Read CHAPTER I of The Life of Marie de Medicis‚ Vol. 3, free online book, by Julia Pardoe, on ReadCentral.com.

1618

De Luynes resolves to compel the Queen-mother to remain at Blois-Treachery of Richelieu-The suspicions of Marie are aroused-Her apprehensions-She demands permission to remove to Monceaux, and is refused-She affects to resign herself to her fate-A royal correspondence-Vanity of the Duc d’Epernon-A Court broil-The Abbe Rucellai offers his services to Marie de Medicis-He attempts to win over the great nobles to her cause-He is compelled to quit the Court, and retires to Sedan-The Duc de Bouillon refuses to join the cabal-The Duc d’Epernon consents to aid the escape of the Queen-mother-The ministers become suspicious of the designs of Richelieu-He is ordered to retire to Coussay, and subsequently to Avignon-Tyranny of M. de Roissy-The Queen-mother resolves to demand a public trial-De Luynes affects to seek a reconciliation with the Prince de Conde-Firmness of the Queen-mother-The three Jesuits-Marie pledges herself not to leave Blois without the sanction of the King-False confidence of De Luynes-The malcontents are brought to trial-Weakness of the ministers-Political executions-Indignation of the people-The Princes resolve to liberate the Queen-mother.

It will be remembered that Marie de Medicis left the capital under a pledge from her son himself that she was at perfect liberty to change her place of abode whenever she should deem it expedient to do so; and that her sojourn at Blois was merely provisional, and intended as a temporary measure, to enable her to establish herself more commodiously in her own castle of Monceaux. Anxious for her absence, De Luynes had induced the King to consent to her wishes; but she had no sooner reached Blois than he determined that she should be compelled to remain there, as he dreaded her influence in a province of which she was the absolute mistress; and, accordingly, she had no sooner arrived in the fortress-palace on the Loire than he began to adopt the necessary measures for her detention. Within a week she was surrounded by spies; a precaution which would appear to have been supererogatory so long as Richelieu remained about her person, as his first care on reaching Blois was to write to the favourite to repeat his offers of service; and he himself informs us that “from time to time he sent him an exact account of the Queen’s proceedings;” while so much anxiety did he evince to retain the confidence of the Court party that when Marie, desirous of repaying the sacrifice which she believed him to have made in following her fortunes, appointed him chief of her Council, he refused to accept this office until he had written to obtain the sanction of the King; and publicly declared that he would not occupy any official situation whatever in her service until he ascertained the pleasure of his Majesty.

These servile scruples did not, however, as he himself admits, suffice to set at rest the suspicions of De Luynes, whose knowledge of the Bishop’s character by no means tended to inspire him with any confidence in his professions; while the Queen-mother, on her side, had soon cause to apprehend that the motives of Richelieu for his self-banishment were far less honourable than those which she had been so eager to attribute to him. Certain projects which she was anxious to keep profoundly secret became known to the favourite; and her natural distrust, coupled with this fact, induced her to be gradually less communicative to the intriguing prelate. Her spirits, moreover, gave way under the successive mortifications to which she was subjected; and combined with her somewhat tardy but deep regret at the fate of the Marechal d’Ancre were fears for her own safety, which appeared to be daily threatened.

Her residence at Monceaux was soon in readiness for her reception; but when she apprised the King of her intention of removing thither, she received an evasive reply, and was courteously but peremptorily advised to defer her journey. Marie de Medicis from that moment fully comprehended her real position; but with a tact and dissimulation equal to that of Louis himself, she professed the most perfect indifference on the subject, and submitted without any remonstrance to the expressed wish of her son. This resignation to his will flattered the vanity of Louis, and quieted the fears of his favourite; but it by no means deceived the subtle Richelieu, who, aware of the inherent ambition of Marie de Medicis, at once felt convinced that she was preoccupied with some important design, and consequently indisposed to waste her energies upon questions of minor moment. At short intervals she addressed the most submissive letters to the King, assuring him of her devoted attachment to his interests, and her desire to obey his wishes in all things; but these assurances produced no effect upon the mind of Louis, whose ear was perpetually poisoned by the reports which reached him through the creatures of De Luynes, who never failed to attribute to the cabals of the Queen-mother all the Court intrigues, whatever might be their origin or character. Like herself, however, he was profuse in his professions of regard and confidence in her affection for his person and zeal for his interests, at the very time when she could not stir a yard from the fortress, or even walk upon the ramparts, without being accompanied by a number of armed men, denominated by De Luynes, with melancholy facetiousness, a guard of honour. Nevertheless Marie retained the most perfect self-command; but she was fated to undergo a still more bitter trial than she had yet anticipated; for so little real respect did her son evince towards her that he entered into a negotiation for the marriage of his sister the Princesse Christine with the Prince of Piedmont without condescending to consult her wishes upon the subject; thus at once disregarding her privileges as a mother and as a Queen.

Superadded to this mortification was a second little less poignant. As the great nobles whom she had helped to enrich during her period of power resumed their position at Court, she anticipated from day to day that they would espouse her cause, and advocate her recall to the capital; but with the single exception of the Due de Rohan, not one of the Princes had made an effort in her behalf; and the generous interference of the latter had, as she was aware, excited against him the animosity of De Luynes; while, on the contrary, the favourite showed undisguised favour to all who abandoned her cause.

At the close of the year 1617 the Duc de Rohan had proceeded to Savoy, and the Duc de Bouillon to Sedan; but the Ducs de Sully and d’Epernon still remained in the capital, where the latter again displayed as much pomp and pretension as he had done under the Regency; and at the commencement of 1618 he had a serious misunderstanding with Du Vair, the Keeper of the Seals, upon a point of precedence. Irascible and haughty, he resented the fact of that magistrate taking his place on all occasions of public ceremonial immediately after the Chancellor Sillery, and consequently before the dukes and peers; and on Easter Sunday, when the Court attended mass at the Church of St. Germain l’Auxerrois in state, he seized him roughly by the arm, and compelled him to give way. The King, indignant at so ill-timed a burst of passion, hastened to interfere, and spoke sharply to the Duke, who did not condescend to justify himself, but assumed an attitude of defiance, never subsequently leaving his hotel without the attendance of a numerous suite of gentlemen ready to defend him in case of attack; while in addition to this breach of etiquette, M. d’Epernon loudly complained of the bad faith of De Luynes, who had promised, in order to induce his return to Court, to obtain a cardinal’s hat for his third son the Archbishop of Toulouse, without, however, having subsequently made a single effort to redeem his pledge. So bitterly, indeed, did he inveigh against the favourite that he began to apprehend the possibility of an arrest; yet still he lingered in the capital, as if unwilling to retreat before an enemy whom he despised.

Among the individuals who had followed the Queen-mother into exile was a certain Abbe Rucellai, a Florentine, who having failed to obtain advancement at the Court of Rome, had passed over to France in the hope of furthering his fortunes in that kingdom. His anticipations appeared for a time likely to be realized, as he was warmly welcomed on his arrival by his countryman Concini; but the assassination of the favourite having blighted all his prospects, he resolved upon revenge, and as a first step offered his services to Marie de Medicis, by whom they were accepted. The Queen-mother had no sooner formed her little Court than the Abbe proceeded to lay the foundations of his plot, which was based upon her return to power, and which he was well aware must involve the ruin of De Luynes; while at the same time he felt satisfied that he should be amply recompensed by Marie herself for his services. No opposition had been made to the self-banishment of Rucellai by the Court party, as he was well known to be in infirm health and of effeminate habits; and to exhibit in every phase of his character the very reverse of a conspirator. He had, moreover, made friends during his residence in Paris; and, through the interest of Zamet, had obtained the Abbey of Signy in Champagne, which, together with his family inheritance, secured to him an annual income of twenty thousand crowns. This revenue he spent in the most liberal manner, and soon became very popular from the suavity and refinement of his manners, and his extreme generosity. An affair of gallantry had, however, involved him in a quarrel with the nephew of the Duc d’Epernon; who, espousing the cause of his relative, in his turn excited the hatred of the Abbe.

Rucellai had been but a short time at Blois before he felt that he could carry out his plans with greater facility in the capital than while subjected to the constant surveillance of the Court spies by whom Marie de Medicis was surrounded; and he accordingly obtained permission to return to Court, De Luynes being easily induced to believe that his application was caused by his weariness of the monotony of Blois, and his desire to participate once more in the gaieties of Paris. The fact, however, was far otherwise. The thirst for vengeance had produced a singular effect upon the Florentine; and although he still affected to enact the sybarite, in order to mislead those whom he sought to ruin, he became suddenly endued with a moral energy as well as a physical strength of which no one had believed him to be possessed. Neither fatigue, danger, nor difficulty sufficed to paralyze his exertions; and if he was one hour at the feet of a Court beauty, he was busied the next in the most subtle and well-devised attempts to win over one or other of the great nobles to the cause of the exiled Queen.

He experienced little difficulty in his undertaking; all the Princes desiring the ruin of De Luynes and the return of the Queen-mother; but when he urged that an endeavour should be made to effect her escape, to secure her safety in a fortified town, and then to take up arms against the favourite, he failed in finding one individual bold enough to venture on so extreme a step, although all were ready to volunteer their support when her flight should have been accomplished. In this extremity Rucellai cast his eyes upon the Duc de Bouillon, whose courage was undoubted, and upon whose spirit of intrigue he calculated with confidence; but in order to win over the Marshal it was necessary that he should communicate with him personally, and he accordingly caused rumours to be spread which excited the apprehensions of the ministers, and totally misled them as to his real designs, while at the same time they induced De Luynes to issue an order for his immediate departure from the capital. The Abbe complied with apparent reluctance; and then lost no time in hastening to Signy, whence he proceeded with all speed to Sedan.

Here, however, contrary to his expectations, he was doomed to disappointment; for while Bouillon expressed the greatest devotion for Marie de Medicis, and asserted his wish for her restoration to power, which he coupled with the remark that “the Court was still the same wine-shop as ever, although they had changed the stamp of their cork,” he pleaded his age and his infirmities as a pretext for declining to enter into the conspiracy which was about to be organized for her release; while, at the same time, he suggested that no individual could be found more eligible to secure the success of such an enterprise than M. d’Epernon. “He is both proud and daring,” he said in conclusion; “address yourself to him. This is the best advice which I can offer to the Queen-mother.”

Of this fact the Abbe was himself persuaded; but two circumstances appeared to present insurmountable obstacles to his success with the haughty Duke. In the first place he had withdrawn from the Court greatly incensed against Marie de Medicis, who had sacrificed his interests to those of the Prince de Conde and the Marechal d’Ancre; and in the next he was the declared enemy of Rucellai himself. The position of the Abbe was perplexing, as he well knew that M. d’Epernon never forgave an injury inflicted upon him by an inferior; but the crisis was one of such importance that the Florentine resolved to make any concession rather than abandon his design. He was aware that, however hostile the Duke might be to himself personally, his hatred of De Luynes far exceeded any feeling of animosity which he could possibly entertain towards a man whom he considered as a mere adventurer; and the ambition of the Abbe determined him to sacrifice his pride to the necessities of the cause in which he laboured. Having therefore decided upon making his own feelings subservient to the success of his enterprise, he returned without hesitation to Paris, but he had still a great difficulty to overcome; as, until the Duke should be made fully aware of the nature of his mission, he could not venture to intrude upon his privacy, although the moment was singularly favourable. M. d’Epernon had incurred the displeasure of the Court by his quarrel with Du Vair, and his open defiance of the favourite; his sons were equally incensed by the disappointment to which the Archbishop of Toulouse had been latterly subjected, and had been as unguarded as himself in their expressions of disgust; but still Rucellai was aware that he must exert the utmost precaution in order not to excite the resentment of the man upon whose co-operation he founded all his hopes of ultimate success; and after having carefully considered the best method of effecting his purpose, he decided upon inducing the Queen-mother to cause a letter to be forwarded to the Archbishop of Toulouse, wherein he was requested to negotiate an interview between his father and the Abbe. The young prelate willingly undertook the task assigned to him; but whether it were that the Duke still resented the conduct of Marie de Medicis, or that he feared to compromise himself still further with the Court, he merely answered with some impatience, “I am about to retire to Metz: I will not listen to any propositions from the Queen until I am in my own government;” a reply which did not, however, tend to discourage the persevering Florentine.

When the details of this attempt were communicated to her Marie hastened to forward to M. d’Epernon a watch superbly ornamented with diamonds, requesting him at the same time to confide to her the nature of his intentions; but he again refused to give any explanations until he should have left the capital.

The journey of the Duke was not long delayed. His position became daily more untenable; and on the 6th of May he quitted Paris, without even venturing to take leave of the King.

Rucellai no sooner learnt that M. d’Epernon had reached Metz than he prepared to follow up the negotiation. He had afforded an asylum at Signy to Vincenzio Ludovici, the secretary of the Marechal d’Ancre, who had been sent to the Bastille at the period of his master’s murder, where he had remained until after the execution of Leonora Galigai, when an order was forwarded for his release. This man, who was an able diplomatist, and had great experience in Court intrigue, possessed the entire confidence of his new patron, who hastened to despatch him to the Duc d’Epernon with a letter of recommendation from the Queen-mother, and full instructions for treating with the haughty noble in her name. Ludovici acquitted himself creditably of his mission; and although M. d’Epernon at first replied to his representations by an indignant recapitulation of the several instances of ingratitude which he had experienced from the late Regent, he nevertheless admitted that he still felt a sincere interest in her cause. This concession sufficed to encourage the envoy; and after a time the negotiation was opened. Vincenzio promised, in the name of the Queen, money, troops, and fortresses; and, moreover, such advantageous conditions that the Duke finally consented to return a decisive answer after he should have had time to consider the proposals which had been made to him.

Had M. d’Epernon followed the advice of his sons, the Marquis de la Valette and the Archbishop of Toulouse, the enterprise might at once have been accomplished. His vanity was flattered by the consciousness that his services were not only essential but even indispensable to the Queen-mother; but he had outlived the age of enthusiasm, and past experience had made him cautious. He therefore declined giving any definitive answer until he had ascertained who were the great nobles pledged to the faction of the Queen-mother, and the amount of money which she was prepared to disburse for the expenses of a civil war.

The agent of Rucellai was ready with his reply. He informed the Duke that the House of Guise, M. de Montmorency, the Marechal de Bouillon, and several others were prepared to join him so soon as he should have declared openly in her favour; while Marie de Medicis was prepared to advance considerable sums whenever they should be required.

Upon receiving this assurance M. d’Epernon hesitated no longer. He had utterly forfeited his position at Court, while he had reason to apprehend that De Luynes contemplated the confiscation of all his offices under the Crown, and the seizure of his numerous governments; a circumstance which determined him openly to brave the displeasure of the King, and to espouse the interests of his mother.

Throughout the whole of this negotiation Ludovici had been careful not to betray to the Duke the fact that Rucellai had organized the faction of which he was about to become the leader; but he had no sooner pledged himself to the cause than it became necessary to inform him of the circumstance. His anger and indignation were for a time unbounded; he was, however, ultimately induced to consent to an interview with the Abbe, who on his arrival at Metz soon succeeded in overcoming the prejudices of the offended noble, and in effecting his reconciliation with the Marechal de Bouillon. A common interest induced both to bury past injuries in oblivion; and it was not long ere the Florentine was enabled to communicate to Marie de Medicis the cheering intelligence that the Cardinal de Guise, M. de Bouillon, and the Duc d’Epernon had agreed to levy an army of twelve thousand infantry and three thousand horse in the province of Champagne, in order to create a diversion in case the King should march troops towards Angoulême, whither it was resolved that she should be finally conveyed after her escape from Blois; as well as to defend the Marquis de la Valette if an endeavour were made to drive him out of Metz, while his father was absent with the Queen-mother.

On receiving this intelligence Marie forwarded to Rucellai the sum of two hundred thousand crowns, of which he transferred a portion to the Cardinal de Guise and the Marechal de Bouillon; and every precaution was taken to ensure the success of the enterprise.

Despite all the caution which had been observed, however, these transactions had not taken place without exciting the attention and suspicions of the Court; and notwithstanding all his anxiety to secure the confidence and goodwill of the favourite, Richelieu had been one of the first to feel the effects of the hatred conceived against those who under any pretext adhered to the interests of the Queen-mother. It is true that on leaving Paris he had pledged himself to watch all her proceedings, and immediately to report every equivocal circumstance which might fall under his observation, but his antecedents were notorious, and no faith was placed in his promise. De Luynes and the ministers were alike distrustful of his sincerity; and only a few weeks after his arrival at Blois an order reached him by which he was directed to retire forthwith to his priory at Coussay near Mirabeau, and to remain there until he should receive further instructions. In vain did Marie de Medicis-who, whatever might be her misgivings as to his good faith, was nevertheless acutely conscious of the value of Richelieu’s adhesion-entreat of the King to permit his return to Blois; her request was denied, and the Bishop had no alternative save obedience; nor was it long ere De Luynes induced Louis to banish him to Avignon.

The annoyance of the Queen-mother upon this occasion was increased by the fact that Richelieu was replaced at her little Court by M. de Roissy, who was peculiarly obnoxious to her. Her representations to this effect were, however, disregarded; and she was compelled to receive him into her household. If the statement of his predecessor be a correct one, the unfortunate Marie had only too much cause to deprecate his admission to her circle, as thenceforward her captivity became more rigorous than ever, no person being permitted to approach her without his sanction; while her favourite attendants were dismissed by his orders (among others Caterina Selvaggio, who had accompanied her from Florence and to whom she was much attached), and replaced by others who were devoted to the interests of De Luynes. It is, however, difficult to believe that this account was not exaggerated, from the extremely bitter spirit evinced by the writer; who probably endeavoured to minimize in so far as he was able his own false behaviour towards his royal mistress and benefactor, by an overwrought account of the increased insults to which she was subjected after his departure.

This much is nevertheless certain, that the unfortunate Queen was treated with a severity and disrespect which determined her to proceed to any extremity rather than submit to a continuance of such unmitigated mortification. Indignant at the prolonged imprisonment of Barbin, and the harsh treatment endured by the few who still adhered to her cause, she at length openly resisted the tyranny of her gaolers; upon which De Luynes, perceiving that the mission of De Roissy had failed, despatched the Marechal d’Ornano to Blois, with express orders to leave untried no means of intimidating her into submission; a task which he performed with such extreme rudeness, that in the course of the interview he so far forgot himself as to menace her with his hand, and to tell her that should she undertake anything inimical to the interests of the favourite, she should be exhausted “until she was as dry as wood.” This insult, however, only tended to arouse the proud spirit of the outraged Princess, who indignantly exclaimed: “I am weary of being daily accused of some new crime. This state of things must be put an end to; and it shall be so, even if I am compelled, like a mere private individual, to submit myself to the judgment of the Parliament of Paris.”

The new attitude thus assumed by the Queen-mother alarmed De Luynes, whose increasing unpopularity induced him to fear that the Princes, who did not seek to disguise their disgust at his unbridled arrogance, would be easily persuaded to espouse her cause. He therefore endeavoured to excite her apprehensions by affecting to accomplish a reconciliation with M. de Conde, for which purpose he repeatedly despatched Deageant to Vincennes in order that she might suppose the negotiation to have commenced; but all these artifices failed to shake the resolution of Marie de Medicis.

This display of firmness augmented the dismay of De Luynes and the ministers, who then conjointly endeavoured to compel her to ask the royal permission to retire to Florence; for which purpose they treated her with greater rigour than before. Several troops of cavalry were garrisoned in the immediate environs of Blois; she was not permitted to leave the fortress; and orders were given that she should not, under any pretext, be allowed to receive visitors without the previous sanction of the favourite. Still the spirit of Marie remained unbroken; and it was ascertained that, despite all precautions, she pursued her purpose with untiring perseverance. It thus became necessary to adopt other measures. Cadenet, the brother of De Luynes, was accordingly instructed to proceed to her prison, and to inform her that the King was about to visit her, in order to make arrangements for her liberation; but the Queen had been already apprised of his intended arrival, as well as of the motive of his journey, and the fallacy of the promises which he had been directed to hold out; and consequently, after coldly expressing her sense of the intended clemency, and the gratification which she should derive from the presence of her son, she dismissed the messenger as calmly and as haughtily as though she had still been Regent of the kingdom.

De Luynes and his adherents felt that hitherto nothing had been gained; and they next determined to enlist the services of her confessor, the Jesuit Suffren, who had, as they were aware, great influence over her mind. Suffren declared himself ready to do all in his power to meet the wishes of the King and his ministers, and to induce his royal penitent to submit patiently to her captivity, should he be convinced that in so acting he was fulfilling his duty towards both parties; and for the purpose of a thorough understanding on this point, he suggested that an accredited person should be named with whom he might enter into a negotiation. De Luynes immediately appointed for this office another Jesuit called Seguerand, and the two ecclesiastics accordingly met to discuss the terms upon which Suffren was to offer the desired advice to the Queen-mother; but he had no sooner ascertained that an unqualified concession was demanded on her part without any reciprocal pledge upon that of her enemies, than he conscientiously declined to give her any such counsel, and the parties separated without coming to an understanding.

This failure no sooner reached the ears of Arnoux, the King’s confessor, than he volunteered to renew the negotiation, under the impression that he should be more successful than his colleague; an offer which was eagerly accepted by De Luynes, who procured for him an autograph letter from Louis XIII, which he was instructed to deliver personally into the hands of Marie. In this letter the King stated that having been informed of the wish of the Queen-mother to make a pilgrimage to some holy places, he hastened to express his gratification at the intelligence; and to assure her that he should rejoice to learn that she took more exercise than she had lately done for the benefit of her health, which was to him a subject of great interest; adding, moreover, that should circumstances permit, he would willingly bear her company; but that, in any case, he would not fail to do so in writing, as he desired that wherever she went she should be received, respected, and honoured like himself.

Habituated as she was to these wordy and equivocal communications, the Queen-mother, aware that her every word and gesture would be closely scrutinized by the reverend envoy, concealed her indignation, and affected to experience unalloyed gratification from this display of affection on the part of her son; a circumstance of which Arnoux availed himself to impress upon her mind the certainty of an approaching and complete reconciliation with the King, provided she should express her willingness to comply with his pleasure in all things, and pledge herself not to form any cabal against his authority, or to make any attempt to leave Blois until he should sanction her departure; and it would, moreover, appear that the Jesuit was eloquent, as he ultimately succeeded in overcoming the distrust of his listener. If Suffren, who had become weary of the monotony of Blois, and of the insignificance to which his royal penitent was reduced by her enforced exile, was desirous to see her once more resume her position at Court, Arnoux was no less anxious on his part to secure her continued absence, as he apprehended that her return to the capital would involve his own dismissal, from the fact of his having owed his appointment to De Luynes; while whatever may have been the arguments which he advanced, under cover of a sincere and earnest wish to see the mother and the son once more united by those natural bonds which had been for some time riven asunder, it is certain that he finally effected his object, and induced the unfortunate Princess to give full credence to his assurances of attachment towards herself, and his pious wish to accomplish a reconciliation which was the ardent desire of her own heart; and accordingly, before the termination of the interview, Marie de Medicis pledged herself to all that he required.

“I do not, Madame,” said the subtle Jesuit, on receiving this assurance, “doubt for a single instant the sincerity of your Majesty; but others may prove less confiding than myself. I would therefore respectfully urge you to furnish me with some document which will bear testimony to the success of my mission, and demonstrate the excellent decision at which you have arrived. Do this, and I will guarantee that you shall obtain from the King your son all that you may desire.”

Marie yielded; and her insidious adviser lost no time in drawing up an act by which the imprudent Queen bound herself by a solemn oath to submit in all things to the will and pleasure of the sovereign; to hold no intelligence with any individual either within or without the kingdom contrary to his interests; to denounce all those who were adverse to his authority; to assist in their punishment; and finally, to remain tranquilly at Blois till such time as Louis should see fit to recall her to the capital. She was, moreover, induced to consent to the publication of this document; and thus armed the astute Jesuit returned to Court, where he received the acknowledgments of De Luynes, coupled with renewed promises of favour and support.

Aware of the deep devotional feelings of the Queen-mother, De Luynes never for an instant apprehended that she would be induced to infringe an oath by which she had invoked “God and the holy angels"; and he consequently regarded her captivity as perpetual; but he forgot, when arriving at this conclusion, that although he had, through the medium of one Jesuit, succeeded in persuading her to consent to her own ruin, there still remained about her person a second, whose individual interests were involved with her own, and who would, in all probability, prove equally unscrupulous. Such was, in fact, the case; Suffren, to whose empire over the mind of Marie we have already alluded, did not hesitate (when as days and weeks passed away, and no effort was made towards her release, she began to evince symptoms of impatience, and of regret at the act into which she had been betrayed) to assure her that an extorted oath, however solemn, was not valid; and to impress upon her that she was not justified before her Maker in depriving herself of that liberty of action which had been His gift; a pious sophism which could not but prove palatable to his persecuted mistress. Together with this consoling conviction, she soon perceived, moreover, that she had at least derived one benefit from her imprudence, as the Court party, confiding in her word, made no attempt to prevent the realization of the design which she had affected of a devotional pilgrimage; and which was sanctioned by the letter of the King.

Anxious, however, to destroy any latent hope in which she might still indulge of a return to power, De Luynes resolved to effect the ruin of all who had evinced any anxiety for her restoration; and there was suddenly a commission given to the Council, “to bring to trial the authors of the cabals and factions, having for their object the recall of the Queen-mother, the deliverance of the Prince de Conde, and the overthrow of the State.” The first victims of this sweeping accusation were the Baron de Persan, the brother-in-law of De Vitry, and De Bournonville his brother, who were entrusted with the safe keeping of Barbin in the Bastille, and by whom he had been indirectly permitted to maintain a correspondence with his exiled mistress; together with the brothers Siti, of Florence, and Durand, the composer of the King’s ballets. The result of the trial proved the virulence of the prosecutors, but at the same time revealed their actual weakness, as they feared to execute the sentence pronounced against the three principal offenders; and were compelled to satiate their vengeance upon the more insignificant and less guilty of the accused parties.

M. de Persan was simply exiled from the Court; De Bournonville was sentenced to death, but not executed; while Barbin only escaped the scaffold by a single vote, and was condemned to banishment; a sentence which the King subsequently aggravated by changing it to perpetual imprisonment. The three pamphleteers, for such were in reality the brothers Siti and Marie Durand, whose only crime appeared to have been that they had written a diatribe against De Luynes, did not, however, escape so easily, as the two former were broken on the wheel and burned in the Place de Greve, while the third was hanged.

Such a wholesale execution upon so slight a pretext aroused the indignation of the citizens, and excited the murmurs of the people, who could not brook that the person of an ennobled adventurer should thus be held sacred, while the widow of Henry the Great was exposed to the insults of every time-serving courtier. Nor were the nobles less disgusted with this display of heartless vanity and measureless pretension. The Ducs de Rohan and de Montbazon, despite their family connexion with the arrogant favourite, had already openly endeavoured to effect a reconciliation between Louis and the Queen-mother; and the other disaffected Princes no sooner witnessed the effect produced upon the populace by the cruel tyranny of De Luynes, than they resolved to profit by this manifestation, and to lose no time in attempting the deliverance of the royal prisoner.

Instant measures were taken for this purpose; and meanwhile the favourite, lulled into false security, was wholly unconscious of this new conspiracy, believing that by his late deed of blood he had awed all his adversaries into submission.