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

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THE LIFE OF MARIE DE MEDICIS, VOL. III

Queen of France

CONSORT OF HENRI IV, AND REGENT OF THE
KINGDOM UNDER LOUIS XIII

BY

JULIA PARDOE

AUTHOR OF

'LOUIS XIV AND THE COURT OF FRANCE IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY,'
'THE COURT AND REIGN OF FRANCIS THE FIRST,' ETC.

IN THREE VOLUMES

1890

[Illustration: Louis XIII]

CONTENTS

BOOK III

MARIE DE MEDICIS AS EXILE

CHAPTER I

1618

De Luynes resolves to compel the Queen-mother to remain at
Blois--Treachery of Richelieu--The suspicions of Marie are aroused--Her
apprehensions--She demands permission to remove to Monceaux, and is
refused--She affects to resign herself to her fate--A royal
correspondence--Vanity of the Due d'Epernon--A Court broil--The Abbe
Rucellai offers his services to Marie de Medicis--He attempts to win
over the great nobles to her cause--He is compelled to quit the Court,
and retires to Sedan--The Due de Bouillon refuses to join the cabal--The
Duc d'Epernon consents to aid the escape of the Queen-mother--The
ministers become suspicious of the designs of Richelieu--He is ordered
to retire to Coussay, and subsequently to Avignon--Tyranny of M. de
Roissy--The Queen-mother resolves to demand a public trial--De Luynes
affects to seek a reconciliation with the Prince de Conde--Firmness of
the Queen-mother--The three Jesuits--Marie pledges herself not to leave
Blois without the sanction of the King--False confidence of De
Luynes--The malcontents are brought to trial--Weakness of the
ministers--Political executions--Indignation of the people--The Princes
resolve to liberate the Queen-mother.

CHAPTER II

1619

The Due d'Epernon leaves Metz--A traitor--A minister at fault--The Duc
de Bellegarde offers an asylum to the Queen-mother--Marie de Medicis
escapes from Blois--She is conducted by M. d'Epernon to
Angouleme--Gaieties of the capital--Marriages of the Princesse Christine
and Mademoiselle de Vendome--Louis XIII is apprised of the escape of the
Queen--Alarm of the King--Advice of De Luynes--The Council resolve to
despatch a body of troops under M. de Mayenne to remove Marie de Medicis
from the keeping of the Duc d'Epernon-Discontent of the citizens--Louis
XIII enters into a negotiation with his mother--She rejects his
conditions--Richelieu offers himself as a mediator, and is accepted--The
royal forces march on Angouleme--Marie prepares for resistance--The
Princes withdraw from her cause--Schomberg proposes to blow up the
powder-magazine at Angouleme--Critical position of the Queen-mother--She
appeals to the Protestants, but is repulsed--Schomberg takes up arms
against the Duc d'Epernon--Alarm of Marie de Medicis--Richelieu proceeds
to Angouleme--He regains the confidence of the Queen--Successful
intrigue of Richelieu--Marie is deserted by several of her friends--A
treaty of peace is concluded between the King and his mother--The envoy
of Marie incurs the displeasure of Louis XIII--The malcontents rally
round the Queen-mother--The Princes of Piedmont visit Marie at
Angouleme--Their reception--Magnificence of the Duc d'Epernon--The
Queen-mother refuses to quit Angouleme--Ambition of Richelieu--Weakness
of Marie de Medicis--Father Joseph endeavours to induce the Queen-mother
to return to the Court--She is encouraged in her refusal by
Richelieu--The rival Queens--Marie leave Angouleme--Her parting with the
Duc d'Epernon--She is received at Poitiers by the Cardinal de Retz and
the Duc de Luynes--The Prince de Conde offers the hand of his sister
Eleonore de Bourbon to the brother of De Luynes as the price of his
liberation--The sword of the Prince is restored to him--Duplicity of the
favourite--Marie resolves to return to Angouleme, but is dissuaded by
her friends--The Duc de Mayenne espouses the cause of the
Queen-mother--A royal meeting--Return of the Court to Tours--Marie
proceeds to Chinon, and thence to Angers--The Protestants welcome the
Queen-mother to Anjou--Alarm of De Luynes--Liberation of the Prince de
Conde--Indignation of Marie de Medicis--Policy of Richelieu--De Luynes
solicits the return of the Queen-mother to the capital--She refuses to
comply--De Luynes is made Governor of Picardy--His brothers
are ennobled.

CHAPTER III

1620

Louis XIII creates numerous Knights of the Holy Ghost without reference
to the wishes of his mother--Indignation of Marie de Medicis--Policy of
De Luynes--Richelieu aspires to the cardinalate--A Court quarrel--The
Comtesse de Soissons conspires to strengthen the party of the
Queen-mother--Several of the great Princes proceed to Angers to urge
Marie to take up arms--Alarm of the favourite--He seeks to propitiate
the Duc de Guise--The double marriage--Caustic reply of the Duc de
Guise--Royal alliances--An ex-Regent and a new-made Duke--The
Queen-mother is threatened with hostilities should she refuse to return
immediately to the capital--She remains inflexible--Conde advises the
King to compel her obedience--De Luynes enters into a negotiation with
Marie--An unskilful envoy--Louis XIII heads his army in Normandy--Alarm
of the rebel Princes--They lay down their arms, and the King marches
upon the Loire--The Queen-mother prepares to oppose him--She garrisons
Angers--The Duc de Mayenne urges her to retire to Guienne--She
refuses--Treachery of Richelieu--League between Richelieu and De
Luynes--Marie de Medicis negotiates with the King--Louis declines her
conditions--The defeat at the Fonts de Ce--Submission of the
Queen-mother--A royal interview--Courtly duplicity--Marie retires to
Chinon--The Ducs de Mayenne and d'Epernon lay down their arms--The Court
assemble at Poitiers to meet the Queen-mother--Louis proceeds to
Guienne, and Marie de Medicis to Fontainebleau--The King compels the
resumption of the Romish faith in Bearn--The Court return to Paris.

CHAPTER IV

1621-24

Attempt to secure a cardinal's hat for Richelieu frustrated by De
Luynes--Death of Philip III of Spain--De Luynes is created Connetable de
France--Discontent of the great nobles--Disgust of the Marechal de
Lesdiguieres--The Protestants of Bearn rise against their
oppressors--The royal troops march against them--They are worsted, and
despoiled of their fortified places--The King becomes jealous of his
favourite--_Le Roi Luynes_--Domestic dissensions--The favourite is
threatened with disgrace--Cruelty of Louis XIII--Death of De
Luynes--Louis determines to exterminate the Protestants--A struggle for
power--Prudence of Bassompierre--Conde encourages the design of the
King--The old ministers are recalled--They join with the Queen-mother in
her attempt to conclude a peace with the reformed party--Marie de
Medicis solicits a share in the government--The King complies, but
refuses to sanction the admission of Richelieu to the Council--The
Duchesse de Luynes and Anne of Austria--Frustrated hopes--Conde aspires
to the French throne--Louis XIII leaves the capital by stealth in order
to join the army at Nantes--The Queen-mother prepares to follow him, but
is overtaken by illness--Ruthless persecution of the Protestants--Siege
of La Rochelle--Venality of the Protestant leaders--Indignation of the
Catholic nobles--Resistance of the citizens of Montpellier--Military
incapacity of Conde--The Duc de Rohan negotiates a peace, and Conde
retires to Rome--Montpellier opens its gates to the King--Bad faith of
Louis XIII--Triumphal entry of the King at Lyons--Marriage of the
Marquis de la Valette and Mademoiselle de Verneuil--Richelieu is created
a cardinal--Exultation of the Queen-mother--Death of the President
Jeannin--Prospects of Richelieu--His duplicity--Misplaced confidence of
Marie de Medicis--Louis XIII returns to Paris--Change in the
Ministry--Anne of Austria and the Prince of Wales--The Queen-mother and
her faction endeavour to accomplish the ruin of the Chancellor, and
succeed--Richelieu is admitted to the Council--Indignation of
Conde--Richelieu becomes all-powerful--His ingratitude to the
Queen-mother--The Queen-mother is anxious to effect a matrimonial
alliance with England--Richelieu seconds her views--The King of Spain
applies for the hand of the Princesse Henriette for Don Carlos--His
demand is negatived by the Cardinal-Minister--La Vieuville is dismissed
from the Ministry--Duplicity of Louis XIII--Arrest of La
Vieuville--Change of ministers--Petticoat intrigues--The Duc d'Anjou
solicits the hand of Mademoiselle de Montpensier--The alliance is
opposed by the Guises and forbidden by the King.

CHAPTER V

1625-28

Death of James I.--The Princesse Henriette is married by
proxy to Charles I--The Duke of Buckingham arrives in France
to conduct his young sovereign to her new country--An arrogant
suitor--Departure of the English Queen--Indisposition of Marie
de Medicis--Arrival of Henriette in London--Growing power of
Richelieu--Suspicions of the Queen-mother--Influence of the
Jesuit Berulle over Marie de Medicis--Richelieu urges Monsieur
to conclude his marriage with Mademoiselle de Montpensier--Character
of Gaston--He refuses to accept the hand of the lady--Arrest of M.
d'Ornano--Vengeance of Richelieu--Indignation of Monsieur--Alarm of the
Queen-mother--Pusillanimity of Gaston--Arrest of the Vendome
Princes--Edicts issued against the great nobles--Sumptuary
laws--Execution of the Comte de Bouteville--The reign of
Richelieu--Policy of Marie and her minister--Distrust of the
King--Conspiracy against the Cardinal--Richelieu threatens to retire
from office--A diplomatic drama--Triumph of the Cardinal--Execution
of Chalais--Heartlessness of Gaston--Monsieur consents to an alliance
with Mademoiselle de Montpensier--A royal marriage--The victims
of Richelieu--Marie de Medicis and the Cardinal endeavour to
increase the dissension between Louis XIII and his Queen--Exile
of the Duchesse de Joyeuse-Accusation against Anne of Austria--She
becomes a state prisoner--Subtlety of Richelieu--Anticipated
rupture with England--Embassy of Bassompierre--Death of the Duc de
Lesdiguieres--Favour of Saint-Simon--Pregnancy of the Duchesse
d'Orleans--Dissolute conduct of Monsieur--Birth of Mademoiselle--Death
of Madame--Marie de Medicis seeks to effect a marriage between Monsieur
and a Florentine Princess--Buckingham lands in France, but is
repulsed--Illness of Louis XIII--Disgust of the Duc d'Orleans--Louis
wearies of the camp--He is incensed against the Cardinal--The King
returns to Paris--Monsieur affects a passion for the Princesse Marie de
Gonzaga, which alarms the sovereign--His distrust of the
Queen-mother--Marie de Medicis withdraws her confidence from the
Cardinal--Mother and son--Louis returns to La Rochelle--The city
capitulates--Triumphal entry of Louis XIII into Paris--Exhortation of
the Papal Nuncio.

CHAPTER VI

1629

Richelieu resolves to undermine the power of Austria--State of
Europe--Opposition of the Queen-mother to a new war--Perseverance of the
Cardinal--Anne of Austria joins the faction of Marie de Medicis-Gaston
is appointed General of the royal army--Richelieu retires from the
Court--Alarm of Louis XIII--A King and his minister--Louis leaves Paris
for the seat of war--Monsieur is deprived of his command, and
retires to Dauphiny--Marie de Gonzaga is sent to the fortress of
Vincennes--Monsieur consents to forego his marriage until it shall
receive the royal sanction, and the Princess returns to the
Louvre--Marie is invested with a partial regency--Forebodings of the
Cardinal--Termination of the campaign--Renewed discord--Richelieu
becomes jealous of Bassompierre--Louis abandons his army, and is
followed by the minister--Counterplots--An offended mistress and an
ex-favourite--A hollow peace--Gaston retires to the Court of Lorraine,
where he becomes enamoured of the Princesse Marguerite--The Cardinal
invites him to return to Paris--Monsieur accepts the proposed
conditions--The French troops march upon Piedmont--Richelieu is
appointed Lieutenant-General of the royal forces in Italy--The King
resolves to follow him--Anxiety of Marie de Medicis to avoid a rupture
with Spain--Dissensions between the two Queens--Mademoiselle de
Hautefort--Failing influence of Marie de Medicis--Self-distrust of the
King--The Queen-mother endeavours to effect a reconciliation between
her sons.

CHAPTER VII

1630

Gaston returns to France--Precarious position of the French armies--Death
of the Duke of Savoy--The French besiege Pignerol--Richelieu urges the
King to possess himself of the Duchy of Savoy--Marie de Medicis opposes
the measure--Louis XIII overruns Savoy--The French lose Mantua--Jules
Mazarin--The King is attacked by fever at Lyons--Moral effects
of his indisposition--He consents to dismiss the Cardinal from
office--Reconciliation of the royal family--The Court return
to the capital--Richelieu endeavours to regain the favour of
the Queen-mother--Policy of Marie--Richelieu seeks to effect
the disgrace of Marillac--The two Queens unite their interests--Meeting
of the royal brothers--Gaston inveighs bitterly against the Cardinal--The
Queen-mother takes up her abode at the Luxembourg--Louis proceeds
in state to bid her welcome--Monsieur publicly affronts Richelieu--A
treaty is concluded with Italy--Public rejoicings in Paris--Marie
dismisses the Cardinal and his relations from her household--A
drama at Court--Richelieu prepares to leave Paris; but is dissuaded,
and follows the King to Versailles--Exultation of the citizens
at the anticipated overthrow of the Cardinal-Minister--The
courtiers crowd the Luxembourg--Bassompierre at fault--Triumph
of Richelieu--Hypocrisy of the Cardinal--"The Day of Dupes"--A
regal minister--The Marillacs are disgraced--Anne of Austria is
suspected of maintaining a secret correspondence with Spain--Gaston
conspires with the two Queens against Richelieu--Divided state of
the French Court--A _fete_ at the Louvre.

CHAPTER VIII

1631

Richelieu interdicts all correspondence between Anne of Austria and the
King of Spain--The Queen asks permission to retire to the Val de
Grace--Her persecution by the Cardinal--Marie de Medicis protects her
interests--Monsieur pledges himself to support her cause--Gaston defies
the minister--Alarm of Richelieu--He resolves to effect the exile of the
Queen-mother--Monsieur quits the capital--Superstition of Marie de
Medicis--An unequal struggle--Father Joseph and his patron--The
Queen-mother resolves to accompany her son to Italy--Richelieu assures
the King that Marie and Gaston have organized a conspiracy against his
life--The Court proceed to Compiegne--The Queen-mother refuses to retain
her seat in the Council--Richelieu regains all his influence over the
King--Revenge of the Cardinal upon his enemies--Desperate position of
Marie de Medicis--Her arrest is determined upon by the Council--Louis
leaves her a prisoner at Compiegne--Parting interview of the
two Queens--Indignity offered to Anne of Austria--Death of the
Princesse de Conti--Indignation of the royal prisoner--A diplomatic
correspondence--Two noble gaolers--The royal troops pursue Monsieur--The
adherents of Gaston are declared guilty of _lese-majeste_--Gaston
addresses a declaration to the Parliament--The Queen-mother forwards a
similar protest, and then appeals to the people--A paper war--The
garrison is withdrawn from Compiegne--Marie resolves to effect her
escape to the Low Countries--She is assured of the protection of Spain
and Germany--The Queen-mother secretly leaves the fortress--She is
betrayed by the Marquis de Vardes, and proceeds with all speed to
Hainault, pursued by the royal troops--She is received at Mons by the
Archduchess Isabella--Whence she addresses a letter to the King to
explain the motives of her flight--Reply of Louis XIII--Sympathy of
Isabella--The two Princesses proceed to Brussels--Triumphal entry of
Marie de Medicis into the capital of Flanders--Renewed hopes of the
exiled Queen--The Belgian Ambassador at the French Court--Vindictive
counsels of the Cardinal--The property of the Queen-mother and Monsieur
is confiscated--They are abandoned by many of their adherents--Richelieu
is created a duke--A King and his minister--Marie consents to the
marriage of Monsieur with Marguerite de Lorraine--The followers of the
Queen-mother and the Duc d'Orleans are tried and condemned--Louis XIII
proceeds to Lorraine to prevent the projected alliance of his
brother--Intrigues of Gaston--Philip of Spain refuses to adopt the cause
of Marie de Medicis--Marriage of Monsieur and the Princesse de
Lorraine--The Queen-mother endeavours to negotiate her return to
France--Richelieu determines the King not to consent--Charles de
Lorraine makes his submission to the French monarch--And signs a
compulsory treaty.

CHAPTER IX

1632

Gaston d'Orleans proceeds to Brussels--His reception--Vanity of
Monsieur--Exultation of the Spanish Cabinet--Montmorency abandons the
interests of Richelieu--Marie de Medicis solicits his support--He
consents to second the projects of Monsieur--The Queen-mother and the
Duc d'Orleans sell their jewels in order to raise troops for the
invasion of France--Trial of the Marechal de Marillac--Marie and Gaston
exert themselves to save his life--He is executed--The adherents of the
two royal exiles create dissensions between the mother and son--Gaston
joins the Spanish army--Munificence of Isabella--Gaston marches upon
Burgundy--Remonstrance of Montmorency--An ill-planned campaign--Battle
of Castelnaudary--Slaughter of the rebel leaders--Cowardice of
Monsieur--Montmorency is made prisoner--Gaston endeavours to make terms
with the King--He abandons the cause of his mother, and that of his
allies--He stipulates for the pardon of Montmorency--Richelieu refuses
the condition--The treaty is signed by Monsieur--Jealousy of Louis
XIII--The miniature--Montmorency is conveyed to Toulouse, and put upon
his trial--Double-dealing of the Cardinal--Obduracy of the
King--Execution of Montmorency--Despair of the Queen-mother--Death of
the Comtesse du Fargis--The Jesuit Chanteloupe and Madame de
Comballet--A new conspiracy--The Archduchess Isabella refuses to deliver
up the servants of Marie de Medicis--Gaston retires to Burgundy.

CHAPTER X

1633

Monsieur returns to Flanders--The Queen-mother retires in displeasure to
Malines--Influence of Chanteloupe--Selfishness of Monsieur--Death of
Gustavus Adolphus--Richelieu seeks to withdraw the Queen-mother and her
son from the protection of Spain--Marie is urged to retire to
Florence--The Tuscan envoy--Two diplomatists--Mortification of the
Queen-mother--She desires to seek an asylum in England--Charles I.
hesitates to grant her request--Helpless position of Marie de
Medicis-The iron rule of Richelieu--The Cardinal-dramatist--Gaston avows
his marriage to the King--Louis enters Lorraine, and takes Nancy-Madame
escapes to the Low Countries--Her reception at the Court of
Brussels--Marie de Medicis takes up her residence at Ghent--Serious
indisposition of the Queen-mother--She solicits the attendance
of her physician Vautier, and is refused--Hypocrisy of the
Cardinal--Indignation of the dying Queen--She rejects the
terms of reconciliation offered by the King--Attachment of her
adherents--Richelieu negotiates the return of Gaston to France--The
favourite of Monsieur--Gaston refuses to annul his marriage--Alfeston is
broken on the wheel for attempting the life of the Cardinal--The
Queen-mother is accused of instigating the murder--The bodyguard
of the Cardinal-Minister is increased--Estrangement of Monsieur
and his mother--Madame endeavours to effect the dismissal of
Puylaurens--Insolence of the favourite--Heartlessness of Monsieur--Marie
solicits permission to return to France--She is commanded as a condition
to abandon her followers, and refuses--Death of the Archduchess
Isabella--Gaston negotiates, and consents to the most humiliating
concessions.

CHAPTER XI

1634

Increasing trials of the exiled Queen--Her property is seized on the
frontier--She determines to conciliate the Cardinal--Richelieu remains
implacable--Far-reaching ambition of the minister--Weakness of Louis
XIII--Insidious arguments of Richelieu--Marie de Medicis is again
urged to abandon her adherents--Cowardly policy of Monsieur--He
signs a treaty with Spain--The Queen-mother refuses to join in the
conspiracy--Puylaurens induces Monsieur to accept the proffered terms of
Richelieu--He escapes secretly from Brussels---Gaston pledges himself to
the King to "love the Cardinal "--Gaston again refuses to repudiate his
wife--Puylaurens obtains the hand of a relative of the minister and
becomes Duc de Puylaurens--Monsieur retires to Blois.

CHAPTER XII

1635-38

Richelieu resolves to accomplish the disgrace of Puylaurens--Gaston
proceeds to Paris during the Carnival, and his favourite is arrested in
the Louvre-He is conveyed to Vincennes, where he dies--The Queen-mother
and Madame take up their abode at Antwerp--Marie de Medicis solicits the
protection of the Pope--Her letter is coldly received--She is accused by
Richelieu of favouring the Spanish cause--She endeavours to dissuade
Louis XIII from a war with Spain, and her arguments are haughtily
repulsed--Her envoy is ordered to quit the capital--The Queen-mother
once more appeals to the Sovereign-Pontiff, who declines to excite
against himself the enmity of the Cardinal-Minister--Louis XIII pursues
the war with Spain--Monsieur and the Comte de Soissons enter into a
conspiracy to assassinate Richelieu--The Queen-mother joins the
faction--The plot is betrayed--Gaston returns to his allegiance--Marie
de Medicis induces the Comte de Soissons to enter into a treaty with
Spain--The intrigue is discovered by the Cardinal--The Queen-mother once
more solicits an asylum in England--Charles I. accedes to her request,
and endeavours to effect her reconciliation with the French
King--Richelieu determines Louis to reply by a refusal--Monsieur
abandons his wife, who becomes dependent for her support upon the
Spanish Government--Insignificance of Gaston--The Duchess of Savoy
endeavours to effect the recall of her royal mother to France--The three
Churchmen--Pregnancy of Anne of Austria--Renewed hopes of the
Queen-mother--She is again urged to reside in Tuscany--She proceeds to
Holland, and is magnificently received--The Prince of Orange intercedes
in her behalf with the French King--Richelieu reiterates his wish that
she should retire to Florence--The Dutch request her to leave the
country--Marie de Medicis embarks for England--She is received at
Gravesend by Charles I.--Takes up her abode in St. James's
Palace--Meeting between the two Queens--Precarious position of the
English King--The Court of the Queen-mother--The French Ambassador is
instructed to abstain from all intercourse with the royal exile--A last
appeal---Obduracy of the Cardinal--Richelieu, his sovereign, and his
benefactress.

CHAPTER XIII

1639-42

Charles I. despatches an envoy to Louis XIII to negotiate the recall of
the Queen-mother--Richelieu aspires to the regency--The embassy
fails-Queen Henrietta resolves to proceed in person to Paris--Her visit
is declined by the French King--Charles I. recalls his ambassador from
the Court of France--The increasing animosity of the English people
against the Queen-mother compels her to seek another retreat--She is
requested by Parliament to leave the country--Philip of Spain refuses to
afford her an asylum--She proceeds to Holland, and thence to
Antwerp--The painter-prince--A voluntary envoy--The last letter--Marie
de Medicis is commanded to quit the Low Countries--She takes refuge at
Cologne-The last home of fallen royalty--Waning health of Richelieu--His
intellectual energy--Trial of the Duc de la Valette--Trial of the
Duc de Vendome--Affected magnanimity of the Cardinal--Senatorial
sycophancy--Exile of the Duc and Duchesse de Vendome--Execution
of M. de Saint-Preuil--Conspiracy against Richelieu--The stolen
meetings--The titled beggar--Secret service--Complicity of Cinq-Mars
discovered--Execution of Cinq-Mars and De Thou--Cowardice of
the Duc d'Orleans--Lingering hopes of Marie de Medicis--Rubens
and Richelieu--The abortive mission--Rubens proceeds to Madrid--The
Kings of England and Spain withhold all pecuniary aid from
the Queen-mother--Despair of Marie de Medicis--Her utter
destitution--Death-bed of a crowned head--Tardy honours--Filial
affection and priestly piety--The vaults of St. Denis.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

OF

THE THIRD VOLUME

M. de Roissy.
Cardinal de Berulle.
Pere Joseph.
Cardinal de Retz.
Marquise de Sable.
Marquis de Caumartin.
M. de la Vieuville.
M. d'Aligre.
M. de Marillac.
Prince de Chalais.
Marechal de Marillac.
Duc de Nevers.
Marquise de Senecay.
Madame de Comballet.
M. de Thoiras.
Marquis de Spinola.
Cardinal Mazarin.
Pere Chanteloupe.
M. de Puylaurens.
Henri II, Duc de Montmorency.
Marquis de Breze.
Abbe de St. Germain.
M. Seguier.
Marquis d'Ayetona.
M. de Bouthillier.
Vicomte de Fabbroni.
Don Francisco de Mello.
Duc de Saint-Simon.
Marquis de Cinq-Mars.

ILLUSTRATIONS

VOL. III

1. LOUIS XIII........._Frontispiece_

2. FACSIMILE OF A LETTER TO M. DE BASSOMPIERRE,
DICTATED AND SIGNED BY MARIE DE MEDICIS ON
HER ESCAPE FROM BLOIS

3. THE CARDINAL DE RICHELIEU

Engraved by Geoffroy from the Original by Philippe de
Champagne.

4. FACSIMILE OF AN AUTOGRAPH LETTER OF THE CARDINAL
DE RICHELIEU TO M. DE BASSOMPIERRE
DURING HIS EMBASSY IN ENGLAND

5. FACSIMILE OF A LETTER TO THE MARECHAL DE BASSOMPIERRE,
SIGNED BY LOUIS XIII

6. CARDINAL MAZARIN

Engraved by Hopwood.

7. GEORGE VILLIERS, FIRST DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM

Engraved by W. Greatbach. Painted by G. P. Harding
from the Original by C. Jansens, in the Collection of
the Earl of Clarendon.

8. MARQUIS DE CINQ-MARS

Engraved by Langlois.

BOOK III

CHAPTER I

1618

De Luynes resolves to compel the Queen-mother to remain at
Blois--Treachery of Richelieu--The suspicions of Marie are aroused--Her
apprehensions--She demands permission to remove to Monceaux, and is
refused--She affects to resign herself to her fate--A royal
correspondence--Vanity of the Duc d'Epernon--A Court broil--The Abbe
Rucellai offers his services to Marie de Medicis--He attempts to win
over the great nobles to her cause--He is compelled to quit the Court,
and retires to Sedan--The Duc de Bouillon refuses to join the cabal--The
Duc d'Epernon consents to aid the escape of the Queen-mother--The
ministers become suspicious of the designs of Richelieu--He is ordered
to retire to Coussay, and subsequently to Avignon--Tyranny of M. de
Roissy--The Queen-mother resolves to demand a public trial--De Luynes
affects to seek a reconciliation with the Prince de Conde--Firmness of
the Queen-mother--The three Jesuits--Marie pledges herself not to leave
Blois without the sanction of the King--False confidence of De
Luynes--The malcontents are brought to trial--Weakness of the
ministers--Political executions--Indignation of the people--The Princes
resolve to liberate the Queen-mother.

It will be remembered that Marie de Medicis left the capital under a
pledge from her son himself that she was at perfect liberty to change
her place of abode whenever she should deem it expedient to do so; and
that her sojourn at Blois was merely provisional, and intended as a
temporary measure, to enable her to establish herself more commodiously
in her own castle of Monceaux. Anxious for her absence, De Luynes had
induced the King to consent to her wishes; but she had no sooner reached
Blois than he determined that she should be compelled to remain there,
as he dreaded her influence in a province of which she was the absolute
mistress; and, accordingly, she had no sooner arrived in the
fortress-palace on the Loire than he began to adopt the necessary
measures for her detention. Within a week she was surrounded by spies; a
precaution which would appear to have been supererogatory so long as
Richelieu remained about her person, as his first care on reaching Blois
was to write to the favourite to repeat his offers of service; and he
himself informs us that "from time to time he sent him an exact account
of the Queen's proceedings;" while so much anxiety did he evince to
retain the confidence of the Court party that when Marie, desirous of
repaying the sacrifice which she believed him to have made in following
her fortunes, appointed him chief of her Council, he refused to accept
this office until he had written to obtain the sanction of the King; and
publicly declared that he would not occupy any official situation
whatever in her service until he ascertained the pleasure of
his Majesty.

These servile scruples did not, however, as he himself admits, suffice
to set at rest the suspicions of De Luynes, whose knowledge of the
Bishop's character by no means tended to inspire him with any confidence
in his professions;[1] while the Queen-mother, on her side, had soon
cause to apprehend that the motives of Richelieu for his self-banishment
were far less honourable than those which she had been so eager to
attribute to him. Certain projects which she was anxious to keep
profoundly secret became known to the favourite; and her natural
distrust, coupled with this fact, induced her to be gradually less
communicative to the intriguing prelate. Her spirits, moreover, gave way
under the successive mortifications to which she was subjected; and
combined with her somewhat tardy but deep regret at the fate of the
Marechal d'Ancre were fears for her own safety, which appeared to be
daily threatened.

Her residence at Monceaux was soon in readiness for her reception; but
when she apprised the King of her intention of removing thither, she
received an evasive reply, and was courteously but peremptorily advised
to defer her journey. Marie de Medicis from that moment fully
comprehended her real position; but with a tact and dissimulation equal
to that of Louis himself, she professed the most perfect indifference on
the subject, and submitted without any remonstrance to the expressed
wish of her son. This resignation to his will flattered the vanity of
Louis, and quieted the fears of his favourite; but it by no means
deceived the subtle Richelieu, who, aware of the inherent ambition of
Marie de Medicis, at once felt convinced that she was preoccupied with
some important design, and consequently indisposed to waste her energies
upon questions of minor moment. At short intervals she addressed the
most submissive letters to the King, assuring him of her devoted
attachment to his interests, and her desire to obey his wishes in all
things; but these assurances produced no effect upon the mind of Louis,
whose ear was perpetually poisoned by the reports which reached him
through the creatures of De Luynes, who never failed to attribute to the
cabals of the Queen-mother all the Court intrigues, whatever might be
their origin or character. Like herself, however, he was profuse in his
professions of regard and confidence in her affection for his person and
zeal for his interests, at the very time when she could not stir a yard
from the fortress, or even walk upon the ramparts, without being
accompanied by a number of armed men, denominated by De Luynes, with
melancholy facetiousness, a guard of honour. Nevertheless Marie retained
the most perfect self-command; but she was fated to undergo a still more
bitter trial than she had yet anticipated; for so little real respect
did her son evince towards her that he entered into a negotiation for
the marriage of his sister the Princesse Christine with the Prince of
Piedmont without condescending to consult her wishes upon the subject;
thus at once disregarding her privileges as a mother and as a Queen.[2]

Superadded to this mortification was a second little less poignant. As
the great nobles whom she had helped to enrich during her period of
power resumed their position at Court, she anticipated from day to day
that they would espouse her cause, and advocate her recall to the
capital; but with the single exception of the Due de Rohan, not one of
the Princes had made an effort in her behalf; and the generous
interference of the latter had, as she was aware, excited against him
the animosity of De Luynes; while, on the contrary, the favourite showed
undisguised favour to all who abandoned her cause.

At the close of the year 1617 the Duc de Rohan had proceeded to Savoy,
and the Duc de Bouillon to Sedan; but the Ducs de Sully and d'Epernon
still remained in the capital, where the latter again displayed as much
pomp and pretension as he had done under the Regency; and at the
commencement of 1618 he had a serious misunderstanding with Du Vair, the
Keeper of the Seals, upon a point of precedence. Irascible and haughty,
he resented the fact of that magistrate taking his place on all
occasions of public ceremonial immediately after the Chancellor Sillery,
and consequently before the dukes and peers; and on Easter Sunday, when
the Court attended mass at the Church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois in
state, he seized him roughly by the arm, and compelled him to give way.
The King, indignant at so ill-timed a burst of passion, hastened to
interfere, and spoke sharply to the Duke, who did not condescend to
justify himself, but assumed an attitude of defiance, never subsequently
leaving his hotel without the attendance of a numerous suite of
gentlemen ready to defend him in case of attack; while in addition to
this breach of etiquette, M. d'Epernon loudly complained of the bad
faith of De Luynes, who had promised, in order to induce his return to
Court, to obtain a cardinal's hat for his third son the Archbishop of
Toulouse, without, however, having subsequently made a single effort to
redeem his pledge. So bitterly, indeed, did he inveigh against the
favourite that he began to apprehend the possibility of an arrest; yet
still he lingered in the capital, as if unwilling to retreat before an
enemy whom he despised.[3]

Among the individuals who had followed the Queen-mother into exile was a
certain Abbe Rucellai, a Florentine, who having failed to obtain
advancement at the Court of Rome, had passed over to France in the hope
of furthering his fortunes in that kingdom. His anticipations appeared
for a time likely to be realized, as he was warmly welcomed on his
arrival by his countryman Concini; but the assassination of the
favourite having blighted all his prospects, he resolved upon revenge,
and as a first step offered his services to Marie de Medicis, by whom
they were accepted. The Queen-mother had no sooner formed her little
Court than the Abbe proceeded to lay the foundations of his plot, which
was based upon her return to power, and which he was well aware must
involve the ruin of De Luynes; while at the same time he felt satisfied
that he should be amply recompensed by Marie herself for his
services.[4] No opposition had been made to the self-banishment of
Rucellai by the Court party, as he was well known to be in infirm health
and of effeminate habits; and to exhibit in every phase of his character
the very reverse of a conspirator. He had, moreover, made friends during
his residence in Paris; and, through the interest of Zamet, had obtained
the Abbey of Signy in Champagne, which, together with his family
inheritance, secured to him an annual income of twenty thousand crowns.
This revenue he spent in the most liberal manner, and soon became very
popular from the suavity and refinement of his manners, and his extreme
generosity. An affair of gallantry had, however, involved him in a
quarrel with the nephew of the Duc d'Epernon; who, espousing the cause
of his relative, in his turn excited the hatred of the Abbe.[5]

Rucellai had been but a short time at Blois before he felt that he could
carry out his plans with greater facility in the capital than while
subjected to the constant surveillance of the Court spies by whom Marie
de Medicis was surrounded; and he accordingly obtained permission to
return to Court, De Luynes being easily induced to believe that his
application was caused by his weariness of the monotony of Blois, and
his desire to participate once more in the gaieties of Paris. The fact,
however, was far otherwise. The thirst for vengeance had produced a
singular effect upon the Florentine; and although he still affected to
enact the sybarite, in order to mislead those whom he sought to ruin, he
became suddenly endued with a moral energy as well as a physical
strength of which no one had believed him to be possessed. Neither
fatigue, danger, nor difficulty sufficed to paralyze his exertions; and
if he was one hour at the feet of a Court beauty, he was busied the next
in the most subtle and well-devised attempts to win over one or other of
the great nobles to the cause of the exiled Queen.[6]

He experienced little difficulty in his undertaking; all the Princes
desiring the ruin of De Luynes and the return of the Queen-mother; but
when he urged that an endeavour should be made to effect her escape, to
secure her safety in a fortified town, and then to take up arms against
the favourite, he failed in finding one individual bold enough to
venture on so extreme a step, although all were ready to volunteer their
support when her flight should have been accomplished. In this extremity
Rucellai cast his eyes upon the Duc de Bouillon, whose courage was
undoubted, and upon whose spirit of intrigue he calculated with
confidence;[7] but in order to win over the Marshal it was necessary
that he should communicate with him personally, and he accordingly
caused rumours to be spread which excited the apprehensions of the
ministers, and totally misled them as to his real designs, while at the
same time they induced De Luynes to issue an order for his immediate
departure from the capital. The Abbe complied with apparent reluctance;
and then lost no time in hastening to Signy, whence he proceeded with
all speed to Sedan.[8]

Here, however, contrary to his expectations, he was doomed to
disappointment; for while Bouillon expressed the greatest devotion for
Marie de Medicis, and asserted his wish for her restoration to power,
which he coupled with the remark that "the Court was still the same
wine-shop as ever, although they had changed the stamp of their cork,"
he pleaded his age and his infirmities as a pretext for declining to
enter into the conspiracy which was about to be organized for her
release; while, at the same time, he suggested that no individual could
be found more eligible to secure the success of such an enterprise than
M. d'Epernon. "He is both proud and daring," he said in conclusion;
"address yourself to him. This is the best advice which I can offer to
the Queen-mother." [9]

Of this fact the Abbe was himself persuaded; but two circumstances
appeared to present insurmountable obstacles to his success with the
haughty Duke. In the first place he had withdrawn from the Court greatly
incensed against Marie de Medicis, who had sacrificed his interests to
those of the Prince de Conde and the Marechal d'Ancre; and in the next
he was the declared enemy of Rucellai himself. The position of the Abbe
was perplexing, as he well knew that M. d'Epernon never forgave an
injury inflicted upon him by an inferior; but the crisis was one of such
importance that the Florentine resolved to make any concession rather
than abandon his design. He was aware that, however hostile the Duke
might be to himself personally, his hatred of De Luynes far exceeded any
feeling of animosity which he could possibly entertain towards a man
whom he considered as a mere adventurer; and the ambition of the Abbe
determined him to sacrifice his pride to the necessities of the cause in
which he laboured. Having therefore decided upon making his own feelings
subservient to the success of his enterprise, he returned without
hesitation to Paris, but he had still a great difficulty to overcome;
as, until the Duke should be made fully aware of the nature of his
mission, he could not venture to intrude upon his privacy, although the
moment was singularly favourable. M. d'Epernon had incurred the
displeasure of the Court by his quarrel with Du Vair, and his open
defiance of the favourite; his sons were equally incensed by the
disappointment to which the Archbishop of Toulouse had been latterly
subjected, and had been as unguarded as himself in their expressions of
disgust; but still Rucellai was aware that he must exert the utmost
precaution in order not to excite the resentment of the man upon whose
co-operation he founded all his hopes of ultimate success; and after
having carefully considered the best method of effecting his purpose, he
decided upon inducing the Queen-mother to cause a letter to be forwarded
to the Archbishop of Toulouse, wherein he was requested to negotiate an
interview between his father and the Abbe. The young prelate willingly
undertook the task assigned to him; but whether it were that the Duke
still resented the conduct of Marie de Medicis, or that he feared to
compromise himself still further with the Court, he merely answered with
some impatience, "I am about to retire to Metz: I will not listen to any
propositions from the Queen until I am in my own government;" a reply
which did not, however, tend to discourage the persevering Florentine.

When the details of this attempt were communicated to her Marie hastened
to forward to M. d'Epernon a watch superbly ornamented with diamonds,
requesting him at the same time to confide to her the nature of his
intentions; but he again refused to give any explanations until he
should have left the capital.[10]

The journey of the Duke was not long delayed. His position became daily
more untenable; and on the 6th of May he quitted Paris, without even
venturing to take leave of the King.[11]

Rucellai no sooner learnt that M. d'Epernon had reached Metz than he
prepared to follow up the negotiation. He had afforded an asylum at
Signy to Vincenzio Ludovici, the secretary of the Marechal d'Ancre, who
had been sent to the Bastille at the period of his master's murder,
where he had remained until after the execution of Leonora Galigai, when
an order was forwarded for his release. This man, who was an able
diplomatist, and had great experience in Court intrigue, possessed the
entire confidence of his new patron, who hastened to despatch him to the
Duc d'Epernon with a letter of recommendation from the Queen-mother, and
full instructions for treating with the haughty noble in her name.
Ludovici acquitted himself creditably of his mission; and although M.
d'Epernon at first replied to his representations by an indignant
recapitulation of the several instances of ingratitude which he had
experienced from the late Regent, he nevertheless admitted that he still
felt a sincere interest in her cause. This concession sufficed to
encourage the envoy; and after a time the negotiation was opened.
Vincenzio promised, in the name of the Queen, money, troops, and
fortresses; and, moreover, such advantageous conditions that the Duke
finally consented to return a decisive answer after he should have had
time to consider the proposals which had been made to him.[12]

Had M. d'Epernon followed the advice of his sons, the Marquis de la
Valette and the Archbishop of Toulouse, the enterprise might at once
have been accomplished. His vanity was flattered by the consciousness
that his services were not only essential but even indispensable to the
Queen-mother; but he had outlived the age of enthusiasm, and past
experience had made him cautious. He therefore declined giving any
definitive answer until he had ascertained who were the great nobles
pledged to the faction of the Queen-mother, and the amount of money
which she was prepared to disburse for the expenses of a civil war.

The agent of Rucellai was ready with his reply. He informed the Duke
that the House of Guise, M. de Montmorency, the Marechal de Bouillon,
and several others were prepared to join him so soon as he should have
declared openly in her favour; while Marie de Medicis was prepared to
advance considerable sums whenever they should be required.

Upon receiving this assurance M. d'Epernon hesitated no longer. He had
utterly forfeited his position at Court, while he had reason to
apprehend that De Luynes contemplated the confiscation of all his
offices under the Crown, and the seizure of his numerous governments; a
circumstance which determined him openly to brave the displeasure of the
King, and to espouse the interests of his mother.[13]

Throughout the whole of this negotiation Ludovici had been careful not
to betray to the Duke the fact that Rucellai had organized the faction
of which he was about to become the leader; but he had no sooner pledged
himself to the cause than it became necessary to inform him of the
circumstance. His anger and indignation were for a time unbounded; he
was, however, ultimately induced to consent to an interview with the
Abbe, who on his arrival at Metz soon succeeded in overcoming the
prejudices of the offended noble, and in effecting his reconciliation
with the Marechal de Bouillon. A common interest induced both to bury
past injuries in oblivion; and it was not long ere the Florentine was
enabled to communicate to Marie de Medicis the cheering intelligence
that the Cardinal de Guise, M. de Bouillon, and the Duc d'Epernon had
agreed to levy an army of twelve thousand infantry and three thousand
horse in the province of Champagne, in order to create a diversion in
case the King should march troops towards Angouleme, whither it was
resolved that she should be finally conveyed after her escape from
Blois; as well as to defend the Marquis de la Valette if an endeavour
were made to drive him out of Metz, while his father was absent with the
Queen-mother.

On receiving this intelligence Marie forwarded to Rucellai the sum of
two hundred thousand crowns, of which he transferred a portion to the
Cardinal de Guise and the Marechal de Bouillon; and every precaution was
taken to ensure the success of the enterprise.[14]

Despite all the caution which had been observed, however, these
transactions had not taken place without exciting the attention and
suspicions of the Court; and notwithstanding all his anxiety to secure
the confidence and goodwill of the favourite, Richelieu had been one of
the first to feel the effects of the hatred conceived against those who
under any pretext adhered to the interests of the Queen-mother. It is
true that on leaving Paris he had pledged himself to watch all her
proceedings, and immediately to report every equivocal circumstance
which might fall under his observation, but his antecedents were
notorious, and no faith was placed in his promise. De Luynes and the
ministers were alike distrustful of his sincerity; and only a few weeks
after his arrival at Blois an order reached him by which he was directed
to retire forthwith to his priory at Coussay near Mirabeau, and to
remain there until he should receive further instructions. In vain did
Marie de Medicis--who, whatever might be her misgivings as to his good
faith, was nevertheless acutely conscious of the value of Richelieu's
adhesion--entreat of the King to permit his return to Blois; her request
was denied, and the Bishop had no alternative save obedience; nor was it
long ere De Luynes induced Louis to banish him to Avignon.[15]

The annoyance of the Queen-mother upon this occasion was increased by
the fact that Richelieu was replaced at her little Court by M. de
Roissy,[16] who was peculiarly obnoxious to her. Her representations to
this effect were, however, disregarded; and she was compelled to receive
him into her household. If the statement of his predecessor be a correct
one, the unfortunate Marie had only too much cause to deprecate his
admission to her circle, as thenceforward her captivity became more
rigorous than ever, no person being permitted to approach her without
his sanction; while her favourite attendants were dismissed by his
orders (among others Caterina Selvaggio, who had accompanied her from
Florence and to whom she was much attached), and replaced by others who
were devoted to the interests of De Luynes.[17] It is, however,
difficult to believe that this account was not exaggerated, from the
extremely bitter spirit evinced by the writer; who probably endeavoured
to minimize in so far as he was able his own false behaviour towards his
royal mistress and benefactor, by an overwrought account of the
increased insults to which she was subjected after his departure.

This much is nevertheless certain, that the unfortunate Queen was
treated with a severity and disrespect which determined her to proceed
to any extremity rather than submit to a continuance of such unmitigated
mortification. Indignant at the prolonged imprisonment of Barbin, and
the harsh treatment endured by the few who still adhered to her cause,
she at length openly resisted the tyranny of her gaolers; upon which De
Luynes, perceiving that the mission of De Roissy had failed, despatched
the Marechal d'Ornano to Blois, with express orders to leave untried no
means of intimidating her into submission; a task which he performed
with such extreme rudeness, that in the course of the interview he so
far forgot himself as to menace her with his hand, and to tell her that
should she undertake anything inimical to the interests of the
favourite, she should be exhausted "until she was as dry as wood." [18]
This insult, however, only tended to arouse the proud spirit of the
outraged Princess, who indignantly exclaimed: "I am weary of being daily
accused of some new crime. This state of things must be put an end to;
and it shall be so, even if I am compelled, like a mere private
individual, to submit myself to the judgment of the Parliament of
Paris." [19]

The new attitude thus assumed by the Queen-mother alarmed De Luynes,
whose increasing unpopularity induced him to fear that the Princes, who
did not seek to disguise their disgust at his unbridled arrogance, would
be easily persuaded to espouse her cause. He therefore endeavoured to
excite her apprehensions by affecting to accomplish a reconciliation
with M. de Conde, for which purpose he repeatedly despatched Deageant to
Vincennes in order that she might suppose the negotiation to have
commenced; but all these artifices failed to shake the resolution of
Marie de Medicis.

This display of firmness augmented the dismay of De Luynes and the
ministers, who then conjointly endeavoured to compel her to ask the
royal permission to retire to Florence; for which purpose they treated
her with greater rigour than before. Several troops of cavalry were
garrisoned in the immediate environs of Blois; she was not permitted to
leave the fortress; and orders were given that she should not, under any
pretext, be allowed to receive visitors without the previous sanction of
the favourite.[20] Still the spirit of Marie remained unbroken; and it
was ascertained that, despite all precautions, she pursued her purpose
with untiring perseverance. It thus became necessary to adopt other
measures. Cadenet, the brother of De Luynes, was accordingly instructed
to proceed to her prison, and to inform her that the King was about to
visit her, in order to make arrangements for her liberation; but the
Queen had been already apprised of his intended arrival, as well as of
the motive of his journey, and the fallacy of the promises which he had
been directed to hold out; and consequently, after coldly expressing her
sense of the intended clemency, and the gratification which she should
derive from the presence of her son, she dismissed the messenger as
calmly and as haughtily as though she had still been Regent of
the kingdom.

De Luynes and his adherents felt that hitherto nothing had been gained;
and they next determined to enlist the services of her confessor, the
Jesuit Suffren, who had, as they were aware, great influence over her
mind. Suffren declared himself ready to do all in his power to meet the
wishes of the King and his ministers, and to induce his royal penitent
to submit patiently to her captivity, should he be convinced that in so
acting he was fulfilling his duty towards both parties; and for the
purpose of a thorough understanding on this point, he suggested that an
accredited person should be named with whom he might enter into a
negotiation. De Luynes immediately appointed for this office another
Jesuit called Seguerand, and the two ecclesiastics accordingly met to
discuss the terms upon which Suffren was to offer the desired advice to
the Queen-mother; but he had no sooner ascertained that an unqualified
concession was demanded on her part without any reciprocal pledge upon
that of her enemies, than he conscientiously declined to give her any
such counsel, and the parties separated without coming to an
understanding.

This failure no sooner reached the ears of Arnoux, the King's confessor,
than he volunteered to renew the negotiation, under the impression that
he should be more successful than his colleague; an offer which was
eagerly accepted by De Luynes, who procured for him an autograph letter
from Louis XIII, which he was instructed to deliver personally into the
hands of Marie. In this letter the King stated that having been informed
of the wish of the Queen-mother to make a pilgrimage to some holy
places, he hastened to express his gratification at the intelligence;
and to assure her that he should rejoice to learn that she took more
exercise than she had lately done for the benefit of her health, which
was to him a subject of great interest; adding, moreover, that should
circumstances permit, he would willingly bear her company; but that, in
any case, he would not fail to do so in writing, as he desired that
wherever she went she should be received, respected, and honoured
like himself.

Habituated as she was to these wordy and equivocal communications, the
Queen-mother, aware that her every word and gesture would be closely
scrutinized by the reverend envoy, concealed her indignation, and
affected to experience unalloyed gratification from this display of
affection on the part of her son; a circumstance of which Arnoux availed
himself to impress upon her mind the certainty of an approaching and
complete reconciliation with the King, provided she should express her
willingness to comply with his pleasure in all things, and pledge
herself not to form any cabal against his authority, or to make any
attempt to leave Blois until he should sanction her departure; and it
would, moreover, appear that the Jesuit was eloquent, as he ultimately
succeeded in overcoming the distrust of his listener. If Suffren, who
had become weary of the monotony of Blois, and of the insignificance to
which his royal penitent was reduced by her enforced exile, was desirous
to see her once more resume her position at Court, Arnoux was no less
anxious on his part to secure her continued absence, as he apprehended
that her return to the capital would involve his own dismissal, from the
fact of his having owed his appointment to De Luynes; while whatever may
have been the arguments which he advanced, under cover of a sincere and
earnest wish to see the mother and the son once more united by those
natural bonds which had been for some time riven asunder, it is certain
that he finally effected his object, and induced the unfortunate
Princess to give full credence to his assurances of attachment towards
herself, and his pious wish to accomplish a reconciliation which was the
ardent desire of her own heart; and accordingly, before the termination
of the interview, Marie de Medicis pledged herself to all that
he required.

"I do not, Madame," said the subtle Jesuit, on receiving this assurance,
"doubt for a single instant the sincerity of your Majesty; but others
may prove less confiding than myself. I would therefore respectfully
urge you to furnish me with some document which will bear testimony to
the success of my mission, and demonstrate the excellent decision at
which you have arrived. Do this, and I will guarantee that you shall
obtain from the King your son all that you may desire."

Marie yielded; and her insidious adviser lost no time in drawing up an
act by which the imprudent Queen bound herself by a solemn oath to
submit in all things to the will and pleasure of the sovereign; to hold
no intelligence with any individual either within or without the kingdom
contrary to his interests; to denounce all those who were adverse to his
authority; to assist in their punishment; and finally, to remain
tranquilly at Blois till such time as Louis should see fit to recall her
to the capital. She was, moreover, induced to consent to the publication
of this document; and thus armed the astute Jesuit returned to Court,
where he received the acknowledgments of De Luynes, coupled with
renewed promises of favour and support.[21]

Aware of the deep devotional feelings of the Queen-mother, De Luynes
never for an instant apprehended that she would be induced to infringe
an oath by which she had invoked "God and the holy angels";[22] and he
consequently regarded her captivity as perpetual; but he forgot, when
arriving at this conclusion, that although he had, through the medium of
one Jesuit, succeeded in persuading her to consent to her own ruin,
there still remained about her person a second, whose individual
interests were involved with her own, and who would, in all probability,
prove equally unscrupulous. Such was, in fact, the case; Suffren, to
whose empire over the mind of Marie we have already alluded, did not
hesitate (when as days and weeks passed away, and no effort was made
towards her release, she began to evince symptoms of impatience, and of
regret at the act into which she had been betrayed) to assure her that
an extorted oath, however solemn, was not valid; and to impress upon her
that she was not justified before her Maker in depriving herself of that
liberty of action which had been His gift; a pious sophism which could
not but prove palatable to his persecuted mistress. Together with this
consoling conviction, she soon perceived, moreover, that she had at
least derived one benefit from her imprudence, as the Court party,
confiding in her word, made no attempt to prevent the realization of the
design which she had affected of a devotional pilgrimage; and which was
sanctioned by the letter of the King.

Anxious, however, to destroy any latent hope in which she might still
indulge of a return to power, De Luynes resolved to effect the ruin of
all who had evinced any anxiety for her restoration; and there was
suddenly a commission given to the Council, "to bring to trial the
authors of the cabals and factions, having for their object the recall
of the Queen-mother, the deliverance of the Prince de Conde, and the
overthrow of the State." The first victims of this sweeping accusation
were the Baron de Persan, the brother-in-law of De Vitry, and De
Bournonville his brother, who were entrusted with the safe keeping of
Barbin in the Bastille, and by whom he had been indirectly permitted to
maintain a correspondence with his exiled mistress; together with the
brothers Siti, of Florence, and Durand, the composer of the King's
ballets. The result of the trial proved the virulence of the
prosecutors, but at the same time revealed their actual weakness, as
they feared to execute the sentence pronounced against the three
principal offenders; and were compelled to satiate their vengeance upon
the more insignificant and less guilty of the accused parties.

M. de Persan was simply exiled from the Court; De Bournonville was
sentenced to death, but not executed; while Barbin only escaped the
scaffold by a single vote, and was condemned to banishment; a sentence
which the King subsequently aggravated by changing it to perpetual
imprisonment. The three pamphleteers, for such were in reality the
brothers Siti and Marie Durand, whose only crime appeared to have been
that they had written a diatribe against De Luynes,[23] did not,
however, escape so easily, as the two former were broken on the wheel
and burned in the Place de Greve, while the third was hanged.

Such a wholesale execution upon so slight a pretext aroused the
indignation of the citizens, and excited the murmurs of the people, who
could not brook that the person of an ennobled adventurer should thus be
held sacred, while the widow of Henry the Great was exposed to the
insults of every time-serving courtier. Nor were the nobles less
disgusted with this display of heartless vanity and measureless
pretension. The Ducs de Rohan and de Montbazon, despite their family
connexion with the arrogant favourite, had already openly endeavoured to
effect a reconciliation between Louis and the Queen-mother; and the
other disaffected Princes no sooner witnessed the effect produced upon
the populace by the cruel tyranny of De Luynes, than they resolved to
profit by this manifestation, and to lose no time in attempting the
deliverance of the royal prisoner.

Instant measures were taken for this purpose; and meanwhile the
favourite, lulled into false security, was wholly unconscious of this
new conspiracy, believing that by his late deed of blood he had awed
all his adversaries into submission.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. pp. 248, 249.

[2] Sismondi, vol. xxii. p. 434.

[3] Mezeray, vol. xi. p. 148. Le Vassor, vol ii. p. 7. Rohan, _Mem_. p.
153. Bassompierre, _Mem_. pp. 127, 128. Brienne, _Mem_. vol. i. pp.
334, 335.

[4] _Vie du Duc d'Epernon_, book vii.

[5] Siri, _Mem. Rec_. vol. iv. p. 567.

[6] Bassompierre, _Mem_. p. 128.

[7] Rohan, _Mem_. book i. _Vie du Duc d'Epernon_, book vii.

[8] Bassompierre, _Mem_. p. 129.

[9] Le Vassor, vol. ii. p. 36. Richelieu, _Hist, de la Mere et du Fils_,
vol. i. p. 324. Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 159, 160. Sismondi, vol. xxii.
p. 450.

[10] Le Vassor, vol. ii, pp. 37, 38.

[11] Mezeray, vol. xi. p. 148.

[12] _Relation du Cardinal de la Valette. Vie du Due d'Epernon_, book
vii. Le Vassor, vol. ii. pp. 38, 39. Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 148, 149.
Richelieu, _Mem_. book ix. p. 490.

[13] Le Vassor, vol. ii. pp. 39, 40. Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 149, 150.

[14] Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 161, 162. Le Vassor, vol. ii. p. 41.

[15] Le Vassor vol. i. p. 736. Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_,
vol. i. pp. 252-293.

[16] Jean Jacques de Mesmes, Seigneur de Roissy, was the descendant of
an ancient and illustrious family, which had produced several eminent
men. He was a pupil of the learned Passerat, who resided for thirty
years in his father's house. He died in 1642, senior Councillor
of State.

[17] Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. p. 261.

[18] Brienne, _Mem_. vol. i. p. 337.

[19] Deageant, _Mem_. pp. 129-131.

[20] Siri, _Mem. Rec_. vol. iv. pp. 555, 556. Lumieres pour l'Hist. de
France dans les Defenses de la Reine-mere.

[21] Siri, _Mem. Rec_. vol. iv. pp. 557-561. Mezeray, vol. xi. pp.
168-170.

[22] Mezeray, vol. xi. p. 169.

[23] Fontenay-Mareuil, _Mem_. p. 418.

CHAPTER II

1619

The Duc d'Epernon leaves Metz--A traitor--A minister at fault--The Duc
de Bellegarde offers an asylum to the Queen-mother--Marie de Medicis
escapes from Blois--She is conducted by M. d'Epernon to
Angouleme--Gaieties of the capital--Marriages of the Princesse Christine
and Mademoiselle de Vendome--Louis XIII is apprised of the escape of the
Queen--Alarm of the King--Advice of De Luynes--The Council resolve to
despatch a body of troops under M. de Mayenne to remove Marie de Medicis
from the keeping of the Due d'Epernon--Discontent of the citizens--Louis
XIII enters into a negotiation with his mother--She rejects his
conditions--Richelieu offers himself as a mediator, and is accepted--The
royal forces march on Angouleme--Marie prepares for resistance--The
Princes withdraw from her cause--Schomberg proposes to blow up the
powder-magazine at Angouleme--Critical position of the Queen-mother--She
appeals to the Protestants, but is repulsed--Schomberg takes up arms
against the Due d'Epernon--Alarm of Marie de Medicis--Richelieu proceeds
to Angouleme--He regains the confidence of the Queen--Successful
intrigue of Richelieu--Marie is deserted by several of her friends--A
treaty of peace is concluded between the King and his mother--The envoy
of Marie incurs the displeasure of Louis XIII--The malcontents rally
round the Queen-mother--The Princes of Piedmont visit Marie at
Angouleme--Their reception--Magnificence of the Due d'Epernon--The
Queen-mother refuses to quit Angouleme--Ambition of Richelieu--Weakness
of Marie de Medicis--Father Joseph endeavours to induce the Queen-mother
to return to the Court--She is encouraged in her refusal by
Richelieu--The rival Queens--Marie leaves Angouleme--Her parting with
the Due d'Epernon--She is received at Poitiers by the Cardinal de Retz
and the Due de Luynes--The Prince de Conde offers the hand of his sister
Eleonore de Bourbon to the brother of De Luynes as the price of his
liberation---The sword of the Prince is restored to him--Duplicity of
the favourite--Marie resolves to return to Angouleme, but is dissuaded
by her friends--The Duc de Mayenne espouses the cause of the
Queen-mother--A royal meeting--Return of the Court to Tours--Marie
proceeds to Chinon, and thence to Angers--The Protestants welcome the
Queen-mother to Anjou--Alarm of De Luynes--Liberation of the Prince de
Conde--Indignation of Marie de Medicis--Policy of Richelieu--De Luynes
solicits the return of the Queen-mother to the capital--She refuses to
comply--De Luynes is made Governor of Picardy--His brothers
are ennobled.

The Duc d'Epernon, to whom had been confided the important task of
effecting the escape of the Queen-mother from her fortress-prison, had
discussed all the necessary measures with the Abbe Rucellai, who had, as
we have stated, acquired his entire confidence; and his first step was
to request permission of the King to leave Metz (where he had been
ordered to remain for the purpose of watching the movements in Germany),
and to proceed to Angouleme. But as he was aware that this permission
would be refused, he did not await a reply, and commenced his journey on
the 22nd of January (1619), accompanied by a hundred gentlemen well
armed, forty guards, and his personal attendants; taking with him the
sum of eight thousand pistoles together with the whole of his jewels. In
consequence of the amount of his baggage he was not enabled to travel
more than ten leagues each day; but as no impediment presented itself,
he arrived safely at Confolens in Poitou, where he was joined by his son
the Archbishop of Toulouse, who was awaiting him in that city with the
principal nobles of his several governments.[24]

Meanwhile Rucellai had entrusted one of his lackeys with letters for the
Queen-mother, in which he informed her of the day of the Duke's intended
departure from Metz; but this man, convinced by the earnest manner in
which his master enjoined him to take the greatest precautions in the
delivery of his despatches, that the packet in his possession was one of
importance, instead of proceeding to Blois, hastened to the capital, and
offered to some of the followers of De Luynes to put a secret into the
possession of their master, provided he were well recompensed for his
treachery. The favourite was duly informed of the circumstance, but
prosperity had rendered him incautious, and he neglected to avail
himself of the intelligence; suffering several days to elapse before he
made any inquiry as to the nature of the communication which had thus
been volunteered. Fortunately for the Queen-mother, one of her own
adherents was less dilatory; and having ascertained that the
confidential lackey of Rucellai had arrived in Paris, he caused him to
be found, and took possession of the letters before they could be
transferred to the hands of her enemy. As, however, he in his turn
delayed to forward them to Marie de Medicis, she became alarmed by the
silence of the Duc d'Epernon, and believed that her friends had
abandoned her to her fate; a conviction which reduced her to despair.
Her hopes had latterly been excited; the representations and arguments
of Suffren, seconded by her own desires, had quieted the scruples of her
conscience; and this new check was bitter in the extreme. A thousand
fears assailed her; treachery and hatred enveloped her on all sides; and
superadded to her own ruin, she was forced to contemplate that of all
who had adhered to her fallen fortunes; when, precisely as she was about
to abandon all hope, Du Plessis, the confidant of M. d'Epernon, arrived
at Blois with the welcome intelligence that the Duke was awaiting her at
Loches, very uneasy on his side at the non-receipt of her reply to
his letters.

The appearance of the messenger quieted the apprehensions of Marie, but
she still remained in a position of considerable perplexity from the
fact that all her most devoted adherents were absent negotiating with
the great nobles on her behalf, having found their mission one of far
greater difficulty than the profuse professions of the latter had led
her to anticipate. The Duc de Bellegarde, her relative, had written to
dissuade her from placing herself in the hands of a noble whose
arrogance could not fail to disgust those who desired to serve her. "As
for myself, Madame," he concluded, "I am quite ready to receive your
Majesty in my government of Burgundy, but I cannot offer my services in
any part of the kingdom which is subject to the authority of M.
d'Epernon." Such an assurance alarmed the Queen-mother, who had great
reason to fear that the same objection would be even more stringently
urged by others less interested in her safety; but she had now gone too
far to recede. The Duke had already incurred the risk of the King's
displeasure by leaving Metz without the royal permission; he was at that
moment anticipating her arrival at Loches, whence he was to conduct her
to the chateau of Angouleme; and finally, she felt all the force of the
arguments of Du Plessis, who reminded her that every moment was
precious, as from hour to hour the enterprise might become known to the
favourite, and consequently rendered abortive.[25]

Hasty preparations were made; and during the night of the 21st of
February she escaped by a ladder from the window of her closet, attended
only by the Comte de Brienne, a single waiting-woman, and two
individuals of her household. It was not, however, without considerable
difficulty that she accomplished this portion of her undertaking, as at
the last moment it was discovered that, from her great bulk, the
casement would scarcely admit the passage of her person. Despair
nevertheless made her desperate; and after several painful efforts she
succeeded in forcing herself through the aperture; but her nerves were
so much shaken by this unlucky circumstance, that when she had reached
the platform, whence a second ladder was to conduct her to the ditch of
the fortress, she declared her utter inability to descend it; and she
was ultimately folded in a thick cloak, and cautiously lowered down by
the joint exertions of her attendants. The Comte de Brienne and M. du
Plessis then supported her to the carriage which was in waiting at the
bridge; and Marie de Medicis found herself a fugitive in her son's
kingdom, surrounded only by half a dozen individuals, and possessed of
no other resources than her jewels.

The fugitives travelled at a rapid pace until they reached Montrichard,
where the Archbishop of Toulouse, the Abbe Rucellai, and several other
persons of note had assembled to offer their congratulations to the
Queen. Relays of horses were also awaiting her; and after a brief halt
the journey was resumed. At a short distance from Loches she was met by
the Duc d'Epernon at the head of a hundred and fifty horsemen; hurried
greetings were exchanged, and without further delay the whole party
entered the town; where the first act of Marie de Medicis, after she had
offered her acknowledgments to her liberators, was to address a letter
to the King, wherein she set forth her reasons for leaving Blois without
his permission, in terms as submissive as though he had not broken his
faith towards herself; coupled with assurances of her affection for his
person, and her zeal for his welfare.

Nothing, perhaps, is more painfully striking than the mutual deception
practised by mother and son throughout the whole correspondence
consequent on their separation. The abuse of terms was so open and so
palpable, and the covert rancour so easily perceptible in both, that it
is impossible to suppress a feeling of disgust as the eye rests upon the
elaborately-rounded periods and hollow professions with which their
several letters abound.

Marie remained two days at Loches, in order to await those of her
attendants who were to rejoin her upon the instant; and then proceeded,
still under the escort of the Duc d'Epernon, to Angouleme; where she was
shortly afterwards joined by several disaffected nobles who had retired
from the Court, unable to brook the authority of the favourite; while,
anxious to retain the confidence of those who were personally attached
to her, although they had declined to join her faction, she despatched a
confidential messenger to the capital with numerous letters, and among
others one to the Marechal de Bassompierre, in which she explained the
motives of her flight.

Paris had, meanwhile, been a scene of constant festivity. The
dissipations of the Carnival, and the Fair of St. Germain, had occupied
the time and thoughts of the whole Court; while the Louvre had put forth
all its magnificence in honour of the nuptials of the Princesse
Christine and the Prince de Piedmont; as well as those of Mademoiselle
de Vendome, the natural sister of the King, and the Duc d'Elboeuf.
Ballets, balls, and banquets were given by all the great nobles;
fireworks and illuminations amused the populace; and finally, the young
sovereign became so thoroughly weary of the tumult about him that he
retired to St. Germain-en-Laye, in order to escape from it, and to
obtain the rest which he was not, however, destined to find even there;
for he had no sooner arrived than he was followed by a courier charged
with despatches announcing the escape of the Queen-mother.

Alarmed by the intelligence, Louis immediately returned to the capital
and summoned his Council, before whom he laid the letter written by
Marie at Loches, and a second also addressed to himself by M. d'Epernon,
in which, with consummate sophistry, the Duke endeavoured to justify his
share in her flight. Nor was De Luynes less terrified than his royal
master by this sudden transition of affairs; and he consequently
laboured to impress upon the King and his ministers the absolute
necessity of refusing to hold any intercourse with the Queen-mother
until Louis should be in a position to compel her obedience to his will,
and to reduce the insurgent nobles who had openly declared in her favour
to complete submission. The letters which were laid before the Council
containing, moreover, a demand for the reform of the government, every
individual holding office under the Crown had a personal interest in
supporting this advice; and it was consequently resolved that Louis
should affect to believe that his mother had been forcibly removed from
Blois by the Duc d'Epernon, and that a large body of troops should be
forthwith assembled for her deliverance, under the command of the Duc de
Mayenne, from whom it was known that she had parted on bad terms.[26]
So extreme a resolution no sooner became known, however, than it created
general dissatisfaction. The unnatural spectacle of a son in arms
against his mother inspired all right-minded people with horror; and
when the King a few days subsequently proceeded to the Parliament to
verify some financial edicts (the enormous recent outlay of the Court
having exhausted the royal treasury) he was coldly received, and instead
of the loyal acclamations with which he had hitherto been greeted, he
heard on all sides murmured expressions of discontent and impatience.
These manifestations of popular disaffection alarmed the ministers, and
a new council was held, at which it was determined that before
proceeding to the _ultima ratio regum_ a negotiation should be attempted
with the emancipated Princess; and for this purpose the Comte de Bethune
and the Abbe Berulle[27] were despatched to Marie de Medicis with full
powers to conclude a treaty between herself and the King.

The first suggestion offered to the Queen-mother by the royal envoys was
her abandonment of M. d'Epernon; but she indignantly refused to adopt so
treacherous a line of policy, declaring that she would listen to no
compromise which involved a disavowal of her obligations to one whom she
justly considered as her liberator. "Moreover, Messieurs," she said
proudly, "even were I capable of such an act of treachery, I am unable
so to misrepresent the conduct of the gallant Duke, who holds in his
possession not only the letter of the King, wherein he gives me full
authority to leave Blois, and to proceed whithersoever I may see fit in
the interest of my health, but also one which I myself addressed to him
from Blois entreating his assistance in my escape from that fortress,
and his escort to Angouleme. I request, therefore, that as loyal
gentlemen you will refrain from accusing M. d'Epernon of an act of
violence which the respect due to the mother of his sovereign would have
rendered impossible on his part. I am here because I was weary of the
constraint and insult of which I had been so long the victim; and I am
ready to accept the whole responsibility of the step which I have seen
fit to take."

As the determined attitude of the Queen-mother rendered all further
discussion upon this point at once idle and impolitic, De Luynes
resolved to induce her to come to terms with the King without any
allusion to M. d'Epernon; and for this purpose the Archbishop of Sens
was directed to act in concert with the two original envoys, and to
endeavour to convince her that a prolonged opposition to the will of
the sovereign could only terminate in her own destruction. Still,
however, Marie remained firm, rejecting the conditions which were
proposed to her as unworthy alike of her rank and of the position she
had hitherto held in the kingdom; and the month of March went by without
the attainment of any result. De Luynes, irritated by a pertinacity
which threatened his tenure of authority, renewed his entreaties for the
formation of a strong army with which he could secure the overthrow of
the Due d'Epernon; and at the same time he suggested to Louis the recall
of the Bishop of Lucon, who had once more offered his services as a
negotiator between the contending parties.

The young King, who saw only through the eyes of his favourite, was
induced to comply with both proposals; and Marie de Medicis no sooner
ascertained that the royal troops were about to march upon Angouleme,
than she made preparations for defence. In order to do this more
effectually she addressed autograph letters to the Ducs de Mayenne and
de Rohan, to the Marechal de Lesdiguieres, and to several other great
nobles, soliciting their support in the impending struggle; but with the
sole exception of M. de Rohan, they all returned cold and negative
replies, informing her that the duty which they owed to the King would
not permit them to comply with her request; after which they forwarded
her letters to the Court, together with the answers which they had made,
thus purchasing their safety at the expense of their honour. The Due de
Rohan, on receiving her application, also declined to assist her, it is
true; but he did so loyally and respectfully, assuring her Majesty that
he greatly regretted she should so long have delayed requesting his
co-operation, as he would have served her zealously and faithfully,
whereas he was now no longer in a position to espouse her interests, the
King having commanded him to remain in his government of Poitou in order
to maintain peace in that province, a duty which his honour consequently
enforced upon him; but declaring at the same time that even while
obeying the commands of her son, he would not undertake anything
inimical to her own interests, and entreating her to effect an
understanding with the sovereign in order to avert the evils of a civil
war, and to ensure to herself the liberty and safety which could alone
enable her to rally about her person all those who were sincerely
desirous of serving her.

Although touched by the manliness and dignity of this reply, the
Queen-mother bitterly felt the loss of such an ally; nor were her
disappointment and mortification lessened when she discovered that the
Marechal de Schomberg, anxious to convince Louis of the extent of his
zeal, and so to possess himself of the royal favour, had formed the
design of blowing up the powder-magazine of Angouleme, and thus
terminating the negotiation by a _coup de main_ of which she and her
adherents were destined to be the victims. The project was indeed
discovered and defeated, but the impression which it left upon her mind
was one of gloom and discouragement.[28]

We have already seen that the Due de Mayenne had protested to Rucellai
his attachment to the cause and person of Marie; yet he did not hesitate
to accept the command of the army which was organized against her, and
to march upon the province of Angoumois at the head of twelve thousand
men. The position of the Queen--mother was critical. She issued
continual commissions for the levy of troops, but she was unable to
furnish the necessary funds for their support, and in this difficulty
she resolved to appeal to the Protestants who were at that time holding
their General Assembly at La Rochelle. She was aware that they were
inimical to De Luynes, and she trusted that they might consequently be
induced to join her own faction. Once more, however, she was doomed to
disappointment. They were dissuaded from such a project by Du
Plessis;[29] and M. d'Epernon, after the most strenuous efforts, could
not succeed in raising more than six thousand foot and one thousand
horse with which to make head against the royal army.

Moreover, Schomberg, Lieutenant of the King in Limousin under M.
d'Epernon, who was the governor of the province, declared against him,
and took the town of Uzerche which was feebly garrisoned,[30] while the
Duke was engaged in checking the advance of Mayenne; nor was it long
ere intelligence arrived at Angouleme that Boulogne-sur-Mer had opened
its gates to the royal forces, and thus revolted against the authority
of Epernon, who was also governor of Picardy.[31]

These disasters were a source of great anxiety to Marie de Medicis, who
began to apprehend that should the Duke be in like manner despoiled of
his other fortified cities he would no longer be in a position to afford
her any protection; but fortunately De Luynes had also taken alarm. The
citizens made no attempt to conceal their dissatisfaction, the populace
openly murmured in the streets, and the favourite had not yet had time
to forget the popular vengeance which had been wreaked upon the wretched
Concini; no wonder therefore that he trembled for himself. Richelieu had
been, as already stated, recalled from his exile at Avignon, and the
moment was now arrived in which his services were essential to De
Luynes, by whom he was forthwith despatched to Angouleme, on the
understanding that the King had perfect confidence in his fidelity, and
placed implicit reliance on his desire to prove his affection to his
person. The astute prelate required no further explanation as to what
was required of him; he was aware that his compulsory absence had caused
his services to be more than ever coveted by the Queen-mother, and he
lost no time in setting forth upon his treacherous errand, furnished
with a letter to Marie, below which Louis wrote with his own hand: "I
beg you to believe that this document explains my will, and that you
cannot afford me greater pleasure than by conforming to it."

The effect of Richelieu's presence at the Court of the Queen-mother soon
became apparent. He had so thoroughly possessed himself of her
confidence that she suffered him to penetrate even to the inmost
recesses of her heart; and great and dignified as she could be under
excitement, we have already shown that Marie de Medicis never had
sufficient strength of character to rely on herself for any lengthened
period. Exhausted by the violence of the sudden emotions to which she
was often a prey, all her energy deserted her after the impulse had
passed away, and she gladly clung to the extraneous support of those who
professed to espouse her interests. Richelieu had studied her
temperament, and understood it. Before he had been many days at
Angouleme the Duc d'Epernon and his son became aware that they no longer
possessed the same influence as heretofore, while the Abbe Rucellai,
indignant at the coldness with which his advice was received and his
services were requited, withdrew in disgust, accompanied by several of
her most attached servants; among others the Marquis de Themines, who,
shortly afterwards, irritated by a reverse of fortune which he had not
foreseen, sought a pretext of quarrel with Henri de Richelieu, the elder
brother of the Bishop of Lucon, whom he challenged and left dead upon
the field. Thus the unhappy Queen now lay wholly at the mercy of her
insidious counsellor; while he, on his part, acted with so subtle a
policy that his services were alike essential to both parties, and he
saw himself in a position to profit by the projected reconciliation, in
whatever manner it might be ultimately accomplished.

Meanwhile the Archbishop of Sens, the Comte de Bethune, and the Abbe de
Berulle, in conjunction and with the assistance of Richelieu, were still
proceeding with the negotiation; and, finally, the King, anxious to
terminate the affair, gave a commission to the Cardinal de la
Rochefoucauld to conclude the treaty. The conditions were easily agreed
upon, as Marie was enslaved by the influence of Richelieu, and
disheartened by the lukewarmness of her former friends, while Louis was
weary of a contention which made him hateful in the eyes of all Europe,
and which fettered his movements without adding to his renown.

On the 30th of April the necessary documents were accordingly signed,
and by these the Queen-mother was authorized to constitute her household
as she should deem fitting, to reside wherever she thought proper, and
to preserve all her revenues intact; while, in consideration of these
privileges, she consented to exchange her government of Normandy for
that of Anjou. She was, moreover, to receive six hundred thousand livres
for the liquidation of her debts; and M. d'Epernon fifty thousand
crowns to indemnify him for the loss of the town of Boulogne, and with
his adherents to be declared exonerated from all blame, and permitted to
retain possession of their offices under the Crown; and, finally, to the
demand made by the Queen-mother that she should be placed in possession
of the city and castle of Amboise, or, failing that, of those of Nantes,
the Abbe de Berulle was authorized to inform her on the part of the King
that "in addition to the government of Anjou, the town and fortress of
Angers, and the Ponts de Ce, he was willing to give her, in lieu of what
she asked, the city and castle of Tours, together with four hundred men
for the protection of those places, a company of gendarmes, and a troop
of light-horse, in addition to her bodyguards; the whole to be
maintained at his own expense." [32]

This treaty was no sooner completed than Marie de Medicis wrote to her
son to express the joy which she experienced at their reconciliation;
and she entrusted her letter to the Comte de Brienne, with instructions
to deliver it into the hands of the King, who had removed with his Court
to Tours, ostensibly for the purpose of a more speedy meeting with the
Queen-mother. The result proved, however, that Marie could not have
selected a worse messenger, as De Brienne, who was young and arrogant,
soon gave offence both to Louis and his favourite. Having declared that
he would not, under any circumstances, show the most simple courtesy to
De Luynes, he did not remove his hat when he met him in the royal
ante-room; a want of respect which excited the displeasure of the
monarch, who was easily led to believe that he had been instructed by
his mistress to affect this contempt towards an individual with whom he
himself condescended to live on the most familiar terms; and,
consequently, when De Brienne next presented himself to receive the
reply of his Majesty to his despatches, he was desired not to thrust
himself into the presence of the King, who would select an envoy less
wanting in reverence to his sovereign when he should deem it advisable
to forward his own missive to Angouleme. The ill-advised equerry of
Marie was therefore compelled to retire without his credentials, and the
Queen-mother was subjected to the mortification of offering an ample
apology to Louis, through the medium of the messenger whom he in his
turn despatched to her, for the arrogance and discourtesy of her
follower.[33]

Meanwhile Marie de Medicis once more saw herself at the head of a Court
nearly equal in numbers and magnificence to that of the King himself,
and daily presided over festivities which satisfied even her thirst for
splendour and display. It sufficed that any noble felt himself aggrieved
by the presumption, or disappointed by the want of generosity of the
favourite, to induce him to offer his services to the Queen--mother, who
welcomed every accession of strength with a suavity and condescension
rendered doubly acceptable from the contrast which it exhibited with the
morose indifference of the King, and the insolent haughtiness of De
Luynes. Thus constant arrivals afforded a pretext for perpetual
gaieties; and the Due d'Epernon received the new allies of his royal
mistress with a profusion and recklessness of expenditure which excited
universal astonishment.

De Luynes had considered it expedient to offer his congratulations to
the Queen-mother and M. d'Epernon upon the reconciliation which had
taken place, and in order to evince his respect for Marie had caused M.
de Brantes his brother to accompany the Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld to
Angouleme for this purpose, where both were received with a splendour,
and feasted with a pomp and elegance, to which they had been long
unaccustomed at the Court of Paris.

All these entertainments were, however, surpassed by those given by the
Duke on the occasion of a visit paid to her Majesty by Victor Amedee de
Piedmont, her new son-in-law, and his brother Prince Thomas of Savoy,
who had obtained the sanction of the King to proceed to Angouleme to
offer their respects to their illustrious relative. The two Princes were
met beyond the gates of the city by M. d'Epernon at the head of a party
of mounted nobles attired in their state dresses, and apartments
furnished in the most costly manner were prepared for them in the
episcopal palace, to which they were conducted amid the firing of
cannon, the sounds of martial music, and the acclamations of the
citizens; rushes and green boughs were strewn along their path, the
balconies of the houses were draped with tapestry and coloured cloths,
and a banquet had been prepared which was presided over by the
Queen-mother. The town of Angouleme was meanwhile alive with excitement
and delight until nightfall, when the streets were brilliantly
illuminated, and the joyous multitude were entertained by the
munificence of the Duc d'Epernon with a brilliant display of fireworks
which continued until midnight. Nothing, in short, evinced to the august
visitors any symptom of a reverse of fortune, such as they had been led
to expect, in the position and circumstances of Marie de Medicis. They
had merely exchanged one scene of royal display for another; and when,
upon the morrow, they were invited to attend a hunt which had been
organized in their honour, their surprise and gratification were too
evident for concealment.[34]

That the Queen-mother deeply felt the extent of the sacrifice made by M.
d'Epernon in her cause can admit of no doubt, for she was aware that he
was rapidly exhausting his resources in order to uphold her dignity; and
it is equally certain that she, on her side, was unwearied in her
efforts to ensure to him the gratitude and respect of her royal guests;
an attempt in which she so fully succeeded that on the return of the two
young Princes to the capital, the admiration which they expressed both
of the Queen and her deliverer excited the displeasure of De Luynes, who
could ill brook the rivalry of a man whom he at once feared and hated.
It was rumoured that this visit of the royal brothers to Angouleme had
been authorized by Louis at the suggestion of the favourite, who had
laboured to convince them of his anxiety for the return of Marie to the
Court, and had solicited their assistance in impressing upon her the
sincerity of his professions. Be this as it may, however, it is at least
certain that if the Princes lent themselves to his views, they failed in
producing the desired effect upon her mind; as, despite the invitation
of the King that she should approach nearer to Tours in order to
facilitate their projected interview, she constantly excused herself
upon the most frivolous pretexts, and continued to reside at Angouleme
without making the slightest preparation to obey his summons.[35]

This reluctance on her part to conclude a reconciliation, of which she
had hitherto expressed herself so desirous, excited the surprise and
apprehension of the Court, who sought a solution of the mystery from the
Bishop of Lucon; but the wily Richelieu was careful not to betray that
they were his own counsels which regulated the conduct of the
Queen-mother. He had well weighed his position, and he felt that it was
not yet sufficiently assured to enable him to oppose his influence to
that of De Luynes. He aspired to a seat in the Council, and in order to
attain it he must render himself more necessary to the favourite than he
had hitherto been enabled to do; a fact to which he was keenly alive.
Should the mother and the son meet at that moment, he was aware that the
excitable temperament of Marie could not fail to betray her into the
power of De Luynes, and with her would fall his own fortunes; whereas
time must necessarily calm her first exultation and render her more
tenacious of her power. Thus, then, Richelieu jealously watched every
change in her mood, excited her distrust, aggravated her animosities,
and, finally, convinced her that her strength existed only in opposition
to the King's will. Marie, naturally suspicious, lent herself readily to
this specious reasoning; she had sufficient knowledge of the character
of her son to feel that his eager desire to obliterate the past was
produced by no feeling of affection towards herself, but might simply be
attributed to his anxiety to weaken a faction which had become
formidable, and by depriving her adherents of a pretext for opposing his
authority, to rid himself of a danger which augmented from day to day.
Too readily the prey of her passions, Marie de Medicis exulted in this
conviction; and had Louis and his ministers been wise enough to accept
her reluctance as a refusal to return to Court, and abandoned all
attempts to change her determination, it is probable that this simulated
indifference, and the powerlessness to which it must ere long have
reduced both herself and her followers, would have caused her immediate
compliance; but, bent upon compelling her obedience, they, by successive
endeavours to overcome her disinclination to resign the comparative
independence to which she had attained, only played into the hands of
the astute Bishop, by strengthening her resolution to resist.

Shortly after the departure of the Princes of Savoy, the Capuchin Father
Joseph du Tremblay,[36] the confidential friend of Richelieu, was
ordered to proceed in his turn to Angouleme, and to endeavour to induce
Marie de Medicis, with whom the courtly monk was known to be a
favourite, to resume the position to which she was entitled as the widow
of one sovereign and the mother of another; and as a preliminary step,
to meet the King according to his expressed wish, before his return to
the capital. This was, however, only another false step on the part of
De Luynes, as the reverend father felt by no means disposed to thwart
the measures of the man to whom he looked for his own future
advancement; and his mission, in consequence, so signally failed that
the suspicions of the Court party were once more aroused against
Richelieu, although they were unable wholly to fathom the depth of his
subtle policy. These suspicions were, moreover, strengthened by the fact
that a new letter, addressed by the King to his mother, full of the most
pressing entreaties that she would divest herself of her distrust, and
confide in his affection (which letter was delivered to her by the Duc
de Montbazon, the father-in-law of De Luynes), produced no better
result. In vain did the Duke represent the earnest desire of Louis to
terminate a state of things so subversive of order, and so opposed to
all natural feeling, and assure her of the sincerity with which his
Majesty invited her to share his power; Marie, prompted by the astute
prelate, refused to yield.

"I am not invited to return to Court," she said bitterly; "I am to be
constrained to do so; but I will consent only upon one condition. Let
the Duc de Mayenne be my surety that I shall be treated as becomes my
dignity, both by the King and his favourite, and I will again enter the
capital. Without this safeguard I will not place myself in the power of
an adventurer."

Mayenne refused, however, to offer any such pledge, declaring that it
would not become him to interfere in any misunderstanding between the
sovereign and his mother; and Marie de Medicis thus saw herself under
the necessity of seeking some other method of evading compliance. A
pretext was soon found, however; and when next urged upon the subject,
she declared that her disinclination to involve the Court in new
difficulties must prevent her reappearance in the royal circle until the
question of precedence was clearly established between herself and the
Queen-consort.

Anne of Austria had not failed, from her first arrival in France, girl
as she was, to express great contempt for the House of Medicis, and to
assert the superiority of her own descent over that of her
mother-in-law; an assumption which had aroused all the indignation of
Marie, who had revenged herself by constantly speaking of Anne as "the
little Queen"; an insult which was immediately retorted by her
daughter-in-law in a manner that was keenly felt by the haughty Italian,
puerile and insignificant as it was. On every occasion Louis terminated
the letters that he addressed to her by subscribing himself "your very
humble and obedient son," and Marie insisted that his wife should follow
his example; but Anne refused to make such a concession, declaring that
as the Queen-mother merely signed herself "your very affectionate
mother," she would, on her side, do no more than subscribe herself
"your very affectionate daughter." Nor was this the only subject of
dispute, for Anne of Austria also insisted that as reigning Queen she
had a right to precedence over a Princess, who, although she had
formerly occupied the throne, had, by the death of her husband,
degenerated into a subject; nor could she be convinced to the contrary
even by past examples. In vain did Louis insist that his young wife
should yield, and rebuke her when she was wanting in respect to the
widowed Queen; the Spanish pride of Anne was proof against his
displeasure, and it was found impossible to reconcile their conflicting
claims.[37]

In the month of August the King conferred the promised _baton_ of
Marechal de France upon Charles de Choiseul, Marquis de Praslin, and
Jean Francois de la Guiche, Sieur de Saint-Geran.

The contention between Anne of Austria and her royal mother-in-law
remained undecided; and the position which the latter was to occupy at
the Court was consequently not clearly defined. She had obtained no
single advantage for which she had striven; no guarantee upon which she
had insisted; and, nevertheless, on the 19th of August, she left
Angouleme for the capital with a suite of ten coaches, each drawn by six
horses, and an escort of five hundred horsemen. The Duc d'Epernon bore
her company to the extreme frontier of his government, where they parted
with mutual manifestations of affection and goodwill. As the Duke, who
had alighted from the carriage where he had hitherto occupied a place
beside her Majesty, stood near the door expressing his last wishes for
her prosperity, and was about to raise her hand to his lips, Marie, who
was drowned in tears, drew a costly diamond from her finger, which she
entreated him to wear as a mark of her gratitude for the signal services
that he had rendered to her in her need; and then throwing herself back
upon her cushions she wept bitterly.

Well might she weep! She left behind her those who had rallied about her
in her misfortunes; and she was going forth into an uncertain future, of
which no human eye could penetrate the mysteries. The die was, however,
cast; and as a last demonstration of his respect and regard for her
person M. d'Epernon had instructed his son the Archbishop of Toulouse to
follow his royal mistress to Court; while he himself saw the brilliant
train depart, impoverished it is true by his uncalculating devotion to
her cause, but proud and happy in the conviction that without his aid
she would still have been a captive.

The retinue of the Queen-mother comprised the ladies of honour, the Duc
de Montbazon, the Bishop of Lucon, and several other individuals of
note; and thus attended she reached Poitiers, where the carriages of the
King were awaiting her arrival, and relays of horses were provided to
expedite her journey to Tours. From Poitiers she despatched Richelieu
in advance to announce her approach to Louis; and on his return to
report the completion of his mission, he was eloquent on the subject of
the graciousness of his reception both by the King and the favourite.

As she drew near the city Marie was met by the Cardinal de Retz[38] and
the Pere Arnoux, accompanied by a numerous train of gentlemen, by whom
she was conducted to the Chateau de Montbazon, where she was to pass the
night; and on the following morning the newly-made Duc de Luynes arrived
to pay his respects to the mother of his sovereign. The Queen devoured
her mortification, and received her unwelcome guest with great
affability; but he had not been long in her presence ere he renewed all
her suspicions of his duplicity.

The Prince de Conde, who feared that a reconciliation between Louis and
the Queen-mother would militate against his release, had exerted himself
to the utmost to procure his liberty before they should have time to
meet; and aware that it was only through the influence of De Luynes that
he could accomplish his object, he did not hesitate to bribe the
favourite by an offer of the hand of his sister Eleonore de Bourbon, the
widow of Philip, Prince of Orange, for his brother Cadenet. De Luynes
was dazzled: an alliance with the first Prince of the Blood exceeded all
his hopes; while the liberation of M. de Conde, was, moreover,
essential to his own interests; as should he secure the friendship of so
powerful a noble, he would be better able to oppose not only the Duc
d'Epernon, but also all the leaders of the Queen-mother's faction. It
was, however, no part of his policy to betray his consciousness of this
necessity to the illustrious captive; whose imprisonment he nevertheless
rendered less irksome by according to him sundry relaxations from which
he had hitherto been debarred. A serious indisposition by which M. de
Conde was at this period attacked, moreover, greatly assisted his
projects; and the medical attendants of the Prince having declared that
they entertained but slight hopes of his recovery, De Luynes hastened to
entreat of the King that he would hold out to the invalid a prospect of
deliverance, which could not fail to produce a beneficial effect upon
his health. Nor did he experience any difficulty in inducing Louis to
comply with his request, as personally the King bore no animosity to the
Prince, whose arrest had not been caused by himself. The royal
physicians were forthwith despatched to Vincennes, with orders to exert
all their skill in alleviating his sufferings; and a few days
subsequently the Marquis de Cadenet followed with the sword of the
Prince, which he was commissioned to restore to its owner, accompanied
by the assurance that so soon as his Majesty should have restored order
in the kingdom, he would hasten to set him at liberty; but that,
meanwhile, he begged him to take courage, and to be careful of his
health.[39]

Cadenet was welcomed as his brother had anticipated; and was profuse in
his expressions of his own respect and regard for the illustrious
prisoner, and in his protestations of the untiring perseverance with
which the favourite was labouring to effect his release; while Conde was
equally energetic in his acknowledgments, declaring that should he owe
his liberty to De Luynes, he would prove not only to the latter, but to
every member of his family, his deep sense of so important a service.

Relying on this assurance, the favourite, whose greatest anxiety was to
prevent a good understanding between the King and his mother, had no
sooner concluded the compliments and promises to which Marie had
compelled herself to listen with apparent gratification, than he
hastened to inform her of the pledge given by Louis to terminate the
captivity of M. de Conde; craftily adding that his Majesty had hitherto
failed to fulfil it, as he desired to accord this signal grace to the
Prince conjointly with herself. Marie de Medicis, however, instantly
comprehended the motive of her visitor; and was at no loss to understand
that the liberation of a man whom she had herself committed to the
Bastille, and whom she had thus converted into an enemy, was intended as
a counterpoise to her own power. This conviction immediately destroyed
all her trust in the sincerity of her son and his ministers; and, unable
to control her emotion, she shortly afterwards dismissed De Luynes, and
retired to her closet, where she summoned her confidential friends, and
declared to them that she was resolved to return with all speed to
Angouleme without seeing the King.

From this dangerous determination she was, however, with some difficulty
dissuaded. They, one and all, represented that she had now gone too far
to recede; and reminded her that she was surrounded on every side by the
royal troops, while she was herself accompanied only by the members of
her household, who would be unable to offer any resistance should an
attempt be made to impede her retreat; and that, consequently, her only
safe plan of action was passively to incur the danger which she dreaded,
to dissimulate her apprehensions, and to watch carefully the progress
of events.

Marie could not, in fact, adopt a wiser course. The Duc de Mayenne, who
had espoused the royal cause against Epernon, was indignant at the
ingratitude and coldness with which his services had been requited, and
did not seek to disguise his discontent; while the nobles of Guienne, by
whom he had been followed, were in an equal state of irritation. This
circumstance was favourable to the Queen-mother, who lost no time in
persuading the Duke to make common cause with her against the favourite;
a proposition to which, excited by his annoyance, he at once acceded;
convinced that the projected reconciliation could not, under existing
circumstances, be of long duration.[40] On the 5th of September Marie
de Medicis accordingly left Montbazon for Consieres, where she was to
have her first interview with the King; and having ascertained upon her
arrival that he was walking in the park of the chateau, she hastily
alighted and went to seek him there, followed by the Ducs de Guise, de
Montbazon, and de Luynes, the Cardinal de Retz, and the Archbishop of
Toulouse, by whom she had been received, as well as by a dense crowd of
spectators who had assembled to witness the meeting. The crowd was so
great that it became necessary to clear a passage before the King could
approach his mother, to whom he extended his arms, and for a few moments
both parties wept without uttering a syllable. This silence was,
however, ultimately broken by Louis, who exclaimed in a voice of deep
emotion: "You are welcome, Madame. I thank God with all my heart that He
has fulfilled my most ardent wish."

"And I have henceforth nothing more to desire," replied Marie; "I shall
now die happy since I have had the consolation of once more seeing you,
Sire, and of embracing my other children. I have always loved you
tenderly; and I entreat of you to do me the justice to believe that I
have the most sincere attachment to your person, and every anxiety to
promote the welfare of your kingdom." [41]

It is painful to reflect that these expressions, so natural from the
lips of two individuals thus closely allied, who had been long at
variance, and had at length met in amity, should have been the mere
outpourings of policy; and yet, it is equally impossible not to be
struck by their hollowness and falsehood; Louis being, at that very
moment, endeavouring to undermine the influence of his mother by
estranging from her cause all those who still clung to her waning
fortunes; while Marie was labouring with equal zeal to strengthen her
position, by attracting to her faction all the discontented nobles whose
individual vengeance could be gratified by opposing in her name, and
apparently in her interests, the projects of those who had blighted
their own prospects, or wounded their own pride.

When both parties had become more calm, Louis gave his hand to his
mother and conducted her to the chateau, where they remained together
for the space of three hours awaiting the arrival of the young Queen,
the Princess of Piedmont, and Madame Henriette, who ultimately reached
Consieres, accompanied by all the Princesses, and great ladies of the
Court, occupying a train of upwards of fifty coaches; and the ceremonial
of reception had no sooner terminated than the king proceeded on
horseback to Tours, followed by the whole of this splendid retinue. The
two Queens occupied the same carriage, and were lavish in their
expressions of mutual regard and goodwill; but the comedy was
imperfectly acted on both sides, although neither affected to doubt the
sincerity of the other. It was necessary that the piece should be played
out, and the performers were skilful enough to bring it to a close
without openly betraying the distastefulness of their task.

At the supper which followed the arrival of the Court at Tours every
mark of respect was shown to the Queen-mother. She was seated at the
right hand of Louis, while Anne of Austria occupied a place upon his
left. The Prince of Piedmont presented the _serviette_, and persisted in
remaining standing, and bareheaded, although Marie desired a stool to be
placed near her, and entreated him to seat himself. It is consequently
needless to add that she was overwhelmed with adulation; and that the
courtiers vied with each other in demonstrations of delight.

The twelve succeeding days were passed in a series of _fetes_, of which
Marie de Medicis was the heroine; but it nevertheless became evident ere
the close of that period that all parties were fatigued by the efforts
which they were making to conceal their real sentiments; and a return to
the capital was no sooner mooted than the Queen-mother openly declared
that she would not be carried to Paris in triumph, but would defer her
entrance into that city until after her visit to Angers. This resolution
deeply offended the King, who, on taking leave of her, at once proceeded
to Compiegne, while the Prince and Princess of Piedmont departed for
Turin, and Marie removed to Chinon, where she remained for a few days in
order to give the magistrates of Angers time to complete the
preparations for her reception. At the Ponts de Ce she was met by the
Marechal de Bois-Dauphin at the head of fifteen hundred horsemen; and
thus escorted she reached the gates of the city, where she was
magnificently received, and welcomed with acclamations.[42]

De Luynes, alarmed by the protracted sojourn of the Queen-mother at
Angers, and her resolute refusal to return to the capital, became more
than ever anxious to effect the liberation of M. de Conde; an anxiety
that was moreover heightened by intelligence which reached the Court
that a deputation from the Protestants, who were then holding their
Assembly at Loudun, had waited upon her Majesty, for the purpose of
expressing their joy at her arrival and sojourn in Anjou, and of
communicating to her the demands which they were about to make to
the King.

It is true that Marie, although she did not disguise her gratification
at this mark of respect, was prudent enough not to advance any opinion
upon the claims which they set forth, and restricted herself to offering
her acknowledgments for their courtesy, coupled with the assurance that
they should find her a good neighbour; but even this reply, guarded as
it was, did not satisfy the Court, who pretended to discover a hidden
meaning in her words, and decided that she should have referred the
deputation to the King, in order to place herself beyond suspicion. Nor
were they less disconcerted on learning that all the nobility of the
province were constant visitors at her Court; and that she had
established herself in her government so thoroughly that she evidently
entertained no intention of abandoning her post.

As each succeeding day rendered the position of the Queen-mother more
threatening towards himself, the favourite resolved towards the middle
of October to effect the instant release of the Prince de Conde; and he
accordingly obtained the authority of the King to proceed to Vincennes,
with full power to open the gates of the fortress, and to liberate the
prisoner; while Louis himself proceeded to Chantilly, the chateau of the
Duc de Montmorency, who had married the sister of the Prince, to which
residence De Luynes was instructed to conduct the emancipated noble.

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