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The Life of Marie de Medicis, Vol. 2 (of 3) by Julia Pardoe

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study, could develop great energy when he was engaged in gunnery,
horsemanship, or falconry. The latter pursuit was his principal
amusement, His purity of heart and propriety of language were extreme,
and deserve the greater mention from the contrast which they afforded to
the morals and manners by which he was surrounded. He would neither
permit an oath nor an obscene expression to be uttered in his presence,
and never failed to rebuke any violation of his pleasure in this
respect. He was passionately attached to dogs, and conversed with them,
according to a contemporaneous historian, in a peculiar language;[192]
but as regarded his kingly duties he was utterly incompetent. With good
intentions, a love of justice, and a deep sense of religion, he was
vacillating and indolent; and cared little either to assert his
privileges, or to take upon himself the cares and fatigues of government
while he could transfer them to others, and thus secure time to abandon
himself to more congenial pursuits.

In this circumstance were comprised all the errors of his reign; as even
while deeply imbued with a sense of his dignity as the sovereign of a
great nation, he exhibited the feeling only in acts of petty and
obstinate opposition which tended to no result, and were productive only
of a want of attachment to his person, and of respect for his opinions,
which increased the arrogance of the great nobles, and fostered the
ambition of his ministers.

It is now time that we should introduce an individual whose subsequent
importance in the kingdom, humble as were his antecedents, was one
source of the bitter trials to which the unfortunate Marie de Medicis
was subjected during a long period of her life. The Comte de Lude had in
his service a page, who was subsequently transferred to that of the
young King; and it is the history of this apparently insignificant
person which we are now called upon to detail to the reader. Albert de
Luynes, his father, was the son of Guillaume Segur, a canon of the
cathedral of Marseilles, and of the housekeeper of the said
ecclesiastic; and derived the name of Luynes from a small tenement upon
the bank of that river, between Aix and Marseilles, which was the
property of the canon, who preferred that his son should adopt the
appellation of his farm rather than his own. There was, however, an
elder brother, on whom the little property belonging to the priest was
exclusively bestowed, and Luynes accordingly discovered that he must
become the architect of his own fortunes. With all the fearless
confidence of youth he made his way, as he best could, to the capital,
where he enlisted as an archer of the bodyguard, displayed great
aptitude and courage, and finally obtained the governorship of
Pont-St.-Esprit. While thus prospering in the world he married, became
the father of seven children, of whom three were sons; and died without
suspecting that his name would be handed down to posterity through the
medium of one of these almost portionless boys, whose sole inheritance
was a small dairy-farm of the annual value of twelve hundred livres.

Charles de Luynes, the elder of this numerous family, became, as already
stated, the page of the Comte de Lude; and, as his brothers were totally
without resources, he induced his patron to receive them gratuitously
into his suite, in order that he might be enabled to share with them
the four hundred crowns a year which, together with his slender
patrimony, formed his own income. This favour had no sooner been
conceded than the three young men discarded the modest names of Charles,
Honore, and Leon d'Albert, by which they had previously been known, and
assumed those of Luynes, Cadenet, and Brantes, from the field, the
vineyard, and a small sandy island beside them, which composed their
joint estate.[193] "Possessions," as Bassompierre facetiously observes,
"over which a hare leapt every day." On the miserable pittance of the
elder brother the three young adventurers, nevertheless, contrived with
considerable difficulty to exist, although it was notorious that they
had but one cloak, at that period an indispensable article of costume,
among them; a circumstance by which two were compelled to avoid
observation while the third fulfilled his duties; and so little,
moreover, were their services valued by M. de Lude that he was in the
habit of declaring that they were fit for nothing but "to catch green
jays," a reproach which they owed to their skill in training
sparrow-hawks to catch small birds; and to which he was far from
supposing when he gave it utterance that they would ultimately be
indebted for a prosperity almost fabulous.

Such, however, was fated to be the case. Charles de Luynes had not been
long at Court before he ascertained the passion of the young King for
falconry, and having carefully trained two of his miniature hawks, he
caused them to be offered in his name to his royal master. Louis was
delighted with their docility and skill, and desired that the donor
should be presented to him; when he found that the page was deeply
versed in all the mysteries of that sport to which he was himself so
much attached; and thenceforward he constantly commanded his attendance
whenever he pursued his favourite pastime in the gardens of the

At this period M. de Luynes had already attained his thirtieth year;
and, with admirable self-government, he had so thoroughly controlled
himself as to disguise the salient features of his character. No one
consequently suspected either his latent ambition, or the violent
passions which he had craft enough to conceal; and thus the very
individuals who were the objects of his hatred regarded him merely as a
shallow and superficial young man, whose whole soul was in the puerile
sports to which he had addicted himself.

It was not, however, solely to take small birds that De Luynes aspired
when he thus found himself the chosen companion of the Dauphin; he had
other talents which he exerted so zealously that he ere long made
himself indispensable. Gifted with a magnificent person, insinuating
manners, and that ready tact by which an indolent nature is
unconsciously roused to excitement, he soon obtained an extraordinary
influence over his royal playmate by the power which he possessed of
overcoming his habitual apathy, and causing him to enter with zest and
enjoyment into the pleasures of his age. Henri IV, who perceived with
gratification the beneficial effect produced upon the saturnine nature
of his son, and who was, moreover, touched by the fraternal devotion of
the page, transferred him to the household of the Dauphin, and augmented
his income to twelve hundred crowns; and thenceforward he became at once
the companion, counsellor, and friend of the young Louis; and at the
desire of the Prince he was created Master of the Aviary.

Time passed on. The Dauphin succeeded to the throne of his murdered
father; the Regency tottered under the machinations of the great nobles;
faction grew out of faction; cabals and conspiracies kept the nation in
one perpetual state of anxiety and unrest; but the influence of De
Luynes continued undiminished; and neither Marie de Medicis nor her
ministers apprehended any danger from an association that was fated to
produce the most serious consequences; while the Princes were equally
disinclined to disturb the amusements in which the young monarch was so
entirely absorbed as to pay little attention to the important events
which succeeded each other around him.

As he grew older Louis became still more attached to his favourite. His
discontented spirit made him irritable under every disappointment, and
vindictive towards those by whom his wishes were opposed: he detested
alike explanation and remonstrance, and from De Luynes he never
encountered either the one or the other. Under the remonstrances of his
mother he became sullen; to the arrogant assumption of the Princes and
the Marechal d'Ancre he opposed an apathetic silence which caused them
to believe that it was unfelt; and it was only to De Luynes that he
poured forth all his indignation, that he complained with bitterness of
the iron rule of Marie, the insolence of his nobles, and the
ostentatious profusion of the Italian: contrasting the first with his
own helplessness, the second with the insignificance to which he was
condemned, and the last with the almost penury to which he was compelled
to submit.

No Prince had ever a more attentive or a more interested auditor. The
enemies of the young Louis were also those of his favourite; for, as
before remarked, the grandson of the reverend canon of Marseilles was
alike vain and ambitious, and consequently inimical to all who occupied
the high places to which he himself aspired. Moreover, the powerlessness
and poverty of the young monarch necessarily involved those of his
follower; and thus both by inclination and by interest De Luynes was
bound to share the antipathies of his master.

Like all favourites, moreover, he soon made a host of personal
adversaries; while, as these were far from suspecting the height to
which he was ultimately destined to attain, they took little pains to
dissemble their dislike and contempt of the new minion; and thus, ere
long, De Luynes had amassed a weighty load of hatred in his heart. To
him it appeared that all the great dignitaries of the kingdom, although
born to the rank they held, were engrossing honours which, possessed as
he was of the favour of the sovereign, should have been conferred upon
himself; but the especial antipathy of the arrogant adventurer was
directed against the Queen, the Marechal d'Ancre, and the President
Jeannin. To account for his bitter feeling towards Marie de Medicis, it
is only necessary to state that, blinded by his ambition, he had dared
to display for the haughty Princess a passion which was coldly and
disdainfully repulsed; and that he had vowed to revenge the overthrow of
his hopes.[194]

His hatred of Concini is as easily explained; it being merely the
jealousy of a rival favourite. The Italian was to the mother of the King
precisely what De Luynes was to the King himself; and as Marie possessed
more power than her son, so also was her follower more richly
recompensed. Still, however, the game was an unequal one, of which the
chances were all in his own favour; for the Marechal was playing away
the present, while his adversary was staking upon the future. The
President Jeannin was also, as we have stated, especially distasteful to
De Luynes, as he made no secret of his dissatisfaction at the frivolous
existence of the young sovereign, and his desire that he should exchange
the boyish diversions to which he was addicted for pursuits more worthy
of his high station; while at the same time he exhibited towards the
favourite an undisguised disdain which excited all the worst passions of
its object.

Thus, insignificant as he appeared to those who were basking in favour,
and who esteemed themselves too highly to waste one thought upon the
obsequious dependent of a youthful and wayward sovereign, who suffered
himself to be guided by those about him as though reckless of the result
of their conflicting ambitions, it will be readily understood that De
Luynes was laying up a store of antipathies which required only time and
opportunity to develop themselves, and to bear the most bitter fruits;
and already did the active favourite begin to enjoy a foretaste of the
coming harvest. Ever earnest for right, Louis XIII never exhibited any
personal energy to secure it, and consequently could effect nothing of
himself; readily prejudiced, alike by his own caprices and by the
representations of others, his very anxiety to act as became a monarch
rendered him vulnerable to the intrigues of those whose interests tended
to mislead his judgment; and as De Luynes, while sharing in his
superstitious acts of overstrained devotion, or amusing his idleness by
the futilities of falconry and other even less dignified sports, did not
fail occasionally and cautiously to allude to more serious subjects, the
boy-King listened eagerly to the recitals and opinions of his chosen
friend, and finished by adopting all his views.

This fact soon became so obvious to Concini, that the wily Italian, who
dreaded lest the day might not be far distant when the son of Marie de
Medicis would shake off the yoke of her quasi-regency and assert his own
prerogative, resolved to secure the good offices of De Luynes, and for
this purpose he induced M. de Conde to restore to the King the
government of Amboise; representing to the Prince the slight importance
of such a possession to a person of his rank, and the conviction which
its voluntary surrender must impress upon the ministers of his desire to
strengthen the royal cause. Let it not be supposed, however, that, at
the period of which we write, such a surrender could for a moment be
effected gratuitously; and thus, when the first Prince of the Blood was
at length induced to yield to the representations of his insidious
adviser, the terms of the bargain were fully understood on both sides;
but even when he had succeeded in obtaining the consent of M. de Conde
himself to the arrangement, Concini had still to overcome the scruples
of the Queen-mother, to whom he hastened to suggest that the vacant
government should be bestowed upon Charles de Luynes.

As he had anticipated, Marie de Medicis was startled by so extraordinary
a proposition. De Luynes was a mere hanger-on of the Court; the
companion of the boyish pleasures of her son; and without one claim to
honour or advancement. But these very arguments strengthened the
position of the Marechal. The poverty of the King's favourite secured,
as he averred, his fidelity to those who might lay the foundations of
his fortune; and if, as the astute Italian moreover cleverly remarked,
De Luynes were in truth merely the playmate of the monarch, he possessed
at least the merit of engrossing his thoughts, and of thus rendering him
less desirous to control or to criticize the measures of others. Marie
yielded to this argument; she had begun to love power for its own sake;
and she could not disguise from herself that her future tenure of
authority must depend solely upon the will of the young sovereign. In
order, therefore, to secure to herself the good offices of one so
influential with his royal master as De Luynes, she consented to follow
the advice of Concini, who forthwith, in her name, remunerated M. de
Conde for his secession by upwards of a hundred thousand crowns, and the
grandson of Guillaume Segur became governor of the city and fortress of


[170] Emmanuel de Gondy, Due de Retz, and General of the Galleys, was
the grandson of the celebrated Marechal Gilles de Laval, Baron de Retz,
who, under Charles VII, greatly contributed to the expulsion of the
English from France, but who subsequently suffered strangulation by a
decree of the ecclesiastical tribunal of Nantes for his frightful
debaucheries. He was the father of the well-known Cardinal de Retz, the
enemy of Mazarin, and one of the heroes of the Fronde.

[171] Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. pp. 247-254.
Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 53-55.

[172] Bassompierre, _Mem_. pp. 94, 95.

[173] Henri de Chatiegnier de la Rocheposay.

[174] In 1598 Henri IV had marched against the Duc de Mercoeur, who
still held part of Brittany; and as the Duke found himself, immediately
on the appearance of the King, deserted by the nobility of the duchy, he
gave himself up for lost. Opposition was of course useless; and he was
about to surrender to the royal troops upon the best terms which he
could obtain, when he saved himself by a lucky expedient. He was aware
of the violent passion still felt by Henry for Gabrielle d'Estrees, and
in order to escape the penalty of his rebellion he offered the hand of
his only daughter, with the duchies of Estampes, Penthievre, and
Mercoeur as her dowry, to the King's natural son Cesar de Vendome; a
proposal which was at once accepted, as the monarch was aware that it
would gratify the ambition of his mistress. Subsequently, however, after
the death of her father, the family of Mademoiselle de Mercoeur had
objected to the alliance, and it had required all the authority of Henry
to compel its accomplishment.--Davila, _Hist. of Modern Europe_, London,
1794, book xv. vol. iii. p. 49.

[175] Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. pp. 260-277.
Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 55-67. Le Vassor, vol. i. pp. 253-261. Brienne,
_Mem_. vol. i. pp. 296, 297, edition Petitot.

[176] Louis de Bassompierre, who subsequently became Bishop of Saintes.

[177] Petitot, _Avertissement sur M. de Bassompierre_.

[178] Le Vassor, vol. i. p. 263.

[179] Nicolas de Verdun, First President of the Parliament of Paris, a
devoted adherent of M. de Villeroy.

[180] Louis Servin, Councillor of State, Advocate-General of the
Parliament of Paris, and one of the most able magistrates of his time,
served with zeal and fidelity under Henri III, Henri IV, and Louis XIII.
He died suddenly, at the feet of the latter monarch, on the 19th of
March 1626, while remonstrating with him in the name of the Parliament,
where he was holding his Bed of Justice, against certain financial
edicts. He was the author of several legal writings, orations, and
sundry other works.

[181] Henri Auguste de Lomenie, Comte de Brienne, was the son of Antoine
de Lomenie and of Anne d'Aubourg, and was born in 1594. In 1609 he
attracted the attention of Henri IV, who occasionally admitted him to
his councils, in order to familiarize him with public affairs; and Marie
de Medicis continued, after the death of that monarch, to honour him
with her regard. In 1617 he became Master of the Ceremonies and Provost
of the King's Orders. In 1621 he followed Louis XIII to Languedoc, where
he distinguished himself at the siege of Clerac; and in the following
campaign he served under the Prince de Conde with equal credit. After
struggling successfully throughout the long and stormy administration of
Richelieu, he incurred the displeasure of Louis XIII a short time after
the death of that minister, and disposed of his office as secretary of
state; but during the regency of Anne of Austria he was recalled; and
until Louis XIV undertook to govern the nation in his own person, he
retained great influence in the Council. Age was, however, creeping upon
him; and a short time subsequent to the marriage of that monarch, having
attained his sixty-seventh year, he retired from the Government. He
died in 1666.

[182] Petitot, _Notice sur le Comte de Brienne_, p. 278.

[183] This privilege rendered the financial and judicial offices
hereditary, on the payment of an annual tax of one-tenth of the sum at
which they had been originally purchased; and the nobility were jealous
of this hereditary tenure of the most lucrative civil appointments under
the Crown, all of which were thus, as a natural consequence, engrossed
by the _tiers-etat._ The _paulette_ owed its name to Charles Paulet, who
was the inventor of this extraordinary source of revenue.

[184] _Tiers-etat,_ or middle state, was the name given to that portion
of the French people who belonged neither to the aristocracy nor to
the Church.

[185] Pierre de Roncherolles, Baron du Pont Saint-Pierre.

[186] Robert Miron, Provost of the Merchants, an able politician, whose
zeal and talents were recompensed by the confidence and favour of Louis
XIII, by whom he was, in 1625, entrusted with the embassy to

[187] Bonnechose, vol. i. pp. 451, 452. Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 73-78. Le
Vassor, vol. i. pp. 298-302.

[188] Marville, _Melanges d'Histoire et de Litterature_.

[189] Nicolas Le Fevre was born at Paris, in 1544, and devoted himself
to literature. Henri IV entrusted to him the education of the Prince de
Conde; and he subsequently became, under Marie de Medicis, the preceptor
of Louis XIII. He died in 1612.

[190] David de Rivault, Sieur de Flurance, was born at Laval in 1571,
and died at Tours in 1616. He was the author of several works, which
elicited the admiration of Malherbe and other distinguished writers.

[191] Guy, Comte de Laval, was the brother of the Duc de la Tremouille.

[192] Bernard, _Hist, de Louis XIII_, book i.

[193] Sismondi, _Hist. des Francais_, vol. xxii. p. 296.

[194] Bernard, book iv. _Additions aux Memoires de Castelnau_, book vi.
pp. 455-457. Richelieu, _Hist, de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. p. 284.

[195] Richelieu, _Hist, de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. pp. 284, 285.



Close of the States-General--The Bishop of Lucon--Declaration of the
royal marriages--Ballet of Madame--State of the Court--Cabal of
Concini--Death of Marguerite de Valois--Conde seeks to gain the
Parliament--Distrust of Marie de Medicis--Conde leaves Paris--He refuses
to accompany the King to Guienne--Perilous position of the Court
party--The Marechal de Bois-Dauphin is appointed Commander-in-Chief--The
Court proceed to Guienne--Illness of the Queen and Madame Elisabeth--The
Court at Tours--Enforced inertness of M. de Bois-Dauphin--Conde is
declared guilty of _lese-majeste_--He takes up arms--Murmurs of the
royal generals--The Comte de St. Pol makes his submission--The
Court reach Bordeaux--The royal marriages--Sufferings of the
troops--Disaffection of the nobility--Irritation of the
Protestants--Pasquinades--Negotiation with the Princes--The Duc de Guise
assumes the command of the royal army--Singular escape of Marie de
Medicis--Disgrace of the Duc d'Epernon--He retires to his
government--The Queen and the astrologer.

The assembly of the States-General occupied the commencement of the year
1615; and was closed on the 22nd of February, by their Majesties in
person, with extreme pomp. When the King and his august mother had taken
their seats, and the heralds had proclaimed silence, Armand Jean du
Plessis, Bishop of Lucon,[196] presented to the sovereign the
requisition of the clergy; and after a long harangue, in which he
detailed their several demands, he entered into an animated eulogium of
the administration of the Queen, exhorting his Majesty to continue to
her the power of which she had so ably availed herself during his
minority. He spoke fluently, but in a broken and uncertain voice, and
with an apparent apathy, which, according to contemporaneous authors,
gave no indication of the extraordinary talents that he subsequently

The States-General had no sooner closed than Marie de Medicis resolved
to terminate the double alliance which had been concluded with Spain,
and in honour of this event she determined that Madame, the promised
bride of Philip, should appear in a ballet, which by the sumptuousness
of its decorations, the beauty of its machinery, and the magnificence of
its entire arrangements, should eclipse every entertainment of the kind
hitherto exhibited at the French Court.

"It is necessary," she said, "that my daughter should give a public
festival before her departure for Spain, and that the Parisians should
remember a Princess who is about to be lost to France."

That the worthy citizens were on their part most anxious so to do, is
evident from the testimony of Bassompierre, who states that the Court
officials, being unprepared for so great a crowd as that which
presented itself upon the occasion, had not taken proper precautions,
and it was subsequently found necessary to postpone the amusement for
some days, and to arrange that no one should enter the Salle de Bourbon
without a ticket; which the Duc d'Epernon and himself were entrusted to

[Illustration: RICHELIEU.]

This entertainment was followed by another of a similar description at
the Hotel de Conde; but although they affected to be equally engrossed
by the festivities in which they shared, neither the Queen nor the
Prince were so indifferent to their personal interests as they
endeavoured to appear. Marie de Medicis was striving to discover some
means of frustrating the cabals which were perpetually thwarting her
designs, and threatening her authority, while M. de Conde was as eager
as ever to undermine her power. The Marechal d'Ancre was intriguing to
effect the disgrace of the ministers, particularly that of Villeroy,
whose alliance he no longer coveted; and the great nobles were busied in
searching for some pretext sufficiently plausible to cause the ruin of
the domineering favourite who presumed to treat them rather as inferiors
than as equals. Thus the gilded surface of the Court concealed a mass of
hatred, jealousy, and unrest, which threatened every instant to reveal
itself, and to dispel an illusion as false as it was flattering: and
while the foreign guests of the young monarch danced and feasted, and
the native nobility struggled to surpass them in magnificence and
frivolity, the more thoughtful spectators of the glittering scene
trembled at its instability, and every instant anticipated an outbreak.

The attempt of Concini proved successful, and the deportment of Marie
towards M. de Villeroy became so chilling that he withdrew from the
Court, without seeking to ascertain the cause of his disgrace.

On the 27th of March the ex-Queen Marguerite breathed her last, but for
some time previously she had appeared so seldom at Court that her death
did not tend to disturb the gaieties of the royal circle, who had almost
ceased to remember her existence. She had outlived even the reputation
of her vices.

When the Prince de Conde and his faction demanded a meeting of the
States they were far from anticipating its results; the unanimous
loyalty of the deputies having greatly subserved the interests of the
Queen, and thus weakened their own position. Aware too late of the error
which they had committed, they were consequently compelled to seek
elsewhere for support, and it was at length decided that they should
excite the disaffection of the Parliament, by representing that all the
services which its members had rendered to Marie on her assumption of
the regency had been repaid by ingratitude and neglect; and that they no
longer commanded that authority in the Government to which they were
justly entitled. Coupled with these insidious arguments were profuse
offers of assistance to enable them to enforce their rights, and the
object of the faction was at once gained; the ambition and the vanity of
the Parliament being alike engaged in a question which involved their
own influence and importance. Strong in the support of the Princes,
they, however, overacted the part assigned to them, and proceeded so
arrogantly to remonstrate with the sovereign upon what they termed the
abuses of the Government, that the King issued a decree in Council, by
which he abrogated both their own decree and their remonstrances,
declaring that they had exceeded the power accorded to them by the law;
and commanding that those documents should be cancelled, torn from the
registers, and delivered to his Majesty on the receipt of the royal
decree. The Parliament, however, expostulated, and although they were
again commanded to deliver up the obnoxious records, they failed to
obey; and thus, by their determination, overruled the will of the

During this struggle for power the Prince de Conde had absented himself
from Paris, in order to avert any suspicion of connivance; but previous
experience had rendered the Queen distrustful of his movements, and she
was consequently prepared to counteract his subsequent intrigues. The
Council had, accordingly, no sooner annulled the decree of the
Parliament, than she sent to forbid him, in the name of the King, from
assisting in their deliberations; upon which the Prince availed himself
of so specious a pretext for abandoning the Court, alleging that he no
longer considered it safe to remain in the capital.[198]

In accordance with this declaration he left Paris by the Porte St.
Antoine, followed by the acclamations of the populace, who, weary of the
rule of the Queen, and exasperated by the arrogance of her favourites,
regarded M. de Conde as a victim, and thus rendered his retreat a new
subject of anxiety to the Court party. Nor was their annoyance decreased
when they ascertained that throughout his journey to Creil, where he
possessed an estate on the banks of the Oise, he was met by numerous
bodies of armed citizens from Senlis, Mantes, Beaumont, and other towns,
and was accompanied by the Duc de Longueville and the nobles attached to
his cause. Within a league of Creil the harquebusiers were drawn up to
receive him, with drums beating and colours flying, and thus escorted he
finally entered the city.

On learning these circumstances Marie de Medicis became apprehensive
that he might avail himself of so favourable an opportunity to raise an
army, and enter into open rebellion against the Crown; and in order to
avert this contingency, she lost no time in despatching a messenger who
was instructed to invite him to return to Paris, and to accompany the
Court in their approaching journey to Guienne. M. de Conde was, however,
aware of the advantage which he had gained, and resolutely refused to
retrace his steps until the King reformed the Council, replied to the
remonstrances of the Parliament, and redressed the alleged wrongs of
himself and his friends; demanding in his own name the presidency of the
Council, and the ministry of finance which had been promised to him;
while the Marechal de Bouillon, in his turn, asked as the price of his
obedience the office of Connetable de France vacant by the death of the
Duc de Montmorency.[199]

These demands not being conceded, the Prince de Conde refused to
accompany the King to Guienne, an example which was followed by many of
the high nobility; and the faction became ere long so formidable that a
civil war appeared inevitable.

Nevertheless, the Marechal d'Ancre and his adherents affected to treat
the warlike demonstrations of the adverse party with contempt, and
assured Marie de Medicis that all the efforts of the Prince must prove
abortive while the King possessed a strong army and able generals to
oppose the forces of the malcontents; and, in support of his assertion,
the Ducs de Guise and d'Epernon alike offered their services to her
Majesty. In the former, however, Marie dared not confide; his near
relative, the Duc de Mayenne, being the ally of Conde, while De Guise
himself was the avowed enemy of Concini. Of M. d'Epernon's sincerity she
felt more assured; but she was aware that she could not bestow upon him
the command of the royal army without exciting the jealousy of Guise,
and thus opening up a newsource of difficulty. Desirous of proceeding to
Guienne without further delay, the Queen consequently urged her
advisers to suggest some other individual to whom so serious a
responsibility might be entrusted; and after considerable deliberation
the Duc d'Epernon, the Chancellor, and his son the Chevalier de Sillery
proposed to the Marechal d'Ancre that he should become a candidate for
the command, offering at the same time to exert all their influence with
the Queen to ensure his success.[200]

Blinded by vanity, Concini, who was a soldier only in name, did not fail
to listen with greedy ears to this unexpected proposition; and while his
seeming friends were speculating upon his ruin, and calculating that
during his absence they should have time to impress upon Marie de
Medicis that, by the sacrifice of her favourite, she might reconcile the
disaffected Princes. Concini himself foresaw that the increase of
influence which so important a command could not fail to secure to him
must tend to diminish that of the Duc d'Epernon, whose overthrow had
been for some time his greatest wish. Moreover, by quartering his troops
in the neighbourhood of M. de Conde, an opportunity would present itself
of effecting his reconciliation with that Prince, which he ardently
desired; and this end accomplished, he flattered himself with the hope
that his vision of becoming first minister of France could not fail to
be realized.

Unfortunately, however, for the ambitious Italian, it was not long ere
D'Epernon and Sillery recognized the error into which they had been led
by their eagerness to injure him. They suddenly remembered that Concini
had already once joined the faction of the Princes, and they were aware
that the Duc de Bouillon had made more than one subsequent effort to
induce him to abandon the royal cause; and they were no sooner convinced
of the fault which they had committed, than they hastened to represent
to the Queen that the appointment of the Marechal d'Ancre to the command
of the King's armies had caused great dissatisfaction throughout the
capital; the citizens affirming that the troops of a sovereign of France
ought not to be led against the enemy by a man who was ignorant of the
art of war, and who was, moreover, a foreigner, detested by the people
to an extent which rendered it probable that, should Concini be invested
with the command, they would open the gates of Paris to M. de Conde, in
the event of his marching upon the city. Marie de Medicis yielded to
these reasons, and simply replied by reminding Sillery that if she had
committed an error in accepting the proposal of the Marechal d'Ancre,
she had done so at his own instigation; but that as he considered it
desirable to appoint some other individual to the command, she would
offer no opposition. Concini was accordingly superseded, and the veteran
Marechal de Bois-Dauphin was selected as his successor, with the title
of lieutenant-general.[201] Indignant at the disappointment to which he
had been subjected, Concini left Paris, and proceeded to his government
at Amiens, vowing vengeance against the Duc d'Epernon and Sillery.

The impatience of the Queen to conclude the double alliance with Spain
was so great that she disregarded the advice of Jeannin and Villeroy;
who, in conjunction with Concini and his wife, had endeavoured to induce
her to delay her departure for Guienne, and to proceed either to Laon or
St. Quentin, in order to secure the Isle of France and Picardy, and to
prevent the Prince de Conde and his adherents from concentrating their
forces in the vicinity of the capital; while, on the contrary, she was
urged by the Chancellor and his brother, the Commandeur de Sillery, who
was her first-equerry and gentleman-usher, to carry out her original
design. The 17th of August had been already fixed for the commencement
of the royal journey; and Marie eagerly availed herself of their advice
to persist in her purpose; contenting herself with giving orders to the
Marechal de Bois-Dauphin to cover Paris, to impede the approach of the
disaffected forces, and, at all risks, to avoid coming to an engagement.
She then withdrew from the Bastille eight hundred thousand crowns for
the purpose of defraying the expenses of the Court during its progress.

Despite the absence of the Princes, the royal retinue was magnificent
and numerous. The troops by whom the august travellers were attended
consisted of a thousand horsemen, and the royal bodyguard amounted to
three thousand men, who were placed under the command of the Duc de
Guise, who was also to accompany Madame Elisabeth to the frontier of the
kingdom, and to receive the Infanta, whom he was to conduct to the
capital of Guienne, where their Majesties were to await her. The King
left Paris soon after dawn; the Queen followed some hours subsequently,
having previously caused the arrest of M. Le Jay,[202] in order to
intimidate the Parliament; and finally, in the course of the afternoon,
Madame took leave of the municipal authorities, and departed in her
turn. The Marquise d'Ancre having in vain endeavoured to dissuade her
royal foster-sister from this journey, became so thoroughly dispirited
by the disappointment of her husband, and the evident decline of her own
influence, that she resolved to excuse herself from accompanying the
Court, and to remain in the capital; a project from which she was,
however, dissuaded by MM. de Villeroy and Jeannin, who represented to
her the impolicy of incurring the displeasure of her Majesty, and thus
insuring her own ruin. She was consequently induced to join the royal
suite, but she did so with a heavy heart, and without one hope of
resuming her original empire over the mind of Marie.

The Court reached Orleans on the 20th of August, and Tours on the 30th,
whence their Majesties proceeded to Poitiers, at which city they arrived
on the 9th of September; but the anxieties of Marie de Medicis were not
yet to terminate. Madame was attacked a day or two subsequently with
small-pox, while the Queen herself was confined to her bed by a severe
illness, which compelled the constant attendance of Madame d'Ancre in
her sick-room, where, by her affectionate assiduity, she soon succeeded
in recovering the good graces of her royal mistress. She had secured to
her interests a Jewish physician, in whose astrological talent Marie de
Medicis placed the most implicit confidence; and eager to revenge her
husband upon Sillery, who, as she was well aware, had been the cause of
his losing the coveted command, she instructed this man, whom the Queen
had hastened to consult, to persuade the credulous invalid that she had
been bewitched by the Chevalier de Sillery. Strange as it may appear,
Leonora was perfectly successful; and believing herself to have been the
victim of the Chancellor and his party, Marie entered earnestly into the
views of her favourite, consenting to withdraw her confidence from
Sillery, and to follow thenceforward the counsels of Villeroy and

The delay consequent upon the recovery of the Queen and her daughter
enabled the Prince de Conde to strengthen his party, and to advance
towards Paris, with an army of five thousand infantry and two thousand
horse. His troops were, however, badly armed, and might at once have
been beaten or dispersed by the Marechal de Bois-Dauphin, had that
general marched against them; but, fettered by the stringent orders
which he had received not to give battle to the enemy, he remained
inactive; and the Duc de Bouillon profited by his inertness to seize
Chateau Thierry, whence he marched to Mere-sur-Seine.

Meanwhile M. de Conde ascertained that the King had issued on the 10th
of September a proclamation of _lese-majeste_ against himself and his
adherents; to which he replied by another, wherein he affirmed that he
had taken up arms for the sole purpose of preventing a foreign invasion.
He then crossed the Seine, with the intention of possessing himself of
the town of Sens; a project in which he, however, failed, Bois-Dauphin
and his adjutant-general, the Marquis de Praslin, having already
garrisoned the place.[204]

The two armies were at this period in such close juxtaposition that an
engagement appeared inevitable; but whether it were that Bois-Dauphin
was deficient in ability, or that he had resolved, whatever might be the
result of his inaction, to obey implicitly the instructions of the
Queen, he vacated Sens after a few slight skirmishes. Be the real cause
of his supineness what it might, it excited the indignation of
Bassompierre, Praslin, the Marquis de Coeuvres, and the other leaders of
the royal army, who did not scruple to accuse him of incapacity;
declaring, moreover, that he had harassed the troops far more than if he
had led them into action.[205]

On the arrival of the Court at Angouleme the Queen was agreeably
surprised by the appearance of the Comte de Saint-Pol,[206] who, she had
been led to believe, had joined the faction of Conde with his nephew the
Duc de Longueville; and her exultation was increased when, with
assurances of his fidelity to the Crown, he placed under her orders the
two fortresses of Fronsac and Caumont.[207]

Profiting by the retreat of the Marechal de Bois-Dauphin, the Duc de
Bouillon had made all haste to pass the Loire, and to reach the confines
of Touraine and Poitou; nor would it have been possible for their
Majesties to have reached Bordeaux in safety, had it not been for the
secession of the Comte de Saint-Pol from the faction of the Princes,
together with the impossibility of marching the rebel troops upon Poitou
in so short a space of time. Thanks to this combination of
circumstances, however, the Court arrived without accident in the
capital of Guienne on the 7th of October; where the King and his august
mother were received with great magnificence, and enthusiastically
welcomed by all classes of the citizens, whom the Marechal de
Roquelaure, lieutenant-general for the King in Guienne, and Mayor of
Bordeaux, had adroitly gained, by his representations of the honour
conferred upon them by the sovereign in selecting their city as the
scene of his own marriage and that of his sister, the future Queen of

It had been arranged that the royal marriages should be celebrated on
the same day (the 18th of October), at Bordeaux and Burgos; and
accordingly the Duc de Guise, as proxy for the Prince of Spain, espoused
Madame Elisabeth, with whom, accompanied by the Duchesse de Nevers and
the ladies of her household, he immediately departed for the frontier,
after a painful leave-taking between the young Princess and her family;
while the Duque d'Usseda[209] performed the same ceremony for Louis
XIII, with the Infanta Anna Maria of Austria. The exchange of the two
Princesses took place on the 9th of November, in the middle of the
Bidassoa, with a host of petty and futile observances which excite mirth
rather than admiration; but at the same time with a magnificence
surpassing all that had ever previously been exhibited on such an
occasion; the two Courts of France and Spain vying with each other in
splendour and profusion. De Luynes, to whom such a mission appeared
peculiarly adapted, presented to the Infanta the letters of welcome with
which he had been entrusted by Louis XIII and his mother, and which were
received by the Princess with an undisguised delight that the favourite
did not fail to report to his royal master.

The guard with which the Duc de Guise had conducted Madame Elisabeth to
the frontier consisted of fifteen hundred horse, four thousand infantry,
and four pieces of ordnance; and it was with the same troops that he
escorted the newly made Queen of France to Bordeaux, who, previously to
her departure from Burgos, had signed a formal renunciation, written
entirely by her own hand, of all her claims to the Spanish
succession.[210] On her arrival at Bordeaux on the 21st of November, the
young Queen was received with all the splendour of which the
circumstances were susceptible, and the marriage ceremony was
immediately repeated by the Bishop of Saintes; after which, on the 17th
of December, the Court, under the escort of a strong body of troops,
left the capital of Guienne for Tours, which latter city they did not,
however, reach for five weeks, owing to the long halts that they were
compelled to make in the several towns through which they passed, where
every species of entertainment had been prepared for the reception of
the august travellers. Meanwhile the army suffered fearfully from
exposure to the cold, from sickness, and from want of provisions and
forage; numbers of the men died, and the progress of the royal party
consequently resembled a disastrous retreat rather than a triumphant

In addition to this misfortune the Queen-mother had other and still
more serious motives for anxiety. Although her personal ambition had
been gratified by the accomplishment of that close alliance with Spain
which she had so long and so earnestly desired, she could not conceal
from herself that as regarded the nation over which she had been called
to govern, the irretrievable step thus taken was one of extreme
impolicy. On every side she was surrounded by difficulties. The first
Prince of the Blood, and nearly the whole of the high nobility, were not
only disaffected, but actually in arms against the Crown. The
Protestants, to whom she had repeatedly promised that she would observe
the Edict of Nantes, incensed by her breach of faith, had revolted
against her authority; her troops had failed to offer any effective
resistance; and meanwhile foreign soldiers had traversed Champagne, and
advanced into Berry to join Conde, without any impediment from the royal
army. The intelligence that she received from Paris was equally
alarming; scarcely a day passed in which pamphlets and pasquinades of
the grossest description were not published and circulated among the
population, assigning the most foul and degrading motives for her
journey to Guienne under the protection of the Ducs d'Epernon and de
Guise; while her anxiety for the Spanish alliance was represented as
arising from her desire to conciliate those who were accused of being
the assassins of her husband.

Angered as she was by these insults, Marie de Medicis still pined to
return to the capital. She was wearied alike by the exacting and
arrogant temper of M. d'Epernon, and by the monotony of the provincial
cities, where she saw herself surrounded only by aldermen and citizens
with whom she had no feeling or habit in common; and as the several
individuals of her circle were equally ill at ease in so novel a
position, far from allaying her impatience, they aggravated the _ennui_
which she did not attempt to disguise, until she eventually brought
herself to attach all the blame of her own disappointment and
mortification upon those who had advised her to leave the capital; and
to evince the greatest eagerness to follow the counsels of their

The Court left Bordeaux at the close of the year 1615; and in the month
of January following proceeded to take up its abode at Tours, there to
await the close of a negotiation into which the Queen-mother had entered
with the Princes; while at the same time her agents secretly
exerted all their efforts to induce the allies of M. de Conde to
abandon his cause. The command of the troops was taken from the Marechal
de Bois-Dauphin and conferred upon the Duc de Guise, with the title of
lieutenant-general of the King's army; and an immediate attempt was made
to gain over the Duc de Mayenne and the Marechal de Bouillon, as being
the most influential of the revolted nobles. James I offered to Marie de
Medicis his services as a mediator on the occasion; they were gratefully
accepted, and the English Ambassador was forthwith despatched to the
Prince de Conde at St. Jean-d'Angely, with instructions to avert, by
every argument in his power, the horrors of a civil war. Convinced that
no better opportunity could possibly occur for securing to himself and
his party the advantageous conditions which he coveted, Conde received
the royal envoy with great courtesy, declaring that he had acted
throughout the whole affair solely in the interests of his country, and
that he was ready to write respectfully to his Britannic Majesty, to
offer to him the same assurance.

His proposal was accepted; the letter was forthwith prepared; and the
Baron de Thianges was entrusted with its delivery into the hands of the
English monarch. A reply was returned by the same messenger; and finally
a conference was decided on, which was to take place at Loudun on the
10th of February.[212]

While preparations were making for this important event, the
Queen-mother, on the 29th of January, summoned the nobles of her Court
to her apartment, in order to discuss the necessary measures to be
adopted for securing the allegiance of the disaffected Princes; and on
this occasion she nearly lost her life by a singular accident. The young
Comte de Soissons, the Ducs de Guise and d'Epernon, Bassompierre,
Jeannin, and many others who held office about the Court or in the
Government were scarcely assembled when the flooring of the room gave
way, and twenty-eight persons were precipitated into the hall beneath.
The arm-chair of Marie herself had fortunately been placed above a beam
which held firm, and to which the President Jeannin resolutely clung,
thus breaking his fall; but MM. de Soissons, d'Epernon, de Bassompierre,
de Villeroy, and several others were less fortunate, and all were more
or less gravely injured. With great presence of mind the Queen retained
her seat; and with the help of the Duc de Guise ultimately contrived to
reach her bed, over which she passed, and thus escaped into an adjoining
apartment; and meanwhile the unfortunate victims of the accident were
conveyed to their respective residences, where her Majesty caused them
to be immediately visited by one of the officers of her household, who
was commissioned to inquire into their condition, and to express her
regret at the event.

There was one exception, however, to this royal act of sympathy and
consideration, and that one was the Duc d'Epernon; who, although the
greatest sufferer on the occasion, was entirely overlooked; a marked and
threatening want of courtesy on the part of the Queen-mother, which
convinced the arrogant courtier that his period of favour was past, and
that his enemies had triumphed. This conviction at once determined him
to retire voluntarily from the Court before he should be compelled to do
so by an order which he felt satisfied would not be long delayed; and he
was accordingly no sooner sufficiently recovered to leave his bed than
he waited upon their Majesties to take leave, alleging that his
shattered health having received so violent a shock, he felt it
necessary to withdraw for a time from all participation in public
affairs, and to endeavour by perfect repose to overcome the effects of
his accident.

His reasons were graciously accepted both by the King and Queen, who
assured him of their deep sorrow at his sufferings, and expressed the
most flattering wishes for his recovery; but the Queen-mother uttered no
word either of regret or sympathy. With the most chilling indifference
she returned his parting salutation; and M. d'Epernon quitted her
apartment with a demeanour almost as haughty as her own.[213]

Marie de Medicis, who possessed the most implicit confidence in the
so-called science of astrology, and who was always anxious to penetrate
the mystery of the future, having been informed on her return to Paris
that a certain Giorgio Luminelli, a native of Ragusa who was celebrated
as a soothsayer, had recently arrived in the capital, and taken up his
abode in the Place Royale, immediately expressed a wish to consult him;
for which purpose she despatched a messenger to his residence, by whom
he was invited to wait upon a person of high rank who, attracted by his
renown, was desirous of testing his skill. To this somewhat imperious
summons Luminelli, however, simply replied by declaring that he never
quitted his own apartments for any one, whatever might be the station of
the person who required his services; but that those, who sought his aid
were at liberty to visit him whenever they saw fit to do so. This answer
only increased the eagerness of the Queen-mother; nevertheless,
previously to seeking him in person, she requested M. de Crequy, the Duc
de la Force, Bassompierre, and Rambure to go to his house in disguise,
in order to ascertain whether he were indeed worthy of the reputation by
which he had been preceded.

While they were making the necessary arrangements, and deciding to
exchange dresses with their confidential valets in the hope of being
enabled to mystify the necromancer, to whom they were entirely unknown,
the Marechal d'Ancre arrived to pay his respects to his royal mistress;
and, upon being made acquainted with the project, he determined to join
the party in the character of a Venetian noble, of whom there were at
that moment several residing in Paris. On the completion of their
preparations the merry masquers set forth, and soon reached the abode of
Luminelli; where, on their arrival, they found a servant stationed at
the door, as if awaiting the advent of expected guests, who no sooner
saw them pause beside him than, addressing Concini and the disguised
serving-men, he politely requested them to follow him; coupling the
invitation with an assurance that his master had desired him to watch
for the arrival of five great nobles who were about to consult his art.
Lavallee, the lackey of M. de Bassompierre, assuming an air of
importance, expressed both for himself and his companions their sense of
this attention; and then, somewhat startled by the coincidence, for as
such they simply considered it, the whole party followed their
guide upstairs.

On reaching the apartment of the astrologer the four disguised courtiers
remained respectfully upon the threshold, while their unliveried
representatives advanced to the middle of the room; and courteously
saluting their host, informed him that they had been induced by his
great renown to solicit a display of his skill, and to claim from him a
knowledge of their future fortunes. Lavallee was once more their
spokesman; and the eyes of Luminelli remained fixed upon him until the
conclusion of his address, when he turned away abruptly, without
vouchsafing any reply, and drew back a curtain behind which was placed a
large globe of polished steel. He looked earnestly upon this for a few
moments; and then rising, he put on a cap of dark velvet which lay
beside him, took Lavallee by the hand, and approaching Bassompierre
placed his valet a few paces behind him, saying as he did so:

"Monseigneur, why should you thus have assumed a disguise? You are
already a great noble, but your fortunes have not yet reached their
acme. You will one day be Marechal de France, and the dignity will be
conferred upon you on the other side of the Rhone. Beauty has great
influence over you; but with those whom you seek to please your purse
has even more charms than your person. You will ere long have immense
success at the gaming-table, far beyond any which you have yet achieved.
You have been engaged in a lawsuit against an unmarried woman.[214] You
hold one of the highest offices in the kingdom.[215] You are not by
birth a Frenchman, but a German. One of the greatest ladies in the world
will cause you considerable misfortune,[216] through the medium of a red
animal.[217] You will, however, finally triumph over your troubles,
although the trial will be a long and a severe one."

Luminelli then consulted his magic globe a second time; led the lackey
of M. de Crequy to the rear of his master; made a profound salutation to
the latter; and addressing him in his turn, detailed, as he had
previously done in the case of Bassompierre, all the leading events of
his past and future life. He next went through the same ceremony with
the Duc de la Force and M. de Rambure; and ultimately he turned towards
the Marechal d'Ancre, exclaiming:

"You, Sir, are no Venetian, although you have sought to appear such;
but it would be well for you if you were so. As it is, if you will
follow my advice, you will leave Paris to-morrow for Venice; for should
you long delay your departure, it will be too late to effect it. When
you arrived in France you were alike poor and obscure, although you are
now rich both in gold and honours. Leave the country, nevertheless, or
these advantages will avail you nothing. With few exceptions, you are
detested by all classes; and you will find your native air of Florence
more wholesome than that of the country which you have adopted. You
possess governments, and wield the _baton_ of a Marechal de France, but
your tenure of these dignities is unstable; and you will do well to save
yourself while you have yet the opportunity. You place your reliance on
the favour of a crowned head, but that very favour shadows forth
your ruin."

As Concini stood motionless before him, the astrologer took him by the
hand, and leading him towards the globe, by a slight touch caused it to
revolve. As he gazed upon the polished surface of the mysterious
instrument, the colour of the Italian came and went so rapidly that his
companions believed him to be attacked by sudden indisposition; and
depositing a heavy purse of gold upon the table, they urged him to
withdraw. Before they could effect their object, however, Luminelli
thrust the purse from him, having previously withdrawn from it a single
pistole which he flung to his attendant. He then cast himself back upon
his chair; the heavy curtain again fell before the globe; and he
appeared totally unconscious of the continued presence of his visitors,
whose departure was retarded for a few seconds by the utter incapacity
of Concini to leave the room. With a powerful effort the Italian,
however, suddenly suppressed his emotion, although he still trembled so
violently that he was compelled to lean upon Bassompierre for support;
nor did the attack, as had been anticipated, yield to the influence of
the external air, for the Marechal continued throughout the entire space
of two hours wholly unable to control its violence; while not all the
eager questioning of his companions could induce him to reveal the cause
of his frightful agitation; a fact by which they were firmly persuaded
that the astrologer had revealed to him an intimate acquaintance with
past events which justified his warning, or had foreshadowed a future
well calculated to arouse alarm.[218] Be this as it might, it appears at
least certain that the five nobles were each and all deeply impressed by
the scene through which they had just passed, by whatever agency it
might have been effected; and that the report which they made on their
return to Marie de Medicis effectually indisposed her from seeking any
further knowledge of Giorgio Luminelli.



Conference of Loudun--Venality of the Princes--Mutual
concessions--Indisposition of M. de Conde--He signs the treaty--Concini
is insulted by a citizen of Paris--The Court return to the
capital--Schism in the cabal--The seals are transferred to M. du
Vair--Disgrace of the ministers--Triumph of Concini--Mangot is appointed
Secretary of State, and Barbin Minister of Finance--The young
sovereigns--Court costumes--Anne of Austria and Marie de
Medicis--Puerility of Louis XIII--The Marechal de Bouillon and the Duc
de Mayenne return to Court--They seek to ruin Concini--The Prince de
Conde effects a reconciliation with the Queen-mother--James I. sends an
embassy to Paris to negotiate a marriage between the Prince of Wales and
the Princesse Christine--Gorgeous reception at the Louvre--Court
festivities--Concini returns to Paris--He is abandoned by the Prince de
Conde--He is compelled to retire--His forebodings--He endeavours to
induce Leonora to leave France--She refuses--Increasing influence of De
Luynes--Death of Mademoiselle d'Ancre--Despair of Concini--Ambitious
projects of the Prince de Conde--Devotion of Sully--His advice is
disregarded--Popularity of Conde--Marie de Medicis resolves to arrest
him--He disbelieves the rumour--The other Princes withdraw from the
capital--The King is induced to sanction the arrest--Dissimulation of
Louis XIII--Arrest of Conde--Fearless reply of M. du Vair--The Prince is
conveyed to the Bastille--A batch of Marshals--Noble disinterestedness
of Bassompierre--The Dowager Princess of Conde endeavours to excite the
populace to rescue her son--The mob pillage the hotel of the Marechal
d'Ancre--The Queen-mother negotiates with the Guises--The council of
war--The seals are transferred from Du Vair to Mangot--Richelieu is
appointed Secretary of State--Concini returns to Court--The Marechale
d'Ancre becomes partially insane--Popular execration of the Italian
favourites--Subtle policy of Richelieu--Threatening attitude assumed by
the Princes.

The famous Conference of Loudun assembled on the 13th of February 1616;
but as the Prince de Conde presented no less than thirty-one articles
for consideration, many of which required careful examination, it was
mutually agreed that the truce should be prolonged until the decision of
his Majesty might be formed. The position of the Court was, moreover,
rendered more difficult from the fact that several great nobles, who had
not hitherto openly espoused the faction of the rebels, hastened to
swell their ranks, not with the intention of caballing against the
Government, but simply of being included in the concessions to which it
was evident that the Council would be compelled in order to accomplish a
peace. Among others the Duc de Vendome, who had so recently solicited
his pardon, and declared his intention of adhering to the royal cause,
was conspicuous in the ranks of the enemy; together with the young Duc
de Candale, the son of D'Epernon, who had embraced the reformed faith,
the Duc de Piney-Luxembourg, and the Dowager Countess of Soissons, who
withdrew from the Court at Tours, and joined her son at Loudun. This
example, contemptible as it was, proved contagious, and was followed by
two of the greatest Princesses of the Blood, the Dowager Princesses of
Conde and Longueville,[219] to the extreme annoyance of the
Queen-mother, who was aware of the extent of their influence, and quite
alive to its probable consequences.

Meanwhile both armies were suffering so severely from extreme cold and
scarcity of provisions, that more than ten thousand men fell victims to
exposure and famine; and the bodyguard of the King became at length so
much weakened that he found himself compelled to summon the Swiss under
Bassompierre for the protection of his person.

The demands with which Conde and his partisans opened the Conference
were such as required little deliberation; but as the proceedings
advanced they became more and more onerous; until, finally, as the
Council had foreseen, they all resolved themselves into questions of
individual interest. The Duc de Longueville claimed full authority over
all the fortresses in his government of Picardy which were held by the
Marechal d'Ancre, and refused to accede to any terms with the Crown
until they were given up; while the other Princes and nobles asked
either gratuities for themselves, or vengeance upon their enemies; and
all agreed in claiming the payment of their troops by the royal treasury
before they would consent to lay down their arms.[220]

Finally, on the 5th of May, the Conference was closed; several of the
articles presented by M. de Conde having been conceded, others deferred,
and the remainder conditionally agreed to. In the meantime, however, the
Prince had been taken seriously ill, and the fear that he might not
survive so threatening an attack determined the leaders of his faction
to accept whatever terms the Court should decide to offer. While the
disease was at its height, the Princes and royal commissioners assembled
about his bed, where the English Ambassador also presented himself;
but, although he had taken so active a part in the reconciliation about
to be effected between the Crown and the rebel nobles, M. de Villeroy
vehemently refused to permit him to remain, declaring that upon such an
occasion it was impossible to allow a foreigner to interfere between a
sovereign and his subjects. This dispute was followed by a second, the
deputies of La Rochelle having demanded a continuance of their assembly;
a demand which was opposed with such warmth and violence that M. de
Conde, unable to support the disturbance, weakened as he was by the
fever which preyed upon him, commanded instant silence; and desiring
that a pen might be brought to him, together with the edict of
pacification which had been drawn up, he forthwith affixed his signature
to the document, declaring that those who loved him would do the same,
while such as refused to follow his example should be compelled to do
so. He then pronounced a short prayer, in which he thanked God for the
cessation of hostilities, after which he desired to be left alone; and
on the morrow preparations were commenced for disbanding the rebel

This apparent precipitation did not, however, involve any sacrifice
either on the part of the Prince himself or on that of his principal
adherents, since Richelieu has recorded that the peace for which M. de
Conde so piously uttered his thanksgiving cost Louis XIII upwards of six
millions of livres;[222] every individual of mark having cause to feel
satisfied with the result of the Conference save the Protestants, who,
as a body, derived no benefit whatever from the treaty.[223]

Concini, who had remained in Paris during the absence of the Court, had
meanwhile been subjected to a mortification which, to his haughty
spirit, far exceeded a more important evil. The citizens who had
continued to keep watch and ward, despite the cessation of hostilities
that had taken place, persevered in requiring that all who entered or
quitted the capital should be provided with passports; a formality with
which the arrogant Italian considered it unnecessary to comply; and,
accordingly, when on one occasion he was about to proceed to his house
in the faubourg attended by some of the gentlemen of his suite, he had
no sooner reached the Porte de Bussy, where a shoemaker named Picard was
on guard, than this man compelled his carriage to stop, and demanded his
passport. Enraged by such a mark of disrespect, the Marechal imperiously
ordered his coachman to proceed, but this was rendered impossible by the
threatening attitude of the well-armed guardian of the gate.

"Rascal!" shouted Concini, showing himself at the door of the carriage;
"do you know who I am?"

"Right well, Sir," was the unmoved reply; "and nevertheless you shall
not stir a step beyond the walls without a passport."

The Italian was pale with indignation, but he dared not resent the
insult, as a crowd was rapidly collecting from whom he was aware that he
could expect no mercy; and he accordingly restrained himself
sufficiently to despatch a messenger for an order of egress, which
promptly arrived. His southern blood, however, beat and burnt in his
veins, and he awaited only an opportunity of revenge. A few days
subsequently, unable any longer to control his rage, he desired his
equerry to proceed to the residence of Picard with two valets, and to
repay his insolence by a sound cudgelling; an order which was so
implicitly obeyed that the unfortunate shoemaker narrowly escaped with
his life; while a mob, attracted by the uproar, seized the two
serving-men--who, confiding in the power of their master, treated their
menaces with contempt--and hanged them before the door of the house in
which they had committed the outrage. The equerry, who had also fallen
into the hands of the populace, was put upon his trial, and it was only
by means of a heavy bribe that the discomfited Marechal, alarmed by what
had taken place, was enabled to induce Picard to withdraw his accusation
against him.[224]

At the close of the Conference of Loudun the Court returned to Paris,
where the reception of their Majesties was enthusiastic, while that of
Marie de Medicis was cold and constrained, although it was well known
that M. de Conde had all but obtained the presidency of the Council, and
that the Queen-mother had made other concessions which she had
previously repelled with considerable haughtiness at Tours; such as
granting to the Duc de Longueville the exclusive authority in Picardy,
which deprived the Marechal d'Ancre of his cherished fortresses; while
on the other hand, despite the advantages which they had reaped from the
weakness of the Government, the discontented nobles had separated in no
better spirit. The Ducs de Rohan and de Sully loudly complained that
they had been deceived by the Prince; M. de Longueville, who had vainly
sought to obtain the government of Normandy, and who was afraid to
return to Picardy until convinced that he had nothing to fear from the
resentment of the Marechal d'Ancre, considered himself aggrieved; and
such, in short, was the general jealousy and distrust exhibited by the
lately coalesced nobles that, with the exception of the Duc de Mayenne
and the Marechal de Bouillon, who found themselves involved in one
common interest--that of destroying the influence of the Ducs d'Epernon
and de Bellegarde--the whole of the late cabal appeared by mutual
consent to have become inimical to each other.[225]

On the arrival of the Court in Paris the seals were taken from the
Chancellor, and delivered into the keeping of Guillaume du Vair, who
was at that period in his sixtieth year, on the pretext that so
important a charge must be oppressive to M. de Sillery at his advanced
age; a subterfuge which could not have failed to excite the discontent
of the people had they not distrusted his cupidity as much as Marie was
wearied of his services. Certain it is, however, that his dismissal
occasioned no regret, and was speedily forgotten.[226] Villeroy and
Jeannin were the immediate agents of his dismissal from office, as they
ascribed to him their own previous discredit at Court, and had long been
secretly labouring to repay him in kind; but their triumph was destined
to be short-lived. Concini had effected the disgrace of his old and
hated rival the Duc d'Epernon; and that feat accomplished, he next
resolved to rid himself of the two veteran ministers who were the most
formidable stumbling-blocks upon his path of ambition. Aware of the
distrustful nature of the Queen-mother, whose experience had made her
suspicious of all by whom she was surrounded, he at once decided upon
his plan of action; and it was not long ere he induced her to believe
that they had acted in the interests of the Prince de Conde, rather than
her own, during the Conference of Loudun; while such plausible proofs
did he adduce of this assertion, that once more Marie de Medicis
consented to exclude them from the Council.

This was the moment for which the Italian favourite had so long sighed.
From the death of Henri IV he had exerted all his energies to overthrow
the Princes of the Blood, and to replace the old ministers by creatures
of his own; but so hopeless did the attempt appear that more than once
he had despaired of ultimate success. Now, however, he found himself
pre-eminent; the Queen-mother, harassed and worn-out by the cabals which
were incessantly warring against her authority, and threatening her
tenure of power, threw herself with eagerness into the hands of the
adventurer who owed all to her favour, and implicitly followed his
advice, in the hope that she might thus escape the machinations of her
enemies. Mangot,[227] whose devotion to the Marechal d'Ancre was
notorious, was appointed Secretary of State, in which dignity he
replaced M. de Puisieux;[228] while the administration of finance was
conferred upon M. Barbin,[229] although Jeannin nominally retained

While these changes were convulsing the Cabinet, irritating the great
nobles, and exciting the apprehensions of all those who desired the
welfare of the nation, the young sovereigns, whom they more immediately
concerned, were either ignorant or careless of their consequences. The
girl-Queen, surrounded by her Spanish attendants, spent her time in the
enjoyment of the pleasures congenial to her age. According to Madame de
Motteville,[231] she was strikingly handsome, but rather Austrian than
Spanish in her style of beauty, with an abundance of fair hair which she
wore in ringlets about her face. On her arrival in France she retained
the national costume; and discarding the tapestried chests common at the
period, made use of a pile of cushions as her seat. The Marquise de
Morny (quoted by Madame de Motteville) described her on the occasion of
her own presentation as reclining upon this Moorish sofa in the midst of
her attendants, habited in a dress of green satin embroidered with gold
and silver, with large hanging sleeves looped together at intervals by
diamond buttons; a close ruff, and a small cap of green velvet with a
black heron-feather.[232]

[Illustration: ANNE OF AUSTRIA.]

At once regal and elegant as such a costume must have been, it is
deplorable to contrast it with those which she adopted in after-years,
when the most monstrous caprices were permitted at her Court; and when
it was by no means uncommon to see women of the highest rank, about to
ride on horseback, present themselves in the royal circle in dresses
reaching only to the knee, with their legs encased in tight pantaloons
of velvet, or even in complete _haut-de-chausses;_ while the habitual
attire of the sex was equally _bizarre_ and exaggerated. There were the
_vasquines_ or rollers which encircled the waist and extended the folds
of the petticoats, thus giving additional smallness to the waist; the
_brassards-a-chevrons_ or metallic braces for expanding the sleeves; and
the _affiquet_ of pearls or diamonds coquettishly attached to the left
breast, and entitled the _assassin_. Added to these absurdities there
were, moreover, bows of ribbon, each of which had its appropriate name
and position; the _galant_ was placed on the summit of the head; the
_mignon_ on the heart; the _favori_ under and near the _assassin_; and
the _badin_ on the handle of the fan. Short curls upon the temples were
designated _cavaliers_; ringlets were _garcons_; while a hundred other
inanities of the same description compelled the great ladies of the
period to adopt a slang which was perfectly unintelligible to all save
the initiated; and when we add to these details the well-authenticated
fact that the royal apartments were fumigated with powdered tobacco
(then a recent and costly importation into France), in lieu of the
perfumes which had previously been in use for the same purpose, it will
scarcely be denied that caprice rather than taste dictated the habits of
the Court under Louis XIII.

To revert, however, to the earlier years of Anne of Austria, it would
appear that the troubles of the royal bride did not await her womanhood.
Like Marie de Medicis, she clung to all which appeared to link her to
her distant home, and caused her to forget for a time that it was hers
no longer; and under this impulse it was by no means surprising that she
attached herself with girlish affection to the individuals by whom she
had been followed in her splendid exile; but even as her predecessor had
been compelled to forego the society of her native attendants, so was
Anne of Austria in her turn deprived of the solace of their presence.
With the exception of Dona Estefania, her first waiting-woman, to whom
she was tenderly attached, and who had been about her person from her
infancy, all were dismissed by Marie de Medicis, who, anxious to retain
her authority over the wife of her son, dreaded the influence of Anne's
Spanish followers.

Nor was this her only disappointment. We have already shown with what
eagerness she looked forward to her first meeting with her intended
bridegroom, whose grave but manly beauty so fully realized all her hopes
that, as she ingeniously confessed, she could have loved him tenderly
had he possessed a heart to bestow upon her in return. But she soon
discovered that such was not the case; and that Louis XIII saw in her
nothing more interesting than a Princess who was worthy by her rank and
quality to share with him the throne of France.

This was a sad discovery for a lovely girl of fifteen years of age, who
had anticipated nothing less than devotion on the part of a young
husband by whom she had been so eagerly met on her arrival; nor did she
fail to contrast his coldness with the ill-disguised admiration of many
of his great nobles, and to weep over the wreck of her fondest and
fairest visions. But, young and high-spirited, she struggled against the
isolation of soul to which she was condemned; and probably resented with
more bitterness the coercion to which she was subjected by the iron rule
of her royal mother-in-law than even the coldness of the husband to whom
she had been prepared to give up her whole heart.[233]

Louis, on his side, although the sovereign of a great nation, was also
exposed to privations; merely physical, it is true, but still
sufficiently irritating to increase his natural moroseness and
discontent. While the Marechal d'Ancre displayed at Court a profusion
and splendour which amounted to insolence, the young King was frequently
without the means of indulging the mere caprices common to his age; but
although he murmured, and even at times appeared to resent the neglect
with which he was treated, he easily consoled himself amid the puerile
sports in which he frittered away his existence; and attended by De
Luynes and his brothers, found constant occupation in waging war against
small birds, and in training their captors. In such pursuits he was
moreover encouraged by the Queen-mother and her favourites; who, anxious
to retain their power, did not make any effort to awaken him to a sense
of what he owed to himself and to the kingdom over which he had been
called upon to rule. The only occasions upon which he appeared to feel
the slightest pleasure in the society of his beautiful young wife was
when he engaged her to share in his rides and hawking-parties, in order
to excite her admiration of his skill, an admiration of which Anne was
lavish, as she trusted by flattering his vanity to awaken his affection;
while she moreover enjoyed, with all the zest of girlhood, so agreeable
an escape from the etiquette and formalities of a Court life.

The treaty of Loudun was no sooner concluded than the revolted nobles
separated, each dissatisfied with the other, and all murmuring at the
insufficiency of the recompense by which their several concessions had
been met. The Prince de Conde, on his convalescence, withdrew to Berry,
which government had been given to him in exchange for that of Guienne;
Sully retired to Poitou, and the Duc de Rohan returned to La Rochelle;
while of all the lately disaffected leaders the Marechal de Bouillon and
the Duc de Mayenne alone proceeded to Court, in order to claim the
immunities promised in requital of their secession from the interests of
the Prince de Conde. The King and the two Queens were residing at the
Louvre on their arrival, where they had every reason to be satisfied
with their reception; and the Marechal d'Ancre, who, terrified by the
undisguised hostility of the Parisians, had not ventured to accompany
his royal mistress, no sooner ascertained the return of the two nobles
to the capital than he hastened to make them the most brilliant offers
in the event of their consenting to espouse his interests. Neither the
Marechal nor the Duke were, however, disposed to second his views, and
only profited by his advances to swell the ranks of his enemies. This
was a task of comparatively slight difficulty, as all classes in the
kingdom considered themselves aggrieved by his unparalleled prosperity;
and thus, ere long, the Duc de Guise was prevailed upon to join the new
cabal, into which it was only further deemed necessary to enlist M. de
Conde. Bouillon, who possessed great influence over the Prince, exerted
himself strenuously to prevent his return to Court, in order to increase
his own consequence in the estimation of the Queen-mother; but his
efforts proved ineffectual, as M. de Conde believed it to be more
compatible with his own interests to effect a reconciliation with the
Crown; and, acting upon this impression, he pledged himself to support
Concini, on condition that he should be appointed chief of the Council
of Finance, and take a share in the government. His proposal was
accepted, and to the great annoyance of M. de Bouillon, the Prince once
more appeared at Court. His reception by the citizens was, however, so
enthusiastic that Marie de Medicis became alarmed, until she was assured
by Richelieu, then the open and zealous ally of the Marechal d'Ancre,
that the King had nothing to fear from a popularity which would only
tend to render M. de Conde a more efficient ally; an assurance which
afforded so much gratification to the Queen-mother, that she repaid it
by appointing the Bishop of Lucon Almoner to the young Queen, and
shortly afterwards Councillor of State.[234]

Ten days subsequently to the return of M. de Conde to Paris a new
embassy arrived from James I., to renew the negotiation of marriage
between the Prince of Wales and Madame Christine de France, upon which
occasion the Court of Louis XIII displayed all its magnificence,
without, however, eclipsing that of the English nobles to whom the
embassy had been entrusted. The hotel of the late Queen Marguerite was
prepared for their reception, where they were visited by all the great
nobles and foreign ministers; and finally, on the following Sunday, they
were received in state at the Louvre. Lord Hay (afterwards Earl of
Carlisle) was the accredited ambassador; while Mr. Rich (subsequently
Lord Holland), Goring, and other individuals of mark contributed to
increase the splendour and importance of his mission.

Nothing could be more sumptuous than the spectacle which was presented
by the Louvre upon this occasion. The halls and galleries were alike
thronged by all that was noble and beautiful at the Court of France.
Princes of the Blood, nobles, marshals, and prelates were mingled with
the great ladies of the household in their state dresses, rustling in
silks, velvets, and cloth of gold and silver, and glittering with
diamonds. Amid this galaxy of magnificence the Queen-mother shone
conspicuous. Still remarkable for her stately beauty and dignified
deportment, she had left no means untried to enhance their effect, and
she had been eminently successful. She was attired in a long robe of
amaranth velvet, of which the wide and open sleeves were slashed with
white satin, and looped together by large pearls, save at the wrists and
elbows, where they were fastened by immense brilliants. Her ruff of rich
Alencon lace rose half a foot in height at the back of her neck, whence
it decreased in breadth until it reached her bosom, which was
considerably exposed, according to the fashion of the period. A coronet
of diamonds surmounted her elaborately curled hair, which was drawn
back, so as to exhibit in its full dimensions her broad and lofty brow;
and the most costly jewels were scattered over her whole attire, which
gave back their many-coloured lights at every movement of her person.

The Prince de Joinville, the Ducs de Guise and d'Elboeuf, the Marquises
de Rosny and de Crequy, and M. de Bassompierre, accompanied by a
numerous train of nobles, escorted the English envoys to the palace;
while more than fifty thousand persons crowded the streets through which
the glittering train was compelled to pass.

During the following week Paris was the scene of perpetual gaiety and
splendour. All the Princes and great nobles vied with each other in the
magnificence of the balls, banquets, and other entertainments which were
given in honour of their distinguished guests.[235] Presents of
considerable value were exchanged; and the British Ambassador had every
reason to anticipate the favourable termination of his mission; but
subsequent circumstances compelled him to abstain from seeking a
definite reply.[236]

The arrival of M. de Conde in Paris, and the pledge given by that Prince
to support him with his influence, determined Concini once more to
hazard his own return to the capital under the escort of Bassompierre;
but he found the popular irritation still so great against him, that
when he visited the Prince he was accompanied by a suite of a hundred
horse. His reception by his new ally was, moreover, less cordial than he
had hoped; for Conde had already begun to regret his promise, and to
feel apprehensive that by upholding the interests of the Italian
favourite he should lose his own popularity. He also believed that the
amount of power which he had at length succeeded in securing must render
him independent of such a coalition; and he resolved to seize the
earliest opportunity of impressing upon Concini the unpalatable fact.

This opportunity soon presented itself. On the 14th of August the Prince
gave a banquet to the English envoy, which was attended by all the
principal nobility of the Court, but from which the Marechal d'Ancre had
been excluded. While the guests were still at table, however, Concini,
on the pretext of paying his respects to Lord Hay, entered the
banqueting-hall, attended by thirty of those gentlemen of his household
whom he arrogantly called his _conios di mille franchi_.[237]

He had no sooner seated himself than Mayenne, Bouillon, and others of
the cabal which had been formed against him proposed that so favourable
an opportunity should not be lost of taking his life, and thus ridding
the country of the incubus by which it had so long been oppressed in the
person of an insolent foreigner; but the project was no sooner
communicated to M. de Conde than he imperatively forbade all violence
beneath his own roof. Meanwhile Concini, although he did not fail to
perceive by what was taking place about him that he had placed himself
in jeopardy by thus braving his enemies, nevertheless maintained the
most perfect self-possession, and was suffered to depart in safety. On
the following morning, however, he received a communication from the
Prince, who, after assuring him that he had experienced great difficulty
in restraining the Princes and nobles into whose presence he had forced
himself on the preceding day from executing summary justice upon him in
order to avenge their several wrongs; and that they had, moreover,
threatened to abandon his own cause should he persist in according his
protection to an individual whom they were resolved to pursue even to
the death, concluded by declaring that it would thenceforward be
impossible for him to maintain the pledge which he had given, and
advising him to lose no time in retiring to Normandy, of which province
he was lieutenant-general.[238]

Although exasperated by the bad faith of M. de Conde, Concini was
nevertheless compelled to follow this interested suggestion; but, before
he left the field open to his enemies, he resolved to strike a parting
blow; and he had accordingly no sooner dismissed the messenger of the
Prince than he proceeded to the Louvre, where, while taking leave of the
Queen-mother, he eagerly impressed upon her that she was alike deceived
by Conde and trifled with by Bouillon, and that all the members of their
faction were agreed to divest her of her authority; an attempt of which
the result could only be averted by the seizure of their persons.[239]

It is probable, however, that, even despite the avowed abandonment of
the Prince de Conde, Concini might have hesitated to quit his post had
not the affair of Picard convinced him that his prosperity had reached
its climax. Even the Queen-mother, indignant as she expressed herself at
the insult to which he had been subjected, betrayed no inclination to
resent it; and so entire was his conviction that his overthrow was at
hand, that there can be no doubt but that thenceforward he began
seriously to meditate a return to his own country.[240]

Nearly at the moment in which the Marechal d'Ancre was thus unexpectedly
compelled to leave Paris, his untiring enemy the Duc de Longueville made
himself master of the three towns of Peronne, Roye, and Montdidier in
Picardy, which, by the Treaty of Loudun, had been secured to Concini.
Publicly the Princes blamed this violation of the treaty, and exhorted
the Duke to relinquish his conquests; but being in reality delighted
that places of this importance, and, moreover, so immediately in the
neighbourhood of the capital, should be in the possession of one of
their own allies, they privately sent him both men and money to enable
him to retain them.[241]

Meanwhile Marie de Medicis made no effort to compel the restitution of
the captured towns; the insult to which Concini had been subjected by
Picard remained unavenged, and the Italian could no longer conceal from
himself that he had outlived his fortunes. It is scarcely doubtful,
moreover, that, with the superstition common to the period, the
prediction of Luminelli had pressed heavily upon his mind; as from that
period he became anxious to abandon the French Court, and to retire with
his enormous wealth to his native city. It was in vain, however, that he
sought to inspire Leonora with the same desire; in vain that he
represented the prudence of taking the initiative while there was yet
time; the foster-sister of Marie de Medicis peremptorily refused to
leave Paris, alleging that it would be cowardly to abandon her royal
mistress at a period when she was threatened alike by the ambition of
the Prince de Conde and the enmity of De Luynes, whose power over the
mind of the young sovereign was rapidly making itself felt.

At this precise moment a new and grave misfortune tended to augment the
eagerness of the Marechal d'Ancre to carry out his project. His
daughter, through whose medium he had looked to form an alliance with
some powerful family, and thus to fortify his own position, was taken
dangerously ill, and in a few days breathed her last. His anguish was
ungovernable; and while his wife wept in silence beside the body of her
dead child, he, on the contrary, abandoned himself to the most vehement
exclamations, strangely mingling his expressions of fear for his future
fate with regret for the loss which he had thus sustained.

"Signore," he replied vehemently to Bassompierre, who vainly attempted
to console him, "I am lost; Signore, I am ruined; Signore, I am
miserable. I regret my daughter, and shall do so while I live; but I
could support this affliction did I not see before me the utter ruin of
myself, my wife, my son, and my whole house, in the obstinacy of
Leonora. Were you not aware of my whole history I should perhaps be less
frank, but you know that when I arrived in France, far from owning a
single sou, my debts amounted to eight hundred crowns; now we possess
more than a million in money, with landed property and houses in France,
three hundred thousand crowns at Florence, and a similar sum in Rome. I
do not speak of the fortune accumulated by my wife; but surely we may be
satisfied to exist for the remainder of our lives upon the proceeds of
our past favour. Had you not been well informed as to my previous life I
might seek to disguise it from you, but you cannot have forgotten that
you saw me at Florence steeped in debauchery, frequently in prison, more
than once in exile, generally without resources, and continually lost in
disorder and excess. Here, on the contrary, I have acquired alike
honour, wealth, and favour, and I would fain disappoint my enemies by
leaving the country without disgrace; but the Marechale is
impracticable; and were it not that I should be guilty of ingratitude in
separating my fortunes from those of a woman to whom I owe all that I
possess, I would forthwith leave the country and secure my own safety
and that of my son." [242]

The allusion made by Concini to the growing ambition of the Prince de
Conde was unfortunately not destitute of foundation; and suspicions were
rapidly gaining ground that he meditated nothing less than a transfer of
the crown of France to his own brow, on the pretext that the marriage of
Henri IV with the Tuscan Princess was invalid, his former wife being
still alive, and his hand, moreover, solemnly pledged to the Marquise de
Verneuil. On more than one occasion, when he had feasted his friends,
their glasses had been emptied amid cries of _Barre a bas_; a toast
which was interpreted as intended to signify the suppression of the
bar-sinister which the shield of Conde bore between its three
_fleurs-de-lis_.[243] Neither Sully, who had recently returned to Court,
nor the Duc de Guise could be induced to join in so criminal a faction;
and the former had no sooner been informed of the dangerous position of
the King than, dissatisfied as he was with the treatment which he had
personally received, he demanded an audience of the young sovereign and
his mother, in order to warn them of their peril. In vain, however, did
Marie, touched by this proof of loyal devotedness, urge him to suggest
a remedy.

"I am no longer in office, Madame," he replied proudly; "and you have
your chosen counsellors about you. I have done my duty, and leave it to
others to do theirs."

He then made his parting obeisance, and had already reached the door of
the apartment, leaving the Queen-mother in a state of agitation and
alarm which she made no effort to disguise, when, suddenly pausing upon
the threshold, he once more turned towards her, saying impressively:

"Sire, and you, Madame, I beg your Majesties to reflect upon what I have
said; my conscience is now at rest. Would to God that you were in the
midst of twelve hundred horse; I can see no other alternative." And
without awaiting any reply, he then withdrew.[244]

The advice of the veteran minister appeared, however, to the friends of
the Queen-mother too dangerous to be followed. France had so recently
been delivered from the horrors of a civil war that it was deemed
inexpedient to provoke its renewal by any hostile demonstration on the
part of the Crown; while, moreover, the popularity of Conde was so
notorious that no doubt could be entertained of his success should the
_ultima ratio regum_ be adopted. His influence was alike powerful with
all classes; the people were unanimous in his cause; the Princes and
great nobles were his zealous adherents; and since his entrance into the
Council as its president, not content with dividing his authority with
the Queen-mother, he had gradually absorbed it in his own person. His
hotel was crowded by those who formerly thronged the apartments of the
Louvre; all who had demands to make, or remonstrances to offer,
addressed themselves to him only; and thus he had become too dangerous
an enemy to be lightly opposed.[245]

Under these circumstances it appeared impossible to proceed openly
against him, while it was equally essential to deliver the Crown from so
formidable an adversary; his arrest offered the only opportunity of
effecting so desirable a result, but even to accomplish this with safety
was by no means easy. In his own house he was surrounded by friends and
adherents who would have rendered such an attempt useless; and after
mature deliberation it was accordingly agreed that he must be made
prisoner in the Louvre.

Under a specious pretext the Swiss Guards were detained in the great
court of the palace; the Marquis de Themines[246] undertook to demand
the sword of the Prince, and to secure his person, volunteering at the
same time to procure the assistance of his two sons, and seven or eight
nobles upon whose fidelity he could rely; arms were introduced into one
of the apartments of the Queen-mother in a large chest, which was
understood to contain costly stuffs from Italy; and a number of the
youngest and most distinguished noblemen of the Court, to whom Marie
appealed for support, took a solemn oath of obedience to her behests,
without inquiring into the nature of the service to which they were
thus pledged.

All being in readiness, Bassompierre was awakened at three o'clock in
the morning of the 1st of September by a gentleman of the Queen-mother's
household, and instructed to proceed immediately to the Louvre in
disguise. On his arrival he found Marie only half-dressed, seated
between Mangot and Barbin, and evidently in a state of extraordinary
agitation and excitement. As he entered the apartment she said

"You are welcome, Bassompierre. You do not know why I have summoned you
so early; I will shortly explain my reason."

Then, rising from her seat, she paced to and fro across the floor for
nearly half an hour, no one venturing to break in upon her reverie.
Suddenly, however, she paused, and beckoning to her companions to follow
her, she entered her private closet; and the hangings no sooner fell
behind the party than, turning once more towards him, she continued with
bitter vehemence:

"I am about to arrest the Prince, together with the Ducs de Vendome, de
Mayenne, and de Bouillon. Let the Swiss Guards be on the spot by eleven
o'clock as I proceed to the Tuileries, for should I be compelled by the
people to leave Paris, I wish them to accompany me to Nantes. I have
secured my jewels and forty thousand golden crowns, and I shall take my
children with me, if--which I pray God may not be the case, and as I do
not anticipate--I find myself under the necessity of leaving the
capital; for I am resolved to submit to every sort of peril and
inconvenience rather than lose my own authority or endanger that of the
King." [247]

The final arrangements were then discussed, and Marie de Medicis was
left to her own thoughts until the hour of eight, when M. de Themines
was announced.

"Ha! you are come at length," she exclaimed joyfully; "I was awaiting
you with impatience. The Council is about to open, and it is time that
we were all prepared. Can you depend on those by whom you are

"They are my sons, Madame."

"Bravely answered!" said Marie forcing a smile, as she extended her
hand, which the Marquis raised to his lips. "Go then, and remember that
the fate of France and of her monarch are in your keeping."

Although surrounded by devoted friends, the Queen-mother was agitated by
a thousand conflicting emotions. She was well aware that her own future
existence as a Queen hung upon the success or failure of her enterprise,
as should the slightest indiscretion on the part of any of her agents
arouse the suspicions of the Prince and induce him to leave the capital,
he had every prospect of obtaining the crown. Moreover, MM. de Crequy
and de Bassompierre, who were in command of the French and Swiss Guards,
and who had received orders to draw up their men in order of battle at
the great gate of the Louvre immediately that the Prince should have
entered, and to arrest him did he attempt to leave the palace, became
alarmed at the responsibility thus thrust upon them, and declined to
comply with these instructions until they had received a warranty to
that effect under the great seal; but this demand having been conceded,
they hesitated no longer.[248] All the precautions which had been taken
nevertheless failed in some degree in their effect, as the Duc de
Mayenne and the Marechal de Bouillon were apprised by their emissaries
of the unusual movements of the Court, and at once adopted measures of
safety. Bouillon feigned an indisposition, and refused to leave his
hotel, where, after a long interview with the Duke, it was resolved that
Conde should be warned not to trust himself in the power of the
Queen-mother. The Prince, however, who had been lulled into false
security by the specious representations of Barbin, treated their
caution with contempt, being unable to believe that Marie would venture
to attempt any violence towards himself.

"If there be indeed any hostile intention on the part of the Crown," he
said disdainfully, "it probably regards M. de Bouillon, whose restless
spirit excites the alarm of the Queen-mother. Let him look to himself,
if he see fit to do so. Should he be committed to the Bastille my
interests will not suffer."

Angered by his presumption, the two friends made no further protest,
but contented themselves with redoubling their own precautions. Bouillon
retired to Charenton with a strong escort, while the Duc de Mayenne
remained quietly in his hotel, having made the necessary preparations
for instant flight should such a step become essential to his

Meanwhile at the Louvre nothing remained to be done but to communicate
to the young King the project which was about to be realized, and to
induce him to sanction it by his countenance; an attempt which offered
little difficulty, the jealousy of Louis having been excited by the
assumed authority of the Prince, and his dissimulating nature being
gratified by this first participation in a state intrigue.

At ten o'clock a great clamour upon the quay near the gate of the palace
attracted the attention of the Queen-mother, who commanded silence, and
in another moment distinct cries of "Long live the Prince!" "Long live
M. de Conde!" were heard in the apartment. Marie de Medicis rose from
her seat and approached an open window, followed by the
Marechale d'Ancre.

"The Prince is about to open the Council," said Leonora with a bitter

"Rather say the King of France," replied Marie with a flushed cheek, as
she saw Conde graciously receiving the petitions which were tendered to
him on all sides. "But his royalty shall be like that of the bean;[250]
it shall not last long." [251]

When he alighted at the palace Conde proceeded to the hall of the
Council, which was on the ground-floor; and at the termination of the
sitting ascended, as was his custom, to the apartments of the
Queen-mother, where Louis, who had entered eagerly into the part that
had been assigned to him, and who had just distributed with his own
hands the arms which had been prepared for the followers of M. de
Themines, met him in the gallery, entered into a cheerful conversation,
and, finally, invited him to join a hawking-party which was to take
place within an hour. Conde, however, whose thoughts were otherwise
engaged, declined to participate in the offered pastime, and the young
King, having accomplished all that had been required of him, accepted
his excuses, and returned to the apartment of his mother. At the same
moment Themines and his two sons issued from a small passage, and,
approaching the Prince, announced that they had received an order to
arrest him.

"Arrest me!" exclaimed Conde in astonishment. "It is impossible!"

"Such are my instructions," said the Marquis, as he extended his hand to
receive the forfeited sword, while his two sons placed themselves on
each side of the prisoner.

"You are aware that I am the first Prince of the Blood."

"I know, Monseigneur, the respect which is your due," was the reply,
"but I must obey the King."

"I must see their Majesties," persisted the Prince.

"It is impossible. Come, sir, suffer me to conduct you to the apartment
to which I have been directed to escort you."

"How!" vehemently exclaimed Conde, looking round upon the nobles who
were collected in the hall of which he had just reached the entrance,
"is there no one here who has sufficient courage to spare me this
outrage? You, Monsieur," he continued, addressing himself to Du Vair,
"you at least I know to be a man of probity. Did you counsel this
violation of all the solemn promises which have been made to me?"

"I was not consulted upon the subject, Monseigneur," replied the Keeper
of the Seals; "nor shall it be my fault if so grievous an error be not
speedily redeemed. The more brief the folly the better the result."

This imprudent retort was destined to seal the disgrace of the upright
minister without serving the Prince, who, seeing that he had nothing to
anticipate from any demonstration on the part of the assembled nobles,
haughtily desired his captor to conduct him to his allotted prison.[252]
"And when you have done so," he added in a firm voice, as he swept the
apartment with an eye as bright and as steady as though he had not stood
there unarmed and a captive, "you may tell the Queen-mother that she has
anticipated me only by three days, for had she waited beyond that time,
the King would no longer have had a crown upon his head." [253]

The Prince was then conducted by a back staircase to an upper chamber
strongly barred, where he remained guarded by M. de Themines until he
was conveyed to the Bastille.

The exultation of Marie de Medicis was at its height. She embraced her
son as fervently as though by the imprudence of which she had just been
guilty she had ensured the security of his throne, and received the
congratulations of the courtiers with undisguised delight. "See, Sire,"
she exclaimed, as with one hand resting upon the shoulder of the young
King she advanced to the centre of the great hall, "here is our brave M.
de Themines, to whom we are so greatly indebted. Can you not offer him a
royal recompense? He is not yet a Marshal of France."

"I salute you, M. le Marechal," said Louis with regal gravity. "In an
hour I will sign your brevet."

M. de Themines bowed low, and kissed the hand of the King.

"And I," smiled Marie de Medicis, "present you with a hundred thousand
crowns. Your elder son the Marquis de Themines is henceforth captain of
my bodyguard, and your younger the Baron de Lauziere equerry of

Again the captor of M. de Conde bent low and uttered his

Low murmurs were heard among the nobles.

"Advance, M. de Montigny," continued Marie, turning graciously towards
an individual who had only just reached the capital, having on his way
provided the Duc de Vendome with a relay of horses in order to
facilitate his escape. "Sire, the Comte de Montigny was a faithful and
devoted follower of your father. You owe him also some mark of favour."

"M. de Montigny shall be a marshal," said Louis XIII, delighted with his
new and unchecked exhibition of power.

"It would appear that to ask a _baton_ is to have one on this occasion,"
said M. de Saint-Geran[254] in a low voice to the Marquis de Crequy;
"let us therefore put in our claim."

"With all my heart," replied the Marquis gaily. "The ladies do not
refuse us their smiles, nor the Queen-mother the festivities in her
honour by which we impoverish our estates; why, therefore, should the
King deprive us of our share of the easily-won distinctions of the day?"

So saying, the two courtiers moved a pace nearer to Marie de Medicis,
who did not fail to observe and to comprehend the action.

"Happy is the monarch who sees himself surrounded by loyal subjects and
by faithful friends," pursued the exulting Princess; "your Majesty has
not yet completed the good work so royally commenced?"

"M. de Crequy has already a _baton_," said Louis, somewhat bewildered by
the new part he was called upon to enact on so large a scale.

"But you have forgotten, Sire, that he is neither duke nor peer."

"I salute you, M. le Duc et Pair," said the young King.

The Marquis acknowledged his new honours, and made way for his

"Our list of marshals is full, M. de Saint-Geran," said Louis coldly.

The disappointed courtier bowed, and was about to retire, when Marie de
Medicis met his eye, and its expression was far from satisfactory.

"MM. de Praslin and de Saint-Geran have both, nevertheless, merited high
distinction, Sire," she said anxiously. "Your pledge for the future will
suffice, however, as they are both young enough to wait."

"Be it so, Madame," rejoined her son, who was becoming weary of the
rapacity of his loyal subjects and faithful friends. "Gentlemen, your
services shall not be forgotten on the next vacancy."

And thus, as Bassompierre has recorded, did M. de Saint-Geran "extort
the promise" of a _baton_.

"And you, M. de Bassompierre," exclaimed the Queen-mother, as in
advancing up the hall their Majesties found themselves beside him,
"unlike the others, you have put in no claim."

"Madame," was the dignified reply, "it is not at such a moment as this,
when we have merely done our duty, that we should seek for reward; but I
trust that when by some important service I may deserve to be
remembered, the King will grant me both wealth and honours without any
claim upon my own part."

Louis hesitated for a moment, and then, with a slight bow, passed on;
and he had no sooner entered his private closet, still accompanied by
his mother, than a herald announced in a loud voice that a great public
council would be held on the following day at the meeting of the

It might well be imagined that when she retired Marie de Medicis left
grateful hearts behind her, but such was not the case; lavish as she had
proved upon this occasion, she was far from having satisfied those who
had assisted in the arrest of the Prince, and who did not fail openly to
express their discontent.[255]

During this time the Dowager-Princess of Conde had been apprised of the
arrest of her son; and, maddened by the intelligence, she had
immediately rushed out of her house on foot, and hurried to the Pont
Neuf, crying as she went, "To arms! To arms!"

"It is Madame de Nemours!" shouted the crowd which gathered about her.
"Long live Madame de Nemours!"

"Long live Madame de Nemours!" echoed a voice, which was immediately
recognized as that of the shoemaker Picard, who had, since his insult to
the Marechal d'Ancre, been the idol of the mob. "Concini has
assassinated the first Prince of the Blood in the Louvre!"

Even this announcement, however, failed in the effect which had been
anticipated by the Princess, whose object was to accomplish the rescue
of her son; for while the respectable citizens hastened to close their
shops and to place their families in safety, the lower orders rushed
towards the hotel of the Marechal d'Ancre in the Faubourg St. Germain.
The doors were driven in, furniture and valuables to the amount of two
hundred thousand crowns were destroyed, and lighted torches were applied
to the costly hangings of the apartments, which soon caused the carved
and gilded woodwork to ignite; while a portion of the mob at the same
time attacked the house of Corbinelli his secretary; and soon the two
residences presented only a mass of bare and blackened walls. M. de
Liancourt, the Governor of Paris, opposed his authority in vain; he was
hooted, driven back, and finally compelled to retire. Couriers were
despatched to the Louvre to inform the Queen-mother of the popular
tumult, but no orders were issued in consequence; the counsellors of
Marie de Medicis deeming it desirable that the populace should be
permitted to expend their violence upon the property of Concini, rather
than turn their attention to the rescue of the Prince, until the public
excitement had abated.

The arrest of M. de Conde had alarmed all the leaders of the late
faction, who hastened to secure their own safety. Bouillon, as we have
stated, had already reached Charenton; and the Duc de Vendome had fled
in his turn on learning that all egress from the Louvre was forbidden,
and that the outlets of the palace were strongly guarded. M. de Mayenne,
who had hitherto remained in the capital, awaiting the progress of
events, followed his example attended by a strong party of his friends.
The Duc de Guise and the Prince de Joinville, alarmed lest they should
be involved in the ruin of Conde through the machinations of Concini,
with whom they were at open feud, hastened to Soissons, in order to join
M. de Mayenne, whither they were shortly followed by the young Count and
his mother; and, finally, the Duc de Nevers, who had indulged in a vain
dream of rendering himself master of the Turkish empire through the
medium of the Greeks, by declaring himself to be a descendant of the
Paleologi, suddenly halted on his way to Germany, and declared himself
determined to join the new faction of the Princes.[256]

These defections created a great void at the Louvre, but the
Queen-mother disdained to express her mortification; and, on the
contrary, affected the most entire confidence in the nobles who still
maintained their adherence to the Crown.

She was well aware that Conde had lost much of his popularity by
abandoning the interests of the people at the Treaty of Loudun, and that
the Protestants similarly resented the selfishness with which he had
sacrificed their cause to his ambition; while she had, moreover,
ascertained that the flight of the Duc de Guise and his brother had been
simply induced by misrepresentation, and that through the medium of the
females of their family they might readily be recalled. These
circumstances gave her courage; and when, on the morning of the 2nd of
September, she came to the council of war, which was held in the
Augustine Monastery and presided over by the Marechal de Brissac,
accompanied by her two sons, she remarked with undisguised gratification
that more than two thousand nobles were already assembled. When the
King, the Queen-mother, Monsieur, the great dignitaries, and the
ministers had taken their seats, the doors were thrown open to all who
chose to enter; and in a few moments the vast hall was densely crowded.
Silence was then proclaimed; M. de Brissac declared that the session was
open, and the President Jeannin forthwith commenced reading, in the name
of the King, the celebrated declaration explaining the arrest of the
Prince de Conde; proclaiming him a traitor, and, finally, promising a
free pardon to all who had aided and abetted him in his disloyal
practices, on condition of their appearing within fifteen days to
solicit the mercy of his Majesty, in default of which concession they
would be involved in the same accusation of _lese-majeste_[257]

More than once, during the delivery of this discourse, many of the
nobles who were attached to the faction of the Princes gave utterance to
a suppressed murmur; but it was not until its close that they openly and
vociferously expressed their dissatisfaction. Then, indeed, the hall
became a scene of confusion and uproar which baffles all description;
voice was heard above voice; the clang of weapons as they were struck
against the stone floor sounded ominously; and the terrified young King,
after glancing anxiously towards De Luynes, who returned his look by
another quite as helpless, fastened his gaze upon his mother as if from
her alone he could hope for protection. Nor was his mute appeal made in
vain, for although an expression of anxiety could be traced upon the
noble features of Marie de Medicis, they betrayed no feeling of alarm.
She was pale but calm, and her eyes glanced over the assembly as
steadily as though she herself played no part in the drama which was
enacting before her. For a few moments she remained motionless, as if
absorbed in this momentous scrutiny; but ultimately she turned and
uttered a few words in a low voice to Bassompierre, who was standing
immediately behind her; and she had no sooner done so than, accompanied
by M. de Saint-Geran, the captain of the King's Guard, he left the hall.
In an instant afterwards both officers re-appeared, followed by a
company of halberdiers, who silently took up their position in the rear
of the sovereign and his mother; and the Queen no sooner saw the gleam
of their lances than she caused it to be intimated to the President
Jeannin that she desired to address the meeting.

When her purpose was communicated to the assembly silence was by degrees
restored; and then the clear, full voice of Marie de Medicis was heard
to the furthest recesses of the vast apartment.

"Nobles and gentlemen," she said with a gesture of quiet dignity, "as
Regent of France I have also a right to speak on an occasion of this
importance; for since the death of Henry the Great, my lord and husband,
it is I who have constantly borne the burthen of the Crown. You know,
one and all, how many obstacles I have had to oppose, how many intrigues
to frustrate, how many dangers to overcome. An intestine war throughout
the kingdom; disaffection alike in Paris and in the provinces; and amid
all these struggles for the national welfare, I had to combat a still
more gnawing anxiety. I had to watch over the safety of the King my son,
and that of the other Children of France; and never, gentlemen, for one
hour, did my dignity as a Queen cause me to forget my tenderness as a
mother. I might have been sustained in this daily struggle--I might
have found strong arms and devoted hearts to share in my toils, and in
my endeavours--but that these have too often failed me, I need scarcely
say. Thus, then, if any among you complain of the past, they accuse me,
for the King my son having delegated his authority to myself can have
incurred no blame, nor do I wish to transfer it to another. Every
enterprise which I have undertaken has had the glory and prosperity of
France as its sole aim and object. If I have at times been mistaken in
my estimate of the measures calculated to ensure so desirable a result,
I have at least never persisted in my error; I have surrounded myself
with able and conscientious counsellors; MM. de Villeroy and de Jeannin
were chosen by the most ancient and noble families in the kingdom--the
Cardinal de la Valette and the Bishop of Lucon-Richelieu are my
advisers--the estimable Miron, Provost of Paris, in conjunction with
Barbin represent the _tiers-etat_--while as regards the people, I have
ever been careful to mete out justice to them with an equal hand."

Marie paused for an instant, and she had no sooner done so than loud
shouts echoed through the cloistral arches, as the crowd vociferously
and almost unanimously responded, "You have--you have. Long live
the Queen!"

"Nor did I limit the sacred duties of my mission here," pursued the
Regent; "I had work to do without as well as within the kingdom; and it
has not been neglected. I undertook and accomplished a successful
negotiation for the marriage of the King my son with the Infanta of
Spain; our ancient rival England has become our ally; Germany has learnt
to fear us; and the Princes of Italy have bowed their heads before our
triumphant banners. Have I not then, gentlemen, consulted in all things
the honour of France, and increased her power? Have I not compelled
respect where I have failed to secure amity? Can you point to one act of
my authority by which the interests of the nation have been compromised,
or her character tarnished in the eyes of foreign states? I boldly await
your answer. Thus much for our external relations, and now I appeal to
your justice; I ask you with equal confidence if, when within the
kingdom faction after faction was detected and suppressed, I yielded to
any sentiment of undue vengeance? Has not every outbreak of unprovoked
disaffection rather tended to exhibit the forbearance of the King my son
and my own? Need I recall the concessions which we have made to those
who had sought to injure us? Need I ask you to remember that we have
bestowed upon them governments, titles, riches, high offices of state,
and every honour which it was in our power to confer? What more then
could you require or demand, gentlemen? And yet, when the King my son
has pardoned where he might have punished, you have responded by
seditious shouts, by wilful disrespect, and even by attempts against his
royal person! It was time for him to exert his prerogative,
gentlemen,--you have compelled him to assert his power, and yet you
murmur! Now, with God's help, we may hope for internal peace. France
must have lost her place among the European nations had she been longer
permitted to prey upon her own vitals. One individual alone could have
condemned her to this self-slaughter, and we have delivered her from the
peril by committing that individual to the Bastille."

As the Queen-mother uttered these words her voice was drowned in the
universal burst of fury and violence which assailed her on all sides;
nobles, citizens, and people alike yelled forth their discontent, but
the unquenchable spirit of Marie de Medicis did not fail her even at
this terrible moment. Rising with the emergency, she seemed rather to
ride upon the storm than to quail beneath it; her eyes flashed fire, a
red spot burned upon her cheek, and scorn and indignation might be read
upon every feature of her expressive countenance. When the tumult was at
its height she rose haughtily from her seat, and striking her clenched
hand violently upon the table before her, she exclaimed in a tone of
menace: "How now, Counts and Barons! Is it then a perpetual revolt upon
which you have determined? When pardon and peace are frankly offered to
you, and when both should be as welcome to all good Frenchmen as a calm
after a tempest, you reject it? Do you hold words less acceptable than
blows? Do you prefer the sword to the hand of friendship? Be it even as
you will then. If friendship does not content you we will try the sword,
for clemency exerted beyond a certain limit degenerates into weakness.
You shall have no reason to deem your rulers either feeble or cowardly.
You have here and now defied me, and I accept the defiance. Do you

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