This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
Language:
Form:
Genre:
Published:
  • 1826
Collection:
FREE Audible 30 days

“Policy admits of no benefits; it contains nothing but interest. A man employed by a minister is no more bound to be grateful than a horse whose rider prefers him to others. My pace has been convenient to him; so much the better. Now it is my interest to throw him from the saddle. Yes, this man loves none but himself. I now see that he has deceived me by continually retarding my elevation; but once again, I possess the sure means for your escape in silence. I am the master here. I will remove the men in whom he trusts, and replace them by others whom he has condemned to die, and who are near at hand confined in the northern tower–the Tour des Oubliettes, which overhangs the river. His creatures will occupy their places. I will recommend a physician–an empyric who is devoted to me–to the illustrious Cardinal, who has been given over by the most scientific in Paris. If you will unite with me, he shall convey to him a universal and eternal remedy.”

“Away!” exclaimed Cinq-Mars. “Leave me, thou infernal monk! No, thou art like no other man! Thou glidest with a noiseless and furtive step through the darkness; thou traversest the walls to preside at secret crimes; thou placest thyself between the hearts of lovers to separate them eternally. Who art thou? Thou resemblest a tormented spirit of the damned!”

“Romantic boy!” answered Joseph; “you would have possessed high attainments had it not been for your false notions. There is perhaps neither damnation nor soul. If the dead returned to complain of their fate, I should have a thousand around me; and I have never seen any, even in my dreams.”

“Monster!” muttered Cinq-Mars.

“Words again!” said Joseph; “there is neither monster nor virtuous man. You and De Thou, who pride yourselves on what you call virtue–you have failed in causing the death of perhaps a hundred thousand men–at once and in the broad daylight–for no end, while Richelieu and I have caused the death of far fewer, one by one, and by night, to found a great power. Would you remain pure and virtuous, you must not interfere with other men; or, rather, it is more reasonable to see that which is, and to say with me, it is possible that there is no such thing as a soul. We are the sons of chance; but relative to other men, we have passions which we must satisfy.”

“I breathe again!” exclaimed Cinq-Mars; “he believes not in God!”

Joseph continued:

“Richelieu, you, and I were born ambitious; it followed, then, that everything must be sacrificed to this idea.”

“Wretched man, do not compare me to thyself!”

“It is the plain truth, nevertheless,” replied the Capuchin’; “only you now see that our system was better than yours.”

“Miserable wretch, it was for love–“

“No, no! it was not that; here are mere words again. You have perhaps imagined it was so; but it was for your own advancement. I have heard you speak to the young girl. You thought but of yourselves; you do not love each other. She thought but of her rank, and you of your ambition. One loves in order to hear one’s self called perfect, and to be adored; it is still the same egoism.”

“Cruel serpent!” cried Cinq-Mars; “is it not enough that thou hast caused our deaths? Why dost thou come here to cast thy venom upon the life thou hast taken from us? What demon has suggested to thee thy horrible analysis of hearts?”

“Hatred of everything which is superior to myself,” replied Joseph, with a low and hollow laugh, “and the desire to crush those I hate under my feet, have made me ambitious and ingenious in finding the weakness of your dreams.”

“Just Heaven, dost thou hear him?” exclaimed Cinq-Mars, rising and extending his arms upward.

The solitude of his prison; the pious conversations of his friend; and, above all, the presence of death, which, like the light of an unknown star, paints in other colors the objects we are accustomed to see; meditations on eternity; and (shall we say it?) the great efforts he had made to change his heartrending regrets into immortal hopes, and to direct to God all that power of love which had led him astray upon earth- all this combined had worked a strange revolution in him; and like those ears of corn which ripen suddenly on receiving one ray from the sun, his soul had acquired light, exalted by the mysterious influence of death.

“Just Heaven!” he repeated, “if this wretch and his master are human, can I also be a man? Behold, O God, behold two distinct ambitions–the one egoistical and bloody, the other devoted and unstained; theirs roused by hatred, and ours inspired by love. Look down, O Lord, judge, and pardon! Pardon, for we have greatly erred in walking but for a single day in the same paths which, on earth, possess but one name to whatever end it may tend!”

Joseph interrupted him harshly, stamping his foot on the ground:

“When you have finished your prayer,” said he, “you will perhaps inform me whether you will assist me; and I will instantly–“

“Never, impure wretch, never!” said Henri d’Effiat. “I will never unite with you in an assassination. I refused to do so when powerful, and upon yourself.”

“You were wrong; you would have been master now.”

“And what happiness should I find in my power when shared as it must be by a woman who does not understand me; who loved me feebly, and prefers a crown?”

“Inconceivable folly!” said the Capuchin, laughing.

“All with her; nothing without her–that was my desire.”

“It is from obstinacy and vanity that you persist; it is impossible,” replied Joseph. “It is not in nature.”

“Thou who wouldst deny the spirit of self-sacrifice,” answered Cinq-Mars; “dost thou understand that of my friend?”

“It does not exist; he follows you because–“

Here the Capuchin, slightly embarrassed, reflected an instant.

“Because–because–he has formed you; you are his work; he is attached to you by the self-love of an author. He was accustomed to lecture you; and he felt that he should not find another pupil so docile to listen to and applaud him. Constant habit has persuaded him that his life was bound to yours; it is something of that kind. He will accompany you mechanically. Besides, all is not yet finished; we shall see the end and the examination. He will certainly deny all knowledge of the conspiracy.”

“He will not deny it!” exclaimed Cinq-Mars, impetuously.

“He knew it, then? You confess it,” said Joseph, triumphantly; “you have not said as much before.”

“O Heaven, what have I done!” gasped Cinq-Mars, hiding his face.

“Calm yourself; he is saved, notwithstanding this avowal, if you accept my offer.”

D’Effiat remained silent for a short time.

The Capuchin continued:

“Save your friend. The King’s favor awaits you, and perhaps the love which has erred for a moment.”

“Man, or whatever else thou art, if thou hast in thee anything resembling a heart,” answered the prisoner, “save him! He is the purest of created beings; but convey him far away while yet he sleeps, for should he awake, thy endeavors would be vain.”

“What good will that do me?” said the Capuchin, laughing. “It is you and your favor that I want.”

The impetuous Cinq-Mars rose, and, seizing Joseph by the arm, eying him with a terrible look, said:

“I degraded him in interceding with thee for him.” He continued, raising the tapestry which separated his apartment from that of his friend, “Come, and doubt, if thou canst, devotion and the immortality of the soul. Compare the uneasiness and misery of thy triumph with the calmness of our defeat, the meanness of thy reign with the grandeur of our captivity, thy sanguinary vigils to the slumbers of the just.”

A solitary lamp threw its light on De Thou. The young man was kneeling on a cushion, surmounted by a large ebony crucifix. He seemed to have fallen asleep while praying. His head, inclining backward, was still raised toward the cross. His pale lips wore a calm and divine smile.

“Holy Father, how he sleeps!” exclaimed the astonished Capuchin, thoughtlessly uniting to his frightful discourse the sacred name he every day pronounced. He suddenly retired some paces, as if dazzled by a heavenly vision.

“Nonsense, nonsense!” he said, shaking his head, and passing his hand rapidly over his face. “All this is childishness. It would overcome me if I reflected on it. These ideas may serve as opium to produce a calm. But that is not the question; say yes or no.”

“No,” said Cinq-Mars, pushing him to the door by the shoulder. “I will not accept life; and I do not regret having compromised De Thou, for he would not have bought his life at the price of an assassination. And when he yielded at Narbonne, it was not that he might escape at Lyons.”

“Then wake him, for here come the judges,” said the furious Capuchin, in a sharp, piercing voice.

Lighted by flambeaux, and preceded by a detachment of the Scotch guards, fourteen judges entered, wrapped in long robes, and whose features were not easily distinguished. They seated themselves in silence on the right and left of the huge chamber. They were the judges delegated by the Cardinal to judge this sad and solemn affair–all true men to the Cardinal Richelieu, and in his confidence, who from Tarascon had chosen and instructed them. He had the Chancellor Seguier brought to Lyons, to avoid, as he stated in the instructions he sent by Chavigny to the King Louis XIII–“to avoid all the delays which would take place if he were not present. M. de Mayillac,” he adds, “was at Nantes for the trial of Chulais, M. de Chateau-Neuf at Toulouse, superintending the death of M. de Montmorency, and M. de Bellievre at Paris, conducting the trial of M. de Biron. The authority and intelligence of these gentlemen in forms of justice are indispensable.”

The Chancellor arrived with all speed. But at this moment he was informed that he was not to appear, for fear that he might be influenced by the memory of his ancient friendship for the prisoner, whom he only saw tete-a-tete. The commissioners and himself had previously and rapidly received the cowardly depositions of the Duc d’Orleans, at Villefranche, in Beaujolais, and then at Vivey,–[House which belonged to an Abbe d’Esnay, brother of M. de Villeroy, called Montresor.] two miles from Lyons, where this wretched prince had received orders to go, begging forgiveness, and trembling, although surrounded by his followers, whom from very pity he had been allowed to retain, carefully watched, however, by the French and Swiss guards. The Cardinal had dictated to him his part and answers word for word; and in consideration of this docility, they had exempted him in form from the painful task of confronting MM. de Cinq-Mars and De Thou. The chancellor and commissioners had also prepared M. de Bouillon, and, strong with their preliminary work, they visited in all their strength the two young criminals whom they had determined not to save.

History has only handed down to us the names of the State counsellors who accompanied Pierre Seguier, but not those of the other commissioners, of whom it is only mentioned that there were six from the parliament of Grenoble, and two presidents. The counsellor, or reporter of the State, Laubardemont, who had directed them in all, was at their head. Joseph often whispered to them with the most studied politeness, glancing at Laubardemont with a ferocious sneer.

It was arranged that an armchair should serve as a bar; and all were silent in expectation of the prisoner’s answer.

He spoke in a soft and clear voice:

“Say to Monsieur le Chancelier that I have the right of appeal to the parliament of Paris, and to object to my judges, because two of them are my declared enemies, and at their head one of my friends, Monsieur de Seguier himself, whom I maintained in his charge.

“But I will spare you much trouble, gentlemen, by pleading guilty to the whole charge of conspiracy, arranged and conducted by myself alone. It is my wish to die. I have nothing to add for myself; but if you would be just, you will not harm the life of him whom the King has pronounced to be the most honest man in France, and who dies for my sake alone.”

“Summon him,” said Laubardemont.

Two guards entered the apartment of De Thou, and led him forth. He advanced, and bowed gravely, while an angelical smile played upon his lips. Embracing Cinq-Mars, “Here at last is our day of glory,” said he. “We are about to gain heaven and eternal happiness.”

“We understand,” said Laubardemont, “we have been given to understand by Monsieur de Cinq-Mars himself, that you were acquainted with this conspiracy?”

De Thou answered instantly, and without hesitation. A half-smile was still on his lips, and his eyes cast down.

“Gentlemen, I have passed my life in studying human laws, and I know that the testimony of one accused person can not condemn another. I can also repeat what I said before, that I should not have been believed had I denounced the King’s brother without proof. You perceive, then, that my life and death entirely rest with myself. I have, however, well weighed the one and the other. I have clearly foreseen that whatever life I may hereafter lead, it could not but be most unhappy after the loss of Monsieur de Cinq-Mars. I therefore acknowledge and confess that I was aware of his conspiracy. I did my utmost to prevent it, to deter him from it. He believed me to be his only and faithful friend, and I would not betray him. Therefore, I condemn myself by the very laws which were set forth by my father, who, I ho
pe, forgives me.”

At these words, the two friends precipitated themselves into each other’s arms.

Cinq-Mars exclaimed:

“My friend, my friend, how bitterly I regret that I have caused your death! Twice I have betrayed you; but you shall know in what manner.”

But De Thou, embracing and consoling his friend, answered, raising his eyes from the ground:

“Ah, happy are we to end our days in this manner! Humanly speaking, I might complain of you; but God knows how much I love you. What have we done to merit the grace of martyrdom, and the happiness of dying together?”

The judges were not prepared for this mildness, and looked at each other with surprise.

“If they would only give me a good partisan,” muttered a hoarse voice (it was Grandchamp, who had crept into the room, and whose eyes were red with fury), “I would soon rid Monseigneur of all these black-looking fellows.” Two men with halberds immediately placed themselves silently at his side. He said no more, and to compose himself retired to a window which overlooked the river, whose tranquil waters the sun had not yet lighted with its beams, and appeared to pay no attention to what was passing in the room.

However, Laubardemont, fearing that the judges might be touched with compassion, said in a loud voice:

“In pursuance of the order of Monseigneur the Cardinal, these two men will be put to the rack; that is to say, to the ordinary and extraordinary question.”

Indignation forced Cinq-Mars again to assume his natural character; crossing his arms, he made two steps toward Laubardemont and Joseph, which alarmed them. The former involuntarily placed his hand to his forehead.

“Are we at Loudun?” exclaimed the prisoner; but De Thou, advancing, took his hand and held it. Cinq-Mars was silent, then continued in a calm voice, looking steadfastly at the judges:

“Messieurs, this measure appears to me rather harsh; a man of my age and rank ought not to be subjected to these formalities. I have confessed all, and I will confess it all again. I willingly and gladly accept death; it is not from souls like ours that secrets can be wrung by bodily suffering. We are prisoners by our own free will, and at the time chosen by us. We have confessed enough for you to condemn us to death; you shall know nothing more. We have obtained what we wanted.”

“What are you doing, my friend?” interrupted De Thou. “He is mistaken, gentlemen, we do not refuse this martyrdom which God offers us; we demand it.”

“But,” said Cinq-Mars, “do you need such infamous tortures to obtain salvation–you who are already a martyr, a voluntary martyr to friendship? Gentlemen, it is I alone who possess important secrets; it is the chief of a conspiracy who knows all. Put me alone to the torture if we must be treated like the worst of malefactors.”

“For the sake of charity,” added De Thou, “deprive me not of equal suffering with my friend; I have not followed him so far, to abandon him at this dreadful moment, and not to use every effort to accompany him to heaven.”

During this debate, another was going forward between Laubardemont and Joseph. The latter, fearing that torments would induce him to disclose the secret of his recent proposition, advised that they should not be resorted to; the other, not thinking his triumph complete by death alone, absolutely insisted on their being applied. The judges surrounded and listened to these secret agents of the Prime-Minister; however, many circumstances having caused them to suspect that the influence of the Capuchin was more powerful than that of the judge, they took part with him, and decided for mercy, when he finished by these words uttered in a low voice:

“I know their secrets. There is no necessity to force them from their lips, because they are useless, and relate to too high circumstances. Monsieur le Grand has no one to denounce but the King, and the other the Queen. It is better that we should remain ignorant. Besides, they will not confess. I know them; they will be silent–the one from pride, the other through piety. Let them alone. The torture will wound them; they will be disfigured and unable to walk. That will spoil the whole ceremony; they must be kept to appear.”

This last observation prevailed. The judges retired to deliberate with the chancellor. While departing, Joseph whispered to Laubardemont:

“I have provided you with enough pleasure here; you will still have that of deliberating, and then you shall go and examine three men who are confined in the northern tower.”

These were the three judges who had condemned Urbain Grandier.

As he spoke, he laughed heartily, and was the last to leave the room, pushing the astonished master of requests before him.

The sombre tribunal had scarcely disappeared when Grandchamp, relieved from his two guards, hastened toward his master, and, seizing his hand, said:

“In the name of Heaven, come to the terrace, Monseigneur! I have something to show you; in the name of your mother, come!”

But at that moment the chamber door was opened, and the old Abbe Quillet appeared.

“My children! my dear children!” exclaimed the old man, weeping bitterly. “Alas! why was I only permitted to enter to-day? Dear Henri, your mother, your brother, your sister, are concealed here.”

“Be quiet, Monsieur l’Abbe!” said Grandchamp; “do come to the terrace, Monseigneur.”

But the old priest still detained and embraced his pupil.

“We hope,” said he; “we hope for mercy.”

“I shall refuse it,” said Cinq-Mars.

“We hope for nothing but the mercy of God,” added De Thou.

“Silence!” said Grandchamp, “the judges are returning.”

And the door opened again to admit the dismal procession, from which Joseph and Laubardemont were missing.

“Gentlemen,” exclaimed the good Abbe, addressing the commissioners, “I am happy to tell you that I have just arrived from Paris, and that no one doubts but that all the conspirators will be pardoned. I have had an interview at her Majesty’s apartments with Monsieur himself; and as to the Duc de Bouillon, his examination is not unfav–“

“Silence!” cried M. de Seyton, the lieutenant of the Scotch guards; and the commissioners entered and again arranged themselves in the apartment.

M. de Thou, hearing them summon the criminal recorder of the presidial of Lyons to pronounce the sentence, involuntarily launched out in one of those transports of religious joy which are never displayed but by the martyrs and saints at the approach of death; and, advancing toward this man, he exclaimed:

“Quam speciosi pedes evangelizantium pacem, evangelizantium bona!”

Then, taking the hand of Cinq-Mars, he knelt down bareheaded to receive the sentence, as was the custom. D’Effiat remained standing; and they dared not compel him to kneel. The sentence was pronounced in these words:

“The Attorney-General, prosecutor on the part of the State, on a charge of high treason; and Messire Henri d’Effiat de Cinq-Mars, master of the horse, aged twenty-two, and Francois Auguste de Thou, aged thirty-five, of the King’s privy council, prisoners in the chateau of Pierre-Encise, at Lyons, accused and defendants on the other part:

“Considered, the special trial commenced by the aforesaid attorney- general against the said D’Efiiat and De Thou; informations, interrogations, confessions, denegations, and confrontations, and authenticated copies of the treaty with Spain, it is considered in the delegated chamber:

“That he who conspires against the person of the ministers of princes is considered by the ancient laws and constitutions of the emperors to be guilty of high treason; (2) that the third ordinance of the King Louis XI renders any one liable to the punishment of death who does not reveal a conspiracy against the State.

“The commissioners deputed by his Majesty have declared the said D’Effiat and De Thou guilty and convicted of the crime of high treason:

“The said D’Effiat, for the conspiracies and enterprises, league, and treaties, formed by him with the foreigner against the State;

“And the said De Thou, for having a thorough knowledge of this conspiracy.

“In reparation of which crimes they have deprived them of all honors and dignities, and condemned them to be deprived of their heads on a scaffold, which is for this purpose erected in the Place des Terreaux, in this city.

“It is further declared that all and each of their possessions, real and personal, be confiscated to the King, and that those which they hold from the crown do pass immediately to it again of the aforesaid goods, sixty thousand livres being devoted to pious uses.”

After the sentence was pronounced, M. de Thou exclaimed in a loud voice:

“God be blessed! God be praised!”

“I have never feared death,” said Cinq-Mars, coldly.

Then, according to the forms prescribed, M. Seyton, the lieutenant of the Scotch guards, an old man upward of sixty years of age, declared with emotion that he placed the prisoners in the hands of the Sieur Thome, provost of the merchants of Lyons; he then took leave of them, followed by the whole of the body-guard, silently, and in tears.

“Weep not,” said Cinq-Mars; “tears are useless. Rather pray for us; and be assured that I do not fear death.”

He shook them by the hand, and De Thou embraced them; after which they left the apartment, their eyes filled with tears, and hiding their faces in their cloaks.

“Barbarians!” exclaimed the Abbe Quillet; “to find arms against them, one must search the whole arsenal of tyrants. Why did they admit me at this moment?”

“As a confessor, Monsieur,” whispered one of the commissioners; “for no stranger has entered this place these two months.”

As soon as the huge gates of the prison were closed, and the outside gratings lowered, “To the terrace, in the name of Heaven!” again exclaimed Grandchamp. And he drew his master and De Thou thither.

The old preceptor followed them, weeping.

“What do you want with us in a moment like this?” said Cinq-Mars, with indulgent gravity.

“Look at the chains of the town,” said the faithful servant.

The rising sun had hardly tinged the sky. In the horizon a line of vivid yellow was visible, upon which the mountain’s rough blue outlines were boldly traced; the waves of the Saline, and the chains of the town hanging from one bank to the other, were still veiled by a light vapor, which also rose from Lyons and concealed the roofs of the houses from the eye of the spectator. The first tints of the morning light had as yet colored only the most elevated points of the magnificent landscape. In the city the steeples of the Hotel de Ville and St. Nizier, and on the surrounding hills the monasteries of the Carmelites and Ste.-Marie, and the entire fortress of Pierre-Encise were gilded with the fires of the coming day. The joyful peals from the churches were heard, the peaceful matins from the convent and village bells. The walls of the prison were alone silent.

“Well,” said Cinq-Mars, “what are we to see the beauty of the plains, the richness of the city, or the calm peacefulness of these villages? Ah, my friend, in every place there are to be found passions and griefs, like those which have brought us here.”

The old Abbe and Grandchamp leaned over the parapet, watching the bank of the river.

“The fog is so thick, we can see nothing yet,” said the Abbe.

“How slowly our last sun appears!” said De Thou.

“Do you not see low down there, at the foot of the rocks, on the opposite bank, a small white house, between the Halincourt gate and the Boulevard Saint Jean?” asked the Abbe.

“I see nothing,” answered Cinq-Mars, “but a mass of dreary wall.”

“Hark!” said the Abbe; “some one speaks near us!”

In fact, a confused, low, and inexplicable murmur was heard in a little turret, the back of which rested upon the platform of the terrace. As it was scarcely larger than a pigeon-house, the prisoners had not until now observed it.

“Are they already coming to fetch us?” said Cinq-Mars.

“Bah! bah!” answered Grandchamp, “do not make yourself uneasy; it is the Tour des Oubliettes. I have prowled round the fort for two months, and I have seen men fall from there into the water at least once a week. Let us think of our affair. I see a light down there.”

An invincible curiosity, however, led the two prisoners to look at the turret, in spite of the horror of their own situation. It advanced to the extremity of the rock, over a gulf of foaming green water of great depth. A wheel of a mill long deserted was seen turning with great rapidity. Three distinct sounds were now heard, like those of a drawbridge suddenly lowered and raised to its former position by a recoil or spring striking against the stone walls; and three times a black substance was seen to fall into the water with a splash.

“Mercy! can these be men?” exclaimed the Abbe, crossing himself.

“I thought I saw brown robes turning in the air,” said Grandchamp; “they are the Cardinal’s friends.”

A horrible cry was heard from the tower, accompanied by an impious oath. The heavy trap groaned for the fourth time. The green water received with a loud noise a burden which cracked the enormous wheel of the mill; one of its large spokes was torn away, and a man entangled in its beams appeared above the foam, which he colored with his blood. He rose twice, and sank beneath the waters, shrieking violently; it was Laubardemont.

Cinq-Mars drew back in horror.

“There is a Providence,” said Grandchamp; “Urbain Grandier summoned him in three years. But come, come! the time is precious! Do not remain motionless. Be it he, I am not surprised, for those wretches devour each other. But let us endeavor to deprive them of their choicest morsel. Vive Dieu! I see the signal! We are saved! All is ready; run to this side, Monsieur l’Abbe! See the white handkerchief at the window! our friends are prepared.”

The Abbe seized the hands of both his friends, and drew them to that side of the terrace toward which they had at first looked. “Listen to me, both of you,” said he. “You must know that none of the conspirators has profited by the retreat you secured for them. They have all hastened to Lyons, disguised, and in great number; they have distributed sufficient gold in the city to secure them from being betrayed; they are resolved to make an attempt to deliver you. The time chosen is that when they are conducting you to the scaffold; the signal is your hat, which you will place on your head when they are to commence.”

The worthy Abbe, half weeping, half smiling hopefully, related that upon the arrest of his pupil he had hastened to Paris; that such secrecy enveloped all the Cardinal’s actions that none there knew the place in which the master of the horse was detained. Many said that he was banished; and when the reconciliation between Monsieur and the Duc de Bouillon and the King was known, men no longer doubted that the life of the other was assured, and ceased to speak of this affair, which, not having been executed, compromised few persons. They had even in some measure rejoiced in Paris to see the town of Sedan and its territory added to the kingdom in exchange for the letters of abolition granted to the Duke, acknowledged innocent in common with Monsieur; so that the result of all the arrangements had been to excite admiration of the Cardinal’s ability, and of his clemency toward the conspirators, who, it was said, had contemplated his death. They even spread the report that he had facilitated the escape of Cinq-Mars and De Thou, occupying himself generously with their retreat to a foreign land, after having bravely caused them to be arrested in the midst of the camp of Perpignan.

At this part of the narrative, Cinq-Mars could not avoid forgetting his resignation, and clasping his friend’s hand, “Arrested!” he exclaimed. “Must we renounce even the honor of having voluntarily surrendered ourselves? Must we sacrifice all, even the opinion of posterity?”

“There is vanity again,” replied De Thou, placing his fingers on his lips. “But hush! let us hear the Abbe to the end.”

The tutor, not doubting that the calmness which these two young men exhibited arose from the joy they felt in finding their escape assured, and seeing that the sun had hardly yet dispersed the morning mists, yielded himself without restraint to the involuntary pleasure which old men always feel in recounting new events, even though they afflict the hearers. He related all his fruitless endeavors to discover his pupil’s retreat, unknown to the court and the town, where none, indeed, dared to pronounce the name of Cinq-Mars in the most secret asylums. He had only heard of the imprisonment at Pierre-Encise from the Queen herself, who had deigned to send for him, and charge him to inform the Marechale d’Effiat and all the conspirators that they might make a desperate effort to deliver their young chief. Anne of Austria had even ventured to send many of the gentlemen of Auvergne and Touraine to Lyons to assist in their last attempt.

“The good Queen!” said he; “she wept greatly when I saw her, and said that she would give all she possessed to save you. She reproached herself deeply for some letter, I know not what. She spoke of the welfare of France, but did not explain herself. She said that she admired you, and conjured you to save yourself, if it were only through pity for her, whom you would otherwise consign to everlasting remorse.”

“Said she nothing else?” interrupted De Thou, supporting Cinq-Mars, who grew visibly paler.

“Nothing more,” said the old man.

“And no one else spoke of me?” inquired the master of the horse.

“No one,” said the Abbe.

“If she had but written to me!” murmured Henri.

“Remember, my father, that you were sent here as a confessor,” said De Thou.

Here old Grandchamp, who had been kneeling before Cinq-Mars, and dragging him by his clothes to the other side of the terrace, exclaimed in a broken voice:

“Monseigneur–my master–my good master–do you see them? Look there– ’tis they! ’tis they–all of them!”

“Who, my old friend?” asked his master.

“Who? Great Heaven! look at that window! Do you not recognize them? Your mother, your sisters, and your brother.”

And the day, now fairly broken, showed him in the distance several women waving their handkerchiefs; and there, dressed all in black, stretching out her arms toward the prison, sustained by those about her, Cinq-Mars recognized his mother, with his family, and his strength failed him for a moment. He leaned his head upon his friend’s breast and wept.

“How many times must I, then, die?” he murmured; then, with a gesture, returning from the top of the tower the salutations of his family, “Let us descend quickly, my father!” he said to the old Abbe. “You will tell me at the tribunal of penitence, and before God, whether the remainder of my life is worth my shedding more blood to preserve it.”

It was there that Cinq-Mars confessed to God what he alone and Marie de Mantua knew of their secret and unfortunate love. “He gave to his confessor,” says Father Daniel, “a portrait of a noble lady, set in diamonds, which were to be sold, and the money employed in pious works.”

M. de Thou, after having confessed, wrote a letter;–[See the copy of this letter to Madame la Princesse de Guemenee, in the notes at the end of the volume.]–after which (according to the account given by his confessor) he said, “This is the last thought I will bestow upon this world; let us depart for heaven!” and walking up and down the room with long strides, he recited aloud the psalm, ‘Miserere mei, Deus’, with an incredible ardor of spirit, his whole frame trembling so violently it seemed as if he did not touch the earth, and that the soul was about to make its exit from his body. The guards were mute at this spectacle, which made them all shudder with respect and horror.

Meanwhile, all was calm in the city of Lyons, when to the great astonishment of its inhabitants, they beheld the entrance through all its gates of troops of infantry and cavalry, which they knew were encamped at a great distance. The French and the Swiss guards, the regiment of Pompadours, the men-at-arms of Maurevert, and the carabineers of La Roque, all defiled in silence. The cavalry, with their muskets on the pommel of the saddle, silently drew up round the chateau of Pierre- Encise; the infantry formed a line upon the banks of the Saone from the gate of the fortress to the Place des Terreaux. It was the usual spot for execution.

“Four companies of the bourgeois of Lyons, called ‘pennonage’, of which about eleven or twelve hundred men, were ranged [says the journal of Montresor] in the midst of the Place des Terreaux, so as to enclose a space of about eighty paces each way, into which they admitted no one but those who were absolutely necessary.

“In the centre of this space was raised a scaffold about seven feet high and nine feet square, in the midst of which, somewhat forward, was placed a stake three feet in height, in front of which was a block half a foot high, so that the principal face of the scaffold looked toward the shambles of the Terreaux, by the side of the Saone. Against the scaffold was placed a short ladder of eight rounds, in the direction of the Dames de St. Pierre.”

Nothing had transpired in the town as to the name of the prisoners. The inaccessible walls of the fortress let none enter or leave but at night, and the deep dungeons had sometimes confined father and son for years together, four feet apart from each other, without their even being aware of the vicinity. The surprise was extreme at these striking preparations, and the crowd collected, not knowing whether for a fete or for an execution.

This same secrecy which the agents of the minister had strictly preserved was also carefully adhered to by the conspirators, for their heads depended on it.

Montresor, Fontrailles, the Baron de Beauvau, Olivier d’Entraigues, Gondi, the Comte du Lude, and the Advocate Fournier, disguised as soldiers, workmen, and morris-dancers, armed with poniards under their clothes, had dispersed amid the crowd more than five hundred gentlemen and domestics, disguised like themselves. Horses were ready on the road to Italy, and boats upon the Rhone had been previously engaged. The young Marquis d’Effiat, elder brother of Cinq-Mars, dressed as a Carthusian, traversed the crowd, without ceasing, between the Place des Terreaux and the little house in which his mother and sister were concealed with the Presidente de Pontac, the sister of the unfortunate De Thou. He reassured them, gave them from time to time a ray of hope, and returned to the conspirators to satisfy himself that each was prepared for action.

Each soldier forming the line had at his side a man ready to poniard him.

The vast crowd, heaped together behind the line of guards, pushed them forward, passed their lines, and made them lose ground. Ambrosio, the Spanish servant whom Cinq-Mars had saved, had taken charge of the captain of the pikemen, and, disguised as a Catalonian musician, had commenced a dispute with him, pretending to be determined not to cease playing the hurdy-gurdy.

Every one was at his post.

The Abbe de Gondi, Olivier d’Entraigues, and the Marquis d’Effiat were in the midst of a group of fish-women and oyster-wenches, who were disputing and bawling, abusing one of their number younger and more timid than her masculine companions. The brother of Cinq-Mars approached to listen to their quarrel.

“And why,” said she to the others, “would you have Jean le Roux, who is an honest man, cut off the heads of two Christians, because he is a butcher by trade? So long as I am his wife, I’ll not allow it. I’d rather–“

“Well, you are wrong!” replied her companions. “What is’t to thee whether the meat he cuts is eaten or not eaten? Why, thou’lt have a hundred crowns to dress thy three children all in new clothes. Thou’rt lucky to be the wife of a butcher. Profit, then, ‘ma mignonne’, by what God sends thee by the favor of his Eminence.”

“Let me alone!” answered the first speaker. “I’ll not accept it. I’ve seen these fine young gentlemen at the windows. They look as mild as lambs.”

“Well! and are not thy lambs and calves killed?” said Femme le Bon. “What fortune falls to this little woman! What a pity! especially when it is from the reverend Capuchin!”

“How horrible is the gayety of the people!” said Olivier d’Entraigues, unguardedly. All the women heard him, and began to murmur against him.

“Of the people!” said they; “and whence comes this little bricklayer with his plastered clothes?”

“Ah!” interrupted another, “dost not see that ’tis some gentleman in disguise? Look at his white hands! He never worked a square; ’tis some little dandy conspirator. I’ve a great mind to go and fetch the captain of the watch to arrest him.”

The Abbe de Gondi felt all the danger of this situation, and throwing himself with an air of anger upon Olivier, and assuming the manners of a joiner, whose costume and apron he had adopted, he exclaimed, seizing him by the collar:

“You’re just right. ‘Tis a little rascal that never works! These two years that my father’s apprenticed him, he has done nothing but comb his hair to please the girls. Come, get home with you!”

And, striking him with his rule, he drove him through the crowd, and returned to place himself on another part of the line. After having well reprimanded the thoughtless page, he asked him for the letter which he said he had to give to M. de Cinq-Mars when he should have escaped. Olivier had carried it in his pocket for two months. He gave it him. “It is from one prisoner to another,” said he, “for the Chevalier de jars, on leaving the Bastille, sent it me from one of his companions in captivity.”

“Ma foi!” said Gondi, “there may be some important secret in it for our friends. I’ll open it. You ought to have thought of it before. Ah, bah! it is from old Bassompierre. Let us read it.

MY DEAR CHILD: I learn from the depths of the Bastille, where I still remain, that you are conspiring against the tyrant Richelieu, who does not cease to humiliate our good old nobility and the parliaments, and to sap the foundations of the edifice upon which the State reposes. I hear that the nobles are taxed and condemned by petty judges, contrary to the privileges of their condition, forced to the arriere-ban, despite the ancient customs.”

“Ah! the old dotard!” interrupted the page, laughing immoderately.

“Not so foolish as you imagine, only he is a little behindhand for our affair.”

“I can not but approve this generous project, and I pray you give me to wot all your proceedings–“

“Ah! the old language of the last reign!” said Olivier. “He can’t say ‘Make me acquainted with your proceedings,’ as we now say.”

“Let me read, for Heaven’s sake!” said the Abbe; “a hundred years hence they’ll laugh at our phrases.” He continued:

“I can counsel you, notwithstanding my great age, in relating to you what happened to me in 1560.”

“Ah, faith! I’ve not time to waste in reading it all. Let us see the end.

“When I remember my dining at the house of Madame la Marechale d’Effiat, your mother, and ask myself what has become of all the guests, I am really afflicted. My poor Puy-Laurens has died at Vincennes, of grief at being forgotten by Monsieur in his prison; De Launay killed in a duel, and I am grieved at it, for although I was little satisfied with my arrest, he did it with courtesy, and I have always thought him a gentleman. As for me, I am under lock and key until the death of M. le Cardinal. Ah, my child! we were thirteen at table. We must not laugh at old superstitions. Thank God that you are the only one to whom evil has not arrived!”

“There again!” said Olivier, laughing heartily; and this time the Abbe de Gondi could not maintain his gravity, despite all his efforts.

They tore the useless letter to pieces, that it might not prolong the detention of the old marechal, should it be found, and drew near the Place des Terreaux and the line of guards, whom they were to attack when the signal of the hat should be given by the young prisoner.

They beheld with satisfaction all their friends at their posts, and ready “to play with their knives,” to use their own expression. The people, pressing around them, favored them without being aware of it. There came near the Abbe a troop of young ladies dressed in white and veiled. They were going to church to communicate; and the nuns who conducted them, thinking, like most of the people, that the preparations were intended to do honor to some great personage, allowed them to mount upon some large hewn stones, collected behind the soldiers. There they grouped themselves with the grace natural to their age, like twenty beautiful statues upon a single pedestal. One would have taken them for those vestals whom antiquity invited to the sanguinary shows of the gladiators. They whispered to each other, looking around them, laughing and blushing together like children.

The Abbe de Gondi saw with impatience that Olivier was again forgetting his character of conspirator and his costume of a bricklayer in ogling these girls, and assuming a mien too elegant, an attitude too refined, for the position in life he was supposed to occupy. He already began to approach them, turning his hair with his fingers, when Fontrailles and Montresor fortunately arrived in the dress of Swiss soldiers. A group of gentlemen, disguised as sailors, followed them with iron-shod staves in their hands. There was a paleness on their faces which announced no good.

“Stop here!” said one of them to his suite; “this is the place.”

The sombre air and the silence of these spectators contrasted with the gay and anxious looks of the girls, and their childish exclamations.

“Ah, the fine procession!” they cried; “there are at least five hundred men with cuirasses and red uniforms, upon fine horses. They’ve got yellow feathers in their large hats.”

“They are strangers–Catalonians,” said a French guard.

“Whom are they conducting here? Ah, here is a fine gilt coach! but there’s no one in it.”

“Ah! I see three men on foot; where are they going?”

“To death!” said Fontrailles, in a deep, stern voice which silenced all around. Nothing was heard but the slow tramp of the horses, which suddenly stopped, from one of those delays that happen in all processions. They then beheld a painful and singular spectacle. An old man with a tonsured head walked with difficulty, sobbing violently, supported by two young men of interesting and engaging appearance, who held one of each other’s hands behind his bent shoulders, while with the other each held one of his arms. The one on the left was dressed in black; he was grave, and his eyes were cast down. The other, much younger, was attired in a striking dress. A pourpoint of Holland cloth, adorned with broad gold lace, and with large embroidered sleeves, covered him from the neck to the waist, somewhat in the fashion of a woman’s corset; the rest of his vestments were in black velvet, embroidered with silver palms. Gray boots with red heels, to which were attached golden spurs; a scarlet cloak with gold buttons–all set off to advantage his elegant and graceful figure. He bowed right and left with a melancholy smile.

An old servant, with white moustache, and beard, followed with his head bent down, leading two chargers, richly comparisoned. The young ladies were silent; but they could not restrain their sobs.

“It is, then, that poor old man whom they are leading to the scaffold,” they exclaimed; “and his children are supporting him.”

“Upon your knees, ladies,” said a man, “and pray for him!”

“On your knees,” cried Gondi, “and let us pray that God will deliver him!”

All the conspirators repeated, “On your knees! on your knees!” and set the example to the people, who imitated them in silence.

“We can see his movements better now,” said Gondi, in a whisper to Montresor. “Stand up; what is he doing?”

“He has stopped, and is speaking on our side, saluting us; I think he has recognized us.”

Every house, window, wall, roof, and raised platform that looked upon the place was filled with persons of every age and condition.

The most profound silence prevailed throughout the immense multitude. One might have heard the wings of a gnat, the breath of the slightest wind, the passage of the grains of dust which it raised; yet the air was calm, the sun brilliant, the sky blue. The people listened attentively. They were close to the Place des Terreaux; they heard the blows of the hammer upon the planks, then the voice of Cinq-Mars.

A young Carthusian thrust his pale face between two guards. All the conspirators rose above the kneeling people. Every one put his hand to his belt or in his bosom, approaching close to the soldier whom he was to poniard.

“What is he doing?” asked the Carthusian. “Has he his hat upon his head?”

“He throws his hat upon the ground far from him,” calmly answered the arquebusier.

CHAPTER XXVI

THE FETE

“Mon Dieu! quest-ce que ce monde!”

Dernieres paroles de M. Cinq-Mars

The same day that the melancholy procession took place at Lyons, and during the scenes we have just witnessed, a magnificent fete was given at Paris with all the luxury and bad taste of the time. The powerful Cardinal had determined to fill the first two towns in France with his pomp. The Cardinal’s return was the occasion on which this fete was announced, as given to the King and all his court.

Master of the French empire by force, the Cardinal desired to be master of French opinion by seduction; and, weary of dominating, hoped to please. The tragedy of “Mirame” was to be represented in a hall constructed expressly for this great day, which raised the expenses of this entertainment, says Pelisson, to three hundred thousand crowns.

The entire guard of the Prime-Minister were under arms; his four companies of musketeers and gens d’armes were ranged in a line upon the vast staircases and at the entrance of the long galleries of the Palais- Cardinal. This brilliant pandemonium, where the mortal sins have a temple on each floor, belonged that day to pride alone, which occupied it from top to bottom. Upon each step was placed one of the arquebusiers of the Cardinal’s guard, holding a torch in one hand and a long carbine in the other. The crowd of his gentlemen circulated between these living candelabra, while in the large garden, surrounded by huge chestnut-trees, now replaced by a range of archers, two companies of mounted light-horse, their muskets in their hands, were ready to obey the first order or the first fear of their master.

The Cardinal, carried and followed by his thirty-eight pages, took his seat in his box hung with purple, facing that in which the King was half reclining behind the green curtains which preserved him from the glare of the flambeaux. The whole court filled the boxes, and rose when the King appeared. The orchestra commenced a brilliant overture, and the pit was thrown open to all the men of the town and the army who presented themselves. Three impetuous waves of spectators rushed in and filled it in an instant. They were standing, and so thickly pressed together that the movement of a single arm sufficed to cause in the crowd a movement similar to the waving of a field of corn. There was one man whose head thus described a large circle, as that of a compass, without his feet quitting the spot to which they were fixed; and some young men were carried out fainting.

The minister, contrary to custom, advanced his skeleton head out of his box, and saluted the assembly with an air which was meant to be gracious. This grimace obtained an acknowledgment only from the boxes; the pit was silent. Richelieu had wished to show that he did not fear the public judgment upon his work, and had given orders to admit without distinction all who should present themselves. He began to repent of this, but too late. The impartial assembly was as cold at the tragedie-pastorale itself. In vain did the theatrical bergeres, covered with jewels, raised upon red heels, with crooks ornamented with ribbons and garlands of flowers upon their robes, which were stuck out with farthingale’s, die of love in tirades of two hundred verses; in vain did the ‘amants parfaits’ starve themselves in solitary caves, deploring their death in emphatic tones, and fastening to their hair ribbons of the favorite color of their mistress; in vain did the ladies of the court exhibit signs of perfect ecstasy, leaning over the edges of their boxes, and even attempt a few fainting-fits–the silent pit gave no other sign of life than the perpetual shaking of black heads with long hair.

The Cardinal bit his lips and played the abstracted during the first and second acts; the silence in which the third and fourth passed off so wounded his paternal heart that he had himself raised half out of the balcony, and in this uncomfortable and ridiculous position signed to the court to remark the finest passages, and himself gave the signal for applause. It was acted upon from some of the boxes, but the impassible pit was more silent than ever; leaving the affair entirely between the stage and the upper regions, they obstinately remained neuter. The master of Europe and France then cast a furious look at this handful of men who dared not to admire his work, feeling in his heart the wish of Nero, and thought for a moment how happy he should be if all those men had but one head.

Suddenly this black and before silent mass became animated, and endless rounds of applause burst forth, to the great astonishment of the boxes, and above all, of the minister. He bent forward and bowed gratefully, but drew back on perceiving that the clapping of hands interrupted the actors every time they wished to proceed. The King had the curtains of his box, until then closed, opened, to see what excited so much enthusiasm. The whole court leaned forward from their boxes, and perceived among the spectators on the stage a young man, humbly dressed, who had just seated himself there with difficulty. Every look was fixed upon him. He appeared utterly embarrassed by this, and sought to cover himself with his little black cloak-far too short for the purpose. “Le Cid! le Cid!” cried the pit, incessantly applauding.

“Terrified, Corneille escaped behind the scenes, and all was again silent. The Cardinal, beside himself with fury, had his curtain closed, and was carried into his galleries, where was performed another scene, prepared long before by the care of Joseph, who had tutored the attendants upon the point before quitting Paris. Cardinal Mazarin exclaimed that it would be quicker to pass his Eminence through a long glazed window, which was only two feet from the ground, and led from his box to the apartments; and it opened and the page passed his armchair through it. Hereupon a hundred voices rose to proclaim the accomplishment of the grand prophecy of Nostradamus. They said:

“The bonnet rouge!-that’s Monseigneur; ‘quarante onces!’–that’s Cinq- Mars; ‘tout finira!’–that’s De Thou. What a providential incident! His Eminence reigns over the future as over the present.”

He advanced thus upon his ambulatory throne through the long and splendid galleries, listening to this delicious murmur of a new flattery; but insensible to the hum of voices which deified his genius, he would have given all their praises for one word, one single gesture of that immovable and inflexible public, even had that word been a cry of hatred; for clamor can be stifled, but how avenge one’s self on silence? The people can be prevented from striking, but who can prevent their waiting? Pursued by the troublesome phantom of public opinion, the gloomy minister only thought himself in safety when he reached the interior of his palace amid his flattering courtiers, whose adorations soon made him forget that a miserable pit had dared not to admire him. He had himself placed like a king in the midst of his vast apartments, and, looking around him, attentively counted the powerful and submissive men who surrounded him.

Counting them, he admired himself. The chiefs of the great families, the princes of the Church, the presidents of all the parliaments, the governors of the provinces, the marshals and generals-in-chief of the armies, the nuncio, the ambassadors of all the kingdoms, the deputies and senators of the republics, were motionless, submissive, and ranged around him, as if awaiting his orders. There was no longer a look to brave his look, no longer a word to raise itself against his will, not a project that men dared to form in the most secret recesses of the heart, not a thought which did not proceed from his. Mute Europe listened to him by its representatives. From time to time he raise an imperious voice, and threw a self-satisfied word to this pompous circle, as a man who throws a copper coin among a crowd of beggars. Then might be distinguished, by the pride which lit up his looks and the joy visible in his countenance, the prince who had received such a favor.

Transformed into another man, he seemed to have made a step in the hierarchy of power, so surrounded with unlooked-for adorations and sudden caresses was the fortunate courtier, whose obscure happiness the Cardinal did not even perceive. The King’s brother and the Duc de Bouillon stood in the crowd, whence the minister did not deign to withdraw them. Only he ostentatiously said that it would be well to dismantle a few fortresses, spoke at length of the necessity of pavements and quays at Paris, and said in two words to Turenne that he might perhaps be sent to the army in Italy, to seek his baton as marechal from Prince Thomas.

While Richelieu thus played with the great and small things of Europe, amid his noisy fete, the Queen was informed at the Louvre that the time was come for her to proceed to the Cardinal’s palace, where the King awaited her after the tragedy. The serious Anne of Austria did not witness any play; but she could not refuse her presence at the fete of the Prime-Minister. She was in her oratory, ready to depart, and covered with pearls, her favorite ornament; standing opposite a large glass with Marie de Mantua, she was arranging more to her satisfaction one or two details of the young Duchess’s toilette, who, dressed in a long pink robe, was herself contemplating with attention, though with somewhat of ennui and a little sullenness, the ensemble of her appearance.

She saw her own work in Marie, and, more troubled, thought with deep apprehension of the moment when this transient calm would cease, despite the profound knowledge she had of the feeling but frivolous character of Marie. Since the conversation at St.-Germain (the fatal letter), she had not quitted the young Princess, and had bestowed all her care to lead her mind to the path which she had traced out for her, for the most decided feature in the character of Anne of Austria was an invincible obstinacy in her calculations, to which she would fain have subjected all events and all passions with a geometrical exactitude. There is no doubt that to this positive and immovable mind we must attribute all the misfortunes of her regency. The sombre reply of Cinq-Mars; his arrest; his trial– all had been concealed from the Princesse Marie, whose first fault, it is true, had been a movement of self-love and a momentary forgetfulness.

However, the Queen by nature was good-hearted, and had bitterly repented her precipitation in writing words so decisive, and whose consequences had been so serious; and all her endeavors had been applied to mitigate the results. In reflecting upon her conduct in reference to the happiness of France, she applauded herself for having thus, at one stroke, stifled the germ of a civil war which would have shaken the State to its very foundations. But when she approached her young friend and gazed on that charming being whose happiness she was thus destroying in its bloom, and reflected that an old man upon a throne, even, would not recompense her for the eternal loss she was about to sustain; when she thought of the entire devotion, the total abnegation of himself, she had witnessed in a young man of twenty-two, of so lofty a character, and almost master of the kingdom–she pitied Marie, and admired from her very soul the man whom she had judged so ill.

She would at least have desired to explain his worth to her whom he had loved so deeply, and who as yet knew him not; but she still hoped that the conspirators assembled at Lyons would be able to save him, and once knowing him to be in a foreign land she could tell all to her dear Marie.

As to the latter, she had at first feared war. But surrounded by the Queen’s people, who had let nothing reach her ear but news dictated by this Princess, she knew, or thought she knew, that the conspiracy had not taken place; that the King and the Cardinal had returned to Paris nearly at the same time; that Monsieur, relapsed for a while, had reappeared at court; that the Duc de Bouillon, on ceding Sedan, had also been restored to favor; and that if the ‘grand ecuyer’ had not yet appeared, the reason was the more decided animosity of the Cardinal toward him, and the greater part he had taken in the conspiracy. But common sense and natural justice clearly said that having acted under the order of the King’s brother, his pardon ought to follow that of this Prince.

All then, had calmed the first uneasiness of her heart, while nothing had softened the kind of proud resentment she felt against Cinq-Mars, so indifferent as not to inform her of the place of his retreat, known to the Queen and the whole court, while, she said to herself, she had thought but of him. Besides, for two months the balls and fetes had so rapidly succeeded each other, and so many mysterious duties had commanded her presence, that she had for reflection and regret scarce more than the time of her toilette, at which she was generally almost alone. Every evening she regularly commenced the general reflection upon the ingratitude and inconstancy of men–a profound and novel thought, which never fails to occupy the head of a young person in the time of first love–but sleep never permitted her to finish the reflection; and the fatigue of dancing closed her large black eyes ere her ideas had found time to classify themselves in her memory, or to present her with any distinct images of the past.

In the morning she was always surrounded by the young princesses of the court, and ere she well had time to dress had to present herself in the Queen’s apartment, where awaited her the eternal, but now less disagreeable homage of the Prince-Palatine. The Poles had had time to learn at the court of France that mysterious reserve, that eloquent silence which so pleases the women, because it enhances the importance of things always secret, and elevates those whom they respect, so as to preclude the idea of exhibiting suffering in their presence. Marie was regarded as promised to King Uladislas; and she herself–we must confess it–had so well accustomed herself to this idea that the throne of Poland occupied by another queen would have appeared to her a monstrous thing. She did not look forward with pleasure to the period of ascending it, but had, however, taken possession of the homage which was rendered her beforehand. Thus, without avowing it even to herself, she greatly exaggerated the supposed offences of Cinq-Mars, which the Queen had expounded to her at St. Germain.

“You are as fresh as the roses in this bouquet,” said the Queen. “Come, ‘ma chere’, are you ready? What means this pouting air? Come, let me fasten this earring. Do you not like these toys, eh? Will you have another set of ornaments?”

“Oh, no, Madame. I think that I ought not to decorate myself at all, for no one knows better than yourself how unhappy I am. Men are very cruel toward us!

“I have reflected on what you said, and all is now clear to me. Yes, it is quite true that he did not love me, for had he loved me he would have renounced an enterprise that gave me so much uneasiness. I told him, I remember, indeed, which was very decided,” she added, with an important and even solemn air, “that he would be a rebel–yes, Madame, a rebel. I told him so at Saint-Eustache. But I see that your Majesty was right. I am very unfortunate! He had more ambition than love.” Here a tear of pique escaped from her eyes, and rolled quickly down her cheek, as a pearl upon a rose.

“Yes, it is certain,” she continued, fastening her bracelets; “and the greatest proof is that in the two months he has renounced his enterprise –you told me that you had saved him–he has not let me know the place of his retreat, while I during that time have been weeping, have been imploring all your power in his favor; have sought but a word that might inform me of his proceedings. I have thought but of him; and even now I refuse every day the throne of Poland, because I wish to prove to the end that I am constant, that you yourself can not make me disloyal to my attachment, far more serious than his, and that we are of higher worth than the men. But, however, I think I may attend this fete, since it is not a ball.”

“Yes, yes, my dear child! come, come!” said the Queen, desirous of putting an end to this childish talk, which afflicted her all the more that it was herself who had encouraged it. “Come, you will see the union that prevails between the princes and the Cardinal, and we shall perhaps hear some good news.” They departed.

When the two princesses entered the long galleries of the Palais- Cardinal, they were received and coldly saluted by the King and the minister, who, closely surrounded by silent courtiers, were playing at chess upon a small low table. All the ladies who entered with the Queen or followed her, spread through the apartments; and soon soft music sounded in one of the saloons–a gentle accompaniment to the thousand private conversations carried on round the play tables.

Near the Queen passed, saluting her, a young newly married couple–the happy Chabot and the beautiful Duchesse de Rohan. They seemed to shun the crowd, and to seek apart a moment to speak to each other of themselves. Every one received them with a smile and looked after them with envy. Their happiness was expressed as strongly in the countenances of others as in their own.

Marie followed them with her eyes. “Still they are happy,” she whispered to the Queen, remembering the censure which in her hearing had been thrown upon the match.

But without answering, Anne of Austria, fearful that in the crowd some inconsiderate expression might inform her young friend of the mournful event so interesting to her, placed herself with Marie behind the King. Monsieur, the Prince-Palatine, and the Duc de Bouillon came to speak to her with a gay and lively air. The second, however, casting upon Marie a severe and scrutinizing glance, said to her:

“Madame la Princesse, you are most surprisingly beautiful and gay this evening.”

She was confused at these words, and at seeing the speaker walk away with a sombre air. She addressed herself to the Duc d’Orleans, who did not answer, and seemed not to hear her. Marie looked at the Queen, and thought she remarked paleness and disquiet on her features. Meantime, no one ventured to approach the minister, who was deliberately meditating his moves. Mazarin alone, leaning over his chair, followed all the strokes with a servile attention, giving gestures of admiration every time that the Cardinal played. Application to the game seemed to have dissipated for a moment the cloud that usually shaded the minister’s brow. He had just advanced a tower, which placed Louis’s king in that false position which is called “stalemate,”–a situation in which the ebony king, without being personally attacked, can neither advance nor retire in any direction. The Cardinal, raising his eyes, looked at his adversary and smiled with one corner of his mouth, not being able to avoid a secret analogy. Then, observing the dim eyes and dying countenance of the Prince, he whispered to Mazarin:

“Faith, I think he’ll go before me. He is greatly changed.”

At the same time he himself was seized with a long and violent cough, accompanied internally with the sharp, deep pain he so often felt in the side. At the sinister warning he put a handkerchief to his mouth, which he withdrew covered with blood. To hide it, he threw it under the table, and looked around him with a stern smile, as if to forbid observation. Louis XIII, perfectly insensible, did not make the least movement, beyond arranging his men for another game with a skeleton and trembling hand. There two dying men seemed to be throwing lots which should depart first.

At this moment a clock struck the hour of midnight. The King raised his head.

“Ah, ah!” he said; “this morning at twelve Monsieur le Grand had a disagreeable time of it.”

A piercing shriek was uttered behind him. He shuddered, and threw himself forward, upsetting the table. Marie de Mantua lay senseless in the arms of the Queen, who, weeping bitterly, said in the King’s ear:

“Ah, Sire, your axe has a double edge.”

She then bestowed all her cares and maternal kisses upon the young Princess, who, surrounded by all the ladies of the court, only came to herself to burst into a torrent of tears. As soon as she opened her eyes, “Alas! yes, my child,” said Anne of Austria. “My poor girl, you are Queen of Poland.”

It has often happened that the same event which causes tears to flow in the palace of kings has spread joy without, for the people ever suppose that happiness reigns at festivals. There were five days’ rejoicings for the return of the minister, and every evening under the windows of the Palais-Cardinal and those of the Louvre pressed the people of Paris. The late disturbances had given them a taste for public movements. They rushed from one street to another with a curiosity at times insulting and hostile, sometimes walking in silent procession, sometimes sending forth loud peals of laughter or prolonged yells, of which no one understood the meaning. Bands of young men fought in the streets and danced in rounds in the squares, as if manifesting some secret hope of pleasure and some insensate joy, grievous to the upright heart.

It was remarkable that profound silence prevailed exactly in those places where the minister had ordered rejoicings, and that the people passed disdainfully before the illuminated facade of his palace. If some voices were raised, it was to read aloud in a sneering tone the legends and inscriptions with which the idiot flattery of some obscure writers had surrounded the portraits of the minister. One of these pictures was guarded by arquebusiers, who, however, could not preserve it from the stones which were thrown at it from a distance by unseen hands. It represented the Cardinal-Generalissimo wearing a casque surrounded by laurels. Above it was inscribed:

“Grand Duc: c’est justement que la France t’honore; Ainsi que le dieu Mars dans Paris on t’adore.”

These fine phrases did not persuade the people that they were happy. They no more adored the Cardinal than they did the god Mars, but they accepted his fetes because they served as a covering for disorder. All Paris was in an uproar. Men with long beards, carrying torches, measures of wine, and two drinking-cups, which they knocked together with a great noise, went along, arm in arm, shouting in chorus with rude voices an old round of the League:.

“Reprenons la danse;
Allons, c’est assez.
Le printemps commence; Les rois sont passes.

“Prenons quelque treve;
Nous sommes lasses.
Les rois de la feve
Nous ont harasses.

“Allons, Jean du Mayne,
Les rois sont passes.

“Les rois de la feve
Nous ont harasses.
Allons, Jean du Mayne, Les rois sont passes.”

The frightful bands who howled forth these words traversed the Quais and the Pont-Neuf, squeezing against the high houses, which then covered the latter, the peaceful citizens who were led there by simple curiosity. Two young men, wrapped in cloaks, thus thrown one against the other, recognized each other by the light of a torch placed at the foot of the statue of Henri IV, which had been lately raised.

“What! still at Paris?” said Corneille to Milton. “I thought you were in London.”

“Hear you the people, Monsieur? Do you hear them? What is this ominous chorus,

‘Les rois sont passes’?”

“That is nothing, Monsieur. Listen to their conversation.”

“The parliament is dead,” said one of the men; “the nobles are dead. Let us dance; we are the masters. The old Cardinal is dying. There is no longer any but the King and ourselves.”

“Do you hear that drunken wretch, Monsieur?” asked Corneille. “All our epoch is in those words of his.”

“What! is this the work of the minister who is called great among you, and even by other nations? I do not understand him.”

“I will explain the matter to you presently,” answered Corneille. “But first listen to the concluding part of this letter, which I received to- day. Draw near this light under the statue of the late King. We are alone. The crowd has passed. Listen!

“It was by one of those unforeseen circumstances which prevent the accomplishment of the noblest enterprises that we were not able to save MM. de Cinq-Mars and De Thou. We might have foreseen that, prepared for death by long meditation, they would themselves refuse our aid; but this idea did not occur to any of us. In the precipitation of our measures, we also committed the fault of dispersing ourselves too much in the crowd, so that we could not take a sudden resolution. I was unfortunately stationed near the scaffold; and I saw our unfortunate friends advance to the foot of it, supporting the poor Abbe Quillet, who was destined to behold the death of the pupil whose birth he had witnessed. He sobbed aloud, and had strength enough only to kiss the hands of the two friends. We all advanced, ready to throw ourselves upon the guards at the announced signal; but I saw with grief M. de Cinq-Mars cast his hat from him with an air of disdain. Our movement had been observed, and the Catalonian guard was doubled round the scaffold. I could see no more; but I heard much weeping around me. After the three usual blasts of the trumpet, the recorder of Lyons, on horseback at a little distance from the scaffold, read the sentence of death, to which neither of the prisoners listened. M. de Thou said to M. de Cinq-Mars:

“‘Well, dear friend, which shall die first? Do you remember Saint- Gervais and Saint-Protais?’

“‘Which you think best,’ answered Cinq-Mars.

“The second confessor, addressing M. de Thou, said, ‘You are the elder.’

“‘True,’ said M. de Thou; and, turning to M. le Grand, ‘You are the most generous; you will show me the way to the glory of heaven.’

“‘Alas!’ said Cinq-Mars; ‘I have opened to you that of the precipice; but let us meet death nobly, and we shall revel in the glory and happiness of heaven!’

“Hereupon he embraced him, and ascended the scaffold with surprising address and agility. He walked round the scaffold, and contemplated the whole of the great assembly with a calm countenance, which betrayed no sign of fear, and a serious and graceful manner. He then went round once more, saluting the people on every side, without appearing to recognize any of us, with a majestic and charming expression of face; he then knelt down, raising his eyes to heaven, adoring God, and recommending himself to Him. As he embraced the crucifix, the father confessor called to the people to pray for him; and M. le Grand, opening his arms, still holding his crucifix, made the same request to the people. Then he readily knelt before the block, holding the stake, placed his neck upon it, and asked the confessor, ‘Father, is this right?’ Then, while they were cutting off his hair, he raised his eyes to heaven, and said, sighing:

“‘My God, what is this world? My God, I offer thee my death as a satisfaction for my sins!’

“‘What are you waiting for? What are you doing there?’ he said to the executioner, who had not yet taken his axe from an old bag he had brought with him. His confessor, approaching, gave him a medallion; and he, with an incredible tranquillity of mind, begged the father to hold the crucifix before his eyes, which he would not allow to be bound. I saw the two trembling hands of the Abbe Quillet, who raised the crucifix. At this moment a voice, as clear and pure as that of an angel, commenced the ‘Ave, maris stella’. In the universal silence I recognized the voice of M. de Thou, who was at the foot of the scaffold; the people repeated the sacred strain. M. de Cinq-Mars clung more tightly to the stake; and I saw a raised axe, made like the English axes. A terrible cry of the people from the Place, the windows, and the towers told me that it had fallen, and that the head had rolled to the ground. I had happily strength enough left to think of his soul, and to commence a prayer for him.

“I mingled it with that which I heard pronounced aloud by our unfortunate and pious friend De Thou. I rose and saw him spring upon the scaffold with such promptitude that he might almost have been said to fly. The father and he recited a psalm; he uttered it with the ardor of a seraphim, as if his soul had borne his body to heaven. Then, kneeling down, he kissed the blood of Cinq-Mars as that of a martyr, and became himself a greater martyr. I do not know whether God was pleased to grant him this last favor; but I saw with horror that the executioner, terrified no doubt at the first blow he had given, struck him upon the top of his head, whither the unfortunate young man raised his hand; the people sent forth a long groan, and advanced against the executioner. The poor wretch, terrified still more, struck him another blow, which only cut the skin and threw him upon the scaffold, where the executioner rolled upon him to despatch him. A strange event terrified the people as much as the horrible spectacle. M. de Cinq-Mars’ old servant held his horse as at a military funeral; he had stopped at the foot of the scaffold, and like a man paralyzed, watched his master to the end, then suddenly, as if struck by the same axe, fell dead under the blow which had taken off his master’s head.

“I write these sad details in haste, on board a Genoese galley, into which Fontrailles, Gondi, Entraigues, Beauvau, Du Lude, myself, and others of the chief conspirators have retired. We are going to England to await until time shall deliver France from the tyrant whom we could not destroy. I abandon forever the service of the base Prince who betrayed us.

“MONTRESOR”

“Such,” continued Corneille, “has been the fate of these two young men whom you lately saw so powerful. Their last sigh was that of the ancient monarchy. Nothing more than a court can reign here henceforth; the nobles and the senates are destroyed.”

“And this is your pretended great man!” said Milton. “What has he sought to do? He would, then, create republics for future ages, since he destroys the basis of your monarchy?”

“Look not so far,” answered Corneille; “he only seeks to reign until the end of his life. He has worked for the present and not for the future; he has continued the work of Louis XI; and neither one nor the other knew what they were doing.”

The Englishman smiled.

“I thought,” he said, “that true genius followed another path. This man has shaken all that he ought to have supported, and they admire him! I pity your nation.”

“Pity it not!” exclaimed Corneille, warmly; “a man passes away, but a people is renewed. This people, Monsieur, is gifted with an immortal energy, which nothing can destroy; its imagination often leads it astray, but superior reason will ever ultimately master its disorders.”

The two young and already great men walked, as they conversed, upon the space which separates the statue of Henri IV from the Place Dauphine; they stopped a moment in the centre of this Place.

“Yes, Monsieur,” continued Corneille, “I see every evening with what rapidity a noble thought finds its echo in French hearts; and every evening I retire happy at the sight. Gratitude prostrates the poor people before this statue of a good king! Who knows what other monument another passion may raise near this? Who can say how far the love of glory will lead our people? Who knows that in the place where we now are, there may not be raised a pyramid taken from the East?”

“These are the secrets of the future,” said Milton. “I, like yourself, admire your impassioned nation; but I fear them for themselves. I do not well understand them; and I do not recognize their wisdom when I see them lavishing their admiration upon men such as he who now rules you. The love of power is very puerile; and this man is devoured by it, without having force enough to seize it wholly. By an utter absurdity, he is a tyrant under a master. Thus has this colossus, never firmly balanced, been all but overthrown by the finger of a boy. Does that indicate genius? No, no! when genius condescends to quit the lofty regions of its true home for a human passion, at least, it should grasp that passion in its entirety. Since Richelieu only aimed at power, why did he not, if he was a genius, make himself absolute master of power? I am going to see a man who is not yet known, and whom I see swayed by this miserable ambition; but I think that he will go farther. His name is Cromwell!”

ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:

A cat is a very fine animal. It is a drawing-room tiger But how avenge one’s self on silence?
Deny the spirit of self-sacrifice
Hatred of everything which is superior to myself Hermits can not refrain from inquiring what men say of them Princes ought never to be struck, except on the head These ideas may serve as opium to produce a calm They loved not as you love, eh?