Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

amused myself with making my peace with three ladies, with whom I had entirely broken in the expectation of marrying.-One of these was d'Entragues."

Shortly after the marriage of the Prince and Mademoiselle de Montmorenci, Bassompierre was sent by the king into Lorraine and Germany, to propose a marriage between the Dauphin, and a daughter of the Duke of Lorraine.

Having returned with favourable answers, the king was extremely satisfied with the good result of all the affairs he had entrusted to me, and gave me many marks of kindness. I had scarcely finished telling him about these things, when he took an audience of me in return, telling me of his passion for the Princess de Condé, and of the unhappy life he led, separated from her. And, indeed, this love of his was frantic, and could not be contained within the bounds of decorum.”

“ On the last day of November, the prince left the court to go to Muret, taking his wife with him. The king was at play in his little cabinet, when he received this news. I was nearest to him. He whispered in my ear, ‘ Bassompierre, my friend, I am lost; that man is taking his wife into a wood. I don't know whether he means to kill her, or take her out of France ; take care of my money, and go on with the game, while I go to hear more particulars. After the game was over, I took occasion to carry the king back the money he had left upon

the table: I went into the room, and I never saw a man so distressed or so frantic. He assented to all the proposals of those about him, by turns, however ridiculous and violent. He had sent for his ministers, who, at their arrival, gave him each advice according to their office or their humour.”

We have not space for all the deliberations of this council ; but we extract the following striking and characteristic sketch of Sully.

“ The king liked the president Janin's advice, but he would not resolve till he had heard what M. de Sully said about it. Shortly after, he entered, in his rough abrupt manner. The king went up to him, and said, “M. de Sully, the prince is gone, and has taken away his wife.' • Sire,' said he, ' I am not surprised ; and, if you had taken the advice I gave you a fortnight ago, you would have put him in the Bastille, where I would have kept him safe for you. Well,' said the king, " the thing is done ; but tell me what I am to do now.'By God, I don't know,' said he, but let me return to the arsenal, where I shall sup, and sleep, and I shall think of some good advice in the night, which I will bring you to-morrow morning.' No,' said he, ‘you must give it me directly.' 'I must think, then,' said he; and, upon that, he turned to the window which looked into the court, and began drumming upon it with his fingers, and then returned to the king, who said, 'Well,

have you thought? Yes, sire,' said he. — Well, what? said the king. Nothing, sire.' How ! nothing ?' said the king. Yes, nothing,' said M. de Sully; 'if you do nothing at all, and shew that you do not care about him, nobody will assist him.'

The leaders of the Huguenot party lost no opportunity of exasperating the king against their great and constant enemies, the king of Spain, and all the family of Austria ; nor was Henry himself restrained from open hostilities against a rival whom he hated, by any other considerations but the exhausted state of his kingdom and finances, and the welfare of his subjects, for which, to use our author's words, he always had " a perfect solicitude." Yet, though withheld by these motives, he only waited for a fit occasion, and

“ Was not sorry when M. de Sully made some overtures to King James of England, (to whom he was sent by Henry on his accession to the throne,) towards a strict league and alliance of the two crowns against that of Spain, in case that country pursued its usual courses. But these wise princes, both come from so far to such great successions, thought rather about the means of preserving their authority, and governing well, than of adding to their dominions, by means not less prejudicial to all Christendom, than to their own states; and bound themselves by a close amity, without entering into regular treaty, or breaking the peace which the king had made with Spain, and which the King of England concluded shortly after.”

At length, however, in the latter part of 1609, and the beginning of 1610, was formed the treaty of Savoy, by which that state, Venice, Holland, England, and France, were leagued against Spain; concerning this, we have numerous details, which, however interesting, are too much of the nature of general and political history, to suit our present purposes. At the commencement of preparations for hostilities, the king, unsolicited, gave Bassompierre the post of colonel general of light horse.

" He gave me also fifty guards," says he ; "he would have me take the oath of counsellor of state, and gave me a pension of four thousand crowns.

In short, there was no sort of favour which he did not shew me. He pressed me to marry Mademoiselle Chenilly; and would have revived the Dutchy of Beaupreau in my person; but I was then in the high follies of my youth, in love in so many quarters, and in favour in most of them, that I had not time to think of my advancement.”

But the sun which shone upon him with so much warmth and splendour, was now about to be clouded for ever. The details of this act, so big with calamity for France, have been often repeated; but there are circumstances recorded in these volumes, which we do not remember to have seen elsewhere, and which

afford a curious insight into the state of Henry's mind, just before his assassination. Much had been said about the presentiment he had of his death. This, as is usual, appears to have been exaggerated, or rather misrepresented, by the lovers of the marvellous. It distinctly appears, that Henry was in no degree

influenced by the predictions of astrologers, or by any absurd superstitious dread. His presentiment was, in fact, the very rational persuasion, that he was the object of fanatical antipathy, which he knew to be the most deadly and merciless of all passions, combined with an acute and nice perception of the probabilities as to time, place, and manner, in which a design npon his life might be carried into effect.

There is nothing in the following conversation, which does not raise our opinion of his good sense and clearness of judgment. We quote partly from the old, and partly from the new memoirs.

“We now entered that unhappy month of May,(1610,) so fatal to France, by the loss we sustained of our good king. I shall relate many things concerning the presentiments the king had before his death, and which were forerunners of his fate. He said to me a little before this, ' I don't know how it is, Bassompierre, but I cannot persuade myself that I am going into Germany. Neither does my heart tell me that you are going into Italy. Several times he said to me, and to others also, "I think I shall die soon.' And on the first of May, returning from the Tuilleries through the great gallery, leaning on M. de Guise on one side, and me on the other, he left us to go into the queen's closet, and said • Don't go away, I am going to tell my wife to make haste and dress, that she may not make me wait for dinner;' for he usually dined with her. While we were waiting, and leaning, on the iron balustrades overlooking the court of the Louvre, the May bush, which had been planted in the middle of the court, fell down without any wind or apparent cause, and tumbled towards the little step leading to the king's chamber. I said to M. de Guise, I wish it had cost me a great deal, rather than that had happened. It is a very bad omen. May God preserve the king, who is the May of the Louvre.' He said, “ You are mad, to think seriously of such a thing.' I replied, 'In Italy or Germany, they would make much more account of such a presage than we do. May God preserve the king and all belonging to him. The king, who had only stept into the queen's closet and out again, had come softly behind us, thinking we were talking of some lady, and heard all I said.—You are fools,' said he, 'to amuse yourselves with such prognostics. I thank you, Bassompierre, for your solicitude about my life; but learn from me, never for the future to care about omens and predictions, which are vain and frivolous. For the last thirty years, all the astrologers and quacks have predicted to me, every year, that I should be killed; and have warned me to beware of certain days, in none of which did any accident ever happen to me. In the year in which I do actually die, all the presages which occurred in the course of it will be remarked, and thought a great deal of, and every thing which could furnish a conjecture of my death,

[ocr errors]

will be put into histories, and those who predicted it, will be thought
great and wonderful persons, while nothing will be said of the omens
of the preceding years.”. Yet, though this great and wise king had
no superstition, and laughed at omens and divinations, he not only,
by a particular sort of inspiration, foresaw his death long before it
happened, but even the manner of it, and the place where he should
be killed. He always had the apprehension of being stabbed in his
carriage by some melancholy madman : those who had the honour
to ride with him, will testify, as I can, to have heard him frequently
say, that there was no place more dangerous than that for being
attacked and wounded; and that one was cribbed in (empaqueté)
in such a manner, that one ' had no means of defending oneself,
or of being assisted by those around; that it was possible for any
one who would risk his own life, to approach him, and to glide between
his guards and footmen to give him a blow; that, on this account, he
never failed, when he rode in a carriage through the city, to take the
baton of one of the officers of the guard ; and he said, that he had only
to repel the first blow, for that he would immediately be succoured;
and that the only men he had to beware of were gloomy madmen,
because a wise man would never undertake such an action. Never.
theless, this good and great king, for the misfortune of France and of
all christendom, could not avoid what he had always foreseen and ap-
prehended—that he should be miserably assassinated by a gloomy
madman, and in his carriage.
5. The

queen had a particular and ardent desire to be crowned be-
fore the king's departure for Germany. The king did not wish it,
both on account of the expense, and because he did not like those grand
fêtes; yet, as he was the kindest husband in the world, he consented,
and delayed his going till she should have made her entry into Paris,
and commanded me to stay also. The court went, on the 12th of
May, to sleep at St. Denis, to be in readiness for the morrow, the day
of the queen's coronation, which was performed with the greatest pos-
sible magnificence. The king was extraordinarily gay. The next day,
M. de Guise and I went to meet him coming from mass: he took one of
us on each side, and said, “I come from the Feuillans, and I saw the
stone which Bassompierre has had put up over the door, Quid retri-
buam Domino pro omnibus quæ retribuit mihi, and I said for him, as
he is a German, that he should have put Calicem salutaris accipiam.
M. de Guise laughed heartily, and said to him, you are, to my mind,
one of the most agreeable men in the world, and our destiny created us
for one another; for if you had been a man in a middling station I
would have had you in my service, let it have cost me what it would,
but, since God made you a great king, it could not be otherwise but
that I must belong to you. The king embraced him and me too and
said, you don't know me now; but I shall die one of these days; and,
when
you

you

will know my worth, and the difference between me and other men.' Then I said to him, my God, sire, will you never cease afflicting us by saying that you will soon die ? These are not good words to utter; you will live, if it pleases God, long and happy years. There is no felicity in the world equal to yours; you are but in the flower of your age, in perfect health and strength of body, full

have lost me,

of honour beyond any other mortal, in the tranquil enjoyment of the most flourishing country in the world, adored by your subjects, possessed of wealth, of fine beautiful palaces, a handsome wife, beautiful mistresses, and fine children; what can you desire more? Then he sighed, and said, ' My friend, all this I must quit.' In the afternoon, I went to the Arsenal to meet the king, as he desired; but, alas ! it was in vain; for, shortly after, people came in exclaiming that the king had been wounded, and was carried to the Louvre.' I ran like a madman, seized the first horse I could find, and galloped to the Louvre. I met M. de Belancourt returning from the Louvre, who said, “he is dead.' I ran up to the king's closet, where I saw him stretched on the bed, and M. de Vic, counsellor of state, sitting on the same bed; he had put the cross of his order on the king's mouth, to make him remember God. Milon, his first physician, was by the side, weeping, and some surgeons, trying to dress his wound: but he was already gone: we saw him heave a sigh, but it was only a breath passing, the physician cried out, “Ah, it is all over, he is gone.' M. le Grand was on one side of the bed, holding one hand, which he kissed, and I had thrown myself at his feet, which I embraced, weeping bitterly. On opening the body, it was found that he had received two wounds; one was slight, but the other pierced an artery. He was of an excellent constitution of body; nothing appeared in it which did not promise a long life. It was, according to the report of the physicians and surgeons, the thickest stomach they ever saw. The left lung adhered a little to the side.”

We cannot enter into all the details of the feeble and troubled regency of Mary of Medicis, but shall select some passages which illustrate the state of manners during that deplorable period. The year 1611 furnishes an instance of the sort of defiance of law and order in which the principal nobles lived ; and the wars which raged even within the walls of Paris.

“Three days after the marriage of the Duke de Guise to Madame de Montpensier, the Prince de Conti quarrelled with his brother, the Count de Soissons, because their carriages had run against one another in passing, and their coachmen fought. M. de Guise, whom the queen had desired, that same evening, to go to M. de Conti to quiet this disturbance, went the following morning, and, as it lay in his way, happened to pass the Hotel de Soissons. This offended M. de Soissons, who sent for his friends, and told them M. de Guise had been past to brave him. Then M. de Guise's friends flocked to the Hotel de Guise in such a crowd, that there were more than a thousand gentlemen collected. This tumult lasted all that day, and the following; and the queen, apprehending the greatest disorder, ordered the chains to be ready to be put up at the first order, and the soldiers to be under arms at their quarters.

The details of the endeavours to heal this breach are long and uninteresting.

The year 1612 begins with the splendid fêtes at the double

« EdellinenJatka »