Sivut kuvina

marriages of France and Spain. Bassompierre, among others, rode at the ring, and displayed other knightly exercises.

“ The great gate of the palace was opened,” says he, “and we entered, preceded by all our equipages, arms, and other things, so beautiful and magnificent, that it is not possible for me to represent them in writing. Only I will say, that there were, on our side alone, near five hundred persons, and two hundred horse, all habited and caparisoned in crimson velvet, and white cloth of silver; and our suits were so richly embroidered, that nothing could go beyond it. After us, entered the Prince de Conti and M. de Vendôme, who danced a very beautiful ballet on horseback; M. de Montmorenci, who entered alone; and the Count d'Uxelles and the Baron de Lude, as Amadis and Galaor."

The first circumstance recorded in the following year, 1613, exhibits a fresh proof of the lawless state of the aristocracy.

The year 1613 began by the death of the Baron de Luz, assassinated on the 5th of January, at noon, in the Rue St. Honoré, by the Chevalier de Guise, at which the queen was extremely exasperated. I went, just at that time, to the Louvre, and I found her weeping, having sent for the princes and ministers to hold a council on this affair, which she had greatly at heart, She said to me, as soon as I went in, you see, Bassompierre, how I am treated, and what a brave action it was to kill an old gentleman without defence and without warning. But these are the tricks of the family. There was a great murmur against this action in the council; and every body was scandalized at hearing that a great crowd of nobility had assembled at the hotel de Guise, and that the chevalier was coming with a large suite to speak to the queen. On this intelligence, the queen sent to order him not to come, and the nobility to disperse."

As it happened, they thought proper to obey ; but it seems to have been a matter of doubt in the council, whether this order would not be resisted. A little further on in these memoirs, we find the following passage :

“ A few days afterwards, the young Baron de Luz called out the Chevalier de Guise, who killed him. And here I saw a strange instance of the changes of the court; that when M. de Guise killed the father, the queen commanded the parliament to take cognizance of it, to institute proceedings against him, and to try him, and when, in less than a week after, he had, to crown this, killed his son, the queen sent to visit him, and to know how his wounds were, as soon as he returned from the combat."

In all the cabals and negociations between the queen and the princes, Bassompierre had a large share. In the course of them, we are introduced to that extraordinary plaything of fortune, the Marshal d’Ancre, whose fate is detailed at length in a subsequent part of these memoirs. On one occasion of the reconciliation of the queen with the party to which he was opposed,

Bassompierre gives the words in which he attempted to hide his mortification : “Seeing the queen talking familiarly with the Duke d'Epernon and Lamet, he said to me, Per Dio Moussou io mi rido moi delle cose deste monde. La reine a soin d'une siége pour Zamet et n'enn a point pour Monsieur de Maine; fiezvous a l'amore dei principi.The baseness of this man's mind appears in every circumstance preceding his ruin. On one occasion, when a certain Maignat was arrested for holding a treasonable correspondence with Piedmont, in which Marshal d'Ancre and his wife were believed to be implicated, he sent for Bassompierre.

“ He led me,” says he, “ into the queen's gallery, shut the door upon us, and walked to the end of it without speaking a word. ; At length, drawing himself up, he said, 'Ah, M. de Bassompierre, my

good friend, I am lost; my enemies have gained the ascendancy over the queen's mind, to ruin me.' Then he began to utter strange blasphemies, and to weep bitterly. I let him rave a little, and then I said,

Sir, it is no time to weep and to swear, when affairs press. I imagined you sent for me, to tell me the evil and not to bewail it.' He said, 'gli ministri m'ont donné cette strette et me veulent prendre.' .

Shortly after he got out of this difficulty, he gave Bassompierre satisfactory proof of his gratitude and sincerity. Bassompierre was desirous of obtaining the lieutenancy of Poitou for his brother-in-law, St. Luc, and solicited the Marshal d'Ancre's good offices with the queen, which he promised both to him and to St. Luc himself. Nevertheless, the place was given to M. de Rochfort, at the marshal's earnest entreaty, as the queen told Bassompierre; she herself preferring St. Luc.

“ The Marquis d’Ancre told me, the same day, that he was in great distress that the queen had given that place to Rochfort, and that he begged me to assure M. de St. Luc, that he had done all he could in his favour, but that the prince's authority had prevailed. I, who knew what the queen had told me, replied, that when he wanted me to impose upon some indifferent third person, I


much at his service, but, that when he wanted to gull my brother-in-law, I would be much obliged to him to employ another man, for that I was too nearly related.”

At the conclusion of this year, Bassompierre was near leaving France and the French service, in disgust at the queen's coolness. Early in the next year he obtained, after some difficulty, the colonelcy-general of the Swiss, a situation which had hitherto been usually held by princes. His reply to the queen, on this occasion, is in the same cool tone as the one we have just quoted. “ Bassompierre,” said she, “ if you had been a prince, I should have given you a fine post to-day.” “ Madam,” said I,“ if I am not a prince, it is not because I don't


wish to be one ; but, nevertheless, I can assure you, that there are princes greater blockheads than I.” At the conclusion of this year, our hero was surrounded with difficulties. In the first place, Mademoiselle d'Entragues and her relations had involved him in a law-suit, in consequence of a promise of marriage he had made her, in case she should bear him a son, which condition had been fulfilled.

“ I was,” says he, “in great perplexities, not only in consequence of this affair, but also on account of sixteen hundred thousand livres, which I owed at Paris, without any means of paying them; and my creditors, who, seeing me go to see my mother who was dangerously ill, had some patience ; now that I was returned, and my mother recovered, lost all hope of settling their affairs with me, and were, consequently, very mutinous. There was a quarrel in one house between a husband and wife, on my account, which gave me pain, and, worse than all, there was a young girl, for whom I daily feared a discovery, attended with great scandal and bad consequences to me.”

Yet his fortunate and triumphant star prevailed over these complicated effects of his unprincipled conduct.

“ It happened that, in a few days, I heard of the cessation of the proceedings against me in my suit, and of the death of my mother, which brought me fifty thousand crowns in money, and saleable property to the amount of a hundred thousand, so that I paid seven hundred thousand livres, which set me greatly at my ease. The quarrel between the husband and wife was made up. The young girl was happily brought to bed without any body knowing of it; and I went to Rouen, where I gained my cause against d'Entragues finally and completely, so that I was delivered, at the same time, from all these various and distressing inconveniences.”.

Passing over the details of the civil war between the queen and the princes, which now desolated France, we must mention an event in the life of Marshal d’Ancre, which he afterwards spoke of as one of the prognostics of his approaching ruin.

“ Marshal d'Ancre remained for some time at Lesigny, where we went to see him. He ordered his footmen to beat a certain shoemaker, who, being captain of his quarter, had refused to let bim out at the gate of Bussy, where he commanded during the war. The footmen were seized by the people, and hanged, two days afterwards, before the shoemaker's door. At length, the prince arrived, and was followed to the house by a crowd of people. At that time, Marshal d’Ancre was very unpopular at Paris. At his request, I went with him to the prince. On entering, we found this shoemaker. He was just coming out. He had been trying to stir up his quarter against the marshal, but could not succeed. We were told, that we should

find the Pont Neuf occupied on our return, so that I went before him with all the men I had with me, but there was nobody.”

From this time, Concini's decline was as rapid as his rise. The Prince, who had hitherto protected him, was obliged to withdraw his countenance. On the occasion of a magnificent entertainment given by the Prince to Lord Hay, the English ambassador, the marshal having had the boldness to present himself among the great nobles of the court, who were all his enemies, Bassompierre expressly says, that many proposals were made to kill him then and there, but that they were not carried into effect. The next day the prince told him, that he could no longer support him, and that he must retire to his government of Normandy; in consequence of which he set out on the following day: “ It is impossible to describe,” adds he, how much this departure discredited the

the queen, when

when it was seen that a servant of her's could live in safety at Paris no longer than it pleased the prince, and how it raised his reputation and authority.” Shortly after, followed the celebrated arrest of the prince, in which, as in every remarkable measure of the time, Bassompierre acted a prominent part.

“ At eight o'clock in the evening the king came to the council, and the queen, looking at him as every body presented petitions to him, said, “ There is the king of France now, but his royalty shall not last long.” In an hour or two from that time he was a prisoner, and the chiefs of his party had fled. Nothing, as usual, is said about the dispositions of the people, but we are left to conclude, from what follows, that they were strongly attached to the prince, and that they attributed his disgrace to the Marshal d'Ancre.

A short time after the arrest of the prince, some rioters, or adherents of his, began to throw stones against the windows of the Marshal d'Ancre's house, then others joined them with the hope of pillage; they took the pieces of timber before the Luxembourg, which was then building, to break open the door of the house; eight or ten men and women, who were within, escaped by a back way; and a number of masons from the Luxembourg having joined the mob, they pillaged this rich house, in which they found furniture worth more than two hundred thousand crowns. As soon as the queen

heard of it, she commanded M. de Liancourt, Governor of Paris, to go and put a stop to this tumult; but having gone with the patrole, and seeing that it was no place for him, he retired. The people continued to plunder all that day, and were let alone. The next day, the king commanded M. de Crequi to take some companies and go and drive away the people, who continued not to pillage, for that was done, but to demolish the Marshal d'Ancre's house. This he executed.”

It does not appear that the government felt itself strong enough to take any further notice of this outrage. The last


2 A

published volume of these memoirs contains an account, at some length, of the extraction and extraordinary elevation of this man; but we must content ourselves with referring our readers to it, and confine ourselves to the last scene of his life recorded in the older work.

“ The Marshal's daughter,” says Bassompierre, “ fell ill and died, at which both he and his wife were cruelly afflicted. I shall relate what passed between him and me the day she died, by which will be seen the prescience he had of what afterwards happened to him. Finding him so deeply afflicted, I tried sometimes to console and sometimes to divert him, but he answered nothing to any thing I said but, Signor, I am undone; Signor, I am ruined; Signor, I am miserable.' At last, I told him to consider the character of a Marshal of France, which he represented, and which did not permit him to indulge in lamentations unworthy of his wife, unworthy of him.”

After exhausting the topic of emulation, Bassompierre continues :

“ At length, after having wept long in this way, he said to me, . Ah, sir, I do truly regret my daughter, and shall regret her as long as I live, yet I could patiently endure that affliction; but the ruin of myself and my wife, of my son, and of my family, which I see at hand before my eyes, makes me lament and lose all patience, which I discover to you as a true friend. Know, sir, that ever since I mixed in the world, I have learned to know it well, and to see not only the elevation of fortunes, but their decline and fall; and that a man reaches a certain point of felicity, after which he descends or falls headlong, according as the point he reached was high and steep. If you did not know the meanness of my origin, I would try to disguise it from you; but you saw me in Florence, debauched, sometimes in prison, sometimes banished, generally without money, and always plunged in a disorderly and ill course of life. I was born a gentleman, and of good parents ; but when I came into France, I had not a penny, and owed eight thousand crowns. My marriage, and the favour of the queen, gave me great influence during the life time of the late king, and brought me wealth, advancement, places, and honours, during the regency; and I laboured to second and urge on fortune as much as any man, while I saw she was favourable; but now that she gives me warning of her flight, I wish to make an honourable retreat, and to enjoy in peace, with my wife, the great riches which the liberality of the queen has given us, or our own industry acquired. To this effect, I have for some months vainly importuned my wife, and at every

blow I received from fortune, I renewed my entreaties. When I see that a powerful party has arisen in France, which has taken me as the pretext for its rise, and has declared me one of the five tyrants it seeks to destroy; when M. Dolet, who was my friend, my creature, and my servant, has been put to death ; when an infamous shoemaker puts an affront upon me,-upon me, a Marshal of France ! when I have been forced to quit my establishment in Picardy, my citadel of Amiens, and to leave Ancre a prey to M. de Longueville, my enemy; when I was

« EdellinenJatka »