Part 12 out of 13
reward in the power of the Company to bestow."
"My best reward will be the fulfilment of your promise, your
Excellency," answered De Pean.
"I will keep my word, De Pean. By God you shall have Angélique,
with such a dowry as the Company can alone give! Or, if you do not
want the girl, you shall have the dowry without the wife!"
"I shall claim both, your Excellency! But--"
"But what? Confess all your doubts, De Pean."
"Le Gardeur may claim her as his own reward!" De Pean guessed
correctly enough the true bent of Angélique's fancy.
"No fear! Le Gardeur de Repentigny, drunk or sober, is a gentleman.
He would reject the Princess d'Elide were she offered on such
conditions as you take her on. He is a romantic fool; he believes
in woman's virtue and all that stuff!"
"Besides, if he kill the Bourgeois, he will have to fight Pierre
Philibert before his sword is dry!" interjected Cadet. "I would not
give a Dutch stiver for Le Gardeur's bones five hours after he has
pinked the Bourgeois!"
An open duel in form was not to be thought of, because in that they
would have to fight the son and not the father, and the great object
would be frustrated. But the Bourgeois might be killed in a sudden
fray, when blood was up and swords drawn, when no one, as De Pean
remarked, would be able to find an i undotted or a t uncrossed in a
fair record of the transaction, which would impose upon the most
critical judge as an honorable and justifiable act of self-defence.
This was Cadet's real intent, and perhaps Bigot's, but the
Intendant's thoughts lay at unfathomable depths, and were not to be
discovered by any traces upon the surface. No divining-rod could
tell where the secret spring lay hid which ran under Bigot's
Not so De Pean. He meditated treachery, and it were hard to say
whether it was unnoted by the penetrating eye of Bigot. The
Intendant, however, did not interfere farther, either by word or
sign, but left De Pean to accomplish in his own way the bloody
object they all had in view, namely, the death of the Bourgeois and
the break-up of the Honnêtes Gens. De Pean, while resolving to make
Le Gardeur the tool of his wickedness, did not dare to take him into
his confidence. He had to be kept in absolute ignorance of the part
he was to play in the bloody tragedy until the moment of its
denouement arrived. Meantime he must be plied with drink, maddened
with jealousy, made desperate with losses, and at war with himself
and all the world, and then the whole fury of his rage should, by
the artful contrivance of De Pean, be turned, without a minute's
time for reflection, upon the head of the unsuspecting Bourgeois.
To accomplish this successfully, a woman's aid was required, at once
to blind Le Gardeur and to sharpen his sword.
In the interests of the Company Angélique des Meloises was at all
times a violent partisan. The Golden Dog and all its belongings
were objects of her open aversion. But De Pean feared to impart to
her his intention to push Le Gardeur blindly into the affair. She
might fear for the life of one she loved. De Pean reflected angrily
on this, but he determined she should be on the spot. The sight of
her and a word from her, which De Pean would prompt at the critical
moment, should decide Le Gardeur to attack the Bourgeois and kill
him; and then, what would follow? De Pean rubbed his hands with
ecstasy at the thought that Le Gardeur would inevitably bite the
dust under the avenging hand of Pierre Philibert, and Angélique
would be his beyond all fear of rivals.
THE BOURGEOIS PHILIBERT.
The Bourgeois Philibert, after an arduous day's work, was enjoying
in his armchair a quiet siesta in the old comfortable parlor of his
The sudden advent of peace had opened the seas to commerce, and a
fleet of long-shut-up merchantmen were rapidly loading at the quays
of the Friponne as well as at those of the Bourgeois, with the
products of the Colony for shipment to France before the closing in
of the St. Lawrence by ice. The summer of St. Martin was lingering
soft and warm on the edge of winter, and every available man,
including the soldiers of the garrison, were busy loading the ships
to get them off in time to escape the hard nip of winter.
Dame Rochelle sat near the window, which to-day was open to the
balmy air. She was occupied in knitting, and occasionally glancing
at a volume of Jurieu's hard Calvinistic divinity, which lay upon
the table beside her. Her spectacles reposed upon the open page,
where she had laid them down while she meditated, as was her custom,
upon knotty points of doctrine, touching free will, necessity, and
election by grace; regarding works as a garment of filthy rags, in
which publicans and sinners who trusted in them were damned, while
in practice the good soul was as earnest in performing them as if
she believed her salvation depended exclusively thereupon.
Dame Rochelle had received a new lease of life by the return home of
Pierre Philibert. She grew radiant, almost gay, at the news of his
betrothal to Amélie de Repentigny, and although she could not lay
aside the black puritanical garb she had worn so many years, her
kind face brightened from its habitual seriousness. The return of
Pierre broke in upon her quiet routine of living like a prolonged
festival. The preparation of the great house of Belmont for his
young bride completed her happiness.
In her anxiety to discover the tastes and preferences of her young
mistress, as she already called her, Dame Rochelle consulted Amélie
on every point of her arrangements, finding her own innate sense of
the beautiful quickened by contact with that fresh young nature.
She was already drawn by that infallible attraction which every one
felt in the presence of Amélie.
"Amélie was too good and too fair," the dame said, "to become any
man's portion but Pierre Philibert's!"
The dame's Huguenot prejudices melted like wax in her presence,
until Amélie almost divided with Grande Marie, the saint of the
Cevennes, the homage and blessing of Dame Rochelle.
Those were days of unalloyed delight which she spent in
superintending the arrangements for the marriage which had been
fixed for the festivities of Christmas.
It was to be celebrated on a scale worthy of the rank of the heiress
of Repentigny and of the wealth of the Philiberts. The rich
Bourgeois, in the gladness of his heart, threw open all his coffers,
and blessed with tears of happiness the money he flung out with both
hands to honor the nuptials of Pierre and Amélie.
The Bourgeois was profoundly happy during those few brief days of
Indian summer. As a Christian, he rejoiced that the long desolating
war was over. As a colonist, he felt a pride that, unequal as had
been the struggle, New France remained unshorn of territory, and by
its resolute defence had forced respect from even its enemies. In
his eager hope he saw commerce revive, and the arts and comforts of
peace take the place of war and destruction. The husbandman would
now reap for himself the harvest he had sown, and no longer be
crushed by the exactions of the Friponne!
There was hope for the country. The iniquitous régime of the
Intendant, which had pleaded the war as its justification, must
close, the Bourgeois thought, under the new conditions of peace.
The hateful monopoly of the Grand Company must be overthrown by the
constitutional action of the Honnêtes Gens, and its condemnation by
the Parliament of Paris, to which an appeal would presently be
carried, it was hoped, would be secured.
The King was quarreling with the Jesuits. The Molinists were hated
by La Pompadour, and he was certain His Majesty would never hold a
lit de justice to command the registration of the decrees issued in
his name by the Intendant of New France after they had been in form
condemned by the Parliament of Paris.
The Bourgeois still reclined very still on his easy chair. He was
not asleep. In the daytime he never slept. His thoughts, like the
dame's, reverted to Pierre. He meditated the repurchase of his
ancestral home in Normandy and the restoration of its ancient honors
for his son.
Personal and political enmity might prevent the reversal of his
own unjust condemnation, but Pierre had won renown in the recent
campaigns. He was favored with the friendship of many of the
noblest personages in France, who would support his suit for the
restoration of his family honors, while the all-potent influence of
money, the open sesame of every door in the palace of Versailles,
would not be spared to advance his just claims.
The crown of the Bourgeois's ambition would be to see Pierre
restored to his ancestral château as the Count de Philibert, and
Amélie as its noble châtelaine, dispensing happiness among the
faithful old servitors and vassals of his family, who in all these
long years of his exile never forgot their brave old seigneur who
had been banished to New France.
His reflections took a practical turn, and he enumerated in his
mind the friends he could count upon in France to support, and the
enemies who were sure to oppose the attainment of this great object
of his ambition. But the purchase of the château and lands of
Philibert was in his power. Its present possessor, a needy
courtier, was deeply in debt, and would be glad, the Bourgeois had
ascertained, to sell the estates for such a price as he could easily
To sue for simple justice in the restoration of his inheritance
would be useless. It would involve a life-long litigation. The
Bourgeois preferred buying it back at whatever price, so that he
could make a gift of it at once to his son, and he had already
instructed his bankers in Paris to pay the price asked by its owner
and forward to him the deeds, which he was ambitious to present to
Pierre and Amélie on the day of their marriage.
The Bourgeois at last looked up from his reverie. Dame Rochelle
closed her book, waiting for her master's commands.
"Has Pierre returned, dame?" asked he.
"No, master; he bade me say he was going to accompany Mademoiselle
Amélie to Lorette."
"Ah! Amélie had a vow to Our Lady of St. Foye, and Pierre, I
warrant, desired to pay half the debt! What think you, dame, of
your godson? Is he not promising?" The Bourgeois laughed quietly,
as was his wont sometimes.
Dame Rochelle sat a shade more upright in her chair. "Pierre is
worthy of Amélie and Amélie of him," replied she, gravely; "never
were two out of heaven more fitly matched. If they make vows to the
Lady of St. Foye they will pay them as religiously as if they had
made them to the Most High, to whom we are commanded to pay our
"Well, Dame, some turn to the east and some to the west to pay their
vows, but the holiest shrine is where true love is, and there alone
the oracle speaks in response to young hearts. Amélie, sweet,
modest flower that she is, pays her vows to Our Lady of St. Foye,
Pierre his to Amélie! I will be bound, dame, there is no saint in
the calendar so holy in his eyes as herself!"
"Nor deserves to be, master! Theirs is no ordinary affection. If
love be the fulfilling of the law, all law is fulfilled in these
two, for never did the elements of happiness mingle more sweetly in
the soul of a man and a woman than in Pierre and Amélie!"
"It will restore your youth, dame, to live with Pierre and Amélie,"
replied the Bourgeois. "Amélie insists on it, not because of
Pierre, she says, but for your own sake. She was moved to tears one
day, dame, when she made me relate your story."
Dame Rochelle put on her spectacles to cover her eyes, which were
fast filling, as she glanced down on the black robe she wore,
remembering for whom she wore it.
"Thanks, master. It would be a blessed thing to end the remaining
days of my mourning in the house of Pierre and Amélie, but my quiet
mood suits better the house of my master, who has also had his heart
saddened by a long, long day of darkness and regret."
"Yes, dame, but a bright sunset, I trust, awaits it now. The
descending shadow of the dial goes back a pace on the fortunes of my
house! I hope to welcome my few remaining years with a gayer aspect
and a lighter heart than I have felt since we were driven from
France. What would you say to see us all reunited once more in our
old Norman home?"
The dame gave a great start, and clasped her thin hands.
"What would I say, master? Oh, to return to France, and be buried
in the green valley of the Côte d'Or by the side of him, were next
to rising in the resurrection of the just at the last day."
The Bourgeois knew well whom she meant by "him." He reverenced her
feeling, but continued the topic of a return to France.
"Well, dame, I will do for Pierre what I would not do for myself. I
shall repurchase the old château, and use every influence at my
command to prevail on the King to restore to Pierre the honors of
his ancestors. Will not that be a glorious end to the career of the
"Yes, master, but it may not end there for you. I hear from my
quiet window many things spoken in the street below. Men love you
so, and need you so, that they will not spare any supplication to
bid you stay in the Colony; and you will stay and die where you have
lived so many years, under the shadow of the Golden Dog. Some men
hate you, too, because you love justice and stand up for the right.
I have a request to make, dear master."
"What is that, dame?" asked he kindly, prepared to grant any request
"Do not go to the market to-morrow," replied she earnestly.
The Bourgeois glanced sharply at the dame, who continued to ply her
needles. Her eyes were half closed in a semi-trance, their lids
trembling with nervous excitement. One of her moods, rare of late,
was upon her, and she continued:
"Oh, my dear master! you will never go to France; but Pierre shall
inherit the honors of the house of Philibert!"
The Bourgeois looked up contentedly. He respected, without putting
entire faith in Dame Rochelle's inspirations. "I shall be
resigned," he said, "not to see France again, if the King's Majesty
makes it a condition that he restore to Pierre the dignity, while I
give him back the domain of his fathers."
Dame Rochelle clasped her hands hard together and sighed. She spake
not, but her lips moved in prayer as if deprecating some danger, or
combating some presentiment of evil.
The Bourgeois watched her narrowly. Her moods of devout
contemplation sometimes perplexed his clear worldly wisdom. He
could scarcely believe that her intuitions were other than the
natural result of a wonderfully sensitive and apprehensive nature;
still, in his experience he had found that her fancies, if not
supernatural, were not unworthy of regard as the sublimation of
reason by intellectual processes of which the possessor was
"You again see trouble in store for me, dame," said he smiling; "but
a merchant of New France setting at defiance the decrees of the
Royal Intendant, an exile seeking from the King the restoration of
the lordship of Philibert, may well have trouble on his hands."
"Yes, master, but as yet I only see trouble like a misty cloud which
as yet has neither form nor color of its own, but only reflects red
rays as of a setting sun. No voice from its midst tells me its
meaning; I thank God for that. I like not to anticipate evil that
may not be averted!"
"Whom does it touch, Pierre or Amélie, me, or all of us?" asked the
"All of us, master? How could any misfortune do other than concern
us all? What it means, I know not. It is now like the wheel seen
by the Prophet, full of eyes within and without, like God's
providence looking for his elect."
"And finding them?"
"Not yet, master, but ere long,--finding all ere long," replied she
in a dreamy manner. "But go not to the market to-morrow."
"These are strange fancies of yours, Dame Rochelle. Why caution me
against the market to-morrow? It is the day of St. Martin; the poor
will expect me; if I go not, many will return empty away."
"They are not wholly fancies, master. Two gentlemen of the Palace
passed to-day, and looking up at the tablet, one wagered the other
on the battle to-morrow between Cerberus and the Golden Dog. I have
not forgotten wholly my early lessons in classical lore," added the
"Nor I, dame. I comprehend the allusion, but it will not keep me
from the market! I will be watchful, however, for I know that the
malice of my enemies is at this time greater than ever before."
"Let Pierre go with you, and you will be safe," said the dame half
The Bourgeois laughed at the suggestion and began good-humoredly to
rally her on her curious gift and on the inconvenience of having a
prophetess in his house to anticipate the evil day.
Dame Rochelle would not say more. She knew that to express her
fears more distinctly would only harden the resolution of the
Bourgeois. His natural courage would make him court the special
danger he ought to avoid.
"Master," said she, suddenly casting her eyes in the street, "there
rides past one of the gentlemen who wagered on the battle between
Cerberus and the Golden Dog."
The Bourgeois had sufficient curiosity to look out. He recognized
the Chevalier de Pean, and tranquilly resumed his seat with the
remark that "that was truly one of the heads of Cerberus which
guards the Friponne, a fellow who wore the collar of the Intendant
and was worthy of it. The Golden Dog had nothing to fear from him."
Dame Rochelle, full of her own thoughts, followed with her eyes the
retreating figure of the Chevalier de Pean, whom she lost sight of
at the first turn, as he rode rapidly to the house of Angélique des
Meloises. Since the fatal eve of St. Michael, Angélique had been
tossing in a sea of conflicting emotions, sometimes brightened by a
wild hope of the Intendant, sometimes darkened with fear of the
discovery of her dealings with La Corriveau.
It was in vain she tried every artifice of female blandishment and
cunning to discover what was really in the heart and mind of Bigot.
She had sounded his soul to try if he entertained a suspicion of
herself, but its depth was beyond her power to reach its bottomless
darkness, and to the last she could not resolve whether he suspected
her or not of complicity with the death of the unfortunate Caroline.
She never ceased to curse La Corriveau for that felon stroke of her
mad stiletto which changed what might have passed for a simple death
by heartbreak into a foul assassination.
The Intendant she knew must be well aware that Caroline had been
murdered; but he had never named it or given the least token of
consciousness that such a crime had been committed in his house.
It was in vain that she repeated, with a steadiness of face which
sometimes imposed even on Bigot, her request for a lettre de cachet,
or urged the banishment of her rival, until the Intendant one day,
with a look which for a moment annihilated her, told her that her
rival had gone from Beaumanoir and would never trouble her any more.
What did he mean? Angélique had noted every change of muscle, every
curve of lip and eyelash as he spake, and she felt more puzzled than
She replied, however, with the assurance she could so well assume,
"Thanks, Bigot; I did not speak from jealousy. I only asked for
justice and the fulfilment of your promise to send her away."
"But I did not send her away. She has gone away, I know not
whither,--gone, do you mind me, Angélique? I would give half my
possessions to know who helped her to ESCAPE--yes, that is the
Angélique had expected a burst of passion from Bigot; she had
prepared herself for it by diligent rehearsal of how she would
demean herself under every possible form of charge, from bare
innuendo to direct impeachment of herself.
Keenly as Bigot watched Angélique, he could detect no sign of
confusion in her. She trembled in her heart, but her lips wore
their old practised smile. Her eyes opened widely, looking
surprise, not guilt, as she shook him by the sleeve or coquettishly
pulled his hair, asking if he thought that "she had stolen away his
Bigot though only half deceived, tried to persuade himself of her
innocence, and left her after an hour's dalliance with the half
belief that she did not really merit the grave suspicions he had
entertained of her.
Angélique feared, however, that he was only acting a part. What
part? It was still a mystery to her, and likely to be; she had but
one criterion to discover his real thoughts. The offer of his hand
in marriage was the only test she relied upon to prove her acquittal
in the mind of Bigot of all complicity with the death of Caroline.
But Bigot was far from making the desired offer of his hand. That
terrible night in the secret chamber of Beaumanoir was not absent
from his mind an hour. It could never be forgotten, least of all in
the company of Angélique, whom he was judging incessantly, either
convicting or acquitting her in his mind as he was alternately
impressed by her well-acted innocent gaiety or stung by a sudden
perception of her power of deceit and unrivalled assurance.
So they went on from day to day, fencing like two adepts in the art
of dissimulation, Bigot never glancing at the murder, and speaking
of Caroline as gone away to parts unknown, but, as Angélique
observed with bitterness, never making that a reason for pressing
his suit; while she, assuming the rôle of innocence and ignorance of
all that had happened at Beaumanoir, put on an appearance of
satisfaction, or pretending still to fits of jealousy, grew fonder
in her demeanor and acted as though she assumed as a matter of
course that Bigot would now fulfill her hopes of speedily making her
The Intendant had come and gone every day, unchanged in his manner,
full of spirits and gallantry, and as warm in his admiration as
before; but her womanly instinct told her there was something hidden
under that gay exterior.
Bigot accepted every challenge of flirtation, and ought to have
declared himself twenty times over, but he did not. He seemed to
bring himself to the brink of an avowal only to break into her
confidence and surprise the secret she kept so desperately
Angélique met craft by craft, duplicity by duplicity, but it began
to be clear to herself that she had met with her match, and although
the Intendant grew more pressing as a lover, she had daily less hope
of winning him as a husband.
The thought was maddening. Such a result admitted of a twofold
meaning: either he suspected her of the death of Caroline, or her
charms, which had never failed before with any man, failed now to
entangle the one man she had resolved to marry.
She cursed him in her heart while she flattered him with her tongue,
but by no art she was mistress of, neither by fondness nor by
coyness, could she extract the declaration she regarded as her due
and was indignant at not receiving. She had fairly earned it by her
great crime. She had still more fully earned it, she thought, by
her condescensions. She regarded Providence as unjust in
withholding her reward, and for punishing as a sin that which for
her sake ought to be considered a virtue.
She often reflected with regretful looking back upon the joy which
Le Gardeur de Repentigny would have manifested over the least of
the favors which she had lavished in vain upon the inscrutable
Intendant. At such moments she cursed her evil star, which had led
her astray to listen to the promptings of ambition and to ask fatal
counsel of La Corriveau.
Le Gardeur was now in the swift downward road of destruction. This
was the one thing that caused Angélique a human pang. She might yet
fail in all her ambitious prospects, and have to fall back upon her
first love,--when even that would be too late to save Le Gardeur or
to save her.
De Pean rode fast up the Rue St. Louis, not unobservant of the dark
looks of the Honnêtes Gens or the familiar nods and knowing smiles
of the partisans of the Friponne whom he met on the way.
Before the door of the mansion of the Chevalier des Meloises he saw
a valet of the Intendant holding his master's horse, and at the
broad window, half hid behind the thick curtains, sat Bigot and
Angélique engaged in badinage and mutual deceiving, as De Pean well
Her silvery laugh struck his ear as he drew up. He cursed them
both; but fear of the Intendant, and a due regard to his own
interests, two feelings never absent from the Chevalier De Pean,
caused him to ride on, not stopping as he had intended.
He would ride to the end of the Grande Allée and return. By that
time the Intendant would be gone, and she would be at liberty to
receive his invitation for a ride to-morrow, when they would visit
the Cathedral and the market.
De Pean knew enough of the ways of Angélique to see that she aimed
at the hand of the Intendant. She had slighted and vilipended
himself even, while accepting his gifts and gallantries. But with a
true appreciation of her character, he had faith in the ultimate
power of money, which represented to her, as to most women,
position, dress, jewels, stately houses, carriages, and above all,
the envy and jealousy of her own sex.
These things De Pean had wagered on the head of Angélique against
the wild love of Le Gardeur, the empty admiration of Bigot, and the
flatteries of the troop of idle gentlemen who dawdled around her.
He felt confident that in the end victory would be his, and the fair
Angélique would one day lay her hand in his as the wife of Hugues de
De Pean knew that in her heart she had no love for the Intendant,
and the Intendant no respect for her. Moreover, Bigot would not
venture to marry the Queen of Sheba without the sanction of his
jealous patroness at Court. He might possess a hundred mistresses
if he liked, and be congratulated on his bonnes fortunes, but not
one wife, under the penalty of losing the favor of La Pompadour, who
had chosen a future wife for him out of the crowd of intriguantes
who fluttered round her, basking like butterflies in the sunshine of
her semi-regal splendor.
Bigot had passed a wild night at the Palace among the partners of
the Grand Company, who had met to curse the peace and drink a speedy
renewal of the war. Before sitting down to their debauch, however,
they had discussed, with more regard to their peculiar interests
than to the principles of the Decalogue, the condition and prospects
of the Company.
The prospect was so little encouraging to the associates that they
were glad when the Intendant bade them cheer up and remember that
all was not lost that was in danger. "Philibert would yet undergo
the fate of Actaeon, and be torn in pieces by his own dog." Bigot,
as he said this, glanced from Le Gardeur to De Pean, with a look and
a smile which caused Cadet, who knew its meaning, to shrug his
shoulders and inquire of De Pean privately, "Is the trap set?"
"It is set!" replied De Pean in a whisper. "It will spring to-
morrow and catch our game, I hope."
"You must have a crowd and a row, mind! this thing, to be safe, must
be done openly," whispered Cadet in reply.
"We will have both a crowd and a row, never fear! The new preacher
of the Jesuits, who is fresh from Italy and knows nothing about our
plot, is to inveigh in the market against the Jansenists and the
Honnêtes Gens. If that does not make both a crowd and a row, I do
not know what will."
"You are a deep devil, De Pean! So deep that I doubt you will cheat
yourself yet," answered Cadet gruffly.
"Never fear, Cadet! To-morrow night shall see the Palace gay with
illumination, and the Golden Dog in darkness and despair."
A DRAWN GAME.
Le Gardeur was too drunk to catch the full drift of the Intendant's
reference to the Bourgeois under the metaphor of Actaeon torn in
pieces by his own dog. He only comprehended enough to know that
something was intended to the disparagement of the Philiberts, and
firing up at the idea, swore loudly that "neither the Intendant nor
all the Grand Company in mass should harm a hair of the Bourgeois's
"It is the dog!" exclaimed De Pean, "which the Company will hang,
not his master, nor your friend his son, nor your friend's friend
the old Huguenot witch! We will let them hang themselves when their
time comes; but it is the Golden Dog we mean to hang at present, Le
"Yes! I see!" replied Le Gardeur, looking very hazy. "Hang the
Golden Dog as much as you will, but as to the man that touches his
master, I say he will have to fight ME, that is all." Le Gardeur,
after one or two vain attempts, succeeded in drawing his sword, and
laid it upon the table.
"Do you see that, De Pean? That is the sword of a gentleman, and I
will run it through the heart of any man who says he will hurt a
hair of the head of Pierre Philibert, or the Bourgeois, or even the
old Huguenot witch, as you call Dame Rochelle, who is a lady, and
too good to be either your mother, aunt, or cater cousin, in any
way, De Pean!"
"By St. Picot! You have mistaken your man, De Pean!" whispered
Cadet. "Why the deuce did you pitch upon Le Gardeur to carry out
your bright idea?"
"I pitched upon him because he is the best man for our turn. But I
am right. You will see I am right. Le Gardeur is the pink of
morality when he is sober. He would kill the devil when he is half
drunk, but when wholly drunk he would storm paradise, and sack and
slay like a German ritter. He would kill his own grandfather. I
have not erred in choosing him."
Bigot watched this by-play with intense interest. He saw that Le
Gardeur was a two-edged weapon just as likely to cut his friends as
his enemies, unless skilfully held in hand, and blinded as to when
and whom he should strike.
"Come, Le Gardeur, put up your sword!" exclaimed Bigot, coaxingly;
"we have better game to bring down to-night than the Golden Dog.
Hark! They are coming! Open wide the doors, and let the blessed
"The peacemakers!" ejaculated Cadet; "the cause of every quarrel
among men since the creation of the world! What made you send for
the women, Bigot?"
"Oh, not to say their prayers, you may be sure, old misogynist, but
this being a gala-night at the Palace, the girls and fiddlers were
ordered up by De Pean, and we will see you dance fandangoes with
them until morning, Cadet."
"No you won't! Damn the women! I wish you had kept them away, that
is all. It spoils my fun, Bigot!"
"But it helps the Company's! Here they come!"
Their appearance at the door caused a hubbub of excitement among the
gentlemen, who hurried forward to salute a dozen or more women
dressed in the extreme of fashion, who came forward with plentiful
lack of modesty, and a superabundance of gaiety and laughter.
Le Gardeur and Cadet did not rise like the rest, but kept their
seats. Cadet swore that De Pean had spoiled a jolly evening by
inviting the women to the Palace.
These women had been invited by De Pean to give zest to the wild
orgie that was intended to prepare Le Gardeur for their plot of to-
morrow, which was to compass the fall of the Bourgeois. They sat
down with the gentlemen, listening with peals of laughter to their
coarse jests, and tempting them to wilder follies. They drank, they
sang, they danced and conducted, or misconducted, themselves in such
a thoroughly shameless fashion that Bigot, Varin, and other experts
of the Court swore that the petits appartements of Versailles, or
even the royal fêtes of the Parc aux cerfs, could not surpass the
high life and jollity of the Palace of the Intendant.
In that wild fashion Bigot had passed the night previous to his
present visit to Angélique. The Chevalier de Pean rode the length
of the Grande Allée and returned. The valet and horse of the
Intendant were still waiting at the door, and De Pean saw Bigot
and Angélique still seated at the window engaged in a lively
conversation, and not apparently noticing his presence in the street
as he sat pulling hairs out of the mane of his horse, "with the air
of a man in love," as Angélique laughingly remarked to Bigot.
Her quick eye, which nothing could escape, had seen De Pean the
first time he passed the house. She knew that he had come to visit
her, and seeing the horse of the Intendant at the door, had forborne
to enter,--that would not have been the way with Le Gardeur, she
thought. He would have entered all the readier had even the Dauphin
held her in conversation.
Angélique was woman enough to like best the bold gallant who carries
the female heart by storm and puts the parleying garrison of denial
to the sword, as the Sabine women admired the spirit of their Roman
captors and became the most faithful of wives.
De Pean, clever and unprincipled, was a menial in his soul, as
cringing to his superiors as he was arrogant to those below him.
"Fellow!" said he to Bigot's groom, "how long has the Intendant been
"All the afternoon, Chevalier," replied the man, respectfully
uncovering his head.
"Hum! and have they sat at the window all the time?"
"I have no eyes to watch my master," replied the groom; "I do not
"Oh!" was the reply of De Pean, as he suddenly reflected that it
were best for himself also not to be seen watching his master too
closely. He uttered a spurt of ill humor, and continued pulling the
mane of his horse through his fingers.
"The Chevalier de Pean is practising patience to-day, Bigot," said
she; "and you give him enough time to exercise it."
"You wish me gone, Angélique!" said he, rising; "the Chevalier de
Pean is naturally waxing impatient, and you too!"
"Pshaw!" exclaimed she; "he shall wait as long as I please to keep
"Or as long as I stay. He is an accommodating lover, and will make
an equally accommodating husband for his wife's friend some day!"
remarked Bigot laughingly.
Angélique's eyes flashed out fire, but she little knew how true a
word Bigot had spoken in jest. She could have choked him for
mentioning her in connection with De Pean, but remembering she was
now at his mercy, it was necessary to cheat and cozen this man by
trying to please him.
"Well, if you must go, you must, Chevalier! Let me tie that
string," continued she, approaching him in her easy manner. The
knot of his cravat was loose. Bigot glanced admiringly at her
slightly flushed cheek and dainty fingers as she tied the loose ends
of his rich steinkirk together.
"'Tis like love," said she, laughingly; "a slip-knot that looks tied
until it is tried."
She glanced at Bigot, expecting him to thank her, which he did with
a simple word. The thought of Caroline flashed over his mind like
lightning at that moment. She, too, as they walked on the shore of
the Bay of Minas had once tied the string of his cravat, when for
the first time he read in her flushed cheek and trembling fingers
that she loved him. Bigot, hardy as he was and reckless, refrained
from touching the hand or even looking at Angélique at this moment.
With the quick perception of her sex she felt it, and drew back a
step, not knowing but the next moment might overwhelm her with an
accusation. But Bigot was not sure, and he dared not hint to
Angélique more than he had done.
"Thanks for tying the knot, Angélique," said he at length. "It is a
hard knot, mine, is it not, both to tie and to untie?"
She looked at him, not pretending to understand any meaning he might
attach to his words. "Yes, it is a hard knot to tie, yours, Bigot,
and you do not seem particularly to thank me for my service. Have
you discovered the hidden place of your fair fugitive yet?" She
said this just as he turned to depart. It was the feminine
postscript to their interview.
Bigot's avoidance of any allusion to the death of Caroline was a
terrible mark of suspicion; less in reality, however, than it
Bigot, although suspicious, could find no clue to the real
perpetrators of the murder. He knew it had not been Angélique
herself in person. He had never heard her speak of La Corriveau.
Not the smallest ray of light penetrated the dark mystery.
"I do not believe she has left Beaumanoir, Bigot," continued
Angélique; "or if she has, you know her hiding-place. Will you
swear on my book of hours that you know not where she is to be
He looked fixedly at Angélique for a moment, trying to read her
thoughts, but she had rehearsed her part too often and too well to
look pale or confused. She felt her eyebrow twitch, but she pressed
it with her fingers, believing Bigot did not observe it, but he did.
"I will swear and curse both, if you wish it, Angélique," replied
he. "Which shall it be?"
"Well, do both,--swear at me and curse the day that I banished Le
Gardeur de Repentigny for your sake, François Bigot! If the lady be
gone, where is your promise?"
Bigot burst into a wild laugh, as was his wont when hard-pressed.
He had not, to be sure, made any definite promise to Angélique, but
he had flattered her with hopes of marriage never intended to be
"I keep my promises to ladies as if I had sworn by St. Dorothy,"
"But your promise to me, Bigot! Will you keep it, or do worse?"
asked she, impatiently.
"Keep it or do worse! What mean you, Angélique?" He looked up in
genuine surprise. This was not the usual tone of women towards him.
"I mean that nothing will be better for François Bigot than to keep
his promise, nor worse than to break it, to Angélique des Meloises!"
replied she, with a stamp of her foot, as was her manner when
She thought it safe to use an implied threat, which at any rate
might reach the thought that lay under his heart like a centipede
under a stone which some chance foot turns over.
But Bigot minded not the implied threat. He was immovable in the
direction she wished him to move. He understood her allusion, but
would not appear to understand it, lest worse than she meant should
come of it.
"Forgive me, Angélique!" said he, with a sudden change from
frigidity to fondness. "I am not unmindful of my promises; there is
nothing better to myself than to keep them, nothing worse than to
break them. Beaumanoir is now without reproach, and you can visit
it without fear of aught but the ghosts in the gallery."
Angélique feared no ghosts, but she did fear that the Intendant's
words implied a suggestion of one which might haunt it for the
future, if there were any truth in tales.
"How can you warrant that, Bigot?" asked she dubiously.
"Because Pierre Philibert and La Corne St. Luc have been with the
King's warrant and searched the château from crypt to attic, without
finding a trace of your rival."
"What, Chevalier, searched the Château of the Intendant?"
"Par bleu! yes, I insisted upon their doing so; not, however, till
they had gone through the Castle of St. Louis. They apologized to
me for finding nothing. What did they expect to find, think you?"
"The lady, to be sure! Oh, Bigot," continued she, tapping him with
her fan, "if they would send a commission of women to search for
her, the secret could not remain hid."
"No, truly, Angélique! If you were on such a commission to search
for the secret of her."
"Well, Bigot, I would never betray it, if I knew it," answered she,
"You swear to that, Angélique?" asked he, looking full in her eyes,
which did not flinch under his gaze.
"Yes; on my book of hours, as you did!" said she.
"Well, there is my hand upon it, Angélique. I have no secret to
tell respecting her. She has gone, I cannot tell WHITHER."
Angélique gave him her hand on the lie. She knew he was playing
with her, as she with him, a game of mutual deception, which both
knew to be such. And yet they must, circumstanced as they were,
play it out to the end, which end, she hoped, would be her marriage
with this arch-deceiver. A breach of their alliance was as
dangerous as it would be unprofitable to both.
Bigot rose to depart with an air of gay regret at leaving the
company of Angélique to make room for De Pean, "who," he said,
"would pull every hair out of his horse's mane if he waited much
"Your visit is no pleasure to you, Bigot," said she, looking hard at
him. "You are discontented with me, and would rather go than stay!"
"Well, Angélique, I am a dissatisfied man to-day. The mysterious
disappearance of that girl from Beaumanoir is the cause of my
discontent. The defiant boldness of the Bourgeois Philibert is
another. I have heard to-day that the Bourgeois has chartered every
ship that is to sail to France during the remainder of the autumn.
These things are provoking enough, but they drive me for consolation
to you. But for you I should shut myself up in Beaumanoir, and let
every thing go helter-skelter to the devil."
"You only flatter me and do not mean it!" said she, as he took her
hand with an over-empressement as perceptible to her as was his
"By all the saints! I mean it," said he. But he did not deceive
her. His professions were not all true, but how far they were true
was a question that again and again tormented her, and set her bosom
palpitating as he left her room with his usual courteous salute.
"He suspects me! He more than suspects me!" said she to herself as
Bigot passed out of the mansion and mounted his horse to ride off.
"He would speak out plainer if he dared avow that that woman was in
truth the missing Caroline de St. Castin!" thought she with savage
"I have a bit in your mouth there, François Bigot, that will forever
hold you in check. That missing demoiselle, no one knows as you do
where she is. I would give away every jewel I own to know what you
did with the pretty piece of mortality left on your hands by La
Thus soliloquized Angélique for a few moments, looking gloomy and
beautiful as Medea, when the step of De Pean sounded up the broad
With a sudden transformation, as if touched by a magic wand,
Angélique sprang forward, all smiles and fascinations to greet his
The Chevalier de Pean had long made distant and timid pretensions to
her favor, but he had been overborne by a dozen rivals. He was
incapable of love in any honest sense; but he had immense vanity.
He had been barely noticed among the crowd of Angélique's admirers.
"He was only food for powder," she had laughingly remarked upon one
occasion, when a duel on her account seemed to be impending between
De Pean and the young Captain de Tours; and beyond doubt Angélique
would have been far prouder of him shot for her sake in a duel than
she was of his living attentions.
She was not sorry, however, that he came in to-day after the
departure of the Intendant. It kept her from her own thoughts,
which were bitter enough when alone. Moreover, she never tired of
any amount of homage and admiration, come from what quarter it
De Pean stayed long with Angélique. How far he opened the details
of the plot to create a riot in the market-place that afternoon can
only be conjectured by the fact of her agreeing to ride out at the
hour designated, which she warmly consented to do as soon as De Pean
informed her that Le Gardeur would be there and might be expected to
have a hand in the tumult raised against the Golden Dog. The
conference over, Angélique speedily dismissed De Pean. She was in
no mood for flirtation with him. Her mind was taken up with the
possibility of danger to Le Gardeur in this plot, which she saw
clearly was the work of others, and not of himself, although he was
expected to be a chief actor in it.
"IN GOLD CLASPS LOCKS IN THE GOLDEN STORY."
Love is like a bright river when it springs from the fresh fountains
of the heart. It flows on between fair and ever-widening banks
until it reaches the ocean of eternity and happiness.
The days illuminated with the brightest sunshine are those which
smile over the heads of a loving pair who have found each other, and
with tender confessions and mutual avowals plighted their troth and
prepared their little bark for sailing together down the changeful
stream of time.
So it had been through the long Indian summer days with Pierre
Philibert and Amélie de Repentigny. Since the blessed hour they
plighted their troth in the evening twilight upon the shore of the
little lake of Tilly, they had showed to each other, in the heart's
confessional, the treasures of true human affection, holy in the
eyes of God and man.
When Amélie gave her love to Pierre, she gave it utterly and without
a scruple of reservation. It was so easy to love Pierre, so
impossible not to love him; nay, she remembered not the time it was
otherwise, or when he had not been first and last in her secret
thoughts as he was now in her chaste confessions, although whispered
so low that her approving angel hardly caught the sound as it passed
into the ear of Pierre Philibert.
A warm, soft wind blew gently down the little valley of the Lairet,
which wound and rippled over its glossy brown pebbles, murmuring a
quiet song down in its hollow bed. Tufts of spiry grass clung to
its steep banks, and a few wild flowers peeped out of nooks among
the sere fallen leaves that lay upon the still greensward on each
shore of the little rivulet.
Pierre and Amélie had been tempted by the beauty of the Indian
summer to dismount and send their horses forward to the city in
charge of a servant while they walked home by way of the fields to
gather the last flowers of autumn, which Amélie said lingered
longest in the deep swales of the Lairet.
A walk in the golden sunshine with Amélie alone amid the quiet
fields, free to speak his love, and she to hear him and be glad, was
a pleasure Pierre had dreamt of but never enjoyed since the blessed
night when they plighted their troth to each other by the lake of
The betrothal of Pierre and Amélie had been accepted by their
friends on both sides as a most fitting and desirable match, but the
manners of the age with respect to the unmarried did not admit of
that freedom in society which prevails at the present day.
They had seldom met save in the presence of others, and except for a
few chance but blissful moments, Pierre had not been favored with
the company all to himself of his betrothed.
Amélie was not unmindful of that when she gave a willing consent to-
day to walk with him along the banks of the Lairet, under the shady
elms, birches, and old thorns that overhung the path by the little
"Pierre," said she smiling, "our horses are gone and I must now walk
home with you, right or wrong. My old mistress in the Convent would
shake her head if she heard of it, but I care not who blames me to-
day, if you do not, Pierre!"
"Who can blame you, darling? What you do is ever wisest and best in
my eyes, except one thing, which I will confess now that you are my
own, I cannot account for--"
"I had hoped, Pierre, there was no exception to your admiration; you
are taking off my angel's wings already, and leaving me a mere
woman!" replied she merrily.
"It is a woman I want you to be, darling, a woman not faultless, but
human as myself, a wife to hold to me and love me despite my faults,
not an angel too bright and too perfect to be my other self."
"Dear Pierre," said she, pressing his arm, "I will be that woman to
you, full enough of faults to satisfy you. An angel I am not and
cannot be, nor wish to be until we go together to the spirit-land.
I am so glad I have a fault for which you can blame me, if it makes
you love me better. Indeed I own to many, but what is that one
fault, Pierre, which you cannot account for?"
"That you should have taken a rough soldier like me, Amélie! That
one so fair and perfect in all the graces of womanhood, with the
world to choose from, should have permitted Pierre Philibert to win
her loving heart of hearts."
Amélie looked at him with a fond expression of reproach. "Does that
surprise you, Pierre? You rough soldier, you little know, and I
will not tell you, the way to a woman's heart; but for one
blindfolded by so much diffidence to his own merits, you have found
the way very easily! Was it for loving you that you blamed me?
What if I should recall the fault?" added she, laughing.
Pierre raised her hand to his lips, kissing devotedly the ring he
had placed upon her finger. "I have no fear of that, Amélie! The
wonder to me is that you could think me worthy of the priceless
trust of your happiness."
"And the wonder to me," replied she, "is that your dear heart ever
burdened itself with my happiness. I am weak in myself, and only
strong in my resolution to be all a loving wife should be to you, my
Pierre! You wonder how you gained my love? Shall I tell you? You
never gained it; it was always yours, before you formed a thought to
win it! You are now my betrothed, Pierre Philibert, soon to be my
husband; I would not exchange my fortune to become the proudest
queen that ever sat on the throne of France."
Amélie was very happy to-day. The half-stolen delight of walking by
the side of Pierre Philibert was enhanced by the hope that the fatal
spell that bound Le Gardeur to the Palace had been broken, and he
would yet return home, a new man.
Le Gardeur had only yesterday, in a moment of recollection of
himself and of his sister, addressed a note to Amélie, asking pardon
for his recent neglect of home, and promising to come and see them
on St. Martin's day.
He had heard of her betrothal to Pierre. It was the gladdest news,
he said, that had ever come to him in his life. He sent a brother's
blessing upon them both, and claimed the privilege of giving away
her hand to the noblest man in New France, Pierre Philibert.
Amélie showed the precious note to Pierre. It only needed that to
complete their happiness for the day. The one cloud that had
overshadowed their joy in their approaching nuptials was passing
away, and Amélie was prouder in the anticipation that Le Gardeur,
restored to himself, sober, and in his right mind, was to be present
at her wedding and give her away, than if the whole Court of France,
with thousands of admiring spectators, were to pay her royal honors.
They sauntered on towards a turn of the stream where a little pool
lay embayed like a smooth mirror reflecting the grassy bank. Amélie
sat down under a tree while Pierre crossed over the brook to gather
on the opposite side some flowers which had caught her eye.
"Tell me which, Amélie!" exclaimed he, "for they are all yours; you
are Flora's heiress, with right to enter into possession of her
"The water-lilies, Pierre, those, and those, and those; they are to
deck the shrine of Notre Dame des Victoires. Aunt has a vow there,
and to-morrow it must be paid; I too."
He looked up at her with eyes of admiration. "A vow! Let me share
in its payment, Amélie," said he.
"You may, but you shall not ask me what it is. There now, do not
wet yourself further! You have gathered more lilies than we can
"But I have my own thank-offering to make to Notre Dame des
Victoires, for I think I love God even better for your sake,
"Fie, Pierre, say not that! and yet I know what you mean. I ought
to reprove you, but for your penance you shall gather more lilies,
for I fear you need many prayers and offerings to expiate,--"she
hesitated to finish the sentence.
"My idolatry, Amélie," said he, completing her meaning.
"I doubt it is little better, Pierre, if you love me as you say.
But you shall join in my offering, and that will do for both.
Please pull that one bunch of lilies and no more, or Our Lady of
Victory will judge you harder than I do."
Pierre stepped from stone to stone over the gentle brook, gathering
the golden lilies, while Amélie clasped her hands and silently
thanked God for this happy hour of her life.
She hardly dared trust herself to look at Pierre except by furtive
glances of pride and affection; but as his form and features were
reflected in a shadow of manly beauty in the still pool, she
withdrew not her loving gaze from his shadow, and leaning forward
towards his image,
"A thousand times she kissed him in the brook,
Across the flowers with bashful eyelids down!"
Amélie had royally given her love to Pierre Philibert. She had
given it without stint or measure, and with a depth and strength of
devotion of which more facile natures know nothing.
Pierre, with his burden of golden lilies, came back over the brook
and seated himself beside her; his arm encircled her, and she held
his hand firmly clasped in both of hers.
"Amélie," said he, "I believe now in the power of fate to remove
mountains of difficulty and cast them into the sea. How often,
while watching the stars wheel silently over my head as I lay
pillowed on a stone, while my comrades slumbered round the
campfires, have I repeated my prayer for Amélie de Repentigny! I
had no right to indulge a hope of winning your love; I was but a
rough soldier, very practical, and not at all imaginative. 'She
would see nothing in me,' I said; and still I would not have given
up my hope for a kingdom."
"It was not so hard, after all, to win what was already yours,
Pierre, was it?" said she with a smile and a look of unutterable
sweetness; "but it was well you asked, for without asking you would
be like one possessing a treasure of gold in his field without
knowing it, although it was all the while there and all his own.
But not a grain of it would you have found without asking me,
"But having found it I shall never lose it again, darling!" replied
he, pressing her to his bosom.
"Never, Pierre, it is yours forever!" replied she, her voice
trembling with emotion. "Love is, I think, the treasure in heaven
which rusts not, and which no thief can steal."
"Amélie," said he after a few minutes' silence, "some say men's
lives are counted not by hours but by the succession of ideas and
emotions. If it be so, I have lived a century of happiness with you
this afternoon. I am old in love, Amélie!"
"Nay, I would not have you old in love, Pierre! Love is the
perennial youth of the soul. Grand'mère St. Pierre, who has been
fifty years an Ursuline, and has now the visions which are promised
to the old in the latter days, tells me that in heaven those who
love God and one another grow ever more youthful; the older the more
beautiful! Is not that better than the philosophers teach, Pierre?"
He drew her closer, and Amélie permitted him to impress a kiss on
each eyelid as she closed it; suddenly she started up.
"Pierre," said she, "you said you were a soldier and so practical.
I feel shame to myself for being so imaginative and so silly. I too
would be practical if I knew how. This was to be a day of business
with us, was it not, Pierre?"
"And is it not a day of business, Amélie? or are we spending it like
holiday children, wholly on pleasure? But after all, love is the
business of life, and life is the business of eternity,--we are
transacting it to-day, Amélie! I never was so seriously engaged as
at this moment, nor you either, darling; tell the truth!"
Amélie pressed her hands in his. "Never, Pierre, and yet I cannot
see the old brown woods of Belmont rising yonder upon the slopes of
St. Foye without remembering my promise, not two hours old, to talk
with you to-day about the dear old mansion."
"That is to be the nest of as happy a pair of lovers as ever went to
housekeeping; and I promised to keep soberly by your side as I am
doing," said he, mischievously twitching a stray lock of her dark
hair, "and talk with you on the pretty banks of the Lairet about the
"Yes, Pierre, that was your promise, if I would walk this way with
you. Where shall we begin?"
"Here, Amélie," replied he, kissing her fondly; "now the congress is
opened! I am your slave of the wonderful lamp, ready to set up and
pull down the world at your bidding. The old mansion is your own.
It shall have no rest until it becomes, within and without, a mirror
of the perfect taste and fancy of its lawful mistress."
"Not yet, Pierre. I will not let you divert me from my purpose by
your flatteries. The dear old home is perfect, but I must have the
best suite of rooms in it for your noble father, and the next best
for good Dame Rochelle. I will fit them up on a plan of my own, and
none shall say me nay; that is all the change I shall make."
"Is that all? and you tried to frighten the slave of the lamp with
the weight of your commands. A suite of rooms for my father, and
one for good Dame Rochelle! Really, and what do you devote to me,
"Oh, all the rest, with its mistress included, for the reason that
what is good enough for me is good enough for you, Pierre," said she
"You little economist! Why, one would say you had studied
housekeeping under Madame Painchaud."
"And so I have. You do not know what a treasure I am, Pierre," said
she, laughing merrily. "I graduated under mes tantes in the kitchen
of the Ursulines, and received an accessit as bonne menagère which
in secret I prize more than the crown of honor they gave me."
"My fortune is made, and I am a rich man for life," exclaimed
Pierre, clapping his hands; "why, I shall have to marry you like the
girls of Acadia, with a silver thimble on your finger and a pair of
scissors at your girdle, emblems of industrious habits and proofs of
a good housewife!"
"Yes, Pierre, and I will comb your hair to my own liking. Your
valet is a rough groom," said she, taking off his hat and passing
her finger through his thick, fair locks.
Pierre, although always dressed and trimmed like a gentleman, really
cared little for the petit maître fashions of the day. Never had he
felt a thrill of such exquisite pleasure as when Amélie's hands
arranged his rough hair to her fancy.
"My blessed Amélie!" said he with emotion, pressing her finger to
his lips, "never since my mother combed my boyish locks has a
woman's hand touched my hair until now."
Leaning her head fondly against the shoulder of Pierre, she bade him
repeat to her again, to her who had not forgotten one word or
syllable of the tale he had told her before, the story of his love.
She listened with moistened eyelids and heaving bosom as he told her
again of his faithfulness in the past, his joys in the present, and
his hopes in the future. She feared to look up lest she should
break the charm, but when he had ended she turned to him
passionately and kissed his lips and his hands, murmuring, "Thanks,
my Pierre, I will be a true and loving wife to you!"
He strained her to his bosom, and held her fast, as if fearful to
let her go.
"Her image at that last embrace,
Ah! little thought he 'twas the last!"
Dim twilight crept into the valley. It was time to return home.
Pierre and Amélie, full of joy in each other, grateful for the
happiest day in their lives, hopeful of to-morrow and many to-
morrows after it, and mercifully blinded to what was really before
them, rose from their seat under the great spreading elm. They
slowly retraced the path through the meadow leading to the bridge,
and reëntered the highway which ran to the city, where Pierre
conducted Amélie home.
THE MARKET-PLACE ON ST. MARTIN'S DAY.
The market-place then as now occupied the open square lying between
the great Cathedral of Ste. Marie and the College of the Jesuits.
The latter, a vast edifice, occupied one side of the square.
Through its wide portal a glimpse was had of the gardens and broad
avenues of ancient trees, sacred to the meditation and quiet
exercises of the reverend fathers, who walked about in pairs,
according to the rule of their order, which rarely permitted them to
The market-place itself was lively this morning with the number of
carts and stalls ranged on either side of the bright little rivulet
which ran under the old elms that intersected the square, the trees
affording shade and the rivulet drink for man and beast.
A bustling, loquacious crowd of habitans and citizens, wives and
maid-servants, were buying, selling, exchanging compliments, or
complaining of hard times. The marketplace was full, and all were
glad at the termination of the terrible war, and hopeful of the
happy effect of peace in bringing plenty back again to the old
The people bustled up and down, testing their weak purses against
their strong desires to fill their baskets with the ripe autumnal
fruits and the products of field and garden, river and basse cour,
which lay temptingly exposed in the little carts of the marketmen
and women who on every side extolled the quality and cheapness of
There were apples from the Côte de Beaupré, small in size but
impregnated with the flavor of honey; pears grown in the old
orchards about Ange Gardien, and grapes worthy of Bacchus, from the
Isle of Orleans, with baskets of the delicious bilberries that cover
the wild hills of the north shore from the first wane of summer
until late in the autumn.
The drain of the war had starved out the butchers' stalls, but
Indians and hunters took their places for the nonce with an
abundance of game of all kinds, which had multiplied exceedingly
during the years that men had taken to killing Bostonnais and
English instead of deer and wild turkeys.
Fish was in especial abundance; the blessing of the old Jesuits
still rested on the waters of New France, and the fish swarmed
metaphorically with money in their mouths.
There were piles of speckled trout fit to be eaten by popes and
kings, taken in the little pure lakes and streams tributary to the
Montmorency; lordly salmon that swarmed in the tidal weirs along the
shores of the St. Lawrence, and huge eels, thick as the arm of the
fisher who drew them up from their rich river-beds.
There were sacks of meal ground in the banal mills of the
seigniories for the people's bread, but the old tinettes of yellow
butter, the pride of the good wives of Beauport and Lauzon, were
rarely to be seen, and commanded unheard-of prices. The hungry
children who used to eat tartines of bread buttered on both sides
were now accustomed to the cry of their frugal mother as she spread
it thin as if it were gold-leaf: "Mes enfants, take care of the
The Commissaries of the Army, in other words the agents of the Grand
Company, had swept the settlements far and near of their herds, and
the habitans soon discovered that the exposure for sale in the
market of the products of the dairy was speedily followed by a visit
from the purveyors of the army, and the seizure of their remaining
Roots and other esculents of field and garden were more plentiful in
the market, among which might have been seen the newly introduced
potato,--a vegetable long despised in New France, then endured, and
now beginning to be liked and widely cultivated as a prime article
At the upper angle of the square stood a lofty cross or Holy Rood,
overtopping the low roofs of the shops and booths in its
neighborhood. About the foot of the cross was a platform of timber
raised a few feet from the ground, giving a commanding view of the
A crowd of habitans were gathered round this platform listening,
some with exclamations of approval, not unmingled on the part of
others with sounds of dissent, to the fervent address of one of the
Jesuit Fathers from the College, who with crucifix in hand was
preaching to the people upon the vices and backslidings of the
Father Glapion, the Superior of the order in New France, a grave,
saturnine man, and several other fathers in close black cassocks and
square caps, stood behind the preacher, watching with keen eyes the
faces of the auditory as if to discover who were for and who were
against the sentiments and opinions promulgated by the preacher.
The storm of the great Jansenist controversy, which rent the Church
of France from top to bottom, had not spared the Colony, where it
had early caused trouble; for that controversy grew out of the
Gallican liberties of the national Church and the right of national
participation in its administrations and appointments. The Jesuits
ever fiercely contested these liberties; they boldly set the tiara
above the crown, and strove to subordinate all opinions of faith,
morals, education, and ecclesiastical government to the infallible
judgment of the Pope alone.
The Bishop and clergy of New France had labored hard to prevent the
introduction of that mischievous controversy into the Colony, and
had for the most part succeeded in reserving their flocks, if not
themselves, from its malign influence. The growing agitation in
France, however, made it more difficult to keep down troublesome
spirits in the Colony, and the idea got abroad, not without some
foundation, that the Society of Jesus had secret commercial
relations with the Friponne. This report fanned the smouldering
fires of Jansenism into a flame visible enough and threatening
enough to the peace of the Church.
The failure and bankruptcy of Father Vallette's enormous
speculations in the West Indies had filled France with bad debts and
protested obligations which the Society of Jesus repudiated, but
which the Parliament of Paris ordered them to pay. The excitement
was intense all over the Kingdom and the Colonies. On the part of
the order it became a fight for existence.
They were envied for their wealth, and feared for their ability and
their power. The secular clergy were for the most part against
them. The Parliament of Paris, in a violent decree, had declared
the Jesuits to have no legal standing in France. Voltaire and his
followers, a growing host, thundered at them from the one side. The
Vatican, in a moment of inconsistency and ingratitude, thundered at
them from the other. They were in the midst of fire, and still
their ability and influence over individual consciences, and
especially over the female sex, prolonged their power for fifteen
years longer, when Louis XV., driven to the wall by the Jansenists,
issued his memorable decree declaring the Jesuits to be rebels,
traitors, and stirrers up of mischief. The King confiscated their
possessions, proscribed their persons, and banished them from the
kingdom as enemies of the State.
Padre Monti, an Italian newly arrived in the Colony, was a man
very different from the venerable Vimont and the Jogues and the
Lallements, who had preached the Evangel to the wild tribes of the
forest, and rejoiced when they won the crown of martyrdom for
Monti was a bold man in his way, and ready to dare any bold deed in
the interests of religion, which he could not dissociate from the
interests of his order. He stood up, erect and commanding, upon
the platform under the Holy Rood, while he addressed with fiery
eloquence and Italian gesticulation the crowd of people gathered
The subject he chose was an exciting one. He enlarged upon the
coming of Antichrist and upon the new philosophy of the age, the
growth of Gallicanism in the Colony, with its schismatic progeny of
Jansenists and Honnêtes Gens, to the discouragement of true religion
and the endangering of immortal souls.
His covert allusions and sharp innuendoes were perfectly understood
by his hearers, and signs of dissentient feeling were rife among
the crowd. Still, the people continued to listen, on the whole
respectfully; for, whatever might be the sentiment of Old France
with respect to the Jesuits, they had in New France inherited the
profound respect of the colonists, and deserved it.
A few gentlemen, some in military, some in fashionable civil attire,
strolled up towards the crowd, but stood somewhat aloof and outside
of it. The market people pressed closer and closer round the
platform, listening with mouths open and eager eyes to the sermon,
storing it away in their retentive memories, which would reproduce
every word of it when they sat round the fireside in the coming
One or two Recollets stood at a modest distance from the crowd,
still as statues, with their hands hid in the sleeves of their gray
gowns, shaking their heads at the arguments, and still more at
the invectives of the preacher; for the Recollets were accused,
wrongfully perhaps, of studying the five propositions of Port Royal
more than beseemed the humble followers of St. Francis to do, and
they either could not or would not repel the accusation.
"Padre Monti deserves the best thanks of the Intendant for this
sermon," remarked the Sieur d'Estebe to Le Mercier, who accompanied
"And the worst thanks of His Excellency the Count! It was bold of
the Italian to beard the Governor in that manner! But La
Galissonière is too great a philosopher to mind a priest!" was the
half-scoffing reply of Le Mercier.
"Is he? I do not think so, Le Mercier. I hate them myself, but
egad! I am not philosophic enough to let them know it. One may do
so in Paris, but not in New France. Besides, the Jesuits are just
now our fast friends, and it does not do to quarrel with your
"True, D'Estebe! We get no help from the Recollets. Look yonder at
Brothers Ambrose and Daniel! They would like to tie Padre Monti
neck and heels with the cords of St. Francis, and bind him over to
keep the peace towards Port Royal; but the gray gowns are afraid of
the black robes. Padre Monti knew they would not catch the ball
when he threw it. The Recollets are all afraid to hurl it back."
"Not all," was the reply; "the Reverend Father de Berey would have
thrown it back with a vengeance. But I confess, Le Mercier, the
Padre is a bold fellow to pitch into the Honnêtes Gens the way he
does. I did not think he would have ventured upon it here in the
market, in face of so many habitans, who swear by the Bourgeois
The bold denunciations by the preacher against the Honnêtes Gens and
against the people's friend and protector, the Bourgeois Philibert,
caused a commotion in the crowd of habitans, who began to utter
louder and louder exclamations of dissent and remonstrance. A close
observer would have noticed angry looks and clenched fists in many
parts of the crowd, pressing closer and closer round the platform.
The signs of increasing tumult in the crowd did not escape the sharp
eyes of Father Glapion, who, seeing that the hot-blooded Italian was
overstepping the bounds of prudence in his harangue, called him by
name, and with a half angry sign brought his sermon suddenly to a
close. Padre Monti obeyed with the unquestioning promptness of an
automaton. He stopped instantly, without rounding the period or
finishing the sentence that was in his mouth.
His flushed and ardent manner changed to the calmness of marble as,
lifting up his hands with a devout oremus, he uttered a brief prayer
and left the puzzled people to finish his speech and digest at
leisure his singular sermon.
"BLESSED THEY WHO DIE DOING THY WILL."
It was the practice of the Bourgeois Philibert to leave his
counting-room to walk through the market-place, not for the sake of
the greetings he met, although he received them from every side,
nor to buy or sell on his own account, but to note with quick,
sympathizing eye the poor and needy and to relieve their wants.
Especially did he love to meet the old, the feeble, the widow, and
the orphan, so numerous from the devastation of the long and bloody
The Bourgeois had another daily custom which he observed with
unfailing regularity. His table in the House of the Golden Dog was
set every day with twelve covers and dishes for twelve guests, "the
twelve apostles," as he gayly used to say, "whom I love to have dine
with me, and who come to my door in the guise of poor, hungry, and
thirsty men, needing meat and drink. Strangers to be taken in, and
sick wanting a friend." If no other guests came he was always sure
of the "apostles" to empty his table, and, while some simple dish
sufficed for himself, he ordered the whole banquet to be given away
to the poor. His choice wines, which he scarcely permitted himself
to taste, were removed from his table and sent to the Hôtel Dieu,
the great convent of the Nuns Hospitalières, for the use of the sick
in their charge, while the Bourgeois returned thanks with a heart
more content than if kings had dined at his table.
To-day was the day of St. Martin, the anniversary of the death of
his wife, who still lived in his memory fresh as upon the day he
took her away as his bride from her Norman home. Upon every
recurrence of that day, and upon some other special times and
holidays, his bounty was doubled, and the Bourgeois made
preparations, as he jocularly used to say, "not only for the twelve
apostles, but for the seventy disciples as well!"
He had just dressed himself with scrupulous neatness in the fashion
of a plain gentleman, as was his wont, without a trace of foppery.
With his stout gold-headed cane in his hand, he was descending the
stairs to go out as usual to the market, when Dame Rochelle accosted
him in the hall.
Her eyes and whole demeanor wore an expression of deep anxiety as
the good dame looked up in the face of the Bourgeois.
"Do not go to the market to-day, dear master!" said she,
beseechingly; "I have been there myself and have ordered all we
need for the due honor of the day."
"Thanks, good dame, for remembering the blessed anniversary, but you
know I am expected in the market. It is one of my special days.
Who is to fill the baskets of the poor people who feel a delicacy
about coming for alms to the door, unless I go? Charity fulfills
its mission best when it respects the misfortune of being poor in
the persons of its recipients. I must make my round of the market,
"And still, dear master, go not to-day; I never asked you before; I
do this time. I fear some evil this morning!"
The Bourgeois looked at her inquiringly. He knew the good dame too
well not to be sure she had some weighty reason for her request.
"What particularly moves you to this singular request, Dame
Rochelle?" asked he.
"A potent reason, master, but it would not weigh a grain with you as
with me. There is this morning a wild spirit afloat,--people's
minds have been excited by a sermon from one of the college fathers.
The friends of the Intendant are gathered in force, they say, to
clear the market of the Honnêtes Gens. A disturbance is impending.
That, master, is one reason. My other is a presentiment that some
harm will befall you if you go to the market in the midst of such
"Thanks, good dame," replied the Bourgeois calmly, "both for your
information and your presentiment; but they only furnish an
additional reason why I should go to try to prevent any disturbance
among my fellow-citizens."
"Still, master, you see not what I see, and hear not what I hear,
and would not believe it did I tell you! I beseech you, go not to-
day!" exclaimed she imploringly, clasping her hands in the eagerness
of her appeal.
"Good dame," replied he, "I deeply respect your solicitude, but I
could not, without losing all respect for myself as a gentleman,
stay away out of any consideration of impending danger. I should
esteem it my duty all the more to go, if there be danger, which I
"Oh, that Pierre were here to accompany you! But at least take some
servants with you, master," implored the dame, persisting in her
"Good dame, I cannot consult fear when I have duty to perform;
besides, I am in no danger. I have enemies enough, I know; but he
would be a bold man who would assail the Bourgeois Philibert in the
open market-place of Quebec."
"Yet there may be such a bold man, master," replied she. "There
are many such men who would consider they did the Intendant and
themselves good service by compassing your destruction!"
"May be so, dame; but I should be a mark of scorn for all men if I
evaded a duty, small or great, through fear of the Intendant or any
of his friends."
"I knew my appeal would be in vain, master, but forgive my anxiety.
God help you! God defend you!"
She looked at him fixedly for a moment. He saw her features were
quivering with emotion and her eyes filled with tears.
"Good dame," said he kindly, taking her hand, "I respect your
motives, and will so far show my regard for your forecast of danger
as to take my sword, which, after a good conscience, is the best
friend a gentleman can have to stand by him in peril. Please bring
it to me."
"Willingly, master, and may it be like the sword of the cherubim, to
guard and protect you to-day!"
She went into the great hall for the rapier of the Bourgeois, which
he only wore on occasions of full dress and ceremony. He took it
smilingly from her hand, and, throwing the belt over his shoulder,
bade Dame Rochelle good-by, and proceeded to the market.
The dame looked earnestly after him until he turned the corner of
the great Cathedral, when, wiping her eyes, she went into the house
and sat down pensively for some minutes.
"Would that Pierre had not gone to St. Ann's to-day!" cried she.
"My master! my noble, good master! I feel there is evil abroad for
him in the market to-day." She turned, as was her wont in time of
trouble, to the open Bible that ever lay upon her table, and sought
strength in meditation upon its sacred pages.
There was much stir in the market when the Bourgeois began his
accustomed walk among the stalls, stopping to converse with such
friends as he met, and especially with the poor and infirm, who did
not follow him--he hated to be followed,--but who stood waiting his
arrival at certain points which he never failed to pass. The
Bourgeois knew that his poor almsmen would be standing there, and
he would no more avoid them than he would avoid the Governor.
A group of girls very gaily dressed loitered through the market,
purchasing bouquets of the last of autumnal flowers, and coquetting
with the young men of fashion who chose the market-place for their
morning promenade, and who spent their smiles and wit freely, and
sometimes their money, upon the young ladies they expected to find
This morning the Demoiselles Grandmaison and Hebert were cheapening
immortelles and dry flowers to decorate their winter vases,--a
pleasant fashion, not out of date in the city at the present day.
The attention of these young ladies was quite as much taken up with
the talk of their cavaliers as with their bargaining when a quick
exclamation greeted them from a lady on horseback, accompanied by
the Chevalier de Pean. She drew bridle sharply in front of the
group, and leaning down from her saddle gave her hand to the ladies,
bidding them good morning in a cheery voice which there was no
mistaking, although her face was invisible behind her veil. It was
Angélique des Meloises, more gay and more fascinating than ever.
She noticed two gentlemen in the group. "Oh, pardon me, Messieurs
Le Mercier and d'Estebe!" said she. "I did not perceive you. My
veil is so in the way!" She pushed it aside coquettishly, and gave
a finger to each of the gentlemen, who returned her greeting with
"Good morning! say you, Angélique?" exclaimed Mademoiselle Hebert;
"it is a good noon. You have slept rarely! How bright and fresh
you look, darling!"
"Do I not!" laughed Angélique in reply. "It is the morning air and
a good conscience make it! Are you buying flowers? I have been to
Sillery for mine!" said she, patting her blooming cheeks with the
end of her riding-whip. She had no time for further parley, for her
attention was suddenly directed by De Pean to some stir upon the
other side of the market, with an invitation to her to ride over and
see what was the matter. Angélique at once wheeled her horse to
accompany De Pean.
The group of girls felt themselves eclipsed and overborne by the
queenly airs of Angélique, and were glad when she moved off, fearing
that by some adroit manoeuvre she would carry off their cavaliers.
It needed but a word, as they knew, to draw them all after her.
Angélique, under the lead of De Pean, rode quickly towards the scene
of confusion, where men were gesticulating fiercely and uttering
loud, angry words such as usually precede the drawing of swords and
the rush of combatants.
To her surprise, she recognized Le Gardeur de Repentigny, very drunk
and wild with anger, in the act of leaping off his horse with oaths
of vengeance against some one whom she could not distinguish in the
Le Gardeur had just risen from the gaming-table, where he had been
playing all night. He was maddened with drink and excited by great
losses, which in his rage he called unfair.
Colonel St. Remy had rooked him at piquet, he said, and refused him
the chance of an honorable gamester to win back some part of his
losses. His antagonist had left the Palace like a sneak, and he was
riding round the city to find him, and horsewhip him if he would not
fight like a gentleman.
Le Gardeur was accompanied by the Sieur de Lantagnac, who, by
splendid dissipation, had won his whole confidence. Le Gardeur,
when drunk, thought the world did not contain a finer fellow than
Lantagnac, whom he thoroughly despised when sober.
At a hint from De Pean, the Sieur de Lantagnac had clung to Le
Gardeur that morning like his shadow, had drunk with him again and
again, exciting his wrath against St. Remy; but apparently keeping
his own head clear enough for whatever mischief De Pean had put
They rode together to the market-place, hearing that St. Remy was at
the sermon. Their object, as Le Gardeur believed, was to put an
unpardonable insult upon St. Remy, by striking him with his whip and
forcing him to fight a duel with Le Gardeur or his friend. The
reckless De Lantagnac asserted loudly, he "did not care a straw
Le Gardeur and De Lantagnac rode furiously through the market,
heedless of what they encountered or whom they ran over, and were
followed by a yell of indignation from the people, who recognized
them as gentlemen of the Grand Company.
It chanced that at that moment a poor almsman of the Bourgeois
Philibert was humbly and quietly leaning on his crutches, listening
with bowing head and smiling lips to the kind inquiries of his
benefactor as he received his accustomed alms.
De Lantagnac rode up furiously, followed by Le Gardeur. De
Lantagnac recognized the Bourgeois, who stood in his way talking to
the crippled soldier. He cursed him between his teeth, and lashed
his horse with intent to ride him down as if by accident.
The Bourgeois saw them approach and motioned them to stop, but in
vain. The horse of De Lantagnac just swerved in its course, and
without checking his speed ran over the crippled man, who instantly
rolled in the dust, his face streaming with blood from a sharp
stroke of the horse's shoe upon his forehead.
Immediately following De Lantagnac came Le Gardeur, lashing his
horse and yelling like a demon to all to clear the way.
The Bourgeois was startled at this new danger, not to himself,--he
thought not of himself,--but to the bleeding man lying prostrate
upon the ground. He sprang forward to prevent Le Gardeur's horse
going over him.
He did not, in the haste and confusion of the moment, recognize Le
Gardeur, who, inflamed with wine and frantic with passion, was
almost past recognition by any who knew him in his normal state.
Nor did Le Gardeur, in his frenzy, recognize the presence of the
Bourgeois, whose voice calling him by name, with an appeal to his
better nature, would undoubtedly have checked his headlong career.
The moment was critical. It was one of those points of time where
the threads of many lives and many destinies cross and intersect
each other, and thence part different ways, leading to life or
death, happiness or despair, forever!
Le Gardeur spurred his horse madly over the wounded man who lay upon
the ground; but he did not hear him, he did not see him. Let it be
said for Le Gardeur, if aught can be said in his defence, he did not
see him. His horse was just about to trample upon the prostrate
cripple lying in the dust, when his bridle was suddenly and firmly
seized by the hand of the Bourgeois, and his horse wheeled round
with such violence that, rearing back upon his haunches, he almost
threw his rider headlong.
Le Gardeur, not knowing the reason of this sudden interference, and
flaming with wrath, leaped to the ground just at the moment when
Angélique and De Pean rode up. Le Gardeur neither knew nor cared at
that moment who his antagonist was; he saw but a bold, presumptuous
man who had seized his bridle, and whom it was his desire to punish
on the spot.
De Pean recognized the stately figure and fearless look of the
Bourgeois confronting Le Gardeur. The triumph of the Friponne was
at hand. De Pean rubbed his hands with ecstasy as he called out to
Le Gardeur, his voice ringing above the din of the crowd, "Achevez-
le! Finish him, Le Gardeur!"
Angélique sat upon her horse fixed as a statue and as pale as
marble, not at the danger of the Bourgeois, whom she at once
recognized, but out of fear for her lover, exposed to the menaces
of the crowd, who were all on the side of the Bourgeois.
Le Gardeur leaped down from his horse and advanced with a terrible
imprecation upon the Bourgeois, and struck him with his whip. The
brave old merchant had the soul of a marshal of France. His blood
boiled at the insult; he raised his staff to ward off a second blow
and struck Le Gardeur sharply upon the wrist, making his whip fly
out of his hand. Le Gardeur instantly advanced again upon him, but
was pressed back by the habitans, who rushed to the defence of the
Bourgeois. Then came the tempter to his ear,--a word or two, and
the fate of many innocent lives was decided in a moment!
Le Gardeur suddenly felt a hand laid upon his shoulder, and heard a
voice, a woman's voice, speaking to him in passionate tones.
Angélique had forced her horse into the thick of the crowd. She was
no longer calm, nor pale with apprehension, but her face was flushed
redder than fire, and her eyes, those magnetic orbs which drove men
mad, blazed upon Le Gardeur with all their terrible influence. She
had seen him struck by the Bourgeois, and her anger was equal to his
De Pean saw the opportunity.
"Angélique," exclaimed he, "the Bourgeois strikes Le Gardeur! What
an outrage! Can you bear it?"
"Never!" replied she; "neither shall Le Gardeur!"
With a plunge of her horse she forced her way close to Le Gardeur,
and, leaning over him, laid her hand upon his shoulder and exclaimed
in a voice choking with passion,--
"Comment, Le Gardeur! vous souffrez qu'un Malva comme ça vous abîme
de coups, et vous portez l'épée!" "What, Le Gardeur! you allow a
ruffian like that to load you with blows, and you wear a sword!"
It was enough! That look, that word, would have made Le Gardeur
slaughter his father at that moment.
Astonished at the sight of Angélique, and maddened by her words as
much as by the blow he had received, Le Gardeur swore he would have
revenge upon the spot. With a wild cry and the strength and agility
of a panther he twisted himself out of the grasp of the habitans,
and drawing his sword, before any man could stop him, thrust it to
the hilt through the body of the Bourgeois, who, not expecting this
sudden assault, had not put himself in an attitude of defense to
The Bourgeois fell dying by the side of the bleeding man who had
just received his alms, and in whose protection he had thus risked
and lost his own life.
"Bravo, Le Gardeur!" exclaimed De Pean; "that was the best stroke
ever given in New France. The Golden Dog is done for, and the
Bourgeois has paid his debt to the Grand Company."
Le Gardeur looked up wildly. "Who is he, De Pean?" exclaimed he.
"What man have I killed?"
"The Bourgeois Philibert, who else?" shouted De Pean with a tone of
Le Gardeur uttered a wailing cry, "The Bourgeois Philibert! have I
slain the Bourgeois Philibert? De Pean lies, Angélique," said he,
suddenly turning to her. "I would not kill a sparrow belonging to
the Bourgeois Philibert! Oh, tell me De Pean lies."
"De Pean does not lie, Le Gardeur," answered she, frightened at his
look. "The Bourgeois struck you first. I saw him strike you first
with his staff. You are a gentleman and would kill the King if he
struck you like a dog with his staff. Look where they are lifting
him up. You see it is the Bourgeois and no other."
Le Gardeur gave one wild look and recognized the well-known form
and features of the Bourgeois. He threw his sword on the ground,
exclaiming, "Oh! oh! unhappy man that I am! It is parricide!
parricide! to have slain the father of my brother Pierre! Oh,
Angélique des Meloises! you made me draw my sword, and I knew not
who it was or what I did!"
"I told you, Le Gardeur, and you are angry with me. But see! hark!
what a tumult is gathering; we must get out of this throng or we
shall all be killed as well as the Bourgeois. Fly, Le Gardeur, fly!
Go to the Palace!"
"To hell sooner! Never shall the Palace see me again!" exclaimed he
madly. "The people shall kill me if they will, but save yourself,
Angélique. De Pean, lead her instantly away from this cursed spot,
or all the blood is not spilt that will be spilt to-day. This is of
your contriving, De Pean," cried he, looking savagely, as if about
to spring upon him.
"You would not harm me or her, Le Gardeur?" interrupted De Pean,
turning pale at his fierce look.
"Harm her, you fool, no! but I will harm you if you do not instantly
take her away out of this tumult. I must see the Bourgeois. Oh
God, if he be dead!"
A great cry now ran through the market-place: "The Bourgeois is
killed. The Grand Company have assassinated the Bourgeois." Men
ran up from every side shouting and gesticulating. The news spread
like wild-fire through the city, and simultaneously a yell for
vengeance rose from the excited multitude.
The Recollet Brother Daniel had been the first to fly to the help of
the Bourgeois. His gray robe presently was dyed red with the blood
of the best friend and protector of their monastery. But death was
too quick for even one prayer to be heard or uttered by the dying
The gray Brother made the sign of the cross upon the forehead of the
Bourgeois, who opened his eyes once for a moment, and looked in the
face of the good friar while his lips quivered with two inarticulate
words, "Pierre! Amélie!" That was all. His brave eyes closed
again forever from the light of the sun. The good Bourgeois
Philibert was dead.
"'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,'" repeated the Recollet.
"'Even so, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors.'"
De Pean had foreseen the likelihood of a popular commotion. He was
ready to fly on the instant, but could not prevail on Angélique
to leave Le Gardeur, who was kneeling down by the side of the
Bourgeois, lifting him in his arms and uttering the wildest accents
of grief as he gazed upon the pallid, immovable face of the friend
of his youth.
"That is the assassin, and the woman, too," cried a sturdy habitan.
"I heard her bid him draw his sword upon the Bourgeois."
The crowd for the moment believed that De Pean had been the murderer
"No, not he; it was the other. It was the officer who dismounted,--
the drunken officer. Who was he? Where is he?" cried the habitan,
forcing his way into the presence of Le Gardeur, who was still
kneeling by the side of the Bourgeois and was not seen for a few
moments; but quickly he was identified.
"That is he!" cried a dozen voices. "He is looking if he has killed
him, by God!"
A number of men rushed upon Le Gardeur, who made no defence, but
continued kneeling beside the Recollet Brother Daniel over the body
of the Bourgeois. He was instantly seized by some of the crowd. He
held out his hands and bade them take him prisoner or kill him on
the spot, if they would, for it was he who had killed the Bourgeois.
Half a dozen swords were instantly drawn as if to take him at his
word, when the terrible shrieks of Angélique pierced every ear. The
crowd turned in astonishment to see who it was on horseback that
cried so terribly, "Do not kill him! Do not kill Le Gardeur de
Repentigny!" She called several citizens by name and entreated them
to help to save him.
By her sudden interference Angélique caused a diversion in the
crowd. Le Gardeur rose up to his feet, and many persons recognized
him with astonishment and incredulity, for no one could believe that
he had killed the good Bourgeois, who was known to have been the
warm friend of the whole family of De Repentigny.
De Pean, taking advantage of the sudden shift of feeling in the
crowd and anxious for the safety of Angélique, seized the bridle of
her horse to drag her forcibly out of the press, telling her that
her words had been heard and in another instant the whole mob would
turn its fury upon her, and in order to save her life she must fly.
"I will not fly, De Pean. You may fly yourself, for you are a
coward. They are going to kill Le Gardeur, and I will not forsake
him. They shall kill me first."
"But you must! You shall fly! Hark! Le Gardeur is safe for the
present. Wheel your horse around, and you will see him standing up
yonder quite safe! The crowd rather believe it was I who killed the
Bourgeois, and not Le Gardeur! I have a soul and body to be saved
as well as he!"
"Curse you, soul and body, De Pean! You made me do it! You put
those hellish words in my mouth! I will not go until I see Le
Angélique endeavored frantically to approach Le Gardeur, and could
not, but as she looked over the surging heads of the people she
could see Le Gardeur standing up, surrounded by a ring of agitated
men who did not appear, however, to threaten him with any injury,--
nay, looked at him more with wonder and pity than with menace of
He was a prisoner, but Angélique did not know it or she would not
have left him. As it was, urged by the most vehement objurgations
of De Pean, and seeing a portion of the crowd turning their furious
looks towards herself as she sat upon her horse, unable either to
go or stay, De Pean suddenly seized her rein, and spurring his own
horse, dragged her furiously in spite of herself out of the tumult.
They rode headlong to the casernes of the Regiment of Béarn, where
they took refuge for the moment from the execrations of the
The hapless Le Gardeur became suddenly sobered and conscious of the
enormity of his act. He called madly for death from the raging
crowd. He held out his hands for chains to bind a murderer, as he
called himself! But no one would strike him or offer to bind him.
The wrath of the people was so mingled with blank astonishment at
his demeanor, his grief and his despair were so evidently genuine
and so deep, that many said he was mad, and more an object of pity
than of punishment.