Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Chicot the Jester by Alexandre Dumas

Part 2 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Terror was so visibly painted on the king's countenance, that
it began to gain on the others.

"Oh, sire!" cried the queen again, "in Heaven's name do not leave
us in this suspense. Will you have a doctor?"

"A doctor, no," cried Henri, in the same tone, "the body is not
ill, it is the mind; no doctor--a confessor."

Everyone looked round; nowhere was there to be seen any traces
of what had so terrified the king. However, a confessor was sent
for; Joseph Foulon, superior of the convent of St. Genevieve,
was torn from his bed, to come to the king. With the confessor,
the tumult ceased, and silence was reestablished; everyone
conjectured and wondered--the king was confessing.

The next day the king rose early, and began to read prayers then
he ordered all his friends to be sent for. They sent to St. Luc,
but he was more suffering than ever. His sleep, or rather his
lethargy, had been so profound, that he alone had heard nothing
of the tumult in the night, although he slept so near. He begged
to be left in bed. At this deplorable recital, Henri crossed
himself, and sent him a doctor.

Then he ordered that all the scourges from the convent should
be brought to him, and, going to his friends, distributed them,
ordering them to scourge each other as hard as they could.

D'Epernon said that as his right arm was in a sling, and he could
not return the blows he received, he ought to be exempt, but the
king replied that that would only make it the more acceptable
to God.

He himself set the example. He took off his doublet, waistcoat,
and shirt, and struck himself like a martyr. Chicot tried to
laugh, as usual, but was warned by a terrible look, that this
was not the right time, and he was forced to take a scourge like
the others.

All at once the king left the room, telling them to wait for him.
Immediately the blows ceased, only Chicot continued to strike
D'O, whom he hated, and D'O returned it as well as he could. It
was a duel with whips.

The king went to the queen, gave her a pearl necklace worth 25,000
crowns, and kissed her, which he had not done for a year. Then
he asked her to put off her royal ornaments and put on a sack.

Louise, always good, consented, but asked why her husband gave
her a necklace, and yet made such a request.

"For my sins," replied he.

The queen said no more, for she knew, better than any one, how
many he had to repent of.

Henri returned, which was a signal for the flagellation to
recommence. In ten minutes the queen arrived, with her sack on
her shoulders. Then tapers were distributed to all the court, and
barefooted, through the snow, all the courtiers and fine ladies
went to Montmartre, shivering. At five o'clock the promenade was
over, the convents had received rich presents, the feet of all
the court were swollen, and the backs of the courtiers sore. There
had been tears, cries, prayers, incense, and psalms. Everyone
had suffered, without knowing why the king, who danced the night
before, scourged himself to-day. As for Chicot, he had escaped at
the Porte Montmartre, and, with Brother Gorenflot, had entered a
public-house, where he had eaten and drank. Then he had rejoined
the procession and returned to the Louvre.

In the evening the king, fatigued with his fast and his exercise,
ordered himself a light supper, had his shoulders washed, and
then went to visit St. Luc.

"Ah!" cried he, "God has done well to render life so bitter."

"Why so, sire?"

"Because then man, instead of fearing death, longs for it."

"Speak for yourself, sire, I do not long for it at all."

"Listen, St. Luc, will you follow my example?"

"If I think it a good one."

"I will leave my throne, and you your wife, and we will enter
a cloister. I will call myself Brother Henri----"

"Pardon, sire, if you do not care for your crown, of which you
are tired, I care very much for my wife, whom I know so little.
Therefore I refuse."

"Oh! you are better."

"Infinitely better, sire; I feel quite joyous, and disposed for
happiness and pleasure."

"Poor St. Luc!" cried the king, clasping his hands.

"You should have asked me yesterday, sire, then I was ill and
cross. I would have thrown myself into a well for a trifle. But
this evening it is quite a different thing. I have passed a good
night and a charming day. Mordieu, vive la joie!"

"You swear, St. Luc."

"Did I, sire? but I think you swear sometimes."

"I have sworn, St. Luc, but I shall swear no more."

"I cannot say that; I will not swear more than I can help, and
God is merciful."

"You think he will pardon me?"

"Oh! I speak for myself, not for you, sire. You have sinned as a
king, I as a private man, and we shall, I trust, be differently

The king sighed. "St. Luc," said he, "will you pass the night
in my room?"

"Why, what should we do?"

"We will light all the lamps, I will go to bed, and you shall
read prayers to me."

"No, thank you, sire."

"You will not?"

"On no account."

"You abandon me, St. Luc!"

"No, I will stay with your majesty, if you will send for music
and ladies, and have a dance."

"Oh, St. Luc, St. Luc!"

"I am wild to-night, sire, I want to dance and drink."

"St. Luc," said the king, solemnly, "do you ever dream?"

"Often, sire."

"You believe in dreams?"

"With reason."

"How so?"

"Dreams console for the reality. Last night I had a charming dream."

"What was it?"

"I dreamed that my wife----"

"You still think of your wife?"

"More than ever, sire; well, I dreamed that she, with her charming
face--for she is pretty, sire----"

"So was Eve, who ruined us all."

"Well, my wife had procured wings and the form of a bird, and
so, braving locks and bolts, she passed over the walls of the
Louvre, and came to my window, crying, 'Open, St. Luc, open,
my husband.'"

"And you opened?"

"I should think so."


"As you please, sire."

"Then you woke?"

"No, indeed, the dream was too charming; and I hope to-night to
dream again; therefore I refuse your majesty's obliging offer.
If I sit up, let me at least have something to pay me for losing
my dream. If your majesty will do as I said----"

"Enough, St. Luc. I trust Heaven will send you a dream to-night
which will lead you to repentance."

"I doubt it, sire, and I advise you to send away this libertine
St. Luc, who is resolved not to amend."

"No, no, I hope, before to-morrow, grace will have touched you
as it has me. Good night, I will pray for you."



When the king left St. Luc, he found the court, according to
his orders, in the great gallery. Then he gave D'O, D'Epernon
and Schomberg an order to retire into the provinces, threatened
Quelus and Maugiron to punish them if they quarreled anymore
with Bussy, to whom he gave his hand to kiss, and then embraced
his brother Francois.

As for the queen, he was prodigal in politeness to her.

When the usual time for retiring approached, the king seemed trying
to retard it. At last ten o'clock struck.

"Come with me, Chicot," then said he, "good night, gentlemen."

"Good night, gentlemen," said Chicot, "we are going to bed. I
want my barber, my hairdresser, my valet de chambre, and, above
all, my cream."

"No," said the king, "I want none of them to-night; Lent is going
to begin."

"I regret the cream," said Chicot.

The king and Chicot entered the room, which we already know.

"Ah ca! Henri," said Chicot, "I am the favorite to-night. Am I
handsomer than that Cupid, Quelus?"

"Silence, Chicot, and you, gentlemen of the toilette, go out."

They obeyed, and the king and Chicot were left alone.

"Why do you send them away?" asked Chicot, "they have not greased
us yet. Are you going to grease me with your own royal hand? It
would be an act of humility."

"Let us pray," said Henri.

"Thank you, that is not amusing. If that be what you called me
here for, I prefer to return to the bad company I have left.
Adieu, my son. Good night."

"Stay," said the king.

"Oh! this is tyranny. You are a despot, a Phalaris, a Dionysius.
All day you have made me tear the shoulders of my friends with
cow-hide, and now we are to begin again. Do not let us do it,
Henri, when there's but two, every blow tells."

"Hold your tongue, miserable chatterer, and think of repentance."

"I repent! And of what? Of being jester to a monk. Confiteor--I
repent, mea culpa, it is a great sin."

"No sacrilege, wretch."

"Ah! I would rather he shut up in a cage with lions and apes,
than with a mad king. Adieu, I am going."

The king locked the door.

"Henri, you look sinister; if you do not let me go, I will cry,
I will call, I will break the window, I will kick down the door."

"Chicot," said the king, in a melancholy tone, "you abuse my

"Ah! I understand, you are afraid to be alone. Tyrants always
are so. Take my long sword, and let me take the scabbard to my

At the word "afraid," Henri shuddered, and he looked nervously
around, and seemed so agitated and grew so pale, that Chicot
began to think him really ill, and said,--

"Come, my son, what is the matter, tell your troubles to your
friend Chicot."

The king looked at him and said, "Yes, you are my friend, my only

"There is," said Chicot, "the abbey of Valency vacant."

"Listen, Chicot, you are discreet."

"There is also that of Pithiviers, where they make such good pies."

"In spite of your buffooneries, you are a brave man."

"Then do not give me an abbey, give me a regiment."

"And even a wise one."

"Then do not give me a regiment, make me a counselor; but no,
when I think of it, I should prefer a regiment, for I should
be always forced to be of the king's opinion."

"Hold your tongue, Chicot, the terrible hour approaches."

"Ah! you are beginning again."

"You will hear."

"Hear what?"

"Wait, and the event will show you. Chicot, you are brave!"

"I boast of it, but I do not wish to try. Call your captain of
the guard, your Swiss, and let me go away from this invisible

"Chicot, I command you to stay."

"On my word, a nice master. I am afraid, I tell you. Help!"

"Well, drole, if I must, I will tell you all."

"Ah!" cried Chicot, drawing his sword, "once warned, I do not
care; tell, my son, tell. Is it a crocodile? my sword is sharp,
for I use it every week to cut my corns." And Chicot sat down
in the armchair with his drawn sword between his legs.

"Last night," said Henri, "I slept----"

"And I also," said Chicot.

"Suddenly a breath swept over my face."

"It was the dog, who was hungry, and who licked your cream."

"I half woke, and felt my beard bristle with terror under my mask."

"Ah! you make me tremble deliciously."

"Then," continued the king, in a trembling voice, "then a voice
sounded through the room, with a doleful vibration."

"The voice of the crocodile! I have read in Marco Polo, that
the crocodile has a voice like the crying of children; but be
easy, my son, for if it comes, we will kill it."

"'Listen! miserable sinner,' said the voice----"

"Oh! it spoke; then it was not a crocodile."

"'Miserable sinner,' said the voice, 'I am the angel of God.'"

"The angel of God!"

"Ah! Chicot, it was a frightful voice."

"Was it like the sound of a trumpet?"

"'Are you there?' continued the voice, 'do you hear, hardened
sinner; are you determined to persevere in your iniquities?'"

"Ah, really; he said very much the same as other people, it seems
to me."

"Then, Chicot, followed many other reproaches, which I assure
you were most painful."

"But tell me what he said, that I may see if he was well informed?"

"Impious! do you doubt?"

"I? all that astonishes me is, that he waited so long to reproach
you. So, my son, you were dreadfully afraid?"

"Oh, yes, the marrow seemed to dry in my bones."

"It is quite natural; on my word, I do not know what I should
have done in your place. And then you called?"


"And they came?"


"And there was no one here?"

"No one."

"It is frightful."

"So frightful, that I sent for my confessor."

"And he came?"


"Now, be frank, my son; tell the truth for once. What did he
think of your revelation?"

"He shuddered."

"I should think so."

"He ordered me to repent, as the voice told me."

"Very well. There can be no harm in repenting. But what did he
think of the vision?"

"That it was a miracle, and that I must think of it seriously.
Therefore, this morning----"

"What have you done"

"I gave 100,000 livres to the Jesuits."

"Very well."

"And scourged myself and my friends."

"Perfect! but after?"

"Well, what do you think of it, Chicot? It is not to the jester
I speak, but to the man of sense, to my friend."

"Ah, sire, I think your majesty had the nightmare."

"You think so?"

"Yes, it was a dream, which will not be renewed, unless your majesty
thinks too much about it."

"A dream? No, Chicot, I was awake, my eyes were open."

"I sleep like that."

"Yes, but then you do not see, and I saw the moon shining through
my windows, and its light on the amethyst in the hilt of my sword,
which lay in that chair where you are."

"And the lamp?"

"Had gone out."

"A dream, my son."

"Why do you not believe, Chicot? It is said that God speaks to
kings, when He wishes to effect some change on the earth."

"Yes, he speaks, but so low that they never hear Him."

"Well, do you know why I made you stay?--that you might hear as
well as I."

"No one would believe me if I said I heard it."

"My friend, it is a secret which I confide to your known fidelity."

"Well, I accept. Perhaps it will also speak to me."

"Well, what must I do?"

"Go to bed, my son."


"Do you think that sitting up will keep it away?"

"Well, then, you remain."

"I said so."

"Well, then, I will go to bed."


"But you will not?"

"Certainly not, I will stay here."

"You will not go to sleep?"

"Oh, that I cannot promise; sleep is like fear, my son, a thing
independent of will."

"You will try, at least?"

"Be easy; I will pinch myself. Besides, the voice would wake me."

"Do not joke about the voice."

"Well, well, go to bed."

The king sighed, looked round anxiously, and glided tremblingly
into bed. Then Chicot established him in his chair, arranging
round him the pillows and cushions.

"How do you feel, sire?" said he.

"Pretty well; and you?"

"Very well; good night, Henri."

"Good night, Chicot; do not go to sleep."

"Of course not," said Chicot, yawning fit to break his jaws.

And they both closed their eyes, the king to pretend to sleep,
Chicot to sleep really.



The king and Chicot remained thus for some time. All at once the
king jumped up in his bed. Chicot woke at the noise.

"What is it?" asked he in a low voice.

"The breath on my face."

As he spoke, one of the wax lights went out, then the other,
and the rest followed. Then the lamp also went out, and the room
was lighted only by the rays of the moon. At the same moment
they heard a hollow voice, saying, apparently from the end of
the room,--

"Hardened sinner, art thou there?"

"Yes," said Henri, with chattering teeth.

"Oh!" thought Chicot, "that is a very hoarse voice to come from
heaven; nevertheless, it is dreadful."

"Do you hear?" asked the voice.

"Yes, and I am bowed down to the earth."

"Do you believe you obeyed me by all the exterior mummeries which
you performed yesterday, without your heart being touched?"

"Very well said," thought Chicot. He approached the king softly.

"Do you believe now?" asked the king, with clasped hands.


"What for?"

"Hush! leave your bed quietly, and let me get in."


"That the anger of the Lord may fall first on me."

"Do you think He will spare me for that?"

"Let us try," and he pushed the king gently out and got into his

"Now, go to my chair, and leave all to me."

Henri obeyed; he began to understand.

"You do not reply," said the voice; "you are hardened in sin."

"Oh! pardon! pardon!" cried Chicot, imitating the king's voice.
Then he whispered to Henri, "It is droll that the angel does
not know me."

"What can it mean?"


"Wretch!" said the voice.

"Yes, I confess," said Chicot; "I am a hardened sinner, a dreadful

"Then acknowledge your crimes, and repent."

"I acknowledge to have been a great traitor to my cousin Conde,
whose wife I seduced."

"Oh! hush," said the king, "that is so long ago."

"I acknowledge," continued Chicot, "to have been a great rogue
to the Poles, who chose me for king, and whom I abandoned one
night, carrying away the crown jewels. I repent of this."

"Ah!" whispered Henri again: "that is all forgotten."

"Hush! let me speak."

"Go on," said the voice.

"I acknowledge having stolen the crown from my brother D'Alencon,
to whom it belonged of right, as I had formerly renounced it on
accepting the crown of Poland."

"Knave!" said the king.

"Go on," said the voice.

"I acknowledge having joined my mother, to chase from France
my brother-in-law, the King of Navarre, after having destroyed
all his friends."

"Ah!" whispered the king, angrily.

"Sire, do not let us offend God, by trying to hide what He knows
as well as we do."

"Leave politics," said the voice.

"Ah!" cried Chicot, with a doleful voice, "is it my private life
I am to speak of?"


"I acknowledge, then, that I am effeminate, idle, and hypocritical."

"It is true."

"I have ill-treated my wife--such a worthy woman."

"One ought to love one's wife as one's self, and prefer her to
all things," said the voice, angrily.

"Ah!" cried Chicot, "then I have sinned deeply."

"And you have made others sin by your example."

"It is true."

"Especially that poor St. Luc; and if you do not send him home
to-morrow to his wife, there will be no pardon for you."

"Ah!" said Chicot to the king, "the voice seems to be friendly
to the house of Cosse."

"And you must make him a duke, to recompense him for his forced

"Peste!" said Chicot; "the angel is much interested for M. de
St. Luc."

"Oh!" cried the king, without listening, "this voice from on high
will kill me."

"Voice from the side, you mean," said Chicot.

"How I voice from the side?"

"Yes; can you not hear that the voice comes from that wall,
Henri?--the angel lodges in the Louvre."


"Why, it is honorable for you; but you do not seem to recognize
it. Go and visit him; he is only separated from you by that

A ray of the moon falling on Chicot's face, showed it to the
king so laughing and amused, that he said, "What! you dare to

"Yes, and so will you in a minute. Be reasonable, and do as I
tell you. Go and see if the angel be not in the next room."

"But if he speak again?"

"Well, I am here to answer. He is vastly credulous. For the last
quarter of an hour I have been talking, and he has not recognized
me. It is not clever!"

Henri frowned. "I begin to believe you are right, Chicot," said

"Go, then."

Henri opened softly the door which led into the corridor. He
had scarcely entered it, when he heard the voice redoubling its
reproaches, and Chicot replying.

"Yes," said the voice, "you are as inconstant as a woman, as soft
as a Sybarite, as irreligious as a heathen."

"Oh!" whined Chicot, "is it my fault if I have such a soft skin--such
white hands--such a changeable mind? But from to-day I will alter--I
will wear coarse linen----"

However, as Henri advanced, he found that Chicot's voice grew
fainter, and the other louder, and that it seemed to come from
St. Luc's room, in which he could see a light. He stooped down
and peeped through the keyhole, and immediately grew pale with

"Par la mordieu!" murmured he, "is it possible that they have
dared to play such a trick?"

This is what he saw through the keyhole. St. Luc, in a dressing-gown,
was roaring through a tube the words which he had found so dreadful,
and beside him, leaning on his shoulder, was a lady in white, who
every now and then took the tube from him, and called through
something herself, while stifled bursts of laughter accompanied
each sentence of Chicot's, who continued to answer in a doleful

"Jeanne de Cosse in St. Luc's room! A hole in the wall! such
a trick on me! Oh! they shall pay dearly for it!". And with a
vigorous kick he burst open the door.

Jeanne rushed behind the curtains to hide herself, while St.
Luc, his face full of terror, fell on his knees before the king,
who was pale with rage.

"Ah!" cried Chicot, from the bed, "Ah! mercy!--Holy Virgin! I
am dying!"

Henri, seizing, in a transport of rage, the trumpet from the
hands of St. Luc, raised it as if to strike. But St. Luc jumped
up and cried--

"Sire, I am a gentleman; you have no right to strike me!"

Henri dashed the trumpet violently on the ground. Some one picked
it up; it was Chicot, who, hearing the noise, judged that his
presence was necessary as a mediator. He ran to the curtain,
and, drawing out poor Jeanne, all trembling--

"Oh!" said he, "Adam and Eve after the Fall. You send them away,
Henri, do you not?"


"Then I will be the exterminating angel."

And throwing himself between, the king and St. Luc, and waving
the trumpet over the heads of the guilty couple, said--

"This is my Paradise, which you have lost by your disobedience;
I forbid you to return to it."

Then he whispered to St. Luc, who had his arm round his wife--

"If you have a good horse, kill it, but be twenty leagues from
here before to-morrow."



When Bussy returned home again, he was still thinking of his dream.

"Morbleu!" said he, "it is impossible that a dream should have left
such a vivid impression on my mind. I see it all so clearly;--the
bed, the lady, the doctor. I must seek for it--surely I can find
it again." Then Bussy, after having the bandage of his wound
resettled by a valet, put on high boots, took his sword, wrapped
himself in his cloak, and set off for the same place where he had
been nearly murdered the night before, and nearly at the same

He went in a litter to the Rue Roi-de-Sicile, then got out, and
told his servants to wait for him. It was about nine in the evening,
the curfew had sounded, and Paris was deserted. Bussy arrived
at the Bastile, then he sought for the place where his horse
had fallen, and thought he had found it; he next endeavored to
repeat his movements of the night before, retreated to the wall,
and examined every door to find the corner against which he had
leaned, but all the doors seemed alike.

"Pardieu!" said he, "if I were to knock at each of these doors
question all the lodgers, spend a thousand crowns to make valets
and old women speak, I might learn what I want to know. There
are fifty houses; it would take me at least five nights."

As he spoke, he perceived a small and trembling light approaching.

This light advanced slowly, and irregularly, stopping occasionally,
moving on again, and going first to the right, then to the left,
then, for a minute, coming straight on, and again diverging.
Bussy leaned against a door, and waited. The light continued
to advance, and soon he could see a black figure, which, as it
advanced, took the form of a man, holding a lantern in his left
hand. He appeared to Bussy to belong to the honorable fraternity
of drunkards, for nothing else seemed to explain the eccentric
movements of the lantern. At last he slipped over a piece of
ice, and fell. Bussy was about to come forward and offer his
assistance, but the man and the lantern were quickly up again,
and advanced directly towards him, when he saw, to his great
surprise, that the man had a bandage over his eyes. "Well!" thought
he, "it is a strange thing to play at blind man's buff with a
lantern in your hand. Am I beginning to dream again? And, good
heavens! he is talking to himself. If he be not drunk or mad,
he is a mathematician."

This last surmise was suggested by the words that Bussy heard.

"488, 489, 490," murmured the man, "it must be near here." And
then he raised his bandage, and finding himself in front of a
house, examined it attentively.

"No, it is not this," he said. Then, putting back his bandage,
he recommenced his walk and his calculations. "491, 492, 493,
494; I must be close." And he raised his bandage again, and,
approaching the door next to that against which Bussy was standing,
began again to examine.

"Hum!" said he, "it might, but all these doors are so alike."

"The same reflection I have just made," thought Bussy.

However, the mathematician now advanced to the next door, and
going up to it, found himself face to face with Bussy.

"Oh!" cried he, stepping back.

"Oh!" cried Bussy.

"It is not possible."

"Yes; but it is extraordinary. You are the doctor?"

"And you the gentleman?"

"Just so."

"Mon Dieu! how strange."

"The doctor," continued Bussy, "who yesterday dressed a wound
for a gentleman?"

"Yes, in the right side."

"Exactly so. You had a gentle, light, and skilful hand."

"Ah, sir, I did not expect to find you here."

"But what were you looking for?"

"The house."

"Then you do not know it?"

"How should I? They brought me here with my eyes bandaged."

"Then you really came here?"

"Either to this house or the next."

"Then I did not dream?"


"I confess I feared it was all a dream."

"Ah! I fancied there was some mystery."

"A mystery which you must help me to unravel."


"What is your name?"

"Monsieur, to such a question I ought, perhaps, to reply by looking
fierce, and saying, 'Yours, monsieur, if you please; but you have
a long sword, and I only a lancet; you seem to me a gentleman,
and I cannot appear so to you, for I am wet and dirty. Therefore,
I reply frankly: I am called Remy-le-Haudouin."

"Very well, monsieur; I thank you. I am Louis de Clermont, Comte
de Bussy."

"Bussy d'Amboise! the hero Bussy!" cried the young doctor, joyfully.
"What, monsieur, you are that famous Bussy----?"

"I am Bussy," replied he. "And now, wet and dirty as you are,
will you satisfy my curiosity?"

"The fact is," said the young man, "that I shall be obliged,
like Epaminondas the Theban, to stay two days at home, for I
have but one doublet and trousers. But, pardon, you did me the
honor to question me, I think?"

"Yes, monsieur, I asked you how you came to this house?"

"M. le Comte, this is how it happened; I lodge in the Rue
Beauheillis, 502 steps from here. I am a poor surgeon, not unskilful,
I hope."

"I can answer for that."

"And who has studied much, but without any patients. Seven or
eight days ago, a man having received behind the Arsenal a stab
with a knife, I sewed up the wound, and cured him. This made for
me some reputation in the neighborhood, to which I attribute
the happiness of having been last night awoke by a pretty voice."

"A woman's?"

"Yes, but, rustic as I am, I knew it to be the voice of a servant.
I know them well."

"And what did you do?"

"I rose and opened my door, but scarcely had I done so, when two
little hands, not very soft, but not very hard, put a bandage
over my eyes, without saying anything."

"'Oh!' she said, 'come, do not try to see where you are going,
be discreet, here is your recompense;' and she placed in my hand
a purse."

"Ah! and what did you say?"

"That I was ready to follow my charming conductress. I did not
know if she were charming or not, but I thought that the epithet,
even if exaggerated, could do no harm."

"And you asked no more?"

"I had often read these kinds of histories in books, and I had
remarked that they always turned out well for the doctor. Therefore
I followed, and I counted 498 paces."

"Good; then this must be the door."

"It cannot be far off, at all events, unless she led me by some
detour, which I half suspect."

"But did she pronounce no name?"


"But you remarked something?"

"All that one could with one's fingers, a door with nails, then
a passage, and then a staircase----"

"On the left?"

"Yes; and I counted the steps. Then I think we came to a corridor,
for they opened three doors."


"Then I heard another voice, and that belonged to the mistress,
I am sure; it was sweet and gentle."

"Yes, yes, it was hers."

"Good, it was hers."

"I am sure of it."

"Then they pushed me into the room where you were, and told me
to take off my bandage, when I saw you----"

"Where was I?"

"On a bed."

"A bed of white and gold damask?"


"In a room hung with tapestry?"

"Just so."

"And a painted ceiling?"

"Yes, and between two windows----"

"A portrait?"


"Representing a woman about nineteen?"


"Blonde, and beautiful as an angel?"

"More beautiful."

"Bravo! what did you do then?"

"I dressed your wound."

"And, ma foi! very well."

"As well as I could."

"Admirably! this morning it was nearly well."

"It is thanks to a balm I have composed, and which appears to
me sovereign, for many times, not knowing who to practise upon,
I have made wounds on myself, and they were always well in two
or three days."

"My dear M. Remy, you are a charming doctor. Well, afterwards?"

"You fainted again. The voice asked me how you were."

"From whence?"

"From a room at the side."

"So you did not see her?"


"And you replied?"

"That the wound was not dangerous, and in twenty-four hours would
be well."

"She seemed pleased?"

"Charmed; for she cried, 'I am very glad of that.'"

"My dear M. Remy, I will make your fortune. Well?"

"That was all; I had no more to do; and the voice said, 'M.

"She knew your name?"

"Yes; 'M. Remy,' said she, 'be a man of honor to the last; do not
compromise a poor woman carried away by an excess of humanity.
Take your bandage, and let them take you straight home.'"

"You promised?"

"I gave my word."

"And you kept it?"

"As you see, for I am seeking now."

"You are an honest man, and here is my hand," cried Bussy.

"Monsieur, it will be an eternal glory for me to have touched
the hand of Bussy d'Amboise. However, I have a scruple. There
were ten pistoles in the purse."


"It is too much for a man who charges five sous for his visits,
when he does not give them gratis, and I was seeking the house----"

"To return the purse?"

"Just so."

"My dear M. Remy, it is too much delicacy; you have earned the
money well, and may surely keep it."

"You think so?" said Remy, well pleased.

"But I also am in your debt; indeed, it was I who ought to have
paid you, and not the lady. Come, give me your confidence. What
do you do in Paris?"

"What do I do? I do nothing; but I would if I had a connection."

"Well, that is just right; I will give you a patient. Will you
have me? I am famous practise; for there is scarcely a day when
I do not deface God's noblest work for others, or they for me.
Will you undertake the care of all the holes I make in the skin
of others or others in mine?"

"Ah, M. le Comte! this honor."

"No; you are just the man I want. You shall come and live with
me; you shall have your own rooms, and your own servants; accept,
or you will really annoy me."

"M. le Comte, I am so overjoyed, I cannot express it. I will work--I
will make a connection----"

"But, no, I tell you, I keep you for myself and my friends. Now,
do you remember anything more?"


"Ah, well! help me to find out, if it be possible."

"I will."

"And you, who are a man of observation, how do you account for
it, that after being doctored by you, I found myself by the Temple,
close to the ditch."


"Yes, I. Did you help to take me there?"

"Certainly not, and I should have opposed it if they had consulted
me; for the cold might have done you much harm."

"Then I can tell nothing. Will you search a little more with me?"

"I will if you wish it; but I much fear it will be useless for
all these houses are alike."

"Well, we must come again by day."

"Yes; but then we shall be seen."

"Then we must inquire."

"We will, monseigneur."

"And we shall unravel the mystery. Be sure, Remy, now there are
two of us to work."



It was more than joy, it was almost delirium, which agitated
Bussy when he had acquired the certainty that the lady of his
dream was a reality, and had, in fact, given him that generous
hospitality of which he had preserved the vague remembrance in
his heart. He would not let the young doctor go, but, dirty as
he was, made him get into the litter with him; he feared that if
he lost sight of him, he too would vanish like a dream. He would
have liked to talk all night of the unknown lady, and explain
to Remy how superior she was even to her portrait; but Remy,
beginning his functions at once, insisted that he should go to
bed: fatigue and pain gave the same counsel and these united
powers carried the point.

The next day, on awaking, he found Remy at his bedside. The young
man could hardly believe in his good fortune, and wanted to see
Bussy again to be sure of it.

"Well!" said he, "how are you, M. le Comte?"

"Quite well, my dear Esculapius; and you, are you satisfied?"

"So satisfied, my generous protector, that I would not change
places with the king. But I now must see the wound."

"Look." And Bussy turned round for the young surgeon to take
off the bandage. All looked well; the wound was nearly closed.
Bussy, quite happy, had slept well, and sleep and happiness had
aided the doctor.

"Well," said Bussy, "what do you say?"

"I dare not tell you that you are nearly well, for fear you should
send me back to the Rue Beauheillis, five hundred paces from
the famous house."

"Which we will find, will we not, Remy?"

"I should think so."

"Well, my friend, look on yourself as one of the house, and to-day,
while you move your things, let me go to the fete of the installation
of the new chief huntsman."

"Ah! you want to commit follies already."

"No, I promise to be very reasonable."

"But you must ride."

"It is necessary."

"Have you a horse with an easy pace?

"I have four to choose from."

"Well, take for to-day the one you would choose for the lady of
the portrait you know."

"Know! Ah, Remy, you have found the way to my heart forever; I
feared you would prevent me from going to this chase, or rather
this imitation of one, and all the ladies of the Court, and many
from the City, will be admitted to it. Now, Remy, this lady may be
there. She certainly is not a simple bourgeoise--those tapestries,
that bed, so much luxury as well as good taste, show a woman of
quality, or, at least, a rich one. If I were to meet her there!"

"All is possible," replied Remy, philosophically.

"Except to find the house," sighed Bussy. "Or to penetrate when
we have found it."

"Oh! I have a method."

"What is it?"

"Get another sword wound."

"Good; that gives me the hope that you will keep me."

"Be easy, I feel as if I had known you for twenty years, and could
not do without you."

The handsome face of the young doctor grew radiant with joy.

"Well, then," said he, "it is decided; you go to the chase to
look for the lady, and I go to look for the house."

"It will be curious if we each succeed."

There had been a great chase commanded in the Bois de Vincennes,
for M. de Monsoreau to enter on his functions of chief huntsman.
Most people had believed, from the scene of the day before, that
the king would not attend, and much astonishment was expressed
when it was announced that he had set off with his brother and
all the court. The rendezvous was at the Point St. Louis. It was
thus they named a cross-road where the martyr king used to sit
under an oak-tree and administer justice. Everyone was therefore
assembled here at nine o'clock, when the new officer, object of
the general curiosity, unknown as he was to almost everyone,
appeared on a magnificent black horse. All eyes turned towards

He was a man about thirty-five, tall, marked by the smallpox,
and with a disagreeable expression. Dressed in a jacket of green
cloth braided with silver, with a silver shoulder belt, on which
the king's arms were embroidered in gold; on his head a cap with
a long plume; in his left hand a spear, and in his right the
estortuaire [Footnote: The estortuaire was a stick, which the
chief huntsman presented to the king, to put aside the branches
of the trees when he was going at full gallop.] destined for
the king, M. de Monsoreau might look like a terrible warrior,
but not certainly like a handsome cavalier.

"Fie! what an ugly figure you have brought us, monseigneur,"
said Bussy, to the Duc d'Anjou, "are these the sort of gentlemen
that your favor seeks for out of the provinces? Certainly, one
could hardly find such in Paris, which is nevertheless as well
stocked with ugliness. They say that your highness made a great
point of the king's appointing this man."

"M. de Monsoreau has served me well, and I recompense him," replied
the duke.

"Well said, monseigneur, it is rare for princes to be grateful;
but if that be all, I also have served you well, and should wear
the embroidered jacket more gracefully, I trust, than M. de
Monsoreau. He has a red beard, I see also, which is an additional

"I never knew that a man must be an Apollo, or Antinous, to fill
an office at court."

"You never heard it; astonishing!"

"I consult the heart and not the face--the services rendered and

"Your highness will say I am very envious; but I search, and
uselessly, I confess, to discover what service this Monsoreau
can have rendered you."

"You are too curious, Bussy," said the duke, angrily.

"Just like princes," cried Bussy, with his ordinary freedom,
"they ask you everything; but if you ask a question in return,
you are too curious."

"Well! go and ask M. de Monsoreau, himself."

"Ah! you are right. He is but a simple gentleman, and if he do
not reply, I shall know what to say."


"Tell him he is impertinent." And, turning from the prince, Bussy
approached M. de Monsoreau, who was in the midst of the circle.

Bussy approached, gay and smiling, and his hat in his hand.

"Pardon, monsieur, but you seem all alone. Is it that the favor
which you enjoy has already made you enemies?"

"I do not know, monsieur, but it is probable. But, may I ask,
to what I owe the honor that you do me in invading my solitude?"

"Ma foi, to the great admiration that M. le Duc d'Anjou has inspired
in me for you."

"How so?"

"By recounting to me the exploit for which you were made chief

M. de Monsoreau grew so frightfully pale, that the marks in his
face looked like black spots on his yellow skin; at the same
time he looked at Bussy in a manner that portended a violent
storm. Bussy saw that he had done wrong; but he was not a man
to draw back; on the contrary, he was one of those who generally
repair an indiscretion by an impertinence.

"You say, monsieur," said Monsoreau, "that the Duke recounted
to you my last exploit?"

"Yes, monsieur, but I should much like to hear the story from
your own lips."

M. de Monsoreau clasped his dagger tighter in his hand, as though
he longed to attack Bussy.

"Ma foi, monsieur," said he, "I was quite disposed to grant your
request, and recognize your courtesy, but unfortunately here
is the king arriving, so we must leave it for another time."

Indeed, the king, mounted on his favorite Spanish horse, advanced
rapidly towards them. He loved handsome faces, and was therefore
little pleased with that of M. de Monsoreau. However, he accepted,
with a good grace, the estortuaire which he presented to him,
kneeling, according to custom. As soon as the king was armed,
the chase commenced.

Bussy watched narrowly everyone that passed, looking for the
original of the portrait, but in vain; there were pretty, even
beautiful and charming women, but not the charming creature whom
he sought for. He was reduced to conversation, and the company
of his ordinary friends. Antragues, always laughing and talking,
was a great amusement.

"We have a frightful chief huntsman," said he to Bussy, "do you
not think so?"

"I find him horrible; what a family it must be if his children
are like him. Do you know his wife?"

"He is not married."

"How do you know?"

"From Madame de Vendron, who finds him very handsome, and would
willingly make him her fourth husband. See how she keeps near

"What property has he?"

"Oh! a great deal in Anjou."

"Then he is rich?"

"They say so, but that is all; he is not of very good birth. But
see, there is M. le Duc d'Anjou calling to you."

"Ah! ma foi, he must wait. I am curious about this man. I find
him singular, I hardly know why. And such an odd name."

"Oh! it comes from Mons Soricis; Livarot knows all about that.--Here,
Livarot; this Monsoreau----"


"Tell us what you know about him----"

"Willingly. Firstly, I am afraid of him."

"Good, that is what you think; now tell us what you know."

"Listen. I was going home one night----"

"It begins in a terrible manner."

"Pray let me finish. It was about six months ago, I was returning
from my uncle D'Entragues, through the wood of Meridor, when
all at once I heard a frightful cry, and I saw pass, with an
empty saddle, a white horse, rushing through the wood. I rode
on, and at the end of a long avenue, darkened by the approaching
shades of night, I saw a man on a black horse; he seemed to fly.
Then I heard again the same cry, and I distinguished before him
on the saddle a woman, on whose mouth he had his hand. I had a
gun in my hand--you know I aim well, and I should have killed
him, but my gun missed fire."


"I asked a woodcutter who this gentleman on the black horse was,
and he said, 'M. de Monsoreau.'"

"Well," said Antragues, "it is not so uncommon to carry away a
woman, is it, Bussy?"

"No; but, at least, one might let them cry out."

"And who was the woman?"

"That I do not know; but he has a bad reputation,"

"Do you know anything else about him?"

"No; but he is much feared by his tenantry. However, he is a
good hunter, and will fill his post better than St. Luc would
have done, for whom it was first destined."

"Do you know where St. Luc is?"

"No; is he still the king's prisoner?"

"Not at all; he set off at one o'clock this morning to visit his
country house with his wife."


"It looks like it."


"True as the gospel; Marshal de Brissac told me so this morning."

"Well! it has served M. de Monsoreau----"

"Ah! I know now."

"Know what?"

"The service that he rendered to the duke."

"Who? St. Luc?"

"No; Monsoreau."


"Yes, you shall see; come with me," and Bussy, followed by Livarot
and Antragues, galloped after the Duc d'Anjou.

"Ah, monseigneur," said he, "what a precious man M. de Monsoreau

"Ah! really; then you spoke to him?"


"And asked him what he had done for me?"

"Certainly; that was all I spoke to him for."

"And what did he say?"

"He courteously confessed that he was your purveyor."

"Of game?"

"No; of women."

"What do you mean, Bussy?" cried the duke angrily.

"I mean, monseigneur, that he carries away women for you on his
great black horse, and that as they are ignorant of the honor
reserved for them, he puts his hand on their mouths to prevent
their crying out."

The duke frowned, and ground his teeth with anger, grew pale,
and galloped on so fast, that Bussy and his, companions were
left in the rear.

"Ah! ah! it seems that the joke is a good one," said Antragues.

"And so much the better, that everyone does not seem to find it
a joke," said Bussy.

A moment after, they heard the duke's voice calling Bussy. He
went, and found the duke laughing.

"Oh!" said he, "it appears that what I said was droll."

"I am not laughing at what you said."

"So much the worse; I should have liked to have made a prince
laugh, who hardly ever does so."

"I laugh at your inventing a false story to find out the true

"No, I told you the truth."

"Well, then, as we are alone, tell me your little history. Where
did it happen?"

"In the wood of Meridor."

The duke grew pale again, but did not speak.

"Decidedly," thought Bussy, "the duke is mixed up with that story.
Pardieu! monseigneur," said he, "as M. de Monsoreau seems to
have found the method of pleasing you so well, teach it to me."

"Pardieu! yes, Bussy, I will tell you how. Listen; I met, by
chance, at church, a charming woman, and as some features of
her face, which I only saw through a veil, recalled to me a lady
whom I had much loved, I followed her, and found out where she
lived. I have gained over her servant, and have a key of the

"Well, monseigneur, all seems to go well for you."

"But they say she is a great prude, although free, young, and

"Ah! you are romancing."

"Well, you are brave, and love me?"

"I have my days."

"For being brave?"

"No, for loving you."

"Well, is this one of the days?"

"I will try and make it one, if I can serve your highness."

"Well, I want you to do for me what most people do for themselves."

"Make love to her, to find out if she be a prude?"

"No, find out if she has a lover. I want you to lay in wait and
discover who the man is that visits her."

"There is a man then?"

"I fear so."

"Lover, or husband?"

"That is what I want to know."

"And you want me to find out?"

"If you will do me that great favor----"

"You will make me the next chief huntsman."

"I have never yet done anything for you."

"Oh! you have discovered that at last."

"Well, do you consent?"

"To watch the lady?"


"Monseigneur, I confess I do not like the commission."

"You offered to do me a service, and you draw back already!"

"Because you want me to be a spy."

"I ask you as a friend."

"Monseigneur, this is a sort of thing that every man must do for
himself, even if he be a prince."

"Then you refuse?"

"Ma foi! yes."

The duke frowned. "Well, I will go myself," said he, "and if I am
killed or wounded, I shall say that I begged my friend Bussy to.
undertake the task, and that for the first time he was prudent."

"Monseigneur, you said to me the other night, 'Bussy, I hate
all those minions of the king's who are always laughing at and
insulting us; go to this wedding of St. Luc's, pick a quarrel
and try to get rid of them.' I went; they were five and I was
alone. I defied them all; they laid wait for me, attacked me
all together, and killed my horse, yet I wounded three of them.
To-day you ask me to wrong a woman. Pardon, monseigneur, but that
is past the service which a prince should exact from a gallant
man, and I refuse."

"So be it; I will do my work myself, or with Aurilly, as I have
done already."

"Oh!" said Bussy, with a sudden thought.


"Were you engaged on it the night when you saw the ambush laid
for me?"

"Just so."

"Then your beautiful unknown lives near the Bastile."

"Opposite the Rue St. Catherine. It is a dangerous place, as you

"Has your highness been there since?"


"And you saw?"

"A man spying all about and who at last stopped at her door."

"Was he alone?"

"Yes, at first. Afterwards he was joined by another, with a lantern
in his hand."


"Then they began to talk together, and at last, tired of waiting,
I went away. And before I venture into the house where I might
be killed----"

"You would like one of your friends to try it."

"They would not have my enemies, nor run the same risk; and then
they might report to me----"

"In your place I would give up this woman."

"No, she is too beautiful."

"You said you hardly saw her."

"I saw her enough to distinguish splendid blonde hair, magnificent
eyes, and such a complexion!"

"Ah! ah!"

"You understand! one does not easily renounce such a woman."

"No, I feel for you."

"You jest."

"No, on my word, and the proof is, that if you will give me my
instructions, I will watch this evening."

"You retract your decision?"

"There is no one but the pope infallible; now tell me what I am
to do."

"You will have to hide a little way off, and if a man enter, follow
him to find out who he is?"

"But if, in entering, he close the door behind him?"

"I told you I had a key."

"Ah! true; then there is only one more thing to fear, that I should
follow a wrong man to a wrong door."

"You cannot mistake; this door is the door of an alley, and at
the end of the alley there is a staircase; mount twelve steps,
and you will be in a corridor."

"How do you know all this, if you have never been in?"

"Did I not tell you I had gained over the servant? She told me

"Mon Dieu! how convenient it is to be a prince. I should have
had to find out all for myself, which would have taken me an
enormous time, and I might have failed after all."

"Then you consent?"

"Can I refuse your highness? But will you come with me to show
me the house?"

"Useless; as we return from the chase, we will make a detour,
and pass through the Porte St. Antoine, and I will point it out
to you."

"Very well, and what am I to do to the man if he comes?"

"Only follow him till you learn who he is. I leave to you your
mode of action. And not a word to any one."

"No, on my honor."

"And you will go alone?"


"Well, then, it is settled; I show you the door on our way home;
then you come with me, and I give you the key." Bussy and the
prince then rejoined the rest. The king was charmed with the
manner in which M. de Monsoreau had conducted the chase.

"Monseigneur," then said M. de Monsoreau to the duke,
"I owe my place and these compliments to you."

"But you know that you must go to-night to Fontainebleau, where
the king will hunt to-morrow and the day after."

"I know, monseigneur; I am prepared to start to-night."

"Ah, M. de Monsoreau, there is no more rest for you," said Bussy,
"you wished to be chief huntsman, and you are so, and now you will
have at least fifty nights' rest less than other men. Luckily
you are not married."

At this joke, Monsoreau's face was covered once more with that
hideous paleness which gave to him so sinister an aspect.



The chase terminated about four o'clock in the evening, and at
five all the court returned to Paris. As they passed by the Bastile,
the duke said to Bussy, "Look to the right, at that little wooden
house with a statue of the Virgin before it; well, count four
houses from that. It is the fifth you have to go to, just fronting
the Rue St. Catherine."

"I see it; and look! at the sound of the trumpets announcing the
king, all the windows are filled with gazers."

"Except the one I show you, where the curtains remain closed."

"But there is a corner lifted," said Bussy, with a beating heart.

"Yes, but we can see nothing. The lady is well guarded. However,
that is the house."

When Bussy returned, he said to Remy, "Have you discovered the

"No, monseigneur."

"Well, I believe I have been more lucky."

"How so, monsieur, have you been seeking?"

"I passed through the street."

"And you recognized the house?"

"Providence, my dear friend, has mysterious ways."

"Then you are sure?"

"Not sure, but I hope."

"And when shall I know if you are right?"

"To-morrow morning."

"Meanwhile, do you want me?"

"No, my dear Remy."

"Shall I not follow you?"


"Be prudent, monseigneur."

"Ah! the recommendation is useless, my prudence is well known."

Bussy dined like a man who does not know when he will sup, then,
at eight o'clock, choosing the best of his swords, and attaching,
in spite of the king's orders, a pair of pistols to his belt,
went in his litter to the corner of the Rue St. Paul.

He easily recognized the house again, and then, wrapped in his
cloak, hid at the corner of the street, determined to wait for
two hours, and at the end of that time, if no one came, to act
for himself. He had scarcely been there ten minutes, when he
saw two cavaliers coming. One of them dismounted, gave his horse
to the other, who was probably a lackey, and who went away with
the horses, and advanced towards the house pointed out to Bussy,
and, after glancing round to see if he were observed, opened
the door and went in. Bussy waited two or three minutes, and
then followed him. He advanced slowly and softly, found the
staircase, and went up. In the corridor he stopped, for he heard
a voice say, "Gertrude, tell your mistress that it is I, and
that I must come in."

This was said in an imperious tone, and, a minute after, Bussy
heard a woman's voice say:

"Pass into the drawing-room, Monsieur, and madame will come to

Then he heard the sound of a door shutting. He made a few steps
silently, and extending his hand, felt a door; he went in, found
a second in which was a key; he turned it, and entered the room
tremblingly. The room in which he found himself was dark, except
from the light shining from another. By this he could see two
windows, hung with tapestry, which sent a thrill of joy through
the young man's heart. On the ceiling he could faintly see the
mythological figures; he extended his hand, and felt the sculptured
bed. There was no more doubt, he was in the room where he had
awakened the night of his wound.

Bussy hid behind the bed-curtains to listen. He heard in the
adjoining room the impatient step of the unknown; from time to
time he stopped, murmuring between his teeth, "Will she come?"

Presently a door opened, and the rustling of a silk dress struck
on Bussy's ear. Then he heard a woman's voice, expressive at
once of fear and disdain, saying:

"Here I am, monsieur, what do you want now?"

"Madame," replied the man, "I have the honor of telling you that,
forced to set off to-morrow morning for Fontainebleau, I come
to pass the night with you."

"Do you bring me news of my father?"

"Madame, listen to me----"

"Monsieur, you know what we agreed yesterday, when I consented
to become your wife, that, before all things, either my father
should come to Paris, or I should go to him."

"Madame, as soon as I return from Fontainebleau, I give you my
word of honor, but meanwhile----"

"Oh! monsieur, do not close the door, it is useless; I will not
pass a single night under the same roof with you until you bring
me my father." And the lady, who spoke, thus, whistled through a
silver whistle, which was then the manner of calling servants.

Immediately the door opened, and a young, vigorous-looking girl
entered. As she went in, she left the door open, which threw
a strong light into the room where Bussy was hid, and between
the two windows he saw the portrait. Bussy now crept noiselessly
along to where he could peep into the room. However carefully he
moved, the floor creaked. At the noise the lady turned, she was
the original of the portrait. The man, seeing her turn, turned
also; it was M. de Monsoreau.

"Ah!" thought Bussy, "the white horse, the woman carried away,
there is some terrible history."

Bussy, as we have said, could see them both; she, standing up,
pale and disdainful. He, not pale, but livid, agitated his foot

"Madame," said he, at last, "do not hope to continue with me
this character of a persecuted woman; you are at Paris, in my
house, and, still more, you are Comtesse de Monsoreau, that is
to say, my Wife.

"If I am your wife, why refuse to conduct me to my father? Why
continue to hide me from the eyes of the world?"

"You have forgotten the Duc d'Anjou, madame."

"You assured me that, once your wife, I should have no more to
fear from him."

"That is to say----"

"You promised me that."

"But still, madame, I must take precautions."

"Well, monsieur, when you have taken them, return to me."

"Diana," said the count, who was growing visibly angry, "Diana,
do not make a jest of this sacred tie."

"Act so, monsieur, that I can have confidence in the husband,
and I will respect the marriage."

"Oh! this is too much!" cried the count. "I am in my own house,
you are my wife, and this night you shall be mine."

Bussy put his hand on his sword-hilt, and made a step forward,
but Diana did not give him time to appear.

"Stay," said she, drawing a poignard from her belt, "here is
my answer." And rushing into the room where Bussy was, she shut
the door and locked it, while Monsoreau exhausted himself in
menaces and in blows on the door.

"If you break this door you will find me dead on the threshold."

"And be easy, madame, you shall be revenged," said Bussy.

Diana was about to utter a cry, but her fear of her husband was
strong enough to restrain her. She remained pale and trembling,
but mute.

M. de Monsoreau struck violently with his foot, but convinced
that Diana would execute her menace, went out of the drawing-room,
shutting the door violently behind him. Then they heard him going
down the stairs.

"But you, monsieur," said Diana, turning to Bussy, "who are you,
and how came you here?"

"Madame," said Bussy, opening the door, and kneeling before her,
"I am the man whose life you preserved. You cannot think that I
come to your house with any bad designs." As the light streamed
in, Diana recognized him at once.

"Ah! you here, monsieur," cried she, clasping her hands, "you
were here--you heard all?"

"Alas! yes, madame."

"But who are you? your name, monsieur?"

"Madame, I am Louis de Clermont, Comte de Bussy."

"Bussy! you are the brave Bussy!" cried Diana, filling with joy
the heart of the young man. "Ah! Gertrude!" cried she, turning
to her servant, who, hearing her mistress talking to some one,
had entered in terror, "Gertrude, I have no more to fear, for
from this time I place myself under the safeguard of the most
noble and loyal gentleman in France." Then holding out her hand
to Bussy.

"Rise, monsieur," said she, "I know who you are, now you must
know who I am."



Bussy rose, bewildered at his own happiness, and entered with
Diana into the room which M. de Monsoreau had just quitted. He
looked at Diana with astonishment and admiration; he had not
dared to hope that the woman whom he had sought for, would equal
the woman of his dream, and now the reality surpassed all that
he had taken for a caprice of his imagination. Diana was about
nineteen, that is to say in the first eclat of that youth and
beauty which gives the purest coloring to the flower, the finest
flavor to the fruit. There was no mistaking the looks of Bussy;
Diana felt herself admired. At last she broke the silence.

"Monsieur," said she, "you have told me who you are, but not how
you came here."

"Madame, the cause of my presence here will come naturally out
of the recital you have been good enough to promise me; I am
sure of it, from some words of your conversation with M. de

"I will tell you all, monsieur; your name has been sufficient
to inspire me with full confidence, for I have always heard of
it as of that of a man of honor, loyalty, and courage."

Bussy bowed, and Diana went on.

"I am the daughter of the Baron de Meridor--that is to say, the
only heiress of one of the noblest and oldest names in Anjou."

"There was," said Bussy, "a Baron de Meridor, who, although he
could have saved himself, came voluntarily and gave up his sword
at the battle of Pavia, when he heard that the king was a prisoner,
and begged to accompany Francis to Madrid, partook his captivity,
and only quitted him to come to France and negotiate his ransom."

"It was my father, monsieur, and if ever you enter the great
hall of the Chateau de Meridor you will see, given in memory of
this devotion, the portrait of Francis I., painted by Leonardo
da Vinci."

"Ah!" said Bussy, "in those times kings knew how to recompense
their followers."

"On his return from Spain my father married. His two first children,
sons, died. This was a great grief to the Baron de Meridor. When
the king died, my father quitted the court, and shut himself
with his wife in the Chateau de Meridor. It was there that I was
born, ten years after the death of my brothers.

"Then all the love of the baron was concentrated on the child
of his old age; his love for me was idolatry. Three years after
my birth I lost my mother, and, too young to feel my loss, my
smiles helped to console my father. As I was all to him, so was
he also all to me. I attained my sixteenth year without dreaming

Book of the day: