Part 11 out of 20
"Is there any signal for the general rally?"
"A knot of straw in the hat."
"Very good. Adieu, my lord."
"Adieu, my dear Rochefort."
"Ah, Monsieur Mazarin, Monsieur Mazarin," said Rochefort,
leading off his curate, who had not found an opportunity of
uttering a single word during the foregoing dialogue, "you
will see whether I am too old to be a man of action."
It was half-past nine o'clock and the coadjutor required
half an hour to go from the archbishop's palace to the tower
of St. Jacques de la Boucherie. He remarked that a light was
burning in one of the highest windows of the tower. "Good,"
said he, "our syndic is at his post."
He knocked and the door was opened. The vicar himself
awaited him, conducted him to the top of the tower, and when
there pointed to a little door, placed the light which he
had brought with him in a corner of the wall, that the
coadjutor might be able to find it on his return, and went
down again. Although the key was in the door the coadjutor
"Come in," said a voice which he recognized as that of the
mendicant, whom he found lying on a kind of truckle bed. He
rose on the entrance of the coadjutor, and at that moment
ten o'clock struck.
"Well," said Gondy, "have you kept your word with me?"
"Not exactly," replied the mendicant.
"How is that?"
"You asked me for five hundred men, did you not? Well, I
have ten thousand for you."
"You are not boasting?"
"Do you wish for a proof?"
There were three candles alight, each of which burnt before
a window, one looking upon the city, the other upon the
Palais Royal, and a third upon the Rue Saint Denis.
The man went silently to each of the candles and blew them
out one after the other.
"What are you doing?" asked the coadjutor.
"I have given the signal."
"For the barricades. When you leave this you will behold my
men at work. Only take care you do not break your legs in
stumbling over some chain or your neck by falling in a
"Good! there is your money, the same sum as that you have
received already. Now remember that you are a general and do
not go and drink."
"For twenty years I have tasted nothing but water."
The man took the bag from the hands of the coadjutor, who
heard the sound of his fingers counting and handling the
"Ah! ah!" said the coadjutor, "you are avaricious, my good
The mendicant sighed and threw down the bag.
"Must I always be the same?" said he, "and shall I never
succeed in overcoming the old leaven? Oh, misery, oh,
"You take it, however."
"Yes, but I make hereby a vow in your presence, to employ
all that remains to me in pious works."
His face was pale and drawn, like that of a man who had just
undergone some inward struggle.
"Singular man!" muttered Gondy, taking his hat to go away;
but on turning around he saw the beggar between him and the
door. His first idea was that this man intended to do him
some harm, but on the contrary he saw him fall on his knees
before him with his hands clasped.
"Your blessing, your holiness, before you go, I beseech
you!" he cried.
"Your holiness!" said Gondy; "my friend, you take me for
some one else."
"No, your holiness, I take you for what you are, that is to
say, the coadjutor; I recognized you at the first glance."
Gondy smiled. "And you want my blessing?" he said.
"Yes, I have need of it."
The mendicant uttered these words in a tone of such
humility, such earnest repentance, that Gondy placed his
hand upon him and gave him his benediction with all the
unction of which he was capable.
"Now," said Gondy, "there is a communion between us. I have
blessed you and you are sacred to me. Come, have you
committed some crime, pursued by human justice, from which I
can protect you?"
The beggar shook his head. "The crime which I have
committed, my lord, has no call upon human justice, and you
can only deliver me from it by blessing me frequently, as
you have just done."
"Come, be candid," said the coadjutor, "you have not all
your life followed the trade which you do now?"
"No, my lord. I have pursued it for six years only."
"And previously, where were you?"
"In the Bastile."
"And before you went to the Bastile?"
"I will tell you, my lord, on the day when you are willing
to hear my confession."
"Good! At whatsoever hour of the day or night you may
present yourself, remember that I shall be ready to give you
"Thank you, my lord," said the mendicant in a hoarse voice.
"But I am not yet ready to receive it."
"Very well. Adieu."
"Adieu, your holiness," said the mendicant, opening the door
and bending low before the prelate.
It was about eleven o'clock at night. Gondy had not walked a
hundred steps ere he perceived the strange change which had
been made in the streets of Paris.
The whole city seemed peopled with fantastic beings; silent
shadows were seen unpaving the streets and others dragging
and upsetting great wagons, whilst others again dug ditches
large enough to ingulf whole regiments of horsemen. These
active beings flitted here and there like so many demons
completing some unknown labor; these were the beggars of the
Court of Miracles -- the agents of the giver of holy water
in the Square of Saint Eustache, preparing barricades for
Gondy gazed on these deeds of darkness, on these nocturnal
laborers, with a kind of fear; he asked himself, if, after
having called forth these foul creatures from their dens, he
should have the power of making them retire again. He felt
almost inclined to cross himself when one of these beings
happened to approach him. He reached the Rue Saint Honore
and went up it toward the Rue de la Ferronnerie; there the
aspect changed; here it was the tradesmen who were running
from shop to shop; their doors seemed closed like their
shutters, but they were only pushed to in such a manner as
to open and allow the men, who seemed fearful of showing
what they carried, to enter, closing immediately. These men
were shopkeepers, who had arms to lend to those who had
One individual went from door to door, bending under the
weight of swords, guns, muskets and every kind of weapon,
which he deposited as fast as he could. By the light of a
lantern the coadjutor recognized Planchet.
The coadjutor proceeded onward to the quay by way of the Rue
de la Monnaie; there he found groups of bourgeois clad in
black cloaks or gray, according as they belonged to the
upper or lower bourgeoisie. They were standing motionless,
while single men passed from one group to another. All these
cloaks, gray or black, were raised behind by the point of a
sword, or before by the barrel of an arquebuse or a musket.
On reaching the Pont Neuf the coadjutor found it strictly
guarded and a man approached him.
"Who are you?" asked the man. "I do not know you for one of
"Then it is because you do not know your friends, my dear
Monsieur Louvieres," said the coadjutor, raising his hat.
Louvieres recognized him and bowed.
Gondy continued his way and went as far as the Tour de
Nesle. There he saw a lengthy chain of people gliding under
the walls. They might be said to be a procession of ghosts,
for they were all wrapped in white cloaks. When they reached
a certain spot these men appeared to be annihilated, one
after the other, as if the earth had opened under their
feet. Gondy, edged into a corner, saw them vanish from the
first until the last but one. The last raised his eyes, to
ascertain, doubtless, that neither his companions nor
himself had been watched, and, in spite of the darkness, he
perceived Gondy. He walked straight up to him and placed a
pistol to his throat.
"Halloo! Monsieur de Rochefort," said Gondy, laughing, "are
you a boy to play with firearms?"
Rochefort recognized the voice.
"Ah, it is you, my lord!" said he.
"The very same. What people are you leading thus into the
bowels of the earth?"
"My fifty recruits from the Chevalier d'Humieres, who are
destined to enter the light cavalry and who have only
received as yet for their equipment their white cloaks."
"And where are you going?"
"To the house of one of my friends, a sculptor, only we
enter by the trap through which he lets down his marble."
"Very good," said Gondy, shaking Rochefort by the hand, who
descended in his turn and closed the trap after him.
It was now one o'clock in the morning and the coadjutor
returned home. He opened a window and leaned out to listen.
A strange, incomprehensible, unearthly sound seemed to
pervade the whole city; one felt that something unusual and
terrible was happening in all the streets, now dark as
ocean's most unfathomable caves. From time to time a dull
sound was heard, like that of a rising tempest or a billow
of the sea; but nothing clear, nothing distinct, nothing
intelligible; it was like those mysterious subterraneous
noises that precede an earthquake.
The work of revolt continued the whole night thus. The next
morning, on awaking, Paris seemed to be startled at her own
appearance. It was like a besieged town. Armed men,
shouldering muskets, watched over the barricades with
menacing looks; words of command, patrols, arrests,
executions, even, were encountered at every step. Those
bearing plumed hats and gold swords were stopped and made to
cry, "Long live Broussel!" "Down with Mazarin!" and whoever
refused to comply with this ceremony was hooted at, spat
upon and even beaten. They had not yet begun to slay, but it
was well felt that the inclination to do so was not wanting.
The barricades had been pushed as far as the Palais Royal.
From the Rue de Bons Enfants to that of the Ferronnerie,
from the Rue Saint Thomas-du-Louvre to the Pont Neuf, from
the Rue Richelieu to the Porte Saint Honore, there were more
than ten thousand armed men; those who were at the front
hurled defiance at the impassive sentinels of the regiment
of guards posted around the Palais Royal, the gates of which
were closed behind them, a precaution which made their
situation precarious. Among these thousands moved, in bands
numbering from one hundred to two hundred, pale and haggard
men, clothed in rags, who bore a sort of standard on which
was inscribed these words: "Behold the misery of the
people!" Wherever these men passed, frenzied cries were
heard; and there were so many of these bands that the cries
were to be heard in all directions.
The astonishment of Mazarin and of Anne of Austria was great
when it was announced to them that the city, which the
previous evening they had left entirely tranquil, had
awakened to such feverish commotion; nor would either the
one or the other believe the reports that were brought to
them, declaring they would rather rely on the evidence of
their own eyes and ears. Then a window was opened and when
they saw and heard they were convinced.
Mazarin shrugged his shoulders and pretended to despise the
populace; but he turned visibly pale and ran to his closet,
trembling all over, locked up his gold and jewels in his
caskets and put his finest diamonds on his fingers. As for
the queen, furious, and left to her own guidance, she went
for the Marechal de la Meilleraie and desired him to take as
many men as he pleased and to go and see what was the
meaning of this pleasantry.
The marshal was ordinarily very adventurous and was wont to
hesitate at nothing; and he had that lofty contempt for the
populace which army officers usually profess. He took a
hundred and fifty men and attempted to go out by the Pont du
Louvre, but there he met Rochefort and his fifty horsemen,
attended by more than five hundred men. The marshal made no
attempt to force that barrier and returned up the quay. But
at Pont Neuf he found Louvieres and his bourgeois. This time
the marshal charged, but he was welcomed by musket shots,
while stones fell like hail from all the windows. He left
there three men.
He beat a retreat toward the market, but there he met
Planchet with his halberdiers; their halberds were leveled
at him threateningly. He attempted to ride over those gray
cloaks, but the gray cloaks held their ground and the
marshal retired toward the Rue Saint Honore, leaving four of
his guards dead on the field of battle.
The marshal then entered the Rue Saint Honore, but there he
was opposed by the barricades of the mendicant of Saint
Eustache. They were guarded, not only by armed men, but even
by women and children. Master Friquet, the owner of a pistol
and of a sword which Louvieres had given him, had organized
a company of rogues like himself and was making a tremendous
The marshal thought this barrier not so well fortified as
the others and determined to break through it. He dismounted
twenty men to make a breach in the barricade, whilst he and
others, remaining on their horses, were to protect the
assailants. The twenty men marched straight toward the
barrier, but from behind the beams, from among the
wagon-wheels and from the heights of the rocks a terrible
fusillade burst forth and at the same time Planchet's
halberdiers appeared at the corner of the Cemetery of the
Innocents, and Louvieres's bourgeois at the corner of the
Rue de la Monnaie.
The Marechal de la Meilleraie was caught between two fires,
but he was brave and made up his mind to die where he was.
He returned blow for blow and cries of pain began to be
heard in the crowd. The guards, more skillful, did greater
execution; but the bourgeois, more numerous, overwhelmed
them with a veritable hurricane of iron. Men fell around him
as they had fallen at Rocroy or at Lerida. Fontrailles, his
aide-de-camp, had an arm broken; his horse had received a
bullet in his neck and he had difficulty in controlling him,
maddened by pain. In short, he had reached that supreme
moment when the bravest feel a shudder in their veins, when
suddenly, in the direction of the Rue de l'Arbre-Sec, the
crowd opened, crying: "Long live the coadjutor!" and Gondy,
in surplice and cloak, appeared, moving tranquilly in the
midst of the fusillade and bestowing his benedictions to the
right and left, as undisturbed as if he were leading a
procession of the Fete Dieu.
All fell to their knees. The marshal recognized him and
hastened to meet him.
"Get me out of this, in Heaven's name!" he said, "or I shall
leave my carcass here and those of all my men."
A great tumult arose, in the midst of which even the noise
of thunder could not have been heard. Gondy raised his hand
and demanded silence. All were still.
"My children," he said, "this is the Marechal de la
Meilleraie, as to whose intentions you have been deceived
and who pledges himself, on returning to the Louvre, to
demand of the queen, in your name, our Broussel's release.
You pledge yourself to that, marshal?" added Gondy, turning
to La Meilleraie.
"Morbleu!" cried the latter, "I should say that I do pledge
myself to it! I had no hope of getting off so easily."
"He gives you his word of honor," said Gondy.
The marshal raised his hand in token of assent.
"Long live the coadjutor!" cried the crowd. Some voices even
added: "Long live the marshal!" But all took up the cry in
chorus: "Down with Mazarin!"
The crowd gave place, the barricade was opened, and the
marshal, with the remnant of his company, retreated,
preceded by Friquet and his bandits, some of them making a
presence of beating drums and others imitating the sound of
the trumpet. It was almost a triumphal procession; only,
behind the guards the barricades were closed again. The
marshal bit his fingers.
In the meantime, as we have said, Mazarin was in his closet,
putting his affairs in order. He called for D'Artagnan, but
in the midst of such tumult he little expected to see him,
D'Artagnan not being on service. In about ten minutes
D'Artagnan appeared at the door, followed by the inseparable
"Ah, come in, come in, Monsieur d'Artagnan!" cried the
cardinal, "and welcome your friend too. But what is going on
in this accursed Paris?"
"What is going on, my lord? nothing good," replied
D'Artagnan, shaking his head. "The town is in open revolt,
and just now, as I was crossing the Rue Montorgueil with
Monsieur du Vallon, who is here, and is your humble servant,
they wanted in spite of my uniform, or perhaps because of my
uniform, to make us cry `Long live Broussel!' and must I
tell you, my lord what they wished us to cry as well?"
"`Down with Mazarin!' I'faith, the treasonable word is out."
Mazarin smiled, but became very pale.
"And you did cry?" he asked.
"I'faith, no," said D'Artagnan; "I was not in voice;
Monsieur du Vallon has a cold and did not cry either. Then,
my lord ---- "
"Then what?" asked Mazarin.
"Look at my hat and cloak."
And D'Artagnan displayed four gunshot holes in his cloak and
two in his beaver. As for Porthos's coat, a blow from a
halberd had cut it open on the flank and a pistol shot had
cut his feather in two.
"Diavolo!" said the cardinal, pensively gazing at the two
friends with lively admiration; "I should have cried, I
At this moment the tumult was heard nearer.
Mazarin wiped his forehead and looked around him. He had a
great desire to go to the window, but he dared not.
"See what is going on, Monsieur D'Artagnan," said he.
D'Artagnan went to the window with his habitual composure.
"Oho!" said he, "what is this? Marechal de la Meilleraie
returning without a hat -- Fontrailles with his arm in a
sling -- wounded guards -- horses bleeding; eh, then, what
are the sentinels about? They are aiming -- they are going
"They have received orders to fire on the people if the
people approach the Palais Royal!" exclaimed Mazarin.
"But if they fire, all is lost!" cried D'Artagnan.
"We have the gates."
"The gates! to hold for five minutes -- the gates, they will
be torn down, twisted into iron wire, ground to powder!
God's death, don't fire!" screamed D'Artagnan, throwing open
In spite of this recommendation, which, owing to the noise,
could scarcely have been heard, two or three musket shots
resounded, succeeded by a terrible discharge. The balls
might be heard peppering the facade of the Palais Royal, and
one of them, passing under D'Artagnan's arm, entered and
broke a mirror, in which Porthos was complacently admiring
"Alack! alack!" cried the cardinal, "a Venetian glass!"
"Oh, my lord," said D'Artagnan, quietly shutting the window,
"it is not worth while weeping yet, for probably an hour
hence there will not be one of your mirrors remaining in the
Palais Royal, whether they be Venetian or Parisian."
"But what do you advise, then?" asked Mazarin, trembling.
"Eh, egad, to give up Broussel as they demand! What the
devil do you want with a member of the parliament? He is of
no earthly use to anybody."
"And you, Monsieur du Vallon, is that your advice? What
would you do?"
"I should give up Broussel," said Porthos.
"Come, come with me, gentlemen!" exclaimed Mazarin. "I will
go and discuss the matter with the queen."
He stopped at the end of the corridor and said:
"I can count upon you, gentlemen, can I not?"
"We do not give ourselves twice over," said D'Artagnan; "we
have given ourselves to you; command, we shall obey."
"Very well, then," said Mazarin; "enter this cabinet and
wait till I come back."
And turning off he entered the drawing-room by another door.
The Riot becomes a Revolution.
The closet into which D'Artagnan and Porthos had been
ushered was separated from the drawing-room where the queen
was by tapestried curtains only, and this thin partition
enabled them to hear all that passed in the adjoining room,
whilst the aperture between the two hangings, small as it
was, permitted them to see.
The queen was standing in the room, pale with anger; her
self-control, however, was so great that it might have been
imagined that she was calm. Comminges, Villequier and
Guitant were behind her and the women again were behind the
men. The Chancellor Sequier, who twenty years previously had
persecuted her so ruthlessly, stood before her, relating how
his carriage had been smashed, how he had been pursued and
had rushed into the Hotel d'O ---- , that the hotel was
immediately invaded, pillaged and devastated; happily he had
time to reach a closet hidden behind tapestry, in which he
was secreted by an old woman, together with his brother, the
Bishop of Meaux. Then the danger was so imminent, the
rioters came so near, uttering such threats, that the
chancellor thought his last hour had come and confessed
himself to his brother priest, so as to be all ready to die
in case he was discovered. Fortunately, however, he had not
been taken; the people, believing that he had escaped by
some back entrance, retired and left him at liberty to
retreat. Then, disguised in he clothes of the Marquis d'O
---- , he had left the hotel, stumbling over the bodies of
an officer and two guards who had been killed whilst
defending the street door.
During the recital Mazarin entered and glided noiselessly up
to the queen to listen.
"Well," said the queen, when the chancellor had finished
speaking; "what do you think of it all?"
"I think that matters look very gloomy, madame."
"But what step would you propose to me?"
"I could propose one to your majesty, but I dare not."
"You may, you may, sir," said the queen with a bitter smile;
"you were not so timid once."
The chancellor reddened and stammered some words.
"It is not a question of the past, but of the present," said
the queen; "you said you could give me advice -- what is
"Madame," said the chancellor, hesitating, "it would be to
The queen, although already pale, became visibly paler and
her face was contracted.
"Release Broussel!" she cried, "never!"
At this moment steps were heard in the ante-room and without
any announcement the Marechal de la Meilleraie appeared at
"Ah, there you are, marechal," cried Anne of Austria
joyfully. "I trust you have brought this rabble to reason."
"Madame," replied the marechal, "I have left three men on
the Pont Neuf, four at the Halle, six at the corner of the
Rue de l'Arbre-Sec and two at the door of your palace --
fifteen in all. I have brought away ten or twelve wounded. I
know not where I have left my hat, and in all probability I
should have been left with my hat, had the coadjutor not
arrived in time to rescue me."
"Ah, indeed," said the queen, "it would have much astonished
me if that low cur, with his distorted legs, had not been
mixed up with all this."
"Madame," said La Meilleraie, "do not say too much against
him before me, for the service he rendered me is still
"Very good," said the queen, "be as grateful as you like, it
does not implicate me; you are here safe and sound, that is
all I wished for; you are not only welcome, but welcome
"Yes, madame; but I only came back on one condition -- that
I would transmit to your majesty the will of the people."
"The will!" exclaimed the queen, frowning. "Oh! oh! monsieur
marechal, you must indeed have found yourself in wondrous
peril to have undertaken so strange a commission!"
The irony with which these words were uttered did not escape
"Pardon, madame," he said, "I am not a lawyer, I am a mere
soldier, and probably, therefore, I do not quite comprehend
the value of certain words; I ought to have said the wishes,
and not the will, of the people. As for what you do me the
honor to say, I presume you mean I was afraid?"
The queen smiled.
"Well, then, madame, yes, I did feel fear; and though I have
been through twelve pitched battles and I cannot count how
many charges and skirmishes, I own for the third time in my
life I was afraid. Yes, and I would rather face your
majesty, however threatening your smile, than face those
demons who accompanied me hither and who sprung from I know
not whence, unless from deepest hell."
(" Bravo," said D'Artagnan in a whisper to Porthos; "well
"Well," said the queen, biting her lips, whilst her
courtiers looked at each other with surprise, "what is the
desire of my people?"
"That Broussel shall be given up to them, madame."
"Never!" said the queen, "never!"
"Your majesty is mistress," said La Meilleraie, retreating a
"Where are you going, marechal?" asked the queen.
"To give your majesty's reply to those who await it."
"Stay, marechal; I will not appear to parley with rebels."
"Madame, I have pledged my word, and unless you order me to
be arrested I shall be forced to return."
Anne of Austria's eyes shot glances of fire.
"Oh! that is no impediment, sir," said she; "I have had
greater men than you arrested -- Guitant!"
Mazarin sprang forward.
"Madame, "said he, "if I dared in my turn advise ---- "
"Would it be to give up Broussel, sir? If so, you can spare
yourself the trouble."
"No," said Mazarin; "although, perhaps, that counsel is as
good as any other."
"Then what may it be?"
"To call for monsieur le coadjuteur."
"The coadjutor!" cried the queen, "that dreadful mischief
maker! It is he who has raised all this revolt."
"The more reason," said Mazarin; "if he has raised it he can
put it down."
"And hold, madame," suggested Comminges, who was near a
window, out of which he could see; "hold, the moment is a
happy one, for there he is now, giving his blessing in the
square of the Palais Royal."
The queen sprang to the window.
"It is true," she said, "the arch hypocrite -- see!"
"I see," said Mazarin, "that everybody kneels before him,
although he be but coadjutor, whilst I, were I in his place,
though I am cardinal, should be torn to pieces. I persist,
then, madame, in my wish" (he laid an emphasis on the word),
"that your majesty should receive the coadjutor."
"And wherefore do you not say, like the rest, your will?"
replied the queen, in a low voice.
"Monsieur le marechal," said the queen, after a moment's
reflection, "go and find the coadjutor and bring him to me."
"And what shall I say to the people?"
"That they must have patience," said Anne, "as I have."
The fiery Spanish woman spoke in a tone so imperative that
the marechal made no reply; he bowed and went out.
(D'Artagnan turned to Porthos. "How will this end?" he said.
"We shall soon see," said Porthos, in his tranquil way.)
In the meantime Anne of Austria approached Comminges and
conversed with him in a subdued tone, whilst Mazarin glanced
uneasily at the corner occupied by D'Artagnan and Porthos.
Ere long the door opened and the marechal entered, followed
by the coadjutor.
"There, madame," he said, "is Monsieur Gondy, who hastens to
obey your majesty's summons."
The queen advanced a few steps to meet him, and then
stopped, cold, severe, unmoved, with her lower lip
Gondy bowed respectfully.
"Well, sir," said the queen, "what is your opinion of this
"That it is no longer a riot, madame," he replied, "but a
"The revolt is at the door of those who think my people can
rebel," cried Anne, unable to dissimulate before the
coadjutor, whom she looked upon, and probably with reason,
as the promoter of the tumult. "Revolt! thus it is called by
those who have wished for this demonstration and who are,
perhaps, the cause of it; but, wait, wait! the king's
authority will put all this to rights."
"Was it to tell me that, madame," coldly replied Gondy,
"that your majesty admitted me to the honor of entering your
"No, my dear coadjutor," said Mazarin; "it was to ask your
advice in the unhappy dilemma in which we find ourselves."
"Is it true," asked Gondy, feigning astonishment, "that her
majesty summoned me to ask for my opinion?"
"Yes," said the queen, "it is requested."
The coadjutor bowed.
"Your majesty wishes, then ---- "
"You to say what you would do in her place," Mazarin
hastened to reply.
The coadjutor looked at the queen, who replied by a sign in
"Were I in her majesty's place," said Gondy, coldly, "I
should not hesitate; I should release Broussel."
"And if I do not give him up, what think you will be the
result?" exclaimed the queen.
"I believe that not a stone in Paris will remain unturned,"
put in the marechal.
"It was not your opinion that I asked," said the queen,
sharply, without even turning around.
"If it is I whom your majesty interrogates," replied the
coadjutor in the same calm manner, "I reply that I hold
monsieur le marechal's opinion in every respect."
The color mounted to the queen's face; her fine blue eyes
seemed to start out of her head and her carmine lips,
compared by all the poets of the day to a pomegranate in
flower, were trembling with anger. Mazarin himself, who was
well accustomed to the domestic outbreaks of this disturbed
household, was alarmed.
"Give up Broussel!" she cried; "fine counsel, indeed. Upon
my word! one can easily see it comes from a priest.
Gondy remained firm, and the abuse of the day seemed to
glide over his head as the sarcasms of the evening before
had done; but hatred and revenge were accumulating in his
heart silently and drop by drop. He looked coldly at the
queen, who nudged Mazarin to make him say something in his
Mazarin, according to his custom, was thinking much and
"Ho! ho!" said he, "good advice, advice of a friend. I, too,
would give up that good Monsieur Broussel, dead or alive,
and all would be at an end."
"If you yield him dead, all will indeed be at an end, my
lord, but quite otherwise than you mean."
"Did I say `dead or alive?'" replied Mazarin. "It was only a
way of speaking. You know I am not familiar with the French
language, which you, monsieur le coadjuteur, both speak and
write so well."
("This is a council of state," D'Artagnan remarked to
Porthos; "but we held better ones at La Rochelle, with Athos
"At the Saint Gervais bastion," said Porthos.
"There and elsewhere.")
The coadjutor let the storm pass over his head and resumed,
still with the same tranquillity:
"Madame, if the opinion I have submitted to you does not
please you it is doubtless because you have better counsels
to follow. I know too well the wisdom of the queen and that
of her advisers to suppose that they will leave the capital
long in trouble that may lead to a revolution."
"Thus, then, it is your opinion," said Anne of Austria, with
a sneer and biting her lips with rage, "that yesterday's
riot, which to-day is already a rebellion, to-morrow may
become a revolution?"
"Yes, madame," replied the coadjutor, gravely.
"But if I am to believe you, sir, the people seem to have
thrown off all restraint."
"It is a bad year for kings," said Gondy, shaking his head;
"look at England, madame."
"Yes; but fortunately we have no Oliver Cromwell in France,"
replied the queen.
"Who knows?" said Gondy; "such men are like thunderbolts --
one recognizes them only when they have struck."
Every one shuddered and there was a moment of silence,
during which the queen pressed her hand to her side,
evidently to still the beatings of her heart.
("Porthos," murmured D'Artagnan, "look well at that priest."
"Yes," said Porthos, "I see him. What then?"
"Well, he is a man."
Porthos looked at D'Artagnan in astonishment. Evidently he
did not understand his meaning.)
"Your majesty," continued the coadjutor, pitilessly, "is
about to take such measures as seem good to you, but I
foresee that they will be violent and such as will still
further exasperate the rioters."
"In that case, you, monsieur le coadjuteur, who have such
power over them and are at the same time friendly to us,"
said the queen, ironically, "will quiet them by bestowing
your blessing upon them."
"Perhaps it will be too late," said Gondy, still unmoved;
"perhaps I shall have lost all influence; while by giving up
Broussel your majesty will strike at the root of the
sedition and will gain the right to punish severely any
revival of the revolt."
"Have I not, then, that right?" cried the queen.
"If you have it, use it," replied Gondy.
("Peste!" said D'Artagnan to Porthos. "There is a man after
my own heart. Oh! if he were minister and I were his
D'Artagnan, instead of belonging to that beast of a Mazarin,
mordieu! what fine things we would do together!"
"Yes," said Porthos.)
The queen made a sign for every one, except Mazarin, to quit
the room; and Gondy bowed, as if to leave with the rest.
"Stay, sir," said Anne to him.
"Good," thought Gondy, "she is going to yield."
("She is going to have him killed," said D'Artagnan to
Porthos, "but at all events it shall not be by me. I swear
to Heaven, on the contrary, that if they fall upon him I
will fall upon them."
"And I, too," said Porthos.)
"Good," muttered Mazarin, sitting down, "we shall soon see
The queen's eyes followed the retreating figures and when
the last had closed the door she turned away. It was evident
that she was making unnatural efforts to subdue her anger;
she fanned herself, smelled at her vinaigrette and walked up
and down. Gondy, who began to feel uneasy, examined the
tapestry with his eyes, touched the coat of mail which he
wore under his long gown and felt from time to time to see
if the handle of a good Spanish dagger, which was hidden
under his cloak, was well within reach.
"And now," at last said the queen, "now that we are alone,
repeat your counsel, monsieur le coadjuteur."
"It is this, madame: that you should appear to have
reflected, and publicly acknowledge an error, which
constitutes the extra strength of a strong government;
release Broussel from prison and give him back to the
"Oh!" cried Anne, "to humble myself thus! Am I, or am I not,
the queen? This screaming mob, are they, or are they not, my
subjects? Have I friends? Have I guards? Ah! by Notre Dame!
as Queen Catherine used to say," continued she, excited by
her own words, "rather than give up this infamous Broussel
to them I will strangle him with my own hands!"
And she sprang toward Gondy, whom assuredly at that moment
she hated more than Broussel, with outstretched arms. The
coadjutor remained immovable and not a muscle of his face
was discomposed; only his glance flashed like a sword in
returning the furious looks of the queen.
("He were a dead man" said the Gascon, "if there were still
a Vitry at the court and if Vitry entered at this moment;
but for my part, before he could reach the good prelate I
would kill Vitry at once; the cardinal would be infinitely
pleased with me."
"Hush!" said Porthos; "listen.")
"Madame," cried the cardinal, seizing hold of Anne and
drawing her back, "Madame, what are you about?"
Then he added in Spanish, "Anne, are you mad? You, a queen
to quarrel like a washerwoman! And do you not perceive that
in the person of this priest is represented the whole people
of Paris and that it is dangerous to insult him at this
moment, and if this priest wished it, in an hour you would
be without a crown? Come, then, on another occasion you can
be firm and strong; but to-day is not the proper time;
to-day, flatter and caress, or you are only a common woman."
(At the first words of this address D'Artagnan had seized
Porthos's arm, which he pressed with gradually increasing
force. When Mazarin ceased speaking he said to Porthos in a
"Never tell Mazarin that I understand Spanish, or I am a
lost man and you are also."
"All right," said Porthos.)
This rough appeal, marked by the eloquence which
characterized Mazarin when he spoke in Italian or Spanish
and which he lost entirely in speaking French, was uttered
with such impenetrable expression that Gondy, clever
physiognomist as he was, had no suspicion of its being more
than a simple warning to be more subdued.
The queen, on her part, thus chided, softened immediately
and sat down, and in an almost weeping voice, letting her
arms fall by her side, said:
"Pardon me, sir, and attribute this violence to what I
suffer. A woman, and consequently subject to the weaknesses
of my sex, I am alarmed at the idea of civil war; a queen,
accustomed to be obeyed, I am excited at the first
"Madame," replied Gondy, bowing, "your majesty is mistaken
in qualifying my sincere advice as opposition. Your majesty
has none but submissive and respectful subjects. It is not
the queen with whom the people are displeased; they ask for
Broussel and are only too happy, if you release him to them,
to live under your government."
Mazarin, who at the words, "It is not the queen with whom
the people are displeased," had pricked up his ears,
thinking that the coadjutor was about to speak of the cries,
"Down with Mazarin," and pleased with Gondy's suppression of
this fact, he said with his sweetest voice and his most
"Madame, credit the coadjutor, who is one of the most able
politicians we have; the first available cardinal's hat
seems to belong already to his noble brow."
"Ah! how much you have need of me, cunning rogue!" thought
("And what will he promise us?" said D'Artagnan. "Peste, if
he is giving away hats like that, Porthos, let us look out
and both demand a regiment to-morrow. Corbleu! let the civil
war last but one year and I will have a constable's sword
gilt for me."
"And for me?" put in Porthos.
"For you? I will give you the baton of the Marechal de la
Meilleraie, who does not seem to be much in favor just
"And so, sir," said the queen, "you are seriously afraid of
a public tumult."
"Seriously," said Gondy, astonished at not having further
advanced; "I fear that when the torrent has broken its
embankment it will cause fearful destruction."
"And I," said the queen, "think that in such a case other
embankments should be raised to oppose it. Go; I will
Gondy looked at Mazarin, astonished, and Mazarin approached
the queen to speak to her, but at this moment a frightful
tumult arose from the square of the Palais Royal.
Gondy smiled, the queen's color rose and Mazarin grew even
"What is that again?" he asked.
At this moment Comminges rushed into the room.
"Pardon, your majesty," he cried, "but the people have
dashed the sentinels against the gates and they are now
forcing the doors; what are your commands?"
"Listen, madame," said Gondy.
The moaning of waves, the noise of thunder, the roaring of a
volcano, cannot be compared with the tempest of cries heard
at that moment.
"What are my commands?" said the queen.
"Yes, for time presses."
"How many men have you about the Palais Royal?"
"Place a hundred around the king and with the remainder
sweep away this mob for me."
"Madame," cried Mazarin, "what are you about?"
"Go!" said the queen.
Comminges went out with a soldier's passive obedience.
At this moment a monstrous battering was heard. One of the
gates began to yield.
"Oh! madame," cried Mazarin, "you have ruined us all -- the
king, yourself and me."
At this cry from the soul of the frightened cardinal, Anne
became alarmed in her turn and would have recalled
"It is too late," said Mazarin, tearing his hair, "too
The gale had given way. Hoarse shouts were heard from the
excited mob. D'Artagnan put his hand to his sword, motioning
to Porthos to follow his example.
"Save the queen!" cried Mazarin to the coadjutor.
Gondy sprang to the window and threw it open; he recognized
Louvieres at the head of a troop of about three or four
"Not a step further," he shouted, "the queen is signing!"
"What are you saying?" asked the queen.
"The truth, madame," said Mazarin, placing a pen and a paper
before her, "you must;" then he added: "Sign, Anne, I
implore you -- I command you."
The queen fell into a chair, took the pen and signed.
The people, kept back by Louvieres, had not made another
step forward; but the awful murmuring, which indicates an
angry people, continued.
The queen had written, "The keeper of the prison at Saint
Germain will set Councillor Broussel at liberty;" and she
had signed it.
The coadjutor, whose eyes devoured her slightest movements,
seized the paper immediately the signature had been affixed
to it, returned to the window and waved it in his hand.
"This is the order," he said.
All Paris seemed to shout with joy, and then the air
resounded with the cries of "Long live Broussel!" "Long live
"Long live the queen!" cried De Gondy; but the cries which
replied to his were poor and few, and perhaps he had but
uttered it to make Anne of Austria sensible of her weakness.
"And now that you have obtained what you want, go," said
she, "Monsieur de Gondy."
"Whenever her majesty has need of me," replied the
coadjutor, bowing, "her majesty knows I am at her command."
"Ah, cursed priest!" cried Anne, when he had retired,
stretching out her arm to the scarcely closed door, "one day
I will make you drink the dregs of the atrocious gall you
have poured out on me to-day."
Mazarin wished to approach her. "Leave me!" she exclaimed;
"you are not a man!" and she went out of the room.
"It is you who are not a woman," muttered Mazarin.
Then, after a moment of reverie, he remembered where he had
left D'Artagnan and Porthos and that they must have
overheard everything. He knit his brows and went direct to
the tapestry, which he pushed aside. The closet was empty.
At the queen's last word, D'Artagnan had dragged Porthos
into the gallery. Thither Mazarin went in his turn and found
the two friends walking up and down.
"Why did you leave the closet, Monsieur d'Artagnan?" asked
"Because," replied D'Artagnan, "the queen desired every one
to leave and I thought that this command was intended for us
as well as for the rest."
"And you have been here since ---- "
"About a quarter of an hour," said D'Artagnan, motioning to
Porthos not to contradict him.
Mazarin saw the sign and remained convinced that D'Artagnan
had seen and heard everything; but he was pleased with his
"Decidedly, Monsieur d'Artagnan, you are the man I have been
seeking. You may reckon upon me and so may your friend."
Then bowing to the two musketeers with his most gracious
smile, he re-entered his closet more calmly, for on the
departure of De Gondy the uproar had ceased as though by
Misfortune refreshes the Memory.
Anne of Austria returned to her oratory, furious.
"What!" she cried, wringing her beautiful hands, "What! the
people have seen Monsieur de Conde, a prince of the blood
royal, arrested by my mother-in-law, Maria de Medicis; they
saw my mother-in-law, their former regent, expelled by the
cardinal; they saw Monsieur de Vendome, that is to say, the
son of Henry IV., a prisoner at Vincennes; and whilst these
great personages were imprisoned, insulted and threatened,
they said nothing; and now for a Broussel -- good God! what,
then, is to become of royalty?"
The queen unconsciously touched here upon the exciting
question. The people had made no demonstration for the
princes, but they had risen for Broussel; they were taking
the part of a plebeian and in defending Broussel they
instinctively felt they were defending themselves.
During this time Mazarin walked up and down the study,
glancing from time to time at his beautiful Venetian mirror,
starred in every direction. "Ah!" he said, "it is sad, I
know well, to be forced to yield thus; but, pshaw! we shall
have our revenge. What matters it about Broussel -- it is a
name, not a thing."
Mazarin, clever politician as he was, was for once mistaken;
Broussel was a thing, not a name.
The next morning, therefore, when Broussel made his entrance
into Paris in a large carriage, having his son Louvieres at
his side and Friquet behind the vehicle, the people threw
themselves in his way and cries of "Long live Broussel!"
"Long live our father!" resounded from all parts and was
death to Mazarin's ears; and the cardinal's spies brought
bad news from every direction, which greatly agitated the
minister, but was calmly received by the queen. The latter
seemed to be maturing in her mind some great stroke, a fact
which increased the uneasiness of the cardinal, who knew the
proud princess and dreaded much the determination of Anne of
The coadjutor returned to parliament more a monarch than
king, queen, and cardinal, all three together. By his advice
a decree from parliament summoned the citizens to lay down
their arms and demolish the barricades. They now knew that
it required but one hour to take up arms again and one night
to reconstruct the barricades.
Rochefort had returned to the Chevalier d'Humieres his fifty
horsemen, less two, missing at roll call. But the chevalier
was himself at heart a Frondist and would hear nothing said
The mendicant had gone to his old place on the steps of
Saint Eustache and was again distributing holy water with
one hand and asking alms with the other. No one could
suspect that those two hands had been engaged with others in
drawing out from the social edifice the keystone of royalty.
Louvieres was proud and satisfied; he had taken revenge on
Mazarin and had aided in his father's deliverance from
prison. His name had been mentioned as a name of terror at
the Palais Royal. Laughingly he said to the councillor,
restored to his family:
"Do you think, father, that if now I should ask for a
company the queen would give it to me?"
D'Artagnan profited by this interval of calm to send away
Raoul, whom he had great difficulty in keeping shut up
during the riot, and who wished positively to strike a blow
for one party or the other. Raoul had offered some
opposition at first; but D'Artagnan made use of the Comte de
la Fere's name, and after paying a visit to Madame de
Chevreuse, Raoul started to rejoin the army.
Rochefort alone was dissatisfied with the termination of
affairs. He had written to the Duc de Beaufort to come and
the duke was about to arrive, and he world find Paris
tranquil. He went to the coadjutor to consult with him
whether it would not be better to send word to the duke to
stop on the road, but Gondy reflected for a moment, and then
"Let him continue his journey."
"All is not then over?" asked Rochefort.
"My dear count, we have only just begun."
"What induces you to think so?"
"The knowledge that I have of the queen's heart; she will
not rest contented beaten."
"Is she, then, preparing for a stroke?"
"I hope so."
"Come, let us see what you know."
"I know that she has written to the prince to return in
haste from the army."
"Ah! ha!" said Rochefort, "you are right. We must let
Monsieur de Beaufort come."
In fact, the evening after this conversation the report was
circulated that the Prince de Conde had arrived. It was a
very simple, natural circumstance and yet it created a
profound sensation. It was said that Madame de Longueville,
for whom the prince had more than a brother's affection and
in whom he had confided, had been indiscreet. His confidence
had unveiled the sinister project of the queen.
Even on the night of the prince's return, some citizens,
bolder than the rest, such as the sheriffs, captains and the
quartermaster, went from house to house among their friends,
"Why do we not take the king and place him in the Hotel de
Ville? It is a shame to leave him to be educated by our
enemies, who will give him evil counsel; whereas, brought up
by the coadjutor, for instance, he would imbibe national
principles and love his people."
That night the question was secretly agitated and on the
morrow the gray and black cloaks, the patrols of armed
shop-people, and the bands of mendicants reappeared.
The queen had passed the night in lonely conference with the
prince, who had entered the oratory at midnight and did not
leave till five o'clock in the morning.
At five o'clock Anne went to the cardinal's room. If she had
not yet taken any repose, he at least was already up. Six
days had already passed out of the ten he had asked from
Mordaunt; he was therefore occupied in revising his reply to
Cromwell, when some one knocked gently at the door of
communication with the queen's apartments. Anne of Austria
alone was permitted to enter by that door. The cardinal
therefore rose to open it.
The queen was in a morning gown, but it became her still;
for, like Diana of Poictiers and Ninon, Anne of Austria
enjoyed the privilege of remaining ever beautiful;
nevertheless, this morning she looked handsomer than usual,
for her eyes had all the sparkle inward satisfaction adds to
"What is the matter, madame?" said Mazarin, uneasily. "You
seem secretly elated."
"Yes, Giulio," she said, "proud and happy; for I have found
the means of strangling this hydra."
"You are a great politician, my queen," said Mazarin; "let
us hear the means." And he hid what he had written by
sliding the letter under a folio of blank paper.
"You know," said the queen, "that they want to take the king
away from me?"
"Alas! yes, and to hang me."
"They shall not have the king."
"Nor hang me."
"Listen. I want to carry off my son from them, with
yourself. I wish that this event, which on the day it is
known will completely change the aspect of affairs, should
be accomplished without the knowledge of any others but
yourself, myself, and a third person."
"And who is this third person?"
"Monsieur le Prince."
"He has come, then, as they told me?"
"And you have seen him?"
"He has just left me."
"And will he aid this project?"
"The plan is his own."
"He will starve it out and force it to surrender at
"The plan is not wanting in grandeur; I see but one
"What is it?"
"A senseless word. Nothing is impossible."
"In execution. We have money?"
"A little," said Mazarin, trembling, lest Anne should ask to
draw upon his purse.
"Five or six thousand men."
"Then the thing is easy. Oh! do think of it, Giulio! Paris,
this odious Paris, waking up one morning without queen or
king, surrounded, besieged, famished -- having for its sole
resource its stupid parliament and their coadjutor with
"Charming! charming!" said Mazarin. "I can imagine the
effect, I do not see the means."
"I will find the means myself."
"You are aware it will be war, civil war, furious,
"Oh! yes, yes, war," said Anne of Austria. "Yes, I will
reduce this rebellious city to ashes. I will extinguish the
fire with blood! I will perpetuate the crime and punishment
by making a frightful example. Paris!; I -- I detest, I
"Very fine, Anne. You are now sanguinary; but take care. We
are not in the time of Malatesta and Castruccio Castracani.
You will get yourself decapitated, my beautiful queen, and
that would be a pity."
"Faintly. It is dangerous to go to war with a nation. Look
at your brother monarch, Charles I. He is badly off, very
"We are in France, and I am Spanish."
"So much the worse; I had much rather you were French and
myself also; they would hate us both less."
"Nevertheless, you consent?"
"Yes, if the thing be possible."
"It is; it is I who tell you so; make preparations for
"I! I am always prepared to go, only, as you know, I never
do go, and perhaps shall go this time as little as before."
"In short, if I go, will you go too?"
"I will try."
"You torment me, Giulio, with your fears; and what are you
afraid of, then?"
"Of many things."
"What are they?"
Mazarin's face, smiling as it was, became clouded.
"Anne," said he, "you are but a woman and as a woman you may
insult men at your ease, knowing that you can do it with
impunity. You accuse me of fear; I have not so much as you
have, since I do not fly as you do. Against whom do they cry
out? is it against you or against myself? Whom would they
hang, yourself or me? Well, I can weather the storm -- I,
whom, notwithstanding, you tax with fear -- not with
bravado, that is not my way; but I am firm. Imitate me. Make
less hubbub and think more deeply. You cry very loud, you
end by doing nothing; you talk of flying ---- "
Mazarin shrugged his shoulders and taking the queen's hand
led her to the window.
"Look!" he said.
"Well?" said the queen, blinded by her obstinacy.
"Well, what do you see from this window? If I am not
mistaken those are citizens, helmeted and mailed, armed with
good muskets, as in the time of the League, and whose eyes
are so intently fixed on this window that they will see you
if you raise that curtain much; and now come to the other
side -- what do you see? Creatures of the people, armed with
halberds, guarding your doors. You will see the same at
every opening from this palace to which I should lead you.
Your doors are guarded, the airholes of your cellars are
guarded, and I could say to you, as that good La Ramee said
to me of the Duc de Beaufort, you must be either bird or
mouse to get out."
"He did get out, nevertheless."
"Do you think of escaping in the same way?"
"I am a prisoner, then?"
"Parbleu!" said Mazarin, "I have been proving it to you this
And he quietly resumed his dispatch at the place where he
had been interrupted.
Anne, trembling with anger and scarlet with humiliation,
left the room, shutting the door violently after her.
Mazarin did not even turn around. When once more in her own
apartment Anne fell into a chair and wept; then suddenly
struck with an idea:
"I am saved!" she exclaimed, rising; "oh, yes! yes! I know a
man who will find the means of taking me from Paris, a man I
have too long forgotten." Then falling into a reverie, she
added, however, with an expression of joy, "Ungrateful woman
that I am, for twenty years I have forgotten this man, whom
I ought to have made a marechal of France. My mother-in-law
expended gold, caresses, dignities on Concini, who ruined
her; the king made Vitry marechal of France for an
assassination: while I have left in obscurity, in poverty,
the noble D'Artagnan, who saved me!"
And running to a table, on which were paper, pens and ink,
she hastily began to write.
It had been D'Artagnan's practice, ever since the riots, to
sleep in the same room as Porthos, and on this eventful
morning he was still there, sleeping, and dreaming that a
yellow cloud had overspread the sky and was raining gold
pieces into his hat, which he held out till it was
overflowing with pistoles. As for Porthos, he dreamed that
the panels of his carriage were not capacious enough to
contain the armorial bearings he had ordered to be painted
on them. They were both aroused at seven o'clock by the
entrance of an unliveried servant, who brought a letter for
"From whom?" asked the Gascon.
"From the queen," replied the servant.
"Ho!" said Porthos, raising himself in his bed; "what does
D'Artagnan requested the servant to wait in the next room
and when the door was closed he sprang up from his bed and
read rapidly, whilst Porthos looked at him with starting
eyes, not daring to ask a single question.
"Friend Porthos," said D'Artagnan, handing the letter to
him, "this time, at least, you are sure of your title of
baron, and I of my captaincy. Read for yourself and judge."
Porthos took the letter and with a trembling voice read the
"The queen wishes to speak to Monsieur d'Artagnan, who must
follow the bearer."
"Well!" exclaimed Porthos; "I see nothing in that very
"But I see much that is very extraordinary in it," replied
D'Artagnan. "It is evident, by their sending for me, that
matters are becoming complicated. Just reflect a little what
an agitation the queen's mind must be in for her to have
remembered me after twenty years."
"It is true," said Porthos.
"Sharpen your sword, baron, load your pistols, and give some
corn to the horses, for I will answer for it,
something lightning-like will happen ere to-morrow."
"But, stop; do you think it can be a trap that they are
laying for us?" suggested Porthos, incessantly thinking how
his greatness must be irksome to inferior people.
"If it is a snare," replied D'Artagnan, "I shall scent it
out, be assured. If Mazarin is an Italian, I am a Gascon."
And D'Artagnan dressed himself in an instant.
Whilst Porthos, still in bed, was hooking on his cloak for
him, a second knock at the door was heard.
"Come in," exclaimed D'Artagnan; and another servant
"From His Eminence, Cardinal Mazarin," presenting a letter.
D'Artagnan looked at Porthos.
"A complicated affair," said Porthos; "where will you
"It is arranged capitally; his eminence expects me in half
"My friend," said D'Artagnan, turning to the servant, "tell
his eminence that in half an hour I shall be at his
"It is very fortunate," resumed the Gascon, when the valet
had retired, "that he did not meet the other one."
"Do you not think that they have sent for you, both for the
"I do not think it, I am certain of it."
"Quick, quick, D'Artagnan. Remember that the queen awaits
you, and after the queen, the cardinal, and after the
D'Artagnan summoned Anne of Austria's servant and signified
that he was ready to follow him into the queen's presence.
The servant conducted him by the Rue des Petits Champs and
turning to the left entered the little garden gate leading
into the Rue Richelieu; then they gained the private
staircase and D'Artagnan was ushered into the oratory. A
certain emotion, for which he could not account, made the
lieutenant's heart beat: he had no longer the assurance of
youth; experience had taught him the importance of past
events. Formerly he would have approached the queen as a
young man who bends before a woman; but now it was a
different thing; he answered her summons as an humble
soldier obeys an illustrious general.
The silence of the oratory was at last disturbed by the
slight rustling of silk, and D'Artagnan started when he
perceived the tapestry raised by a white hand, which, by its
form, its color and its beauty he recognized as that royal
hand which had one day been presented to him to kiss. The
"It is you, Monsieur d'Artagnan," she said, fixing a gaze
full of melancholy interest on the countenance of the
officer, "and I know you well. Look at me well in your turn.
I am the queen; do you recognize me?"
"No, madame," replied D'Artagnan.
"But are you no longer aware," continued Anne, giving that
sweet expression to her voice which she could do at will,
"that in former days the queen had once need of a young,
brave and devoted cavalier -- that she found this cavalier
-- and that, although he might have thought that she had
forgotten him, she had kept a place for him in the depths of
"No, madame, I was ignorant of that," said the musketeer.
"So much the worse, sir," said Anne of Austria; "so much the
worse, at least for the queen, for to-day she has need of
the same courage and the same devotion."
"What!" exclaimed D'Artagnan, "does the queen, surrounded as
she is by such devoted servants, such wise counselors, men,
in short, so great by merit or position -- does she deign to
cast her eyes on an obscure soldier?"
Anne understood this covert reproach and was more moved than
irritated by it. She had many a time felt humiliated by the
self-sacrifice and disinterestedness shown by the Gascon
gentleman. She had allowed herself to be exceeded in
"All that you tell me of those by whom I am surrounded,
Monsieur d'Artagnan, is doubtless true," said the queen,
"but I have confidence in you alone. I know that you belong
to the cardinal, but belong to me as well, and I will take
upon myself the making of your fortune. Come, will you do
to-day what formerly the gentleman you do not know did for
"I will do everything your majesty commands," replied
The queen reflected for a moment and then, seeing the
cautious demeanor of the musketeer:
"Perhaps you like repose?" she said.
"I do not know, for I have never had it, madame."
"Have you any friends?"
"I had three, two of whom have left Paris, to go I know not
where. One alone is left to me, but he is one of those
known, I believe, to the cavalier of whom your majesty did
me the honor to speak."
"Very good," said the queen; "you and your friend are worth
"What am I to do, madame?"
"Return at five o'clock and I will tell you; but do not
breathe to a living soul, sir, the rendezvous which I give
"Swear it upon the cross."
"Madame, I have never been false to my word; when I say I
will not do a thing, I mean it."
The queen, although astonished at this language, to which
she was not accustomed from her courtiers, argued from it a
happy omen of the zeal with which D'Artagnan would serve her
in the accomplishment of her project. It was one of the
Gascon's artifices to hide his deep cunning occasionally
under an appearance of rough loyalty.
"Has the queen any further commands for me now?" asked
"No, sir," replied Anne of Austria, "and you may retire
until the time that I mentioned to you."
D'Artagnan bowed and went out.
"Diable!" he exclaimed when the door was shut, "they seem to
have the greatest need of me just now."
Then, as the half hour had already glided by, he crossed the
gallery and knocked at the cardinal's door.
Bernouin introduced him.
"I come for your commands, my lord," he said.
And according to his custom D'Artagnan glanced rapidly
around and remarked that Mazarin had a sealed letter before
him. But it was so placed on the desk that he could not see
to whom it was addressed.
"You come from the queen?" said Mazarin, looking fixedly at
"I! my lord -- who told you that?"
"Nobody, but I know it."
"I regret infinitely to tell you, my lord, that you are
mistaken," replied the Gascon, impudently, firm to the
promise he had just made to Anne of Austria.
"I opened the door of the ante-room myself and I saw you
enter at the end of the corridor."
"Because I was shown up the private stairs."
"I know not; it must have been a mistake."
Mazarin was aware that it was not easy to make D'Artagnan
reveal anything he was desirous of hiding, so he gave up,
for the time, the discovery of the mystery the Gascon was
"Let us speak of my affairs," said Mazarin, "since you will
tell me naught of yours. Are you fond of traveling?"
"My life has been passed on the high road."
"Would anything retain you particularly in Paris?"
"Nothing but an order from a superior would retain me in
"Very well. Here is a letter, which must be taken to its
"To its address, my lord? But it has none."
In fact, the side of the letter opposite the seal was blank.
"I must tell you," resumed Mazarin, "that it is in a double
"I understand; and I am to take off the first one when I
have reached a certain place?"
"Just so, take it and go. You have a friend, Monsieur du
Vallon, whom I like much; let him accompany you."
"The devil!" said D'Artagnan to himself. "He knows that we
overheard his conversation yesterday and he wants to get us
away from Paris."
"Do you hesitate?" asked Mazarin.
"No, my lord, and I will set out at once. There is one thing
only which I must request."
"What is it? Speak."
"That your eminence will go at once to the queen."
"Merely to say these words: `I am going to send Monsieur
d'Artagnan away and I wish him to set out directly.'"
"I told you," said Mazarin, "that you had seen the queen."
"I had the honor of saying to your eminence that there had
been some mistake."
"What is the meaning of that?"
"May I venture to repeat my prayer to your eminence?"
"Very well; I will go. Wait here for me." And looking
attentively around him, to see if he had left any of his
keys in his closets, Mazarin went out. Ten minutes elapsed,
during which D'Artagnan made every effort to read through
the first envelope what was written on the second. But he
did not succeed.
Mazarin returned, pale, and evidently thoughtful. He seated
himself at his desk and D'Artagnan proceeded to examine his
face, as he had just examined the letter he held, but the
envelope which covered his countenance appeared as
impenetrable as that which covered the letter.
"Ah!" thought the Gascon; "he looks displeased. Can it be
with me? He meditates. Is it about sending me to the
Bastile? All very fine, my lord, but at the very first hint
you give of such a thing I will strangle you and become
Frondist. I should be carried home in triumph like Monsieur
Broussel and Athos would proclaim me the French Brutus. It
would be exceedingly droll."
The Gascon, with his vivid imagination, had already seen the
advantage to be derived from his situation. Mazarin gave,
however, no order of the kind, but on the contrary began to
"You were right," he said, "my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan, and
you cannot set out yet. I beg you to return me that
D'Artagnan obeyed, and Mazarin ascertained that the seal was
"I shall want you this evening," he said "Return in two
"My lord," said D'Artagnan, "I have an appointment in two
hours which I cannot miss."
"Do not be uneasy," said Mazarin; "it is the same."
"Good!" thought D'Artagnan; "I fancied it was so."
"Return, then, at five o'clock and bring that worthy
Monsieur du Vallon with you. Only, leave him in the
ante-room, as I wish to speak to you alone."
D'Artagnan bowed, and thought: "Both at the same hour; both
commands alike; both at the Palais Royal. Monsieur de Gondy
would pay a hundred thousand francs for such a secret!"
"You are thoughtful," said Mazarin, uneasily.
"Yes, I was thinking whether we ought to come armed or not."
"Armed to the teeth!" replied Mazarin.
"Very well, my lord; it shall be so."
D'Artagnan saluted, went out and hastened to repeat to his
friend Mazarin's flattering promises, which gave Porthos an
When D'Artagnan returned to the Palais Royal at five
o'clock, it presented, in spite of the excitement which
reigned in the town, a spectacle of the greatest rejoicing.
Nor was that surprising. The queen had restored Broussel and
Blancmesnil to the people and had therefore nothing to fear,
since the people had nothing more just then to ask for. The
return, also, of the conqueror of Lens was the pretext for
giving a grand banquet. The princes and princesses were
invited and their carriages had crowded the court since
noon; then after dinner the queen was to have a play in her
apartment. Anne of Austria had never appeared more brilliant
than on that day -- radiant with grace and wit. Mazarin
disappeared as they rose from table. He found D'Artagnan
waiting for him already at his post in the ante-room.
The cardinal advanced to him with a smile and taking him by
the hand led him into his study.
"My dear M. d'Artagnan," said the minister, sitting down, "I
am about to give you the greatest proof of confidence that a
minister can give an officer."
"I hope," said D'Artagnan, bowing, "that you give it, my
lord, without hesitation and with the conviction that I am
worthy of it."
"More worthy than any one in Paris my dear friend; therefore
I apply to you. We are about to leave this evening,"
continued Mazarin. "My dear M. d'Artagnan, the welfare of
the state is deposited in your hands." He paused.
"Explain yourself, my lord, I am listening."
"The queen has resolved to make a little excursion with the
king to Saint Germain."
"Aha!" said D'Artagnan, "that is to say, the queen wishes to
"A woman's caprice -- you understand."
"Yes, I understand perfectly," said D'Artagnan.
"It was for this she summoned you this morning and that she
told you to return at five o'clock."
"Was it worth while to wish me to swear this morning that I
would mention the appointment to no one?" muttered
D'Artagnan. "Oh, women! women! whether queens or not, they
are always the same."
"Do you disapprove of this journey, my dear M. d'Artagnan?"
asked Mazarin, anxiously.
"I, my lord?" said D'Artagnan; "why should I?"
"Because you shrug your shoulders."
"It is a way I have of speaking to myself. I neither approve
nor disapprove, my lord; I merely await your commands."
"Good; it is you, accordingly, that I have pitched upon to
conduct the king and the queen to Saint Germain."
"Liar!" thought D'Artagnan.
"You see, therefore," continued the cardinal, perceiving
D'Artagnan's composure, "that, as I have told you, the
welfare of the state is placed in your hands."
"Yes, my lord, and I feel the whole responsibility of such a
"You accept, however?"
"I always accept."
"Do you think the thing possible?"
"Everything is possible."
"Shall you be attacked on the road?"
"And what will you do in that case?"
"I shall pass through those who attack me."
"And suppose you cannot pass through them?"
"So much the worse for them; I shall pass over them."
"And you will place the king and queen in safety also, at
"On your life?"
"On my life."
"You are a hero, my friend," said Mazarin, gazing at the