Part 3 out of 12
of any other world than that of my sheep, my peacocks, my swans,
and my doves, without imagining that this life would change,
or wishing that it should.
"The castle of Meridor was surrounded by vast forests, belonging
to the Duc d'Anjou; they were filled with deer and stags, whom
no one thought of tormenting, and who had grown quite familiar
to me; some of them would even come when I called them, and one,
a doe, my favorite Daphne, my poor Daphne, would come and eat
out of my hand.
"One spring I had missed her for a month, and was ready to weep
for her as for a friend, when she reappeared with two little
fawns. At first they were afraid of me, but seeing their mother
caress me, they soon learned to do the same.
"About this time we heard that the Duc d'Anjou had sent a governor
into the province, and that he was called the Comte de Monsoreau.
A week passed, during which everyone spoke of the new governor.
One morning the woods resounded with the sound of the horn, and
the barking of dogs. I ran to the park, and arrived just in time
to see Daphne, followed by her two fawns, pass like lightning,
pursued by a pack of hounds. An instant after, mounted on a black
horse, M. de Monsoreau flew past me.
"I cried out and implored pity for my poor protegee, but he did
not hear me. Then I ran after him, hoping to meet either the
count or some of his suite and determined to implore them to stop
this chase, which pierced my heart. I ran for some time without
knowing where, for I had lost sight of both dogs and hunters.
"Soon I could not even hear them, so I sat down at the foot of
a tree, and began to cry. I had been there about a quarter of
an hour, when I heard the chase again. The noise came nearer and
nearer, and, darting forward, I saw my poor Daphne again; she
had but one fawn with her now, the other had given way through
fatigue. She herself was growing visibly tired, and the distance
between her and the hounds was less than when I saw her first.
"As before, I exerted myself in vain to make myself heard. M. de
Monsoreau saw nothing but the animal he was chasing; he passed
more quickly that ever, with his horn to his mouth, which he
was sounding loudly. Behind him two or three hunters animated
the dogs with horn and voice. All passed me like a tempest, and
disappeared in the forest. I was in despair, but I ran on once
more and followed a path which I knew led to the castle of Beauge.
belonging to the Duc d'Anjou, and which was about six miles from
the castle of Meridor. It was not till I arrived there that I
remembered that I was alone, and far from home.
"I confess that a vague terror seized me, and that then only I
thought of the imprudence and folly of my conduct. I followed
the border of the lake, intending to ask the gardener (who, when
I had come there with my father, had often given me bouquets) to
take me home, when all at once I heard the sound of the chase
again. I remained motionless, listening, and I forgot all else.
Nearly at the same moment the doe reappeared, coming out of the
wood on the other side of the lake, but pursued so closely that
she must be taken immediately. She was alone, her second fawn
had fallen, but the sight of the water seemed to reanimate her,
and she plunged in as if she would have come to me. At first
she swam rapidly, and I looked at her with tears in my eyes,
and almost as breathless as herself; insensibly her strength
failed her, while the dogs seemed to grow more and more earnest
in their pursuit. Soon some of them reached her, and, stopped
by their bites, she ceased to advance. At this moment, M. de
Monsoreau appeared at the border of the lake, and jumped off
his horse. Then I collected all my strength to cry for pity,
with clasped hands. It seemed to me that he saw me, and I cried
again. He heard me, for he looked at me; then he ran towards
a boat, entered it, and advanced rapidly towards the animal,
who was fighting among the dogs. I did not doubt that, moved
by my voice, he was hastening to bring her succor, when all at
once I saw him draw his hunting knife, and plunge it into the
neck of the poor animal. The blood flowed out, reddening the
water at the lake, while the poor doe uttered a doleful cry,
beat the water with her feet, reared up, and then fell back dead.
"I uttered a cry almost as doleful as hers, and fell fainting
on the bank. When I came to myself again, I was in bed, in a
room of the chateau of Beauge, and my father, who had been sent
for, standing by me. As it was nothing but over-excitement, the
next morning I was able to return home; although I suffered for
three or four days. Then my father told me, that M. de Monsoreau,
who had seen me, when I was carried to the castle, had come to
ask after me; he had been much grieved when he heard that he had
been the involuntary cause of my accident and begged to present
his excuses to me, saying, that he could not be happy until he
had his pardon from my own lips.
"It would have been ridiculous to refuse to see him, so, in spite
of my repugnance, I granted his request. He came the next day;
I felt that my behavior must have seemed strange, and I excused
it on the ground of my affection for Daphne. The count swore
twenty times, that had he known I had any interest in his victim,
he would have spared her with pleasure; but his protestations
did not convince me, nor remove the unfavorable impression I
had formed of him. When he took leave, he asked my father's
permission to come again. He had been born in Spain and educated
at Madrid, and it was an attraction for my father to talk over
the place where he had been so long a prisoner. Besides, the
count was of good family, deputy-governor of the province, and
a favorite, it was said, of the Due d'Anjou; my father had no
motive for refusing his request, and it was granted. Alas! from
this moment ceased, if not my happiness, at least my tranquillity.
I soon perceived the impression I had made on the count; he began
to come every day, and was full of attentions to my father, who
showed the pleasure he took in his conversation, which was certainly
that of a clever man.
"One morning my father entered my room with an air graver than
usual, but still evidently joyful. 'My child,' said he, 'you
always have said you did not wish to leave me.'
"'Oh! my father,' cried I, 'it is my dearest wish.'
"'Well, my Diana,' continued he, embracing me, 'it only depends
now on yourself to have your wish realized.' I guessed what he
was about to say, and grew dreadfully pale.
"'Diana, my child, what is the matter?' cried he.
"'M. de Monsoreau, is it not?' stammered I. 'Well?' said he,
astonished. 'Oh! never, my father, if you have any pity for your
"'Diana, my love,' said he, 'it is not pity I have for you, but
idolatry; you know it; take a week to reflect, and if then----'
"'Oh! no, no,' cried I, 'it is useless; not a day, not a minute!
No, no, no!' and I burst into tears. My father adored me, and he
took me in his arms, and gave me his word that he would speak
to me no more of this marriage.
"Indeed, a month passed, during which I neither heard of nor
saw M. de Monsoreau. One morning we received an invitation to a
grand fete which M. de Monsoreau was to give to the Duc d'Anjou,
who was about to visit the province whose name he bore. To this
was added a personal invitation from the prince, who had seen
my father at court. My first impulse was to beg my father to
refuse, but he feared to offend the prince, so we went. M. de
Monsoreau received us as though nothing had passed, and behaved
to me exactly as he did to the other ladies.
"Not so the duke. As soon as he saw me, he fixed his eyes on
me, and scarcely ever removed them. I felt ill at ease under
these looks, and begged my father to go home early. Three days
after M. de Monsoreau came to Meridor; I saw him from the windows,
and shut myself up in my own room. When he was gone, my father
said nothing to me, but I thought he looked gloomy.
"Four days passed thus, when, as I was returning from a walk,
the servants told me that M. de Monsoreau was with my father, who
had asked for me several times, and had desired to be immediately
informed of my return. Indeed, no sooner had I entered my room,
than my father came to me.
"'My child,' said he, 'a motive which I cannot explain to you,
forces me to separate myself from you for some days. Do not question
me, but be sure that it is an urgent one, since it determines
me to be a week, a fortnight, perhaps a month, without seeing
you.' I trembled, I knew not why, but I fancied that the visits
of M. de Monsoreau boded me no good.
"'Where am I to go, my father?' asked I.
"'To the chateau of Lude, to my sister, where you will be hidden
from all eyes. You will go by night.' 'And do you not accompany
me?' 'No, I must stay here, to ward off suspicion; even the servants
must not know where you are going.' 'But then, who will take me
there?' 'Two men whom I can trust.' 'Oh! mon Dieu! father,' I
cried. The baron embraced me. 'It is necessary, my child,' said
"I knew my father's love for me so well that I said no more,
only I asked that Gertrude, my nurse, should accompany me. My
father quitted me, telling me to get ready.
"At eight o'clock (it was dark and cold, for it was the middle
of winter) my father came for me. We descended quietly, crossed
the garden, when he opened himself a little door leading to the
forest, and there we found a litter waiting, and two men; my
father spoke to them, then I got in, and Gertrude with me.
"My father embraced me once more, and we set off. I was ignorant
what danger menaced me, and forced me to quit the castle of Meridor.
I did not dare to question my conductors, whom I did not know. We
went along quietly, and the motion of the litter at last sent
me to sleep, when I was awoke by Gertrude, who, seizing my arm,
cried out, 'Oh, mademoiselle, was is the matter?'
"I passed my head through the curtains. We were surrounded by six
masked cavaliers, and our men, who had tried to defend me, were
disarmed. He who appeared the chief of the masked men approached
me, and said; 'Reassure yourself, mademoiselle, no harm will be
done to you, but you must follow us.'
"'Where?' I asked. 'To a place,' he replied, 'where, far from
having anything to complain of, you will be treated like a queen.'
'Oh! my father! my father!' I cried. 'Listen, mademoiselle,'
said Gertrude, 'I know the environs, and I am strong; we may be
able to escape.'
"'You must do as you will with us, gentlemen,' said I, 'we are
but two poor women, and cannot defend ourselves.' One of the men
then took the place of our conductor, and changed the direction
of our litter."
Here Diana stopped a moment, as if overcome with emotion.
"Oh, continue, madame, continue," cried Bussy.
It was impossible for Diana not to see the interest she inspired
in the young man; it was shown in his voice, his gestures, his
looks. She smiled, and went on.
"We continued our journey for about three hours, then the litter
stopped. I heard a door open, we went on, and I fancied we were
crossing a drawbridge. I was not wrong, for, on looking out of
the litter, I saw that we were in the courtyard of a castle.
What castle was it? We did not know. Often, during the route,
we had tried to discover where we were, but seemed to be in an
endless forest. The door of our litter was opened, and the same
man who had spoken to us before asked us to alight. I obeyed
in silence. Two men from the castle had come to meet us with
torches; they conducted us into a bedroom richly decorated, where
a collation waited for us on a table sumptuously laid out.
"'You are at home here, madame,' said the same man, 'and the
room for your servant is adjoining. When you wish for anything,
you have but to strike with the knocker on this door, and some
one, who will be constantly in the antechamber, will wait on
you.' This apparent attention showed that we were guarded. Then
the man bowed and went out, and we heard him lock the door behind
"Gertrude and I were alone. She was about to speak, but I signed
her to be silent, for perhaps some one was listening. The door
of the room which had been shown us as Gertrude's was open, and
we went in to examine it. It was evidently the dressing-room to
mine, and was also locked. We were prisoners. Gertrude approached
me, and said in a low tone: 'Did demoiselle remark that we only
mounted five steps after leaving the court?' 'Yes,' said I.
'Therefore we are on the ground floor.' 'Doubtless.' 'So that----'
said she, pointing to the window. 'Yes, if they are not barred.'
'And if mademoiselle had courage.' 'Oh! yes, I have.'
"Gertrude then took a light, and approached the window. It opened
easily, and was not barred; but we soon discovered the cause
of this seeming negligence on the part of our captors. A lake
lay below us, and we were guarded by ten feet of water better
than by bolts and bars. But in looking out I discovered where we
were. We were in the chateau of Beauge, where they had brought
me on the death of my poor Daphne. This castle belonged to the
Duc d'Anjou, and a sudden light was thrown upon our capture.
We shut the window again, and I threw myself, dressed, on my
bed, while Gertrude slept in a chair by my side. Twenty times
during the night I woke, a prey to sudden terror; but nothing
justified it, excepting the place where I found myself, for all
seemed asleep in the castle, and no noise but the cry of the
birds interrupted the silence of the night. Day appeared, but
only to confirm my conviction that flight was impossible without
external aid; and how could that reach us? About nine they came to
take away the supper and bring breakfast. Gertrude questioned the
servants, but they did not reply. Our morning passed in fruitless
plans for escape, and yet we could see a boat fastened to the
shore, with its oars in it. Could we only have reached that,
we might have been safe.
"They brought us our dinner in the same way, put it down, and
left us. In breaking my bread I found in it a little note. I
opened it eagerly, and read, 'A friend watches over you. To-morrow
you shall have news of him and of your father.' You can imagine
my joy. The rest of the day passed in waiting and hoping. The
second night passed as quietly as the first; then came the hour
of breakfast, waited for impatiently, for I hoped to find another
note. I was not wrong, it was as follows:--'The person who had you
carried off will arrive at the castle of Beauge at ten o'clock
this evening; but at nine, the friend who watches over you will
be under your windows with a letter from your father, which will
command the confidence you, perhaps, might not otherwise give.
Burn this letter.
"I read and re-read this letter, then burned it as I was desired.
The writing was unknown to me, and I did not know from whom it
could have come. We lost ourselves in conjectures, and a hundred
times during the morning we went to the window to see if we could
see any one on the shores of the lake, but all was solitary.
An hour after dinner, some one knocked at our door, and then
entered. It was the man who had spoken to us before. I recognized
his voice; he presented a letter to me.
"'Whom do you come from?' asked I. 'Will mademoiselle take the
trouble to read, and she will see.' 'But I will not read this
letter without knowing whom it comes from.' 'Mademoiselle can
do as she pleases; my business is only to leave the letter,'
and putting it down, he went away. 'What shall I do?' asked I
of Gertrude. 'Read the letter, mademoiselle; it is better to
know what to expect.' I opened and read."
Diana, at this moment, rose, opened a desk, and from a portfolio
drew out the letter. Bussy glanced at the address and read, "To
the beautiful Diana de Meridor."
Then looking at Diana, he said--
"It is the Duc d'Anjou's writing."
"Ah!" replied she, with a sigh, "then he did not deceive me."
Then, as Bussy hesitated to open the letter--
"Read," said she, "chance has initiated you into the most secret
history of my life, and I wish to keep nothing from you."
Bussy obeyed and read--
"An unhappy prince, whom your divine beauty has struck to the
heart, will come at ten o'clock to-night to apologize for his
conduct towards you--conduct which he himself feels has no other
excuse than the invincible love he entertains for you.
"Then this letter was really from the duke?" asked Diana.
"Alas! yes; it is his writing and his seal."
Diana sighed. "Can he be less guilty than I thought?" said she.
"Who, the prince?"
"No, M. de Monsoreau."
"Continue, madame, and we will judge the prince and the count."
"This letter, which I had then no idea of not believing genuine,
rendered still more precious to me the intervention of the unknown
friend who offered me aid in the name of my father; I had no
hope but in him. Night arrived soon, for it was in the month
of January, and we had still four or five hours to wait for the
appointed time. It was a fine frosty night; the heavens were
brilliant with stars, and the crescent moon lighted the country
with its silver beams. We had no means of knowing the time, but
we sat anxiously watching at Gertrude's window. At last we saw
figures moving among the trees, and then distinctly heard the
neighing of a horse.
"It is our friends,' said Gertrude. 'Or the prince,' replied I.
'The prince would not hide himself.' This reflection reassured
me. A man now advanced alone: it seemed to us that he quitted
another group who were left under the shade of the trees. As he
advanced, my eyes made violent efforts to pierce the obscurity,
and I thought I recognized first the tall figure, then the features,
of M. de Monsoreau. I now feared almost as much the help as the
danger. I remained mute, and drew back from the window. Arrived at
the wall, he secured his boat, and I saw his head at our window.
I could not repress a cry.
"'Ah, pardon,' said he, 'but I thought you expected me.' 'I expected
some one, monsieur, but I did not know it was you.' A bitter smile
passed over his face. 'Who else,' said he, 'except her father,
watches over the honor of Diana de Meridor?' 'You told me, monsieur,
in your letter, that you came in my father's name.' 'Yes,
mademoiselle, and lest you should doubt it, here is a note from
the baron,' and he gave me a paper. I read--
"'MY DEAR DIANA,--M. de Monsoreau can alone extricate you from
your dangerous position, and this danger is immense. Trust, then,
to him as to the best friend that Heaven can send to us. I will
tell you later what from the bottom of my heart I wish you to
do to acquit the debt we shall contract towards him,
"'Your father, who begs you to believe him, and to have pity on
him, and on yourself,
"'BARON DE MERIDOR.'
"I knew nothing against M. de Monsoreau; my dislike to him was
rather from instinct than reason. I had only to reproach him
with the death of a doe, a very light crime for a hunter. I then
turned towards him. 'Well?' said he. 'Monsieur, I have read my
father's letter, it tells me you will take me from hence, but
it does not tell me where you will take me.' 'Where the baron
waits for you.' 'And where is that?' 'In the castle of Meridor.'
'Then I shall see my father?' 'In two hours.'
"'Ah I monsieur, if you speak truly----' I stopped. The count
waited for the end of my sentence. 'Count on my gratitude,' said
I in a trembling tone, for I knew what he might expect from my
gratitude. 'Then, mademoiselle,' said he, 'you are ready to
follow me?' I looked at Gertrude. 'Reflect that each minute that
passes is most precious,' said he, 'I am nearly half an hour
behind time now; it will soon be ten o'clock, and then the prince
will be here.' 'Alas! yes.' 'Once he comes, I can do nothing for
you but risk without hope that life which I now risk to save
you.' 'Why did not my father come?' I asked. 'Your father is
watched. They know every step he takes.' 'But you----' 'Oh! I am
different; I am the prince's friend and confidant.' 'Then if
you are his friend----' 'Yes, I betray him for you; it is true,
as I told you just now, I am risking my life to save you.' This
seemed so true, that although I still felt repugnance, I could
not express it. 'I wait,' said the count, 'and stay; if you still
doubt, look there.' I looked, and saw on the opposite shore a
body of cavaliers advancing. 'It is the duke and his suite,'
said he, 'in five minutes it will be too late.'
"I tried to rise, but my limbs failed me. Gertrude raised me
in her arms and gave me to the count. I shuddered at his touch,
but he held me fast and placed me in the boat. Gertrude followed
without aid. Then I noticed that my veil had come off, and was
floating on the water. I thought they would track us by it, and
I cried, 'My veil; catch my veil.' The count looked at it and
said, 'No, no, better leave it.' And seizing the oars, he rowed
with all his strength. We had just reached the bank when we saw
the windows of my room lighted up. 'Did I deceive you? Was it
time?' said M. de Monsoreau. 'Oh I yes, yes,' cried I, 'you are
really my saviour.'
"The lights seemed to be moving about from one room to the other.
We heard voices, and a man entered who approached the open window,
looked out, saw the floating veil, and uttered a cry. 'You see I
did well to leave the veil,' said the count, 'the prince believes
that to escape him you threw yourself into the lake.' I trembled
at the man who had so instantaneously conceived this idea."
There was a moment's silence. Diana seemed almost overcome. Bussy
was already vowing eternal vengeance against her enemies. She
"Scarcely had we touched the shore, when seven or eight men ran
to us. They were the count's people, and I thought I recognized
among them the two men who had escorted me when I left Meridor.
A squire held two horses, a black one for the count and a white
one for me. The count helped me to mount, and then jumped on
his own horse. Gertrude mounted en croupe behind one of the men,
and we set off at full gallop. The count held the bridle of my
horse. I said to him that I was a sufficiently good horsewoman to
dispense with this, but he replied that the horse was inclined to
run away. When we had gone about ten minutes, I heard Gertrude's
voice calling to me, and turning, I saw that four of the men
were taking her by a different path from that which we were
following. 'Gertrude,' cried I, 'why does she not come with me?'
'It is an indispensable precaution,' said the count; 'if we are
pursued we must leave two tracks, and they must be able to say
in two places that they have seen a woman carried away by men.
There is then a chance that M. d'Anjou may take a wrong road,
and go after your servant instead of you.' Although specious,
this reply did not satisfy me, but what could I do? Besides,
the path which the count was following was the one which led
to the Chateau de Meridor. In a quarter of an hour, at the rate
at which we are going, we should have been at the castle, when
all at once, when we came to a cross road which I knew well,
the count, instead of following the road to the castle, turned
to the left, and took a road which led away from it. I cried
out, and in spite of our rapid pace had already my hand on the
pommel in order to jump off, when the count, seizing me round
the waist, drew me off my horse, and placed me on the saddle
before him. This action was so rapid that I had only time to
utter a cry. M. de Monsoreau put his hand on my mouth, and said,
'Mademoiselle, I swear to you, on my honor, that I only act by
your father's orders, as I will prove to you at the first halt
we make. If this proof appears to you insufficient, you shall
then be free.' 'But, monsieur,' cried I, pushing away his hand,
'you told me you were taking me to my father!' 'Yes, I told you
so, because I saw that you hesitated to follow me, and a moment's
more hesitation would have ruined us both, as you know. Now, do
you wish to kill your father? Will you march straight to your
dishonor? If so, I will take you to Meridor.' 'You spoke of a
proof that you acted in the name of my father.' 'Here it is,'
said the baron, giving me a letter, 'keep it, and read it at the
first stoppage. If, when you have read it, you wish to return
to Meridor, you are free; but if you have any respect for your
father's wishes you will not.' 'Then, monsieur,' I replied, 'let
us reach quickly our stopping-place, for I wish to know if you
speak the truth.' 'Remember, you follow me freely.' 'Yes, as freely
as a young girl can who sees herself placed between her father's
death and her own dishonor on the one hand, and on the other
the obligation to trust herself to the word of a man whom she
hardly knows.' 'Never mind, I follow you freely, monsieur, as
you shall see if you will give me my horse again.' The count
called to one of his men to dismount and give me his horse. 'The
white mare cannot be far,' said he to the man; 'seek her in the
forest and call her, she will come like a dog to her name or
to a whistle; you can rejoin us at La Chatre.' I shuddered in
spite of myself. La Chatre was ten leagues from Meridor, on the
road to Paris. 'Monsieur,' said I, 'I accompany you, but at La
Chatre we make our conditions.' 'Mademoiselle, at La Chatre you
shall give me your orders.' At daybreak we arrived at La Chatre,
but instead of entering the village we went by across-road to
a lonely house. I stopped. 'Where are we going?' I asked.
'Mademoiselle,' said the count, 'I appeal to yourself. Can we,
in flying from a prince next in power to the king, stop in an
ordinary village inn, where the first person would denounce us?'
'Well,' said I, 'go on.' We resumed our way. We were expected,
for a man had ridden on before to announce our arrival. A good
fire burned in a decent room, and a bed was prepared. 'This is
your room,' said the count, 'I will await your orders.' He went
out and left me alone. My first thought was for my letter. Here
it is, M. de Bussy; read."
Bussy took the, letter and read:
"MY BELOVED DIANA--As I do not doubt that, yielding to my prayer,
you have followed the Comte de Monsoreau, he must have told you
that you had the misfortune to please M. le Duc d'Anjou, and
that it was this prince who had you forcibly carried away and
taken to the castle of Beauge; judge by this violence of what the
prince is capable, and with what you were menaced. Your dishonor
I could not survive; but there is a means of escape--that of
marrying our noble friend. Once Countess of Monsoreau, the count
would protect his wife. My desire is, then, my darling daughter,
that this marriage should take place as soon as possible, and
if you consent, I give you my paternal benediction, and pray
God to bestow upon you every treasure of happiness.
"Your father, who does not order, but entreats,
"BARON DE MERIDOR."
"Alas!" said Bussy, "if this letter be from your father, it is
but too positive."
"I do not doubt its being from him, and yet I read it three times
before deciding. At last I called the count. He entered at once;
I had the letter in my hand. 'Well, have you read it?' said he.
'Yes,' I replied. 'Do you still doubt my devotion and respect?'
'This letter imposes belief on me, monsieur; but in case I yield
to my father's wishes, what do you propose to do?' 'To take you
to Paris, mademoiselle; that is the easiest place to hide you.'
'And my father?' 'As soon as there is no longer danger of
compromising you, you know he will come to you wherever you are.'
'Well, monsieur, I am ready to accept your protection on the
conditions you impose.'
"'I impose nothing, mademoiselle,' answered he, 'I simply offer
you a method of safety.' 'Well, I will accept this safety on
three conditions.' 'Speak, mademoiselle.' 'The first is, that
Gertrude shall return to me.' She is here. 'The second is, that
we travel separately to Paris.' 'I was about to propose it to
you.' 'And the third is, that our marriage, unless I myself
acknowledge some urgent necessity for it, shall only take place
in presence of my father.' 'It is my earnest desire; I count
on his benediction to draw upon us that of heaven.'
"I was in despair. I had hoped for some opposition to my wishes.
'Now, mademoiselle,' said he, 'allow me to give you some advice.'
'I listen, monsieur.' 'Only to travel by night.' 'Agreed.' 'To let
me choose the route, and the places where you should stop. All
my precautions will be taken with the sole aim of escaping the
Duc d'Anjou.' 'I have no objection to make, monsieur.' 'Lastly,
at Paris, to occupy the lodging I shall prepare for you, however
simple and out of the way it may be.' 'I only ask to live hidden,
monsieur, the more out of the way, the better it will suit me.'
'Then, as we are agreed on all points, mademoiselle, it only
remains for me to present to you my humble respects, and to send
to you your femme de chambre.' 'On my side! monsieur, be sure
that if you keep all your promises, I will keep mine.' 'That is
all I ask,' said the count, 'and the promise makes me the happiest
"With these words, he bowed and went out. Five minutes after,
Gertrude entered. The joy of this good girl was great; she had
believed herself separated from me forever. I told her all that
had passed. As I finished, we heard the sound of a horse's hoofs.
I ran to the window; it was M. de Monsoreau going away. He had
fulfilled two articles of the treaty. We passed all the day in
that little house, served by our hostess; in the evening the
chief of our escort appeared, and asked me if I were ready. I
said yes, and five minutes after, we set off. At the door I found
my white mare. We traveled all night, and stopped at daybreak.
I calculated we had gone about thirty-five miles, but my horse
had a very easy pace, and on leaving the house a fur cloak had
been thrown over me to protect me from the cold. It took us seven
days to reach Paris in this manner, and I saw nothing of the
count. We entered the city at night, and the first object I saw,
after passing through the gate, was an immense monastery; then
we crossed the river, and in ten minutes we were in the Place de
la Bastile. Then a man who seemed to be waiting for us, advanced
and said, 'It is here.' The chief of our escort jumped off his
horse, and presented me his hand to dismount also. A door was
open, and the staircase lighted by a lamp. 'Madame,' said the man
to me, 'you are now at home. At this door finishes the mission
I received; may I flatter myself I have fulfilled it according
to your wishes?' 'Yes, monsieur,' said I, 'I have only thanks
to give you. Offer them in my name to all your men; I would wish
to reward them in a better manner, but I possess nothing.' 'Do
not be uneasy about that, madame,' said he, 'they are largely
"Then the little troop went away, and we went up the stairs of
our house, and found ourselves in a corridor. Three doors were
open; we entered the middle one, and found ourselves in the room
where we now stand. On opening the door of my bedroom, to my
great astonishment I found my own portrait there. It was one
which had hung at Meridor, and the count had doubtless begged
it of my father. I trembled at this new proof that my father
regarded me already as his wife.
"Nothing was wanting in the room; a fire burned in the grate, and
a supper was ready in the sitting-room. I saw with satisfaction
that it was laid for one only, and yet when Gertrude said, 'Well,
mademoiselle, you see the count keeps his promises.'--'Alas!
yes,' replied I with a sigh, for I should have preferred that
by breaking his word he should have given me an excuse to break
mine. After supper, we examined the house, but found no one in
it. The next day Gertrude went out, and from her I learned that
we were at the end of the Rue St. Antoine, near the Bastile. That
evening, as we were sitting down to supper, some one knocked.
I grew pale.
"'If it be the count?' asked Gertrude. 'You must open to him;
he has kept his promises, and I must keep mine.' A moment after
he entered. 'Well, madame,' said he, 'have I kept my word?'
'Yes, monsieur, and I thank you for it.' 'Then you will receive
me?' said he, with an ironical smile. 'Enter, monsieur,' said I,
'have you any news?' 'Of what, madame?' 'Of my father, firstly?'
'I have not been to Meridor and have not seen the baron.' 'Then
of Beauge, and the Duc d'Anjou?' 'I have been to Beauge, and
have spoken to the duke.' 'What does he say?' 'He appears to
doubt.' 'Of what?' 'Of your death.' 'But you confirmed it?' 'I
did all I could.' 'Where is the duke?' I then asked. 'He returned
to Paris yesterday. One does not like to stay in a place where
one has the death of a woman to reproach one's self with.' 'Have
you seen him in Paris?' 'I have just left him.' 'Did he speak of
me?' 'I did not give him time; I spoke incessantly of a promise
which he made to me.' 'What is it?' 'He promised me as a reward
for services rendered to him, to make, me chief huntsman.' 'Ah,
yes,' said I, thinking of my poor Daphne 'you are a terrible hunter,
I know.' 'It is not for, that reason I obtain it, but the duke
dare not be ungrateful to me.'
"'Can I write to my father?' said I. 'Doubtless; but your letters
may be intercepted.' 'Am I forbidden to go out?' 'Nothing is
forbidden; but I beg to point out to you that you may be followed.'
'At least I must go on Sunday to mass.' 'It would be better not;
but if you do, I advise you to go to St. Catherine.' 'Where is
that?' 'Just opposite you.' There was a silence. Then I said, 'When
shall I see you again, monsieur?' 'When I have your permission
to come.' 'Do you need it?' 'Certainly, as yet I am a stranger
to you.' 'Monsieur,' said I, half frightened at this unnatural
submission, 'you can return when you like, or when you think
you have anything important to communicate.'
"'Thanks, madame,' said he, 'I will use your permission, but
not abuse it. I know you do not love me, and I will not abuse
a situation which forces you to receive me. You will, I trust,
gradually become accustomed to the thought, and be willing, when
the moment shall arrive, to become my wife.' 'Monsieur,' said
I, 'I appreciate your delicacy and frankness. I will use the
same frankness. I had a prejudice against you, which I trust
that time will cure.' 'Permit me,' said he, 'to partake this
anticipation and live in the hopes of that happy moment.' Then
bowing respectfully, he went out."
"A strange man," said Bussy.
"Yes, is he not, monsieur? When he was gone I felt sadder and more
frightened than ever. This icy respect, this ironical obedience,
this repressed passion, which now and then showed itself in his
voice, frightened me more than a will firmly expressed, and which
I could have opposed, would have done. The next day was Sunday;
I had never in my life missed divine service, so I took a thick
veil and went to St. Catherine's, followed by Gertrude, and no
one seemed to remark us.
"The next day the count came to announce to me that the duke
had fulfilled his promise, and had obtained for him the place
of chief huntsman, which had been promised to M. de St. Luc.
A week passed thus: the count came twice to see me, and always
preserved the same cold and submissive manner. The next Sunday I
went again to the church. Imprudently, in the midst of my prayers,
I raised my veil. I was praying earnestly for my father, when
Gertrude touched me on the arm. I raised my head, and saw with
terror M. le Duc d'Anjou leaning against the column, and looking
earnestly at me. A man stood by him."
"It was Aurilly," said Bussy.
"Yes, that was the name that Gertrude told me afterwards. I drew
my veil quickly over my face, but it was too late: he had seen
me, and if he had not recognized me, at least my resemblance to
her whom he believed dead had struck him. Uneasy, I left the
church, but found him standing at the door and he offered to
me the holy water as I passed. I feigned not to see him, and
went on. We soon discovered that we were followed. Had I known
anything of Paris, I would have attempted to lead them wrong,
but I knew no more of it than from the church to the house, nor
did I know any one of whom I could ask a quarter of an hour's
hospitality; not a friend, and only one protector, whom I feared
more than an enemy."
"Oh! mon Dieu!" cried Bussy, "why did not Heaven, or chance, throw
me sooner in your path?"
Diana thanked the young man with a look.
"But pray go on," said Bussy, "I interrupt you, and yet I am dying
to hear more."
"That evening M. de Monsoreau came. I did not know whether to
tell him of what had happened, but he began, 'You asked me if
you could go to mass, and I told you you were free, but that it
would be better not to do so. You would not believe me: you went
this morning to St. Catherine's, and by a fatality the prince
was there and saw you.' 'It is true, monsieur; but I do not know
if he recognized me.' 'Your face struck him; your resemblance to
the woman he regrets appeared to him extraordinary, he followed
you home, and made inquiries, but learned nothing, for no one
knew anything.' 'Mon Dieu!' cried I. 'The duke is persevering,'
said he. 'Oh! he will forget me, I hope.'
"'No one forgets you who has once seen you,' said he. 'I did
all I could to forget you, and I have not succeeded.' And the
first passionate look that I had seen flashed from the eyes of
the count. I was more terrified by it than I had been by the
sight of the prince. I remained mute. 'What will you do?' asked
the count. 'Can I not change my abode--go to the other end of
Paris, or, better still, return to Anjou?' 'It will be useless;
the duke is a terrible bloodhound, and now he is on your track,
he will follow you wherever you go till he finds you.' 'Oh! mon
Dieu! you frighten me.' 'I tell you the simple truth.' 'Then
what do you advise me to do?' 'Alas!' said he, with a bitter
irony. 'I am a man of poor imagination. I had formed a plan,
but it does not suit you; I can find no other.' 'But the danger
is perhaps less pressing than you imagine.'
"'The future will show us, madame,' said the count, rising. 'I
can but add that the Comtesse de Monsoreau would have the less to
fear from the prince, as my new post places me under the direct
protection of the court.' I only replied by a sigh. He smiled
bitterly, and as he went down-stairs I heard him giving vent to
oaths. The next day, when Gertrude went out, she was accosted by
a young man whom she recognized as the one who had accompanied the
prince, but she remained obstinately silent to all his questions.
This meeting inspired me with profound terror; I feared that
M. de Monsoreau would not come, and that they would invade the
house in his absence. I sent for him, he came at once. I told
him all about the young man, whom I described.
"'It was Aurilly;' he said, 'and what did Gertrude answer?' 'She
did not answer at all.' 'She was wrong,' said he. 'Why?' 'We
must gain time.' 'Time?' 'Yes, I am now dependent on the Duc
d'Anjou; in a fortnight, in a week perhaps, he will be in my
power. We must deceive him to get him to wait.' 'Mon Dieu!'
'Certainly; hope will make him patient. A complete refusal will
push him to extremities.' 'Monsieur, write to my father; he will
throw himself at the feet of the king. He will have pity on an
old man.' 'That is according to the king's humor, and whether
he be for the time friendly or hostile to the duke. Besides,
it would take six days for a messenger to reach your father,
and six days for him to come here. In twelve days, if we do not
stop him, the duke will have done all he can do.'
"'And how to stop him?' I cried. A smile passed over the lips of
M. de Monsoreau at this first appeal to his protection. 'Madame,'
said he, 'will you permit me to pass two or three hours in your
room? I may be seen going out, and would rather wait till dark.'
I signed him to sit down. We conversed; he was clever and had
traveled much, and at the end of the time I understood, better
than I had ever done before, the influence he had obtained over
my father. When it grew dark, he rose and took leave. Gertrude
and I then approached the window, and could distinctly see two
men examining the house. The next day, Gertrude, when she went
out, found the same young man in the same place. He spoke to
her again, and this time she answered him. On the following day
she told him that I was the widow of a counselor, who, being
poor, lived in retirement. He tried to learn more, but could
extract nothing further from her. The next day, Aurilly, who
seemed to doubt her story, spoke of Anjou, of Beauge, and Meridor.
Gertrude declared these names to be perfectly unknown to her.
Then he avowed that he came from the Duc d'Anjou, who had seen
and fallen in love with me; then came magnificent offers for
both of us, for her, if she would introduce the prince into my
house, and for me, if I would receive him.
"Every evening M. de Monsoreau came, to hear what was going on,
and remained from eight o'clock to midnight, and it was evident
that his anxiety was great. On Saturday evening he arrived pale
"'You must promise to receive the duke on Tuesday or Wednesday,'
said he. 'Promise! and why?' 'Because he has made up his mind to
come in, and he is just now on the best terms with the king; we
have nothing to expect from him.' 'But before then will anything
happen to help me?' 'I hope so. I expect from day to day the
event which is to place the duke in my power. But tomorrow I
must leave you, and must go to Monsoreau.' 'Must you?' cried I
with a mixture of joy and terror. 'Yes, I have there a rendezvous
which is indispensable to bring about the event of which I speak.'
'But if you fail, what are we to do?' 'What can I do against
a prince, if I have no right to protect you, but yield to bad
"'Oh! my father! my father!' cried I. The count looked at me.
'What have you to reproach me with?' said he. 'Nothing, on the
contrary.' 'Have I not been a devoted friend, and as respectful
as a brother?' 'You have behaved throughout like a gallant man.'
'Had I not your promise?' 'Yes.' 'Have I once recalled it to
you?' 'No.' 'And yet you prefer to be the mistress of the duke,
to being my wife?' 'I do not say so, monsieur.' 'Then decide.' 'I
have decided.' 'To be Countess of Monsoreau?' 'Rather than mistress
of the duke.' 'The alternative is flattering. But, meanwhile,
let Gertrude gain time until Tuesday.' The next day Gertrude
went out, but did not meet Aurilly. We felt more frightened at
his absence than we had done at his presence. Night came, and
we were full of terror. We were alone and feeble, and for the
first time I felt my injustice to the count."
"Oh! madame!" cried Bussy, "do not be in a hurry to think so,
his conduct conceals some mystery, I believe."
"All was quiet," continued Diana, "until eleven o'clock. Then
five men came out of the Rue St Antoine, and hid themselves by
the Hotel des Tournelles. We began to tremble; were they there
for us? However, they remained quiet, and a quarter of an hour
passed; then we saw two other men approach. By the moonlight
Gertrude recognized Aurilly. 'Alas! mademoiselle; it is they,'
cried she. 'Yes,' cried I, trembling, 'and the five others are
to help them.' 'But they must force the door,' said Gertrude,
'perhaps the neighbors will come and help us.' 'Oh! no, they
do not know us, and they will not fight against the duke. Alas!
Gertrude, I fear we have no real defender but the count.' 'Well!
then, why do you always refuse to marry him?' I sighed."
"The two men approached the window. We gently opened it a little
way, and heard one say, 'Are you sure it is here?' 'Yes, monseigneur,
quite sure,' said the other. 'It is the fifth house from the
corner of the Rue St. Paul.' 'And you are sure of the key?' 'I
took the pattern of the lock.' I seized Gertrude's arm in terror.
'And once inside' he went on, 'the servant will admit us; your
highness has in your pocket a golden key as good as this one.'
'Open, then.' We heard the key turn in the lock but all at once
the ambushed men rushed forward, crying, 'a mort! a mort!' I
could not understand this, only I saw that unexpected help had
come to us, and I fell on my knees, thanking Heaven. But the
prince had only to name himself, when every sword went back into
the scabbard, and every foot drew back."
"Yes, yes," said Bussy, "it was for me they came, not for the
"However, this attack caused the prince to retire, and the five
gentlemen went back to their hiding-place. It was evident that
the danger was over for that night, but we were too unquiet to
go to bed. Soon we saw a man on horseback appear, and then the
five gentlemen immediately rushed on him. You know the rest,
as the gentleman was yourself."
"On the contrary, madame, I know only that I fought and then
"It is useless to say," continued Diana, with a blush, "the interest
that we took in the combat so unequal, but so valiantly sustained.
Each blow drew from us a shudder, a cry, and a prayer. We saw
your horse fall, and we thought you lost, but it was not so;
the brave Bussy merited his reputation. At last, surrounded,
menaced on all sides, you retreated like a lion, facing your
foes, and came to lean against our door; the same idea came to
both of us, to go down and open to you, and we ran towards the
staircase; but we had barricaded the door, and it took us some
minutes to move the furniture, and as we arrived on the stairs,
we heard the door shut. We stopped, and looked at each other,
wondering who had entered. Soon we heard steps, and a man appeared,
who tottered, threw up his arms, and fell on the first step. It
was evident that he was not pursued, but had put the door, so
luckily left open by the duke, between hint and his adversaries.
In any case we had nothing to fear; it was he who needed our help.
Gertrude ran and fetched a lamp, and we found you had fainted, and
carried you to the bed. Gertrude had heard of a wonderful cure
made by a young doctor in the Rue Beautrellis, and she offered to
go and fetch him. 'But,' said I, 'he might betray us.' 'I will
take precautions' said she. She took money and the key, and I
remained alone near you, and--praying for you."
"Alas!" said Bussy, "I did not know all my happiness, madame."
"In a quarter of an hour Gertrude returned, bringing the young
doctor with his eyes bandaged."
"Yes, it was at that moment I recovered my senses and saw your
portrait, and thought I saw you enter," said Bussy.
"I did so; my anxiety was stronger than my prudence. The doctor
examined your wound and answered for your life."
"All that remained in my mind," said Bussy, "like a dream, and
yet something told me," added he, laying his hand upon his heart,
"that it was real."
"When the surgeon had dressed your wound, he drew from his pocket
a little bottle containing a red liquor, of which he put some
drops on your lips. He told me it was to counteract the fever and
produce sleep, and said that the only thing then was to keep you
quiet. Gertrude then bandaged his eyes again, and took him back
to the Rue Beautrellis, but she fancied he counted the steps."
"He did so, madame."
"This supposition frightened us. We feared he would betray us,
and we wished to get rid of every trace of the hospitality we
had shown you. I gathered up my courage; it was two o'clock,
and the streets were deserted; Gertrude was strong, and I aided
her, and between us we carried you to the Temple. Luckily we
met no one, but when we returned, I fainted with emotion."
"Oh! madame!" cried Bussy, "how can I ever repay you for what
you have done for me?"
There was a moment's silence, and they heard the clock of St.
Catherine's church strike. "Two o'clock," cried Diana, "and you
"Oh! madame, do not send me away without telling me all. Suppose
that God had given you a brother, and tell this brother what
he can do for his sister."
"Alas! nothing now; it is too late."
"What happened the next day?" said Bussy; "what did you do on
that day when I thought constantly of you, without feeling sure
if you were not a vision of my delirium?"
"During that day, Gertrude went out, and met Aurilly. He was
more pressing than ever. He said nothing of the night before,
but asked for an interview for his master. Gertrude appeared
to consent, but she asked until the Wednesday--that is to-day--to
decide. Aurilly promised that his master would wait until then.
That evening, M. de Monsoreau returned. We told him all, except
"'Yes,' said he, 'I heard of all this. Then he has a key.' 'Can
we not change the lock?' 'He will get another key.' 'Put on bolts?
'He will come with ten men and force the door. 'But the event which
was to give you full power over him?' 'Is postponed indefinitely.'
I stood in despair. 'Monsieur,' said I, 'the duke has promised to
wait till Wednesday; I ask you to wait till Tuesday.' 'Tuesday
evening I will be here, madame,' and without another word he
went out. I followed him with my eyes, but instead of going away
he stood in the corner by the Hotel des Tournelles, and seemed
determined to watch me all night. Every proof of devotion he gave
me was like a knife in my heart. The two days passed rapidly, but
what I suffered it is impossible to describe. When Tuesday evening
came, I felt exhausted, and all emotion seemed dead within me.
"Gertrude went to the window. 'Madame,' cried she, 'four men!
I see four men! They approach, they open the door--they enter!
It is, doubtless, the duke and his followers.' For an answer,
I drew my poniard, and placed it near me on the table. 'See,'
said I. An instant after, Gertrude returned, 'It is the count,'
said she. He entered. 'Gertrude tells me,' said he, 'that you
took me for the duke, and were ready to kill yourself.' It was
the first time I had ever seen him moved. Gertrude was wrong to
tell you,' said I. 'You know that I am not alone.' 'Gertrude saw
four men.' 'You know who they are?' 'I presume one is a priest,
and the others witnesses.' 'Then, you are ready to become my
wife?' 'It was so agreed; only I stipulated that except in an
urgent case, I would only marry you in the presence of my father.'
'I remember; but do you not think the case urgent?' 'Yes, and
the priest may marry us, but, until I have seen my father, I
will be your wife only in name.'
"The count frowned, and bit his lips. 'I do not wish to coerce
you,' said he; 'you are free; but look here.' I went to the window,
and saw a man wrapped in a cloak, who seemed trying to get into
"Oh! mon dieu!" cried Bussy; "and this was yesterday?"
"Yes, about nine o'clock. Presently, another man, with a lantern,
joined him. I thought it was the duke and his followers.
"'Now,' said, M de Monsoreau, 'shall I go or stay?' I hesitated
a moment, in spite of my father's letter and of my given word,
but those two men there----"
"Oh! unhappy that I am," cried Bussy, "it was I and Remy, the
"You!" cried Diana.
"Yes, I; I, who, more and more convinced of the reality of my
dream, sought for the house where I had been, and the woman,
or rather angel, who had appeared to me. Oh! I am unfortunate.
Then," continued he, after a pause, "you are his wife?"
There was a fresh silence.
"But," said Diana at last, "how did you enter this house?"
Bussy silently showed his key.
"A key! where did you get it?"
"Had not Gertrude promised the prince to enter tonight? He had
seen M. de Monsoreau here, and also myself, and fearing a snare,
sent me to find out."
"And you accepted this mission?"
"It was my only method of penetrating to you. Will you reproach
me for having sought at once the greatest joy and the greatest
grief of my life?"
"Yes, for it is better that you should see me no more, and forget
"No, madame; God has brought me to you, to deliver you from the
toils in which your enemies have taken you. I vow my life to
you. You wish for news of your father?"
"Oh, yes! for, in truth, I know not what has become of him."
"Well, I charge myself with finding out; only think of him who
henceforth will live but for you."
"But this key?"
"This key I restore to you, for I will receive it only from your
hands; but I pledge you my word as a gentleman, that never sister
could trust in a brother more devoted and respectful."
"I trust to the word of the brave Bussy. Here, monsieur," and
she gave back the key.
"Madame, in a fortnight we will know more;" and, saluting Diana
with a respect mingled with love and sadness, Bussy took leave.
Diana listened to his retreating steps with tears in her eyes.
HOW HENRI III. TRAVELED, AND HOW LONG IT TOOK HIM TO GET FROM
PARIS TO FONTAINEBLEAU.
The sun, which shone four or five hours after the events which
we have just recorded had taken place, saw, by his pale light,
Henri III. set off for Fontainebleau, where a grand chase was
projected. A crowd of gentlemen, mounted on good horses and wrapped
in their fur cloaks, then a number of pages, after them lackey,
and then Swiss, followed the royal litter. This litter, drawn
by eight mules richly caparisoned, was a large machine, about
fifteen feet long and eight wide, on four wheels, furnished inside
with cushions and curtains of silk brocade. In difficult places
they substituted for the mules an indefinite number of oxen.
This machine contained Henri III., his doctor, and his chaplain,
Chicot, four of the king's favorites, a pair of large dogs, and
a basket of little ones, which the king held on his knees, and
which was suspended from his neck by a golden chain. From the
roof hung a gilded cage containing turtle doves, quite white,
with a black ring round their necks. Sometimes the collection
was completed by the presence of two or three apes. Thus this
litter was commonly termed the Noah's Ark.
Quelus and Maugiron employed themselves with plaiting ribbons,
a favorite diversion of that time; and Chicot amused himself
by making anagrams on the names of all the courtiers. Just as
they passed the Place Maubert, Chicot rushed out of the litter,
and went to kneel down before a house of good appearance.
"Oh!" cried the king, "if you kneel, let it be before the crucifix
in the middle of the street, and not before the house. What do
you mean by it?"
But Chicot, without attending, cried out in a loud voice:
"Mon Dieu! I recognize it, I shall always recognize it--the house
where I suffered! I have never prayed for vengeance on M. de
Mayenne, author of my martyrdom, nor on Nicholas David, his
instrument. No; Chicot is patient, Chicot can wait, although
it is now six years that this debt has been running on, and in
seven years the interest is doubled. May, then, my patience last
another year, so that instead of fifty blows of a stirrup-leather
which I received in this house by the orders of this assassin
of a Lorraine prince, and which drew a pint of blood, I may owe
a hundred blows and two pints of blood! Amen, so be it!"
"Amen!" said the king.
Chicot then returned to the litter, amidst the wondering looks
of the spectators.
"Why, Chicot, what does all this mean?" said the king.
"Sire, it means that Chicot is like the fox--that he licks the
stones where his blood fell, until against those very stones
he crushes the heads of those who spilt it."
"Sire, in that house lived a girl whom Chicot loved, a good and
charming creature, and a lady. One evening when he went to see
her, a certain prince, who had also fallen in love with her,
had him seized and beaten, so that Chicot was forced to jump
out of window; and as it was a miracle that he was not killed,
each time he passes the house he kneels down and thanks God for
"You were, then, well beaten, my poor Chicot?"
"Yes, sire, and yet not as much as I wished."
"Why--for your sins?"
"No, for those of M. de Mayenne."
"Oh! I understand; your intention is to render to Casar----"
"Not to Casar, sire--Casar is the great general, the valiant
warrior, the eldest brother, who wishes to be king of France.
No, you must settle with him; pay your debts, and I will pay
Henri did not like to hear his cousin of Guise spoken of, and
this made him serious. It was three o'clock in the afternoon
when they arrived at Juvisy and the great hotel of the "Cour de
Chicot, looking out of the litter, saw at the door of the hotel
several men wrapped in cloaks. In the midst of them was a short,
stout person, whose large hat almost covered his face. They went
in quickly on seeing the litter, but not before the look of this
person had had time to excite Chicot's attention. Therefore he
jumped out, and asking a page for his horse, which was being
led, let the royal litter go on to Essones, where the king was
to sleep, while he remained behind, and, cautiously peeping in
through a window, saw the men whom he had noticed sitting inside.
He then entered the hotel, went into the opposite room, asked
for a bottle of wine, and placed himself so that, although he
could not be seen, no one could pass by without his seeing them.
"Ah!" said he to himself, "shall I be forced to make my payment
sooner than I expected?"
Soon Chicot found that by keeping the door open he could both
see into the room and hear what was said.
"Gentlemen," said the short fat man to his companions, "I think
it is time to set out; the last lackey of the cortege is out
of sight, and I believe now that the road is safe."
"Perfectly so, monseigneur," replied a voice which made Chicot
tremble, and which came from the mouth of a person as tall as
the other was short, as pale as he was red, and as obsequious
as he was arrogant.
"Ah! M. Nicolas," said Chicot, "tu quoque, that is good. It will
be odd if I let you slip this time!"
Then the short man came out, paid the bill, and, followed by
the others, took the road to Paris. Chicot followed them at a
distance. They entered by the Porte St. Antoine, and entered
the Hotel Guise. Chicot waited outside a full hour, in spite
of cold and hunger. At last the door reopened, but, instead of
seven cavaliers wrapped in their cloaks, seven monks came out,
with their hoods over their faces, and carrying immense rosaries.
"Oh!" said Chicot, "is, then, the Hotel Guise so embalmed in
sanctity that wolves change into lambs only by entering it? This
becomes more and more interesting."
And he followed the monks as he had followed the cavaliers, for
he believed them to be the same. The monks passed over the bridge
of Notre Dame, crossed the city and the petit pont, and went up
the Rue St. Genevieve.
"Oh!" said Chicot, as he passed the house where he had kneeled
in the morning, "are we returning to Fontainebleau? In that case
I have made a round."
However, the monks stopped at the door of the Abbey of St. Genevieve,
in the porch of which stood another monk, who examined everyone's
"Why," said Chicot, "it seems that to be admitted to night into
the abbey one must have clean hands!"
Then he saw, with astonishment, monks appear from every street
leading to the abbey, some alone, some walking in pairs, but
all coming to the abbey.
"Ah!" said Chicot, "is there a general chapter at the abbey to-night?
I have never seen one, and I should like it much."
The monks entered, showing their hands, or something in them,
and passed on.
"I should like to go also," thought Chicot; "but for that I want
two things--a monk's robe, for I see no layman here, and then this
mysterious thing which they show to the porter, for certainly
they show something. Ah, Brother Gorenflot, if you were here!"
The monks continued to arrive, till it seemed as if half Paris
had taken the frock.
"There must be something extraordinary to-night," thought Chicot.
"I will go and find Gorenflot at the Corne d'Abondance; he will
be at supper."
To the beautiful day had succeeded a beautiful evening, only,
as the day had been cold, the evening was still colder. It was
one of those frosts which make the lights in the windows of an
hotel look doubly tempting. Chicot first entered the dining-room,
and looked around him, but not finding there the man he sought
for, went familiarly down to the kitchen. The master of the
establishment was superintending a frying-pan full of whitings.
At the sound of Chicot's step he turned.
"Ah! it is you, monsieur," said he, "good evening, and a good
appetite to you."
"Thanks for the wish, but you know I cannot bear to eat alone."
"If necessary, monsieur, I will sup with you."
"Thanks, my dear host, but though I know you to be an excellent
companion, I seek for some one else."
"Brother Gorenflot, perhaps?"
"Just so; has he begun supper?"
"No, not yet; but you must make haste nevertheless, for in five
minutes he will have finished."
"Monsieur!" cried Chicot, striking his head.
"Monsieur, it is Friday, and the beginning of Lent."
"Well, and what then?" said Chicot, who did not hold a high opinion
of Gorenflot's religious austerity.
Boutromet shrugged his shoulders. "Decidedly, something must
be wrong," said Chicot, "five minutes for Gorenflot's supper!
I am destined to see wonders to-day."
Chicot then advanced towards a small private room, pushed open the
door, and saw within the worthy monk, who was turning negligently
on his plate a small portion of spinach, which he tried to render
more savory by the introduction into it of some cheese. Brother
Gorenflot was about thirty-eight years of age and five feet high.
However, what he wanted in height, he made up in breadth, measuring
nearly three feet in diameter from shoulder to shoulder, which, as
everyone knows, is equal to nine feet of circumference. Between
these Herculean shoulders rose a neck of which the muscles stood
out like cords. Unluckily this neck partook of the same proportions;
it was short and thick, which at any great emotion might render
Brother Gorenflot liable to apoplexy. But knowing this, perhaps,
he never gave way to emotions, and was seldom so disturbed as
he was when Chicot entered his room.
"Ah, my friend! what are you doing?" cried Chicot, looking at
the vegetables and at a glass filled with water just colored
with a few drops of wine.
"You see, my brother, I sup," replied Gorenflot in a powerful
"You call that supper, Gorenflot! Herbs and cheese?"
"We are in the beginning of Lent, brother; we must think of our
souls," replied Gorenflot, raising his eyes to heaven.
Chicot looked astounded; he had so often seen Gorenflot feast
in a different manner during Lent.
"Our souls!" said he; "and what the devil have herbs and water
to do with them?"
"We are forbidden to eat meat on Wednesdays and Fridays."
"But when did you breakfast?"
"I have not breakfasted, my brother," said the monk.
"Not breakfasted! Then what have you done?"
"Composed a discourse," said Gorenflot proudly.
"A discourse, and what for?"
"To deliver this evening at the abbey."
"That is odd."
"And I must be quick and go there, or perhaps my audience will
Chicot thought of the infinite number of monks he had seen going
to the abbey, and wondered why Gorenflot, whom certainly he had
never thought eloquent, had been chosen to preach before M. de
Mayenne and the numerous assemblage. "When are you to preach?"
"At half-past nine."
"Good; it is still a quarter to nine, you can give me a few minutes.
Ventre de biche! we have not dined together for a week."
"It is not our fault, but I know that your duties keep you near
our King Henry III., while my duties fill up my time."
"Yes, but it seems to me that is so much the more reason why we
should be merry when we do meet."
"Yes, I am merry," said Gorenflot, with a piteous look, "but still
I must leave you."
"At least, finish your supper."
Gorenflot looked at the spinach, and sighed, then at the water,
and turned away his head.
"Do you remember," said Chicot, "the little dinner at the Porte
Montmartre, where, while the king was scourging himself and others,
we devoured a teal from the marshes of the Grauge-Bateliere,
with a sauce made with crabs, and we drank that nice Burgundy
wine; what do you call it?"
"It is a wine of my country, La Romanee."
"Yes, yes, it was the milk you sucked as a baby, worthy son of
"It was good," said Gorenflot, "but there is better."
"So says Claude Boutromet, who pretends that he has in his cellar
fifty bottles to which that is paltry."
"It is true."
"True, and yet you drink that abominable red water. Fie!" And
Chicot, taking the glass, threw the contents out of window.
"There is a time for all, my brother," said Gorenflot, "and wine
is good when one has only to praise God after it, but water is
better when one has a discourse to pronounce,"
"Opinions differ, for I, who have also a discourse to pronounce,
am going to ask for a bottle of Romanee. What do you advise me
to take with it, Gorenflot?"
"Not these herbs, they are not nice." Chicot, seizing the plate,
threw it after the water, and then cried, "Maitre Claude."
The host appeared.
"M. Claude, bring me two bottles of your Romanee, which you call
"Why two bottles," said Gorenflot, "as I do not drink it?"
"Oh! if you did I would have four or six, but if I drink alone,
two will do for me."
"Indeed; two bottles are reasonable, and if you eat no meat with
it, your confessor will have nothing to reproach you with."
"Oh, of course not; meat on a Friday in Lent!" And going to the
larder, he drew out a fine capon.
"What are you doing, brother?" said Gorenflot, following his
movements with interest.
"You see I am taking this carp."
"Carp!" cried Gorenflot.
"Yes, a carp," said Chicot, showing him the tempting bird.
"And since when has a carp had a beak?"
"A beak! do you see a beak? I only see a nose."
"Scales, my dear Gorenflot, you are drunk."
"Drunk! I, who have only eaten spinach and drunk water?"
"Well, your spinach has overloaded your stomach, and your water
has mounted to your head."
"Parbleu! here is our host, he shall decide."
"So be it, but first let him uncork the wine."
M. Boutromet uncorked a bottle and gave a glass to Chicot. Chicot
swallowed and smacked his lips.
"Ah!" said he, "I have a bad memory, I cannot remember if it
be better or worse than that at Montmartre. Here, my brother,
enlighten me," said he, giving a little to the monk, who was
looking on with eager eyes.
Gorenflot took the glass, and drank slowly the liquor it contained.
"It is the same wine," said he, "but I had too little to tell
whether it be better or worse."
"But I want to know, and if you had not a sermon to preach, I
would beg you to drink a little more."
"If it will give you pleasure, my brother."
Chicot half filled the monk's glass. Gorenflot drank it with great
"I pronounce it better," said he.
"You flatter our host."
"A good drinker ought, at the first draught, to recognize the
wine, at the second, the quality, and, at the third, the age."
"Oh! I should like to know the age of this wine."
"Give me a few drops more, and I will tell you."
Chicot filled his glass. He drank it off, and then said, "1561."
"Right," cried Claude Boutromet, "it was 1561."
"Brother Gorenflot," cried Chicot, "they have beatified men at
Rome who were worth less than you."
"A little habit," said Gorenflot, modestly.
"And talent; for I flatter myself I have the habit, and I could
not do it. But what are you about?"
"Going to my assembly."
"Without eating a piece of my carp?"
"Ah I true; you know still less of eating than drinking. M.
Boutromet, what is the name of this animal?"
The innkeeper looked astonished. "A capon," said he.
"A capon!" cried Chicot, with an air of consternation.
"Yes, and a fine one."
"Well!" said Gorenflot, triumphantly.
"Well I it seems I was wrong, but as I wish to eat this capon,
and yet not sin, be so kind, brother, as to throw a few drops
of water upon it, and christen it a carp."
"Yes, I pray you, save me from mortal sin."
"So be it," cried Gorenflot, "but there is no water."
"Oh! the intention is all; baptize it with wine, my brother;
the animal will be less Catholic but quite as good." And Chicot
refilled the monk's glass. The first bottle was finished.
"In the name of Bacchus, Momus, and Comus, trinity of the great
saint Pantagruel, I baptize thee, carp," said Gorenflot.
"Now," said Chicot, "to the health of the newly baptized; may it
be cooked to perfection, and may M. Boutromet add to the excellent
qualities which it has received from nature."
"To his health," cried Gorenflot, interrupting a hearty laugh
to swallow his wine.
"M. Claude, put this carp at once on the spit, cover it with
fresh butter, with shalots in it, and put some toast in the
frying-pan, and serve it hot." Gorenflot approved with a motion
of his head.
"Now, M. Boutromet, some sardines and a tunny fish, meanwhile;
it is Lent, and I wish to make a maigre dinner. And let me have
two more bottles of wine."
The smell of the cookery began to mount to the brain of the monk.
Yet he made a last effort to rise.
"Then you leave me, after all?" said Chicot.
"I must," said Gorenflot, raising his eyes to heaven.
"It is very imprudent of you to go to pronounce a discourse fasting."
"Because your strength will fail you. Galen has said it. Pulmo
hominis facile deficit."
"You see, then?"
"Luckily, I have zeal."
"Ah! but that is not enough; I advise you to eat some sardines,
and drink a little of this nectar."
"A single sardine, then, and one glass." Chicot gave him the
sardine, and passed him the bottle. He himself took care to keep
"I feel myself less feeble," said Gorenflot.
"Oh! you must feel quite strong before you go, and so I advise
you to eat the fins of the carp." And as they entered with the
pullet, Chicot cut off a leg and thigh, which Gorenflot soon
"What a delicious fish!" said Gorenflot. Chicot cut off the other
leg and gave it to Gorenflot, while he ate the wings.
"And famous wine," said he, uncorking another bottle.
Having once commenced, Gorenflot could not stop. His appetite
was enormous; he finished the bird, and then called to Boutromet.
"M. Claude," said he, "I am hungry; did you not offer me omelet
"Well, bring it."
"In five minutes."
"Ah!" said Gorenflot, "now I feel in force; if the omelet were
here, I could eat it at a mouthful, and I swallow this wine at
a gulp." And he swallowed a quarter of the third bottle.
"Ah! you were ill before."
"I was foolish, friend; that cursed discourse weighed on my mind;
I have been thinking of it for days."
"It ought to be magnificent."
"Tell me some of it while we wait for the omelet."
"No, no; not a sermon at table."
"We have beautiful discourses at the court, I assure you."
"Ah! yes, he is a very virtuous man, our King Henri III."
"I do not know if he be virtuous; but I know that I have never
seen anything there to make me blush."
At this moment M. Boutromet entered with the omelet and two more
"Bring it here," cried the monk, with a smile, which showed his
"But, friend, I thought you had a discourse to pronounce."
"It is here," cried Gorenflot, striking his forehead.
"At half-past nine."
"I lied; it was ten."
"Ten! I thought the abbey shut at nine."
"Let it shut; I have a key."
"A key of the abbey!"
"Here, in my pocket."
"Impossible; I know the monastic rules. They would not give the
key to a simple monk."
"Here it is," said Gorenflot, showing a piece of money.
"Oh, money! you corrupt the porter to go in when you please, wretched
sinner! But what strange money!"
"An effigy of the heretic, with a hole through his heart."
"Yes, I see it is a tester of the Bearn king's, and here is a
"A blow with a dagger. Death to the heretic. He who does it is
sure of Paradise."
"He is not yet drunk enough;" so thought Chicot; and he filled
his glass again.
"To the mass!" cried Gorenflot, drinking it off.
Chicot remembered the porter looking at the hands of the monks,
"Then, if you show this to the porter----"
"As this wine into my stomach." And the monk absorbed a new dose.
"And you pronounce your discourse?"
"And I pronounce my discourse. I arrive--do you hear? The assembly
is numerous and select. There are barons, counts, and dukes."
"And even princes?"
"And even princes. I enter humbly among the faithful of the Union----"
"The Union--what does that mean?"
"I enter; they call Brother Gorenflot, and I advance----"
At these words the monk rose. "And I advance," continued he,
trying to do so, but at the first step he rolled on the floor.
"Bravo!" cried Chicot; "you advance, you salute the audience and
"No, it is my friends who say, Brother Gorenflot--a fine name
for a leaguer, is it not?"
"A leaguer," thought Chicot: "what truths is this wine going to
"Then I begin." And the monk rose, and leaned against the wall.
"You begin," said Chicot, holding him up.
"I begin, 'My brothers, it is a good day for the faith, a very
good day, my brothers; it is a very good day for the faith.'"
After this, as Chicot loosed his hold, Gorenflot fell full length
again on the floor, and before many minutes a loud snoring was
"Good," said Chicot, "he is in for twelve hours sleep. I can easily
He then untied the monk's robe, and pulled it off; then rolled
Gorenflot in the tablecloth, and covered his head with a napkin,
and hiding the monk's frock under his cloak, passed into the
"M. Boutromet," said he, "here is for our supper, and for my
horse; and pray do not wake the worthy Brother Gorenflot, who
"No, no; be easy, M. Chicot."
Then Chicot ran to the rue St. Etienne, put on the monk's robe,
took the tester in his hand, and at a quarter to ten presented
himself, not without a beating heart, at the wicket of the Abbey
HOW CHICOT FOUND OUT THAT IT WAS EASIER TO GO IN THAN OUT OF THE
Chicot, from the cloak and other things under the monk's robe,
looked much larger across the shoulders than usual. His beard
was of the same color as Gorenflot's, and he had so often amused
himself with mimicking the monk's voice and manner of speaking
that he could do it perfectly. Now, everyone knows that the beard
and the voice are the only things which are recognizable from
under the depths of a monk's hood. Chicot exhibited his coin,
and was admitted without difficulty, and then followed two other
monks to the chapel of the convent. In this chapel, built in the
eleventh century, the choir was raised nine or ten feet above
the rest of the building, and you mounted into it by two lateral
staircases, while an iron door between them led from the nave to
the crypt, into which you had to descend again. In this choir
there was a portrait of St. Genevieve, and on each side of the
altar were statues of Clovis and Clotilda.
Three lamps only lighted the chapel, and the imperfect light
gave a greater solemnity to the scene. Chicot was glad to find
that he was not the last, for three monks entered after in gray
robes, and placed themselves in front of the altar. Soon after,
a little monk, doubtless a lad belonging to the choir, came and
spoke to one of these monks, who then said, aloud,--
"We are now one hundred and thirty-six."
Then a great noise of bolts and bars announced that the door
was being closed. The three monks were seated in armchairs, like
judges. The one who had spoken before now rose and said--
"Brother Monsoreau, what news do you bring to the Union from the
province of Anjou?"
Two things made Chicot start, the first was the voice of the
speaker, the second the name of Monsoreau, known to the court only
the last few days. A tall monk crossed the assembly, and placed
himself in a large chair, behind the shadow of which Chicot had
"My brothers," said a voice which Chicot recognized at once as that
of the chief huntsman, "the news from Anjou is not satisfactory;
not that we fail there in sympathy, but in representatives. The
progress of the Union there had been confided to the Baron de
Meridor, but he in despair at the recent death of his daughter,
has, in his grief, neglected the affairs of the league, and we
cannot at present count on him. As for myself, I bring three new
adherents to the association. The council must judge whether these
three, for whom I answer, as for myself, ought to be admitted
into the Union."
A murmur of applause followed and as Monsoreau regained his
seat,--"Brother la Huriere," cried the same monk, "tell us what
you have done in the city of Paris."
A man now took the chair and said, "My brothers, you know I am
devoted to the Catholic faith, and I have given proofs of this
devotion on the great day of its triumph. Yes, my brothers, I
glory in saying that I was one of the faithful of our great Henri
de Guise, and that I followed his orders strictly. I have now
noted all the heretics of the Quartier St. Germain l'Auxerrois,
where I shall hold the hotel of the Belle-Etoile, at your service,
my brothers. Now, although I no longer thirst for the blood of
heretics as formerly, I do not delude myself as to the real object
of the holy Union which we are forming. If I am not deceived,
brothers, the extinction of private heretics is not all we aim at.
We wish to be sure that we shall never be governed by a heretic
prince. Now, my friends, what is our situation? Charles IX., who
was zealous, died without children; Henri Ill. will probably
do the same, and there remains only the Duc d'Anjou, who not
only has no children either, but seems cold towards us."
"What makes you accuse the prince thus?" said the monk who always
"Because he has not joined us."
"Who tells you so, since there are new adherents?"
"It is true; I will wait; but after him, who is mortal, and has
no children, to whom will the crown fall? To the most ferocious
Huguenot that can be imagined, to a renegade, a Nebuchadnezzar?"
Here the acclamations were tremendous.
"To Henri of Bearn," continued he, "against whom this association
is chiefly directed--to Henri, who the people at Pau, or Tarbes,
think is occupied with his love affairs, but who is in Paris!"
"In Paris! impossible!" cried many voices.
"He was here on the night when Madame de Sauve was assassinated,
and perhaps is here still."
"Death to the Bearnais!" cried several.
"Yes, doubtless, and if he came to lodge at the Belle-Etoile,
I answer for him; but he will not come. One does not catch a
fox twice in the same hole. He will lodge with some friend, for
he has friends. The important thing is to know them. Our union
is holy, our league is loyal, consecrated and blessed by the
Pope; therefore I demand that it be no longer kept secret, but
that we go into the houses and canvass the citizens. Those who
sign will be our friends, the others our enemies, and if a second
St. Bartholomew come, which seems to the faithful to be more
necessary daily, we shall know how to separate the good from the
Thunders of acclamation followed. When they were calm, the monk
who always spoke said,--
"The proposition of Brother la Huriere, whom the union thanks
for his zeal, will be taken into consideration by the superior
La Huriere bowed, amidst fresh applause.
"Ah! ah!" thought Chicot, "I begin to see clearly into all this.
The Guises are forming a nice little party, and some fine morning
Henri will find that he has nothing left, and will be politely
invited to enter a monastery. But what will they do with the
"Brother Gorenflot," then cried the monk.
No one replied.
"Brother Gorenflot," cried the little monk, in a voice which
made Chicot start; for it sounded like a woman's. However, he
rose, and speaking like the monk, said,--
"Here I am; I was plunged in profound meditation." He feared
not to reply, for the members had been counted, and therefore
the absence of a member would have provoked an examination.
Therefore, without hesitation, he mounted the chair and began.
"My brothers, you know that I purvey for the convent, and have
the right of entering every dwelling. I use this privilege for
the good of religion. My brothers," continued he, remembering
Gorenflot's beginning, "this day, which unites us, is a good
one for the faith. Let us speak freely, my brothers, since we
are in the house of God.
"What is the kingdom of France? A body. '_Omnis_civitas_corpus_
_est_.' What is the first requisite of a body? Good health.
How do we preserve this? By prudent bleedings at times. Now it
is evident that the enemies of our religion are too strong; we
must therefore once more bleed that great body we call society.
This is what is constantly said to me by the faithful, who give
me ham, eggs, or money for the convent."
Several murmurs of approbation interrupted Chicot, then he went
"Some may object that the church abhors blood. But they do not
say what blood, and I wager that it is not the blood of heretics
it abhors. And then another argument; I said, 'the church;' but
are we the church? Brother Monsoreau, who spoke so well just
now, has, I doubt not, his huntsman's knife in his belt. Brother
la Huriere manages the spit; I, myself, who speak to you--I,
Jacques Gorenflot, have carried the musket in Champagne. It now
remains to us to speak of our chiefs, of whom it seems to me,
poor monk as I am, that there is something to say. Certainly, it
is very well and prudent to come at night under a monk's robe,
to hear Brother Gorenflot preach; but it appears to me that their
duties do not stop there. So much prudence may make the Huguenots
laugh. Let us play a part more worthy of the brave people we are.
What do we want? The extinction of heresy. Well, that may be
cried from the housetops, it seems to me. Why not march in holy
procession, displaying our good cause, and our good partisans,
but not like the thieves, who keep looking round them to see if
the watch is coming. Who is the man who will set the example?
Well, it is I, Jacques Gorenflot; I, unworthy brother of the
order of St. Genevieve, poor and humble purveyor of the convent.
It shall be I, who with a cuirass on my back, a helmet on my
head, and a musket on my shoulder, will march at the head of
all good Catholics who will follow me. This I would do, were it
only to make those chiefs blush, who, while defending the Church,
hide, as if their cause was a bad one."
This speech, which corresponded with the sentiments of many there,
was received with shouts of applause; and the more so, as up
to this time Gorenflot had never shown any enthusiasm for the
cause. However, it was not the plan of the chiefs to let this
enthusiasm proceed. One of the monks spoke to the lad, who cried
in his silvery voice, "My brothers, it is time to retire; the
sitting is over."
The monks rose, all determined to insist on the procession at
the next meeting. Many approached the chair to felicitate the
author of this brilliant speech; but Chicot, fearful of being
recognized, threw himself on his knees and buried his head in
his hands, as if in prayer. They respected his devotions, and
went towards the door. However, Chicot had missed his chief aim.
What had made him quit the king was the sight of M. de Mayenne and
Nicolas David, on both of whom he had, as we know, vowed vengeance;
and although the duke was too great a man to be attacked openly,
Nicolas David was not, and Chicot was so good a swordsman as to
feel sure of success if he could but meet him. He therefore began
to watch each monk as he went out, and perceived to his terror
that each, on going out, had to show some sign again. Gorenflot
had told him how to get in, but not how to get out again.
HOW CHICOT, FORCED TO REMAIN IN THE ABBEY, SAW AND HEARD THINGS
VERY DANGEROUS TO SEE AND HEAR.
Chicot hastened to get down from his chair, and to mix among the
monks so as to discover, if possible, what signs they used. By
peeping over their shoulders, he found out that it was a farthing,
with a star cut in the middle. Our Gascon had plenty of farthings
in his pocket, but unluckily none with a star in it. Of course, if
when on coming to the door he was unable to produce the necessary
signs, he would be suspected and examined. He gained the shade
of a pillar, which stood at the corner of a confessional, and
stood there wondering what he should do. An assistant cried,
"Is everyone out, the doors are about to be shut."
No one answered; Chicot peeped out and saw the chapel empty,
with the exception of the three monks, who still kept their seats
in front of the choir.
"Provided they do not shut the windows, it is all I ask," thought
"Let us examine," said the young lad to the porter. Then the
porter lifted a taper, and, followed by the young lad, began
to make the tour of the church. There was not a moment to lose.
Chicot softly opened the door of the confessional, slipped in,
and shut the door after him. They passed close by him, and he
could see them through the spaces of the sculpture.
[Illustration: CHICOT THE JESTER.]
"Diable!" thought he, "he cannot stay here all night, and once
they are gone, I will pile chairs upon benches, Pelion on Ossa,
and get out of the window. Ah! yes, but when I have done that,
I shall be, not in the street, but in the court. I believe it
will be better to pass the night in the confessional; Gorenflot's
robe is warm."
"Extinguish the lamps," now cried the lad; and the porter with
an immense extinguisher put out the lamps, and left the church
dark, except for the rays of the moon which shone through the
windows. The clock struck twelve.
"Ventre de biche!" said Chicot, "Henri, if he were here, would be
nicely frightened; but, luckily, I am less timid. Come, Chicot,
my friend, good night and sleep well."
Then Chicot pushed the inside bolt, made himself as comfortable
as he could, and shut his eyes. He was just falling asleep, when
he was startled by a loud stroke on a copper bell, and at the
same time the lamp in the choir was relighted, and showed the
three monks still there.
"What can this mean?" thought Chicot, starting up. Brave as he
was, Chicot was not exempt from superstitious fears. He made
the sign of the cross, murmuring, "Vade retro, Satanas!" But
as the lights did not go out at the holy sign, Chicot began to
think he had to deal with real monks and real lights; but at
this moment one of the flagstones of the choir raised itself
slowly, and a monk appeared through the opening, after which the
stone shut again. At this sight Chicot's hair stood on end, and
he began to fear that all the priors and abbes of St. Genevieve,
from Opsat, dead in 533, down to Pierre Boudin, predecessor of
the present superior, were being resuscitated from their tombs,
and were going to raise with their bony heads the stones of the
choir. But this doubt did not last long.
"Brother Monsoreau," said one of the monks to him who had just
made so strange an appearance.
"Yes, monseigneur," said he.
"Open the door that he may come to us."
Monsoreau descended to open the door between the staircases,
and at the same time the monk in the middle lowered his hood,
and showed the great scar, that noble sign by which the Parisians