to
     tell him. At length, after weeping for some time, he said to me:--

     “‘Ah, Monsieur! I do truly regret my daughter, and shall regret her
     so long as I live. Yet am I a man who could patiently endure such
     an affliction; but the ruin of myself, my wife, my son,[113] and my
     family which I see approaching before my eyes and which, owing to
     the obstinacy of my wife, is inevitable, makes me lament and lose
     all patience. I reveal this to you as to a true friend, from whom I
     have all my life received assistance and friendship, and to whom, I
     confess, I have not rendered the like, or acted as I should and
     might have done. But, _basta!_ I will make amends, please God!
     Know, Monsieur, that ever since I mingled with the world I have
     learned to know it, and to see, not only the elevation of fortunes
     but their decline and fall; and that a man attains to a certain
     point of felicity, after which he descends or falls headlong,
     according to the height which he has reached. If you did not know
     the meanness of my origin, I should endeavour to disguise it from
     you; but you saw me in Florence, debauched, dissolute; sometimes in
     prison, sometimes banished, and always plunged in a disorderly and
     evil course of life. I was born a gentleman and of good parentage;
     but when I came to France, I had not a sou and owed 8,000 crowns.
     My marriage and the favour of the Queen gave me great influence
     during the lifetime of the late King, and brought me much wealth,
     advancement, charges and honours during the regency of the Queen;
     and I laboured to second and push on Fortune as much as any man
     could have done, so long as I perceived that she was favourable.
     But when I recognised that she was ceasing to favour me, and that
     she was giving me warnings of her departure and her flight, I
     resolved to make an honourable retreat and to enjoy in peace, with
     my wife, the great riches which the liberality of the Queen had
     bestowed upon us or our own industry had acquired. For which
     reason, for some months past, I have importuned my wife in vain,
     and at every blow I receive from Fortune I renew my entreaties.
     When I saw that a powerful party had arisen in France which had
     taken me for the pretext for its revolt, and had proclaimed me one
     of the five tyrants whom it was seeking to destroy;[114] when M.
     Dolet, who was my creature,[115] my counsellor, my trusted friend,
     and, I may say, my servant, died; when an infamous shoemaker of
     Paris put an affront upon me--upon me, a marshal of France!--when I
     was forced to quit my establishments in Picardy and my citadel of
     Amiens, and to leave Ancre as a prey to M. de Longueville, my
     enemy; when I was compelled to retire, or rather to fly, into
     Normandy, I represented to my wife that amongst the great
     obligations we owed to God, that of warning us to retreat was not
     the least. We have seen since then our house sacked, with the loss
     of more than 200,000 crowns; and we have seen two of our people
     hanged before our faces for having given, as we ordered them, a
     beating to that scoundrel of a shoemaker. What had we to wait for
     but the death of my daughter to warn us that our ruin is at hand,
     but that there is yet the chance to escape, if we resolve promptly
     to seek a retreat. For this I have provided by offering the Pope
     600,000 crowns for the usufruct during our lives of the duchy of
     Ferrara, where we might have passed the remainder of our days in
     peace and have still left two millions in gold to our children. And
     this I will make apparent to you. We have real property to the
     value of at least a million livres in France: in the marquisate of
     Ancre, Lesigny, my house in the Faubourg (Saint-Germain) and this
     one. I have redeemed our estate at Florence, which was mortgaged,
     and my share in it is worth 100,000 crowns. I have a million livres
     besides, even after the pillage of our house, in furniture, jewels,
     plate and money. My wife and I have also appointments which will
     sell for a million livres at a fair valuation, in those of
     Normandy, First Gentleman of the Chamber, Intendant of the Queen’s
     Household, and _dame d’atours_, retaining my office of marshal of
     France. I have 600,000 crowns invested with Fedeau,[116] and more
     than 100,000 pistoles in other concerns. Might we not, Monsieur, be
     content with this? Have we anything further to wish for, if we do
     not desire to offend God, Who is warning us by such evident signs
     of our entire ruin? I have been all the afternoon with my wife
     imploring her to retire; I have been on my knees before her,
     seeking to persuade her the more effectively. But she is more
     determined than ever to remain, and reproaches me with wishing to
     abandon the Queen, who has given us, or enabled us to acquire, so
     many honours and so much wealth. Monsieur, I see myself so
     irremediably ruined that, if I were not, as everyone knows, under
     such great obligations to my wife, I would leave her and go where
     neither the nobles nor the people of France would come to seek me.
     Judge, Monsieur, whether I have not reason for my distress, and
     whether, apart from the loss of my daughter, the approach of this
     second disaster ought not to torment me doubly.’

     “I said what I could to console him and divert him from these
     thoughts,” concludes Bassompierre, “and withdrew. I wish to show
     from this discourse how men, especially those whom Fortune has
     elevated, have inspirations and forebodings of disaster, without
     possessing the resolution to prevent or escape it.”

Concini’s despondency passed as quickly as it had come, and scarcely was
his daughter in her grave, than he was once more flaunting his wealth
and his power in the faces of Court and town. No Prince of the Blood had
ever gone abroad attended by a more numerous or more gorgeous retinue;
his pride was so great that he scarcely deigned to notice the existence
of any but the great nobles; while, as for the Ministers, he regarded
them as his servants, and not finding them sufficiently docile, planned
to replace them by creatures of his own. Marie de’ Medici herself began
to grow weary of the presumption of the husband and the ill-humour of
the wife, who appears to have been a martyr to neuralgia, and often
treated her mistress in a manner against which even the Queen-Mother’s
sluggish nature rebelled. At length, she suggested the advisability of
the precious pair returning to Florence with the spoil which they had
amassed; but Concini wished to tempt Fortune to the end.

Fortune, however, might have smiled on him for some time longer, if only
he had possessed sufficient foresight to assure himself of the affection
of the young King. Unhappily for him, he had done just the contrary. On
his advice, the Queen-Mother had pursued towards Louis XIII much the
same policy which Catherine de’ Medici had adopted in the case of
Charles IX, and carefully kept at a distance from her son all those whom
she considered might attempt to inspire him with a thought of ambition.
But, less astute than Catherine, Marie had seen no reason to distrust a
Provençal gentleman, Charles Albert, Seigneur de Luynes, twenty-three
years older than the King, who excelled in the training of hawks and
falcons. Falconry was a sport in which Louis XIII delighted above all
others, and he soon became so much attached to Luynes that his
_gouverneur_ Souvré grew jealous and forbade the latter to enter the
King’s chamber. Héroard, Louis XIII’s first physician, relates in his
curious _Journal_ that the lad was overcome by grief and indignation on
learning of this; begged his mother to dismiss Souvré, and “from excess
of anger, had five days of fever.” From “Master of the birds of the
Cabinet” the young King made his favourite chief of his
gentlemen-in-ordinary, and in 1615 gave him the government of Amboise.

Notwithstanding that her son had now, according to the laws of France,
attained his majority, Marie de’ Medici excluded him from Councils and
all discussion of State affairs, and forbade the Ministers and
Counsellors of State even to speak to him, on the ground that his
Majesty’s health was too delicate for him to be troubled with the cares
of his realm. As he grew older, the Queen-Mother and Concini watched him
more closely, and, fearing lest he might escape from them, no longer
allowed him to visit Saint-Germain or Fontainebleau, on the pretext
that, in the disturbed condition of the country, it was unsafe for the
King to leave Paris. For some months past, therefore, the unfortunate
youth, who was passionately fond of hunting, had been deprived of his
favourite amusement, and had found himself reduced to a walk in the
Tuileries, where he might often be seen watching the gardeners at their
work and sometimes helping them.

Often the Maréchal d’Ancre, escorted by two or three hundred gentlemen,
passed through the courtyard of the Louvre, on his way to or from the
Queen-Mother’s apartments, before the eyes of his sovereign, who was
generally accompanied only by Luynes and a few valets; and the young
monarch, who was not without a sense of his kingly dignity, was shocked
that a subject should venture to parade his ill-gotten wealth in this
fashion in his own palace. For, thanks to Luynes, he was by this time
perfectly well-informed as to the source of Concini’s riches. He himself
was habitually kept short of money, and, on one occasion, was unable to
obtain a sum of 2,000 crowns from the Treasury, the Queen-Mother having
given orders that it was to be refused him. And, to complete his
humiliation, Concini offered to advance him the money. The parvenu
boasted of having raised at his own expense a force of 6,000 Liégeois
for service against the Princes, and wrote to the King begging him not
to trouble about the expense which he had incurred for his Majesty’s
service--as though his vast fortune was not entirely composed of the
money of him he was pretending to oblige.[117]

It seems strange that Marie de’ Medici and Concini, so careful to keep
away from the King everyone whom they considered might encourage him to
assert his independence of his mother’s tutelage, should have for so
long entertained no suspicion of Luynes. At length, however, their eyes
began to be opened, and one day towards the end of January, 1617, Luynes
sent one of his servants to Bassompierre to inform him that the
Queen-Mother purposed to exile him (Luynes) from the Court, on the
ground that “he wished to carry off the King and take him out of Paris,”
and to ask for his good offices to disabuse her Majesty’s mind. These
were unnecessary, as it proved to be merely a rumour; but “Luynes made
the King believe that it was the Maréchal d’Ancre who had spread this
report, to see how the King would take it; whereby the King became more
and more incensed against the Maréchal d’Ancre, and high words passed
between Luynes and the said marshal.”

     “The same evening,” continues Bassompierre, “as the Queen was
     speaking to me about this matter, I said to her: ‘Madame, it seems
     to me that you do not think enough of yourself, and that, one of
     these days, they will take away the King from under your wing. They
     are inciting him against your creatures first, and afterwards they
     will incite him against you. Your authority is only precarious,
     which will cease from the moment that the King no longer desires
     it, and they will harden him little by little until he does not
     desire it any more. And it is easy to persuade young people to
     emancipate themselves. If the King were to go, one of these days,
     to Saint-Germain, and were to order M. d’Épernon and myself to come
     there to him, and then told us that we were no longer to recognise
     your authority, we are your very obliged servants, but we should be
     unable to do any other thing than to come and bid you farewell, and
     to beg you very humbly to excuse us, if, during your administration
     of the State, we had not served you as well as we ought to have
     done. Judge, Madame,” I continued, “whether the other officers
     would be able to act otherwise, and whether you would not be left
     with empty hands after such an administration.”


     Bassompierre joins the Royal army in Champagne as Grand Master of
     the Artillery by commission--Surrender of
     Château-Porcien--Bassompierre is wounded before Rethel--He sets out
     for Paris in order to negotiate the sale of his office of
     Colonel-General of the Swiss to Concini--He visits the Royal army
     which is besieging Soissons--A foolhardy act--Singular conduct of
     the garrison--The Président Chevret arrives in the Royal camp with
     the news that Concini has been assassinated--Details of this
     affair--Bassompierre continues his journey to Paris--His adventure
     with the Liégeois cavalry of Concini.

About the middle of March, Bassompierre was sent as Grand Master of the
Artillery by commission to join the army of Champagne, commanded by the
Duc de Guise, who had as his second in command the Maréchal de Thémines,
while Praslin was also serving under him. He found the army laying siege
to Château-Porcien, situated on the right bank of the Aisne, two leagues
from Rethel. Nevers, who was Governor of Champagne and Brie and Duc de
Rethelois, occupied, in virtue of this double title, several places in
that part of the country, and their reduction was the chief object of
the campaign.

Guise bombarded the citadel of Château-Porcien for some days with little
effect; but when he turned his guns on the town, it speedily
surrendered; and Bassompierre, with four companies of the French Guards
and as many of the Swiss, marched in and took possession. In the course
of the day the commandant of the citadel sent to ask for a parley, and
was conducted by Bassompierre to Guise’s quarters, where, after a lively
discussion as to whether or not the garrison were to be permitted to
march out with the honours of war, terms were arranged, and next morning
the citadel capitulated.

After Guise, with a part of his cavalry, had made an unsuccessful
attempt to surprise an infantry regiment of the enemy quartered in a
village near Laon, and the Château of Wassigny had been taken, Thémines
was despatched to Rocroi to dismantle and bring up six of the guns from
that fortress; and on April 8 the army advanced to Rethel and laid siege
to it.

Here Bassompierre’s troubles began; and artillery officers who served
during the late war in that part of France under similar climatic
conditions will appreciate the difficulties with which he had to

     “Rain fell continuously,” he says, “and, as the soil in the
     Rethelois is clay, we encountered a thousand difficulties, chiefly
     in moving our cannon, which sunk in it over the axle-trees. At last
     we made ready a battery of eight pieces below the town, but when I
     came on Friday morning, the 14th of April, to see if Lesines[118]
     had kept his promise to have the eight pieces in position by
     daybreak, I found that there were only two. A third was at thirty
     paces from the battery, sunk so deeply in the ground that they had
     been unable to move it; while a fourth was a hundred paces distant.
     This last had been abandoned by the officers because, in bringing
     it up, a driver and some of the horses had been killed, upon which
     the other drivers had unyoked their horses and fled.”

However, Bassompierre had his redoubtable mountaineers to fall back on.

     “Then,” he continues, “I took fifty Swiss, to whom I promised fifty
     crowns, to bring those two pieces into position for me; and they
     harnessed themselves to them in place of the horses, having first
     dug a trench beneath the wheels of each piece and lined it with
     stout planks, so as to prevent it from sinking deeper in the mud.
     We drew the first into position without being fired upon from the
     town; but, as we were occupying ourselves with the more distant
     one, and had drawn it close to the battery, and I was lending them
     a hand, the enemy fired a salvo at us, by which two Swiss were
     killed and three wounded, and I myself hit by a musket-ball in the
     right side of the abdomen. I thought that I was wounded to the
     death, and the Maréchal de Thémines, who was in the battery,
     thought so too. However, God willed that the quantity of clothes
     which the ball encountered (for it pierced five folds of my cloak
     and two folds of my furred _hongroline_, my sword-belt, and my
     coat-skirt) caused it to stop on the peritoneum without penetrating
     it, so that when the wound was probed the ball was found in the
     thick flesh of the belly, where they made an incision, and out it
     fell. I only kept my bed for one day, although my wound was a month
     in healing, by reason of the cloth which was within.”

The following day, Praslin, who had replaced Bassompierre in command of
the artillery, was also wounded by a musket-ball in the thigh, while
directing the fire of the battery. But the ball did not injure the bone,
and he was cured as quickly as his friend.

Rethel surrendered a few days later, and Guise, after placing a garrison
there, resolved to lay siege to Mézières, where Nevers himself
commanded. But, before doing this, he decided to send for additional
siege-guns, and, as it would be at least ten days before they could
arrive, Bassompierre asked for leave to go to Paris, in order to
negotiate the sale of his office of Colonel-General of the Swiss to
Concini. The marshal, as we have mentioned, had offered him 600,000
crowns for the post; but Bassompierre had asked for another 50,000,
which the other was not at the time inclined to give. However, he was
evidently so anxious to secure it that it was very probable that he
would be willing to reconsider his offer.

The same evening he received very gracious letters from the King and
Queen-Mother, who appear to have been under the impression that he was
far more severely wounded than was the case, and another from the
Maréchal d’Ancre, “who wrote me,” says he, “that, if I were trying to
get myself killed, he would like to be my heir; and that, if I were
well enough to come to Paris to conclude the matter of the Swiss, he
would give me, instead of the 50,000 francs in dispute, 10,000 crowns’
worth of jewels at a goldsmith’s valuation.”

On April 21 he left Rethel, accompanied by the Marquis de Thémines,
eldest son of the marshal, the Comte de Fiesque, Zamet, and more than
fifty officers, who had also obtained leave, which appears to have been
granted with amazing liberality in those days. But, instead of making
straight for Paris, they decided to take a busman’s holiday by breaking
their journey at Soissons, to see what progress the Comte
d’Auvergne--now formally rehabilitated and therefore once more fit for
the society of gentlemen--was making with the siege of that town, in
which Mayenne commanded for the princes. On the 23rd they arrived in the
Royal camp, where they were met by the Duc de Rohan, La Rochefoucauld,
Saint-Géran and Saint-Luc, who conducted them to the general’s quarters.

To their astonishment, they learned that, though Auvergne had been
blockading Soissons for more than ten days, the trenches had not yet
been opened; indeed, it appeared to be an open question whether he was
to be regarded as the besieger or the besieged, since they found him
engaged in giving instructions for the erection of formidable earthworks
to defend his troops against the perpetual sorties of the garrison, who
gave him no rest. Only the previous night, Mayenne, who possessed all
the dashing courage of his House, had sallied out, bringing with him two
field-pieces, attacked and practically destroyed the regiment of
Bussy-Lameth,[119] made its colonel prisoner and carried off its
colours, which were now mockingly displayed on the bastions of the town.
However, notwithstanding this unfortunate incident, Auvergne seemed
brimful of confidence, and assured them that within a fortnight he would
be master of Soissons.

The next day, after making the round of the camp, under the guidance of
an officer, who pointed out to him the parts of the town which it was
proposed to bombard, Bassompierre agreed with La Rochefoucauld, who,
like himself, was a visitor to Auvergne’s army, to show their hosts what
fine fellows they were, and to do what at this epoch, when rashness so
often passed for valour, appears to have been regarded as a proof of the
highest courage.

     “As we were of a different army,” says he, “and wished to let them
     see that we had no fear of musket-shots, we went out to draw the
     enemy’s fire upon us. They, however, allowed us to approach without
     firing, and, since we did not wish to return without seeing them
     shoot, we walked right up to the edge of the moat. Still they did
     not fire. When we noticed their silence, we broke ours and shouted
     insults at them, which they returned, but never fired a shot. At
     length, after talking together for rather a long time, just as if
     we belonged to the same side, we retired; and they let us depart
     without once firing at us.”

The explanation of this singular conduct on the part of the besieged was
not long in coming. That evening, Bassompierre, with Auvergne and Rohan,
were supping with the Président Chevret, of the Chambre des Comptes, who
had come to visit the army in connection with some legal business, when
one of the president’s clerks arrived in all haste from Paris and
whispered something to his master, who appeared very astonished. Then
Chevret turned and spoke in a low voice to Auvergne, who sat next him,
and Bassompierre remarked that the prince seemed no less astonished than
the president. He begged them to let him know what news they had
received, upon which they told him that, at eleven o’clock that morning,
the Maréchal d’Ancre had been killed by the Marquis de Vitry, one of the
captains of the Guards, and that it had been done by the King’s orders!
Then Bassompierre remembered that when, a few hours before, he and La
Rochefoucauld were standing on the edge of the moat of Soissons, one of
the garrison had shouted to them: “Your master is dead, and ours has
killed him!”--words to which he had attached no importance at the
time--and marvelled that the enemy should have received so much earlier
information of the event than the Royal army.

But let us see what had been happening in Paris since Bassompierre’s
departure for the army in the middle of March, which had culminated in
the tragedy of that morning.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have related, in the last chapter, how Marie de’ Medici and Concini
had begun to grow suspicious of the influence that Louis XIII’s
favourite, Luynes, had acquired over the mind of the young King, and how
a rumour had spread that he was about to be banished from the Court. No
action, however, had been taken against him; nevertheless, Luynes felt
quite certain that his disgrace was only a question of time, and he
resolved to anticipate his enemies. Clever and crafty, greedy and
ambitious, and entirely without scruple, this Provençal was a dangerous
man, and, while seeking by a show of subservience to the Queen-Mother
and the marshal to disarm the suspicions they had formed of him and so
secure a respite to enable him to execute his projects, he worked
unceasingly to embitter the young King’s mind against them. He succeeded
so well that at length Louis was fully persuaded that his crown and even
his life were in peril, and that his mother and Concini contemplated
setting his younger brother on the throne, in order to have a new
minority to exploit.

Having persuaded the King of his danger, Luynes spoke of the various
means of escaping it, and these were debated in midnight councils
between the King of France, his favourite, Déageant, Barbin’s chief
clerk, who had been gained over by Luynes,[120] an obscure priest, three
gentlemen, a soldier, a gardener from the Tuileries, and some valets.
The composition of this strange council, as Henri Martin observes, was
indeed a biting satire on the education which Marie de’ Medici had given
her son and the isolation in which she had left him. The King proposed
to make his escape from Paris and to retire to Amboise, of which place
Luynes was governor, or to join the army of the Princes. But Luynes, who
desired to render the mother and the son irreconcilable, rejected these
expedients in favour of one more easy and more sure: that of getting rid
of Concini by surprise. And this was decided upon.

The Marquis de Montpouillan, one of the sons of the Maréchal de la
Force, and a playmate of Louis XIII in his boyhood, was admitted to
their confidence; and Montpouillan, a young man of a bold and violent
disposition, offered to poniard Concini in the King’s cabinet, if his
Majesty would but get him there. The marshal came; but, at the last
moment, Luynes’s courage failed him, and he would not allow the design
to be executed.

The conspirators then addressed themselves to the Marquis de Vitry, one
of the captains of the Guards, who entered on his term of service at the
beginning of April. He was a son of that Vitry who had arrested Biron at
Fontainebleau fifteen years earlier, and one of the few men at the Court
who had refused to bow before the power of the favourite. Assured that
Vitry would be prepared to execute any orders that he might receive,
Louis XIII sent for him and directed him to arrest the Maréchal d’Ancre
as he was entering the Louvre to visit the Queen-Mother, which he did
every morning when he was in Paris. The bâton of a marshal of France
was to be his reward, if he succeeded. “But, if he defends himself?”
said Vitry. “Then,” cried Montpouillan, “the King intends you to kill
him!” “Sire, do you command me?” asked the officer, turning to the King.
“Yes, I command you to do it,” was the reply.

About ten o’clock on April 24, Concini entered the Louvre by the great
gate on the side of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, accompanied by some fifty
gentlemen. The moment he passed the gate, a signal was given and it was
closed; and Vitry, followed by several of his men with pistols hidden
beneath their cloaks, advanced to meet him. He joined the marshal
between the drawbridge and the bridge which led to the inner court of
the palace, and laying his hand on his right arm, said: “The King
commands me to seize your person.” “_À moi!_” cried Concini; but
scarcely had he spoken, than several pistol-shots rang out, and he fell
dead on the parapet of the bridge. “It is by order of the King,” cried
Vitry, and the murdered favourite’s followers, who had laid their hands
on their swords, dispersed without attempting to avenge him.

Louis XIII and Luynes were waiting anxiously in the King’s _cabinet des
armes_, prepared to fly if the blow miscarried, for which purpose a
coach was in readiness near the Tuileries. The cries of “_Vive le Roi!_”
told them that it had succeeded, and a moment later d’Ornano, the
colonel of the Corsicans, son of the marshal of that name, came knocking
at the door of the cabinet. “Sire,” cried he, “now you are King! The
Maréchal d’Ancre is dead!” Louis XIII hurried to the window, and
d’Ornano, seizing his young sovereign round the body, lifted him up to
show him to the cheering crowd of gentlemen and soldiers of the Guard
who had gathered in the courtyard below. “_Merci! Merci à vous!_” cried
Louis, and then repeated the words of d’Ornano: “Now I am King!”

The King gave orders that the Parlement and the municipal authorities
should be informed of what had occurred, and announced his intention of
recalling “the old servants of his father.” Villeroy, Jeannin, and the
oldest of the Counsellors of State at once hurried to the Louvre, and
couriers were despatched to summon the Sillerys and the ex-Keeper of the
Seals, Du Vair, who had been banished from Paris.

Meantime, tidings of the tragedy had been carried to the Queen-Mother.
Marie understood at once that it was the end of her power. “_Povretta de
mi!_” she exclaimed. “I have reigned for seven years; I have nothing
more to expect but a crown in heaven!” One of her attendants remarked
that they did not know how to break the terrible news to the Maréchale
d’Ancre, who was in her own apartments. But at such a moment the Queen
had no thought for anyone but herself. “I have many other things to
think about,” she exclaimed impatiently. “Do not speak to me any more
about those people.” And she refused to see her hapless favourite, who,
a few minutes later, was arrested and conducted to the Bastille. Marie
then sent one of her gentlemen to her son to request an interview. It
was curtly refused, and shortly afterwards her guards were removed from
the ante-chamber and replaced by soldiers of the Gardes du Corps, every
exit from her apartments, save one, blocked up, and she found herself a

Marie’s Ministers fell with her. Mangot, the Keeper of the Seals, was at
the Louvre; Luynes took the Seals from his hands and bade him begone.
Barbin was arrested and sent to join the widow of Concini in the
Bastille. Richelieu attempted to make head against the storm and
repaired to the King’s apartments, where he found his Majesty receiving
the felicitations of a crowd of courtiers with the air of one who had
just gained a great battle. The King received him graciously enough, and
told him that he knew him to be a stranger to the evil designs of the
Maréchal d’Ancre and that “it was his intention to treat him well”;
while Luynes advised him to go to the Council, which was assembling. He
went and found Villeroy, Jeannin and Du Vair seated at the
council-table. Villeroy, with a triumphant air, demanded in what quality
M. de Luçon presented himself there; the others “continued to expedite
affairs without occupying themselves with him.” “And so,” he writes,
“after having been in that place long enough to say that I had entered
there, I softly withdrew.”

While this revolution of the palace was proceeding, Paris resounded with
acclamations, and when evening fell, bonfires blazed at all the
crossways. The people went almost frantic with joy at their deliverance
from the arrogant foreign favourite whom they had come to regard as a
public enemy. The Parlement, which hastened to declare that “the King
was not bound to justify his action,” the municipality, all the public
bodies of the town, sent deputations to felicitate his Majesty, and
everyone applauded his _coup de main_ as if he had committed the finest
action in the world. “They gave him the name of ‘Just,’ for having
caused a man to be killed without trial!” observes Henri Martin.

This explosion of public joy was followed by atrocious scenes. The
following morning some noblemen’s lackeys, followed by a rabble drawn
from the dregs of the populace, entered the Church of Saint-Germain
l’Auxerrois, where the body of Concini, “naked, in a wretched sheet,”
had been secretly buried the previous night, disinterred it, dragged it
through the streets with obscene cries, in which the name of the
Queen-Mother was mingled with that of the murdered marshal, and finished
by tearing it to pieces and burning the remains before the statue of
Henri IV on the Pont-Neuf.

       *       *       *       *       *

At three o’clock in the morning of the 25th, the Comte de Tavannes,
grandson of the celebrated marshal of that name, arrived in Auvergne’s
camp with orders from the King to suspend hostilities against Soissons;
and, a few hours later, Bassompierre and his party set out for Paris.
Scarcely had they crossed the Aisne, than they encountered a regiment of
Liégeois cavalry, part of the force which had been raised by Concini for
service against the Princes. The Liégeois, who had just learned of the
marshal’s assassination, called upon them to halt, and their officers
held a sort of informal council of war. Bassompierre suspected that it
was their intention to take him and his friends along with them as
hostages for their safe return to their own country; and when presently
an officer detached himself from the rest and came towards them, he
assumed the air of a hunted fugitive and, before the other had time to
open his mouth, inquired anxiously whether, if his party joined them,
they would undertake not to surrender them if called upon to do so. The
officer, thinking from this that they must be some of the Maréchal
d’Ancre’s personal following, who were perhaps pursued, told him bluntly
the Liégeois had quite enough to do to provide for their own safety, and
that everyone must look to himself. Upon which he turned on his heel and
rejoined his comrades, and the whole regiment mounted their horses and
rode away. Bassompierre and his friends waited until they were out of
sight, and then resumed their journey to Paris.


     Bassompierre arrives in Paris--Marie de’ Medici is exiled to
     Blois--Bassompierre’s account of the parting between Louis XIII and
     his mother--The rebellious princes return to Court and are
     pardoned, but Condé remains in the Bastille--His wife solicits and
     receives permission to join him there--Arrest of the Governor and
     Lieutenant of the Bastille, on a charge of conniving at a secret
     correspondence between Barbin and the Queen-Mother--Bassompierre is
     placed temporarily in charge of the fortress--The Prince and
     Princesse de Condé are transferred to the Château of
     Vincennes--Bassompierre goes to Rouen to attend the assembly of the
     Notables--A rapid journey.

On the following day--April 26--Bassompierre reached Paris and lost no
time in waiting upon Louis XIII, who received him very graciously and
“commanded him to love M. de Luynes, who was a good servant.” He
inquired if he might be permitted to pay his respects to the
Queen-Mother, who since the 24th had been kept a close prisoner in her
apartments. The King replied that he would consider the matter, which
meant that the request did not meet with his approval. Bassompierre,
however, was anxious not to appear to fail in respect to a princess who
had been so good a friend to him, and whose disgrace, besides, might
very well prove to be but a temporary one. And so, in default of being
able to convey them himself, he sent his compliments to her Majesty
every evening, through the medium of her dressmaker, the only person,
with the exception of her servants, who was permitted to enter her

Meanwhile, negotiations were in progress for the Queen-Mother’s
retirement from Paris and the Court, upon which Luynes had persuaded the
King to insist. It was Richelieu who negotiated the conditions on
Marie’s behalf. That astute personage, recognising that the victorious
party was not inclined to pardon him, had attached himself to Marie de’
Medici, who had appointed him chief of her counsellors, hoping ere long
to succeed in reconciling her with Luynes and Louis XIII, or with Louis
XIII against Luynes, and, in either event, to recover the position he
had lost. He obtained, after considerable difficulty, permission for her
to reside no further off than Blois, for which she set out on May 3.

Bassompierre has left us an interesting account of the parting between
Louis XIII and his mother, of which he was an eye-witness:

     “All the morning people seemed to be doing nothing but load carts
     with the Queen’s baggage. The King, meantime, was at the Council,
     where the things which the Queen was to say to the King on parting
     from him, and the answers which the King was to make, were decided
     upon and committed to writing. It was also agreed that nothing
     further should be said on either side, and that when the Queen was
     dressed for her journey, the princesses should see her, while the
     men were to take leave of her after the King had done so. Neither
     the Maréchal de Vitry[121] nor his brother, Du Hallier[122] were to
     be amongst them.

     “Then the King descended to the Queen’s apartments; where the Queen
     was awaiting him in the passage leading from her chamber, so as to
     enter it at the same moment as he did. The three Luynes[123] walked
     before the King, who held the eldest by the hand. M. de Joinville
     and I followed the King and entered after him. The Queen kept a
     good countenance until she saw the King approaching. Then she began
     to weep bitterly and put her handkerchief to her eyes and her fan
     before her face; and, when they met, she led him to the window
     which overlooks the garden, and removing her handkerchief and her
     fan, spoke as follows: ‘Monsieur, I am sorry that I have not
     governed your State during my regency and my administration more to
     your satisfaction than I have done. Nevertheless, I assure you that
     it was neither from lack of care nor endeavour; and I beg you to
     regard me always as your very obedient servant and mother.’
     ‘Madame,’ replied the King, ‘I thank you very humbly for the care
     and pains you have taken in the administration of my kingdom, with
     which I am content, and hold myself obliged to you; and I beg you
     to believe that I shall always be your very humble son.’

     “Upon this the King expected that she would stoop to kiss him and
     take leave of him, as had been arranged. But she said to him:
     ‘Monsieur, I am going to crave a parting favour of you, which I
     wish you to promise that you will not refuse me. It is that you
     will restore to me my intendant Barbin.’ The King, who was not
     expecting this demand, looked at her without making any reply. She
     said to him again: ‘Monsieur, do not refuse me this request that I
     am now making you.’ But he continued to look at her without
     answering. She added: ‘Perhaps it is the last I shall ever make
     you.’ And then, seeing that he answered nothing, she said:
     ‘_Orsu!_’ and then stooped and kissed him. The King made a
     reverence and then turned his back. Upon that M. de Luynes advanced
     to take leave of the Queen, and spoke to her some words which I
     could not hear, nor yet those in which she answered him. But after
     he had kissed the hem of her gown, she added that she had made a
     request to the King to restore Barbin to her, and that he would be
     doing her an agreeable service and a singular pleasure in
     prevailing upon the King to grant her request, which was not so
     important that he ought to refuse it. As M. de Luynes was about to
     reply, the King cried five or six times: ‘Luynes, Luynes, Luynes!’
     And upon that M. de Luynes, making the Queen understand that he was
     obliged to go after the King, followed him. Then the Queen leaned
     against the wall between the two windows and wept bitterly. M. de
     Chevreuse [Joinville] and I kissed the hem of her gown, weeping
     likewise; but either she was unable to see us by reason of her
     tears, or she did not wish to speak to or look at us. This caused
     me to wait to take leave of her a second time, which I did as she
     was returning to her chamber. But she did not see me, or wish to
     see me, any more than on the first occasion.

     “Upon that the King placed himself on the balcony before the
     chamber of the Queen, his wife, to see the departure of the Queen,
     and, after she had left the Louvre, he hastened into his gallery to
     see her again as she passed over the Pont-Neuf. Then he entered his
     coach and went to the Bois de Vincennes.”

On May 5, the rebellious princes Vendôme, Mayenne and Bouillon, who, on
learning of Concini’s death, had hastened to lay down their arms, open
the gates of their fortresses and disband their soldiers, as though they
had been fighting only against the favourite, came to Vincennes,
accompanied by a number of their principal followers, to salute the King
and assure him of their allegiance. Although Louis XIII must have known
very well that no reliance whatever could be placed in their professions
of loyalty, and that, unless he made it worth their while to keep the
peace, they would rise again on the first plausible pretext, they were
received as though they had taken up arms for, and not against, the
royal authority. On May 12 a declaration of the King reinstated them in
all their property, honours, and offices, and excused them having taken
up arms, “although unlawfully,” on the ground that they had done so in
order to defend themselves against the tyranny of the Maréchal d’Ancre.

Logic would have demanded that the reconciliation should have gone
further, and that Condé, whose arrest had been the pretext for the
revolt, should have been released from the Bastille and reinstated as
chief of the Council. Nothing of the kind happened, however. Louis XIII
entertained a strong antipathy to his turbulent kinsman, which need
occasion no surprise; Luynes feared that he might attempt to dispute
his ascendancy over the young King; while the other princes, who were
bound to their chief neither by affection nor even by party-loyalty, did
not press for his liberation. And so he remained a prisoner.

The King stayed at Vincennes for some days and then returned to Paris;
but, shortly afterwards, removed to Saint-Germain. After having been so
long confined to the capital and a sedentary life, he was revelling in
his new-found liberty, and the opportunity it afforded him of indulging
in his favourite sports of hawking and hunting.

While the Court was at Saint-Germain, the Princess de Condé arrived
there to ask the King’s permission to share her husband’s captivity.
Although, for some time before Condé’s arrest, the relations between him
and his wife had been very cool, the princess, on learning of the
misfortune that had befallen him, had shown real magnanimity. Without a
moment’s delay, she set out for Paris--she was at Valery at the
time--sent the prince messages assuring him of her sympathy and
devotion, and begged the Queen-Mother to allow her to join him. Her
request, however, was refused, and she received orders to leave Paris at
once and return to Valery.

Now, however, she did not plead in vain, and Louis XIII not only granted
her request, but gave her permission to take with her “one demoiselle
and her little dwarf, who had begged his Majesty to consent to his not
abandoning his mistress.” The same day (May 26) the princess entered the
Bastille, “where she was received by _Monsieur le Prince_ with every
demonstration of affection, nor did he leave her in repose until she had
said that she forgave him.”[124]

In the following October, the authorities of the Bastille were
discovered to be conniving at a secret correspondence which Barbin was
carrying on with the Queen-Mother, and first Bournonville, the
Lieutenant of the fortress, and brother of the Governor, the Baron de
Persan, and subsequently Persan himself, were arrested.[125]
Bassompierre was then sent with sixty Swiss to take charge of the
Bastille, but he did not have the Prince and Princesse de Condé under
his supervision, as, about a month previously, they had been transferred
to the Château of Vincennes, where Condé was allowed a great deal more
liberty than had been permitted him in Paris. Bassompierre only remained
at the Bastille about ten days, at the end of which he received orders
to hand over the command to the new favourite’s youngest brother,

In December Bassompierre went to Normandy to attend the assembly of the
Notables which Louis XIII was holding at Rouen. While he was there, news
arrived that the Princesse de Condé had given birth to a still-born
child and was in a critical condition; and the King being desirous of
sending some important personages to make inquiries on her behalf, or,
in the event of the princess being dead, to offer his condolences to
Condé, Bassompierre and the Duc de Guise offered to go. They set out in
a coach, a kind of conveyance which did not usually lend itself to rapid
travelling; but, by arranging for an unusual number of relays, reached
Paris the same day, and made the return journey with similar expedition.
Bassompierre assures us that never before had a journey by coach been
made in so short a time at that season of the year.

The princess recovered, “though she was more than forty-eight hours
without movement or feeling,” and “never was a person in greater
extremity without dying.”[126]


     Luynes succeeds to the power and wealth of Concini--Trial and
     execution of Concini’s widow, Leonora Galigaï--Luynes begins to
     direct affairs of State--His marriage to Marie de Rohan--Conduct of
     the Duc d’Epernon--His quarrel with Du Vair, the Keeper of the
     Seals--His disgrace--He begins to intrigue with the
     Queen-Mother--Escape of the latter from Blois--Treaty of
     Angoulême--The Court at Tours--Arnauld d’Andilly’s account of
     Bassompierre’s lavish hospitality--Favours bestowed by the King on
     Bassompierre--Meeting between Louis XIII and the
     Queen-Mother--Liberation of Condé--Bassompierre entertains the King
     at Monceaux--He is admitted to the Ordre du Saint-Esprit.

The heir of the power of Concini was Luynes. He was, as we have
mentioned, a gentleman of Provence--a very unimportant gentleman the
Court had thought him before he had contrived to insinuate himself into
the good graces of the young King. His father, an officer of fortune,
the fruit, if we are to believe Richelieu, of a _liaison_ between one
d’Albert, a canon of Marseilles, and a chambermaid, was the owner of the
Château of Luynes, near Aix, the vineyard of Brantes, and the islet of
Cadenet in the middle of the Rhone, _seigneuries_, says Bassompierre,
which a hare could jump over, but which, in default of revenues,
furnished titles for his three sons. Charles Albert, the eldest, had
begun life as page to the Comte du Lude, and was afterwards placed by
Henri IV with the Dauphin. Both he and his younger brothers, Brantes and
Cadenet, were exceedingly good-looking men, skilled in all bodily
exercises, well-educated and possessed of ingratiating manners; but
there were no limits to their ambition or their greed, and they did not
intend to allow any little scruples to stand in the way of their

Despite the adage:

    “Devrait-on hériter de ceux qu’on assassine,”

Luynes inherited, not only the power of Concini, but also the greater
part of his charges and possessions: lieutenancy-general of Normandy,
government of the Pont-de-l’Arche, domain of Ancre (the name of which
was changed to Albert), his post of First Gentleman of the Chamber, his
hôtel in Paris, his estate of Lesigny, and so forth. When people saw the
confiscated property of the Concini pass straight from the royal demesne
into the greedy hands of the new favourite, they began to ask themselves
whether the country was after all likely to gain much by the change that
had taken place.

But the confiscation of the property of the Florentine couple, though it
might suffice, for the moment, the cupidity of Luynes, did not suffice
his policy. He desired to widen the gulf which he had opened between
Louis XIII and his mother,[127] by dragging the name of the latter
through the mire of a criminal court; and, at his instigation, the
Maréchale d’Ancre was brought to trial as a sorceress who had bewitched
the Queen-Mother by her arts,[128] and on July 8, 1617, condemned to be
burned alive in the Place de Grève for the crime of _lèse-majesté_ human
and divine.

It was with great difficulty, however, that Luynes succeeded in
obtaining this verdict. The Advocate-General, Lebret, at first refused
to demand the death penalty, and it was only on Luynes giving him his
word that the prisoner would be pardoned after the decree that he
consented to do so. But the only clemency that the unfortunate woman was
able to obtain was that her head should be cut off before her body was
committed to the flames. She died with great courage and resignation.

       *       *       *       *       *

The death of Villeroy, in November, 1617, enfeebled the group of old
counsellors who had been recalled to office after the assassination of
Concini; and Luynes, whose favour with the King was constantly
increasing, began to direct the State, although he was totally ignorant
of public affairs. His Government benefited for some time by the
unpopularity of the Maréchal d’Ancre; the grandees remained tranquil,
and Luynes, by his marriage with the beautiful Marie de Rohan, daughter
of the Duc de Montbazon, destined one day to become so celebrated under
the name of the Duchesse de Chevreuse, assured himself of the support of
the House of Rohan.

Alone amongst the great nobles, d’Épernon did not hurry himself to come
and compliment the King on his assumption of the government of his realm
and to salute the man to whom he had delegated the royal authority. As
Colonel-General of the French Infantry, d’Épernon was a power in the
land, and when at last, towards the end of March, 1618, he condescended
to visit the Court, the colonels of all the regiments stationed in and
around Paris and in Picardy and Champagne went so far as Étampes to
meet him and escort him to the capital. Haughty and choleric and
excessively touchy on the question of his rights, this former _mignon_
of Henri III was not long in mortally offending the King, already
incensed against him by his long delay in presenting himself at Court,
which Luynes had not failed to represent as a gross want of the respect
due to his sovereign.

Finding that Du Vair, to whom the Seals had been restored after the
dismissal of Mangot, was in the habit of taking his seat at the Council
above all the nobles, even when the Chancellor was present, although the
Keeper of the Seals was not an officer of the Crown, his gorge rose at
once, and he went to the King to protest against so intolerable an
affront to his own dignity and that of his order. Du Vair happened to be
with the King, and, says Bassompierre, “as M. d’Épernon was a little
violent, he attacked the Keeper of the Seals, who answered him more
sharply than he should have done.” Three days later, Louis XIII summoned
the duke and Du Vair to his cabinet, and, in the presence of
Bassompierre and several other courtiers, ordered them to be reconciled.
By way of answer, d’Épernon shrugged his shoulders, upon which the young
monarch, who was seated, rose in great indignation, and severely
reprimanded him. Then, observing that he had affairs of importance to
attend to, he abruptly quitted the room.

D’Épernon retired, followed by Bassompierre, but, to their astonishment,
they found all the doors of the ante-chamber closed and locked. It
looked “as though the King intended to have the duke arrested, and had
given orders for the doors to be secured, in order to allow time for an
officer of the Guards to be summoned.” However, it occurred to
Bassompierre that perhaps the door leading to the King’s private
staircase, which was opposite that of his chamber, might not be locked,
and, finding it unfastened, he fetched d’Épernon, and they descended
the stairs and made their way to the Salle Haute, where the old noble’s
attendants were awaiting him.

As d’Épernon was leaving the Louvre, he asked his friend “to send him
warning if anything had been resolved against him.” Bassompierre
accordingly spoke to Luynes on the subject, and was informed that, as M.
d’Épernon intended going to his government of Metz, he would be well
advised to hasten his departure, since there were persons who might
incite the King against him. Bassompierre, of course, understood very
well who it was who was likely to incite the King.

On being assured that his Majesty was prepared to treat him as though
nothing had happened when he went to ask permission to retire to Metz,
d’Épernon proceeded to the Louvre, where the King received him “with a
very good countenance,” and granted his request. Louis XIII was under
the impression that the duke intended to leave Paris the following day;
but, five days later, while the King was at Vanves, a village in the
environs of the capital, he learned that d’Épernon was still there and
that a great number of people were visiting him. His Majesty angrily
told Bassompierre that if, when he returned to Paris on the morrow, he
found M. d’Épernon there, it would be the worse for him; and Luynes
advised Bassompierre to go and tell him that “he would not remain much
longer, if he were wise.” This he did, and d’Épernon requested him to
inform the King that he would leave Paris before noon on the morrow. He
took his departure within the time specified, but, instead of proceeding
to Metz, he only went so far as Fontenay-en-Brie, near Coulommiers,
where he had a country-seat. Louis XIII was furious, and proposed to
send a detachment of the Guards to arrest him; but the Chancellor,
Sillery, who was a friend of d’Épernon, sent a messenger in all haste to
the duke to warn him of what was intended, and d’Épernon, recognising
that he had presumed too far on the young monarch’s forbearance, lost no
time in resuming his journey to Metz.

Although d’Épernon had only himself to blame for his disgrace, he was
none the less bitterly incensed against the King and his favourite; and,
to avenge his outraged dignity, forthwith proceeded to establish a
secret correspondence with the Queen-Mother, whom he urged to protest by
force of arms against the treatment she was receiving, and promised to
support by every means in his power.

Marie required little prompting: she had already resolved to make her
escape. Thanks to the enmity of Luynes, she found herself little better
than a prisoner in the Château of Blois; all correspondence with persons
at the Court was forbidden her; Richelieu, who had aroused the
suspicions of the favourite, had been banished to Avignon, and other
members of her entourage had also been removed. Nevertheless, she
dissimulated her resentment, and in April, 1619, consented, at the
instance of a Jesuit, Père Arnoux, whom Luynes sent to her, to sign a
declaration, in which she swore “before God and His angels,” to submit
in all things to the wishes of the King, and to warn him immediately of
“all communications and overtures contrary to his service.”

Luynes, however, continued to offend her. At the end of 1618, an embassy
from Savoy came to Paris to demand the hand of her younger daughter,
Christine, for the Prince of Piedmont, eldest son of Charles Emmanuel.
Marie was not consulted, the King confining himself to informing her of
the betrothal; and on February 10, 1619, the marriage was celebrated
without her being invited. It was the last straw; she resolved to fly at
the first favourable opportunity. D’Épernon, anticipating her intention,
had left Metz, towards the end of January, without permission of the
King, and gone to await her in the Angoumois; and, in the night of
February 21-22, Marie made her escape to Blois and went to Angoulême,
whence she wrote to her son, demanding the redress of her grievances.

Luynes was at first greatly alarmed, fearing that the Princes, already
beginning to show signs of irritation at the increasing power of the
favourite, might join the Queen-Mother; but they remained quiet. In
these circumstances, he might easily have crushed d’Épernon; but he
wished to avoid war, and accordingly sent the Cardinal de la
Rochefoucauld and Père Bérulle, the famous preacher of the Oratoire, to
propose peace to Marie, and recalled Richelieu from Avignon “to pacify
her mind.” In this task the prelate succeeded, and on April 30, 1619, he
signed with the Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld a treaty at Angoulême which
authorised the Queen-Mother to dispose of the offices of her Household
and to reside where she pleased, and gave her, in exchange for the
government of Normandy, that of Anjou, with the Château of Angers, the
Ponts-de-Cé and Chinon. D’Épernon, against whom the usual royal
declaration had been launched, recovered his charges and appointments,
and Richelieu was given to understand that he might hope for a
cardinal’s hat at no very distant date.

However, Louis XIII, who had been on the point of setting out with the
Court for the Loire when the news that peace had been signed reached
him, determined to carry out his intention, Luynes no doubt thinking
that, in view of the possibility of further trouble with the
Queen-Mother, a visit of the young King to that part of his realm might
be productive of good results. After a short stay at different towns,
including Amboise, from which letters announcing the peace were sent to
the Parlement of Paris for registration, at the end of May the Court
arrived at Tours, where, says Bassompierre, “we remained three months
and passed our time very pleasantly.”

Arnauld d’Andilly, in his _Mémoires_, has left us an interesting picture
of life at Tours and, more particularly, of the lavish hospitality
dispensed by Bassompierre:--

     “While at Tours, I happened to be lodged near M. de Bassompierre,
     who kept a table which you might say was worthy of one of the
     greatest nobles of the Court, since it was always full. He did me
     the honour to invite me to come every day and pressed me in such
     fashion that, not being acquainted with any of these grandees so
     intimately that I believed myself competent to say that there was
     no one in France of my condition who lived so habitually or on such
     familiar terms with them, I was unable to refuse a civility so
     obliging. Those whom I met there were, apart from their rank,
     persons of a merit so great, that some had filled already, and
     others have filled since, the most important offices of State, and
     commanded armies. Thus, there was much to learn from their
     conversation, and nothing was more agreeable than the pleasant
     familiarity with which they lived together. Ceremony, the
     constraint of which is insupportable to those who are nourished in
     the air of the great world, was unknown there. Each one seated
     himself where he pleased. Those who came the latest never failed to
     find a place at the table, although the others may already have
     been there a long while. However great was the good cheer provided,
     no one ever spoke about eating. People came without saying
     good-day, and went away without saying adieu. And the conversation
     ranged over all kinds of topics, and was, not only agreeable, but

On leaving Tours, the Court paid short visits to Le Lude, in the Maine,
where the King was the guest of the Comte du Lude, whose page Luynes had
once been, La Flèche, and Durtal, where he was entertained by the Comte
de Schomberg. His Majesty was exceedingly gracious to Bassompierre about
this time. On the death of the old Swiss colonel Galatty he offered him
the choice of that veteran’s appointments; gave him the Abbey of
Honnecourt, in the diocese of Cambrai, for one of his ecclesiastical
friends, who appears to have contented himself with drawing the revenues
of the benefice and did not even take the trouble to get instituted
until twenty-five years later; and bestowed other favours upon him.

At the beginning of September, the Court returned to Tours, the King
having decided that it would be advisable to placate his mother, who was
complaining that the terms of the treaty signed at Angoulême had not
been properly executed, by a personal interview. On September 4 Marie
de’ Medici arrived at Couzières, a country-house belonging to Luynes’s
father-in-law, the Duc de Montbazon, where she was received by the
favourite, who was accompanied by all the princes and great nobles. On
the following day she arrived at Tours, being met at some little
distance from the town by Anne of Austria and all the princesses.

Marie remained with the King until the 19th, and then left for Chinon
_en route_ for Angers, while the Court proceeded to Amboise.

Bassompierre does not give us any information about Louis XIII’s
attitude to his mother during these two weeks, but, if we are to believe
Richelieu, he showed towards her “an incredible tenderness.” Anyway,
Luynes appears to have become very uneasy, fearing lest the meeting at
Tours might lead to a more or less complete reconciliation between
mother and son; and one of his first acts when the Court returned to
Paris was to persuade the King to set Condé at liberty and restore him
to all his offices and dignities (October 20, 1619). He judged--and
rightly, as it proved--that the harsh treatment to which the first
Prince of the Blood had been subjected during the early months of his
imprisonment in the Bastille would have so embittered him against the
Queen-Mother, that he could be trusted to use all his influence to
prevent the _rapprochement_ which the favourite had so much cause to
dread. And, to nullify the effects of the “incredible tenderness” of
which Richelieu speaks, he caused to be inserted in the declaration of
Condé’s innocence, which was registered by the Parlement on November 26,
words which could not fail to be most offensive to Marie de’ Medici:
“Being informed,” said the King, “of the reasons by which his detention
has been excused, I have found that there was no cause, save the
machinations and evil designs of his enemies, who desired to join the
ruin of my State to that of my cousin.”

In November, the King spent a fortnight at Monceaux, and Bassompierre,
who was captain of the château, entertained him most magnificently. At
the close of the year there was a large promotion to the Ordre du
Saint-Esprit, five prelates and fifty-nine nobles being admitted.
Bassompierre was amongst the latter, his name figuring twenty-fourth on
the list of the new knights.

The promotions to the Ordre du Saint-Esprit furnished Marie de’ Medici
with yet another grievance, and she complained bitterly that they
comprised all her chief enemies, to the exclusion of the friends whom
she had recommended. Luynes seemed bent on exasperating her beyond
endurance, and on making her little Court at Angers, where she had now
established herself, a centre of disaffection.


     The grandees, irritated by the increasing power and favour of
     Luynes, decide to make common cause with the Queen-Mother against
     him--Departure of Mayenne from the Court--He is followed by
     Longueville, Nemours, Mayenne and Retz--Formidable character of the
     insurrection--Bassompierre receives orders to mobilise a Royal army
     in Champagne--He informs the King that the Comte de Soissons, his
     mother, the Grand Prieur de Vendôme and the Comte de Saint-Aignan
     intend to leave Paris to join the rebels--Alarm and indecision of
     Luynes--Advice of Bassompierre--It is finally decided to allow them
     to go--Success of Bassompierre in mobilising troops in Champagne
     despite great difficulties--The Duc de Bouillon sends a gentleman
     to him to endeavour to corrupt his loyalty--Reply of
     Bassompierre--The town and château of Dreux surrender to him--He
     joins the King near La Flèche with an army of 8,600 men--Combat of
     the Ponts-des-Cé--Peace of Angers.

Luynes had contrived to exasperate many other important personages
besides Marie de’ Medici. The irritation of the grandees against him was
increasing, in proportion as they beheld the King accumulating new
favours on the head of his parvenu favourite. Luynes and his two
brothers, Cadenet and Brantès, “devoured everything.” Between them they
had acquired eighteen of the most important governments in the kingdom,
and had all three blossomed into dukes, the eldest brother having been
created Duc de Luynes, the second Duc de Chaulnes, while the youngest
had married the heiress of the duchy of Piney-Luxembourg, and had
secured the revival of that title in his favour. Cadenet had also been
provided with the hand of a wealthy heiress of an illustrious house, and
had become, not only a duke and peer, but a marshal of France. As for
Luynes, he appeared to consider the bâton of marshal unworthy of his
grandeur, and awaited a favourable opportunity of girding on the sword
of Constable. Nor, while the three brothers were thus enriched and
aggrandized, were their poor relations forgotten; they arrived “by
battalions” from Provence and had their share of the spoils.

By family alliances Luynes had assured himself of the support of Condé,
Lesdiguières and of all the Guises, with the exception of the cardinal,
and he governed both the King and the State. The Ministers were only
consulted as a matter of form. The engagements to the Queen-Mother were
not kept; and, as the finances were in a state of indescribable
confusion, the pensions of the grandees, with the exception of those who
had the good fortune to be related by marriage to the favourite or his
brothers, remained unpaid.

Before the winter was over the patience of the grandees was exhausted,
and they decided to make common cause with the Queen-Mother against this
new Concini. “In the middle of Lent,” writes Bassompierre, “M. de
Mayenne quitted the Court without taking leave of the King.”[129]

Mayenne’s unceremonious departure sounded the first note of warning.
Others were not long in coming. At short intervals during the spring,
Vendôme, Longueville, Nemours and Retz followed the example of the
Lorraine prince, and when it became known that Vendôme, after going to
his country-seat in Normandy, had proceeded to join the Queen-Mother at
Angers, the Court could no longer doubt what was in the wind. The King
and Luynes, much alarmed, pressed Marie to return to Court; but she did
not wish to reappear there, “save with honour and safety,” and did not
consider the guarantees which were offered her sufficient. Richelieu
counselled her to take the risk, but the grandees who surrounded the
Queen-Mother opposed it, and civil war was decided upon.

In appearance, this insurrection was the most formidable that had been
seen since the accession of Louis XIII. The malcontents believed
themselves to be masters of France from Dieppe to Bayonne, and
possessed, besides, in the East of France, the important position of
Metz, of which d’Épernon was governor, which would permit them to
introduce into the kingdom foreign mercenaries. Luynes was at first
greatly perturbed; but Condé, eager to be avenged on the Queen-Mother,
reassured him, and urged him to take vigorous measures to meet the
danger. The plan of campaign they decided upon was well conceived. They,
with the King, would march into Normandy with what troops could be
spared from the defence of the capital, while Bassompierre, who had been
appointed _maréchal de camp_--a rank corresponding to
brigadier-general--of the troops in garrison in Champagne and on the
frontier of Lorraine, went there to mobilise as large a force as
possible. Then, when the safety of Normandy had been assured, they would
turn southwards; Bassompierre would join them at some point north of the
Loire, and their united forces would march on Angers.

On June 29 Bassompierre was entering the Louvre, to take leave of the
King, before setting out for Champagne, when a note in a woman’s
handwriting was slipped into his hand, informing him that the Comte de
Soissons[130] and his mother proposed to leave Paris that night to join
the Queen-Mother at Angers, and that the Grand Prieur de Vendôme, the
duke’s younger brother, and the Comte de Saint-Aignan were going with
them. Shortly afterwards, he happened to meet the Chevalier d’Épinay,
Commander of Malta, who was a friend of the Grand Prior, and questioned
him on the matter, when the chevalier said that he had been correctly
informed, and added that he himself was to be of the party.

Bassompierre found the King in his cabinet with Luynes, and informed
them of what was intended. They both appeared very much disturbed at his
news, and the King, who was going that afternoon to the Château of
Madrid, in the Bois de Boulogne, said that he should remain in Paris,
and announced his intention of sending for the Comte de Soissons and
having him arrested. Luynes and Bassompierre, however, pointed out that
“to arrest so great a personage without certain proofs did not seem to
them to be expedient, and that the affair merited to be weighed and
debated before any resolution was arrived at.” And Luynes advised the
King not to postpone his journey, “for fear of frightening the game,”
and said that he himself would remain in Paris and keep Bassompierre
there that day, and that, so soon as they had come to a decision, they
would acquaint his Majesty with it. He also asked that the Light Cavalry
of the Guard, which his youngest brother now commanded, should be placed
at his disposal, in order that he might effect the arrest of the prince
and his friends, if that course were deemed advisable.

Louis XIII accordingly set off for Madrid, and Bassompierre, Luynes, his
two brothers, and several of their friends met in solemn conclave at the
favourite’s hôtel in the Rue Saint-Thomas du Louvre to weigh and debate
this important matter. Luynes seemed in great perplexity, nor did his
relatives and friends appear able to help him to come to any definite
decision. At length, he turned to Bassompierre, who had hitherto
remained silent, and begged him to give them the benefit of his counsel.

Bassompierre modestly disclaimed any desire to express an opinion upon
affairs of State, particularly upon a matter so intricate and delicate
as the one under discussion. However, said he, as M. de Luynes had done
him the honour to seek his counsel, he would give it for what it was

He then said that, in this affair, he must speak like a


From a contemporary print.]

shopkeeper, and say that there were only two alternatives: to take him
or to leave him. If they decided to let _Monsieur le Comte_ depart in
peace, they might either say nothing to him at all, or inform him that
his design was known, but that it was a matter of indifference to the
King whether he executed it or not. If, on the contrary, they decided to
arrest him, there were several ways in which it might be effected: they
might advise the King to summon him to Madrid, warn him that he was
informed of his design, and that, in the circumstances, he felt obliged
“to assure himself of his person”; or they might send the Light Cavalry
to invest his hôtel and arrest him there; or as he was leaving his
house, or at the gates of the town; or, finally, at Villapreux (three
leagues from Versailles), the rendezvous where Saint-Aignan and d’Épinay
were to join him.

“It is now for you, Monsieur,” he concluded solemnly “to deliberate upon
and decide whether it be advisable to arrest him or let him go; and,
should you judge it necessary to arrest him, to make choice also of one
of the ways which I have proposed to you, and to execute it promptly and

     “Upon that,” observes Bassompierre, “M. de Luynes was in greater
     uncertainty than ever”--we can well believe it--“and I was
     astonished to see the little aid and comfort which he received from
     the other gentlemen present, who showed themselves as irresolute as
     he was.”

They continued their deliberations all the afternoon, and when evening
came they were as far off a decision as ever. Then Bassompierre, whose
patience was exhausted, said to Luynes: “Monsieur, you are wasting time
in resolving what course ought to be pursued. It grows late; the King
must be growing anxious at not hearing anything from you. Come to some

“It is very easy for you to talk,” answered the favourite petulantly;
“but if you held the handle of the frying-pan, as I do, you would be in
a like difficulty.”

Bassompierre then suggested that perhaps, in the circumstances, it might
be as well to take the Ministers into his confidence. Now, as we have
mentioned already, M. de Luynes never condescended to consult these
unfortunate old gentlemen--“the dotards” as they were irreverently
called--except as a matter of form. Nevertheless, such was his
perplexity on this occasion, that he caught at the proposal as a
drowning man catches at a straw, and despatched a messenger in all haste
to summon the Ministers to assemble at the Chancellor’s house. Thither
the conference adjourned, and, after a good deal of further discussion,
it was resolved to let Soissons and his mother take their departure and
to say nothing to them about it. This decision was arrived at on the
advice of Jeannin, who pointed out that such vain and meddlesome persons
as these two were more likely to cause dissensions in the Queen-Mother’s
party than to strengthen it; that, when hostilities began, it would be
better to have them outside Paris than hatching mischief within its
walls; and, further, that it would be easy at any time to draw _Monsieur
le Comte_ away from his confederates by pecuniary inducements, in which
event he would very probably be followed by the other princes, since
these exalted personages were like a flock of sheep: when one took the
leap, the others followed him.

And so, at eleven o’clock that night, the Soissons and their friends
left Paris by the Porte Saint-Jacques, and went off to join the
Queen-Mother at Angers, no man hindering them; and on the following
morning Bassompierre set out for Champagne.

Bassompierre passed the first night of his journey at Château-Thierry,
where he received most alarming intelligence, to the effect that a
gentleman of the name of Loppes, who was in the service of the Duc de
Vendôme, was waiting with a troop of light horse between that town and
Châlons, with the intention of making him a prisoner and carrying him
off to Sedan. However, the rumour proved to be a false one, and he
arrived safely at Châlons without seeing anything of M. de Loppes or his
troop. Nevertheless, having ascertained that that gentleman was at his
country-house some few miles from Châlons, he considered it advisable to
pay him a visit, lest haply he should only have postponed the sinister
designs attributed to him to some more convenient season.

A promise, in the King’s name, of the command of the troop in which he
was now only a lieutenant sufficed to draw the most fervid expressions
of loyalty from M. de Loppes; and he volunteered to escort Bassompierre
with thirty of his men to Vitry, where two companies of the regiment of
Champagne were in garrison.

On the following morning, Bassompierre reviewed the garrison, which he
found pretty well up to strength, and sounded the officers, who appeared
loyal enough, though the lieutenant-colonel was under suspicion.
However, as he was away on furlough, and not likely to return for some
time, there was nothing to be feared from him.

From Vitry Bassompierre proceeded to Verdun, where he arrived on July 6.
Here there was a different tale to tell.

There were two regiments in garrison at Verdun: that of Picardy and that
of the Comte de Vaubecourt.[131] The latter had its full complement of
all grades, but the Regiment of Picardy could not muster a third of its
strength; and he was informed that part of the absentees had gone off to
serve as volunteers in Germany, where the Thirty Years’ War was just
beginning; while the rest had been seduced from their duty by the
Marquis de la Valette, d’Épernon’s second son, and had thrown themselves
into Metz with him.

The following day, Bassompierre received a letter from Louis XIII,
informing him that he was proceeding at once into Normandy to save
Rouen, which Longueville was endeavouring to raise against him, and
ordering him to assemble all the forces he could muster at
Saint-Menehould, leaving Vaubecourt’s regiment to garrison what places
in Champagne he considered necessary, and then to march with all
possible speed to Montereau, where he would receive further orders.

At Verdun Bassompierre received a visit from M. de Fresnel, Governor of
Clermont-en-Argonne, who was intimately acquainted with the military
resources of that part of France. Fresnel warned him that he would find
in every garrison-town the same condition of things as at Verdun, and
that, apart from Vaubecourt’s regiment, he doubted whether he would be
able to muster 2,000 men. The magazines, however, were full and capable
of equipping any number of men; and, if he were prepared to offer a
bounty to everyone who enlisted, he believed that plenty of recruits
would be forthcoming.

Bassompierre readily agreed to give the bounty which Fresnel advised,
though he had to find the money out of his own pocket, and in a few days
Fresnel had raised 800 men on his estates in the Argonne, with whom and
another 120 furnished by the town of Verdun, he filled the ranks of the
Regiment of Picardy. The Bailiff of Bar, a personal friend of his, sent
him 300, whom he drafted into the Regiment of Champagne; another 300
came from the Valley of Aillant, in the Yonne. The drum was beaten
vigorously at Vitry, Saint-Dizier, Châlons, Rheims, Sens and other
towns, and each of them furnished its contingent, with the result that
he soon found himself at the head of what, for those times, was quite a
formidable force, though, as the great majority of the men thus obtained
were raw recruits who had never been under fire, their fighting value
was not very great. However, he had the consolation of knowing that the
rebel forces would undoubtedly be at the same disadvantage.

Bassompierre had the good fortune to have at his disposal a number of
experienced commissariat-officers, and the arrangements he was thus
enabled to make for the rapid march of his army westwards,
notwithstanding that it was then the height of a very hot summer, appear
to have left little to be desired, and to have shown a solicitude for
the soldier’s comfort and well-being most unusual at this epoch.

     “After deciding,” he says, “upon the routes which my troops were to
     follow, I decided upon my marches, which I made longer than was
     customary, to wit, nine or ten leagues per day. I gave orders that
     each regiment should start at three or four in the morning and
     march until nine o’clock, by which time it should have covered five
     leagues. And I arranged that the halting-place should be near some
     river or brook, where it would find a cart containing wine and
     another filled with bread awaiting it, to refresh the soldiers.
     Here they would rest until three of the afternoon, in order to
     avoid marching during the heat of the day, and then take the road
     again. And I further arranged that when they reached the village
     where they were to pass the night, they should find the beasts that
     were to provide their meal already slaughtered, for which I paid
     one half of the cost, and the village the other. By this means, the
     soldier, perceiving the care that I took that he should want for
     nothing, performed without a murmur these long marches so far as

On July 13, towards evening, Bassompierre arrived at Poivre, where he
had arranged to pass the night. Shortly afterwards, he received a visit
from a Huguenot gentleman named Despence, with whom he had some slight
acquaintance, and whom he invited to sup with him. When they rose from
table, M. Despence led him into the garden adjoining the house, and
there inquired if he might speak to him frankly and “in all security”;
by which he meant that whatever the nature of the communication he
wished to make might be, Bassompierre would afterwards suffer him to
depart in peace.

Bassompierre having given him the assurance he demanded, he informed him
that he came from Sedan, on behalf of the Duc de Bouillon, who had
charged him to say that while the duke, as a soldier himself, could not
help but commend the zeal and energy which M. de Bassompierre was
employing in raising and equipping troops and overcoming the
difficulties with which he had to contend, he wondered greatly what
could be the motive which prompted him to all this activity. Could it be
that he entertained some personal animosity against the Queen-Mother, to
whom, he had always understood, he was indebted for many benefits, or
had M. de Luynes placed him under some great obligation? The duke
desired to point out to M. de Bassompierre that the Queen-Mother and the
princes and nobles who supported her had not taken up arms to attack the
King or the State, but to decide whether both should be governed by her
who had ruled so well during his Majesty’s minority, or by three robbers
who had seized the authority and the person of the King. He praised M.
de Bassompierre’s resolution to “keep always to the trunk of the tree,
and to follow, not the best and most just party, but that which
possessed the person of the King and the seal and wax.” But to display
such fiery ardour, such boundless activity; to exceed even the orders of
the King in the rapidity with which he was pushing forward his troops;
to employ his own money so profusely as he was doing in the cause of
persons who had proved themselves so ungrateful to the Queen, their
first benefactress, and would prove no less ungrateful to their friends;
to be apparently intent on compassing the ruin of the party of the
Queen, the consort of the late King, who had been so much attached to
him; to assist “three pumpkins who had sprung up in a night”[132] to
trample upon her, and thus to compromise his reputation and his
honesty--for all this M. de Bouillon could see neither rhyme nor

After this long-winded preamble, M. Despence came to the point. The
duke, he said, had no intention of suggesting to M. de Bassompierre that
he should do anything contrary to his honour and duty; nothing was
further from his thoughts. But, if he could see his way to delay for
three weeks the junction of the army under his command with that of the
King, which might be done without disobeying the orders he had received
from his Majesty, who did not anticipate that he would be able to join
him before then; if he would rest content with such troops as he found
in garrison, and cease to amuse himself by levying everywhere at his own
expense men to reinforce them, and, in short, abate a little of his
ardour and animosity towards the party of the Queen-Mother, M. de
Bouillon would without delay deposit the sum of 100,000 crowns in the
hands of any banker whom he might be pleased to name, and no one but
themselves would be the wiser.

Bassompierre, with growing indignation, heard him to the end, and then
told him that he was astonished that he should have taken advantage of
the promise of safety he had received to make him so disgraceful a
proposition. “I did not think,” said he, “that M. de Bouillon knew me so
little as to imagine that money or any other advantage would make me
fail in my duty or honour. It is not animosity, but ardour and desire to
serve the King which has spurred me to these extraordinary exertions.
Next to his I am the most devoted servant of the Queen in the world;
but, when it is a question of the service of the King, I do not
recognise the Queen. I would that I could run or fly to whatever place
his service called me, and, as for my money, I would dispense that right
willingly to the last sol, provided that his affairs might be placed in
a good state. If you had not obtained an assurance of safety from me, I
should have had you arrested, and sent you to Châlons; but the promise I
have given you prevents me from doing that.”

With which he turned on his heel and left M. Despence to return whence
he came, marvelling greatly that so shrewd a judge of men as the lord of
Sedan professed to be should have sent him on so bootless an errand.

On the 18th, the army reached Montereau, and Bassompierre brought his
troops across the Seine and quartered them in and around Étampes. The
evening before he had received a letter from the King announcing that
Caen and Rouen had opened their gates to him; that Longueville had
retired to Dieppe and shut himself up there; while the Grand Prior, who
had been assisting him to stir up trouble, had fled to Angers, and that
his Majesty was about to begin his march to the Loire.

On the 19th, Bassompierre went to Paris to make arrangements for the
provisioning of his army. On going to salute Anne of Austria, her
Majesty told him that “she did not know whether to receive him as
general of an army or as a courier, seeing the extreme activity he had
displayed,” while the Council “could not believe that the army was at
Étampes and in such strength as he assured them was the case.”

As Bassompierre was so much ahead of his time, and there was no need for
him to begin his march to join the army of the King for some days, he
received orders to make an attempt to reduce Dreux, one of the few
places in Normandy still occupied by the rebels. He accordingly returned
to Étampes, and was about to set out for Dreux at the head of the
regiments of Champagne and Picardy and a detachment of cavalry, when he
received a letter from Anne of Austria informing him that she had
received intelligence that the Comte de Rochefort, husband of a lady to
whom Bassompierre had “offered his service” at the end of the previous
year, and who, we may presume, had been graciously pleased to accept it,
was in dire peril of his life. It appeared that Rochefort, who was
governor of the Château of Nantes, had been arrested at Angers by
orders of Marie de’ Medici, and that “M. de Vendôme intended to bring
him before the Château of Nantes, to force it to surrender; threatening,
in case of refusal, to cut off his head.” The only way to save M. de
Rochefort, wrote the Queen, was to seize Vendôme’s mother-in-law, Madame
de Mercœur, and his children, who were at the Château of Anet, near
Dreux, the palatial country-seat which Henri II had built for his
middle-aged inamorata Diane de Poitiers, and bring them as hostages to
Paris. “And she recommended to me this affair, which was very important
to the service of the King and which would afford infinite satisfaction
to Madame de Rochefort, of whom I was so much the servant.”

Bassompierre accordingly detached the greater part of his cavalry and
sent them to Anet to secure Madame de Mercœur and the little
Vendômes, and with the rest of his force presented himself before the
gates of Dreux. They were opened to him at once, and the citizens
shouted, “_Vive le Roi!_” with all the strength of their lungs; but
Bassompierre informed them that, although he was very gratified to hear
such cries, he would prefer to have some practical proof of their
loyalty. And he ordered them to assist him in bringing M. d’Escluzelles,
the governor of the château, to reason.

M. d’Escluzelles, however, refused to surrender, and, though
Bassompierre’s troops, with the assistance of the citizens, built a
formidable barricade which cut off all communication between the château
and the town, he appeared to regard their proceedings with indifference.
When, however, on the following day, Bassompierre caused him to be
informed that, unless he capitulated forthwith, he proposed to burn his
country-seat, which lay a few miles from Dreux, to the ground, cut down
every tree on his estate, and carry off his wife and children to Paris,
he “had pity upon his property and his family,” and sent to demand a
parley. Next morning (July 25), the château surrendered, and
Bassompierre having placed a garrison there and seen Madame de
Mercœur and her grandchildren, whom the cavalry had brought from
Anet, off to Paris, returned to Étampes and began his march towards the
Loire. On August 2 his army arrived at Connerré, not far from Le Mans,
where Louis XIII’s headquarters were, and Bassompierre went to pay his
respects to his Majesty, who gave him a most flattering reception and
“expressed himself very satisfied with the care and expedition which he
had shown.”

Two days later, the King reviewed Bassompierre’s army in the plain of
Gros Chataigneraie, near La Flèche. It now consisted of 8,000 infantry
and 600 cavalry, and his Majesty pronounced it “very fine and very
complete, and beyond what he had expected to find.” The two armies were
then joined into one corps, and the King having given the command to
Condé, with Praslin as his second in command, and appointed four
brigadier-generals, of whom Bassompierre was one, the Royal forces
advanced on Angers.

The rapid submission of Normandy had deceived all the expectations of
Marie de’ Medici, for d’Épernon was not yet ready to join her, nor had
Mayenne completed the formidable levies of troops which he was making in
Guienne. Towards the end of July, her troops had advanced so far as La
Flèche, but, on the news of the approach of the Royal army, had fallen
back rapidly on Angers. Richelieu endeavoured to stop the King by
opening negotiations, but Louis XIII, whose military instincts had been
awakened by the life of the camp, continued to advance. On August 6 the
Queen-Mother made new proposals, and, though Condé urged the King to
reject them, Luynes, who was still doubtful about the issue of the war,
persuaded Louis to return a favourable answer and to grant his mother an
armistice until the following morning. Deputies were then despatched to
Angers, but, owing to some misunderstanding, they had to wait several
hours before being admitted to the town. This delay was attended with
disastrous results to the insurgent forces.

The troops of the Queen-Mother, which did not exceed 8,000 men, were
spread out along a front of about four miles from Angers to the
Ponts-des-Cé, an important position which assured to them the passage of
the Loire. Vendôme, who commanded under the youthful Comte de Soissons,
the nominal chief of the army, had conceived the fantastic idea of
connecting these two towns by a long line of entrenchments, which,
however, were not yet half-finished, and which, even if they had been
completed, would have required a much larger force than the one at his
disposal to defend effectively. The Royal army was encamped in the plain
of Trélazé, about a league from the Ponts-des-Cé.

On the morning of the 7th, just about the time when the King’s
commissioners were entering Angers to conclude peace, Louis XIII was
persuaded by Condé, who was determined to do everything in his power to
prevent the termination of hostilities before a decisive defeat had been
inflicted on the Queen-Mother’s party, to consent to a reconnaissance in
force of the rebels’ position; and the Royal army accordingly advanced
to within sight of the unfinished entrenchments. Whether from cowardice
or from irritation at the neglect of his interests which Marie de’
Medici had shown in the treaty which was about to be signed, the Duc de
Retz chose this moment to withdraw from the position assigned to him
with his own regiment and another which had been placed under his
command, and to retire across the Loire. The disorder consequent on this
movement, which was entirely unexpected, was taken by the Royal captains
for the beginning of a general retreat, and on their advice the King
ordered the bugles to sound the attack.

Bassompierre’s troops, with those of the Marquis de Nerestang, formed
the left wing of the Royal army. Between them and the entrenchments lay
some fields, the hedges of which were lined with musketeers; but they
were speedily dislodged, and took refuge behind a body of cavalry, who
retreated, in their turn, without making any attempt to charge, so soon
as fire was opened upon them, and retired to what shelter the
entrenchments afforded. The cannon of the citadel now came into play,
but the gunners were quite unable to find the range, and not a man was
hit. As they neared the entrenchments, Bassompierre dismounted and,
taking a halberd from a sergeant, placed himself at the head of one of
the battalions of the Regiment of Champagne. On seeing this, Nerestang
rode up, exclaiming: “Monsieur, that is not the place for a
brigadier-general; you will be unable to make the other battalions fight
if you remain at the head of this one.”

     “I answered,” says Bassompierre, “that he was right; but that these
     regiments, which were largely composed of new recruits, would fight
     well if they saw me at their head, and badly if I remained behind;
     and since I had raised and brought them to this army, I had an
     interest in their conducting themselves well. Then he said: ‘I
     shall not remain on horseback if you are on foot,’ and,
     dismounting, placed himself on my left.”

The entrenchments were carried with but little resistance, for the
defenders appear to have been demoralised by the desertion of Retz and
his troops and the suddenness of the attack, and fled in disorder
towards the town. A flanking-fire, however, from the roofs and windows
of some of the houses in the faubourgs caused a few casualties amongst
Bassompierre’s men; and, as they were crossing some open ground between
the trenches and the town, a squadron of cavalry emerged from a field,
deployed and seemed about to charge.

     “And now,” says Bassompierre, “I shall relate a strange thing. A
     man from one of our storming-companies who had remained behind--I
     never learned his name--and who was carrying a pike, addressed
     himself to a chief who was riding some twenty paces in front of the
     others and gave his horse a thrust in the stomach with his pike.
     The horse reared, upon which the soldier gave him another thrust;
     and the rider, fearing to be thrown, wheeled to the left and
     galloped off. And, at the same moment, the squadron wheeled in the
     same direction and passed under the arch of the bridge, where the
     water was very shallow.”

The Comte de Saint-Aignan, who, it will be remembered, had accompanied
the Comte de Soissons when he left Paris to join the Queen-Mother, was
with this squadron, having ridden up to order it to charge. He was on
its left flank and tried to rally the fugitives, but without success,
and was carried away with them for some little distance. Now, M. de
Saint-Aignan was a great dandy, and was wearing gilded armour and a hat
that was the _dernier cri_ in sumptuous headgear--a hat to marvel at,
adorned with great ostrich plumes fastened by diamond-buckles--and when
he at last succeeded in getting out of the press and pulling up his
horse, he found that his hat had been knocked off. He could not bring
himself to abandon it, and accordingly rode back to where it lay and
attempted to recover it with the point of his sword. Bassompierre,
passing near him, on his way into the town, did not attempt to make him
prisoner, and merely shouted: “Adieu, Saint-Aignan!” “Adieu, adieu!”
replied the count, without desisting from his efforts to recover his
hat. This was no easy matter, as his horse was very restive, but
eventually he succeeded and had just replaced it triumphantly on his
head, and was about to ride away, when he was stopped and taken prisoner
by two carabiniers.

The Royal troops continued their advance through the faubourgs and into
the town, the enemy making no attempt to rally, though there was a good
deal of desultory firing from the houses, and Nerestang had his right
thigh broken by a musket-shot.[133] In less than an hour, however, the
town was cleared of the rebels, some of whom took refuge in the château,
which surrendered on the following day, while the rest fled towards

Bassompierre was then sent to report the result of the action to the
King and to take him the nobles who had been made prisoners. His
Majesty, whom he found in company with Condé, Luynes and Bellegarde,
“received him with extraordinary cordiality, and M. de Luynes spoke in
praise of him to _Monsieur le Grand_.” But when Louis XIII heard that
Saint-Aignan was amongst the prisoners, he looked very grave indeed, as
did the others, and they consulted together as to what was to be done
with him. Then the King informed Bassompierre that, as M. de
Saint-Aignan was, not only an officer of the regular army, but
Colonel-General of the Light Cavalry, and had been taken in arms against
his sovereign, it had been decided that he was to be tried at once by
the Keeper of the Seals, who was, with the army, and, in the event of
conviction, to be decapitated that very day. And so it seemed as though
poor Saint-Aignan had only succeeded in saving his hat at the cost of
his head.

Happily for him, Bassompierre was determined to save him.

     “I firmly opposed this decision,” he writes, “and told the King and
     _Monsieur le Prince_ that, if they treated him in this way, no man
     of rank among the enemy would allow himself to be made prisoner,
     from fear of dying by the hand of the executioner; that M. de
     Créquy and I had received his surrender, and that he was a prisoner
     of war; that the rank we held authorised us to give him our
     assurance that he should be regarded as such, and that we were not
     provost-marshals to cause our captives to be hanged. At the same
     time, I sent to warn M. de Créquy, who sent word that he would
     retire from the Ponts-des-Cé and would abandon everything,[134] if
     he did not receive a promise that the execution would be suspended.
     We obtained a respite until the morrow, when, the first indignation
     against Saint-Aignan having spent itself, it was easy to persuade
     them to abandon their resolution; and the peace which followed
     accommodated his affair, by the surrender of his charge, which was
     conferred upon La Curée.”

The engagement of the Ponts-des-Cé was a terrible blow to the
Queen-Mother’s party; nevertheless, Marie was far from reduced to
extremities. If no longer able to make peace on favourable terms, two
courses were open to her. She might shut herself up in Angers with what
was left of her army, and hold out until Mayenne and d’Épernon were able
to come to her assistance, or she might ford the Loire with her cavalry,
only a part of which had been engaged at the Ponts-des-Cé, and make her
way to Angoulême, where d’Épernon’s headquarters were. Thus, although no
hope of success now remained, she might succeed in prolonging the war
for months.

Luynes was aware of this, and aware too that a continuance of
hostilities could not fail to add to his unpopularity; while he was
beginning to fear Condé, with whom Louis XIII was now on quite
alarmingly friendly terms, almost as much as he feared the Queen-Mother.
The High Catholic party, too, were eager for peace, in order that the
King might have his hands free to deal with the Protestants of Béarn;
and their representations, joined to that of Luynes, decided Louis to
abandon any idea of imposing on his mother and her adherents the
stringent terms which their recent defeat would otherwise have
justified. The treaty, which was signed at Angers on August 10, was, to
all intents and purposes, a confirmation of that of the previous year,
save for a stipulation that the partisans of the Queen-Mother were not
to be restored to the offices and charges of which the King had disposed
during the rebellion. Three days later, Marie and her son met at
Brissac, and were, to all appearances, on the best of terms; and on the
16th a royal declaration proclaimed the innocence of the intentions of
the Queen-Mother and her adherents “during the late disturbances.”
Mayenne and d’Épernon thereupon laid down their arms, and the powerful
faction which for a moment had threatened to subvert the State melted


     Refusal of the Protestants of Béarn to restore the property of the
     Catholic Church--Louis XIII and Luynes resolve on rigorous measures
     and set out for the South--Visit of Bassompierre to La Rochelle--He
     joins the King at Bordeaux--Arrest and execution of
     d’Arsilemont--The Parlement of Pau declines to register the Royal
     edict and Louis XIII determines to march into Béarn--Bassompierre
     charged with the transport of the army across the Garonne, which is
     accomplished in twenty-four hours--Béarn and Lower Navarre are
     united to the Crown of France--Coldness of the King towards
     Bassompierre--Bassompierre learns that this is due to the ill
     offices of Luynes, who regards him as a rival in the royal
     favour--He is informed that Luynes is “unable to suffer him to
     remain at Court”--Bassompierre decides to come to terms with the
     favourite, and it is arranged that he shall quit the Court so soon
     as some honourable office can be found for him--The Valtellina
     question--Bassompierre appointed Ambassador Extraordinary to the
     Court of Spain--Birth of a son to Luynes.

No sooner had peace been signed than Louis XIII, urged on by Luynes, who
was above all things anxious to conciliate the High Catholic party,
determined to deal with the recalcitrant Protestants of Béarn.

The re-establishment of the Catholic religion in Béarn had been one of
the conditions on which Clement VIII had consented to grant absolution
to Henri IV; but that monarch had only half kept his word, and had
limited himself to nominating bishops to the sees of Lescar and Oleron,
and paying them their salaries; re-establishing the Mass in a good many
places, and admitting Catholics to charges and dignities. The two new
bishops demanded the restoration of the ecclesiastical property formerly
attached to their offices;[135] but the Government turned a deaf ear to
their appeals, and it was not until Luynes rose to power that they had a
chance of being listened to.

Besides his desire to gain the support of the _dévots_, Luynes saw in
the affair of Béarn an opportunity of ridding himself of the possible
rivalry of the young Marquis de Montpouillan with the King, as
Montpouillan’s father, the Marquis de la Force,[136] was governor of
Béarn and chief of the Protestants of that country. He thereupon pressed
Louis XIII to carry out the engagements which Henri IV had sought to
evade, and, by a decree of the Council of June 25, 1617, the King
ordered the restitution of Church property in Béarn. The Estates of
Béarn, supported by La Force, remonstrated vigorously; but in September
the King confirmed his decision of June.

The Protestants of Languedoc and Guienne embraced the cause of the
Béarnais, and the Parlement of Pau, in which the Reformers were in a
great majority, refused to register the edict. The troubles with the
Queen-Mother prevented Louis XIII and Luynes from taking any rigorous
measures, but now that their hands were free, they were resolved to lose
no more time.

Before Louis XIII began his march to the South, Bassompierre obtained
permission to pay a visit to his brother-in-law Saint-Luc at Brouage, of
which town the latter was governor, and to travel by way of La Rochelle.
He set out on September 13, accompanied by Créquy, La Rochefoucauld and
a great number of other gentlemen, who, in view of the possibility of a
renewal of the Wars of Religion in the near future, had gladly embraced
the opportunity of visiting the great Huguenot stronghold.

The party stopped to dine at Surgères, a château belonging to La
Rochefoucauld, from which the count sent a letter to the mayor of La
Rochelle, “to warn him of the good company who were coming to see him,
in order that he might not be alarmed at the sudden arrival of so many
people.” He received a most cordial response, for the authorities of La
Rochelle were probably far from displeased to learn that the Colonel of
the French Guards and the Colonel-General of the Swiss were on their way
to visit their famous town, before whose stubborn walls, forty-six years
earlier, nearly 20,000 Catholics had laid down their lives, and all to
no purpose. Certainly, M. de Créquy, M. de Bassompierre and their
friends should be afforded every facility for seeing all that was worth
seeing, and particularly the defences; and when the King questioned them
about their visit, as, of course, he would do, they would probably tell
his Majesty that if, as seemed only too probable, he were determined to
drive his Protestant subjects to take up arms once more in defence of
their faith, he would do well to let La Rochelle severely alone.

And so M. le Maire came to meet them at the gates of the town, and bade
them right welcome to La Rochelle, and took them to see the harbour, in
which, if the Rochellois were obliged to summon foreign aid, an English
fleet might one day be seen riding at anchor.

And then, as the hour was late, he escorted them to the best inn in the
town, which for some hours past had been in a state of ferment, since it
was not often that preparations for the reception of so many
distinguished guests had to be made at such short notice, where, having
invited them, in the name of the Président, Jean Pascaut, to dine at the
Présidial next day, he took leave of them.

Early on the morrow, the mayor returned and conducted the party round
the fortifications; after which he took them to visit the Tour de la
Chaîne, one of the two towers which defended the entrance to the
harbour. Then they all repaired to the Présidial, where, with appetites
sharpened by the sea air, they did full justice to “a magnificent
banquet, at which sixty covers were laid.”

In the afternoon, Bassompierre and his friends left La Rochelle, little
imagining in what tragic circumstances they were to tread its streets
again, and proceeded to Brouage, where they were very hospitably
entertained by Saint-Luc. During their stay at Brouage they paid a visit
to the neighbouring château of Marennes, ostensibly to pay their
respects to the count of that name, but really to see his three
daughters, “who were very beautiful.” But, unfortunately, Bassompierre
does not give us any further information about these ladies.

On leaving Brouage, they spent a night at the château of the Baron de
Pons, whose family claimed to be descended from the House of Albret, a
claim which was to cause an infinity of trouble at the Court during the
regency of Anne of Austria, and to lead to the affair known as “_la
guerre des tabourets_.” Next day, they dined with d’Épernon at Plassac,
a country-seat of his near Jonzac, and then set out for Bordeaux.

On September 19, Louis XIII arrived at Bordeaux, where he met with a
great reception, and on the following day was entertained by Mayenne to
a great banquet at the Château-Trompette. An unpleasant incident,
however, cast a shadow over the rejoicings.

A gentleman named d’Arsilemont, who commanded the Châteaux of Fronsac
and Caumont on behalf of the Comte de Saint-Paul, brother of
Longueville, and had taken advantage of his position to levy
unauthorised taxes on the people living along the Dordogne, and
committed other illegal acts in defiance of the decrees of the Parlement
of Bordeaux, had the imprudence to come and salute the King. The
Parlement, learning of d’Arsilemont’s arrival, sent to complain of him
to his Majesty, who caused him to be arrested forthwith; and within
forty-eight hours he was condemned to death and executed,
“notwithstanding the entreaties of MM. de Mayenne and de Saint-Paul.”

On October 4, La Force, Governor of Béarn, and Cazaux, First President
of the Parlement of Pau, came to Bordeaux, bringing with them, not the
ratification of the edict re-establishing the Catholic clergy in
possession of their property, but a fresh remonstrance against it. The
King was extremely angry, but on La Force and Cazaux assuring him that
this remonstrance was intended to be the last one, and that, on their
return to Béarn, they would use every endeavour to persuade the
Parlement to ratify the edict without further delay, he decided to
postpone military action for the present, and sent them away,
accompanied by La Chesnaye, one of his gentlemen-in-ordinary and a
Huguenot himself, who was instructed to keep his Majesty informed of the
progress of the affair. At the same time, in order to show the Parlement
that he was determined that they should submit to his will, he left
Bordeaux with his army, and advanced to Preignac, on the left bank of
the Garonne.

Some days later La Chesnaye returned, and informed the King that,
notwithstanding the efforts of La Force and Cazaux, the Parlement still
persisted in their refusal to ratify the edict, an action which
Bassompierre ascribes to their belief that Louis XIII would not care to
venture into so barren and difficult a country at that advanced season
of the year, and to a rumour which had reached them that a great part of
the baggage of the Court was already on its way back to Paris.

The King, however, was determined to be obeyed, and, on this occasion at
any rate, showed none of the weakness and irresolution so conspicuous in
later years. “Since my Parlement,” said he, “wishes to give me the
trouble of going in person to ratify the decree, I will do it, and more
fully than they expect.” And he summoned the Ministers who were with him
and his chief officers to a council of war, for, says Bassompierre,
“though he was resolved to go, he, nevertheless, wished to ascertain
everyone’s opinion on the matter.”

Mayenne sought to dissuade the King from advancing into Béarn,
representing that while his Majesty was engaged in imposing his will on
the Huguenots at one extremity of his realm, their co-religionists in
other parts of the country might seize the opportunity to rise in arms;
that twelve days would probably be required to transport the army across
the Garonne; that the difficulty of provisioning the troops in the
inhospitable Landes at that season of the year would be very great, and
so forth. The other members of the council, however, aware that the King
had made up his mind on the matter--or that Luynes, who was anxious to
secure the support of the High Catholic party, had made it up for
him--and that nothing was to be gained by opposing his resolution, urged
him to undertake the expedition, upon which he tinned to Mayenne and

“I do not trouble myself about the weather or the roads; I am not afraid
of those of the Religion, and, as for the passage of the river, which,
you say, will take my army twelve days, I have a means of having it
accomplished in eight. For I shall send Bassompierre here to conduct it,
who has already raised me an army, with which I have just defeated a
powerful party, in half the time that I had expected.”

     “I confess,” observes Bassompierre, “that I felt my heart elated by
     such praise and by the good opinion that the King entertained of
     me; and I replied that he might rest assured that the hope that he
     had conceived of my diligence would not be vain, and that he would
     shortly have news that would gratify him.”

In those days, when the engineers were not yet organised as a distinct
branch of the army, and the difficulties of transport were very great,
pontoons were seldom carried, unless before the campaign opened it was
certain that they would be required; and the army which Bassompierre had
undertaken to pass across the Garonne was unprovided with any.
Consequently, he had either to wait until a sufficient number could be
constructed, which would, of course, entail a considerable delay, or to
obtain the best substitutes he could in the towns and villages along the
Garonne, and trust that his fortunate star would be in the ascendant
during the passage of the river to avert any disaster. He chose the
latter alternative, and having established himself at Langon, on the
left bank of the Garonne, sent parties of soldiers along both banks to
collect every boat of suitable size which they could find.

     “I caused two boats to be joined into one,” he says, “and laid
     platforms over them, on which, on October 10, I placed two pieces
     of artillery, and had two others joined together without platforms,
     on which I placed the gun-carriages; and in four journeys I passed
     all the artillery across. And, by the expenditure of a great deal
     of money, I so contrived matters that in the course of the
     following day the munitions and provisions were passed across, and
     the whole army likewise; and we advanced to a town a league beyond
     the river, where we halted for the night.”

A two days’ march brought the army to Saint-Justin d’Armagnac, on the
borders of the Grandes Landes and Armagnac. Here Bassompierre received a
despatch from Louis XIII, who had left Preignac on the 10th and was now
at Roquefort, in which the King expressed himself “extremely pleased
with his diligence, by which he had reduced the twelve days allowed by
M. de Mayenne for the passage of the Garonne to twenty-four hours.” His
Majesty ordered him to send him the Regiment of Champagne and some other
troops, which he intended to place in garrison in Béarn, but not to
enter the country with the rest of the army, since he feared it would be
impossible to provision it.

With the force which Bassompierre had sent him, Louis XIII marched
rapidly on Pau. At the news of his approach, the Parlement hastened to
ratify the edict; but it was too late. The King continued his march and
entered the town on the 15th. He re-established the Catholic bishops
and clergy in possession of their churches and property, disbanded the
national militia, and replaced the governor of Navarreins, the strongest
fortress in the country, by a Catholic. Finally, by letters-patent of
October 18, he united Béarn and Lower Navarre to the Crown of France,
and fused the sovereign courts of these two countries into one single
Parlement, sitting at Pau. Then, having sent the Maréchal de Praslin to
Bassompierre, with orders to distribute the troops under his command
amongst various garrisons and to rejoin him at Bordeaux, he took his
departure, to the profound relief of the Béarnais.

Bassompierre reached Bordeaux on the 24th. The King arrived the
following day, and Bassompierre went at once to pay his respects and
compliment him on his victory over the Parlement of Pau.

     “I expected a good reception,” he says, “but, on the contrary, he
     did not even look at me, at which I was a little astonished.
     However, I approached him and said: ‘Sire, are you displeased with
     me in good earnest, or are you making game of me?’ ‘I am not
     looking at you,’ he answered coldly, and with that turned away.

     “I was unable to imagine what could be the reason for this
     coldness, after the complimentary letters I had received from him.
     I went to salute M. de Luynes, and was received so coldly by him,
     that I saw plainly that my situation had undergone some great
     change. I returned to the gallery of the archbishop’s palace, where
     I found the Cardinal de Retz and MM. de Schomberg and de Roucelaï,
     who drew me aside and told me that M. de Luynes complained
     infinitely of me, saying that I had neglected his friendship and
     believed that without it I could maintain myself in the good graces
     of the King; and that he had declared that people should see which
     of us two had the power to overthrow the other; that the favour of
     the King could not be shared, and that, since I had offended him,
     he could no longer suffer me at the Court.”

Bassompierre, more and more astonished, begged his friends to tell him
“what wind could have developed into this tempest,” since he had never
had any quarrel with M. de Luynes, but, on the contrary, had been of
service to him on many occasions and had contributed not a little to his
advancement at Court, insomuch that the latter had “promised and sworn
to him the closest friendship.” He was therefore at a loss to comprehend
how M. de Luynes desired, not only to break with, but to persecute, nay,
even ruin, him, if it were in his power to do so. To this they replied
that M. de Luynes had given them to understand that he had no less than
five grievances against him:--

In the first place, when, at the Ponts-des-Cé, the King had shown M. de
Bassompierre the draft of the articles of peace which had been drawn up
by M. de Luynes, who was himself present, M. de Bassompierre had
expressed the opinion that they were far too lenient as regards the
rebels, and that it would be as well to make an example of one of these
gentlemen, in order to strike terror into the others and make them a
little less ready to take up arms against their sovereign in the future.
This was to cast a serious reflection upon M. de Luynes, and to suggest
that he had been negligent of his Majesty’s interests in drafting the

Secondly, when the King was at Poitiers, awaiting a visit from the
Queen-Mother, whose coming was unavoidably delayed, M. de Bassompierre
had suggested that this delay was “an artifice of her partisans to
prevent his Majesty’s journey to Guienne”; and this most uncalled for
observation had made so great an impression upon the King’s mind, that
M. de Luynes had experienced a thousand difficulties in persuading him
to remain at Poitiers until the Queen-Mother’s arrival.

Thirdly, although, while the Court was at Bordeaux, M. de Luynes had on
several occasions invited M. de Bassompierre to dine with him, that
gentleman had always declined, thereby showing that he held his
friendship of but little account.

Fourthly, when the King was at Preignac, awaiting the ratification of
his edict by the Parlement of Pau, M. de Bassompierre had remarked to
his Majesty that, if these gentlemen gave him the trouble of going to
Béarn, he counselled him to make them pay dearly for his journey. This
was to incite the King to cruelty, and was most reprehensible.

And, finally, M. de Bassompierre had so preoccupied the mind of the
King, that his Majesty did not believe that anything could be done well
unless it were done by him, as was proved by the fact that, without even
troubling to consult his Council, he had “dethroned” the other
brigadier-generals and placed M. de Bassompierre in command of his army.
This M. de Luynes was unable to suffer, being aware that he had still
sufficient influence to put a stop to the progress which the other was
making daily, to his prejudice, in the good graces of the King.

When Bassompierre heard this, he “judged well that M. de Luynes was
seeking pretexts to ruin him, and, since he could not find any
legitimate ones in his actions, he had maliciously perverted the sense
of his words.” His friends, on their side, “did not disguise from him
that it was nothing but pure jealousy of his favour which possessed that
gentleman, and that, being in the position he was, he kept always a
watchful eye on those who might divert from him the affection of the
King, and that, observing the great inclination of the King for him
(Bassompierre), he looked upon him as the dog who intended to bite him.”
They then begged Bassompierre to furnish them with his reply to the
charges brought against him by the jealous favourite, which they
promised to report faithfully to the latter, and endeavour by every
means in their power to bring about an amicable settlement.

Bassompierre thereupon proceeded to deal in detail with the different
causes of complaint which Luynes had against him, and concluded by
requesting his friends to inform him that, if he would be pleased to
prescribe some rules of conduct for him, he would undertake to follow
them so exactly, that in future M. de Luynes should have no cause to
believe that he aspired in any fashion whatsoever to usurp the good
graces of the King, except by his services to the Crown; and to add that
“he esteemed so little, and feared so much, favours that were not the
reward of merit that, if they were lying on the ground at his feet, he
would not condescend to stoop and pick them up.”

Next day, the Cardinal de Retz and his fellow-mediators came to
Bassompierre and told him that they had duly carried his answer to
Luynes, who had informed them that M. de Bassompierre had so deeply
offended him, that he could only repeat what he had said to them before,
namely, that he was unable to suffer him at the Court. If, however, M.
de Bassompierre were willing to withdraw with as little delay as
possible, he would see that the salaries of his various appointments
were promptly paid him during his absence, and that within a certain
period--which, however, he had refused to define--he would cause him to
be recalled with honour, when he would do all in his power to advance
his interests.

On receiving this proposal, Bassompierre could not contain his
indignation, and requested his friends to return at once to Luynes and
inform him that “he (Bassompierre) was not the kind of man who could be
treated as a scoundrel and driven ignominiously away in this fashion”;
that, if his honesty or his loyalty were suspected, he could be
imprisoned and punished, if found guilty; but that to drive him from the
Court merely to gratify a caprice was outrageous, and he defied him to
do it.

His friends, however, deprecated such strong language and begged him to
seek to compose, rather than to embitter, this most unfortunate affair.
They then suggested, if he were willing, that they should inform the
favourite that M. de Bassompierre desired them to say that he was
indeed astonished that M. de Luynes had treated his enemies with such
magnanimity after the action at the Ponts-des-Cé, when it was in his
power to punish them as they deserved and avenge himself upon them;
while for M. de Bassompierre, who had hazarded his life in his
service--since there could be no question that the object of the recent
rebellion was not to dispossess the King of his crown, but to separate
him from M. de Luynes--and, by his own admission, had acted so worthily
in these disturbances--he had nothing but ingratitude. He felt assured,
however, that if M. de Luynes would but reflect upon the obligations
under which he had placed him, he would decide that he was deserving of
reward, and not at all of such a punishment as to be driven with infamy
from the Court, to which M. de Bassompierre could never bring himself to

Bassompierre, aware that he could trust his friends to do their best for
him in the very awkward predicament in which he was placed, told them
that he left the matter entirely to their discretion, and they went

From Bordeaux the Court proceeded to Blaye, where the King remained
three days, and was magnificently entertained by the new Duke of
Luxembourg-Piney, who was governor of that place. At table, Louis XIII,
who, before this trouble arose, had been in the habit of talking and
jesting incessantly with Bassompierre, did not speak a single word to
him, “which gave him pain.” However, on the evening before the King’s
departure for Saintes, where he was to pass the following night, he
ordered Bassompierre to precede him with the Swiss, who were to furnish
the guard at Saintes; and when the latter approached him to receive the
password, which was, of course, always given in a very low voice, his
Majesty said: “Bassompierre, my friend, do not worry, and do not appear
to notice anything.” “I made no reply,” writes Bassompierre, “from fear
lest someone might perceive something, but I was not sorry that the
source of the King’s kindness had not dried up, so far as I was

After supper that night, he received a visit from Roucelaï, who said
that the Cardinal de Retz and Schomberg, who were then with Luynes, had
sent him to say that the favourite had pronounced his final decision,
which was that Bassompierre must leave the Court so soon as possible
after the King returned to Paris. At the same time, he desired to deal
honourably with him and that his departure should be free from any
appearance of disgrace, and if Bassompierre would suggest some way by
which this could be contrived, he would be prepared to give it his
favourable consideration.

Bassompierre, recognising that the all-powerful favourite was determined
to drive him from the Court, and that the only course open to him was to
make the best terms he could, replied that if Luynes were willing to
procure for him a government, an important military post, or an embassy
extraordinary, which would enable him to quit the Court with honour, and
to render the King more useful service than he could by remaining there,
he would take his departure so soon as he pleased. Roucelaï then
returned to his friends with Bassompierre’s answer, which was duly
communicated to Luynes. The latter expressed his approval of it, and
told them that in the course of the next day’s journey he would come to
an arrangement with him on these conditions.

     “This he did with a good grace,” says Bassompierre, “and told me
     frankly that the esteem which he perceived that the King
     entertained for me gave him umbrage, and that he was like a man who
     feared to be deceived by his wife, and who did not like to see even
     a very honest man paying attention to her; that, apart from that,
     he had a strong inclination for me, as he intended to show me,
     provided that I did not cast loving glances at his mistress. And
     that same evening he took me to speak to the King, who received me
     very cordially and told me to make ready to travel post on the

The King journeyed in this fashion from Saintes to Paris, accompanied
only by thirty or forty attendants. As they were nearing Châtellerault,
Bassompierre, learning that it was proposed to spend the night there,
warned Luynes that the town contained a large proportion of Huguenots,
and that if these, incensed by the King’s forcible re-establishment of
the Catholic faith in Béarn, were to summon their co-religionists from
La Rochelle to their aid, which they could easily do, and make an
attempt upon his Majesty’s person, he would be in great danger. On
hearing this, Luynes was much alarmed and begged the King not to stop at
Châtellerault; but Louis XIII, whose physical courage presented a
striking contrast to his moral flabbiness, refused to alter his
arrangements, and told him that he would answer for his own safety and
that of his attendants.

On November 6, the King reached Paris, and his first act was to visit
the Queen-Mother, who had now been permitted to return to the capital.
On the following day he went to Saint-Germain, and subsequently visited
Luynes at Lesigny, returning to Paris towards the end of the month.
Bassompierre does not appear to have been in attendance on the King
during these visits, nor was he commanded to accompany him when, early
in December, he set out with Luynes to inspect the fortresses of
Picardy. It was evidently the favourite’s policy to keep his rival as
much as possible at a distance from the King, until some post away from
the Court could be found for him.

An act of aggression on the part of Spain furnished Luynes with what he
was seeking.

The Spaniards, masters of the Milanese, had long coveted the Valtellina,
or Upper Valley of the Adda, which had been ceded to the Grisons by the
last of the Sforza. The possession of this valley would be of immense
strategic importance to them, since it would link the Milanese with the
Tyrol and Austria, and, at the same time, intercept the communications
of the Venetians with the Grisons, the Swiss and France. Since France
had an exclusive treaty with the Grisons, the Valtellina was an open
door for her into Italy, and Spain desired to close this door at any
cost. Successive governors of Milan had industriously fomented the
religious quarrel between the Protestant Grisons and the Catholics of
the Valtellina, and these intrigues at length bore fruit. One Sunday in
July, 1620, the Valtellina Catholics rose, massacred all the Protestants
of their country, to the number of several hundred, and then appealed to
the Spaniards to defend them from the vengeance of the Grisons. The
response, as may be supposed, was prompt and effective; the Spaniards
immediately entered the valley and took possession of all the strong
places, and, though the cantons of Berne and Zurich came to the
assistance of the Grisons, their united efforts proved powerless to
dislodge them.

This bold stroke of the Spaniards was a direct menace to Venice and
Savoy, and an indirect act of aggression against France; and the French
Government resolved to send an Ambassador Extraordinary to Madrid to
demand the evacuation of the Valtellina by Spain. Luynes had no
difficulty in deciding who that Ambassador Extraordinary ought to be,
and one day, towards the end of December, a courier from Picardy drew
rein before Bassompierre’s door and handed him a letter from the King,
informing him of his appointment, and directing him to be in readiness
to start for Madrid immediately after his Majesty returned to Paris.

       *       *       *       *       *

A few days after Luynes had succeeded in finding so admirable a pretext
for ridding himself, for some months at least, of the only man whom he
considered capable of disputing with him the favour of the King, another
piece of good fortune befell him. On the night of Christmas Day, 1620,
the Duchesse de Luynes gave birth to a son.[137]

No sooner was the news of this great event noised abroad than the bells
of every church in Paris rang out a joyous peal, and several couriers
started to carry the glad tidings to Calais, where the King and Luynes
had arrived a day or two before to inspect the fortifications of the
harbour, which had been greatly damaged by a recent gale. Louis XIII was
the first to receive the news, and so delighted was he that he gave the
bearer a present of 4,000 crowns and undertook to announce it himself to
his favourite. Before doing so, however, he ordered all the guns of the
citadel to be discharged, and when Luynes inquired the meaning of this,
embraced him and exclaimed: “My cousin, I am come to rejoice with you,
because you have a son!”

Truly, as Contarini, the Venetian Ambassador, observed, in announcing
the event to his Government, “the Duc de Luynes seemed to have enchained


     An alliance with Luynes’s niece, Mlle. de Combalet, proposed to
     Bassompierre--His journey to Spain--His entry into Madrid--He is
     visited by the Princess of the Asturias, the grandees and other
     distinguished persons--His meeting with the Duke of Ossuña--His
     audience of Philip III postponed owing to the King’s
     illness--Commissioners are appointed to treat with Bassompierre
     over the Valtellina question--Death of Philip III--His funeral
     procession--An indiscreet observation of the Duke of Ossuña to one
     of Bassompierre’s suite is overheard and leads to the arrest of
     that nobleman.

Louis XIII and Luynes returned to Paris on January 12, 1621, and
Bassompierre was “extremely pressed to take his departure.” But, as may
be supposed, he was in no hurry to go, and, by raising all kinds of
difficulties in regard to his instructions, succeeded in gaining a
respite of three weeks; and it was not until the beginning of February
that his despatches were handed to him. Even then, on one pretext or
another, he contrived to postpone his departure for another week, though
his suite, which numbered no less than 140 persons, including forty
gentlemen whose expenses he had undertaken to defray himself, were sent
on ahead in batches to await him at Bordeaux.

Just before he left Paris, what was regarded at the time as a most
advantageous marriage was proposed to him.

It happened that, some weeks before, the Duc de Retz, the nobleman who
had played such a sorry part at the Ponts-des-Cé, had lost his wife,
upon which his uncle, the Cardinal de Retz, and his friend, the Comte de
Schomberg, decided to counsel him to demand the hand of Luynes’s niece,
Mlle. de Combalet. Condé and Guise, learning what was in the wind, and
fearing that this marriage might divert all the good things which were
in the favourite’s power to bestow from themselves and their relatives
to the Retz family, thereupon determined to put Bassompierre forward as
a rival candidate. For Bassompierre had no near relatives to provide
for--at least none who were French subjects, with the exception of his
natural son by Marie d’Entragues--and, so far as courtiers went, he was
neither ambitious nor greedy. They judged, too, that Luynes would
welcome the opportunity of attaching Bassompierre to his interests,
which he might serve in many ways. However, they were a little doubtful
as to how that gentleman himself might be inclined to regard the matter,
for, since the day when his matrimonial aspirations had been so rudely
dashed by the intervention of Henri IV, he had shown a most marked
disinclination to enter the “holy estate.” But since, notwithstanding
this, the ladies had great influence over him, Condé proposed that he
should depute his wife, and Guise his sister, the Princesse de Conti,
“to persuade him to embrace the match.” With the former Bassompierre had
always remained on the friendliest terms; for the latter he was known to
entertain a warmer feeling than friendship.

On February 9--the day before he left Paris--Bassompierre attended a
grand ball given by Luynes, to which he had apparently gone with the
intention of taking leave of the Comtesse de Rochefort, of whom he was
still the very devoted servant.

     “As I was ascending the stairs,” he says, “_Madame la Princesse_
     and the Princesse de Conti, who were laughing very much, drew me
     into a window, but, instead of speaking, came nigh to splitting
     their sides with laughter. At last they told me that formerly I had
     spoken of love to many fair ladies, but that never had ladies of
     good family spoken to me of marriage, which now they were going to
     require of me. I was a long time in deciphering the meaning of what
     they said, but, finally, they told me that the husband of one and
     the brother of the other had charged them to seduce me, but that it
     was to enter into an honourable marriage; and that I must empower
     _Monsieur le Prince_ and M. de Guise to negotiate and conclude the
     affair of Mlle. de Combalet while I was Ambassador Extraordinary in

To this proposal Bassompierre gave a not very cordial consent. Since a
man must marry some time or other, as well the niece of the favourite as
any other lady, and he did not quite see how otherwise he was to disarm
the jealousy of Luynes.

On the following day Bassompierre set out on his long journey to Madrid,
and on the 17th arrived at Bordeaux, where he remained a couple of days
“for love of MM. d’Épernon and de Roquelaure.” On reaching Belin, nine
leagues from Bordeaux, on the evening of the 19th he found a courier
awaiting him with a letter from Du Fargis d’Angennes, the ordinary
French Ambassador at Madrid, begging him to delay his arrival there
until he heard from him again, as a most unpleasant incident had
occurred, in consequence of which the greater part of his staff and
servants were now in prison, while he himself had been obliged to leave
the city, as his life was no longer safe there.

It appears that Du Fargis, whom Tallemant des Réaux describes as “a man
of courage, intelligence, and learning, but of a singular levity,” not
finding the French Embassy a sufficiently-commodious residence, desired
to remove to a larger one, and had cast his eye upon a very fine house
near by, which appeared in every way suited to his requirements. Now, in
those days, there were at Madrid certain State officials called
_aposentadores_, part of whose duty it was to find suitable
accommodation for ambassadors and other distinguished foreigners, and
who were empowered to requisition any house which these important
personages might desire to have. Du Fargis accordingly went to the
_aposentadores_ and informed them that he wished to remove to this
house, and the _aposentadores_ immediately assigned it to him. But just
as he was on the point of taking possession, the owner of the house
appeared upon the scene, and produced a document bearing the King’s
signature which expressly exempted his property from being requisitioned
for State purposes. The Ambassador angrily replied that the house had
been assigned to him by the _aposentadores_ and that he should insist on
having it, upon which the owner told him that he should appeal to the
Council of Castile. This he did, and the Council at once decided in his

Meantime, however, Du Fargis, with the idea of stealing a march upon his
adversary, had sent two of his valets to the house with part of the
ambassadorial wardrobe, and when the decision of the Council was
communicated to him, he replied that, as some of his property was
already in the house, he was in possession, and could not be turned out.
And so resolved was he to have his way that he forthwith sent all his
staff and servants there, together with some of the people of the
Venetian Ambassador, who was a particular friend of his, with
instructions to resist by force any attempt to dislodge them.

The exasperated owner went to complain to the Council, who sent orders
to the invaders to leave the house and take their master’s clothes with
them, and two _alguazils_ to see that they did so; because, never
dreaming that the Ambassador intended to resist the law--“a thing
unheard of in that country”--they did not think it necessary to send any
more. But the French and their Venetian allies fell upon the unfortunate
officers and killed them, after which, in derision, they hung their
_vares_, or wands of office, from the balcony of the house.

The townsfolk, on learning of this outrage, were infuriated, and soon an
armed mob more than two thousand strong besieged the house and the
Ambassador, “who had gone in by a back door.” The garrison, on their
side, prepared for a desperate resistance, and a sanguinary affray
seemed inevitable, when, happily, an _alcalde_, Don Sebastian de
Carvajal, arrived on the scene, persuaded the mob to disperse and the
Ambassador and his people to evacuate their fortress, and carried off Du
Fargis in his carriage to the French Embassy.

Although Du Fargis had only himself to blame for this affair, he had the
presumption to seek an audience of Philip III and “demand justice for
the outrage which had been committed against him, contrary to the Law of
Nations.” The King promised to give him every satisfaction and appointed
a commission to inquire into the matter. But when he was informed of
what had actually occurred, he was very angry, and gave orders that,
while the sacred persons of the Ambassadors of France and Venice were to
be scrupulously respected, every one of their people who could be found
outside the Embassies, unless he happened to be in attendance on his
master at the time, and therefore covered by the ægis of his presence,
was to be promptly arrested and hauled off to prison. The _alguazils_,
burning to avenge their murdered comrades, went to work with right good
will, and rounded up secretaries of legation, attachés, lackeys, and
chefs so effectively, that in a day or two their Excellencies could
hardly find anyone to copy their despatches or prepare their meals. “The
Ambassador himself,” says Bassompierre, “not feeling himself safe from
the fury of the people, withdrew from the town, and wrote to the King to
warn him of the situation to which he was reduced, and to me to delay my

Bassompierre, however, had no desire to kick his heels about dirty
Spanish inns until Du Fargis could persuade Philip III to set his people
at liberty; besides which he knew that the affair of the Valtellina was
a pressing one and that he had already wasted a good deal of time. He
therefore decided to continue his journey, but wrote to the Duke of
Monteleone and Don Fernando Giron, two grandees of his acquaintance,
begging them to endeavour to accommodate the affair. These noblemen
spoke to the King and informed Bassompierre that his Majesty desired to
see him as soon as possible, and had promised that, on his arrival, he
would find everything settled to his satisfaction.

On February 21 Bassompierre reached Bayonne, where he remained for four
days as the guest of the Comte de Gramont, who was governor and
hereditary mayor of the town, and then set out for Saint-Jean-de-Luz,
accompanied by the count. On the way he had the unusual experience for a
landsman of witnessing a whale-hunt:--

     “As we were coming from Bayonne to Saint-Jean-de-Luz, we saw out at
     sea more than fifty little sailing-boats giving chase to a whale,
     which had been sighted going along the coast, accompanied by a
     little whale. And at eleven o’clock that evening we had news that
     the little whale had been captured, which we saw the next morning
     lying on the beach, where it had been stranded during the high

While at Saint-Jean-de-Luz, some of the inhabitants danced a ballet for
the diversion of their distinguished guests, “which,” says Bassompierre,
“was, for the Basques, as fine as could be expected.” Before leaving the
town they learned of the death of Pope Paul V, which had occurred on
January 28, and of the election of his successor, Alessandro Ludovisio,
Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna, who took the name of Gregory XV.

Gramont accompanied his friend so far as the Bidassoa, which divided
France from Spain, and then took leave of him; and Bassompierre and his
suite crossed the little river and entered Spain, under the guidance of
the _coreo mayor_, or post-master, of the province of Guipuzcoa, who
escorted the party to a _venta_ near Irun, where they passed the night.
The next day’s journey brought them to Segura, and on the 28th they
crossed the barren limestone heights of the Sierra de San Adrian, and
proceeded, by way of Vittoria and Miranda de Ebro, to Burgos, where they
arrived on March 3.

At Burgos Bassompierre went to visit the cathedral, one of the marvels
of Gothic architecture in Spain, which he pronounces “_bien belle_,” and
saw “_el santo crucifisso_,” by which presumably he means the
much-revered image of Our Saviour known as the “Christo de Burgos.”

The following day he arrived at Lerma, and went to see the magnificent
mansion which that old rascal the Cardinal Duke de Lerma had recently
built for himself with a portion of the immense sums of which he had
robbed his unfortunate country. He afterwards went to hear Mass at a
convent which had also been built by Lerma, where the music, he tells
us, was excellent.

On the 8th, Bassompierre reached Alcovendas, a few miles to the north of
Madrid. Here he received a visit from Du Fargis, who came to inform him
of the arrangements for his entry into Madrid. Du Fargis’s staff and
servants, and those of his friend the Venetian Ambassador, were still in
prison, but they were to be set at liberty next day, in time to assist
at Bassompierre’s reception.

On the following afternoon, Bassompierre made his entry into the capital
of Spain, and had no cause to complain of the way in which he was

     “The Ambassador [Du Fargis] and all the families of the other
     Ambassadors came to meet me. The Count of Barajas[138] came to
     receive me with the carriages of the King, in one of which I seated
     myself. He was accompanied by many of the nobility; and a very
     great number of women in carriages came out of the town to see my
     arrival. I alighted at the house of the Count of Barajas, which had
     been sumptuously prepared for my accommodation. There I found the
     Duke of Monteleone, Don Fernando Giron, Don Carlos Coloma and a
     great number of other noblemen whom I had known in France or
     elsewhere, waiting to greet me. I went to pay my respects to the
     Countess of Barajas,[139] who had invited a number of ladies to
     assist her in receiving me, and afterwards I supped at a table
     where fifty covers were laid, which was kept for me all the time I
     was at Madrid. In the course of the evening, the Duke of Uceda sent
     one of his gentlemen to greet me on his behalf.”

Bassompierre spent the following day in receiving the visits of a great
number of distinguished persons. An early arrival was the wife of the
heir to the throne (Élisabeth of France) who was accompanied by a large
party of ladies of the palace, “both old and young.” She was followed by
grandees and their wives, dignitaries of Church and State, members of
the Corps Diplomatique, and so forth, whom we need not particularise,
though Bassompierre’s account of the arrival of one of the chief
grandees in Spain at that time cannot be omitted:--

     “The Duke of Ossuña[140] was the next who came to greet me, with
     extraordinary pomp; for he was carried in a chair; he wore an
     Hungarian robe furred with ermine and a number of jewels of great
     value; and was followed by more than twenty carriages, filled with
     Spanish nobles, his relations and friends, or Neapolitan nobles;
     while his chair was surrounded by more than fifty
     captain-lieutenants or _alferes reformados_, Spanish or Neapolitan.
     He embraced me with great affection and cordiality, and, after
     calling me Excellency three or four times, he reminded me that, at
     a supper at Zamet’s, at which the King[141] was present, we had
     made an alliance, and that I had promised to call him father and
     that he should call me son; and he begged me to continue to do
     this. So that we afterwards treated one another without any
     ceremony. After this he was pleased to greet all who had
     accompanied me from France, speaking to them in French and saying
     so many extravagant things that I was not astonished at the
     disgrace into which he shortly afterwards fell.”

Next day came more grandees, more ladies, more prelates, and more
ambassadors, including those of England and the Emperor; and no sooner
had the unfortunate Bassompierre got rid of one batch, than another
appeared upon the scene, until by the time the last of his visitors had
taken his departure he was quite worn out. However, he was not to be
allowed much rest, for in the evening he received a visit from the
auditor of the Nuncio, who was conducting the affairs of the Holy See at
Madrid during the absence of his chief, who had gone to Rome to receive
a cardinal’s hat. This ecclesiastic came to talk politics, and showed
Bassompierre the copy of a brief which he had received from Gregory XV
on the subject of the Valtellina, in which his Holiness demanded the
restitution of the country, “for the sake of the freedom of Italy,” and
threatened his Catholic Majesty with the employment of both spiritual
and temporal weapons if the latter’s troops were not promptly withdrawn.
Altogether, it was quite a courageous letter for a new Pope to write to
a King of Spain, and pleased Bassompierre mightily; and he was still
more gratified to learn that the demands of France and the Vatican were
to be supported by the representatives of England, Venice, and Savoy.
However, when once the Spaniard of those days got his claws into
anything he coveted, it was no easy matter to induce him to release his
prey; and, though very ready to promise, he was exceedingly slow to

The Papal representative was followed by Don Juan de Serica, one of the
Secretaries of State, who came to visit Bassompierre on behalf of Philip
III, and who informed him, “after several flattering observations,
touching the satisfaction that the King felt at his arrival and the good
opinion that he entertained of him,” that he would be accorded an
audience so soon as his Majesty’s health would permit.

     “He was indeed ill,” says Bassompierre, “though everyone believed
     that he feigned to be so, in order to delay my audience and my

And then he goes on to relate how the unfortunate monarch had fallen a
victim to those inexorable rules of Spanish Court etiquette, of which he
was the central object:

     “His illness began on the first Friday in Lent (February 26). He
     was engaged on some despatches, and the day being cold, an
     excessively hot brazier had been put in the room where he was
     working. The reflection of this brazier fell so strongly on his
     face, that drops of sweat poured from it; but, as he was of a
     character never to find fault or complain of anything, he said
     nothing. The Marquis of Povar,[142] from whom I heard this, told me
     that, perceiving how the heat of the brazier was annoying him, he
     told the Duke of Alba,[143] who, like himself, was one of the
     Gentlemen of the Chamber, to take it away. But since they are very
     punctilious about their functions, he replied that it was the duty
     of the _sommeiller du corps_, the Duke of Uceda. Upon that the
     Marquis de Povar sent for him; but, unhappily, he had gone to look
     at a house which he was having built. And so, before the Duke of
     Uceda could be brought, the poor King was so broiled, that on the
     morrow he fell into a fever. The fever brought on an erysipelas,
     and the erysipelas, sometimes subsiding and sometimes increasing,
     at length ended in a petechial fever, which killed him.”

During the next three days Bassompierre continued to receive visits from
distinguished persons of the Court, the most important of whom was the
old Duke del Infantado,[144] the mayor-domo mayor,[145] who came to see
him in great state, with the four mayor-domos walking before. This old
grandee, Bassompierre tells us, took a great fancy to him and rendered
him many services while he was at Madrid.

If poor Philip III was too unwell to grant Bassompierre an audience, he
seemed anxious to make his stay in his capital as agreeable as possible.
For, not only did he obtain from the Patriarch of the Indies, “who was
like a Legate at the Court,” a Bull permitting him and one hundred
members of his suite to eat meat in Lent, but authorised him to have
plays performed at his house by the two companies of Royal players,
which were amalgamated, in order to secure a stronger cast. The King
paid the actors 300 reals for each performance, to which the munificent
Frenchman added 1,000 out of his own pocket.

Theatrical representations in Lent had never been seen before in Spain,
and, though the more bigoted were doubtless very scandalised, and
thought that his Catholic Majesty’s illness must be of the brain rather
than of the body, the majority of people were delighted at the
innovation, and invitations were eagerly sought for.

     “The first performance,” says Bassompierre, “took place on March
     14, in a great gallery in my house, which was beautifully decorated
     and illuminated, and a great number of ladies and nobles were
     present. During the play I had sweetmeats and _aloja_ brought in
     for the ladies who had come. The ladies were of two kinds: those
     who had been invited by the Countess of Barajas, who remained on
     the high dais and had their faces veiled; and those who sat on the
     steps of the dais or in the _salle_. These last were covered by
     their mantillas. The men also came, some covered and some not. All
     the ambassadors were invited. After the play was over, I gave a
     supper in private, prepared _à la Française_ by my people, at
     which seven or eight of the grandees, or chief nobles, of Spain
     were my guests.”

After this, plays were performed almost every evening up to the time of
the King’s death.

On the 15th, Don Juan de Serica was sent by Philip III to inform
Bassompierre that he feared that his illness would prevent him from
giving him audience for some days longer. Since, however, he had learned
that there was a rumour afloat to the effect that he was feigning
illness with the object of retarding the important affairs upon which
his Excellency had come to see him, he had decided, in order to give the
lie to this rumour, to nominate forthwith commissioners to treat with
his Excellency. Bassompierre begged Don Juan to convey his very humble
thanks to his Majesty for the favour which he was doing him; and next
day the King nominated four commissioners, one of whom was Don Balthazar
de Zuniga, who was to play a prominent part at the beginning of the next
reign. At Don Balthazar’s suggestion, Bassompierre consented to Giulio
de Medici, Archbishop of Pisa, the Ambassador of Tuscany, being
associated with them as mediator, “to make us agree and to readjust
matters, if there were any hitch or rupture in the negotiations.”

A day or two later, Serica came to see Bassompierre and informed him
that the King was better, and had decided to give him audience on the
following Sunday (March 21). On the Sunday, however, while Bassompierre
was awaiting the arrival of the Duke of Gandia, who had been charged to
conduct him to the palace and present him to the King, he learned that,
as Philip III was dressing in order to receive him, he had been suddenly
taken ill and had been obliged to return to bed, and that the audience
must therefore be postponed to another day.

In point of fact, it never took place at all, for the King grew rapidly
worse. Bassompierre has left us some details about his last days:--

     “On the 23rd, the King had a great increase of fever, and they
     began to fear the result. He was very melancholy from the
     persuasion that he was going to die.

     “On the 27th, he told his physicians that they understood nothing
     about his complaint, and that he felt he was dying. He commanded
     processions and that public prayers should be offered for him.

     “On, Sunday, the 28th, the image of Nuestra Señora de Attoches was
     carried in solemn procession to Las Descalzas reales.[146] All the
     counsellors attended, with a great number of penitents, who whipped
     themselves cruelly for the King’s recovery. The body of the blessed
     St. Isidore was carried to the King’s chamber, and the Holy
     Sacrament laid on the altars of all the churches.

     “On the 29th, the physicians despaired of his life, upon which he
     sent to summon the President of Castile, and his confessor
     Alliaga[147] to whom he spoke for a long time, and to the Duke of
     Uceda, who sent for the Prince[148] and Don Carlos.[149] He gave
     them his blessing, and begged the Prince to employ his old
     servants, amongst whom he recommended the Duke of Uceda, his
     confessor, and Don Bernabe de Vianco. Then he ordered the Infanta
     Maria and the Cardinal Infant[150] to be admitted, to whom he also
     gave his blessing. The Princess was unable to come, by reason of a
     faintness which seized her as she was entering the King’s chamber.
     The King next divided his relics amongst them, after which he

     “On Tuesday, the 30th, at two o’clock in the morning, Extreme
     Unction was administered to the King. He then signed a great number
     of papers. About noon he had the body of St. Isidore brought and
     placed against his bed, and he vowed to build a chapel to the
     saint. He then sent to summon the Duke of Lerma, who was at

     “On Wednesday, the 31st and last day of March, he yielded up his

     “The King’s death was officially communicated to the ambassadors at
     noon, and we, at the same time, received permission to despatch
     couriers at five o’clock to carry the news to our masters.

     “The Queen[151] went with the Infanta Maria to the Descalzas, and
     the new King left in a closed carriage to go to San Geronimo.[152]
     On the road he met the body of Our Lord, which was being carried to
     a sick man, and, according to the ancient custom of the House of
     Austria, wished to alight and accompany it. The Count of
     Olivarez[153] said to him: ‘_Advierta V. Md. que anda tapado._’
     (‘Your Majesty should recollect that you ought to be covered.’) To
     which he answered: ‘_No ayque taparse delante de Dios._’ (‘It is
     never right to be covered before God.’)

     “This was thought a very good omen at Madrid.”

On April 1 the body of Philip III lay in state at the palace, the face
being uncovered, and Bassompierre went with the other ambassadors to
sprinkle it with holy water. On the following day it was removed to the
Escurial for burial.

     “At five o’clock in the afternoon,” says Bassompierre, “they
     removed the body of the late King from the palace to carry it to
     the tomb of his fathers in the Escurial. I went to see it pass over
     the Puente Segoviana, with nearly all the grandees and ladies of
     Madrid. In my opinion, it was a rather sorry funeral procession for
     so great a King. First came a hundred or a hundred and twenty
     Hieronymite monks, wearing their surplices and mounted on fine
     mules. They rode two and two, following their leader, who carried
     the Cross. Then came thirty Guards, led by the Marquises de Povar
     and de Falsas; and following them the King’s Household, the
     _mayor-domos_ last, with the Duke del Infantado, _mayor-domo
     mayor_, preceding the body of the King, which was borne on a litter
     drawn by two mules, which were covered, as was the litter, with
     cloth-of-gold. The Gentlemen of the Chamber walked behind the
     litter, and twenty archers of the Burgundian Guard brought up the
     rear. They halted for the night at Pinto, and rather early on the
     morrow arrived at the Escurial, where the funeral service was
     celebrated, after which the company returned to Madrid.”

Bassompierre’s “father,” the Duke of Ossuña, was one of the grandees who
witnessed the procession from the Puente Segoviana; and he ascribes to
some injudicious remarks made by the duke on this occasion to two
gentlemen of his suite the fact that he was shortly afterwards arrested
and imprisoned:--

     “The Duke of Ossuña was on the bridge to see the body of the King
     pass by, and happening to stop opposite a carriage which contained
     some of the gentlemen who had accompanied me to France, he inquired
     if they knew when I was to have audience of the new King. M. de
     Rothelin and the Marquis de Bussy d’Amboise[154] answered that I
     had been informed that it would be on the following Sunday. ‘I am
     rejoiced to hear that,’ said he, ‘for I am promised the next
     audience, in which I propose to say to the King that there are now
     three great princes who govern the world, of whom one is aged
     sixteen, another seventeen, and the third eighteen; that they are
     himself, the Grand Turk, and the King of France; that whichever of
     the three will have the longest sword will be the bravest; and that
     one must be my master.’ These words were reported by a person in
     his coach, who had been charged to spy upon his discourse and
     actions, and, together with his previous conduct, were the cause of
     his being thrown into prison, where he ended his days.”


     Bassompierre’s audience of the new King, Philip IV--The Procession
     of the Crosses--An old flame--Good Friday at Madrid--Anxiety of the
     Queen’s ladies-in-waiting to see Bassompierre--His visit to
     them--He is commissioned by Louis XIII to present his condolences
     to Philip IV--He is informed that etiquette requires him to leave
     Madrid as though to return to France and then to make another
     formal entry--Revolution of the palace at Madrid: fall of the late
     King’s Ministers--The Count of Saldagna ordered by Philip IV to
     marry Doña Mariana de Cordoba, on pain of his severe
     displeasure--Bassompierre offers to facilitate the escape of
     Saldagna to France, but the latter’s courage fails him at the last
     moment--Negotiations over the Valtellina--Treaty of
     Madrid--Bassompierre’s pretended departure for France--He visits
     the Escurial, returns to Madrid and makes a second ceremonious
     entry--The audience of condolence--State entry of Philip IV into
     Madrid--Termination of Bassompierre’s embassy--He returns to

On Palm Sunday, April 4, Bassompierre had an audience of the new King at
the Convent of San Geronimo.

     “Twenty carriages were brought,” says he, “in which the Ambassador
     [Du Fargis] and I and the whole of our respective suites placed
     ourselves. We were conducted only by the Count of Barajas, because
     it was not a solemn audience, but a private one, at San Geronimo,
     to which the King had retired, and he was only admitting me as a
     favour in order to pay honour to the King [of France] his
     brother-in-law, and to show the promptitude with which he desired
     to conclude the affair upon which I had come. We all wore mourning
     according to the Spanish fashion, with the _loba_, the _caperuza_
     and _capirote_,[155] which I did for two reasons: first, because,
     since all the grandees present at the audience, and the King
     himself, were wearing it, I should have been uncovered, while they
     were not, which would not have been seemly on my part; secondly,
     because the sight of me wearing deep mourning for the death of
     their late King was very agreeable to the Spaniards, who would not
     have felt thus had I been dressed in our fashion. I made my
     obeisance to the King and offered him the _pesame_, which is the
     compliment of condolence upon the death of the King his father,
     after which we offered him the _parabien_, which is the compliment
     of felicitation upon his happy accession to the Crowns.[156] This
     we did also in the name of the King [of France], while awaiting the
     despatch by him of some prince or great noble expressly to pay this
     compliment. I then spoke to the King about our affairs, to all of
     which things he answered very pertinently; and, after having paid
     my respects to the prince,[157] who was with him, I retired.”

On the Wednesday in Holy Week, Bassompierre and Du Fargis witnessed the
Procession of the Crosses from the balcony of a house in the Calle
Mayor, which had been reserved for them:

     “There were,” says Bassompierre, “more than five hundred penitents,
     who walked barefooted, drawing large crosses, like that of Our
     Lord, and, at intervals, were movable theatres, on which divers
     representations of the Passion were exhibited in a very lifelike

Bassompierre pronounces this spectacle “_très belle_”; nevertheless, he
soon appears to have had enough of it, and on being joined by the
Ambassador of Lucca and two Spanish nobles, he rose, protesting that he
could not remain seated and leave three such distinguished persons
standing--for there were only two chairs on the balcony--but would
resign his seat to one of them, leave M. du Fargis to represent France,
and go and beg of a party of ladies whom he perceived below the favour
of occupying one of their footstools. This he did, and the ladies were
most kind and did him the honour to allow him to sit at their feet, and,
we fear, paid more attention to his Excellency than to the procession.
Nor was this all; for Fortune willed it that he should discover amongst
them a flame of the days of his youth, a certain Doña Aña de Sanasara,
whom he had known twenty-five years before at Naples, and who was now
the wife of the Secretary of the Council of Finance. “They recognised
each other with joy,” and Doña Aña, who was very rich, sent her old
admirer handsome presents and invited him to her house, where she
entertained him most sumptuously.

On the following day--Maundy Thursday--Bassompierre witnessed another
procession, that of the Penitents, “in which there were more than two
thousand men who belaboured themselves with whips.” Afterwards he went
to hear the _Tenebræ_ at Nuestra Señora de Constantinopoli and spent the
night in visiting different churches.

On Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Madrid was a city of mourning:

     “The bells of the churches were silent; the carriages ceased to
     pass through the town; no one rode on horseback; no one carried a
     sword; no one was accompanied by his servants; and all the women
     were veiled.”

On Easter Monday, Bassompierre went to pay his respects to the new Queen
at the Carmelite convent, where she was still in retreat. Her Majesty
told him that all her ladies-in-waiting were longing to make his
acquaintance--evidently, the fame of his successes amongst the fair had
preceded him to Madrid--and that he ought to have compassion upon them
and demand _lugar_[158] of every one of them. Bassompierre replied that,
if he were to do that, it would occupy more time than he would require
to conclude the affair of the Valtellina, and asked, as a favour, that
he might be allowed to interview the whole posse of them at the same
time, promising to do his best not to confound one lady with another.
The Queen said that such a proceeding would not be in accordance with
etiquette; but Bassompierre observed that whenever their Majesties
granted favours they authorised some breach of etiquette, and that he
did not see why they could not do so in this case. The Queen smiled and
said that she would be quite willing, but that she dared not take so
important a step without first consulting the King. However, she would
speak to his Majesty, and inform him of the result.

A few days later, Bassompierre was informed that the King had been
graciously pleased to consent that the rules of etiquette should be
waived in his Excellency’s favour, for which his Excellency “rendered
very humble thanks to the King.” Then he wrote to demand audience of all
the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, and, this having been accorded, proceeded
to the Alcazar and was conducted to her Majesty’s ante-chamber, where he
was presently joined by a bevy of fair and intensely curious ladies, in
charge of a duenna, all eager to behold this redoubtable _vainqueur de
dames_. And when they found that, in addition to his good looks and
fascinating manners, he was able to pay them the most charming
compliments in irreproachable Castilian, their delight knew no bounds,
and it was more than two hours before they would allow him to depart.

       *       *       *       *       *

On April 16, Bassompierre received a despatch from Louis XIII
commissioning him to present his condolences to the new King on the
death of his father. When, however, he informed Zuniga of this and
inquired when Philip IV could give him audience to enable him to acquit
himself of his new duty, that old gentleman shook his head and declared
that it was quite contrary to the etiquette of the Spanish Court for an
Ambassador Extraordinary charged with the duty of concluding a treaty to
represent his sovereign in a different matter, unless he were to absent
himself from the capital for some days and then make a second public
entry. He therefore advised his Excellency to say nothing about the
matter at present, but, on the conclusion of the treaty which he was
then negotiating, to take leave of the King as though he were returning
to France, and to go so far as Burgos on his homeward journey. From that
town he would send a courier to Madrid to announce that, having on the
way received a new commission from his sovereign, he was returning to
discharge it; and, on his arrival, he would, of course, be received with
the same ceremony as on the previous occasion.

Bassompierre, though greatly annoyed at these exasperating formalities,
which would not only delay his return to France, but involve him in a
great deal of unnecessary expense and inconvenience, had no alternative
but to promise compliance. He succeeded, however, in obtaining the
concession that his fictitious departure for France need not be preceded
by fictitious farewells of anyone besides the King and the Royal family,
and that, so long as he left the capital with his whole suite and
remained away for two or three days, the Escorial might be the limit of
his journey.

The death of Philip III was followed by a revolution of the palace
almost as sweeping as that which had succeeded the assassination of
Concini in France. The new King’s favourite, Olivares, who, with his
uncle Don Balthazar de Zuniga, now assumed the direction of affairs,
bore a bitter grudge against the Sandoval family, who, on more than one
occasion, had endeavoured to get rid of him by assassination, and he
proceeded to take vengeance both upon them and their creatures. The Duke
of Uceda was arrested and thrown into prison, where, like the Duke of
Ossuña, he ended his days. His father, the Duke of Lerma, who, in
obedience to the dying summons of Philip III, was hastening to Madrid,
was met on the road by an officer of the Guards and informed that he was
to return to Valladolid, on pain of immediate arrest; while, shortly
afterwards, the greater part of his ill-gotten wealth

[Illustration: PHILIP IV., KING OF SPAIN.

From the painting by Velasquez.]

was confiscated, under a clause in the late King’s will by which he
revoked the immense gifts he had made during his lifetime. The confessor
Alliaga was deprived of his post of Grand Inquisitor and relegated to
the obscurity of the monastery from which he had emerged; and several
other highly-placed personages lost their charges and were banished from

The Count of Saldagna,[159] Lerma’s younger son, thanks to his having
had the good fortune to marry a daughter of the old Duke del
Infantado,[160] who was held in general esteem, was more leniently dealt
with than his father and elder brother, and was merely deprived of his
office of _cavalerizzo mayor_ (Grand Equerry) and ordered to go and
fight the Dutch in the Netherlands. But, a day or two later, “one of the
Queen’s maids-of-honour, Doña Mariana de Cordoba, presented to the King
a promise of marriage which the Count of Saldagna had given her,[161]
and the King commanded the said count to prepare to accomplish it.”

The royal command appears to have been accompanied by an intimation
that, in the event of the count’s refusal to do the lady justice, most
unpleasant things would happen to him. Anyway, Saldagna appears to have
been greatly alarmed, and promised the King to lead Doña Mariana to the
altar “on the first day after the octave of Easter” (April 21).

Now, when Bassompierre was setting out for Spain, Anne of Austria, who
was much attached to the Sandoval family, “had pressingly recommended to
him all that concerned the Duke of Lerma”; and, aware of this,
Saldagna’s aunt the Countess of Lemos[162] and other relatives and
friends of his, who were in despair at the prospect of his contracting
a _mésalliance_, to which, in their opinion, death itself would almost
be preferable, went to the ambassador and besought him, with tears in
their eyes, “to aid in preventing this marriage by every means he was
able to devise.” The recollection of his own troubles with Marie
d’Entragues naturally inclined Bassompierre to view Saldagna’s with a
sympathetic eye, and, apart from this, he had a decided weakness for
meddling in other people’s affairs in a benevolent kind of way. He knew,
too, that, by helping the Sandovals, he would establish a claim upon the
gratitude of Anne of Austria, who, though she had little or no influence
at present, might one day possess a great deal. He accordingly promised
them to do what he could to deliver their relative from the sad fate
which threatened him, and proceeded to San Geronimo--where Saldagna had
gone into retreat on the plea of illness, to escape the remonstrances of
his friends and the mocking felicitations of his enemies--with the
resolution to screw that nobleman’s courage up to what Shakespeare calls
the sticking-place, and then to propose to smuggle him out of Spain,
disguised as one of his servants.

     “After we had exchanged compliments,” he says, “I told him that I
     knew not whether to give him the _parabien_ or the _pesame_ on his
     approaching marriage,[163] since, although it might be a great
     satisfaction for him, nevertheless a gallant of the Court, such as
     he was, could not without sorrow abandon the pleasant existence he
     had led up to the present to accept a lonely life, full of anxiety
     and care, as was marriage.

     “He answered that he must perforce obey the master, who commanded
     him to execute what he had promised the mistress; and that,
     although it was a hard condition which he was placing on his
     shoulders, it was an ill for which there was no remedy.

     “It appeared to me, from his discourse, that the pack-saddle galled
     him, and that he would be very willing to find some alleviation.
     And this encouraged me to tell him that there were more remedies
     than he thought of, if he desired to be cured, and that the express
     command which I had received from the Infanta-Queen to assist in
     every way I could the duke-cardinal his father, as her own person,
     obliged me, when I perceived the palpable displeasure with which he
     and all his family regarded this forced marriage, to offer him, on
     this occasion, my aid and assistance to extricate him from it, if
     he so desired.

     “‘And what aid and assistance can you bring me,’ said he, ‘when
     neither I myself nor my relatives are capable of doing anything?’

     “Then I told him that, if he were willing to believe me and to
     trust himself to me, I would extricate him from this difficulty
     with honour and glory; that the Duke of Alba, grandfather of the
     present duke,[164] had preferred to commit the crime of rebellion,
     in delivering his son Fadrigue de Toledo,[165] in the midst of
     peace, by the use of petards, from a château in which he had been
     shut up in order to force him to espouse a maid-of-honour, than to
     allow him to espouse a very wealthy girl, of a family equal to his
     own; and that I myself had been at law for eight years with a
     powerful family, who had threatened me with certain death if I did
     not espouse a maid-of-honour of the Queen [of France] by whom I had
     had a child, and to whom I had given a promise of marriage to serve
     her as a blind; that, in case his honour and that of his House was
     dear to him, as I believed it to be, he ought without regret to
     quit for a time the Court of Spain, in which he was out of favour,
     since he had been deprived of the charge of _cavalerizzo mayor_,
     while his relatives and friends were disgraced and persecuted; that
     the remedy I offered him was to leave the town at nightfall by
     post, and go to await me at Bayonne, where I would join him at a
     month at furthest; that the Comte de Gramont would entertain him
     there in the meantime in such fashion that his stay would not be
     disagreeable; that, in case he had not the money at hand to take
     him there, I would furnish him with 1,000 pistoles to defray his
     expenses until my arrival; that I would answer that, when he
     reached the Court, the Queen would give him--until, by her
     intervention, his peace was made here--1,000 crowns a month, and
     that, if she did not, I would do so out of my own purse and give
     him the word of a _caballero_ for it.

     “He assured me that he was deeply grateful both to the Queen and to
     myself, and then said: ‘But what means have I of leaving Spain
     without being stopped? And, if I were stopped, they would
     undoubtedly have my head struck off.’

     “I answered that I never proposed impossible things to those whom I
     desired to serve, and that I would be responsible for his
     departure, his journey and his safety; that I had been given a
     passport for a gentleman whom I was sending that same day to the
     King, and that he was travelling with two attendants; that he would
     serve him on the road as valet, although this gentleman ought to be
     his; that he would not take his departure until an hour of the
     night when he [Saldagna] might come to me unperceived, and that he
     might leave the other arrangements to me.

     “He told me that he was resolved to do as I proposed, and would be
     all his life under a profound obligation to me; that he wished to
     speak first to two of his friends; and that he begged me to have
     everything in readiness at the hour I had named.”

Not a little elated with his success, Bassompierre left him and returned
to Madrid to finish the despatch which Saldagna’s supposed master was to
carry that night to France. This task accomplished, he placed the
thousand pistoles he had promised the count in two purses, summoned his
equerry Le Manny, whom he had decided to send, told him of the
distinguished personage who was to accompany him and gave him his
instructions what to do in the event of their being stopped, though of
that there was little or no danger, as he would indeed be a bold man
who, without authorisation, would venture to detain the couriers of an
Ambassador Extraordinary.

The fateful hour arrived, but no Saldagna. Instead, there came a message
from that nobleman informing Bassompierre that, to his profound regret,
he found himself unable to carry out what they had decided upon
together, “for reasons which he would tell him when he had the happiness
of seeing him.”

     “I know not,” says Bassompierre, “whether the friends to whom he
     had spoken had dissuaded him, if he lacked the resolution to
     undertake it, or if the love which he bore this girl had decided
     him to espouse her.”

Anyway, espouse her he did on the day which he had promised the King.
The marriage took place in the church of the Carmelite convent, where
the Queen was still in retreat. The King led the bridegroom, and the
Queen the bride, to the nuptial Mass, and then brought them with the
same ceremony to the door of her Majesty’s ante-chamber. Here certain
officers of the Court appeared upon the scene, took charge of bride and
bridegroom, conducted them, “without even giving them time to dine,” to
the gates of the town, where a travelling-carriage was in waiting, told
them to step in and informed them that they were banished from Madrid.

Meantime, the negotiations on the Valtellina question, which had been
interrupted by the death of Philip III, had been resumed. At first, the
Spaniards suggested that if France would guarantee the protection of
religion in the Valtellina, refuse to Venice the right of passage for
her troops, and compensate Spain for the expense to which she had been
put in occupying the country, she would withdraw. Bassompierre promptly
declined. They then offered to waive the question of compensation, in
return for the right of transit for Spanish troops, the very privilege
which they had just endeavoured to deny to France’s old ally Venice.
This proposition, as may be supposed, was likewise declined. It was
impossible for the Spanish commissioners to persist in such demands, as
the influence of Gregory XV, greatly alarmed by visions of Spain’s
supremacy throughout Italy, had been thrown into the French scale. And
so Zuniga proposed that the Grisons should receive compensation for the
Valtellina, and the district be ceded to the Pope. Bassompierre curtly
replied that he had been sent to Madrid to recover, not to sell, the
Valtellina. Zuniga and his colleagues brought forward other schemes:
that the Valtellina should be erected into a fourth League; that it
should be constituted into a fourteenth canton of the Swiss
Confederation, and so forth. But, finding that Bassompierre stood firmly
by his instructions, they at length gave way, and on April 26, 1621, the
Treaty of Madrid was signed.

This treaty stipulated that Spain should withdraw her troops from the
Valtellina; that the Grisons should grant a general amnesty to the
Valtellinas; that “the novelties prejudicial to the Catholic religion
should be removed,” and that the Grisons should ratify the treaty, which
was to be guaranteed by the King of France and the Swiss Cantons.

The Cabinet of Madrid hoped that, in the interval between the conclusion
and the execution of the treaty, some incident might arise which would
furnish them with a pretext for not keeping their word; and in this, as
we shall see, they were not disappointed.

On April 28, Bassompierre, having taken leave of Philip IV, left Madrid,
accompanied by his whole suite, as though he were returning to France.
He spent the night at Torreladones, and on the following morning reached
the Escorial, “where he saw everything in this wonderful building and
all the rare things which it contained.” Early on the 30th, he left the
Escorial and proceeded to El Pardo, a pleasure-house belonging to the
King, where he dined, and then went on to Alcovendas. Here he passed the
night, and on May 1, dressed in deep mourning, as became one who had
been charged with an embassy of condolence, made his second ceremonious
entry into Madrid.

On the 4th, he had an audience of the King to offer the _pesame_, and
appeared, according to his own account, before the bereaved monarch
“with a countenance which, apart from the absence of tears, presented
every indication of grief and sadness.”[166] Afterwards, by Philip IV’s
invitation, he accompanied him to the funeral service in honour of the
late King at San Geronimo.

On the following day Bassompierre began to pay his farewell visits to
the grandees and other important persons whose acquaintance he had made
at Madrid, a task which was to occupy him several days, as there were so
many to visit and so many formalities to be observed. His adieux were
interrupted on May 9 by Philip IV’s solemn entry into Madrid, which he
witnessed from a balcony at the Puerta Guadalaxara, which the King had
ordered to be prepared for him:

     “The King,” he says, “set out from San Geronimo and came to his
     palace by way of the Calle Mayor. Before him marched the
     kettle-drummers; then came the gentlemen of the King’s table; then,
     the _titulados_;[167] after them the mace-bearers; then the four
     mayor-domos; then the grandees; and then the Duke del Infantado,
     _cavalerizzo mayor_, bareheaded, and carrying a drawn sword. He
     preceded the King, who followed under a canopy, supported on
     thirty-two poles, which were borne by the thirty-two _regidores_ of
     Madrid,[168] habited in cloth of silver and crimson. Then came the
     _corregidor_,[169] surrounded by the King’s equerries, and the
     Counsellors of State and Gentlemen of the Chamber closed the

In a despatch to Louis XIII, dated the following day, Bassompierre
describes the entry as “very magnificent for Madrid, but not equal to
the least of those which take place in France.”

On the 12th, Bassompierre had his farewell audience of the King, who
gave him a letter in his own hand for Louis XIII and another for Anne of
Austria. He then took leave of Don Carlos, and, on leaving the Alcazar,
went to bid adieu to Olivares and Zuniga.

In the afternoon “the executors of the late King’s will placed in his
hands a great reliquary, which must have been worth 500,000 crowns,” and
charged him to present it to the Queen of France, to whom Philip IV had
bequeathed it.

On the 15th--the day he was to leave Madrid--Don Juan de Serica came to
present him, on behalf of Philip III, with “an ensign of diamonds worth
6,000 crowns.”[170] The Countess of Barajas sent him “a very beautiful
present of perfumes,” and he begged the countess’s acceptance of a
diamond chain worth 1,500 crowns. Shortly before his departure, he
received another gift from the King, in the shape of a very fine horse
from his Majesty’s stud.

In the afternoon he left Madrid, “the King ordering him to be escorted
on his departure in the same fashion as when he had made his entry,” and
was accompanied so far as Alcovendas, where he was to pass the night, by
Du Fargis, the Prince of Eboli and a number of Spanish nobles. His
journey to the frontier was uneventful, and on May 24 he reached


     A new War of Religion breaks out in France--Luynes created
     Constable--Louis XIII and Duplessis-Mornay--Bassompierre joins the
     Royal army before Saint-Jean d’Angély--Capitulation of the
     town--Bassompierre returns with Créquy to Paris--He is “in great
     consideration” amongst the ladies--Apparent anxiety of Luynes for
     the marriage of his niece to Bassompierre--The King and the
     Constable resolve to lay siege to Montauban--Bassompierre decides
     to rejoin the army without waiting for orders from the latter--He
     arrives at the King’s quarters at the Château of
     Picqueos--Dispositions of the besieging army--Narrow escape of
     Bassompierre while reconnoitring the advanced-works of the town--A
     gallant Swiss--Death of the Comte de Fiesque--Heavy casualties
     amongst the besiegers--The Seigneur de Tréville--Bassompierre and
     the women of Montauban--Death of Mayenne--The Spanish monk--An
     amateur general--Disastrous results of carrying out his
     orders--Furious sortie of the garrison--Bassompierre is wounded in
     the face--An amusing incident--The Cévennes mountaineers endeavour
     to throw reinforcements into Montauban--A midnight _mêlée_.

Bassompierre would probably have found the Spaniards more difficult to
deal with, had it not been that they were anxious to free Louis XIII,
for the moment, from foreign embarrassments in order that he might
commit himself fully to a war with his Protestant subjects, which could
not fail to weaken France and render it unlikely that she would be
willing to engage in hostilities beyond her borders.

The drastic measures adopted by Louis XIII towards the Protestants of
Béarn had aroused bitter resentment amongst their co-religionists
throughout France; and towards the end of December, 1620, a general
assembly of the party was held at La Rochelle to decide upon the policy
to be adopted in view of this menace to their faith. Of the great
Huguenot chiefs, Bouillon, Sully, and Lesdiguières did not respond to
the summons or send anyone to represent them; but La Force, Châtillon,
La Trémoille and Rohan sent delegates.

The Assembly authorised the raising of troops and a general levy on the
funds of the party; and then proceeded to divide France into eight
departments--veritable military districts on the model of the German
“circles”--each being placed under the command of a general-in-chief.
Although these measures were intended to be purely defensive, nothing
more calculated to provoke hostilities could have been devised; the
Protestants were at once accused by the Government of having established
a republic within the State, and in April a new War of Religion began.

It differed from the old wars, however, inasmuch as neither the chiefs
nor the rank and file of the Huguenots were unanimous in supporting it.
Lesdiguières, who had been won over by the Court, deserted the common
cause, as did most of the Protestant nobles; Rohan, his younger brother
Soubise and La Force alone remained faithful. Outside the nobility, the
same division of opinion manifested itself; the great majority of the
warlike Calvinists of the South took up arms; but the rest of Protestant
France did not move.

At the moment of entering upon the campaign against the Protestants,
Luynes demanded the sword of Constable of France, which Louis XIII
bestowed upon him with the utmost pomp, although he had already promised
it to Lesdiguières, on condition that he should abjure the Protestant
faith, which the marshal had engaged to do. That the sword which had
been borne by such warriors as Du Guesclin, Clisson, Buchan, Saint-Pol,
the Duc de Bourbon, and Anne de Montmorency should be conferred upon the
hero of an assassination, who could not drill a company of infantry,
aroused universal astonishment and disgust; and Luynes’s exchange of the
_rôle_ of statesman for that of general was, as one might anticipate,
attended with disastrous results for the forces under his command.

However, the campaign opened auspiciously enough. The King and Luynes
advanced to Saumur, of which the latter succeeded in getting possession
by a characteristic act of bad faith. The Governor of Saumur was that
grand old veteran Du Plessis-Mornay, the companion-in-arms and
counsellor of Henri IV. Mornay had refused to support a rebellion which,
in his eyes, was unjustified, and when Luynes assured him that the King
had no intention of depriving him of a post which had been conferred
upon him by his father more than thirty years before, he opened the
gates of town and château to the royal troops. No sooner were they in
possession, than he was informed that prudence would not permit the King
to leave a Huguenot in charge of so important a link in his
communications. He was offered a bribe of money, and even a marshal’s
bâton, in return for the resignation of his government, which he
indignantly refused, but accepted the royal promise that in three
months’ time he should be reinstated. On various pretexts, however,
Louis XIII succeeded in evading this engagement until Mornay’s death,
two years later.

At the end of May, the Royal army laid siege to Saint-Jean-d’Angély,
called the “bulwark of La Rochelle,” to the possession of which great
importance was attached; and it was here that Bassompierre, who, after
remaining a day at Bayonne, had hastened northwards, joined it. The
town, which was defended by Soubise, held out for nearly a month, and at
times there was some pretty sharp fighting in the faubourgs, in which
Bassompierre appears to have distinguished himself. But on June 23 it
capitulated, and d’Épernon and Bassompierre marched in with the French
and Swiss Guards.

On the 26th, Bassompierre accompanied the King to Cognac, from which
town he was despatched to Paris, to ratify with the Chancellor and the
Spanish Ambassador Mirabello the treaty which he had made at Madrid. He
was accompanied by Créquy, who had received a musket-ball through the
cheek at the siege of Saint-Jean-d’Angély, and to whom Luynes had
suggested the advisability of a short sojourn in the capital for the
benefit of his health. About the same time, another brigadier-general,
Saint-Luc, was appointed lieutenant-general of the western seaboard of
France, and sent by Luynes to Brouage, “to make the King powerful at
sea.” The reason, however, why the new Constable felt able to dispense
simultaneously with the services of three of the most distinguished
officers in the army was not made apparent until some weeks later, as,
on taking leave of him, each was assured that he would be recalled so
soon as any important operations were contemplated.

Bassompierre’s reception by his friends of both sexes in Paris left
nothing to be desired:

     “It is impossible to say,” he writes, “how I passed my time during
     this visit. Everyone entertained us in turn. The ladies congregated
     or came to the Tuileries. There were few gallants in Paris, and I
     was in great consideration there, and in love in divers directions.
     I had brought back from Spain rarities to the value of 20,000
     crowns, and these I distributed amongst the ladies, who gave me a
     most cordial reception.”

Bassompierre had not been long in Paris when he received a visit from
his friend Roucelaï, who came on behalf of Luynes to interview him on
the question of his marriage with the Constable’s niece, Mlle. de
Combalet, which had been proposed to the favourite by Condé and Guise
during Bassompierre’s absence in Spain. Luynes was anxious to conciliate
these two princes, who had been far from pleased at his assumption of
the office of Constable, and, aware that Bassompierre had strengthened
his position at Court by the success of his embassy to Madrid and his
services at Saint-Jean-d’Angély, he appears to have been anxious to
remove all difficulties in the way of the match.

     “He had sent Roucelaï,” says Bassompierre, “to ascertain what I
     desired for my advantage and my fortune, if this marriage were
     made. For he imagined that I should demand offices of the Crown,
     dignities and governments, and that it was my intention to be
     bought. But I answered Roucelaï that the honour of marrying into
     the family of the Constable was so dear to me, that he would offend
     me by giving me anything except his niece, and that I demanded
     nothing beyond that, although afterwards I should not refuse the
     benefits of which he might deem me worthy when I was his nephew. He
     [Luynes] was delighted at my frankness, and caused me to be
     informed that he would place me in the perfect confidence of the
     King, who had a very strong inclination for me, of which in future
     he would no longer be jealous, as he had been the previous year.”

All this was no doubt very gratifying, but, at the same time, the
Constable, notwithstanding that active operations had long since been
resumed, showed no inclination to recall either Bassompierre, Créquy, or
Saint-Luc to the army; and presently they learned that he had appointed
three other brigadier-generals--creatures of his own--in their places,
having persuaded the King that, though they were very capable officers,
“they were not persons who would stick to their work or give the
necessary attention to it.” The real reason seems to have been the
favourite’s fear that “they might eclipse his glory and that of his
brothers,” and that they might be disinclined to carry out the orders of
one whom they knew to be entirely ignorant of military matters.

Towards the middle of August, Bassompierre learned that the King and
Luynes, encouraged by the taking of the little town of Clairac and some
minor successes, had resolved to lay siege to Montauban, the great
citadel of the Huguenots of the South, and were marching towards that
town. About the same time, he received a letter from Marie de’ Medici,
who had returned to Tours, informing him that the Constable had demanded
of her Marillac, who was in her service,[171] as the only man capable
of reducing Montauban, “and had begged her to send him to the King at
once,” in order not to delay his Majesty’s conquest by his absence.

Notwithstanding the formal reconciliation, Marie still hated the man who
had taken her son from her, and subjected her to so many humiliations,
as bitterly as ever; and her object in writing was, of course, to
animate Bassompierre against the Constable and put an end to the good
understanding at which they now seemed to have arrived. By this means
she would, so to speak, kill two birds with one stone, since she had
probably not forgiven Bassompierre for the activity which he had
displayed in the King’s cause during the last war, which had contributed
materially to the defeat of her party. Bassompierre, however, had no
intention of quarrelling with his prospective uncle to gratify the
Queen-Mother or anyone else. At the same time, he was deeply mortified
to learn that a mediocre officer like Marillac, who had nothing to
recommend him but his subservience to the favourite, was to be appointed
to a high command, while he himself was left unemployed; and he felt
that to remain inactive while such important operations were in progress
was impossible. He therefore decided to rejoin the army without waiting
for orders from the Constable, trusting, by the exercise of a little
tact, to succeed in disarming the annoyance which his return might
occasion that personage.

The Royal army had encamped before Montauban on August 18. If the town
fell, all the South would fall with it; and Luynes, elated by recent
successes, believed that victory was assured. The most prudent officers
did not share the optimism of the favourite; to them the siege of
Montauban seemed a very difficult undertaking. La Force had retired into
the place with three of his sons, the Comte d’Orval, younger son of
Sully, and a number of Huguenot gentlemen; from 3,000 to 4,000 picked
soldiers, supported by more than 2,000 armed citizens, formed a truly
formidable garrison; the Duc de Rohan, still master of a great part of
the Albigeois and Rouergue, would, they knew, make every effort to
revictual the place and harass the siege operations; and he could
command the services of the Protestant mountaineers of the Cévennes.
Several generals and members of the Council had expressed the opinion
that they should begin by clearing Upper Guienne and Upper Languedoc of
the rebels, and postpone operations against Montauban until the spring.
But the King and Luynes had refused to listen to them.

Bassompierre arrived in the Royal camp on the 21st, just as the trenches
were about to be opened, and at once proceeded to the Château of
Piquecos, to the north of the town, on the right bank of the Aveyron,
where Louis XIII had taken up his quarters. Having excused his return
without orders on the ground of his zeal for the service of the King, he
hastened to disclaim any desire to serve as brigadier-general and
declared that “he should content himself with being in this siege
Colonel-General of the Swiss.” Luynes thereupon became quite cordial,
and the King told Bassompierre that, when the siege was over, and he and
the Constable had returned to Paris, he would give him the command of
the army.

Lesdiguières had advised Luynes to employ against Montauban all the
resources of the military art, and to enclose the town in lines of
circumvallation protected by forts. But the presumptuous Constable was
unwilling to waste time in what he was pleased to regard as superfluous
precautions; and the siege of this formidable stronghold, defended by
several thousand resolute men, prepared to die sword in hand in defence
of their religion rather than surrender, and with strong reinforcements
under an able general hovering in the background, was embarked upon as
lightly as if its reduction had presented no more than ordinary

The besieging army was divided into three divisions. One division,
composed of the French and Swiss Guards, with the regiments of Piedmont
and Normandy, and commanded by the Maréchaux de Praslin and de Chaulnes,
under the orders of the Constable, was to assail the advanced works of
Montmirat and Saint-Antoine, to the west and north-west of the town, on
the right bank of the Tarn, in front of the faubourg of Ville-Nouvelle.
The second, of which Mayenne had the command, with the Maréchal de
Thémines under him, was to attack Ville-Bourbon, a faubourg situated on
the left bank of the Tarn,[172] and connected with the town by an old
brick bridge, dating from the early part of the fourteenth century. The
third, commanded by Joinville--or the Duc de Chevreuse, as he had now
become--who had Lesdiguières and Saint-Géran to assist him, was
entrusted with the attack on Le Moustier, a fortified suburb to the
south-west of the town. Two bridges which had been thrown across the
Tarn maintained communication between the three divisions, to the first
of which Bassompierre, as Colonel-General of the Swiss, was attached.

       *       *       *       *       *

On leaving the King, Bassompierre returned to the camp, and he and
Praslin crossed the river to visit Mayenne. The Lorraine prince offered
to show them the fortifications of Ville-Bourbon, and took them as close
to the walls as he could persuade them to go, “with the intention of
drawing upon us some musket-shots.” This kind of bravado appears to have
been a favourite amusement of Mayenne, but, as we shall presently see,
he was to indulge in it once too often.

On their return to the Guards’ camp, they began preparations for opening
the trenches, and Bassompierre, accompanied by an Italian engineer named
Gamorini, who had been sent to the army by Marie de’ Medici, in whose
service he was, went out to reconnoitre the advance-works of the town.
They succeeded in getting quite close to them without being observed;
but, as they were returning, they lost their way and were suddenly
confronted by an advanced guard-house of the enemy. The sentries fired
upon them point-blank, and one ball went through Bassompierre’s coat;
but both he and Gamorini succeeded in effecting their escape unharmed.
They brought back with them some useful information, and that evening
the first trench was opened, the work being entrusted to the Regiment of

On the following day, Luynes came to their camp and summoned
Bassompierre and the other leaders to a council of war. While this was
proceeding, the enemy brought one of their cannon to bear upon the men
working on the trench, the first shot blowing a captain of the Regiment
of Piedmont to pieces and mortally wounding two other officers, one of
whom, a lieutenant named Castiras, was in Bassompierre’s service. The
bombardment was followed by a furious sortie, and the Piedmonts were
obliged to abandon the unfinished trench and fall back. Bassompierre,
leaving the council, hurriedly collected reinforcements, and drove the
enemy back into the town; but the Piedmonts had suffered severely.

Work proceeded without interruption during the next three days, and
considerable progress was made; but, during the night of August 26-27,
the enemy sallied out again, their attack on this occasion being
directed against a sunken road, which the Royal troops were fortifying,
with the intention of placing a battery there. They were again repulsed,
but not before they had succeeded in over-turning the gabions which had
been placed there. Some of these they carried off with them, but
abandoned between the road and the fortifications, well within
musket-shot of the latter.

     “The following night,” writes Bassompierre, “one of the Swiss named
     Jacques told us that, if I were willing to give him a crown, he
     would bring back the gabions which the enemy had removed from the
     road; and what astonished us the more, was that this man brought
     back the gabions on his back, so strong and robust was he. The
     enemy fired two hundred arquebus-shots at him, without wounding
     him. After he had brought back six, the captains of the Guards
     begged me not to permit so brave a man to risk his life again for
     the one that still remained. But he told them that he wished to
     bring it back to complete his bargain; and this he did.”

On the 27th, Lesdiguières and Saint-Géran attacked the counterscarp of
the bastion of Le Moustier, and carried it after a desperate struggle of
more than three hours. This success, which cost the besiegers some 600
casualties, was not followed up, chiefly owing to the opposition of
Marillac, who was of opinion that, if they descended into the fosse to
attack the bastion, they would find themselves exposed to a murderous
flanking-fire from masked batteries.

On the 29th, the Guards’ trenches had been sufficiently advanced to
allow of a battery of eight guns being established, and Schomberg, who
was acting as Grand Master of the Artillery, came to inspect it.
Bassompierre warned him that the park of powder was too near the battery
for safety, and that, with a high wind blowing in its direction, the
sparks from the cannon might be carried to the powder. The Sieur de
Lesine, the officer in charge of the munitions, however, protested that
there was no danger, and Schomberg did not order their removal.

They continued to push forward their trenches, and on the 31st
Bassompierre, “to reconnoitre how far they had advanced, came to the
head of the trench and advanced eight or ten paces from it.” He got back
again in safety, the enemy not having had time to train their muskets
upon him. But when, shortly afterwards, his friend, the Comte de
Fiesque, attempted to do the same, they were ready for him, and he
received a musket-ball in the abdomen, from which he died two days
later. “He was a great loss to us,” writes Bassompierre, “and more
particularly to me, for he was greatly attached to me. He was a brave
noble, an honourable man and an excellent friend.”

By the evening of that day they had got another battery of four guns
into position, and on the following morning a furious bombardment of the
enemy’s advanced works began, Schomberg and Praslin superintending the
work of the larger battery and Bassompierre of the smaller.

     “They both made a fine noise,” writes Bassompierre; “but, after
     firing for an hour or more, what I had predicted two days before
     happened: the sparks from the cannon were carried into the park of
     powder and fired five tons of it, with the loss of Lesine and forty

In the course of the afternoon, a similar disaster occurred in Mayenne’s
camp before Ville-Bourbon, amongst the killed being that prince’s uncle
the Marquis de Villars and a son of the Comte de Riberac, a young man of
great promise. Worse misfortunes, however, were in store for Mayenne’s

In the night of September 2-3, the Lorraine prince advanced to the
assault of a crescent-shaped outwork which had been constructed by La
Force, and was defended by his sons and other Huguenot nobles and some
of the best soldiers in the garrison. The attack failed; but on the
following afternoon the attempt was renewed. After a furious
hand-to-hand conflict, Mayenne was again repulsed, with heavy loss. On
that day died the gallant Marquis de Thémines, eldest son of the
marshal, La Frette, the governor of Chartres, “who yielded to no man of
his time in courage and ambition,” and more than fifty Catholic
gentlemen. The siege of Montauban, so lightly undertaken by Luynes,
seemed likely to cost France dear.

On September 4, the King and the Constable called a council of war to
discuss the advisability of endeavouring to carry the bastion of Le
Moustier by assault. Bassompierre strongly urged that the attempt should
be made, and was supported by Lesdiguières; but the other generals
opposed it, and Marillac declared that to descend into the fosse meant
certain death. Luynes asked Bassompierre to step into his cabinet, where
the King presently joined them. Louis XIII informed them that Marillac
and the others had said to him that it was easy for M. de Bassompierre
to advocate this hazardous undertaking, as all the danger would be left
to them, and he would have no share in it; and had accused him of
wishing to expose them to butchery. Bassompierre, in high indignation,
thereupon declared that, if the King would give him leave, he himself
would lead the assault on the bastion, and pledged his word that, if he
did not fall, “in three weeks he would have three cannon in position
there against the town.”

     “The King, who always had a rather good opinion of me, said to the
     Constable: ‘Take Bassompierre at his word and let him go; I will
     answer for him. Send the three brigadier-generals from Le Moustier
     to the camp of the Guards, and place him at Le Moustier. I am sure
     that he will do as he promises us, and we shall be the gainers.”

The Constable objected that the change would not be agreeable to either
division, and declared that the Guards would not obey the orders of the
brigadier-generals from Le Moustier. Finally, Luynes asked Bassompierre
to go and reconnoitre the bastion. This he did, in company with the
Italian engineer Gamorini and two other officers from his division, and
reported that an attack would not present more than ordinary difficulty.
Luynes thereupon proposed that it should be undertaken; but Marillac and
his colleagues persisted in their objections, and assured him that
Montauban would soon be theirs, without any need for such sacrifice of
life as this attack must entail. And they succeeded in bringing him
round to their opinion.

On the 9th, the Guards, after some fierce fighting, succeeded in getting
a footing in the advanced-works of Ville-Nouvelle. In this attack a poor
gentleman of Béarn, Henri de Peyrac, Seigneur de Tréville, who had
served for four years as a private soldier, greatly distinguished
himself; and Bassompierre brought his gallantry to the notice of the
King, and recommended him for an ensigncy in the Regiment of Navarre.
This Louis XIII granted him, and Bassompierre told Tréville that he must
accompany him to Piquecos to thank his Majesty. Tréville, however,
refused the commission offered him, saying that he did not wish to leave
his regiment, and that he “intended to conduct himself so well in future
that the King would feel obliged to give him one in the Guards.” This he
not long afterwards obtained, and eventually rose to be captain of the
company of Musketeers of the Guard and to be governor of the district of

A few days later, 1,200 of the Cévennes mountaineers succeeded in
eluding the vigilance of the covering force and throwing themselves into
Saint-Antonin, a town eight leagues north-east of Montauban, obviously
with the intention of marching through the Forest of Gréseigne and
reinforcing the beleaguered garrison. The folly of Luynes in refusing to
listen to the advice of Lesdiguières to enclose the town within lines of
circumvallation was now apparent to all. The Constable’s ineptitude,
however, was already a by-word in the army; and “both he and his brother
the Maréchal de Chaulnes showed such ignorance of the military art, that
the King, who, at any rate, understood the rudiments, perceived it and
made game of them.”

In consequence of this disconcerting move on the part of the enemy, it
was necessary to send out a strong force of cavalry every night to guard
the roads between the forest and Montauban, which Bassompierre and the
other generals commanded in turn.

On the 13th, Mayenne delivered another assault on the outworks of
Ville-Bourbon, with the same result as had attended his previous
efforts. “This,” says Bassompierre, “put great heart into the enemy and
disheartened his troops. As for him, he was beside himself with rage.”

A day or two later, there was a comic interlude in the siege, of which
Bassompierre was the hero. We shall allow him to describe it in his own

     “It had been resolved some days before to break by cannon-shot the
     bridge of Montauban,[173] in order to stop the reinforcements which
     those in Montauban were sending to Ville-Bourbon. The Maréchal de
     Chaulnes, who was newly returned from Toulouse, where he had been
     lying ill, had charged me to bring a battery to bear upon the
     bridge. But, since it was a great way off and five hundred shots
     caused but little damage, which could easily be repaired with wood,
     I remonstrated against the little utility and great expense of this
     bombardment; and I was told not to persist in it. At the same time,
     two hundred women who were in the habit of washing linen and
     kitchen-utensils under or near this bridge, and who were incommoded
     by the cannon-shot, aware that I was in command in the quarter from
     which the firing came, and that I had always made war upon women in
     kindly fashion, sent me a drummer to beg me, on their part, not to
     incommode their washing. This request I granted them readily, since
     I had already received an order to that effect; and so pleased were
     they with me, that they demanded a truce in order to see me, and a
     great number of the principal women of the town came on to the top
     of the ramparts to look at me. And I, on that day alone, during the
     whole of the siege, dressed myself with care and adorned myself, so
     that I might go and talk with them.”

All this was very charming, but, a few days later, Bassompierre was to
meet the women of Montauban in much less agreeable circumstances.

On the 17th, Guise, who had arrived in the camp some days earlier,
accompanied by a great number of gentlemen from his government of
Provence, came to see Bassompierre and persuade him to go and dine with
Mayenne. Bassompierre, however, who had to attend a council of war which
Praslin had summoned, excused himself and, at the same time, warned the
duke to be on his guard against Mayenne, “who had no greater pleasure
than to make the enemy fire on him or on those whom he took to view his
works, and was burning his fingers in order to burn others.”

     “To my great regret,” he continues, “my prophecy was in a certain
     fashion a true one, for, after dinner, as he [Mayenne] was showing
     them his works, a ball from an arquebus, which had first pierced M.
     de Schomberg’s hat, struck him in the eye and killed him.”

Mayenne had possessed amiable qualities, and had enjoyed in Paris a
popularity which recalled that of the great Guises. The news of his
death caused a riot in the capital, where an infuriated mob fell upon
the Huguenots one day when they were returning from their temple at
Charenton. The Huguenots were armed, and several persons were killed on
both sides, while the temple was burned.

The King and the Constable had recourse to a singular expedient to
avenge Mayenne and take the town. The famous Spanish Carmelite monk
Domingo de Jesu Maria, who had marched at the head of the Imperial army
on the day of the Battle of Prague, and to whom the devout attributed
the victory, was passing through France on his way from Germany. Luynes
sent for him to come to the camp, and asked him what he ought to do to
reduce this heretic stronghold, upon which the monk assured him that if
he caused four hundred cannon-shots to be fired into the town, the
terrified inhabitants would undoubtedly surrender. The King thereupon
sent for Bassompierre and ordered him to fire the four hundred shots,
which were to deliver Montauban into his hands. “This I did,” says
Bassompierre; “but the enemy did not surrender for all that.”

Matters continued to go badly with the besiegers, which is scarcely
surprising, having regard to the gross ineptitude of the amateur
warriors who commanded them. At Ville-Nouvelle, where alone any real
progress had been made, a mine had been prepared which was intended to
demolish the inner face of the advanced-work of which the Guards had
carried the outer. On the day before it was to be fired, Ramsay, the
officer in charge of the mine, came to the Maréchal de Chaulnes to
inquire how he wished it to be charged. Chaulnes, who was entirely
ignorant of such matters, turned to the officers about him for
information; but he misunderstood what they said and ordered the charge
to be made four times as large as that which they had suggested. The
astonished engineer remonstrated, but was curtly told to carry out his
orders. On the following day, however, Chaulnes appears to have
discovered his mistake, and told Bassompierre to go and have the mine
charged as he judged best. It was too late; for, just as he reached the
entrance to the gallery, Ramsay came rushing out and shouted to him to
run for his life, as he had ignited the fuse and feared that the
explosion would be terrible.

     “I needed no second bidding,” writes Bassompierre, “and ran back
     forty paces as fast as I could to get away. The mine exploded with
     a greater violence than I have ever seen, and all the entrenchment
     under which it was laid was carried into the air. It was a long
     time in descending, when it came pouring down into the trench upon

Bassompierre, who had had the presence of mind to thrust his head and
the upper portion of his body into an empty barrel which happened to be
lying near him, was fortunate enough to escape injury, though he had
considerable difficulty in extricating himself, as there were “more than
a thousand pounds of earth upon his loins, his thighs and his feet.”
When he at last succeeded, he found that the effect of the explosion had
been most disastrous, more than thirty men having been killed by the
falling débris, amongst them being the unfortunate engineer Ramsay. The
mine had also demolished a great part of their own defences, and placed
them in a most dangerous position.

The enemy did not fail to seize their advantage, and, having discharged
a storm of grenades and fire-balls at them, sallied out and fell upon
two companies of the Guards on the left of the line. Bassompierre, with
a body of gentlemen-volunteers, hurried to their assistance, and the
assailants were repulsed. But, as he was returning, he met Praslin, who
begged him to go at once to their four-gun battery, which was being
heavily attacked. As he approached the battery, he saw that it was on
fire, and that while some of the fifty Swiss who guarded it were engaged
in extinguishing the flames, the rest were defending themselves with
their pikes and halberds against a large force of the enemy, who were
evidently determined to capture the battery at all costs.

     “I saw, for the first time in my life,” he says, “women in a fight,
     throwing stones against us with far more strength and animosity
     than I should have conceived possible, or handing them to the
     soldiers to throw.”

He arrived only just in time, for the Swiss, many of whom had already
been killed or wounded, were being desperately hard-pressed, and in a
few minutes the battery must have been taken. But he placed himself at
their head with his volunteers, and led a charge which drove the enemy
back a little distance. They continued, however, to assail them with
missiles of every description, and a large stone striking Bassompierre
in the face--let us hope it was not thrown by one of the ladies with
whom he had been conversing so amiably a few days before!--brought him
to the ground insensible. Some of the Swiss raised him up, and carried
him out of the _mêlée_, when he soon came to himself and returned to the
fight. Finally, Praslin came up with two companies and forced the enemy
to retire.

Their troubles, however, were not yet over, for meantime the enemy had
made a sally in another quarter. Bassompierre and his noblesse again
went to the rescue, and taking the assailants in the rear, obliged them
to retreat, leaving several prisoners behind them.[174]

Bassompierre was certainly a person of extraordinary energy, for after
this strenuous day he volunteered to take command of the force which was
detached each evening to watch for the approach of the enemy’s
reinforcements from Saint-Antonin, in place of Praslin, who was
suffering from the effects of a slight wound, and spent the whole night
in the saddle.

     “Next morning,” he says, “as I was returning with my thousand men
     to camp, the King sent for me to come to him at Picqueos. I did not
     alight from my horse, and, in the dirty and disordered condition in
     which I was, after having been on the watch all night, and with the
     clotted blood from the wound on my head spread all over my face and
     round my eyes, I was unrecognisable. On my arrival, the King and
     the Constable told me that M. de Luxembourg,[175] who had command
     of 600 horse who went out every night to watch for the arrival of
     the reinforcements, had fallen ill, and that I must take charge of
     them, until the reinforcements had either made their way into the
     town or had been defeated. This I accepted willingly. While I was
     talking to them, the Queen arrived from Moissac.[176] The King
     sent the Constable to receive her and remained talking to me. As
     she entered, she asked who was that frightful man talking to the
     King. He told her that it was a nobleman of that part of the
     country called the Comte de Curton. ‘Jesus!’ she exclaimed, ‘how
     ugly he is!’ The Constable said to the King as he approached the
     Queen: ‘Sire, present M. de Bassompierre to the Queen, and tell her
     that he is the Comte de Curton.’ And this the King did. I kissed
     the hem of her gown, after which the Constable presented me to the
     Princesse de Conti, Mlle. de Vendôme, Madame de Montmorency and
     Madame la Connétable, his wife. I saluted them and heard them say:
     ‘This is a strange-looking man, and very dirty; he does well to
     stay in the country.’ Then I began to laugh, and, from my laugh and
     my teeth, they knew me, and had great pity upon me, and still more
     after dinner, when, on an alarm being raised that the enemy’s
     reinforcements were coming, we went out to fight.”

The alarm proved to be a false one; but in the night of September 26-27,
just as Bassompierre was looking forward to the enjoyment of the first
night’s rest he had had for more than a week, his equerry Le Manny came
in with the news that the reinforcements from Saint-Antonin were
approaching. There could be no doubt about the matter this time; the
officer who had arrived with the news had seen them marching through the

Bassompierre awoke the Duc de Retz and Créquy’s son Canaples, who slept
in his room, and told them that the enemy were at hand; “but they
thought he was playing a jest on them, as they had been up ten
successive nights watching and waiting.” And they positively refused to
accompany him. Leaving them, he went into a gallery near his room, where
some thirty gentlemen slept, but could only persuade two of them to go
with him. “The cry of ‘Wolf!’ had been raised so often without any
justification that they vowed they would answer it no more.” But the
wolf from the Cévennes was really coming this time, and a very fierce
wolf he proved to be.

Hurriedly getting together some 1,200 men, of whom 200 were Swiss,
Bassompierre marched away and took up his position in a sunken road
intersecting the plain of Ramiers, which lies between the Forest of
Gréseigne and Montauban, where it had been decided to await the enemy.
Learning that they were approaching in three bodies, he detached the
Baron d’Estissac with 400 men to his right; the Comte d’Ayen, who was in
command of the cavalry that night, was already in position on his left.

It was a very dark night, and when presently the forms of men began to
loom out of the blackness ahead, he was uncertain whether they were the
enemy or a party of the Royal troops. But he shouted, “_Vive le Roi!_”
and the answering cry of “_Vive_ Rohan!” settled the question.

His position was protected by a barricade, but the agile mountaineers
quickly swarmed over it and jumped down into the road, where a furious
struggle began. So intense was the darkness there that it was often
impossible to tell friend from foe, and not a few must have died by the
weapons of their comrades. Bassompierre, lunging with a halberd at one
of the enemy, stumbled and fell; the Huguenot, killed by the Swiss, fell
on top of him, as did two other men who had shared his fate; and he was
pinned down and unable to rise. At length, Le Manny and one of his
servants, hearing his cries for help, came and extricated him; but
scarcely was he on his feet again, than he narrowly escaped being run
through the body by a Swiss, who mistook him for an enemy. The _mêlée_
continued for some time, but at length numbers prevailed, and
practically all the brave mountaineers were either killed or made
prisoners. The dead had not died in vain, however, for, though their
comrades on the right had been routed by d’Ayen, those on the left, to
the number of some 600 men, had contrived in the darkness to elude
d’Estissac, and throw themselves into Montauban.

Among the prisoners taken by Bassompierre[177] was the Sieur de
Beaufort, the commander of the Cévennais. He was treated as a prisoner
of war and imprisoned in the Bastille, from which he was released on the
conclusion of peace. His humble comrades, however, were less fortunate,
and those who recovered from their wounds were sent to the galleys.

                            END OF VOL. I.



 [1] Most of the places of the German part of Lorraine had two names,
 of which one was the approximate translation of the other. The future
 marshal’s family would not appear to have adopted definitely the
 French form of the name until the end of the sixteenth century; but,
 for the sake of convenience, we propose to use it throughout this work.

 [2] Agrippa d’Aubigné, in his _Histoire universelle_, cites a letter
 from Guise to Christophe de Bassompierre, dated May 21, 1588, which is
 signed “l’amy de cœur.”

 [3] She was the daughter of George le Picart de Radeval and Louise de
 la Motte-Bléquin.

 [4] Of Bassompierre’s two brothers, the elder, Jean, Seigneur de
 Removille, after serving as a volunteer in Hungary against the Turks,
 entered the service of France, and took part in the invasion of
 Savoy, in 1600. In 1603, having quarrelled with Henri IV, he quitted
 his service for that of Philip III of Spain, and died the following
 year of a wound received at the siege of Ostend. The younger, George
 African, was destined for Holy Orders, but renounced this intention
 on learning of his brother’s death, and assumed the title of Seigneur
 de Removille. He married in 1610 Henriette de Tornelle, daughter of
 Charles Emmanuel, Comte de Tornelle, by whom he had six children. He
 died in 1632, on his return from the campaign of Leipsic, on which he
 had accompanied Charles IV of Lorraine.

 [5] See the author’s “The Brood of False Lorraine,” Vol. II., p. 545.

 [6] Don Cesare d’Este, grandson of Alphonso I and Laura Eustachia, had
 caused himself to be proclaimed Duke of Ferrara on October 29, 1597.
 Pope Clement VII claimed the duchy as devolving on the Holy See by the
 extinction of the legitimate line of Este.

 [7] Pietro Aldobrandini, nephew of Clement VII. He had been created
 cardinal in 1593 and subsequently became Archbishop of Ravenna. He
 died in 1621.

 [8] By a capitulation, signed on January 13, 1598, Don Cesare
 renounced the duchy of Ferrara in favour of Clement VIII and remained
 only Duke of Modena and Reggio.

 [9] The Archduke Albert, who had taken Holy Orders and been created a
 cardinal, had renounced that dignity in order to marry the Infanta.

 [10] Peter Ernest, Count von Mansfeld. He was subsequently created a
 Prince of the Empire by Maximilian II. He died in 1604.

 [11] Daughter of René, Vicomte de Rohan, and Catherine de Parthenay,
 Dame de Soubise. She married in 1604 Johann of Bavaria, Duke of

 [12] Claude de Lorraine, younger son of Henri I de Lorraine, Duc de
 Guise, and Catherine de Clèves. He bore at first the title of Prince
 de Joinville, but in 1606 became Duc de Chevreuse, in consequence of
 his elder brother having resigned that duchy to him. He died in 1657.

 [13] Charles, Comte d’Auvergne (1573-1650), natural son of Charles IX
 and Marie Touchet. He was created Duc d’Angoulême in 1620; but before
 this period Bassompierre, in his _Mémoires_, frequently speaks of him
 as M. d’Angoulême.

 [14] The Grand Equerry, the Duc de Bellegarde.

 [15] Charles Auguste de Saint-Lary, brother of Bellegarde, whom he
 succeeded in the post of Grand Equerry.

 [16] Annibal de Schomberg, second son of Gaspard de Schomberg.

 [17] In April, 1599, this boy was legitimated by letters-patent, which
 were duly registered by the complaisant Parlement of Paris.

 [18] But she had, nevertheless, condescended to ask favours of “the
 woman of impure life,” and to regard her as a sister. “I speak to you
 freely,” she writes to Gabrielle, on February 24, 1597, “as to one
 whom I wish to keep as a sister. I have placed so much confidence in
 the assurance that you have given me that you love me, that I do not
 desire to have any protector but you near the King; for nothing that
 comes from your beautiful mouth can fail to be well received.” She had
 also, shortly before signing the procuration, transferred to Gabrielle
 her duchy of Étampes.

 [19] See the excellent work of Desclozeaux, _Gabrielle d’Éstrées,
 Marquise de Monceaux_ (Paris: 1889).

 [20] Alphonse d’Ornano (1548-1610), son of the celebrated Corsican
 patriot. He was colonel-general of the Corsicans in the service of
 France, and had been created a marshal of France in 1596.

 [21] Gabrielle, as we have just stated, survived until the following
 day (Saturday, April 10); but La Varenne, either to spare the King
 the sight of his mistress, whom, Bassompierre tells us, he himself
 had seen on the Thursday afternoon, “so changed that she was
 unrecognisable,” or to prevent a scandal, had taken upon himself to
 announce in advance the event which he knew to be inevitable and close
 at hand.

 [22] The Parlement of Paris also sent a deputation to condole with the
 grief-stricken monarch.

 [23] Bassompierre says “a few days”; Tallemant des Réaux “three
 weeks.” In point of fact, it was not until the following June that
 Henri IV., while on his way from Fontainebleau to Blois, broke his
 journey at the Château of Malesherbes, where resided François de
 Balsac d’Entragues, governor of Orléans, who had married as his second
 wife Marie Touchet, mistress of Charles IX, and mother of Charles de
 Valois, Comte d’Auvergne, and there saw Henriette, then a girl of
 eighteen, for the first time.

 [24] Although so young, Mlle. de Entragues was very much alive to
 her own interests, and, counselled by her parents, determined that
 the brilliant destiny of which fate had deprived her predecessor in
 the royal affections should be hers. The enamoured monarch loaded
 her with costly gifts and employed every persuasion he could think
 of to overcome her resistance; but the damsel was adamant, until, in
 despair, he placed in her hands the following remarkable document,
 which Henriette carried about in her pocket and triumphantly exhibited
 to all her friends:--

 “We, Henri, by the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre, promise
 and swear by our faith and kingly word to Monsieur François de Balsac,
 Sieur d’Entragues, etc., that he, giving us to be our consort (_pour
 compagne_) demoiselle Henriette Catherine de Balsac, his daughter,
 provided that within six months from the present date she becomes
 pregnant and bear us a son, that forthwith we will take her to wife
 and publicly espouse her in the face of Holy Church, in accordance
 with the solemnities required in such cases.”

 Once more, however, the unexpected came to save the situation.
 One night, the room in which the sultana--now become Marquise
 de Verneuil--lay, was struck by lightning. The shock caused a
 miscarriage, and the King, whose marriage with Marguerite de Valois
 had been solemnly annulled, on December 29, 1599, by the commission
 appointed by the Pope, holding himself released from his promise,
 thereupon decided to send a formal demand to the Court of Tuscany for
 the hand of Marie de’ Medici.

 [25] Charles de Lorraine, Duc d’Elbeuf (1566-1605).

 [26] The Prince de Joinville was, or had been, in love with Henriette
 d’Entragues, who, until the King appeared upon the scene, had been
 far from insensible to his admiration, and he believed that the Grand
 Equerry was endeavouring to prejudice his Majesty’s mind against him
 on that account.

 [27] Achille de Harlay. He was First President of the Parlement of
 Paris from 1583 to 1611.

 [28] The brother, mother, and sister of the Prince de Joinville.

 [29] Henri, Duc and Maréchal de Montmorency (1534-1614).

 [30] Yolande de Livron, demoiselle de Bourbonne, daughter of Erard
 de Livron, Baron de Bourbonne, and Yolande de Bassompierre, and
 cousin-german of the future marshal, who tells us that he would
 probably have married the young lady and “might not have lived
 unhappily with her,” had it not been for the opposition of his mother,
 whom he did not wish to displease.

 [31] Mlle. Quelin. She was the mother of Nicolas Quelin, counsellor to
 the Grande Chambre of the Parlement of Paris, who claimed, wrongly it
 is said, to be the son of Henri IV.

 [32] Marie Babou de la Bourdaisière, daughter of Georges Babou,
 Seigneur de la Bon, Comte de Sagonne. She was one of Queen Louise’s

 [33] La Côte-Saint-André, on the road from Vienne to Grenoble.

 [34] The cause of this quarrel was in all probability the famous
 promise of marriage which Henri IV had given to Madame de Verneuil and
 the approaching arrival of Marie de’ Medici--“_la grosse financière_,”
 as Henriette disrespectfully called her--who was to become Queen of

 [35] Basing House, Hampshire.

 [36] William Pawlet, Marquis of Winchester.

 [37] Madame de Verneuil gave birth to a son a month later, and, in
 the pride of her motherhood, scoffed at “_la grosse financière_,”
 who, said she, had indeed got a son, but not the Dauphin. For the
 King was her husband--she had his written promise--and it was
 SHE who held the Dauphin in her arms.

 [38] Jacques de la Guesle, procurator-general to the Parlement.

 [39] The Comte d’Auvergne showed the most craven terror, and
 offered--king’s son though he was--to play the part of a spy and to
 continue to communicate with his confederates, in order to disclose
 their plans to the Government.

 [40] The Prince de Joinville, having become the lover of Madame
 de Villars, who had aspired to succeed Gabrielle d’Estrées in the
 affections of Henri IV, and was bitterly hostile in consequence to
 Madame de Verneuil, had been cajoled by that lady into handing over
 to her the love-letters which he had received from Henriette, some of
 which contained expressions of great tenderness and had been written
 at the very time when the King was paying the damsel his addresses.
 These letters Madame de Villars had the meanness to send to Henri
 IV, who was naturally furious at the discovery that his mistress had
 had two strings to her bow. Eventually, however, his Majesty allowed
 himself to be persuaded by Madame de Verneuil and her friends that
 the letters were forgeries, the work of one Bigot, whom Joinville had
 suborned; and Henriette was forgiven, while the prince received orders
 to leave France.

 [41] Rossworm had distinguished himself in 1601 at the capture of
 Stuhl-Weissemburg, and in 1602 had taken by assault the lower town of
 Buda and the town of Pesth.

 [42] Presumably, Ladislaus’s Hall, or the Hall of Homage, constructed
 towards the end of the fifteenth century by Rieth.

 [43] Lorraine, though its independence had been recognised in 1542,
 still contributed its share to the charges which had for their object
 the peace and security of the Empire; and, as the troops which
 Bassompierre proposed to raise were intended for service in Hungary
 against the Turks, it was on this fund, called the _landsfried_, that
 the order was drawn.

 [44] Jacqueline de Bueil was an orphan who had been brought up by
 Charlotte de la Trémoille, widow of Henri I, Prince de Condé. She was
 a very astute young lady indeed, and demanded, as the price of her
 surrender, a large sum of money, a pension, a title, and a husband,
 all of which the amorous monarch conceded. The husband chosen for
 her was a needy and complaisant noble, Philippe de Harlay, Comte de
 Cess, a nephew of Queen Margaret’s old lover, Harlay de Chanvallon,
 who raised no objection to his sovereign exercising _le droit de
 seigneur_. Subsequently, the King created the lady Comtesse de Moret
 in her own right.

 [45] Henri de Lorraine, Duc d’Aiguillon, eldest son of the Duc de
 Mayenne, and brother of the Comte de Sommerive.

 [46] Among the members of Queen Marguerite’s suite, was a youth of
 some twenty summers, the son of one Date, a carpenter of Arles, whom
 her Majesty ennobled, “_avec six aunes d’étoffe_,” and who forthwith
 blossomed into a Sieur de Saint-Julien. This Saint-Julien, if we are
 to believe the chroniclers of the time, was passionately beloved by
 his regal mistress, though perhaps, as a charitable biographer of
 Marguerite suggests, her affection for him may have been “merely
 platonic and maternal.” However that may be, he stood on the very
 pinnacle of favour, and was regarded with envy and hatred by his
 less fortunate rivals. One of these rivals, Vermont by name--not
 Charmont, as Bassompierre calls him--either because he was jealous
 of the privileges which Saint-Julien enjoyed, or, more probably,
 because he believed that the favourite had used his influence with
 the Queen to procure the disgrace of certain members of his family,
 suspected of having aided the intrigues of the Comte d’Auvergne, swore
 to be avenged. Nor was his vow an idle one, for one fine morning
 in April, 1606, at the very moment when Saint-Julien was assisting
 Marguerite to alight from her coach, on her return from hearing Mass
 at the Célestines, he stepped forward, and, levelling a pistol, shot
 him dead. The assassin endeavoured to escape, but was pursued and
 captured; and the bereaved princess, beside herself with rage and
 grief, vowed that she would neither eat nor drink until justice had
 been done, and wrote to the King “begging his Majesty very humbly to
 be pleased that the assassin should be punished.” The King sent orders
 for Vermont to be brought to trial without an hour’s delay; and he
 was condemned to death and executed the following morning in front
 of Marguerite’s hôtel, “declaring aloud,” writes L’Estoile, “that he
 cared not about dying, since he had accomplished his purpose.”

 [47] Although he had resumed his relations with Madame de Verneuil,
 and seemed more infatuated with her than ever, his Majesty continued
 his attentions to Madame de Moret, and had also fallen in love with a
 certain Mlle. de la Haye, with whom he spent a honeymoon at Chantilly,
 obligingly placed at his disposal by the Connétable de Montmorency,
 under the pretext of enjoying the fine hunting which the neighbourhood
 afforded. This affair, however, only lasted a short time. The young
 lady, it appears, had persuaded his Majesty that he was the first who
 had gained her heart, but, in point of fact, she had begun her career
 of gallantry by a _liaison_ with M. de Beaumont, the late French
 Ambassador in England, who, however, had soon broken off his relations
 with her. Mlle. de la Haye had not forgiven him for this rupture,
 and, believing herself more in favour than she was, she endeavoured
 to prejudice the King’s mind against him. Beaumont, learning of this,
 promptly sent his Majesty the letters which Mlle. de la Haye had
 written him when she was his mistress; and Henri IV, indignant at
 having been deceived, broke with her in his turn.

 [48] Tallemant des Réaux, in his _Historiettes_, gives some details
 concerning this _liaison_ of Bassompierre and the part played therein
 by Henri, who appears to have been made a fool of, as in several
 analogous circumstances. “Bassompierre,” he writes, “had the honour to
 have for some time the King as rival. Testu, Chevalier of the Watch,
 assisted his Majesty in the affair. One day, when this man came to
 speak to Mlle. d’Entragues, she hid Bassompierre behind a tapestry,
 and said to Testu, who reproached her with being less cruel to
 Bassompierre than to the King, that she cared no more for the former
 than for the latter, at the same time striking with a switch which she
 held in her hand the place where her gallant was concealed.”

 [49] Men whose duty it was to remove the bodies of persons who had
 died of the plague or other contagious maladies. During several months
 of that year Paris was ravaged by an epidemic, which was either plague
 or a virulent form of typhus.

 [50] Nearly two centuries later, this adventure of Bassompierre so
 impressed the romantic imagination of Chateaubriand, then a young
 man of twenty, that he made a pilgrimage to the Rue Bourg-l’Abbé and
 “the third door on the side of the Rue Saint-Martin.” But, to the
 great disappointment of the future author of _René_, he found himself
 confronted, not by the old gabled house which Bassompierre must have
 entered and quitted so abruptly, but by a hopelessly modern residence,
 the ground-floor of which was occupied by a hairdresser’s shop, with
 “a variety of towers of hair behind the window-panes.” And “no frank,
 disinterested, passionate young woman” was to be seen, but only “an
 old crone, who might have been the aunt of the assignation.”

 “What a fine story, that story of Bassompierre!” he writes. “One of
 the reasons which caused him to be so passionately loved ought to be
 understood. At that time, France was divided into two classes, one
 dominant, the other semi-servile. The sempstress clasped Bassompierre
 in her arms as though he were a demi-god who had descended to the
 bosom of a slave: he gave her the illusion of glory, and Frenchwomen
 alone amongst women are capable of intoxicating themselves with
 that illusion. But who will reveal to us the unknown causes of the
 catastrophe? Was the body which lay upon the table by the side of
 another body that of the pretty wench of the Two Angels? Whose was the
 other body? Was it the husband or the man whose voice Bassompierre
 had heard? Had the plague (for the plague was raging in Paris) or
 jealousy reached the Rue Bourg-l’Abbé before love? The imagination can
 easily find matter for exercise in such a subject as this. Mingle with
 the poet’s inventions, the chorus of the populace, the approaching
 grave-diggers, the ‘crows’ and Bassompierre’s sword, and a magnificent
 melodrama springs from the adventure.”--_Mémoires d’Outre Tombe_, Vol.

 [51] Louise Pot, second wife of Claude de l’Aubespine, Seigneur de

 [52] Mlle. de la Patière, daughter of Georges l’Enfant, Seigneur de la
 Patière, and of Françoise du Plessis-Richelieu. The La Patières were
 friends and neighbours of Bassompierre.

 [53] Jean Louis de Nogaret de la Valette, born 1554; created Duc
 d’Épernon, 1581; died 1642.

 [54] The Duc de Montpensier died on February 27, 1608; the ballet
 appears to have been danced about the middle of January.

 [55] Charlotte de Montmorency, daughter of the Connétable Henri
 de Montmorency, by his second wife, Louise de Budos. She was born
 in 1594 and was at this time only fourteen. By his first wife,
 Antoinette de la Marck, the Constable had two daughters: (1)
 Charlotte de Montmorency, married in 1591 to Charles de Valois, Comte
 d’Auvergne, died in 1636, at the age of sixty-three; (2) Marguerite de
 Montmorency, married in 1593 to Anne de Lévis, Duc de Ventadour, died
 December 3, 1660, aged eighty-three.

 [56] Jean du Fay, Baron de Pérault, lieutenant of the King in the
 Bresse. He was married to Marie de Montmorency, a natural daughter of
 the Constable.

 [57] See the author’s “The Fascinating Duc de Richelieu” (London,
 Methuen; New York, Scribner, 1910).

 [58] The exception was Renée de Lorraine, Mlle. de Mayenne, daughter
 of Charles, Duc de Mayenne.

 [59] Charles de Montmorency. He was at first known under the title of
 Seigneur de Méru, then as Baron de Damville, and, in 1610, was created
 Duc de Damville. He died in 1612, after having filled the offices of
 Colonel-General of the Swiss troops in the French service and Admiral
 of France.

 [60] Henri II, Duc de Montmorency and de Damville, only son of the
 Constable by his second wife, Louise de Budos; born August 30, 1595;
 beheaded for high treason at Toulouse, October 3, 1635.

 [61] Gabrielle Angélique, legitimated daughter of Henri IV and the
 Marquise de Verneuil, married December 12, 1622, to Bernard de
 Nogaret, Duc de la Valette; died December 24, 1627.

 [62] Diane de France, Duchesse de Montmorency and d’Angoulême,
 legitimated daughter of Henri II by a Piedmontese girl called Filippa
 Duc, whom he had met during the campaign of 1537 in Italy. Born in
 1538, she was brought up at the Court of France, and married in 1553
 to Orazio Farnese, Duke of Castro, who was killed a few months later,
 whilst defending Hesdin against the troops of Charles V. In 1559 the
 young widow married François, Duc and Maréchal de Montmorency, elder
 brother of the Constable, who died in 1579. A beautiful, accomplished
 and highly intelligent woman, and a singularly loyal friend, Diane
 was greatly esteemed by the last Valois sovereigns and also by Henri
 IV. Her half-brother, Henri III, gave her the duchies of Angoulême
 and Châtellerault, the county of Ponthieu, and the government of the
 Limousin; and it was she who in 1588 brought about the reconciliation
 between that monarch and Henri of Navarre. She died in 1619, at the
 age of eighty, having seen no less than seven kings on the throne of

 [63] As son of Éleonor de Montmorency, a sister of the Connétable
 Henri de Montmorency.

 [64] Henri II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, son of Henri I, Prince de
 Condé, by his second wife, Catherine Charlotte de la Trémoille. He was
 officially styled _Monsieur le Prince_, and as such is always referred
 to in Bassompierre’s _Mémoires_.

 [65] Catherine Charlotte de la Trémoille, Princesse de Condé, was a
 daughter of Jeanne de Montmorency, sister of the Constable, who was
 therefore Condé’s great-uncle.

 [66] Anne de Lorraine, Duchesse d’Aumale, daughter and heiress
 of Charles de Lorraine-Guise, Duc d’Aumale, and of Marie de
 Lorraine-Elbeuf; married in 1618 to Henri de Savoie, Duc de Nemours;
 died in 1638.

 [67] The favour which Henri IV was offering Bassompierre consisted,
 strictly speaking, not in the re-establishment of the duchy of Aumale,
 of which the title remained by right to Mlle. d’Aumale, but in uniting
 once more the peerage to the duchy, the old peerage having become
 extinct through the failure of male heirs.

 [68] Although the King always alluded to the Prince de Condé as his
 nephew, he was really only a nephew _à la mode de Bretagne_, a first
 cousin once removed.

 [69] Pierre de Beringhen, Seigneur d’Armainvilliers et de Grez, first
 _valet de chambre_ to the King.

 [70] Jeanne de Scepeaux, Comtesse de Chemillé, Duchesse de Beaupréau,
 only daughter and heiress of Guy de Scepeaux, Comte de Chemillé, Duc
 de Beaupréau. She had married early in that year Henri de Montmorency
 (Monsieur de Montmorency, as he was officially styled), only son of
 the Constable; but Henri IV, being desirous of marrying the heir of
 the Montmorencys to his daughter Mlle. de Vendôme, caused this union
 to be declared null and void a few months later. In May, 1610, Mlle.
 de Chemillé married Henri de Gondi, Duc de Retz.

 [71] On March 25, 1609, John William, Duke of Clèves, Juliers and
 Berg, had died childless. The question of the succession to his
 dominions was of vital importance, as they connected the bishoprics
 of Münster, Paderborn, and Hildesheim, with the Spanish Netherlands,
 and, during the reign of the late duke, who was a Catholic, had
 interrupted the communications of the Protestants of Central Germany
 with the Dutch. Their transference to a Protestant prince would be
 a fatal blow to the North German Catholics and would threaten the
 security of the Spanish Netherlands. A number of claimants appeared,
 the most prominent of whom were two Protestant princes, the Elector of
 Brandenburg and the Count Palatine of Neuberg, who claimed through the
 two elder sisters of John William. They came to an agreement to occupy
 part of the country and establish a provisional government; but the
 Emperor maintained that the duchies were male fiefs which could only
 descend in the direct male line, pronounced them sequestrated, and
 called upon the two princes to submit their claims to him as “feudal
 lord and sovereign judge.” On their refusal to do this, he placed them
 under the ban of the Empire, and ordered the Archduke Leopold to take
 possession of the territory as Imperial Commissioner (July, 1609).
 Henri IV protested vigorously against the Emperor’s action, declaring
 that he was determined not to permit any such addition to the power of
 the House of Austria, and that, if it came to war, he would prosecute
 it with all the resources of his kingdom.

 [72] Alexandre d’Elbène, gentleman of the chamber-in-ordinary to the
 King, colonel of the Italian infantry in the service of France, and
 first _maître d’hôtel_ to the Queen. It was he who, with the Captain
 of the Watch, had been the first to break the news of the flight of
 the Condés to Henri IV.

 [73] Damian de Montluc, Sieur de Balagny. He was governor of Marle.

 [74] Brulart de Sillery.

 [75] Henri IV had meanly stopped the payment of Condé’s pensions.

 [76] For a full account of this episode, see the author’s “The Love
 Affairs of the Condés.” (London; Methuen. New York: Scribners. 1912.)

 [77] The Queen’s entry was to have taken place on May 16.

 [78] Bassompierre carried at the _Sacre_ the train of the Princesse de
 Conti, who herself carried that of the Queen.

 [79] But, according to a contemporary account of the ceremony, Henri
 IV was in an unusually sombre mood, and, on entering the church and
 beholding the vast silent assemblage, observed: “It reminds me of the
 great and last judgment. God give us grace to prepare well for that
 day!” (_Cérémonial français_, Tome I., p. 570.)

 [80] Pierre Fougeu, Seigneur d’Escures, Quartermaster-General of the
 camps and armies of the King.

 [81] Bernard Potier, Seigneur de Blérencourt. He was
 Lieutenant-Colonel of the Light Horse of which Bassompierre was

 [82] Méry de Vic, Seigneur d’Ermenonville. He was appointed Keeper of
 the Seals in 1621.

 [83] This was no idle threat, for Madame de Bassompierre’s will
 contains a clause providing that, in the event of her son espousing
 the demoiselle Marie Charlotte de Balsac, “she disinherited him and
 deprived him of all her property, having expressly forbidden him to
 contract a marriage with her.”

 [84] “Five giants took part in the procession, of the race of those
 whom Hercules slew in the war which they waged against the gods, in
 the valley of Phlegra, in Thessaly.”--Laugier de Porchères, _le Camp
 de la Place-Royale_ (Paris, 1612).

 [85] “The five challengers styled themselves the Knights of Glory.
 M. de Bassompierre made his entry among them under the name of
 Lysander. He had for his device a lighted fuse, with these words: _Da
 l’ardore l’ardire_ (_De l’ardour la hardiesse_), in allusion to a love
 avowed.”--_le Camp de la Place-Royale._

 [86] The Prince de Conti’s troupe called themselves the Knights of the
 Sun; the Duc de Vendôme’s the Knights of the Lily.

 [87] François de Noailles, Comte d’Ayen (1584-1645). He was governor
 of Rouergue, Auvergne and Roussillon.

 [88] Jacques du Blé, Baron, afterwards Marquis d’Huxelles.
 Bassompierre, conforming without doubt to the pronunciation, writes
 the name sometimes d’Ucelles and at others Du Sel.

 [89] Henri II, Duc de Longueville, Comte de Dunois (1595-1643). He
 married in 1642, as his second wife, Anne Geneviève de Bourbon-Condé,
 who was the celebrated Duchesse de Longueville, of the Fronde.

 [90] Under the name of the Knight of the Phœnix.

 [91] The Nymphs were: the Comte de Schomberg, hamadryad; Colonel
 d’Ornano, wood-nymph; Créquy, dryad; Saint-Luc, naiad; and the Marquis
 de Rosny, oread.

 [92] Antoine Coeffier, called Ruzé, Marquis d’Effiat, who was created
 a _maréchal_ de France in 1631. He was the father of the ill-fated

 [93] This entry is called, in _le Camp du Place-Royale_, that of
 the illustrious Romans. According to this relation, there were but
 seven of them: Trajan, Vespasian, Paulus Æmilius, Marcellus, Scipio,
 Coriolanus and Marius. There also entered on this day a troupe of
 Knights of the Air, which, however, was incomplete, owing to one of
 the “Knights,” the Seigneur de Balagny, having been wounded in a duel.

 [94] The young Duc de Mayenne, son of the old chief of the League, who
 had died in October, 1611.

 [95] Saint-Paul, a soldier of fortune, was one of the four marshals
 created by the Duc de Mayenne in 1593. He was lieutenant of Charles,
 Duc de Guise in his government of Champagne, and rendered himself
 intensely unpopular with the inhabitants of Rheims by various acts
 of oppression. Guise killed him with his own hand, in the Place
 de la Cathédrale there, on April 25, 1597. For a full account of
 this incident and also of the affair of the Chevalier de Guise and
 the Baron de Luz, see the author’s “The Brood of False Lorraine”
 (Hutchinson, 1919).

 [96] The Duc de Guise was Governor of Provence.

 [97] After the death of his elder brother, the Cardinal de Bourbon,
 the Prince de Conti had been placed in possession of the Abbey
 of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which had been one of the cardinal’s
 benefices. The Queen was offering to the Princess de Conti, in the
 event of her widowhood, the reversion of these revenues.

 [98] _Histoire de France jusqu’en 1789._

 [99] They did not fail of their reward, Bassompierre tells us, for
 one of them, Masurier, was presently appointed First President of the
 Parlement of Toulouse, while the other, Mangot, became First President
 of that of Bordeaux, and was afterwards made Keeper of the Seals.

 [100] “This dignity, formerly so respected, had been conferred
 lavishly since the Wars of the League, but it had not been degraded
 to this point. Concini having never borne arms, they were obliged to
 renounce in his case the ancient custom of the new marshal of France
 presenting himself to the Parlement, accompanied by an advocate,
 who expounded his claims and his valiant deeds. There is a limit to
 everything, even to the impudence of flatterers.”--Henri Martin.

 [101] Malherbe’s letters contain some interesting observations
 concerning the Queen and Bassompierre: “20 October [1613]. I am told
 that 51 [the Queen] has not spoken to him [Bassompierre] for a week.
 It is believed that 65 [Concini] has done him a bad turn. The affair
 is patched up to some extent, to which 59 [Guise] has contributed
 much. I have seen him [Bassompierre] to-day in the cabinet, but much
 less impudent than he usually is, and 51 [the Queen] never spoke to
 him at all. It will pass.

 “27 October. The disfavour of 66 [Bassompierre] continues visibly;
 the cause is the alliance of 55 [Concini] and 69 [Villeroy], who
 have both told 51 [the Queen] that, when they were on bad terms, 66
 [Bassompierre] betrayed them both, and, besides, had given her to
 understand that he boasts of her favour.

 “24 November 66 [Bassompierre] is in less disfavour; but I fear that
 he will never be again as he has been.

 “27 November. I have seen 66 [Bassompierre], so that I believe the
 disagreement is patched up, or will be patched up.”

 [102] The Duc de Rohan was not a prince, but he was descended on his
 mother’s side from two sovereign houses, those of Navarre and Scotland.

 [103] Gaspard Gallaty had fought as a captain at Moncontour and as a
 colonel at Arques and Ivry. He was ennobled in 1587.

 [104] The Duc de Guise and his brother the Prince de Joinville.

 [105] Gabriel de la Vallée-Fossez, Marquis d’Everly. He was governor
 of Montpellier.

 [106] The Commandeur de Sillery, _chevalier d’honneur_ to Marie de’
 Medici, had been disgraced shortly before his brother, the Chancellor,
 was dismissed.

 [107] Créquy was Colonel of the French Guards.

 [108] He was Captain-Lieutenant of the Gensdarmes of the King’s Guard.

 [109] La Curée was Captain-Lieutenant of the company of Light Cavalry
 of the Guard instituted by Henri IV in 1593.

 [110] In response to the summons he had received from the
 Queen-Mother, Condé was making his way along a narrow passage which
 led from her Majesty’s chamber to her cabinet, when he was suddenly
 confronted by Thémines, at the head of several of the King’s Guards
 “Monseigneur,” said the old noble to the astonished prince, “the
 King having been informed that you are giving ear to sundry counsels
 contrary to his service, and that people intend to make you engage in
 designs ruinous to the State, has charged me to secure your person, to
 prevent you falling into this misfortune.” “What?” cried Condé, “do
 you purpose to arrest me? Are you then captain of the Guards?” And he
 laid his hand upon his sword. “No, Monseigneur,” rejoined Thémines,
 “but I am a gentleman and obliged to obey the command of the King,
 your master and mine.” His followers forthwith surrounded the prince
 and led him into an adjoining room, where he found d’Elbène and a
 party of soldiers, each of whom held a pistol in his hand. Never
 remarkable for his courage, though in his youth he had once been
 provoked into challenging the Duc de Nevers to a duel, Condé believed
 that his last hour had come. “Alas,” cried he, “I am a dead man. Send
 for a priest. Give me time at least to think of my conscience!” His
 captors, however, assured him that his life was in no danger, and
 conducted him to an upper apartment of the palace, where it had been
 arranged that he should be confined, until it had been decided what
 should be done with him.

 [111] In the Rue de Chaume, at the corner of the Rue de Paradis.

 [112] Charles Alexandre, Duc de Cröy, Marquis d’Havré. He was related
 to Bassompierre through his mother, Diane de Dommartin.

 [113] Enrico Concini, who was at this time a boy of thirteen. Arrested
 after the tragic end of his father, he remained five years in prison,
 and then returned to Florence, where he lived until 1631, under the
 name of the Count della Penna.

 [114] This refers to the manifesto issued by Condé in July, 1615, in
 which he had stigmatised Concini, the Chancellor Sillery, his brother
 the Commandeur de Sillery, and the Counsellors of State, Bullion and
 Dolet, as the authors of the evils which afflicted the realm.

 [115] The word is, of course, here used in the sense of a man who owed
 his fortune to him, and not in its vituperative sense.

 [116] Fedeau appears to have been a banker or usurer of the time, the
 terms being often synonymous.

 [117] Lavisse, _Histoire de France_.

 [118] Probably Gilles de Souvré, Marquis de Courtenvaux, who was also
 Baron de Lézines.

 [119] Charles de Lameth, Seigneur de Bussy. He was killed at the siege
 of La Capelle in 1637.

 [120] Richelieu assures us that Luynes showed Louis XIII forged
 letters purporting to have been written by Barbin, “full of designs
 against the person of the King,” and, considering the position
 occupied by Déageant, this appears very probable.

 [121] Vitry had been created a marshal of France the day after the
 assassination of Concini. “Thémines had recently been given the bâton
 of marshal for having adopted the trade of a bailiff; Vitry had it as
 his reward for plying that of a bravo. Who would have thought that
 this high dignity, after having been abased to Concini, would have
 descended yet lower still?”--Henri Martin.

 [122] François de l’Hôpital, Seigneur du Hallier. He was created a
 marshal of France in 1643, under the name of the Maréchal de l’Hôpital.

 [123] Luynes had two younger brothers: (1) Honor d’Albert, Seigneur de
 Cadanet, afterwards Duc de Chaulnes and Marshal of France; (2) Léon
 d’Albert, Seigneur de Brantes, afterwards Duc de Piney-Luxembourg.

 [124] _Journal historique et anecdotique de la Cour et de Paris._
 MSS. of Conrart, cited by Victor Cousin, _la Jeunesse de Madame
 de Longueville_. The chronicler speaks frequently of the prince’s
 ill-treatment of his wife, for which he appears to think there was no

 [125] Bournonville was brought to trial and condemned to death,
 while Persan was sentenced to be banished from France; but both were
 subsequently pardoned.

 [126] _Journal historique et anecdotique de la Cour et de Paris._

 [127] It would appear, from an anecdote related by Bassompierre, in
 March, 1618, that Luynes had not hesitated to falsify history in his
 efforts to inspire the King with fear of his mother:

 “At that time, the King, who was very young, amused himself with many
 little occupations of his age, making little fountains in imitation
 of those of Saint-Germain, with pipes of quill, and little inventions
 for hunting, and playing on the drum, in which he succeeded very
 well. One day I told him that he was clever at everything which he
 undertook, and that, although he had never been taught, he played the
 drum better than the master of that instrument. ‘I must begin to blow
 the hunting-horn again,’ said he, ‘which I do very well, and will blow
 it for a whole day.’ ‘Sire,’ said I, ‘I do not advise your Majesty
 to blow it too often, for it causes ruptures, and is very injurious
 for the lungs; and I have heard that, through blowing the horn, the
 late King Charles broke a blood-vessel in his lungs, and that caused
 his death.’ ‘You are mistaken,’ he rejoined; ‘it was not blowing the
 horn that killed him; it was because he quarrelled with the Queen
 Catherine, his mother at Monceaux, and left her and went to Meaux.
 But, if he had not been persuaded by the Maréchal de Retz to return to
 the Queen-Mother at Monceaux, he would not have died so soon.’ As I
 answered nothing to this, Montpouillan, who was present, said to me:
 ‘You did not think, Monsieur, that the King knew so much about these
 matters, but he does, and about many others besides.’ This convinced
 me that he had been inspired with great apprehension of the Queen, his
 mother, whom I took care never to mention to him in future, not even
 in common discourse.”

 [128] Asked what spell she had employed to make herself mistress of
 the Queen-Mother’s mind, the prisoner is said to have replied: “Only
 those which a clever woman employs towards a dunce.”

 [129] The Duc de Mayenne quitted the Court, which was then at
 Saint-Germain, on March 29, 1620, and went to Guienne, of which he was

 [130] Louis de Bourbon, son of Charles de Bourbon, Comte de Soissons
 and Anne de Montafié. Born May 4, 1604; killed at the battle of la
 Marfée, on July 6, 1641. He was called _Monsieur le Comte_, as his
 father had been.

 [131] There were two kinds of regiments in the French Army at
 this period: permanent regiments, which usually bore territorial
 designations, Champagne, Picardy, and so forth, and temporary
 regiments, which might be disbanded in time of peace, and which bore
 the names of their commanding officers.

 [132] Luynes and his two brothers.

 [133] Nerestang died some ten days later, a victim, if we are to
 believe Bassompierre, to the professional jealousy of the surgeons:--

 “The King went to visit M. de Nerestang, who, seeing how severely he
 had been wounded, was not doing badly, and would have been cured if
 they had left him in the hands of the surgeon Lion. But the other
 executioners of surgeons importuned the King so much, when he was at
 Brissac, that seven days after he was wounded, when he was going on
 well, they took him out of Lion’s hands to place him in those of the
 King’s surgeons; and he only lived two days longer.”

 [134] Créquy was colonel of the French Guards, and in this action was
 in command of a brigade.

 [135] The property of the Catholic Church in Béarn and Lower Navarre
 had been confiscated by Jeanne d’Albret in 1569, and applied to the
 maintenance of pastors of the Reformed faith and works of public

 [136] Jacques Nomper de Caumont (1558-1652). He greatly distinguished
 himself in the Thirty Years’ War, and was made a marshal of France and
 subsequently duke and peer.

 [137] This son, who received the names of Louis Charles and to whom
 Louis XIII stood godfather, became the second Duc de Luynes, and
 enjoyed some celebrity in the latter part of the seventeenth century
 through his connection with Port-Royal. He translated into French the
 _Méditations_ of Descartes, wrote under a _nom de guerre_ several
 books of devotion, and was the father of the pious Duc de Chevreuse,
 the friend of Fénelon.

 [138] Don Diego Zapata.

 [139] Doña Maria Sidonia, second wife of the count.

 [140] Don Pedro Acunha y Tellez-Giron, third Duke of Ossuña
 (1579-1624). He had been Viceroy of Naples, and one of the three
 chiefs of the conspiracy against Venice which was to have delivered
 the city into the power of Spain on Ascension Day, 1618. Suspected
 of having aspired to make himself King of Naples, he was recalled in
 1620. He died in prison in 1624.

 [141] The late King, Henri IV.

 [142] Enrico de Avila y Guzman.

 [143] Antonio de Toledo, fifth duke of Alba, grandson of the
 celebrated Duke of Alba.

 [144] Rodriguez de Mendoza, second son of Diego de Mendoza, Count of
 Saldagna. He became sixth Duke del Infantado by his marriage with Anna
 de Mendoza, Duchess del Infantado, daughter of his elder brother.

 [145] The office of mayor-domo mayor was equivalent to that of Grand
 Master of the King’s Household in France.

 [146] A convent of the barefooted Carmelites in the centre of the town.

 [147] He was a Dominican monk and filled the office of Grand

 [148] Philip III’s eldest son, afterwards Philip IV. Born on April 8,
 1605, he had not yet completed his sixteenth year.

 [149] The King’s second son; born September 14, 1607; died in 1632.

 [150] Fernando, Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, third son of Philip
 III; born May 17, 1609; died in 1641.

 [151] The new Queen, Élisabeth of France.

 [152] A convent of Hieronymite monks, situated a little way from

 [153] Gaspard de Guzman, third count, and afterwards Duke, of
 Olivarez. Favourite of the new king, he shared power with his uncle,
 Don Balthazar de Zuniga, until the latter’s death in 1623, from which
 time up to 1643 he was Prime Minister. He died in 1645.

 [154] Charles de Clermont d’Amboise, Marquis de Bussy. He was killed
 in a duel in the Place-Royale in Paris, in April, 1627.

 [155] The _loba_ was a long sleeveless robe; the _caperuza_ a hood;
 and the _caperote_ a short cloak fitted with a hood.

 [156] The Crowns of Spain and Naples, etc.

 [157] Don Carlos.

 [158] To demand _lugar_ of a lady was to request permission to pay
 one’s respects to her at a time and place to be named by her.

 [159] Diego de Sandoval y Rojas.

 [160] Aloysia de Mendoza. She was Countess of Saldagna in her own
 right, and her husband assumed the title of Count of Saldagna.

 [161] Saldagna had been a widower since 1619.

 [162] Catherine de Zuniga y Sandoval, widow of Fernando de Portugal y
 Castro, sixth Count of Lemos.

 [163] See p. 287, _supra_.

 [164] The celebrated Duke of Alba.

 [165] The fourth Duke of Alba.

 [166] “I have paid the compliment of condolence with which the King
 charged me, so well, that, save that I did not weep, my countenance
 presented every indication of grief and sadness. Now it lays aside
 this false mask, since nothing can further retard my return to France,
 whither I am going with infinite joy, and infinite desire to serve my
 master well in war, or my mistress, if we have peace.”--Bassompierre
 to Puisieux, May 10, 1621.

 [167] Titled persons; that is to say, noblemen who were not grandees
 of Spain.

 [168] Municipal officials.

 [169] The principal magistrate of the town.

 [170] In July, 1639, during his captivity in the Bastille,
 Bassompierre was obliged to part temporarily with Philip IV’s gift,
 which is described as “the diamond of the King of Spain,” as security
 for a loan of 6,300 livres. He redeemed it in May, 1641, but as, after
 his death, it does not figure in the inventory of his jewels, he would
 appear to have pledged it again, or perhaps have sold it.

 [171] Louis de Marillac, Comte de Beaumont-le-Roger. He was created a
 marshal of France in 1629, and was executed for high treason on May
 10, 1632.

 [172] This faubourg had been called Ville-Bourbon, since Henri IV had
 surrounded it with fortifications.

 [173] This was the old fourteenth-century bridge already mentioned.

 [174] Bassompierre received next day a letter from the King,
 complimenting him on the courage and resource he had shown.

 [175] The Duc de Luxembourg, the Constable’s youngest brother.

 [176] The Queen had established herself at Moissac, on the right bank
 of the Tarn, where she remained during the greater part of the siege.

 [177] Louis XIII., in a letter to Noailles, bears testimony to
 Bassompierre’s services in this affair: “In this defeat and action we
 may recognise, as I have told you, the Providence of God, Who has so
 fortified the courage of my men that they have performed wonders, and
 _notably the Sr. de Bassompierre_, the colonel, and the Swiss and the
 Regiment of Normandy, who have boldly sustained the charge.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber: they left
Lambrogiono=> they left Lambrogiano {pg 9}

Pietro Aldrobrandini, nephew of Clement VII=> Pietro Aldobrandini,
nephew of Clement VII {pg 12 n.}

and Gabrielle d’Estrêes=> and Gabrielle d’Estrées {pg 19}

the affections of kinds=> the affections of kings {pg 26}

Oct. 6, 1900, arrived at Lyons=> Oct. 6, 1600, arrived at Lyons {pg 34}

preceeded to Harouel=> proceeded to Harouel {pg 59}

Bassompiere took the road=> Bassompierre took the road {pg 76}

he depatched Bassompierre=> he despatched Bassompierre {pg 77}

Charles III of Loraine=> Charles III of Lorraine {pg 95}

Diane de France, Duchessé de Montmorency=> Diane de France, Duchesse de
Montmorency {pg 104 n.}

against the Emperor’ saction=> against the Emperor’s action {pg 124}

along the Rue Saint-Honore=> along the Rue Saint-Honoré {pg 159}

through it might suffice, for the moment=> though it might suffice, for
the moment {pg 226}

_lèse-majeste_=> _lèse-majesté_ {pg 227}

March 29, 1720, and went to Guienne=> March 29, 1620, and went to
Guienne {pg 236 n.}

arrested and haled off to prison.=> arrested and hauled off to prison.
{pg 275}

Nuestra Señora de Attoches=> {pg 283}

Nuestra Senora de Constantinopoli=> Nuestra Señora de Constantinopoli
{pg 288}

an done ball went=> and one ball went {pg 307}

bastion of La Moustier=> bastion of Le Moustier {pg 310}

the enemy and disheartend=> the enemy and disheartened {pg 312}

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Gallant of Lorraine; vol. 1 of 2 - François, Seigneur de Bassompierre, - Marquis d'Haronel, Maréchal de - France, 1579-1646" ***

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