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A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times
Louis XIII., Cardinal Richelieu, And The Court. (1622-1642.)
by Guizot, M.


The characteristic of Louis XIV.'s reign is the uncontested empire of the sovereign over the nation, the authority of the court throughout the country. All intellectual movement proceeded from the court or radiated about it; the whole government, whether for war or peace, was concentrated in its hands. Conde, Turenne, Catinat, Luxembourg, Villars, Vendome belonged, as well as Louvois or Colbert, to the court; from the court went the governors and administrators of provinces; there was no longer any greatness existing outside of the court; there were no longer any petty private courts. As for the state, the king was it.

For ages past, France had enjoyed the rare good fortune of seeing her throne successively occupied by Charlemagne and Charles V., by St. Louis and Louis XI., by Louis XII., Francis I. and Henry IV., great conquerors or wise administrators, heroic saints or profound politicians, brilliant knights or models of patriot-kings. Such sovereigns had not only governed, but also impressed the imagination of the people; it was to them that the weak, oppressed by the great feudal lords, had little by little learned to apply for support and assistance; since the reign of Francis I., especially, in the midst of the religious struggles which had caused division amongst the noblesse and were threatening to create a state within the state, the personal position of the grandees, and that of their petty private courts, had been constantly diminishing in importance; the wise policy, the bold and prudent courage of Henry IV., and his patriotic foresight had pacified hatred and stayed civil wars; he had caused his people to feel the pleasure and pride of being governed by a man of a superior order. Cardinal Richelieu, more stern than Henry IV., set his face steadily against all the influences of the great lords; he broke them down one after another; he persistently elevated the royal authority; it was the hand of Richelieu which made the court and paved the way for the reign of Louis XIV. The Fronde was but a paltry interlude and a sanguinary game between parties. At Richelieu's death, pure monarchy was founded.

In the month of December, 1622, the work was as yet full of difficulty. There were numerous rivals for the heritage of royal favor that had slipped from the dying hands of Luynes. The Prince of Conde, a man of ability and moderation, "a good managing man (homme de bon menage)," as he was afterwards called by the cardinal, was the first to get possession of the mind of the king, at that time away from his mother, who was residing at Paris. "It was not so much from dislike that they opposed her," says Richelieu, "as from fear lest, when once established at the king's council, she might wish to introduce me there. They acknowledged in me some force of judgment; they dreaded my wits, fearing lest, if the king were to take special cognizance of me, it might come to his committing to me the principal care of his affairs." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. ii. p. 193.] On returning to Paris, the king, nevertheless, could not refuse this gratification to his mother. However, "the prince, who was in the habit of speaking very freely, and could not be mum about what he had on his mind, permitted himself to go so far as to say that she had been received into the council on two conditions, one, that she should have cognizance of nothing but what they pleased, and the other, that, though only a portion of affairs was communicated to her, she would serve as authority for all in the minds of the people." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. ii. p. 194.] In fact, the queen-mother quite perceived that she was only shown the articles in the window, and did not enter the shop; "but, with all the prudence and patience of an Italian, when she was not carried away by passion, she knew how to practise dissimulation towards the Prince of Conde and his allies, Chancellor Sillery and his son Puisieux, secretary of state." She accompanied her son on an expedition against the Huguenots of the South, which she had not advised, "foreseeing quite well that, if she were separated from the king, she would have no part either in peace or war, and that, if they got on without her for ten months, they would become accustomed to getting on without her." She had the satisfaction of at last seeing the Bishop of Lucon promoted to the cardinalship she had so often solicited for him in vain; but, at the same time, the king called to the council Cardinal Rochefoucauld, "not through personal esteem for the old cardinal," says Richelieu, "but to cut off from the new one all hope of a place for which he might be supposed to feel some ambition." Nevertheless, in spite of his enemies' intrigues, in spite of a certain instinctive repugnance on the part of the king himself, who repeated to his mother, "I know him better than you, madame; he is a man of unbounded ambition," the "new cardinal" was called to the council at the opening of the year 1624, on the instance of the Marquis of La Vieuville, superintendent of finance and chief of the council, who felt himself unsteady in his position, and sought to secure the favor of the queen-mother. It was as the protege and organ of Mary de' Medici that the cardinal wrote to the Prince of Conde, on the 11th of May, 1624, "The king having done me the honor to place me on his council, I pray God with all my heart to render me worthy of serving him as I desire; and I feel myself bound thereto by every sort of consideration. I cannot sufficiently thank you for the satisfaction that you have been pleased to testify to me thereat. Therefore would I far rather do so in deed by serving you than by bootless words. And in that I cannot fail without failing to follow out the king's intention. I have made known to the queen the assurance you give her by your letter of your affection, for which she feels all the reciprocity you can desire. She is the more ready to flatter herself with the hope of its continuance, in that she will be very glad to incite you thereto by all the good offices she has means of rendering you with His Majesty." [Lettres du Cardinal de Richelieu, t. ii. p. 5.] On the 12th of August, however, M. de la Vieuville fell irretrievably, and was confined in the castle of Amboise. A pamphlet of the time had forewarned him of the danger which threatened him when he introduced Richelieu into the council. "You are both of the same temper," it said; "that is, you both desire one and the same thing, which is, to be, each of you, sole governor. That which you believe to be your making will be your undoing."

From that moment the cardinal, in spite of his modest resistance based upon the state of his health, became the veritable chief of the council. "Everybody knew that, amidst the mere private occupations he had hitherto had, it would have been impossible for him to exist with such poor health, unless he took frequent recreation in the country." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. ii. p. 289.] Turning his attention to founding his power and making himself friends, he authorized the recall of Count Schomberg, lately disgraced, and of the Duke of Anjou's, the king's brother's, governor, Colonel Ornano, imprisoned by the Marquis of La Vieuville. He, at the same time, stood out against the danger of concentrating all the power of the government in a single pair of hands. "Your Majesty," he said, "ought not to confide your public business to a single one of your councillors and hide it from the rest; those whom you have chosen ought to live in fellowship and amity in your service, not in partisanship and division. Every time, and as many times as a single one wants to do everything himself, he wants to ruin himself; but in ruining himself he will ruin your kingdom and you, and as often as any single one wants to possess your ear and do in secret what should be resolved upon openly, it must necessarily be for the purpose of concealing from Your Majesty either his ignorance or his wickedness." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. ii. p. 349.] Prudent rules and acute remarks, which Richelieu, when he became all-powerful, was to forget.

Eighteen months had barely rolled away when Colonel Ornano, lately created a marshal at the Duke of Anjou's request, was again arrested and carried off a prisoner "to the very room where, twenty-four years ago, Marshal Biron had been confined." For some time past "it had been current at court and throughout the kingdom that a great cabal was going on," says Richelieu in his Memoires, "and the cabalists said quite openly that under his ministry, men might cabal with impunity, for he was not a dangerous enemy." If the cabalists had been living in that confidence, they were most woefully deceived. Richelieu was neither meddlesome nor cruel, but he was stern and pitiless towards the sufferings as well as the supplications of those who sought to thwart his policy. At this period, he wished to bring about a marriage between the Duke of Anjou, then eighteen years old, and Mdlle. de Montpensier, the late Duke of Montpensier's daughter, and the richest heiress in France. The young prince did not like it. Madame de Chevreuse, it was said, seeing the king an invalid and childless, was already anticipating his death, and the possibility of marrying his widowed queen to his successor. "I should gain too little by the change," said Anne of Austria one day, irritated by the accusations of which she was the object. Divers secret or avowed motives had formed about the Duke of Anjou what was called the "aversion" party, who were opposed to his marriage; but the arrest of Colonel Ornano dismayed the accomplices for a while. The Duke of Anjou protested his fidelity to his brother, and promised the cardinal to place in the king's hands a written undertaking to submit his wishes and affections to him. The intrigue appeared to have been abandoned. But the "dreadful (epouvantable) faction," as the Cardinal calls it in his Memoires, conspired to remove the young prince from the court. The Duke of Vendome, son of Henry IV. and Gabrielle d'Estrees, had offered him an asylum in his government of Brittany; but the far-sighted policy of the minister took away this refuge from the heir to the throne, always inclined as he was to put himself at the head of a party. The Duke of Vendome and his brother the Grand Prior, disquieted at the rumors which were current about them, hastened to go and visit the king at Blois. He received them with great marks of affection. "Brother," said he to the Duke of Vendome, laying his hand upon his shoulder, "I was impatient to see you." Next morning, the 15th of June, the two princes were arrested in bed. "Ah! brother," cried Vendome, "did not I tell you in Brittany that we should be arrested?" "I wish I were dead, and you were there," said the Grand Prior. "I told you, you know, that the castle of Blois was a fatal place for princes," rejoined the duke. They were conducted to Amboise. The king, continually disquieted by the projects of assassination hatched against his minister, gave him a company of musketeers as guards, and set off for Nantes, whither the cardinal was not slow to go and join him. In the interval, a fresh accomplice in the plot had been discovered.

This time it was in the king's own household that he had been sought and found. Henry de Talleyrand, Count of Chalais, master of the wardrobe, hare-brained and frivolous, had hitherto made himself talked about only for-his duels and his successes with women. He had already been drawn into a plot against the cardinal's life; but, under the influence of remorse, he had confessed his criminal intentions to the minister himself. Richelieu appeared touched by the repentance, but he did not forget the offence, and his watch over this "unfortunate gentleman," as he himself calls him, made him aware before long that Chalais was compromised in an intrigue which aimed at nothing less, it was said, than to secure the person of the cardinal by means an ambush, so as to rid him at need. Chalais was arrested in his bed on the 8th of July. The Marquis la Valette, son of the Duke of Epernon and governor or Metz had been asked to give an asylum to Monsieur in case he decided upon flying from the court, had answered after embarrassed fashion; the cardinal had his enemies in a trap He went to call on Monsieur; it was in Richelieu's own house, and under pretext of demanding hospitality of him, that the conspirators calculated upon striking their blow. "I very much, regret," said the cardinal to Gaston, "that your Highness did, not warn me that you and your friends meant to do me the honor of coming to sup with me. I would have exerted myself, to entertain them and receive them to the best of my ability." [Journal de Bassompierre, t. ii.] Monsieur seemed to be dumbfounded; he still thought of flight, but Madame de Guise had just arrived at Nantes with her daughter, Mdlle. de Montpensier; Madame de Chevreuse had been driven from court; the young prince's friends had been scared or won over; and President le Coigneux, his most honest adviser, counselled him get the cardinal's support with the king. "That rascal," said the president, "gets so sharp an edge on his wits, that it is necessary to avail one's self of all sorts of means to undo what he does." Monsieur at last gave way, and consented to married, provided that the king would treat it as appanage. Louis XIII., in his turn, hesitated, being attracted by the arguments of certain underlings, "folks ever welcome, as being apparently out of the region of political interests, and seeming to have an eye in everything to their master's person only." They represented to the king that if the Duke of Anjou were to have children, he would become of more importance in the country, which would be to the king's detriment. The minister, boldly demanded of the king the dismissal of "those petty folks who insolently abused his ear." Louis XIII., in his turn gave way; and on the 5th of August, 1626, the cardinal celebrated the marriage of Gaston, who became Duke of Orleans on, the occasion, with Mary of Bourbon, Mdlle. de Montpesier. "No viols or music were heard that day and it was said in the bridegroom's circle that there was no occasion for having Monsieur's marriage stained with blood. This was reported to the king, and to the cardinal who did not at all like it."

When Chalais, in his prison, heard of the marriage, he undoubtedly conceived some hope of a pardon, for he exclaimed, as the cardinal himself says, "That is a mighty sharp trick, to have not only scattered a great faction, but, by removing its object, to have annihilated all hopes of re-uniting it. Only the sagacity of the king and his minister could have made such a hit; it was well done to have caught Monsieur between touch-and-go (entre bond et volee). The prince, when he knows of this, will be very vexed, though he do not say so, and the count (of Soissons, nephew of Conde) will weep over it with his mother."

The hopes of Chalais were deceived. He had written to the king to confess his fault. "I was only thirteen days in the faction," he said; but those thirteen days were enough to destroy him. In vain did his friends intercede passionately for him; in vain did his mother write to the king the most touching letter. "I gave him to you, sir, at eight years of age; he is a grandson of Marshal Montluc and President Jeannin; his family serve you daily, but dare not throw themselves at your feet for fear of displeasing you; nevertheless, they join with me in begging of you the life of this wretch, though he should have to end his days in perpetual imprisonment, or in serving you abroad." Chalais was condemned to death on the 18th of August, 1626, by the criminal court established at Nantes for that purpose; all the king's mercy went no farther than a remission of the tortures which should have accompanied the execution. He sent one of his friends to assure his mother of his repentance. "Tell him," answered the noble lady, "that I am very glad to have the consolation he gives me of, his dying in God; if I did not think that the sight of me would be too much for him, I would go to him and not leave him until his head was severed from his body; but, being unable to be of any help to him in that way, I am going to pray God for him." And she returned into the church of the nuns of Sainte-Claire. The friends of Chalais had managed to have the executioner carried off, so as to retard his execution; but an inferior criminal, to whom pardon had been granted for the performance of this service, cut off the unfortunate culprit's head in thirty-one strokes. [Memoires d'un Favori du Duc d' Orleans (Archives curieuses de l'Histoire de France), 2d series, t. iii.] "The sad news was brought to the Duke of Orleans, who was playing abbot; he did not leave the game, and went on as if instead of death he had heard of deliverance." An example of cruelty which might well have discouraged the friends of the Duke of Orleans "from dying a martyr's death for him" like the unhappy Chalais.

It has been said that Richelieu was neither meddlesome nor cruel, but that he was stern and pitiless; and he gave proof of that the following year, on an occasion when his personal interests were not in any way at stake. At the outset of his ministry, in 1624, he had obtained from the king a severe ordinance against duels—a fatal custom which was at that time decimating the noblesse.

Already several noblemen, amongst others M. du Plessis-Praslin, had been deprived of their offices or sent into exile in consequence of their duels, when M. de Bouteville, of the house of Montmorency, who had been previously engaged in twenty-one affairs of honor, came to Paris to fight the Marquis of Beuvron on the Place Royale. The Marquis's second, M. de fussy d'Amboise, was killed by the Count of Chapelles, Bouteville's second. Beuvron fled to England. M. de Bouteville and his comrade had taken post for Lorraine; they were recognized and arrested at Vitry-le-Brule and brought back to Paris; and the king immediately ordered Parliament to bring them to trial. The crime was flagrant and the defiance of the kings orders undeniable; but the culprit was connected with the greatest houses in the kingdom; he had given striking proofs of bravery in the king's service; and all the court interceded for him. Parliament, with regret, pronounced condemnation, absolving the memory of Bussy d'Amboise, who was a son of President De Mesmes's wife, and reducing to one third of their goods the confiscation to which the condemned were sentenced. "Parliament has played the king," was openly said in the queen's ante-chamber; "if the things proceed to execution, the king will play Parliament."

"The cardinal was much troubled in spirit," says he himself "it was impossible to have a noble heart and not pity this poor gentleman, whose youth and courage excited so much compassion." However, whilst expounding, according to his practice, to the king the reasons for and against the execution of the culprits, Richelieu let fall this astounding expression: "It is a question of breaking the neck of duels or of your Majesty's edicts."

Louis XIII. did not hesitate: though less stern than his brother, he was, more indifferent, and "the love he bore his kingdom prevailed over his compassion for these two gentlemen." Both died with courage. "There was no sign of anything weak in their words or mean in their actions. They received the news that they were to die with the same visage as they would have that of pardon," "in such sort that they who had lived like devils were seen dying like saints, and they who had cared for nothing but to foment duels serving towards the extinction of them." [Memoires d'un Favori du Due d' Orleans (Archives curieuses de l'Histoire de France), t. ii.]

The cardinal had got Chalais condemned as a conspirator; he had let Bouteville be executed as a duellist; the greatest lords bent beneath his authority, but the power that depends on a king's favor is always menaced and tottering. The enemies of Richelieu had not renounced the idea of overthrowing him; their hopes even went on growing, since, for some time past the queen-mother had been waxing jealous of the all powerful minister, and no longer made common cause with him. The king had returned in triumph from the siege of La Rochelle; the queen-mother hoped to retain him by her at court; but the cardinal, ever on the watch over the movements of Spain, prevailed upon Louis XIII. to support his subject, the Duke of Nevers, legitimate heir to Mantua and Montferrat, of which the Spaniards were besieging the capital. The army began to march, but the queen designedly retarded the movements of her son. The cardinal was appointed generalissimo, and the king, who had taken upon himself the occupation of Savoy, was before long obliged by his health to return to Lyons, where he fell seriously ill. The two queens hurried to his bedside; and they were seconded by the keeper of the seals, M. de Marillac, but lately raised to power by Richelieu as a man on whom he could depend, and now completely devoted to the queen-mother's party.

At the news of the king's danger, the cardinal quitted St. Jean de Maurienne for a precipitate journey to Lyons; but he was soon obliged to return to his army. During the king's convalescence, the resentment of the queen-mother against the minister, as well as that of Anne of Austria, had free course; and when the royal train took the road slowly back to Paris, in the month of October, the ruin of the cardinal had been resolved upon.

What a trip was that descent of the Loire from Roanne to Briare in the same boat and "at very close quarters between the queen-mother and the cardinal!" says Bassompierre. "She hoped that she would more easily be able to have her will, and crush her servant with the more facility, the less he was on his guard against it; she looked at him with a kindly eye, accepted his dutiful attentions and respects as usual, and spoke to him with as much appearance of confidence as if she had wholly given it him." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. iii. pp. 303-305.]

The king had requested his mother "to put off for six weeks or two months the grand move against the cardinal, for the sake of the affairs of his kingdom, which were then at a crisis in Italy" [Memoires de Bassompierre, t. iii. p. 276], and she had promised him; but Richelieu "suspected something wrong, and discovered more," and, on the 12th of November, 1630, when mother and son were holding an early conference at the Luxembourg, a fine palace which Mary de' Medici had just finished, "the cardinal arrived there; finding the door of the chamber closed, he entered the gallery and went and knocked at the door of the cabinet, where he obtained no answer. Tired of waiting, and knowing the ins and outs of the mansion, he entered by the little chapel; whereat the king was somewhat dismayed, and said to the queen in despair, 'Here he is!' thinking, no doubt, that he would blaze forth. The cardinal, who perceived this dismay, said to them, 'I am sure you were speaking about me.' The queen answered, 'We were not.' Whereupon, he having replied, 'Confess it, madam,' she said yes, and thereupon conducted herself with great tartness towards him, declaring to the king 'that she would not put up with the cardinal any longer, or see in her house either him or any of his relatives and friends, to whom she incontinently gave their dismissal, and not to them only, but even down to the pettiest of her officers who had come to her from his hands.'" [Memoires de Richelieu, t. iii. p. 428.]

The struggle was begun. Already the courtiers were flocking to the Luxembourg; the keeper of the seals, Marillac, had gone away to sleep at his country-house at Glatigny, quite close to Versailles, where the king was expected; and he was hoping that Louis XIII. would summon him and put the power in his hands. The king was chatting with his favorite St. Simon, and tapping with his finger-tips on the window-pane. "What do you think of all this?" he asked. "Sir," was the reply, "I seem to be in another world, but at any rate you are master." "Yes, I am," answered the king, "and I will make it felt too." He sent for Cardinal La Vallette, son of the Duke of Epernon, but devoted to Richelieu. "The cardinal has a good master," he said: "go and make my compliments to him, and tell him to come to me without delay." [Memoires de Bassompierre, t. iii. p. 276.]

With all his temper and the hesitations born of his melancholy mind, Louis XIII. could appreciate and discern the great interests of his kingdom and of his power. The queen had supposed that the king would abandon the cardinal, and "that her private authority as mother, and the pious affection and honor the king showed her as her son, would prevail over the public care which he ought, as king, to take of his kingdom and his people. But God, who holds in His hand the hearts of princes, disposed things otherwise: his Majesty resolved to defend his servant against the malice of those who prompted the queen to this wicked design." [Memoires de Richelieu.] He conversed a long while with the cardinal, and when the keeper of the seals awoke the next morning, it was to learn that the minister was at Versailles with the king, who had lodged him in a room under his own, that his Majesty demanded the seals back, and that the exons were at his, Marillac's, door to secure his person.

At the same time was despatched a courier to headquarters at Foglizzo in Piedmont. The three marshals Schomberg, La Force, and Marillac, had all formed a junction there. Marillac, brother of the keeper of the seals, held the command that day; and he was awaiting with patience the news, already announced by his brother, of the cardinal's disgrace. Marshal Schomberg opened the despatches; and the first words that met his eye were these, written in the king's own hand: "My dear cousin, you will not fail to arrest Marshal Marillac; it is for the good of my service and for your own exculpation." The marshal was greatly embarrassed; a great part of the troops had come with Marillac from the army of Champagne and were devoted to him. Schomberg determined, on the advice of Marshal La Force, in full council of captains, to show Marillac the postcript. "Sir," answered the marshal, "a subject must not murmur against his master, nor say of him that the things he alleges are false. I can protest with truth that I have done nothing contrary to his service. The truth is, that my brother the keeper of the seals and I have always been the servants of the queen-mother; she must have had the worst of it, and Cardinal Richelieu has won the day against her and her servants." [Memoires de Puy-Seyur.]

Thus arrested in the very midst of the army he commanded, Marshal Marillac was taken to the castle of St. Menehould and thence to Verdun, where a court of justice extraordinary sat upon his case. It was cleared of any political accusation: the marshal was prosecuted for peculation and extortion, common crimes at that time with many generals, and always odious to the nation, which regarded their punishment with favor. "It is a very strange thing," said Marillac, "to prosecute me as they do; my trial is a mere question of hay, straw, wood, stones, and lime; there is not case enough for whipping a lackey." There was case enough for sentencing to death a marshal of France. The proceedings lasted eighteen months; the commission was transferred from Verdun to Ruel, to the very house of the cardinal. Marillac was found guilty by a majority of one only. The execution took place on the 10th of May, 1632. The former keeper of the seals, Michael de Marillac, died of decline at Chateaudun, three months after the death of his brother.

Dupes' Day was over and lost. The queen-mother's attack on Richelieu had failed before the minister's ascendency and the king's calculating fidelity to a servant he did not like; but Mary de' Medici's anger was not calmed, and the struggle remained set between her and the cardinal. The Duke of Orleans, who had lost his wife after a year's marriage, had not hitherto joined his mother's party, but all on a sudden, excited by his grievances, he arrived at the cardinal's, on the 30th of January, 1631, "with a strong escort, and told him that he would consider it a strange purpose that had brought him there; that, so long as he supposed that the cardinal would serve him, he had been quite willing to show him amity; now, when he saw that he foiled him in everything that be had promised, to such extent that the way in which he, Monsieur, had behaved himself, had served no end but to make the world believe that he had abandoned the queen his mother, he had come to take back the word he had given him to show him affection." On leaving the cardinal's house, Monsieur got into his carriage and went off in haste to Orleans, whilst the king, having received notice from Richelieu, was arriving with all despatch from Versailles to assure his minister "of his protection, well knowing that nobody could wish him ill, save for the faithful services he rendered him." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. ii. p. 444.]

The queen-mother had undoubtedly been aware of the Duke of Orleans' project, for she had given up to him Madame's jewels which he had confided to her; she nevertheless sent her equerry to the king, protesting "that she had been much astonished when she heard of Monsieur's departure, that she had almost fainted on the spot, and that Monsieur had sent her word that he was going away from court because he could no longer tolerate the cardinal's violent proceedings against her.

"When the king signified to her that he considered this withdrawal very strange, and let her know that he had much trouble in believing that she knew nothing about it, she took occasion to belch forth fire and flames against the cardinal, and made a fresh attempt to ruin him in the king's estimation, though she had previously bound herself by oath to take no more steps against him." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. ii. p. 465.]

The cardinal either had not sworn at all or did not consider himself more bound than the queen by oaths. Their Majesties set out for Compiegne; there the minister brought the affair before the council, explaining with a skilful appearance of indifference the different courses to be taken, and ending by propounding the question of his own retirement or the queen-mother's. "His Majesty, without hesitation, made his own choice, taking the resolution of returning to Paris and of begging the queen-mother to retire for the time being to one of his mansions, particularly recommending Moulins, which she had formerly expressed to the late king a wish to have; and, in order that she might be the better contented with it, he offered her the government of it and of all the province." Next day, February 23, 1631, before the queen-mother was up, her royal son had taken the road back to Paris, leaving Marshal D'Estrees at Compiegne to explain to the queen his departure and to hasten his mother's, a task in which the marshal had but small success, for Mary de' Medici declared that, if they, meant to make her depart, they would have to drag her stark naked from her bed. She kept herself shut up in the castle, refusing to go out and complaining of the injury the seclusion did to her health; then she fled by night from Compiegne, attended by one gentleman only, to go and take refuge in Flanders, whence she arrived before long at Brussels.

The cardinal's game was definitively won. Mary de' Medici had lost all empire over her son, whom she was never to see again.

The Duke of Orleans meanwhile had taken the road to Lorraine, seeking a refuge in the dominions of a prince able, crafty, restless, and hostile to France from inclination as well as policy. Smitten, before long, with the duke's sister, Princess Margaret, Gaston of Orleans married her privately, with a dispensation from the Cardinal of Lorraine, all which did not prevent either duke or prince from barefacedly denying the marriage when the king reproached them with having contracted this marriage without his consent. In the month of June, 1632, the Duke of Orleans entered France again at the head of some wretched regiments, refuse of the Spanish army, given to him by Don Gonzalvo di Cordova. For the first time, he raised the standard of revolt openly. For him it was of little consequence, accustomed as he was to place himself at the head of parties that he abandoned without shame in the hour of danger; but he dragged along with him in his error a man worthy of another fate and of another chief. Henry, Duke of Montmorency, marshal of France, and governor of Languedoc, was a godson of Henry IV., who said one day to M. de Villeroy and to President Jeannin, "Look at my son Montmorency, how well made he is; if ever the house of Bourbon came to fail, there is no family in Europe which would so well deserve the crown of France as, his, whose great men have always supported it, and even added to it at the price of their blood." Shining at court as well as in arms, kind and charitable, beloved of everybody and adored by his servants, the Duke of Montmorency had steadily remained faithful to the king up to the fatal day when the Duke of Orleans entangled him in his hazardous enterprise. Languedoc was displeased with Richelieu, who had robbed it of some of its privileges; the duke had no difficulty in collecting adherents there; and he fancied himself to be already wielding the constable's sword, five times borne by a Montmorency, when Gaston of Orleans entered France and Languedoc sooner than he had been looked for, and with a smaller following than he had promised. The eighteen hundred men brought by the king's brother did not suffice to re-establish him, with the queen his mother, in the kingdom; the governor of Languedoc made an appeal to the Estates then assembled at Pezenas; he was supported by the Bishop of Alby and by that of Nimes; the province itself proclaimed revolt. The sums demanded by the king were granted to the duke, whom the deputies prayed to remain faithful to the interests of the province, just as they promised never to abandon his. The Archbishop of Narbonne alone opposed this rash act; he left the Estates, where he was president, and the duke marched out to meet Monsieur as far as Lunel. "Troops were levied throughout the province and the environs as openly as if it had been for the king." But the regiments were slow in forming; the Duke of Orleans wished to gain over some of the towns; Narbonne and Montpellier closed their gates. The bishop's influence had been counted upon for making sure of Nimes, and Montmorency everywhere tried to practise on the Huguenots; "but the Reformed ministers of Nimes, having had advices by letter from his Majesty, whereby he represented himself to have been advertised that the principal design of Monsieur was to excite them of the religion styled Reformed, considered themselves bound in their own defence to do more than the rest for the king's service. They assembled the consistory, resolved to die in obedience to him, went to seek the consuls and requested them to have the town-council assembled, in order that it might be brought to take a similar resolution; which the consuls, gained over by M. de Montmorency, refused." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. iii. p. 160.] Thereupon the ministers sent off in haste to Marshal La Force, who had already taken position at Pont-Saint-Esprit with his army; and, he having despatched some light horse on the 26th of July, the people cried, "Hurrah! for the king!" the bishop was obliged to fly, and the town was kept to its allegiance. "Beaucaire, the governor of which had been won over," made armed resistance. "If we beat the king's army," said the Duke of Montmorency on returning to Pezenas after this incident, "we shall have no lack of towns; if not, we shall have to go and make our court at Brussels."

At the news of his brother's revolt, the king, who happened to be on the frontiers of Lorraine, had put himself in motion, but he marched at his ease and by short stages, "thinking that the fire Monsieur would kindle would be only a straw fire."

He hurried his movements when he heard of Montmorency's uprising, and left Paris after having put the seals upon the duke's house, who had imprudently left five hundred and fifty thousand livres there; the money was seized and lodged in the royal safe. The Princess of Guemene, between whom and Montmorency there were very strong ties, went to see the cardinal, who was in attendance on the king. "Sir," she said to him, "you are going to Languedoc; remember the great marks of attachment that M. de Montmorency showed you not long ago; you cannot forget then without ingratitude." Indeed, when the king believed himself to be dying at Lyons, he had recommended the cardinal to the Duke of Montmorency, who had promised to receive him into his government. "Madam," replied Richelieu coldly, "I have not been the first to break off."

Already the Parliament of Toulouse, remaining faithful to the king, had annulled the resolutions of the Estates, the letters and commissions of the governor; and the Parliament of Paris had just enregistered a resolution against the servants and adherents of the Duke of Orleans, as rebels guilty of high treason and disturbers of the common peace. Six weeks were granted the king's brother to put an end to all acts of hostility; else the king was resolved to decree against him, after that interval of delay, "whatsoever he should consider it his duty to do for the preservation of his kingdom, according to the laws of the realm and the example of his predecessors."

It was against Marshal Schomberg that Montmorency was advancing. The latter found himself isolated in his revolt, shut up within the limits of his government, between the two armies of the king, who was marching in person against him. Calculations had been based upon an uprising of several provinces and the adhesion of several governors, amongst others of the aged Duke of Epernon, who had sent to Monsieur to say, "I am his very humble servant; let him place himself in a position to be served;" but no one moved, the king every day received fresh protestations of fidelity, and the Duke of Epernon had repaired to Montauban to keep that restless city to its duty, and to prevent any attempt from being made in the province.

At three leagues' distance from Castelnaudary, Marshal Schomberg was besieging a castle called St. Felix-de-Carmain, which held out for the Duke of Orleans. Montmorency advanced to the aid of the place; he had two thousand foot and three thousand horse; and the Duke of Orleans accompanied him with a large number of gentlemen. The marshal had won over the defenders of St. Felix, and he was just half a league from Castelnaudary when he encountered the rebel army. The battle began almost at once. Count de Moret, natural son of Henry IV. and Jacqueline de Bueil, fired the first shot. Hearing the noise, Montmorency, who commanded the right wing, takes a squadron of cavalry, and, "urged on by that impetuosity which takes possession of all brave men at the like juncture, he spurs his horse forward, leaps the ditch which was across the road, rides over the musketeers, and, the mishap of finding himself alone causing him to feel more indignation than fear, he makes up his mind to signalize by his resistance a death which he cannot avoid." Only a few gentlemen had followed him, amongst others an old officer named Count de Rieux, who had promised to die at his feet and he kept his word. In vain had Montmorency called to him his men-at-arms and the regiment of Ventadour; the rest of the cavalry did not budge. Count de Moret had been killed; terror was everywhere taking possession of the men. The duke was engaged with the king's light horse; he had just received two bullets in his mouth. His horse, "a small barb, extremely swift," came down with him and he fell wounded in seventeen places, alone, without a single squire to help him. A sergeant of a company of the guards saw him fall, and carried him into the road; some soldiers who were present burst out crying; they seemed to be lamenting their general's rather than their prisoner's misfortune. Montmorency alone remained as if insensible to the blows of adversity, and testified by the grandeur of his courage that "in him it had its seat in a place higher than the heart." [Journal du Duc de Montmorency (Archives curieuses de l'Histoire de France), t. iv.]

Whilst the army of the Duke of Orleans was retiring, carrying off their dead, nearly all of the highest rank, the king's men were bearing away Montnmorency, mortally wounded, to Castelnaudary. His wife, Mary Felicia des Ursins, daughter of the Duke of Bracciano, being ill in bed at Beziers, sent him a doctor, together with her equerry, to learn the truth about her husband's condition. "Thou'lt tell my wife," said the duke, "the number and greatness of the wounds thou hast seen, and thou'lt assure her that it which I have caused her spirit is incomparably more painful, to me than all the others." On passing through the faubourgs of the town, the duke desired that his litter should be opened, "and the serenity that shone through the pallor of his visage moved the feelings of all present, and forced tears from the stoutest and the most stolid." [Journal du Due de Montmorency (Archives curieuses de l'Histoire de France), t. iv.]

The Duke of Orleans did not lack the courage of the soldier; he would fain have rescued Montmorency and sought to rally his forces; but the troops of Languedoc would obey none but the governor; the foreigners mutinied, and the king's brother had no longer an army. "Next day, when it was too late," says Richelieu, "Monsieur sent a trumpeter to demand battle of Marshal Schomberg, who replied that he would not give it, but that, if he met him, he would try to defend himself against him." Monsieur considered himself absolved from seeking the combat, and henceforth busied himself about nothing but negotiation. Alby, Beziers, and Pezenas hastened to give in their submission. It was necessary for the Duchess of Montmorency, ill and in despair, to quicken her departure from Beziers, where she was no longer safe. "As she passed along the streets she heard nothing but a confusion of voices amongst the people, speaking insolently of those who would withdraw in apprehension." The king was already at Lyons.

He was at Pont-Saint-Esprit when he sent a message to his brother, from whom he had already received emissaries on the road. The first demands of Gaston d'Orleans were still proud; he required the release of Montmorency, the rehabilitation of all those who had served his party and his mother's, places of surety and money. The king took no notice; and a second envoy from the prince was put in prison. Meanwhile, the superintendent of finance, M. de Bullion, had reached him from the king, and "found the mind of Monsieur very penitent and well disposed, but not that of all the rest, for Monsieur confessed that he had been ill-advised to behave as he did at the cardinal's house, and afterwards leave the court; acknowledging himself to be much obliged to the king for the clemency he had shown to him in his proclamation, which had touched him to the heart, and that he was bounden therefor to the cardinal, whom he had always liked and esteemed, and believed that he also on his side liked him." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. viii. p. 196.]

The Duchess of Montmorency knew Monsieur, although she, it was said, had pressed her husband to join him; and all ill as she was, had been following him ever since the battle of Castelnaudary, in the fear lest he should forget her husband in the treaty. She could not, unfortunately, enter Beziers, and it was there that the arrangements were concluded. Monsieur protested his repentance, cursing in particular Father Chanteloube, confessor and confidant of the queen his mother, "whom he wished the king would have hanged; he had given pretty counsel to the queen, causing her to leave the kingdom; for all the great hopes he had led her to conceive, she was reduced to relieve her weariness by praying to God." [Memoires de Richelieu, t. viii. p. 196.] As for Monsieur, he was ready to give up all intelligence with Spain, Lorraine, and the queen his mother, "who could negotiate her business herself." He bound himself to take no interest "in him or those who had connected themselves with him on these occasions for their own purposes, and he would not complain should the king make them suffer what they had deserved." It is true that he added to these base concessions many entreaties in favor of M. de Montmorency; but M. de Bullion did not permit him to be under any delusion. "It is for your Highness to choose," he said, "whether or not you prefer to cling to the interests of M. de Montmorency, displease the king and lose his good graces." The prince signed everything; then he set out for Tours, which the king had assigned for his residence, receiving on the way, from town to town, all the honors that would have been paid to his Majesty himself. M. de Montmorency remained in prison.

"He awaited death with a resignation which is inconceivable," says the author of his Memoires; "never did man speak more boldly than he about it; it seemed as if he were recounting another's perils when he described his own to his servants and his guards, who were the only witnesses of such lofty manliness." His sister, the Princess of Conde, had a memorial prepared for his defence put before him. He read it carefully, then he tore it up, "having always determined," he said, "not to (chicaner) go pettifogging for (or, dispute) his life." "I ought by rights to answer before the Parliament of Paris only," said he to the commission of the Parliament of Toulouse instructed to conduct his trial, "but I give up with all my heart this privilege and all others that might delay my sentence."

There was not long to wait for the decree. On arriving at Toulouse, October 27, at noon, the duke had asked for a confessor. "Father," said he to the priest, "I pray you to put me this moment in the shortest and most certain path to heaven that you can, having nothing more to hope or wish for but God." All his family had hurried up, but without being able to obtain the favor of seeing the king. "His Majesty had strengthened himself in the resolution he had taken from the first to make in the case of the said Sieur de Montmorency a just example for all the grandees of his kingdom in the future, as the late king his father had done in the person of Marshal Biron," says Richelieu in his Memoires. The Princess of Conde could not gain admittance to his Majesty, who lent no ear to the supplications of his oldest servants, represented by the aged Duke of Epernon, who accused himself by his own mouth of having but lately committed the same crime as the Duke of Montmorency. "You can retire, duke," was all that Louis XIII. deigned to reply. "I should not be a king if I had the feelings of private persons," said he to Marshal Chatillon, who pointed out to him the downcast looks and swollen eyes of all his court.

It was the 30th of October, early: and the Duke of Montmorency was sleeping peacefully. His confessor came and awoke him. "Surgite, eamus (rise, let us be going)," he said, as he awoke; and when his surgeon would have dressed his wounds, "Now is the time to heal all my wounds with a single one," he said, and he had himself dressed in the clothes of white linen he had ordered to be made at Lectoure for the day of execution. When the last questions were put to him by the judges, he answered by a complete confession; and when the decree was made known to him, "I thank you, gentlemen," said he to the commissioners, "and I beg you to tell all them of your body from me, that I hold this decree of the king's justice for a decree of God's mercy." He walked to the scaffold with the same tranquillity, saluting right and left those whom he knew, to take leave of them; then, having with difficulty placed himself upon the block, so much did his wounds still cause him to suffer, he said out loud, "Domine Jesu, accipe spiritum meum (Lord Jesus, receive my spirit)!" As his head fell, the people rushed forward to catch his blood and dip their handkerchiefs in it.

Henry de Montmorency was the last of the ducal branch of his house, and was only thirty-seven.

It was a fine opportunity for Monsieur to once more break his engagements. Shame and anxiety drove him equally. He was universally reproached with Montmorency's death; and he was by no means easy on the subject of his marriage, of which no mention had been made in the arrangements. He quitted Tours and withdrew to Flanders, writing to the king to complain of the duke's execution, saying that the life of the latter had been the tacit condition of his agreement, and that, his promise being thus not binding, he was about to seek a secure retreat out of the kingdom. "Everybody knows in what plight you were, brother, and whether you could have done anything else," replied the king.

"What think you, gentlemen, was it that lost the Duke of Montmorency his head?" said Cardinal Zapata to Bautru and Barrault, envoys of France, whom he met in the antechamber of the King of Spain. "His crimes," replied Bautru. "No," said the cardinal, "but the clemency of his Majesty's predecessors." Louis XIII. and Cardinal Richelieu have assuredly not merited that, reproach in history.

So many and such terrible examples were at last to win the all-powerful minister some years of repose. Once only, in 1636, a new plot on the part of Monsieur and the Count of Soissons threatened not only his power, but his life. The king's headquarters were established at the castle of Demuin; and the princes, urged on by Montresor and Saint-Ibal, had resolved to compass the cardinal's death. The blow was to be struck at the exit from the council. Richelieu conducted the king back to the bottom of the staircase.

The two gentlemen were awaiting the signal; but Monsieur did not budge, and retired without saying a word. The Count of Soissons dared not go any further, and the cardinal mounted quietly to his own rooms, without dreaming of the extreme peril he had run. Richelieu was rather lofty than proud, and too clear-sighted to mistake the king's feelings towards him. Never did he feel any confidence in his position; and never did he depart from his jealous and sometimes petty watchfulness. Any influence foreign to his own disquieted him in proximity to a master whose affairs he governed altogether, without ever having been able to get the mastery over his melancholy and singular mind.

Women filled but a small space in the life of Louis XIII. Twice, however, in that interval of ten years which separated the plot of Montmorency from that of Cinq-Mars, did the minister believe himself to be threatened by feminine influence; and twice he used artifice to win the monarch's heart and confidence from two young girls of his court, Louise de La Fayette and Marie d'Hautefort. Both were maids of honor to the queen. Mdlle. d'Hautefort was fourteen years old when, in 1630, at Lyons, in the languors of convalescence, the king first remarked her blooming and at the same time severe beauty, and her air of nobility and modesty; and it was not long before the whole court knew that he had remarked her, for his first care, at the sermon, was to send the young maid of honor the velvet cushion on which he knelt for her to sit upon. Mdlle. d'Hautefort declined it, and remained seated, like her companions, on the ground; but henceforth the courtiers' eyes were riveted on her movements, on the interminable conversations in which she was detained by the king, on his jealousies, his tiffs, and his reconciliations. After their quarrels, the king would pass the greater part of the day in writing out what he had said to Mdlle. d'Hautefort and what she had replied to him. At his death, his desk was found full of these singular reports of the most innocent, but also most stormy and most troublesome love-affair that ever was. The king was especially jealous of Mdlle. d'Hautefort's passionate devotion to the queen her mistress, Anne of Austria. "You love an ingrate," he said, "and you will see how she will repay your services." Richelieu had been unable to win Mdlle. d'Hautefort; and he did his best to embitter the tiff which separated her from the king in 1635. But Louis XIII. had learned the charm of confidence and intimacy; and he turned to Louise de La Fayette, a charming girl of seventeen, who was as virtuous as Mdlle. d'Hautefort, but more gentle and tender than she, and who gave her heart in all guilelessness to that king so powerful, so a-weary, and so melancholy at the very climax of his reign. Happily for Richelieu, he had a means, more certain than even Mdlle. d'Hautefort's pride, of separating her from Louis XIII.; Mdlle. de La Fayette, whilst quite a child, had serious ideas of becoming a nun; and scruples about being false to her vocation troubled her at court, and even in those conversations in which she reproached herself with taking too much pleasure, Father Coussin, her confessor, who was also the king's, sought to quiet her conscience; he hoped much from the influence she could exercise over the king; but Mdlle. de La Fayette, feeling herself troubled and perplexed, was urgent. When the Jesuit reported to Louis XIII. the state of his fair young friend's feelings, the king, with tears in his eyes, replied, "Though I am very sorry she is going away, nevertheless I have no desire to be an obstacle to her vocation; only let her wait until I have left for the army." She did not wait, however. Their last interview took place at the queen's, who had no liking for Mdlle. de La Fayette; and, as the king's carriage went out of the court-yard, the young girl, leaning against the window, turned to one of her companions and said, "Alas! I shall never see him again!" But she did see him again often for some time. He went to see her in her convent, and "remained so long glued to her grating," says Madame de Motteville, "that Cardinal Richelieu, falling a prey to fresh terrors, recommenced his intrigues to tear him from her entirely. And he succeeded." The king's affection for Mdlle. d'Hautefort awoke again. She had just rendered the queen an important service. Anne of Austria was secretly corresponding with her two brothers, King Philip IV. and the Cardinal Infante, a correspondence which might well make the king and his minister uneasy, since it was carried on through Madame de Chevreuse, and there was war at the time with Spain. The queen employed for this intercourse a valet named Laporte, who was arrested and thrown into prison. The chancellor removed to Val-de-Grace, whither the queen frequently retired; he questioned the nuns and rummaged Anne of Austria's cell. She was in mortal anxiety, not knowing what Laporte might say or how to unloose his tongue, so as to keep due pace with her own confessions to the king and the cardinal. Mdlle. d'Hautefort disguised herself as a servant, went straight to the Bastille, and got a letter delivered to Laporte, thanks to the agency of Commander de Jars, her friend, then in prison. The confessions of mistress and agent being thus set in accord, the queen obtained her pardon, but not without having to put up with reproaches and conditions of stern supervision. Madame de Chevreuse took fright, and went to seek refuge in Spain. The king's inclination towards Mdlle. d'Hautefort revived, without her having an idea of turning it to profit on her own account. "She had so much loftiness of spirit that she could never have brought herself to ask anything for herself and her family; and all that could be wrung from her was to accept what the king and queen were pleased to give her."

Richelieu had never forgotten Mdlle. d'Hautefort's airs: he feared her, and accused her to the king of being concerned in Monsieur's continual intrigues. Louis XIII.'s growing affection for young Cinq-Mars, son of Marshal d'Effiat, was beginning to occupy the gloomy monarch; and he the more easily sacrificed Mdlle. d'Hautefort. The cardinal merely asked him to send her away for a fortnight. She insisted upon hearing the order from the king's own mouth. "The fortnight will last all the rest of my life," she said: "and so I take leave of your Majesty forever." She went accompanied by the regrets and tears of Anne of Austria, and leaving the field open to the new favorite, the king's "rattle," as the cardinal called him.

M. de Cinq-Mars was only nineteen when he was made master of the wardrobe and grand equerry of France. Brilliant and witty, he amused the king and occupied the leisure which peace gave him. The passion Louis XIII. felt for his favorite was jealous and capricious. He upbraided the young man for his flights to Paris to see his friends and the elegant society of the Marais, and sometimes also Mary di Gonzaga, daughter of the Duke of Mantua, wooed but lately by the Duke of Orleans, and not indifferent, it was said, to the vows of M. Le Grand, as Cinq-Mars was called. The complaints were detailed to Richelieu by the king himself in a strange correspondence, which reminds one of the "reports" of his quarrels with Mdlle. d'Hautefort. "I am very sorry," wrote Louis XIII. on the 4th of January, 1641, "to trouble you about the ill tempers of M. Le Grand. I upbraided him with his heedlessness; he answered that for that matter he could not change, and that he should do no better than he had done. I said that, considering his obligations to me, he ought not to address me in that manner. He answered in his usual way: that he didn't want my kindness, that he could do very well without it, and that he would be quite as well content to be Cinq-Mars as M. Le Grand, but, as for changing his ways and his life, he couldn't do it. And so, he continually knagging at me and I at him, we came as far as the court-yard, when I said to him that, being in the temper he was in, he would do me the pleasure of not coming to see me. I have not seen him since. Signed, Louis." This time the cardinal reconciled the king and the favorite, whom he had himself placed near him, but whose constant attendance upon the king his master he was beginning to find sometimes very troublesome. "One day he sent word to him not to be for the future so continually at his heels, and treated him even to his face with so much tartness and imperiousness as if he had been the lowest of his valets." Cinq-Mars began to lend an ear to those who were egging him on against the cardinal.

Then began a series of negotiations and intrigues; the Duke of Orleans had come back to Paris, the king was ill and the cardinal more so than he; thence arose conjectures and insensate hopes; the Duke of Bouillon, being sent for by the king, who confided to him the command of the army of Italy, was at the same time drawn into the plot which was beginning to be woven against the minister; the Duke of Orleans and the queen were in it; and the town of Sedan, of which Bouillon was prince-sovereign, was wanted to serve the authors of the conspiracy as an asylum in case of reverse. Sedan alone was not sufficient; there was need of an army. Whence was it to come? Thoughts naturally turned towards Spain.

For so perilous a treaty a negotiator was required, and the grand equerry proposed his friend, Viscount de Fontrailles, a man of wit, who detested the cardinal, and who would have considered it a simpler plan to assassinate him; he consented, however, to take charge of the negotiation, and he set out for Madrid, where his treaty was soon concluded, in the name of the Duke of Orleans. The Spaniards were to furnish twelve thousand foot and five thousand horse, four hundred thousand crowns down, twelve thousand crowns' pay a month, and three hundred thousand livres to fortify the frontier-town which was promised by the duke. Sedan, Cinq-Mars, and the Duke of Bouillon were only mentioned in a separate instrument.

The king was then at Narbonne, on his way to his army, which was besieging Perpignan. The grand equerry was with him. Fontrailles went to call upon him. "I do not intend to be seen by anybody," said he, "but to make speedily for England, as I do not think I am strong enough to undergo the torture the cardinal might put me to in his own room on the least suspicion." On the 21st of April, the cardinal was dangerously ill, and the king left him at Narbonne a prey to violent fever, with an abscess on the arm which prevented him from writing, whilst Cinq-Mars, ever present and ever at work, was doing his best to insinuate into his master's mind suspicion of the minister, and the hopes founded upon his disgrace or death. The king listened, as he subsequently avowed, in order to discover his favorite's wicked thoughts and make him tell all he had in his heart. "The king was tacitly the head of this conspiracy," says Madame de Motteville: "the grand equerry was the soul of it; the name made use of was that of the Duke of Orleans, the king's only brother; and their counsel was the Duke of Bouillon, who joined with them because, having belonged to the party of M. de Soissons, he was in very ill odor at court. They all formed fine projects touching the change that was to take place to the advantage of their aggrandizement and fortunes, persuading themselves that the cardinal could not live above a few days, during which he would not be able to set himself right with the king." Such were their projects and their hopes when the Gazette de France, on the 21st of June, 1642, gave these two pieces of news both together. "The cardinal-duke, after remaining two days at Arles, embarked on the 11th of this month for Tarascon, his health becoming better and better. The king has ordered under arrest Marquis de Cinq-Mars, grand equerry of France."

Great was the surprise, and still greater was the dismay, amongst the friends of Cinq-Mars. "Your grand designs are as well known at Paris as that the Seine flows under the Pont Neuf," wrote Mary di Gonzaga to him a few days previously.

Those grand designs so imprudently divulged caused a presentiment of great peril. When left alone with his young favorite, and suddenly overwhelmed, amidst his army, with cares and business of which his minister usually relieved him, the king had too much wit not to perceive the frivolous insignificance of Cinq-Mars compared with the mighty capability of the cardinal. "I love you more than ever," he wrote to Richelieu: "we have been too long together to be ever separated, as I wish everybody to understand." In reply, the cardinal had sent him a copy of the treaty between Cinq-Mars and Spain.

The king could not believe his eyes; and his wrath equalled his astonishment. Together with that of the grand equerry he ordered the immediate arrest of M. de Thou, his intimate friend; and the order went out to secure the Duke of Bouillon, then at the head of the army of Italy. He, caught, like Marshal Marillac, in the midst of his troops, had vainly attempted to conceal himself; but he was taken and conducted to the castle of Pignerol. Fontrailles had seen the blow coming. He went to visit the grand equerry, and, "Sir," said he, "you are a fine figure; if you were shorter by the whole head, you would not cease to be very tall; as for me, who am already very short, nothing could be taken off me without inconveniencing me and making me cut the poorest figure in the world; you will be good enough, if you please, to let me get out of the way of edged tools." And he set out for Spain, whence he had hardly returned.

What had become of the most guilty, if not the most dangerous, of all the accomplices? Monsieur, "the king's only (unique) brother," as Madame de Motteville calls him, had come as far as Moulins, and had sent to ask the grand equerry to appoint a place of meeting, when he heard of his accomplice's arrest, and, before long, that of the Duke of Bouillon. Frightened to death as he was, he saw that treachery was safer than flight, and, just as the king had joined the all but dying cardinal at Tarascon, there arrived an emissary from the Duke of Orleans bringing letters from him. He assured the king of his fidelity; he entreated Chavigny, the minister's confidant, to give him "means of seeing his Eminence before he saw the king, in which case all would go well." He appealed to the cardinal's generosity, begging him to keep his letter as an eternal reproach, if he were not thenceforth the most faithful and devoted of his friends.

Abbe de La Riviere, who was charged to implore pardon for his master, was worthy of such a commission: he confessed everything, he signed everything, though he "all but died of terror," and, at the cardinal's demand, he soon brought all those poltrooneries written out in the Duke of Orleans' own hand. The prince was all but obliged to appear at the trial and deliver up his accomplices in the face of the whole world. The respect, however, of Chancellor Seguier for his rank spared him this crowning disgrace. The king's orders to his brother, after being submitted to the cardinal, bore this note in the minister's hand: "Monsieur will have in his place of exile twelve thousand crowns a month, the same sum that the King of Spain had promised to give him."

"Paralysis of the arm did not prevent the head from acting;" the dying cardinal had dictated to the king, stretched on a couch at his side, in a chamber of his house at Monfrin, near Tarascon, those last commands which completed the dishonor of the Duke of Orleans and the ruin of the favorite. Louis XIII. slowly took the road back to Fontainebleau in the cardinal's litter, which the latter had lent him. The prisoners were left in the minister's keeping, who ordered them before long to Lyons, whither he was himself removed. The grand equerry coming from Montpellier, M. de Thou from Tarascon, in a boat towed by that of the cardinal, and the Duke of Bouillon from Pignerol, were all three lodged in the castle of Pierre-Encise. Their examination was put off until the arrival of such magistrates "as should be capable of philosophizing and perpetually thinking of the means they must use for arriving at their ends." That was useless, inasmuch as the grand equerry "never ceased to say quite openly that he had done nothing to which the king had not consented."

Louis XIII. was, no doubt, affected by such language; for, scarcely had he arrived at Fontainebleau, whither he had been preceded by news of the end of the queen his mother, who had died at Cologne in exile and poverty, when he wrote to all the parliaments of his kingdom, to the governors of the provinces, and to the ambassadors at foreign courts, to give his own account of the arrest of the guilty and the part he himself had played in the matter. "The notable and visible change which had for the last year appeared in the conduct of Sieur de Cinq-Mars, our grand equerry, made us resolve, as soon as we perceived it, to carefully keep watch on his actions and his words, in order to fathom them and discover what could be the cause. To this end, we resolved to let him act and speak with us more freely than heretofore." And in a letter written straight to the chancellor, the king exclaims in wrath, "It is true that having seen me sometimes dissatisfied with the cardinal, whether from the apprehension I felt lest he should hinder me from going to the siege of Perpignan, or induce me to leave it, for fear lest my health might suffer, or from any other like reason, the said Sieur de Cinq-Mars left nothing undone to chafe me against my said cousin, which I put up with so long as his evil offices were confined within the bounds of moderation. But when he went so far as to suggest to me that the cardinal must be got rid of, and offered to carry it out himself, I conceived a horror of his evil thoughts, and held them in detestation. Although I have only to say so for you to believe it, there is nobody who can deem but that it must have been so; for, otherwise, what motive would he have had for joining himself to Spain against me, if I had approved of what he desired?"

The trial was a foregone conclusion; the king and his brother made common cause in order to overwhelm the accused, "an earnest of a peace which was not such as God announced with good will to man on Christmas day," writes Madame de Motteville, "but such as may exist at court and amongst brothers of royal blood."

The cardinal did not think it necessary to wait for the sentence. He had arrived at his house at Lyons, in a sort of square chamber, covered with red damask, and borne on the shoulders of eighteen guards; there, stretched upon his couch, a table covered with papers beside him, he worked and chatted with whomsoever of his servants he had been pleased to have as his companion on the road. It was in the same equipage that he left Lyons to gain the Loire and return to Paris. On his passage, it was necessary to pull down lumps of wall and throw bridges over the fosses to make way for this vast litter and the indomitable man that lay dying within it.

It was on the 12th of September, 1642, that the accused appeared before the commission; there were now but two of them; the Duke of Bouillon had made his private arrangement with the cardinal, confessing everything, and requesting "to have his life spared in order that he might employ it to preserve to the Catholic church five little children whom his death would leave to persons of the opposite religion." In consideration of this pardon, a demand was made upon him to give up Sedan to the king, "though it were easy to gain possession of-it by investment." The duke consented to all, and he awaited in his dungeon at Pierre-Encise the execution of his accomplices who had no town to surrender. Their death was to be the signal of his liberation.

The two accused denied nothing. M. de Thou merely maintained that he had not been in any way mixed up with the conspiracy, proving that he had blamed the treaty with Spain, and that his only crime was not having revealed it. "He believed me to be his friend, his one faithful friend," said he, speaking of Cinq-Mars, "and I had no mind to betray him." The grand equerry told in detail the story of the plot, his connection with the Duke of Orleans, who had missed no opportunity of paying court to him, the resolutions taken in concert with the Duke of Bouillon, and the treaty concluded with Spain, "confessing that he had erred, and had no hope but in the clemency of the king, and of the cardinal, whose generosity would be so much the more shown in asking pardon for him as he was the less bound to do so." There was not long to wait for the decree; the votes were unanimous against the grand equerry, a single one of the judges pronouncing in favor of M. de Thou. The latter turned towards Cinq-Mars, and said, "Ah! well, sir; humanly speaking, I might complain of you; you have placed me in the dock, and you are the cause of my death; but God knows how I love you. Let us die, sir, let us die courageously, and win Paradise."

The decree against Cinq-Mars sentenced him to undergo the question in order to get a more complete revelation of his accomplices. "It had been resolved not to put him to it," says Tallemant des Reaux: "but it was exhibited to him nevertheless; it gave him a turn, but it did not make him do anything to belie himself, and he was just taking off his doublet, when he was told to raise his hand in sign of telling the truth."

The execution was not destined to be long deferred; the very day on which the sentence was delivered saw the execution of it. "The grand equerry showed a never-changing and very resolute firmness to the death, together with admirable calmness and the constancy and devoutness of a Christian," wrote M. du Marca, councillor of state, to the secretary of state Brionne; and Tallemant des Reaux adds, "He died with astoundingly great courage, and did not waste time in speechifying; he would not have his eyes bandaged, and kept them open when the blow was struck." M. de Thou said not a word save to God, repeating the Credo even to the very scaffold, with a fervor of devotion that touched all present. "We have seen," says a report of the time, "the favorite of the greatest and most just of kings lose his head upon the scaffold at the age of twenty-two, but with a firmness which has scarcely its parallel in our histories. We have seen a councillor of state die like a saint after a crime which men cannot justly pardon. There is nobody in the world who, knowing of their conspiracy against the state, does not think them worthy of death, and there will be few who, having knowledge of their rank and their fine natural qualities, will not mourn their sad fate."

"Now that I make not a single step which does not lead me to death, I am more capable than anybody else of estimating the value of the things of the world," wrote Cinq-Mars to his mother, the wife of Marshal d'Effiat. "Enough of this world; away to Paradise!" said M. de Thou, as he marched to the scaffold. Chalais and Montmorency had used the same language. At the last hour, and at the bottom of their hearts, the frivolous courtier and the hare-brained conspirator, as well as the great soldier and the grave magistrate, had recovered their faith in God.

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