Infomotions, Inc.Quentin Durward / Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832



Author: Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832
Title: Quentin Durward
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Title: Quentin Durward

Author: Sir Walter Scott

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QUENTIN DURWARD

by

Sir Walter Scott, Bart.







AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION


The scene of this romance is laid in the fifteenth century, when
the feudal system, which had been the sinews and nerves of national
defence, and the spirit of chivalry, by which, as by a vivifying soul,
that system was animated, began to be innovated upon and abandoned
by those grosser characters who centred their sum of happiness in
procuring the personal objects on which they had fixed their own
exclusive attachment. The same egotism had indeed displayed itself
even in more primitive ages; but it was now for the first time openly
avowed as a professed principle of action. The spirit of chivalry
had in it this point of excellence, that, however overstrained and
fantastic many of its doctrines may appear to us, they were all
founded on generosity and self denial, of which, if the earth were
deprived, it would be difficult to conceive the existence of virtue
among the human race.

Among those who were the first to ridicule and abandon the self
denying principles in which the young knight was instructed and to
which he was so carefully trained up, Louis XI of France was the
chief. That sovereign was of a character so purely selfish -- so
guiltless of entertaining any purpose unconnected with his ambition,
covetousness, and desire of selfish enjoyment -- that he almost
seems an incarnation of the devil himself, permitted to do his
utmost to corrupt our ideas of honour in its very source. Nor is it
to be forgotten that Louis possessed to a great extent that caustic
wit which can turn into ridicule all that a man does for any other
person's advantage but his own, and was, therefore, peculiarly
qualified to play the part of a cold hearted and sneering fiend.

The cruelties, the perjuries, the suspicions of this prince, were
rendered more detestable, rather than amended, by the gross and
debasing superstition which he constantly practised. The devotion
to the heavenly saints, of which he made such a parade, was upon the
miserable principle of some petty deputy in office, who endeavours
to hide or atone for the malversations of which he is conscious
by liberal gifts to those whose duty it is to observe his conduct,
and endeavours to support a system of fraud by an attempt to corrupt
the incorruptible. In no other light can we regard his creating the
Virgin Mary a countess and colonel of his guards, or the cunning
that admitted to one or two peculiar forms of oath the force of a
binding obligation which he denied to all other, strictly preserving
the secret, which mode of swearing he really accounted obligatory,
as one of the most valuable of state mysteries.

To a total want of scruple, or, it would appear, of any sense
whatever of moral obligation, Louis XI added great natural firmness
and sagacity of character, with a system of policy so highly refined,
considering the times he lived in, that he sometimes overreached
himself by giving way to its dictates.

Probably there is no portrait so dark as to be without its softer
shades. He understood the interests of France, and faithfully
pursued them so long as he could identify them with his own. He
carried the country safe through the dangerous crisis of the war
termed "for the public good;" in thus disuniting and dispersing this
grand and dangerous alliance of the great crown vassals of France
against the Sovereign, a king of a less cautious and temporizing
character, and of a more bold and less crafty disposition than
Louis XI, would, in all probability, have failed. Louis had also
some personal accomplishments not inconsistent with his public
character. He was cheerful and witty in society; and none was better
able to sustain and extol the superiority of the coarse and selfish
reasons by which he endeavoured to supply those nobler motives for
exertion which his predecessors had derived from the high spirit
of chivalry.

In fact, that system was now becoming ancient, and had, even while
in its perfection, something so overstrained and fantastic in
its principles, as rendered it peculiarly the object of ridicule,
whenever, like other old fashions, it began to fall out of repute;
and the weapons of raillery could be employed against it, without
exciting the disgust and horror with which they would have
been rejected at an early period, as a species of blasphemy. The
principles of chivalry were cast aside, and their aid supplied by
baser stimulants. Instead of the high spirit which pressed every
man forward in the defence of his country, Louis XI substituted the
exertions of the ever ready mercenary soldier, and persuaded his
subjects, among whom the mercantile class began to make a figure,
that it was better to leave to mercenaries the risks and labours
of war, and to supply the Crown with the means of paying them,
than to peril themselves in defence of their own substance. The
merchants were easily persuaded by this reasoning. The hour did not
arrive in the days of Louis XI when the landed gentry and nobles
could be in like manner excluded from the ranks of war; but the wily
monarch commenced that system, which, acted upon by his successors,
at length threw the whole military defence of the state into the
hands of the Crown.

He was equally forward in altering the principles which were wont
to regulate the intercourse of the sexes. The doctrines of chivalry
had established, in theory at least, a system in which Beauty was
the governing and remunerating divinity -- Valour, her slave, who
caught his courage from her eye and gave his life for her slightest
service. It is true, the system here, as in other branches, was stretched
to fantastic extravagance, and cases of scandal not unfrequently
arose. Still, they were generally such as those mentioned by Burke,
where frailty was deprived of half its guilt, by being purified from
all its grossness. In Louis XI's practice, it was far otherwise.
He was a low voluptuary, seeking pleasure without sentiment, and
despising the sex from whom he desired to obtain it. ... By selecting
his favourites and ministers from among the dregs of the people,
Louis showed the slight regard which he paid to eminent station
and high birth; and although this might be not only excusable but
meritorious, where the monarch's fiat promoted obscure talent, or
called forth modest worth, it was very different when the King made
his favourite associates of such men as the chief of his
police, Tristan l'Hermite. .

Nor were Louis's sayings and actions in private or public of a kind
which could redeem such gross offences against the character of a
man of honour. His word, generally accounted the most sacred test
of a man's character, and the least impeachment of which is a capital
offence by the code of honour, was forfeited without scruple on
the slightest occasion, and often accompanied by the perpetration
of the most enormous crimes ... It is more than probable that, in
thus renouncing almost openly the ties of religion, honour, and
morality, by which mankind at large feel themselves influenced, Louis
sought to obtain great advantages in his negotiations with parties
who might esteem themselves bound, while he himself enjoyed liberty.
He started from the goal, he might suppose, like the racer who
has got rid of the weights with which his competitors are still
encumbered, and expects to succeed of course. But Providence
seems always to unite the existence of peculiar danger with some
circumstance which may put those exposed to the peril upon their
guard. The constant suspicion attached to any public person who
becomes badly eminent for breach of faith is to him what the rattle
is to the poisonous serpent: and men come at last to calculate
not so much on what their antagonist says as upon that which he
is likely to do; a degree of mistrust which tends to counteract
the intrigues of such a character, more than his freedom from
the scruples of conscientious men can afford him advantage. .

Indeed, although the reign of Louis had been as successful in
a political point of view as he himself could have desired, the
spectacle of his deathbed might of itself be a warning piece against
the seduction of his example. Jealous of every one, but chiefly of
his own son, he immured himself in his Castle of Plessis, intrusting
his person exclusively to the doubtful faith of his Scottish
mercenaries. He never stirred from his chamber; he admitted no one
into it, and wearied heaven and every saint with prayers, not for
forgiveness of his sins, but for the prolongation of his life. With
a poverty of spirit totally inconsistent with his shrewd worldly
sagacity, he importuned his physicians until they insulted
as well as plundered him. .

It was not the least singular circumstance of this course, that
bodily health and terrestrial felicity seemed to be his only object.
Making any mention of his sins when talking on the state of his
health, was strictly prohibited; and when at his command a priest
recited a prayer to Saint Eutropius in which he recommended the
King's welfare both in body and soul, Louis caused the two last
words to be omitted, saying it was not prudent to importune the
blessed saint by too many requests at once. Perhaps he thought by
being silent on his crimes he might suffer them to pass out of the
recollection of the celestial patrons, whose aid he invoked for
his body.

So great were the well merited tortures of this tyrant's deathbed,
that Philip de Comines enters into a regular comparison between
them and the numerous cruelties inflicted on others by his order;
and considering both, comes to express an opinion that the worldly
pangs and agony suffered by Louis were such as might compensate the
crimes he had committed, and that, after a reasonable quarantine
in purgatory, he might in mercy he found duly qualified for the
superior regions ... The instructive but appalling scene of this
tyrant's sufferings was at length closed by death, 30th August,
1483.

The selection of this remarkable person as the principal character
in the romance -- for it will be easily comprehended that the little
love intrigue of Quentin is only employed as the means of bringing
out the story -- afforded considerable facilities to the author.
In Louis XI's time, extraordinary commotions existed throughout
all Europe.  England's Civil Wars were ended, rather in appearance
than reality, by the short lived ascendancy of the House of York.
Switzerland was asserting that freedom which was afterwards so
bravely defended. In the Empire and in France, the great vassals
of the crown were endeavouring to emancipate themselves from its
control, while Charles of Burgundy by main force, and Louis more
artfully by indirect means, laboured to subject them to subservience
to their respective sovereignties. Louis, while with one hand
he circumvented and subdued his own rebellious vassals, laboured
secretly with the other to aid and encourage the large trading
towns of Flanders to rebel against the Duke of Burgundy, to which
their wealth and irritability naturally disposed them. In the more
woodland districts of Flanders, the Duke of Gueldres, and William
de la Marck, called from his ferocity the Wild Boar of Ardennes,
were throwing off the habits of knights and gentlemen to practise
the violences and brutalities of common bandits.

[Chapter I gives a further account of the conditions of the period
which Quentin Durward portrays.]

A hundred secret combinations existed in the different provinces
of France and Flanders; numerous private emissaries of the restless
Louis, Bohemians, pilgrims, beggars, or agents disguised as such,
were everywhere spreading the discontent which it was his policy
to maintain in the dominions of Burgundy.

Amidst so great an abundance of materials, it was difficult to
select such as should be most intelligible and interesting to the
reader: and the author had to regret, that though he made liberal
use of the power of departing from the reality of history, he felt
by no means confident of having brought his story into a pleasing,
compact, and sufficiently intelligible form. The mainspring of
the plot is that which all who know the least of the feudal system
can easily understand, though the facts are absolutely fictitious.
The right of a feudal superior was in nothing more universally
acknowledged than in his power to interfere in the marriage of
a female vassal. This may appear to exist as a contradiction both
of the civil and canon laws, which declare that marriage shall be
free, while the feudal or municipal jurisprudence, in case of a
fief passing to a female, acknowledges an interest in the superior
of the fief to dictate the choice of her companion in marriage.
This is accounted for on the principle that the superior was, by his
bounty, the original granter of the fief, and is still interested
that the marriage of the vassal shall place no one there who
may be inimical to his liege lord. On the other hand, it might be
reasonably pleaded that this right of dictating to the vassal to
a certain extent in the choice of a husband, is only competent to
the superior from whom the fief is originally derived. There is
therefore no violent improbability in a vassal of Burgundy flying
to the protection of the King of France, to whom the Duke of Burgundy
himself was vassal; not is it a great stretch of probability to
affirm that Louis, unscrupulous as he was, should have formed the
design of betraying the fugitive into some alliance which might
prove inconvenient, if not dangerous, to his formidable kinsman
and vassal of Burgundy.

[Some of these departures from historical accuracy, as when
the death of the Bishop of Liege is antedated, are duly set forth
in the notes. It should be mentioned that Mr. J. F. Kirk, in his
elaborate History of Charles the Bold, claims that in some points
injustice has been done to the Duke in this romance. He says: "The
faults of Charles were sufficiently glaring, and scarcely admitted
of exaggeration; but his breeding had been that of a prince, his
education had been better than that of other princes of his time,
his tastes and habits were more, not less, refined than theirs,
and the restraint he imposed upon his sensual appetites was as
conspicuous a trait as his sternness and violence."]

Abbotsford, 1830.

Quentin Durward was published in June, 1823, and was Scott's
first venture on foreign ground. While well received at home, the
sensation it created in Paris was comparable to that caused by
the appearance of Waverley in Edinburgh and Ivanhoe in London. In
Germany also, where the author was already popular, the new novel
had a specially enthusiastic welcome. The scene of the romance was
partly suggested by a journal kept by Sir Walter's dear friend,
Mr. James Skene of Rubislaw, during a French tour, the diary being
illustrated by a vast number of clever drawings. The author, in
telling this tale laid in unfamiliar scenes, encountered difficulties
of a kind quite new to him, as it necessitated much study of maps,
gazetteers, and books of travel. For the history, he naturally found
above all else the Memoirs of Philip de Comines "the very key of
the period," though it need not be said that the lesser chroniclers
received due attention. It is interesting to note that in writing
to his friend, Daniel Terry, the actor and manager, Scott says,
"I have no idea my present labours will be dramatic in situation;
as to character, that of Louis XI, the sagacious, perfidious,
superstitious, jocular, politic tyrant, would be, for a historical
chronicle containing his life and death, one of the most powerful
ever brought on the stage." So thought the poet, Casimir Delavigne
-- writing when Scott's influence was marked upon French literature
-- whose powerful drama, Louis XI, was a great Parisian success.
Later Charles Kean and Henry Irving made an English version of it
well known in England and America.



CHAPTER I: THE CONTRAST

Look here upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.

HAMLET


The latter part of the fifteenth century prepared a train of future
events that ended by raising France to that state of formidable power
which has ever since been from time to time the principal object
of jealousy to the other European nations. Before that period she
had to struggle for her very existence with the English already
possessed of her fairest provinces while the utmost exertions of
her King, and the gallantry of her people, could scarcely protect
the remainder from a foreign yoke. Nor was this her sole danger.
The princes who possessed the grand fiefs of the crown, and, in
particular, the Dukes of Burgundy and Bretagne, had come to wear
their feudal bonds so lightly that they had no scruple in lifting
the standard against their liege and sovereign lord, the King of
France, on the slightest pretence. When at peace, they reigned as
absolute princes in their own provinces; and the House of Burgundy,
possessed of the district so called, together with the fairest and
richest part of Flanders, was itself so wealthy, and so powerful,
as to yield nothing to the crown, either in splendour or in strength.

In imitation of the grand feudatories, each inferior vassal of
the crown assumed as much independence as his distance from the
sovereign power, the extent of his fief, or the strength of his
chateau enabled him to maintain; and these petty tyrants, no longer
amenable to the exercise of the law, perpetrated with impunity the
wildest excesses of fantastic oppression and cruelty. In Auvergne
alone, a report was made of more than three hundred of these
independent nobles, to whom incest, murder, and rapine were the
most ordinary and familiar actions.

Besides these evils, another, springing out of the long continued
wars betwixt the French and English, added no small misery to this
distracted kingdom. Numerous bodies of soldiers, collected into
bands, under officers chosen by themselves, from among the bravest
and most successful adventurers, had been formed in various parts
of France out of the refuse of all other countries. These hireling
combatants sold their swords for a time to the best bidder; and,
when such service was not to be had, they made war on their own
account, seizing castles and towers, which they used as the places
of their retreat, making prisoners, and ransoming them, exacting
tribute from the open villages and the country around them -- and
acquiring, by every species of rapine, the appropriate epithets of
Tondeurs and Ecorcheurs, that is, Clippers and Flayers.

In the midst of the horrors and miseries arising from so
distracted a state of public affairs, reckless and profuse expense
distinguished the courts of the lesser nobles, as well as of the
superior princes; and their dependents, in imitation, expended in
rude but magnificent display the wealth which they extorted from
the people. A tone of romantic and chivalrous gallantry (which,
however, was often disgraced by unbounded license) characterized the
intercourse between the sexes; and the language of knight errantry
was yet used, and its observances followed, though the pure spirit
of honourable love and benevolent enterprise which it inculcates
had ceased to qualify and atone for its extravagances. The jousts
and tournaments, the entertainments and revels, which each petty
court displayed, invited to France every wandering adventurer; and
it was seldom that, when arrived there, he failed to employ his
rash courage, and headlong spirit of enterprise, in actions for
which his happier native country afforded no free stage.

At this period, and as if to save this fair realm from the various
woes with which it was menaced, the tottering throne was ascended
by Louis XI, whose character, evil as it was in itself, met, combated,
and in a great degree neutralized the mischiefs of the time -- as
poisons of opposing qualities are said, in ancient books of medicine,
to have the power of counteracting each other.

Brave enough for every useful and political purpose, Louis had not
a spark of that romantic valour, or of the pride generally associated
with it, which fought on for the point of honour, when the point
of utility had been long gained. Calm, crafty, and profoundly
attentive to his own interest, he made every sacrifice, both of
pride and passion, which could interfere with it. He was careful in
disguising his real sentiments and purposes from all who approached
him, and frequently used the expressions, "that the king knew not
how to reign, who knew not how to dissemble; and that, for himself,
if he thought his very cap knew his secrets, he would throw it
into the fire." No man of his own, or of any other time, better
understood how to avail himself of the frailties of others, and
when to avoid giving any advantage by the untimely indulgence of
his own.

He was by nature vindictive and cruel, even to the extent of finding
pleasure in the frequent executions which he commanded. But, as
no touch of mercy ever induced him to spare, when he could with
safety condemn, so no sentiment of vengeance ever stimulated him
to a premature violence. He seldom sprang on his prey till it was
fairly within his grasp, and till all hope of rescue was vain; and
his movements were so studiously disguised, that his success was
generally what first announced to the world the object he had been
manoeuvring to attain.

In like manner, the avarice of Louis gave way to apparent profusion,
when it was necessary to bribe the favourite or minister of a rival
prince for averting any impending attack, or to break up any alliance
confederated against him. He was fond of license and pleasure; but
neither beauty nor the chase, though both were ruling passions, ever
withdrew him from the most regular attendance to public business and
the affairs of his kingdom. His knowledge of mankind was profound,
and he had sought it in the private walks of life, in which he
often personally mingled; and, though naturally proud and haughty,
he hesitated not, with an inattention to the arbitrary divisions
of society which was then thought something portentously unnatural,
to raise from the lowest rank men whom he employed on the most
important duties, and knew so well how to choose them, that he was
rarely disappointed in their qualities. Yet there were contradictions
in the character of this artful and able monarch; for human nature
is rarely uniform. Himself the most false and insincere of mankind,
some of the greatest errors of his life arose from too rash a
confidence in the honour and integrity of others. When these errors
took place, they seem to have arisen from an over refined system of
policy, which induced Louis to assume the appearance of undoubting
confidence in those whom it was his object to overreach; for, in
his general conduct, he was as jealous and suspicious as any tyrant
who ever breathed.

Two other points may be noticed to complete the sketch of this
formidable character, by which he rose among the rude, chivalrous
sovereigns of the period to the rank of a keeper among wild beasts,
who, by superior wisdom and policy, by distribution of food, and
some discipline by blows, comes finally to predominate over those
who, if unsubjected by his arts, would by main strength have torn
him to pieces.

The first of these attributes was Louis's excessive superstition, a
plague with which Heaven often afflicts those who refuse to listen
to the dictates of religion. The remorse arising from his evil
actions Louis never endeavoured to appease by any relaxation in
his Machiavellian stratagems [on account of the alleged political
immorality of Machiavelli, an illustrious Italian of the sixteenth
century, this expression has come to mean "destitute of political
morality; habitually using duplicity and bad faith." Cent. Dict.],
but laboured in vain to soothe and silence that painful feeling by
superstitious observances, severe penance, and profuse gifts to
the ecclesiastics. The second property, with which the first is
sometimes found strangely united, was a disposition to low pleasures
and obscure debauchery. The wisest, or at least the most crafty
sovereign of his time, he was fond of low life, and, being himself
a man of wit, enjoyed the jests and repartees of social conversation
more than could have been expected from other points of his character.
He even mingled in the comic adventures of obscure intrigue, with
a freedom little consistent with the habitual and guarded jealousy
of his character, and he was so fond of this species of humble
gallantry, that he caused a number of its gay and licentious anecdotes
to be enrolled in a collection well known to book collectors, in
whose eyes (and the work is unfit for any other) the right edition
is very precious.

[This editio princeps, which, when in good preservation, is
much sought after by connoisseurs, is entitled Les Cent Nouvelles
Nouvelles, contenant Cent Histoires Nouveaux, qui sont moult plaisans
a raconter en toutes bonnes compagnies par maniere de joyeuxete.
Paris, Antoine Verard. Sans date d'annee d'impression; en folio
gotique. See De Bure. S]

By means of this monarch's powerful and prudent, though most unamiable
character, it pleased Heaven, who works by the tempest as well as
by the soft, small rain, to restore to the great French nation the
benefits of civil government, which, at the time of his accession,
they had nearly lost.

Ere he succeeded to the crown, Louis had given evidence of his vices
rather than of his talents. His first wife, Margaret of Scotland,
was "done to death by slanderous tongues" in her husband's court,
where, but for the encouragement of Louis himself, not a word would
have been breathed against that amiable and injured princess. He
had been an ungrateful and a rebellious son, at one time conspiring
to seize his father's person, and at another levying open war
against him. For the first offence, he was banished to his appanage
of Dauphine, which he governed with much sagacity; for the second
he was driven into absolute exile, and forced to throw himself on
the mercy, and almost on the charity, of the Duke of Burgundy and
his son; where he enjoyed hospitality, afterwards indifferently
requited, until the death of his father in 1461.

In the very outset of his reign, Louis was almost overpowered by
a league formed against him by the great vassals of France, with
the Duke of Burgundy, or rather his son, the Count de Charalois,
at its head. They levied a powerful army, blockaded Paris, fought
a battle of doubtful issue under its very walls, and placed the
French monarchy on the brink of actual destruction. It usually
happens in such cases, that the more sagacious general of the two
gains the real fruit, though perhaps not the martial fame, of the
disputed field. Louis, who had shown great personal bravery during
the battle of Montl'hery, was able, by his prudence, to avail
himself of its undecided character, as if it had been a victory on
his side. He temporized until the enemy had broken up their leaguer,
and showed so much dexterity in sowing jealousies among those great
powers, that their alliance "for the public weal," as they termed
it, but in reality for the overthrow of all but the external
appearance of the French monarchy, dissolved itself, and was never
again renewed in a manner so formidable. From this period, Louis,
relieved of all danger from England by the Civil Wars of York and
Lancaster, was engaged for several years, like an unfeeling but
able physician, in curing the wounds of the body politic, or rather
in stopping, now by gentle remedies, now by the use of fire and
steel, the progress of those mortal gangrenes with which it was
then infected. The brigandage of the Free Companies [troops that
acknowledged no authority except that of their leaders, and who
hired themselves out at will], and the unpunished oppression of the
nobility, he laboured to lessen, since he could not actually stop
them; and, by dint of unrelaxed attention, he gradually gained some
addition to his own regal authority, or effected some diminution
of those by whom it was counterbalanced.

Still the King of France was surrounded by doubt and danger. The
members of the league "for the public weal," though not in unison,
were in existence, and, like a scotched snake [see Macbeth. III,
ii, 13, "We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it."], might reunite
and become dangerous again. But a worse danger was the increasing
power of the Duke of Burgundy, then one of the greatest princes of
Europe, and little diminished in rank by the very slight dependence
of his duchy upon the crown of France.

Charles, surnamed the Bold, or rather, the Audacious, for his courage
was allied to rashness and frenzy, then wore the ducal coronet of
Burgundy, which he burned to convert into a royal and independent
regal crown. The character of this Duke was in every respect the
direct contrast to that of Louis XI.

The latter was calm, deliberate, and crafty, never prosecuting
a desperate enterprise, and never abandoning one likely to be
successful, however distant the prospect. The genius of the Duke
was entirely different. He rushed on danger because he loved it, and
on difficulties because he despised them. As Louis never sacrificed
his interest to his passion, so Charles, on the other hand, never
sacrificed his passion, or even his humour, to any other consideration.
Notwithstanding the near relationship that existed between them,
and the support which the Duke and his father had afforded to Louis
in his exile when Dauphin, there was mutual contempt and hatred
betwixt them. The Duke of Burgundy despised the cautious policy of
the King, and imputed to the faintness of his courage that he sought
by leagues, purchases, and other indirect means those advantages
which, in his place, the Duke would have snatched with an armed
hand. He likewise hated the King, not only for the ingratitude he
had manifested for former kindnesses, and for personal injuries
and imputations which the ambassadors of Louis had cast upon him,
when his father was yet alive, but also, and especially, because
of the support which he afforded in secret to the discontented
citizens of Ghent, Liege, and other great towns in Flanders. These
turbulent cities, jealous of their privileges, and proud of their
wealth, were frequently in a state of insurrection against their
liege lords, the Dukes of Burgundy, and never failed to find underhand
countenance at the court of Louis, who embraced every opportunity
of fomenting disturbance within the dominions of his overgrown
vassal.

The contempt and hatred of the Duke were retaliated by Louis with
equal energy, though he used a thicker veil to conceal his sentiments.
It was impossible for a man of his profound sagacity not to despise
the stubborn obstinacy which never resigned its purpose, however
fatal perseverance might prove, and the headlong impetuosity which
commenced its career without allowing a moment's consideration for
the obstacles to be encountered. Yet the King hated Charles even
more than he contemned him, and his scorn and hatred were the more
intense, that they were mingled with fear; for he know that the
onset of the mad bull, to whom he likened the Duke of Burgundy, must
ever be formidable, though the animal makes it with shut eyes. It
was not alone the wealth of the Burgundian provinces, the discipline
of the warlike inhabitants, and the mass of their crowded population,
which the King dreaded, for the personal qualities of their leader
had also much in them that was dangerous. The very soul of bravery,
which he pushed to the verge of rashness, and beyond it -- profuse in
expenditure -- splendid in his court, his person, and his retinue,
in all which he displayed the hereditary magnificence of the house
of Burgundy, Charles the Bold drew into his service almost all the
fiery spirits of the age whose tempers were congenial; and Louis
saw too clearly what might be attempted and executed by such a
train of resolute adventurers, following a leader of a character
as ungovernable as their own.

There was yet another circumstance which increased the animosity
of Louis towards his overgrown vassal; he owed him favours which
he never meant to repay, and was under the frequent necessity
of temporizing with him, and even of enduring bursts of petulant
insolence, injurious to the regal dignity, without being able to
treat him otherwise than as his "fair cousin of Burgundy."

It was about the year 1468, when their feuds were at the highest,
though a dubious and hollow truce, as frequently happened, existed
for the time betwixt them, that the present narrative opens. The
person first introduced on the stage will be found indeed to be of
a rank and condition, the illustration of whose character scarcely
called for a dissertation on the relative position of two great
princes; but the passions of the great, their quarrels, and their
reconciliations involve the fortunes of all who approach them; and
it will be found, on proceeding farther in our story, that this
preliminary chapter is necessary for comprehending the history of
the individual whose adventures we are about to relate.



CHAPTER II: THE WANDERER

Why then the world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open.

ANCIENT PISTOL


It was upon a delicious summer morning, before the sun had assumed
its scorching power, and while the dews yet cooled and perfumed
the air, that a youth, coming from the northeastward approached the
ford of a small river, or rather a large brook, tributary to the
Cher, near to the royal Castle of Plessis les Tours, whose dark and
multiplied battlements rose in the background over the extensive
forest with which they were surrounded. These woodlands comprised a
noble chase, or royal park, fenced by an enclosure, termed, in the
Latin of the middle ages, Plexitium, which gives the name of Plessis
to so many villages in France. The castle and village of which we
particularly speak, was called Plessis les Tours, to distinguish
it from others, and was built about two miles to the southward of
the fair town of that name, the capital of ancient Touraine, whose
rich plain has been termed the Garden of France.

On the bank of the above mentioned brook, opposite to that which
the traveller was approaching, two men, who appeared in deep
conversation, seemed, from time to time, to watch his motions; for,
as their station was much more elevated, they could remark him at
considerable distance.

The age of the young traveller might be about nineteen, or
betwixt that and twenty; and his face and person, which were very
prepossessing, did not, however, belong to the country in which he
was now a sojourner. His short gray cloak and hose were rather of
Flemish than of French fashion, while the smart blue bonnet, with a
single sprig of holly and an eagle's feather, was already recognized
as the Scottish head gear. His dress was very neat, and arranged with
the precision of a youth conscious of possessing a fine person. He
had at his back a satchel, which seemed to contain a few necessaries,
a hawking gauntlet on his left hand, though he carried no bird, and
in his right a stout hunter's pole. Over his left shoulder hung an
embroidered scarf which sustained a small pouch of scarlet velvet,
such as was then used by fowlers of distinction to carry their hawks'
food, and other matters belonging to that much admired sport. This
was crossed by another shoulder belt, to which was hung a hunting
knife, or couteau de chasse. Instead of the boots of the period,
he wore buskins of half dressed deer's skin.

Although his form had not yet attained its full strength, he was tall
and active, and the lightness of the step with which he advanced,
showed that his pedestrian mode of travelling was pleasure rather
than pain to him. His complexion was fair, in spite of a general
shade of darker hue, with which the foreign sun, or perhaps constant
exposure to the atmosphere in his own country, had, in some degree,
embrowned it.

His features, without being quite regular, were frank, open, and
pleasing. A half smile, which seemed to arise from a happy exuberance
of animal spirits, showed now and then that his teeth were well
set, and as pure as ivory; whilst his bright blue eye, with a
corresponding gaiety, had an appropriate glance for every object
which it encountered, expressing good humour, lightness of heart,
and determined resolution.

He received and returned the salutation of the few travellers who
frequented the road in those dangerous times with the action which
suited each. The strolling spearman, half soldier, half brigand,
measured the youth with his eye, as if balancing the prospect
of booty with the chance of desperate resistance; and read such
indications of the latter in the fearless glance of the passenger,
that he changed his ruffian purpose for a surly "Good morrow,
comrade," which the young Scot answered with as martial, though
a less sullen tone. The wandering pilgrim, or the begging friar,
answered his reverent greeting with a paternal benedicite [equivalent
to the English expression, "Bless you."]; and the dark eyed peasant
girl looked after him for many a step after they had passed each
other, and interchanged a laughing good morrow. In short, there
was an attraction about his whole appearance not easily escaping
attention, and which was derived from the combination of fearless
frankness and good humour, with sprightly looks and a handsome face
and person. It seemed, too, as if his whole demeanour bespoke one
who was entering on life with no apprehension of the evils with
which it is beset, and small means for struggling with its hardships,
except a lively spirit and a courageous disposition; and it is
with such tempers that youth most readily sympathizes, and for whom
chiefly age and experience feel affectionate and pitying interest.

The youth whom we have described had been long visible to the two
persons who loitered on the opposite side of the small river which
divided him from the park and the castle; but as he descended the
rugged bank to the water's edge, with the light step of a roe which
visits the fountain, the younger of the two said to the other,
"It is our man -- it is the Bohemian! If he attempts to cross the
ford, he is a lost man -- the water is up, and the ford impassable."

"Let him make that discovery himself, gossip [an intimate friend
or companion (obsolete)]," said the elder personage; "it may,
perchance, save a rope and break a proverb [refers to the old saw,
'Who is born to be hanged will never be drowned.']."

"I judge him by the blue cap," said the other, "for I cannot see
his face. Hark, sir; he hallooes to know whether the water be deep."

"Nothing like experience in this world," answered the other, "let
him try."

The young man, in the meanwhile, receiving no hint to the contrary,
and taking the silence of those to whom he applied as an encouragement
to proceed, entered the stream without farther hesitation than the
delay necessary to take off his buskins. The elder person, at the
same moment, hallooed to him to beware, adding, in a lower tone,
to his companion, "Mortdieu -- gossip -- you have made another
mistake -- this is not the Bohemian chatterer."

But the intimation to the youth came too late. He either did not
hear or could not profit by it, being already in the deep stream.
To one less alert and practised in the exercise of swimming, death
had been certain, for the brook was both deep and strong.

"By Saint Anne! but he is a proper youth," said the elder man.
"Run, gossip, and help your blunder, by giving him aid, if thou
canst. He belongs to thine own troop -- if old saws speak truth,
water will not drown him."

Indeed, the young traveller swam so strongly, and buffeted the
waves so well, that, notwithstanding the strength of the current,
he was carried but a little way down from the ordinary landing
place.

By this time the younger of the two strangers was hurrying down
to the shore to render assistance, while the other followed him at
a graver pace, saying to himself as he approached, "I knew water
would never drown that young fellow. -- By my halidome [originally
something regarded as sacred, as a relic; formerly much used
in solemn oaths], he is ashore, and grasps his pole! -- If I make
not the more haste, he will beat my gossip for the only charitable
action which I ever saw him perform, or attempt to perform, in the
whole course of his life."

There was some reason to augur such a conclusion of the adventure,
for the bonny Scot had already accosted the younger Samaritan,
who was hastening to his assistance, with these ireful words:
"Discourteous dog! why did you not answer when I called to know
if the passage was fit to be attempted? May the foul fiend catch
me, but I will teach you the respect due to strangers on the next
occasion."

This was accompanied with that significant flourish with his pole
which is called le moulinet, because the artist, holding it in
the middle, brandishes the two ends in every direction like the
sails of a windmill in motion. His opponent, seeing himself thus
menaced, laid hand upon his sword, for he was one of those who on
all occasions are more ready for action than for speech; but his
more considerate comrade, who came up, commanded him to forbear,
and, turning to the young man, accused him in turn of precipitation
in plunging into the swollen ford, and of intemperate violence in
quarrelling with a man who was hastening to his assistance.

The young man, on hearing himself thus reproved by a man of advanced
age and respectable appearance, immediately lowered his weapon,
and said he would be sorry if he had done them injustice; but, in
reality, it appeared to him as if they had suffered him to put his
life in peril for want of a word of timely warning, which could be
the part neither of honest men nor of good Christians, far less of
respectable burgesses, such as they seemed to be.

"Fair son," said the elder person, "you seem, from your accent and
complexion, a stranger; and you should recollect your dialect is
not so easily comprehended by us; as perhaps it may be uttered by
you."

"Well, father," answered the youth, "I do not care much about the
ducking I have had, and I will readily forgive your being partly
the cause, provided you will direct me to some place where I can
have my clothes dried; for it is my only suit, and I must keep it
somewhat decent."

"For whom do you take us, fair son?" said the elder stranger, in
answer to this question.

"For substantial burgesses, unquestionably," said the youth; "or
-- hold; you, master, may be a money broker, or a corn merchant;
and this man a butcher, or grazier."

"You have hit our capacities rarely," said the elder, smiling.
"My business is indeed to trade in as much money as I can and my
gossip's dealings are somewhat of kin to the butcher's. As to your
accommodation we will try to serve you; but I must first know who
you are, and whither you are going, for, in these times, the roads
are filled with travellers on foot and horseback, who have anything
in their head but honesty and the fear of God."

The young man cast another keen and penetrating glance on him who
spoke, and on his silent companion, as if doubtful whether they,
on their part, merited the confidence they demanded; and the result
of his observation was as follows.

The eldest and most remarkable of these men in dress and appearance,
resembled the merchant or shopkeeper of the period. His jerkin,
hose, and cloak were of a dark uniform colour, but worn so threadbare
that the acute young Scot conceived that the wearer must be either
very rich or very poor, probably the former. The fashion of the
dress was close and short, a kind of garment which was not then
held decorous among gentry, or even the superior class of citizens,
who generally wore loose gowns which descended below the middle of
the leg.

The expression of this man's countenance was partly attractive and
partly forbidding. His strong features, sunk cheeks, and hollow
eyes had, nevertheless, an expression of shrewdness and humour
congenial to the character of the young adventurer. But then, those
same sunken eyes, from under the shroud of thick black eyebrows,
had something in them that was at once commanding and sinister.
Perhaps this effect was increased by the low fur cap, much depressed
on the forehead, and adding to the shade from under which those
eyes peered out; but it is certain that the young stranger had
some difficulty to reconcile his looks with the meanness of his
appearance in other respects. His cap, in particular, in which all
men of any quality displayed either a brooch of gold or of silver,
was ornamented with a paltry image of the Virgin, in lead, such as
the poorer sort of pilgrims bring from Loretto [a city in Italy,
containing the sanctuary of the Virgin Mary called the Santa Casa,
reputed to have been brought there by angels.].

His comrade was a stout formed, middle sized man, more than ten
years younger than his companion, with a down looking visage and
a very ominous smile, when by chance he gave way to that impulse,
which was never, except in reply to certain secret signs that seemed
to pass between him and the elder stranger. This man was armed with
a sword and dagger; and underneath his plain habit the Scotsman
observed that he concealed a jazeran, or flexible shirt of linked
mail, which, as being often worn by those, even of peaceful
professions, who were called upon at that perilous period to be
frequently abroad, confirmed the young man in his conjecture that
the wearer was by profession a butcher, grazier, or something of
that description, called upon to be much abroad. The young stranger,
comprehending in one glance the result of the observation which has
taken us some time to express, answered, after a moment's pause,
"I am ignorant whom I may have the honour to address," making a
slight reverence at the same time, "but I am indifferent who knows
that I am a cadet of Scotland; and that I come to seek my fortune
in France, or elsewhere, after the custom of my countrymen."

"Pasques dieu! and a gallant custom it is," said the elder stranger.
"You seem a fine young springald, and at the right age to prosper,
whether among men or women. What say you? I am a merchant, and
want a lad to assist in my traffic; I suppose you are too much a
gentleman to assist in such mechanical drudgery ?"

"Fair sir," said the youth, "if your offer be seriously made --
of which I have my doubts -- I am bound to thank you for it, and
I thank you accordingly; but I fear I should be altogether unfit
for your service."

"What!" said the senior, "I warrant thou knowest better how to
draw the bow, than how to draw a bill of charges -- canst handle
a broadsword better than a pen -- ha!"

"I am, master," answered the young Scot, "a braeman, and therefore,
as we say, a bowman. But besides that, I have been in a convent,
where the good fathers taught me to read and write, and even to
cipher."

"Pasques dieu! that is too magnificent," said the merchant. "By our
Lady of Embrun [a town in France containing a cathedral in which
was a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, said to have been sculptured
by St. Luke], thou art a prodigy, man!"

"Rest you merry, fair master," said the youth, who was not much
pleased with his new acquaintance's jocularity, "I must go dry
myself, instead of standing dripping here, answering questions."

The merchant only laughed louder as he spoke, and answered, "Pasques
dieu! the proverb never fails -- fier comme un Ecossois [proud
or haughty as a Scotchman] -- but come, youngster, you are of a
country I have a regard for, having traded in Scotland in my time
-- an honest poor set of folks they are; and, if you will come with
us to the village, I will bestow on you a cup of burnt sack and
a warm breakfast, to atone for your drenching. -- But tete bleau!
what do you with a hunting glove on your hand? Know you not there
is no hawking permitted in a royal chase?"

"I was taught that lesson," answered the youth, "by a rascally
forester of the Duke of Burgundy. I did but fly the falcon I had
brought with me from Scotland, and that I reckoned on for bringing
me into some note, at a heron near Peronne, and the rascally schelm
[rogue, rascal (obsolete or Scotch)] shot my bird with an arrow."

"What did you do?" said the merchant.

"Beat him," said the youngster, brandishing his staff, "as near
to death as one Christian man should belabour another -- I wanted
not to have his blood to answer for."

"Know you," said the burgess, "that had you fallen into the Duke
of Burgundy's hands, he would have hung you up like a chestnut?"

"Ay, I am told he is as prompt as the King of France for that sort
of work. But, as this happened near Peronne, I made a leap over
the frontiers, and laughed at him. If he had not been so hasty, I
might, perhaps, have taken service with him."

"He will have a heavy miss of such a paladin as you are, if the
truce should break off," said the merchant, and threw a look at his
own companion, who answered him with one of the downcast lowering
smiles which gleamed along his countenance, enlivening it as a
passing meteor enlivens a winter sky.

The young Scot suddenly stopped, pulled his bonnet over his right
eyebrow, as one that would not be ridiculed, and said firmly, "My
masters, and especially you, sir, the elder, and who should be the
wiser, you will find, I presume, no sound or safe jesting at my
expense. I do not altogether like the tone of your conversation.
I can take a jest with any man, and a rebuke, too, from my elder,
and say thank you, sir, if I know it to be deserved; but I do not
like being borne in hand as if I were a child, when, God wot, I
find myself man enough to belabour you both, if you provoke me too
far."

The eldest man seemed like to choke with laughter at the lad's
demeanour -- his companion's hand stole to his sword hilt, which
the youth observing, dealt him a blow across the wrist, which made
him incapable of grasping it, while his companion's mirth was only
increased by the incident.

"Hold, hold," he cried, "most doughty Scot, even for thine own
dear country's sake, and you, gossip, forbear your menacing look.
Pasques-dieu! let us be just traders, and set off the wetting
against the knock on the wrist, which was given with so much grace
and alacrity. -- And hark ye, my young friend," he said to the
young man, with a grave sternness which, in spite of all the youth
could do, damped and overawed him, "no more violence. I am no fit
object for it, and my gossip, as you may see, has had enough of
it. Let me know your name."

"I can answer a civil question civilly," said the youth; "and will
pay fitting respect to your age, if you do not urge my patience
with mockery. Since I have been here in France and Flanders, men
have called me, in their fantasy, the Varlet with the Velvet Pouch,
because of this hawk purse which I carry by my side; but my true
name, when at home, is Quentin Durward."

"Durward!" said the querist; "is it a gentleman's name?"

"By fifteen descents in our family," said the young man; "and that
makes me reluctant to follow any other trade than arms."

"A true Scot! Plenty of blood, plenty of pride, and right great
scarcity of ducats, I warrant thee. -- Well, gossip," he said to
his companion, "go before us, and tell them to have some breakfast
ready yonder at the Mulberry grove; for this youth will do as much
honour to it as a starved mouse to a housewife's cheese. And for
the Bohemian -- hark in thy ear."

His comrade answered by a gloomy but intelligent smile, and set
forward at a round pace, while the elder man continued, addressing
young Durward, "You and I will walk leisurely forward together,
and we may take a mass at Saint Hubert's Chapel in our way through
the forest; for it is not good to think of our fleshly before our
spiritual wants."

[This silvan saint . . . was passionately fond of the chase, and
used to neglect attendance on divine worship for this amusement.
While he was once engaged in this pastime, a stag appeared before
him, having a crucifix bound betwixt his horns, and he heard a voice
which menaced him with eternal punishment if he did not repent of
his sins. He retired from the world and took orders. . . Hubert
afterwards became Bishop of Maestrecht and Liege. S.]

Durward, as a good Catholic, had nothing to object against this
proposal, although he might probably have been desirous, in the first
place; to have dried his clothes and refreshed himself. Meanwhile,
they soon lost sight of their downward looking companion, but
continued to follow the same path which he had taken, until it led
them into a wood of tall trees, mixed with thickets and brushwood,
traversed by long avenues, through which were seen, as through a
vista, the deer trotting in little herds with a degree of security
which argued their consciousness of being completely protected.

"You asked me if I were a good bowman," said the young Scot. "Give
me a bow and a brace of shafts, and you shall have a piece of
venison in a moment."

"Pasques dieu! my young friend," said his companion, "take care
of that; my gossip yonder hath a special eye to the deer; they are
under his charge, and he is a strict keeper."

"He hath more the air of a butcher than of a gay forester," answered
Durward. "I cannot think yon hang dog look of his belongs to any
one who knows the gentle rules of woodcraft."

"Ah, my young friend," answered his companion, "my gossip hath
somewhat an ugly favour to look upon at the first; but those who
become acquainted with him never are known to complain of him."

Quentin Durward found something singularly and disagreeably
significant in the tone with which this was spoken; and, looking
suddenly at the speaker, thought he saw in his countenance, in
the slight smile that curled his upper lip, and the accompanying
twinkle of his keen dark eye, something to justify his unpleasing
surprise. "I have heard of robbers," he thought to himself, "and of
wily cheats and cutthroats -- what if yonder fellow be a murderer,
and this old rascal his decoy duck! I will be on my guard -- they
will get little by me but good Scottish knocks."

While he was thus reflecting, they came to a glade, where the large
forest trees were more widely separated from each other, and where
the ground beneath, cleared of underwood and bushes, was clothed
with a carpet of the softest and most lovely verdure, which, screened
from the scorching heat of the sun, was here more beautifully
tender than it is usually to be seen in France. The trees in this
secluded spot were chiefly beeches and elms of huge magnitude,
which rose like great hills of leaves into the air. Amidst these
magnificent sons of the earth there peeped out, in the most open
spot of the glade, a lowly chapel, near which trickled a small
rivulet. Its architecture was of the rudest and most simple kind;
and there was a very small lodge beside it, for the accommodation
of a hermit or solitary priest, who remained there for regularly
discharging the duty of the altar. In a small niche over the arched
doorway stood a stone image of Saint Hubert, with the bugle horn
around his neck, and a leash of greyhounds at his feet. The situation
of the chapel in the midst of a park or chase, so richly stocked
with game, made the dedication to the Sainted Huntsman peculiarly
appropriate.

Towards this little devotional structure the old man directed his
steps, followed by young Durward; and, as they approached, the
priest, dressed in his sacerdotal garments, made his appearance in
the act of proceeding from his cell to the chapel, for the discharge,
doubtless, of his holy office. Durward bowed his body reverently
to the priest, as the respect due to his sacred office demanded;
whilst his companion, with an appearance of still more deep devotion,
kneeled on one knee to receive the holy man's blessing, and then
followed him into church, with a step and manner expressive of the
most heartfelt contrition and humility.

The inside of the chapel was adorned in a manner adapted to the
occupation of the patron saint while on earth. The richest furs
of such animals as are made the objects of the chase in different
countries supplied the place of tapestry and hangings around the
altar and elsewhere, and the characteristic emblazonments of bugles,
bows, quivers, and other emblems of hunting, surrounded the walls,
and were mingled with the heads of deer, wolves, and other animals
considered beasts of sport. The whole adornments took an appropriate
and silvan character; and the mass itself, being considerably
shortened, proved to be of that sort which is called a hunting mass,
because in use before the noble and powerful, who, while assisting
at the solemnity, are usually impatient to commence their favourite
sport.

Yet, during this brief ceremony, Durward's companion seemed to pay
the most rigid and scrupulous attention; while Durward, not quite
so much occupied with religious thoughts, could not forbear blaming
himself in his own mind for having entertained suspicions derogatory
to the character of so good and so humble a man. Far from now
holding him as a companion and accomplice of robbers, he had much
to do to forbear regarding him as a saint-like personage.

When mass was ended, they retired together from the chapel, and the
elder said to his young comrade, "It is but a short walk from hence
to the village -- you may now break your fast with an unprejudiced
conscience -- follow me."

Turning to the right, and proceeding along a path which seemed
gradually to ascend, he recommended to his companion by no means
to quit the track, but, on the contrary, to keep the middle of it
as nearly as he could. Durward could not help asking the cause of
this precaution.

"You are now near the Court, young man," answered his guide; "and,
Pasques-dieu! there is some difference betwixt walking in this
region and on your own heathy hills. Every yard of this ground,
excepting the path which we now occupy, is rendered dangerous, and
well nigh impracticable, by snares and traps, armed with scythe
blades, which shred off the unwary passenger's limb as sheerly
as a hedge bill lops a hawthorn sprig -- and calthrops that would
pierce your foot through, and pitfalls deep enough to bury you in
them for ever; for you are now within the precincts of the royal
demesne, and we shall presently see the front of the Chateau."

"Were I the King of France," said the young man, "I would not take
so much trouble with traps and gins, but would try instead to govern
so well that no man should dare to come near my dwelling with a bad
intent; and for those who came there in peace and goodwill, why,
the more of them the merrier we should be."

His companion looked round affecting an alarmed gaze, and said,
"Hush, hush, Sir Varlet with the Velvet Pouch! for I forgot to tell
you, that one great danger of these precincts is, that the very
leaves of the trees are like so many ears, which carry all which
is spoken to the King's own cabinet."

"I care little for that," answered Quentin Durward; "I bear a
Scottish tongue in my head, bold enough to speak my mind to King
Louis's face, God bless him -- and for the ears you talk of, if I
could see them growing on a human head, I would crop them out of
it with my wood knife."



CHAPTER III: THE CASTLE

Full in the midst a mighty pile arose,
Where iron grated gates their strength oppose
To each invading step -- and strong and steep,
The battled walls arose, the fosse sunk deep.
Slow round the fortress roll'd the sluggish stream,
And high in middle air the warder's turrets gleam.

ANONYMOUS


While Durward and his acquaintance thus spoke, they came in sight
of the whole front of the Castle of Plessis les Tours, which, even
in those dangerous times, when the great found themselves obliged
to reside within places of fortified strength, was distinguished for
the extreme and jealous care with which it was watched and defended.

From the verge of the wood where young Durward halted with
his companion, in order to take a view of this royal residence,
extended, or rather arose, though by a very gentle elevation, an
open esplanade, devoid of trees and bushes of every description,
excepting one gigantic and half withered old oak. This space was
left open, according to the rules of fortification in all ages, in
order that an enemy might not approach the walls under cover, or
unobserved from the battlements, and beyond it arose the Castle
itself.

There were three external walls, battlemented and turreted from
space to space and at each angle, the second enclosure rising
higher than the first, and being built so as to command the exterior
defence in case it was won by the enemy; and being again, in the
same manner, itself commanded by the third and innermost barrier.

Around the external wall, as the Frenchman informed his young
companion (for as they stood lower than the foundation of the
wall, he could not see it), was sunk a ditch of about twenty feet
in depth, supplied with water by a dam head on the river Cher; or
rather on one of its tributary branches. In front of the second
enclosure, he said, there ran another fosse, and a third, both of
the same unusual dimensions, was led between the second and the
innermost inclosure. The verge, both of the outer and inner circuit
of this triple moat was strongly fenced with palisades of iron,
serving the purpose of what are called chevaux de frise in modern
fortification, the top of each pale being divided into a cluster
of sharp spikes, which seemed to render any attempt to climb over
an act of self destruction.

From within the innermost enclosure arose the Castle itself,
containing buildings of all periods, crowded around, and united with
the ancient and grim looking donjon keep, which was older than any
of them, and which rose, like a black Ethiopian giant, high into
the air, while the absence of any windows larger than shot holes,
irregularly disposed for defence, gave the spectator the same
unpleasant feeling which we experience on looking at a blind man.
The other buildings seemed scarcely better adapted for the purposes of
comfort, for the windows opened to an inner and enclosed courtyard;
so that the whole external front looked much more like that of
a prison than a palace. The reigning King had even increased this
effect; for, desirous that the additions which he himself had
made to the fortifications should be of a character not easily
distinguished from the original building (for, like many jealous
persons, he loved not that his suspicions should be observed),
the darkest coloured brick and freestone were employed, and soot
mingled with the lime, so as to give the whole Castle the same
uniform tinge of extreme and rude antiquity.

This formidable place had but one entrance -- at least Durward saw
none along the spacious front, except where, in the centre of the
first and outward boundary, arose two strong towers, the usual defences
of a gateway; and he could observe their ordinary accompaniments,
portcullis and drawbridge -- of which the first was lowered, and
the last raised. Similar entrance towers were visible on the second
and third bounding wall, but not in the same line with those on
the outward circuit; because the passage did not cut right through
the whole three enclosures at the same point, but, on the contrary,
those who entered had to proceed nearly thirty yards betwixt the
first and second wall, exposed, if their purpose were hostile, to
missiles from both; and again, when the second boundary was passed,
they must make a similar digression from the straight line, in
order to attain the portal of the third and innermost enclosure;
so that before gaining the outer court, which ran along the front
of the building, two narrow and dangerous defiles were to be traversed
under a flanking discharge of artillery, and three gates, defended
in the strongest manner known to the age, were to be successively
forced.

Coming from a country alike desolated by foreign war and internal
feuds -- a country, too, whose unequal and mountainous surface,
abounding in precipices and torrents, affords so many situations
of strength, young Durward was sufficiently acquainted with all the
various contrivances by which men, in that stern age, endeavoured
to secure their dwellings; but he frankly owned to his companion,
that he did not think it had been in the power of art to do so much
for defence, where nature had done so little; for the situation,
as we have hinted, was merely the summit of a gentle elevation
ascending upwards from the place where they were standing.

To enhance his surprise, his companion told him that the environs
of the Castle, except the single winding path by which the portal
might be safely approached, were, like the thickets through which
they had passed, surrounded with every species of hidden pitfall,
snare, and gin, to entrap the wretch who should venture thither
without a guide; that upon the walls were constructed certain
cradles of iron, called swallows' nests, from which the sentinels,
who were regularly posted there, could without being exposed to
any risk, take deliberate aim at any who should attempt to enter
without the proper signal or password of the day; and that the
Archers of the Royal Guard performed that duty day and night, for
which they received high pay, rich clothing, and much honour and
profit at the hands of King Louis. "And now tell me, young man,"
he continued, "did you ever see so strong a fortress, and do you
think there are men bold enough to storm it?"

The young man looked long and fixedly on the place, the sight of
which interested him so much that he had forgotten, in the eagerness
of youthful curiosity, the wetness of his dress. His eye glanced,
and his colour mounted to his cheek like that of a daring man
who meditates an honourable action, as he replied, "It is a strong
castle, and strongly guarded; but there is no impossibility to
brave men."

"Are there any in your country who could do such a feat?" said the
elder, rather scornfully.

"I will not affirm that," answered the youth; "but there are
thousands that, in a good cause, would attempt as bold a deed."

"Umph!" said the senior, "perhaps you are yourself such a gallant!"

"I should sin if I were to boast where there is no danger," answered
young Durward; "but my father has done as bold an act, and I trust
I am no bastard."

"Well," said his companion, smiling, "you might meet your match,
and your kindred withal in the attempt; for the Scottish Archers of
King Louis's Life Guards stand sentinels on yonder walls -- three
hundred gentlemen of the best blood in your country."

"And were I King Louis," said the youth, in reply, "I would trust
my safety to the faith of the three hundred Scottish gentlemen,
throw down my bounding walls to fill up the moat; call in my noble
peers and paladins, and live as became me, amid breaking of lances
in gallant tournaments, and feasting of days with nobles, and dancing
of nights with ladies, and have no more fear of a foe than I have
of a fly."

His companion again smiled, and turning his back on the Castle,
which, he observed, they had approached a little too nearly, he led
the way again into the wood by a more broad and beaten path than
they had yet trodden. "This," he said, "leads us to the village
of Plessis, as it is called, where you, as a stranger, will find
reasonable and honest accommodation. About two miles onward lies
the fine city of Tours, which gives name to this rich and beautiful
earldom. But the village of Plessis, or Plessis of the Park as it
is sometimes called, from its vicinity to the royal residence, and
the chase with which it is encircled, will yield you nearer and as
convenient hospitality."

"I thank you, kind master, for your information," said the Scot;
"but my stay will be so short here, that, if I fail not in a morsel
of meat, and a drink of something better than water, my necessities
in Plessis, be it of the park or the pool, will be amply satisfied."

"Nay," answered his companion, "I thought you had some friend to
see in this quarter."

"And so I have -- my mother's own brother," answered Durward;
"and as pretty a man, before he left the braes of Angus [hills and
moors of Angus in Forfarshire, Scotland.], as ever planted brogue
on heather."

"What is his name?" said the senior. "We will inquire him out for
you; for it is not safe for you to go up to the Castle, where you
might be taken for a spy."

"Now, by my father's hand!" said the youth, "I taken for a spy!
-- By Heaven, he shall brook cold iron that brands me with such a
charge! -- But for my uncle's name, I care not who knows it -- it
is Lesly. Lesly -- an honest and noble name."

"And so it is, I doubt not," said the old man; "but there are three
of the name in the Scottish Guard."

"My uncle's name is Ludovic Lesly," said the young man.

"Of the three Leslys," answered the merchant, "two are called
Ludovic."

"They call my kinsman Ludovic with the Scar," said Quentin. "Our
family names are so common in a Scottish house, that, where there
is no land in the case, we always give a to-name [surname]."

"A nom de guerre [the war name; formerly taken by French soldiers
on entering the service. Hence a fictitious name assumed for other
purposes.], I suppose you to mean," answered his companion; "and
the man you speak of, we, I think, call Le Balafre, from that scar
on his face -- a proper man, and a good soldier. I wish I may be
able to help you to an interview with him, for he belongs to a set
of gentlemen whose duty is strict, and who do not often come out of
garrison, unless in the immediate attendance on the King's person.
-- And now, young man, answer me one question. I will wager you
are desirous to take service with your uncle in the Scottish Guard.
It is a great thing, if you propose so; especially as you are very
young, and some years' experience is necessary for the high office
which you aim at."

"Perhaps I may have thought on some such thing," said Durward,
carelessly; "but if I did, the fancy is off."

"How so, young man?" said the Frenchman, something sternly, "Do
you speak thus of a charge which the most noble of your countrymen
feel themselves emulous to be admitted to?"

"I wish them joy of it," said Quentin, composedly. "To speak plain,
I should have liked the service of the French King full well; only,
dress me as fine and feed me as high as you will, I love the open
air better than being shut up in a cage or a swallow's nest yonder,
as you call these same grated pepper boxes. Besides," he added,
in a lower voice, "to speak truth, I love not the Castle when the
covin tree bears such acorns as I see yonder."

[The large tree in front of a Scottish castle was sometimes called
so. It is difficult to trace the derivation; but at that distance
from the castle the laird received guests of rank, and thither he
conveyed them on their departure. S.]

"I guess what you mean," said the Frenchman; "but speak yet more
plainly."

"To speak more plainly, then," said the youth, "there grows a fair
oak some flight shot or so from yonder Castle -- and on that oak
hangs a man in a gray jerkin, such as this which I wear."

"Ay and indeed!" said the man of France -- "Pasques dieu! see what
it is to have youthful eyes! Why, I did see something, but only
took it for a raven among the branches. But the sight is no ways
strange, young man; when the summer fades into autumn, and moonlight
nights are long, and roads become unsafe, you will see a cluster
of ten, ay of twenty such acorns, hanging on that old doddered oak.
-- But what then? -- they are so many banners displayed to scare
knaves; and for each rogue that hangs there, an honest man may
reckon that there is a thief, a traitor, a robber on the highway,
a pilleur and oppressor of the people the fewer in France. These,
young man, are signs of our Sovereign's justice."

"I would have hung them farther from my palace, though, were I King
Louis," said the youth. "In my country, we hang up dead corbies
where living corbies haunt, but not in our gardens or pigeon houses.
The very scent of the carrion -- faugh -- reached my nostrils at
the distance where we stood."

"If you live to be an honest and loyal servant of your Prince, my
good youth," answered the Frenchman, "you will know there is no
perfume to match the scent of a dead traitor."

"I shall never wish to live till I lose the scent of my nostrils
or the sight of my eyes," said the Scot. "Show me a living traitor,
and here are my hand and my weapon; but when life is out, hatred
should not live longer. -- But here, I fancy, we come upon the
village, where I hope to show you that neither ducking nor disgust
have spoiled mine appetite for my breakfast. So my good friend, to
the hostelrie, with all the speed you may. -- Yet, ere I accept of
your hospitality, let me know by what name to call you."

"Men call me Maitre Pierre," answered his companion. "I deal in no
titles. A plain man, that can live on mine own good -- that is my
designation."

"So be it, Maitre Pierre," said Quentin, "and I am happy my good
chance has thrown us together; for I want a word of seasonable
advice, and can be thankful for it."

While they spoke thus, the tower of the church and a tall wooden
crucifix, rising above the trees, showed that they were at the
entrance of the village.

But Maitre Pierre, deflecting a little from the road, which had now
joined an open and public causeway, said to his companion that the
inn to which he intended to introduce him stood somewhat secluded,
and received only the better sort of travellers.

"If you mean those who travel with the better filled purses,"
answered the Scot, "I am none of the number, and will rather stand
my chance of your flayers on the highway, than of your flayers in
the hostelrie."

"Pasques dieu!" said his guide, "how cautious your countrymen
of Scotland are! An Englishman, now, throws himself headlong into
a tavern, eats and drinks of the best, and never thinks of the
reckoning till his belly is full. But you forget, Master Quentin,
since Quentin is your name, you forget I owe you a breakfast for
the wetting which my mistake pro- cured you. -- It is the penance
of my offence towards you."

"In truth," said the light hearted young man, "I had forgot wetting,
offence, and penance, and all. I have walked my clothes dry, or
nearly so, but I will not refuse your offer in kindness; for my
dinner yesterday was a light one, and supper I had none. You seem
an old and respectable burgess, and I see no reason why I should
not accept your courtesy."

The Frenchman smiled aside, for he saw plainly that the youth,
while he was probably half famished, had yet some difficulty to
reconcile himself to the thoughts of feeding at a stranger's cost,
and was endeavouring to subdue his inward pride by the reflection,
that, in such slight obligations, the acceptor performed as
complaisant a part as he by whom the courtesy was offered.

In the meanwhile, they descended a narrow lane, overshadowed
by tall elms, at the bottom of which a gateway admitted them into
the courtyard of an inn of unusual magnitude, calculated for the
accommodation of the nobles and suitors who had business at the
neighbouring Castle, where very seldom, and only when such hospitality
was altogether unavoidable, did Louis XI permit any of his court to
have apartments. A scutcheon, bearing the fleur de lys, hung over
the principal door of the large irregular building; but there was
about the yard and the offices little or none of the bustle which in
those days, when attendants were maintained both in public and in
private houses, marked that business was alive, and custom plenty.
It seemed as if the stern and unsocial character of the royal mansion
in the neighbourhood had communicated a portion of its solemn and
terrific gloom even to a place designed according to universal custom
elsewhere, for the temple of social indulgence, merry society, and
good cheer.

Maitre Pierre, without calling any one, and even without approaching
the principal entrance, lifted the latch of a side door, and led
the way into a large room, where a faggot was blazing on the hearth,
and arrangements made for a substantial breakfast.

"My gossip has been careful," said the Frenchman to the Scot. "You
must be cold, and I have commanded a fire; you must be hungry, and
you shall have breakfast presently."

He whistled and the landlord entered -- answered Maitre Pierre's
bon jour with a reverence -- but in no respect showed any part of
the prating humour properly belonging to a French publican of all
ages.

"I expected a gentleman," said Maitre Pierre, "to order breakfast
-- hath he done so?"

In answer the landlord only bowed; and while he continued to bring,
and arrange upon the table, the various articles of a comfortable
meal, omitted to extol their merits by a single word. And yet the
breakfast merited such eulogiums as French hosts are wont to confer
upon their regales, as the reader will be informed in the next
chapter.



CHAPTER IV: THE DEJEUNER

Sacred heaven! what masticators! what bread!

YORICK'S TRAVELS


We left our young stranger in France situated more comfortably than
he had found himself since entering the territories of the ancient
Gauls. The breakfast, as we hinted in the conclusion of the last
chapter, was admirable. There was a pate de Perigord, over which a
gastronome would have wished to live and die, like Homer's lotus
eaters [see the Odyssey, chap. ix, where Odysseus arrives at
the land of the Lotus eaters: "whosoever of them ate the lotus's
honeyed fruit resolved to bring tidings back no more and never to
leave the place, but with the Lotus eaters there desired to stay,
to feed on lotus and forget his going home." Palmer's Translation.],
forgetful of kin, native country, and all social obligations
whatever. Its vast walls of magnificent crust seemed raised like
the bulwarks of some rich metropolitan city, an emblem of the wealth
which they are designed to protect. There was a delicate ragout,
with just that petit point de l'ail [a little flavor of garlic.
The French is ungrammatical.] which Gascons love, and Scottishmen
do not hate. There was, besides, a delicate ham, which had once
supported a noble wild boar in the neighbouring wood of Mountrichart.
There was the most exquisite white bread, made into little round
loaves called boules (whence the bakers took their French name of
boulangers), of which the crust was so inviting, that, even with
water alone, it would have been a delicacy. But the water was not
alone, for there was a flask of leather called bottrine, which
contained about a quart of exquisite Vin de Beaulne. So many good
things might have created appetite under the ribs of death. What
effect, then, must they have produced upon a youngster of scarce
twenty, who (for the truth must be told) had eaten little for the
two last days, save the scarcely ripe fruit which chance afforded
him an opportunity of plucking, and a very moderate portion of
barley bread? He threw himself upon the ragout, and the plate was
presently vacant -- he attacked the mighty pasty, marched deep
into the bowels of the land, and seasoning his enormous meal with
an occasional cup of wine, returned to the charge again and again, to
the astonishment of mine host, and the amusement of Maitre Pierre.

The latter indeed, probably because he found himself the author of
a kinder action than he had thought of, seemed delighted with the
appetite of the young Scot; and when, at length, he observed that
his exertions began to languish, endeavoured to stimulate him to
new efforts by ordering confections, darioles [cream cakes], and
any other light dainties he could think of, to entice the youth to
continue his meal. While thus engaged, Maitre Pierre's countenance
expressed a kind of good humour almost amounting to benevolence,
which appeared remote from its ordinary sharp, caustic, and severe
character. The aged almost always sympathize with the enjoyments
of youth and with its exertions of every kind, when the mind of
the spectator rests on its natural poise and is not disturbed by
inward envy or idle emulation.

Quentin Durward also, while thus agreeably employed, could do no
otherwise than discover that the countenance of his entertainer,
which he had at first found so unprepossessing, mended when it
was seen under the influence of the Vin de Beaulne, and there was
kindness in the tone with which he reproached Maitre Pierre, that
he amused himself with laughing at his appetite, without eating
anything himself.

"I am doing penance," said Maitre Pierre, "and may not eat anything
before noon, save some comfiture and a cup of water. -- Bid yonder
lady," he added, turning to the innkeeper, "bring them hither to
me."

The innkeeper left the room, and Maitre Pierre proceeded, "Well,
have I kept faith with you concerning the breakfast I promised
you?"

"The best meal I have eaten," said the youth, "since I left Glen
Houlakin."

"Glen -- what?" demanded Maitre Pierre. "Are you going to raise
the devil, that you use such long tailed words?"

"Glen Houlakin," answered Quentin good humouredly, "which is to
say the Glen of the Midges, is the name of our ancient patrimony,
my good sir. You have bought the right to laugh at the sound, if
you please."

"I have not the least intention to offend," said the old man; "but
I was about to say, since you like your present meal so well, that
the Scottish Archers of the guard eat as good a one, or a better,
every day."

"No wonder," said Durward; "for if they be shut up in the swallows'
nests all night, they must needs have a curious appetite in the
morning."

"And plenty to gratify it upon," said Maitre Pierre. "They need
not, like the Burgundians, choose a bare back, that they may have
a full belly -- they dress like counts, and feast like abbots."

"It is well for them," said Durward.

"And wherefore will you not take service here, young man? Your uncle
might, I dare say, have you placed on the file when there should
a vacancy occur. And, hark in your ear, I myself have some little
interest, and might be of some use to you. You can ride, I presume,
as well as draw the bow?"

"Our race are as good horsemen as ever put a plated shoe into
a steel stirrup; and I know not but I might accept of your kind
offer. Yet, look you, food and raiment are needful things, but,
in my case, men think of honour, and advancement, and brave deeds
of arms. Your King Louis -- God bless him, for he is a friend and
ally of Scotland -- but he lies here in this castle, or only rides
about from one fortified town to another; and gains cities and
provinces by politic embassies, and not in fair fighting. Now,
for me, I am of the Douglases' mind, who always kept the fields,
because they loved better to hear the lark sing than the mouse
squeak."

"Young man," said Maitre Pierre, "do not judge too rashly of
the actions of sovereigns. Louis seeks to spare the blood of his
subjects, and cares not for his own. He showed himself a man of
courage at Montl'hery."

"Ay, but that was some dozen years ago or more," answered the youth
-- "I should like to follow a master that would keep his honour
as bright as his shield, and always venture foremost in the very
throng of the battle."

"Why did you not tarry at Brussels, then, with the Duke of Burgundy?
He would put you in the way to have your bones broken every day;
and, rather than fail, would do the job for you himself -- especially
if he heard that you had beaten his forester."

"Very true," said Quentin; "my unhappy chance has shut that door
against me."

"Nay, there are plenty of daredevils abroad, with whom mad youngsters
may find service," said his adviser. "What think you, for example,
of William de la Marck?"

"What!" exclaimed Durward, "serve Him with the Beard -- serve the
Wild Boar of Ardennes -- a captain of pillagers and murderers, who
would take a man's life for the value of his gaberdine, and who
slays priests and pilgrims as if they were so many lance knights
and men at arms? It would be a blot on my father's scutcheon for
ever."

"Well, my young hot blood," replied Maitre Pierre, "if you hold
the Sanglier [Wild Boar] too unscrupulous, wherefore not follow
the young Duke of Gueldres?"

[Adolphus, son of Arnold and of Catherine de Bourbon. . . . He made
war against his father; in which unnatural strife he made the old
man prisoner, and used him with the most brutal violence, proceeding,
it is said, even to the length of striking him with his hand.
Arnold, in resentment of this usage, disinherited the unprincipled
wretch, and sold to Charles of Burgundy whatever rights he had over
the duchy of Gueldres and earldom of Zutphen. . . . S.]

"Follow the foul fiend as soon," said Quentin. "Hark in your ear
-- he is a burden too heavy for earth to carry -- hell gapes for
him! Men say that he keeps his own father imprisoned, and that he
has even struck him -- can you believe it?"

Maitre Pierre seemed somewhat disconcerted with the naive horror
with which the young Scotsman spoke of filial ingratitude, and he
answered, "You know not, young man, how short a while the relations
of blood subsist amongst those of elevated rank;" then changed the
tone of feeling in which he had begun to speak, and added, gaily,
"besides, if the Duke has beaten his father, I warrant you his
father hath beaten him of old, so it is but a clearing of scores."

"I marvel to hear you speak thus," said the Scot, colouring with
indignation; "gray hairs such as yours ought to have fitter subjects
for jesting. If the old Duke did beat his son in childhood, he beat
him not enough; for better he had died under the rod, than have
lived to make the Christian world ashamed that such a monster had
ever been baptized."

"At this rate," said Maitre Pierre, "as you weigh the characters
of each prince and leader, I think you had better become a captain
yourself; for where will one so wise find a chieftain fit to command
him?"

"You laugh at me, Maitre Pierre," said the youth, good humouredly,
"and perhaps you are right; but you have not named a man who is a
gallant leader, and keeps a brave party up here, under whom a man
might seek service well enough."

"I cannot guess whom you mean."

"Why, he that hangs like Mahomet's coffin [there is a tradition
that Mahomet's coffin is suspended in mid air Without any support,
the most generally accepted explanation being that the coffin is of
iron and is placed between two magnets] (a curse be upon Mahomet!)
between the two loadstones -- he that no man can call either French
or Burgundian, but who knows to hold the balance between them both,
and makes both of them fear and serve him, for as great princes as
they be."

"I cannot guess whom you mean," said Maitre Pierre, thoughtfully.

"Why, whom should I mean but the noble Louis de Luxembourg, Count
of Saint Paul, the High Constable of France? Yonder he makes his
place good with his gallant little army, holding his head as high
as either King Louis or Duke Charles, and balancing between them
like the boy who stands on the midst of a plank, while two others
are swinging on the opposite ends."

[This part of Louis XI's reign was much embarrassed by the intrigues
of the Constable Saint Paul, who affected independence, and carried
on intrigues with England, France, and Burgundy at the same time.
According to the usual fate of such variable politicians, the
Constable ended by drawing upon himself the animosity of all the
powerful neighbours whom he had in their turn amused and deceived.
He was delivered up by the Duke of Burgundy to the King of France,
tried, and hastily executed for treason, A. D. 1475. S.]

"He is in danger of the worst fall of the three," said Maitre
Pierre. "And hark ye, my young friend, you who hold pillaging such
a crime, do you know that your politic Count of Saint Paul was the
first who set the example of burning the country during the time of
war? and that before the shameful devastation which he committed,
open towns and villages, which made no resistance, were spared on
all sides?"

"Nay, faith," said Durward, "if that be the case, I shall begin to
think no one of these great men is much better than another, and
that a choice among them is but like choosing a tree to be hung
upon. But this Count de Saint Paul, this Constable, hath possessed
himself by clean conveyance of the town which takes its name from
my honoured saint and patron, Saint Quentin" [it was by his possession
of this town of Saint Quentin that the Constable was able to carry
on those political intrigues which finally cost him so dear. S.]
(here he crossed himself), "and methinks were I dwelling there, my
holy patron would keep some look out for me -- he has not so many
named after him as your more popular saints -- and yet he must have
forgotten me, poor Quentin Durward, his spiritual godson, since
he lets me go one day without food, and leaves me the next morning
to the harbourage of Saint Julian, and the chance courtesy of
a stranger, purchased by a ducking in the renowned river Cher, or
one of its tributaries."

"Blaspheme not the saints, my young friend," said Maitre Pierre.
"Saint Julian is the faithful patron of travellers; and, peradventure,
the blessed Saint Quentin hath done more and better for thee than
thou art aware of."

As he spoke, the door opened, and a girl rather above than under
fifteen years old, entered with a platter, covered with damask,
on which was placed a small saucer of the dried plums which have
always added to the reputation of Tours, and a cup of the curiously
chased plate which the goldsmiths of that city were anciently famous
for executing with a delicacy of workmanship that distinguished
them from the other cities of France, and even excelled the skill
of the metropolis. The form of the goblet was so elegant that
Durward thought not of observing closely whether the material was
of silver, or like what had been placed before himself, of a baser
metal, but so well burnished as to resemble the richer ore.

But the sight of the young person by whom this service was executed
attracted Durward's attention far more than the petty minutiae of
the duty which she performed.

He speedily made the discovery that a quantity of long black tresses,
which, in the maiden fashion of his own country, were unadorned
by any ornament, except a single chaplet lightly woven out of ivy
leaves, formed a veil around a countenance which, in its regular
features, dark eyes, and pensive expression, resembled that of
Melpomene [the Muse of tragedy], though there was a faint glow on
the cheek, and an intelligence on the lips and in the eye, which
made it seem that gaiety was not foreign to a countenance so
expressive, although it might not be its most habitual expression.
Quentin even thought he could discern that depressing circumstances
were the cause why a countenance so young and so lovely was graver
than belongs to early beauty; and as the romantic imagination of
youth is rapid in drawing conclusions from slight premises, he was
pleased to infer, from what follows, that the fate of this beautiful
vision was wrapped in silence and mystery.

"How now, Jacqueline?" said Maitre Pierre, when she entered the
apartment. "Wherefore this? Did I not desire that Dame Perette
should bring what I wanted? -- Pasques dieu! -- Is she, or does
she think herself, too good to serve me?"

"My kinswoman is ill at ease," answered Jacqueline, in a hurried
yet a humble tone, -- "ill at ease, and keeps her chamber."

"She keeps it alone, I hope!" replied Maitre Pierre, with some
emphasis; "I am vieux routier [one who is experienced in the ways
of the world], and none of those upon whom feigned disorders pass
for apologies."

Jacqueline turned pale, and even tottered at the answer of Maitre
Pierre; for it must be owned that his voice and looks, at all times
harsh, caustic, and unpleasing, had, when he expressed anger or
suspicion, an effect both sinister and alarming.

The mountain chivalry of Quentin Durward was instantly awakened,
and he hastened to approach Jacqueline and relieve her of the burden
she bore, and which she passively resigned to him, while, with a
timid and anxious look, she watched the countenance of the angry
burgess. It was not in nature to resist the piercing and pity
craving expression of her looks, and Maitre Pierre proceeded, not
merely with an air of diminished displeasure, but with as much
gentleness as he could assume in countenance and manner, "I blame
not thee, Jacqueline, and thou art too young to be, what it is pity
to think thou must be one day -- a false and treacherous thing,
like the rest of thy giddy sex. No man ever lived to man's estate,
but he had the opportunity to know you all [he (Louis) entertained
great contempt for the understanding, and not less for the character,
of the fair sex. S.]. Here is a Scottish cavalier will tell you
the same."

Jacqueline looked for an instant on the young stranger, as if to
obey Maitre Pierre, but the glance, momentary as it was, appeared
to Durward a pathetic appeal to him for support and sympathy; and
with the promptitude dictated by the feelings of youth, and the
romantic veneration for the female sex inspired by his education,
he answered hastily that he would throw down his gage to any
antagonist, of equal rank and equal age, who should presume to
say such a countenance as that which he now looked upon, could be
animated by other than the purest and the truest mind.

The young woman grew deadly pale, and cast an apprehensive glance
upon Maitre Pierre, in whom the bravado of the young gallant seemed
only to excite laughter, more scornful than applausive. Quentin,
whose second thoughts generally corrected the first, though sometimes
after they had found utterance, blushed deeply at having uttered
what might be construed into an empty boast in presence of an old
man of a peaceful profession; and as a sort of just and appropriate
penance, resolved patiently to submit to the ridicule which he had
incurred. He offered the cup and trencher to Maitre Pierre with a
blush in his cheek, and a humiliation of countenance which endeavoured
to disguise itself under an embarrassed smile.

"You are a foolish young man," said Maitre Pierre, "and know as
little of women as of princes, -- whose hearts," he said, crossing
himself devoutly, "God keeps in his right hand."

"And who keeps those of the women, then?" said Quentin, resolved,
if he could help it, not to be borne down by the assumed superiority
of this extraordinary old man, whose lofty and careless manner
possessed an influence over him of which he felt ashamed.

"I am afraid you must ask of them in another quarter," said Maitre
Pierre, composedly.

Quentin was again rebuffed, but not utterly disconcerted. "Surely,"
he said to himself, "I do not pay this same burgess of Tours all the
deference which I yield him, on account of the miserable obligation
of a breakfast, though it was a right good and substantial meal. Dogs
and hawks are attached by feeding only -- man must have kindness,
if you would bind him with the cords of affection and obligation.
But he is an extraordinary person; and that beautiful emanation
that is even now vanishing -- surely a thing so fair belongs not to
this mean place, belongs not even to the money gathering merchant
himself, though he seems to exert authority over her, as doubtless
he does over all whom chance brings within his little circle. It
is wonderful what ideas of consequence these Flemings and Frenchmen
attach to wealth -- so much more than wealth deserves, that I
suppose this old merchant thinks the civility I pay to his age is
given to his money. I a Scottish gentleman of blood and coat armour,
and he a mechanic of Tours!"

Such were the thoughts which hastily traversed the mind of young
Durward; while Maitre Pierre said with a smile, and at the same time
patting Jacqueline's heed, from which hung down her long tresses,
"This young man will serve me, Jacqueline, thou mayst withdraw. I
will tell thy negligent kinswoman she does ill to expose thee to
be gazed on unnecessarily."

"It was only to wait on you," said the maiden. "I trust you will
not be displeased with my kinswoman, since" --

"Pasques dieu!" said the merchant, interrupting her, but not harshly,
"do you bandy words with me, you brat, or stay you to gaze upon
the youngster here? -- Begone -- he is noble, and his services will
suffice me."

Jacqueline vanished; and so much was Quentin Durward interested
in her sudden disappearance that it broke his previous thread of
reflection, and he complied mechanically when Maitre Pierre said,
in the tone of one accustomed to be obeyed, as he threw himself
carelessly upon a large easy chair, "Place that tray beside me."

The merchant then let his dark eyebrows sink over his keen eyes so
that the last became scarce visible, or but shot forth occasionally
a quick and vivid ray, like those of the sun setting behind a dark
cloud, through which its beams are occasionally darted, but singly
and for an instant.

"That is a beautiful creature," said the old man at last, raising
his head, and looking steadily and firmly at Quentin, when he put
the question, -- "a lovely girl to be the servant of an auberge
[an inn]? She might grace the board of an honest burgess; but 'tis
a vile education, a base origin."

It sometimes happens that a chance shot will demolish a noble castle
in the air, and the architect on such occasions entertains little
goodwill towards him who fires it, although the damage on the
offender's part may be wholly unintentional. Quentin was disconcerted,
and was disposed to be angry -- he himself knew not why -- with
this old man, for acquainting him that this beautiful creature
was neither more nor less than what her occupation announced; the
servant of the auberge -- an upper servant, indeed, and probably
a niece of the landlord, or such like; but still a domestic, and
obliged to comply with the humour of the customers, and particularly
of Maitre Pierre, who probably had sufficiency of whims, and was
rich enough to ensure their being attended to.

The thought, the lingering thought, again returned on him, that he
ought to make the old gentleman understand the difference betwixt
their conditions, and call on him to mark, that, how rich soever
he might be, his wealth put him on no level with a Durward of Glen
Houlakin. Yet, whenever he looked on Maitre Pierre's countenance
with such a purpose, there was, notwithstanding the downcast look,
pinched features, and mean and miserly dress, something which
prevented the young man from asserting the superiority over the
merchant which he conceived himself to possess. On the contrary,
the oftener and more fixedly Quentin looked at him, the stronger
became his curiosity to know who or what this man actually was; and
he set him down internally for at least a Syndic or high magistrate
of Tours, or one who was, in some way or other, in the full habit
of exacting and receiving deference. Meantime, the merchant seemed
again sunk into a reverie, from which he raised himself only to
make the sign of the cross devoutly, and to eat some of the dried
fruit, with a morsel of biscuit. He then signed to Quentin to give
him the cup, adding, however, by way of question, as he presented
it, "You are noble, you say?"

"I surely am," replied the Scot, "if fifteen descents can make me
so -- so I told you before. But do not constrain yourself on that
account, Maitre Pierre -- I have always been taught it is the duty
of the young to assist the more aged."

"An excellent maxim," said the merchant, availing himself of the
youth's assistance in handing the cup, and filling it from a ewer
which seemed of the same materials with the goblet, without any of
those scruples in point of propriety which, perhaps, Quentin had
expected to excite.

"The devil take the ease and familiarity of this old mechanical
burgher!" said Durward once more to himself. "He uses the attendance
of a noble Scottish gentleman with as little ceremony as I would
that of a gillie from Glen Isla."

The merchant, in the meanwhile, having finished his cup of water,
said to his companion, "From the zeal with which you seem to relish
the Vin de Beaulne, I fancy you would not care much to pledge me
in this elemental liquor. But I have an elixir about me which can
convert even the rock water into the richest wines of France."

As he spoke, he took a large purse from his bosom, made of the fur
of the sea otter, and streamed a shower of small silver pieces into
the goblet, until the cup, which was but a small one, was more than
half full.

"You have reason to be more thankful, young man," said Maitre Pierre,
"both to your patron Saint Quentin and to Saint Julian, than you
seemed to be but now. I would advise you to bestow alms in their
name. Remain in this hostelry until you see your kinsman, Le
Balafre, who will be relieved from guard in the afternoon. I will
cause him to be acquainted that he may find you here, for I have
business in the Castle."

Quentin Durward would have said something to have excused himself
from accepting the profuse liberality of his new friend; but Maitre
Pierre, bending his dark brows, and erecting his stooping figure
into an attitude of more dignity than he had yet seen him assume,
said in a tone of authority, "No reply, young man, but do what you
are commanded."

With these words he left the apartment, making a sign, as he
departed, that Quentin must not follow him.

The young Scotsman stood astounded, and knew not what to think of
the matter. His first most natural, though perhaps not most dignified
impulse, drove him to peer into the silver goblet, which assuredly
was more than half full of silver pieces to the number of several
scores, of which perhaps Quentin had never called twenty his
own at one time during the course of his whole life. But could he
reconcile it to his dignity as a gentleman, to accept the money of
this wealthy plebeian? -- This was a trying question; for, though
he had secured a good breakfast, it was no great reserve upon
which to travel either back to Dijon, in case he chose to hazard
the wrath and enter the service of the Duke of Burgundy, or to Saint
Quentin, if he fixed on that of the Constable Saint Paul; for to
one of those powers, if not to the king of France, he was determined
to offer his services. He perhaps took the wisest resolution in the
circumstances, in resolving to be guided by the advice of his uncle;
and, in the meantime, he put the money into his velvet hawking pouch,
and called for the landlord of the house, in order to restore the
silver cup -- resolving, at the same time, to ask him some questions
about this liberal and authoritative merchant.

The man of the house appeared presently; and, if not more
communicative, was at least more loquacious, than he had been
formerly. He positively declined to take back the silver cup. It
was none of his, he said, but Maitre Pierre's, who had bestowed it
on his guest. He had, indeed, four silver hanaps of his own, which
had been left him by his grandmother, of happy memory, but no
more like the beautiful carving of that in his guest's hand, than
a peach was like a turnip -- that was one of the famous cups of
Tours, wrought by Martin Dominique, an artist who might brag all
Paris.

"And, pray, who is this Maitre Pierre," said Durward, interrupting
him, "who confers such valuable gifts on strangers?"

"Who is Maitre Pierre?" said the host, dropping the words as slowly
from his mouth as if he had been distilling them.

"Ay," said Durward, hastily and peremptorily, "who is this Maitre
Pierre, and why does he throw about his bounties in this fashion?
And who is the butcherly looking fellow whom he sent forward to
order breakfast?"

"Why, fair sir, as to who Maitre Pierre is, you should have asked
the question of himself; and for the gentleman who ordered breakfast
to be made ready, may God keep us from his closer acquaintance!"

"There is something mysterious in all this," said the young Scot.
"This Maitre Pierre tells me he is a merchant."

"And if he told you so," said the innkeeper, "surely he is a
merchant."

"What commodities does he deal in?"

"Oh, many a fair matter of traffic," said the host; "and especially
he has set up silk manufactories here which match those rich bales
that the Venetians bring from India and Cathay. You might see the
rows of mulberry trees as you came hither, all planted by Maitre
Pierre's command, to feed the silk worms."

"And that young person who brought in the confections, who is she,
my good friend?" said the guest.

"My lodger, sir, with her guardian, some sort of aunt or kinswoman,
as I think," replied the innkeeper.

"And do you usually employ your guests in waiting on each other?"
said Durward; "for I observed that Maitre Pierre would take nothing
from your hand, or that of your attendant."

"Rich men may have their fancies, for they can pay for them," said
the landlord; "this is not the first time Maitre Pierre has found
the true way to make gentlefolks serve at his beck."

The young Scotsman felt somewhat offended at the insinuation; but,
disguising his resentment, he asked whether he could be accommodated
with an apartment at this place for a day, and perhaps longer.

"Certainly," the innkeeper replied; "for whatever time he was
pleased to command it."

"Could he be permitted," he asked, "to pay his respects to the
ladies, whose fellow lodger he was about to become?"

The innkeeper was uncertain. "They went not abroad," he said, "and
received no one at home."

"With the exception, I presume, of Maitre Pierre?" said Durward.

"I am not at liberty to name any exceptions," answered the man,
firmly but respectfully.

Quentin, who carried the notions of his own importance pretty high,
considering how destitute he was of means to support them, being
somewhat mortified by the innkeeper's reply, did not hesitate to
avail himself of a practice common enough in that age. "Carry to
the ladies," he said, "a flask of vernat, with my humble duty; and
say that Quentin Durward, of the house of Glen Houlakin, a Scottish
cavalier of honour, and now their fellow lodger, desires the
permission to dedicate his homage to them in a personal interview."

The messenger departed, and returned, almost instantly, with the
thanks of the ladies, who declined the proffered refreshment, and,
with their acknowledgments to the Scottish cavalier, regretted
that, residing there in privacy, they could not receive his visit.

Quentin bit his lip, took a cup of the rejected vernat, which the
host had placed on the table. "By the mass, but this is a strange
country," said he to himself, "where merchants and mechanics exercise the
manners and munificence of nobles, and little travelling damsels,
who hold their court in a cabaret [a public house], keep their state
like disguised princesses! I will see that black browed maiden
again, or it will go hard, however;" and having formed this prudent
resolution, he demanded to be conducted to the apartment which he
was to call his own.

The landlord presently ushered him up a turret staircase, and
from thence along a gallery, with many doors opening from it, like
those of cells in a convent; a resemblance which our young hero,
who recollected, with much ennui, an early specimen of a monastic
life, was far from admiring. The host paused at the very end of
the gallery, selected a key from the large bunch which he carried
at his girdle, opened the door, and showed his guest the interior
of a turret chamber; small, indeed, but which, being clean and
solitary, and having the pallet bed and the few articles of furniture,
in unusually good order, seemed, on the whole, a little palace.

"I hope you will find your dwelling agreeable here, fair sir," said
the landlord. "I am bound to pleasure every friend of Maitre Pierre."

"Oh, happy ducking!" exclaimed Quentin Durward, cutting a caper on
the floor, so soon as his host had retired: "Never came good luck
in a better or a wetter form. I have been fairly deluged by my good
fortune."

As he spoke thus, he stepped towards the little window, which, as
the turret projected considerably from the principal line of the
building, not only commanded a very pretty garden of some extent,
belonging to the inn, but overlooked, beyond its boundary, a pleasant
grove of those very mulberry trees which Maitre Pierre was said
to have planted for the support of the silk worm. Besides, turning
the eye from these more remote objects, and looking straight along
the wall, the turret of Quentin was opposite to another turret,
and the little window at which he stood commanded a similar little
window in a corresponding projection of the building. Now, it would
be difficult for a man twenty years older than Quentin to say why
this locality interested him more than either the pleasant garden
or the grove of mulberry trees; for, alas! eyes which have been
used for forty years and upwards, look with indifference on little
turret windows, though the lattice be half open to admit the air,
while the shutter is half closed to exclude the sun, or perhaps a
too curious eye -- nay, even though there hang on the one side of
the casement a lute, partly mantled by a light veil of sea green
silk. But, at Durward's happy age, such accidents, as a painter
would call them, form sufficient foundation for a hundred airy
visions and mysterious conjectures, at recollection of which the
full grown man smiles while he sighs, and sighs while he smiles.

As it may be supposed that our friend Quentin wished to learn a
little more of his fair neighbour, the owner of the lute and veil
-- as it may be supposed he was at least interested to know whether
she might not prove the same whom he had seen in humble attendance
on Maitre Pierre, it must of course be understood that he did not
produce a broad staring visage and person in full front of his
own casement. Durward knew better the art of bird catching; and it
was to his keeping his person skilfully withdrawn on one side of
his window; while he peeped through the lattice, that he owed the
pleasure of seeing a white, round, beautiful arm take down the
instrument, and that his ears had presently after their share in
the reward of his dexterous management.

The maid of the little turret, of the veil, and of the lute sang
exactly such an air as we are accustomed to suppose flowed from
the lips of the high born dames of chivalry, when knights and
troubadours listened and languished. The words had neither so much
sense, wit, or fancy as to withdraw the attention from the music,
nor the music so much of art as to drown all feeling of the words.
The one seemed fitted to the other; and if the song had been recited
without the notes, or the air played without the words, neither
would have been worth noting. It is; therefore, scarcely fair to
put upon record lines intended not to be said or read, but only to
be sung. But such scraps of old poetry have always had a sort of
fascination for us; and as the tune is lost for ever unless Bishop
[Sir Henry Rowley, an English composer and professor of music at
Oxford in 1848. Among his most popular operas are Guy Mannering
and The Kniqht of Snowdon] happens to find the notes, or some lark
teaches Stephens [Catherine (1794-1882): a vocalist and actress
who created Susanna in the Marriage of Figaro, and various parts
in adaptation of Scott.] to warble the air -- we will risk our
credit, and the taste of the Lady of the Lute, by preserving the
verses, simple and even rude as they are:


Ah! County Guy, the hour is nigh,
The sun has left the lea,
The orange flower perfumes the bower,
The breeze is on the sea.
The lark, his lay who thrill'd all day,
Sits hush'd his partner nigh;
Breeze, bird, and flower confess the hour,
But where is County Guy?

The village maid steals through the shade,
Her shepherd's suit to hear;
To beauty shy, by lattice high,
Sings high born Cavalier.
The star of Love, all stars above,
Now reigns o'er earth and sky;
And high and low the influence know --
But where is County Guy?


Whatever the reader may think of this simple ditty, it had a
powerful effect on Quentin, when married to heavenly airs, and sung
by a sweet and melting voice, the notes mingling with the gentle
breezes which wafted perfumes from the garden, and the figure of
the songstress being so partially and obscurely visible as threw
a veil of mysterious fascination over the whole.

At the close of the air, the listener could not help showing himself
more boldly than he had yet done, in a rash attempt to see more
than he had yet been able to discover. The music instantly ceased
-- the casement was closed, and a dark curtain, dropped on the
inside, put a stop to all farther observation on the part of the
neighbour in the next turret.

Durward was mortified and surprised at the consequence of his
precipitance, but comforted himself with the hope that the Lady of
the Lute could neither easily forego the practice of an instrument
which seemed so familiar to her, nor cruelly resolve to renounce
the pleasures of fresh air and an open window for the churlish
purpose of preserving for her own exclusive ear the sweet sounds
which she created. There came, perhaps, a little feeling of
personal vanity to mingle with these consolatory reflections. If,
as he shrewdly suspected, there was a beautiful dark tressed damsel
inhabitant of the one turret, he could not but be conscious that
a handsome, young, roving, bright locked gallant, a cavalier of
fortune, was the tenant of the other; and romances, those prudent
instructors, had taught his youth that if damsels were shy, they were
yet neither void of interest nor of curiosity in their neighbours'
affairs.

Whilst Quentin was engaged in these sage reflections, a sort of
attendant or chamberlain of the inn informed him that a cavalier
desired to speak with him below.



CHAPTER V: THE MAN AT ARMS

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.

AS YOU LIKE IT


The cavalier who awaited Quentin Durward's descent into the apartment
where he had breakfasted, was one of those of whom Louis XI had
long since said that they held in their hands the fortune of France,
as to them were intrusted the direct custody and protection of the
royal person.

Charles the Sixth had instituted this celebrated body, the Archers,
as they were called, of the Scottish Bodyguard, with better reason
than can generally be alleged for establishing round the throne
a guard of foreign and mercenary troops. The divisions which tore
from his side more than half of France, together with the wavering
and uncertain faith of the nobility who yet acknowledged his cause,
rendered it impolitic and unsafe to commit his personal safety to
their keeping. The Scottish nation was the hereditary enemy of the
English, and the ancient, and, as it seemed, the natural allies
of France. They were poor, courageous, faithful; their ranks were
sure to be supplied from the superabundant population of their
own country, than which none in Europe sent forth more or bolder
adventurers. Their high claims of descent, too, gave them a good
title to approach the person of a monarch more closely than other
troops, while the comparative smallness of their numbers prevented
the possibility of their mutinying, and becoming masters where they
ought to be servants.

On the other hand, the French monarchs made it their policy to
conciliate the affections of this select band of foreigners, by
allowing them honorary privileges and ample pay, which last most
of them disposed of with military profusion in supporting their
supposed rank. Each of them ranked as a gentleman in place and honour;
and their near approach to the King's person gave them dignity in
their own eyes, as well as importance in those of the nation of
France. They were sumptuously armed, equipped, and mounted; and
each was entitled to allowance for a squire, a valet, a page; and
two yeomen, one of whom was termed coutelier, from the large knife
which he wore to dispatch those whom in the melee his master had
thrown to the ground. With these followers, and a corresponding
equipage, an Archer of the Scottish Guard was a person of quality
and importance; and vacancies being generally filled up by those
who had been trained in the service as pages or valets, the cadets
of the best Scottish families were often sent to serve under some
friend and relation in those capacities, until a chance of preferment
should occur.

The coutelier and his companion, not being noble or capable of
this promotion, were recruited from persons of inferior quality;
but as their pay and appointments were excellent, their masters
were easily able to select from among their wandering countrymen the
strongest and most courageous to wait upon them in these capacities.

Ludovic Lesly, or as we shall more frequently call him, Le Balafre,
by which name he was generally known in France, was upwards of six
feet high, robust, strongly compacted in person, and hard favoured
in countenance, which latter attribute was much increased by a large
and ghastly scar, which, beginning on his forehead, and narrowly
missing his right eye, had laid bare the cheek bone, and descended
from thence almost to the tip of his ear, exhibiting a deep seam,
which was sometimes scarlet, sometimes purple, sometimes blue,
and sometimes approaching to black; but always hideous, because at
variance with the complexion of the face in whatever state it chanced
to be, whether agitated or still, flushed with unusual passion, or
in its ordinary state of weather-beaten and sunburnt swarthiness.

His dress and arms were splendid. He wore his national bonnet,
crested with a tuft of feathers, and with a Virgin Mary of massive
silver for a brooch. These brooches had been presented to the
Scottish Guard, in consequence of the King, in one of his fits of
superstitions piety, having devoted the swords of his guard to the
service of the Holy Virgin, and, as some say, carried the matter
so far as to draw out a commission to Our Lady as their Captain
General. The Archer's gorget, arm pieces, and gauntlets, were of
the finest steel, curiously inlaid with silver, and his hauberk, or
shirt of mail, was as clear and bright as the frostwork of a winter
morning upon fern or brier. He wore a loose surcoat or cassock of
rich blue velvet, open at the sides like that of a herald, with a
large white St. Andrew's cross of embroidered silver bisecting it
both before and behind; his knees and legs were protected by hose
of mail and shoes of steel; a broad, strong poniard (called the
Mercy of God), hung by his right side; the baldric for his two
handed sword, richly embroidered, hung upon his left shoulder; but
for convenience he at present carried in his hand that unwieldy
weapon which the rules of his service forbade him to lay aside.

[St. Andrew was the first called to apostleship. He made many
converts to Christianity and was finally crucified on a cross of
peculiar form, which has since been called the St. Andrew's cross.
Certain of his relics were brought to Scotland in the fourth century,
and he has since that time been honoured as the patron saint of
that country. He is also the patron saint of the Burgundian Order,
the Golden Fleece.]

Quentin Durward -- though, like the Scottish youth of the period,
he had been early taught to look upon arms and war -- thought he
had never seen a more martial looking, or more completely equipped
and accomplished man at arms than now saluted him in the person of
his mother's brother, called Ludovic with the Scar, or Le Balafre;
yet he could not but shrink a little from the grim expression of
his countenance, while, with its rough moustaches, he brushed first
the one and then the other cheek of his kinsman, welcomed his nephew
to France, and, in the same breath, asked what news from Scotland.

"Little good tidings, dear uncle," replied young Durward; "but I
am glad that you know me so readily."

"I would have known thee, boy, in the landes of Bourdeaux, had I met
thee marching there like a crane on a pair of stilts [the crutches
or stilts which in Scotland are used to pass rivers. They are
employed by the peasantry of the country near Bordeaux to traverse
those deserts of loose sand called Landes. S]. But sit thee down --
sit thee down -- if there is sorrow to hear of, we will have wine
to make us bear it. -- Ho! old Pinch Measure, our good host, bring
us of thy best, and that in an instant."

The well known sound of the Scottish French was as familiar in
the taverns near Plessis as that of the Swiss French in the modern
guinguettes [common inns] of Paris; and promptly -- ay, with the
promptitude of fear and precipitation, was it heard and obeyed. A
flagon of champagne stood before them, of which the elder took a
draught, while the nephew helped himself only to a moderate sip to
acknowledge his uncle's courtesy, saying, in excuse, that he had
already drunk wine that morning.

"That had been a rare good apology in the mouth of thy sister, fair
nephew," said Le Balafre; "you must fear the wine pot less, if you
would wear beard on your face, and write yourself soldier. But, come
-- come -- unbuckle your Scottish mail bag -- give us the news of
Glen Houlakin -- How doth my sister?"

"Dead, fair uncle," answered Quentin, sorrowfully.

"Dead!" echoed his uncle, with a tone rather marked by wonder than
sympathy, -- "why, she was five years younger than I, and I was
never better in my life. Dead! the thing is impossible. I have
never had so much as a headache, unless after revelling out of my
two or three days' furlough with the brethren of the joyous science
-- and my poor sister is dead -- And your father, fair nephew, hath
he married again?"

And, ere the youth could reply, he read the answer in his surprise
at the question, and said, "What! no -- I would have sworn that
Allan Durward was no man to live without a wife. He loved to have
his house in order -- loved to look on a pretty woman too; and was
somewhat strict in life withal -- matrimony did all this for him.
Now, I care little about these comforts, and I can look on a pretty
woman without thinking on the sacrament of wedlock -- I am scarce
holy enough for that."

"Alas! dear uncle, my mother was left a widow a year since, when
Glen Houlakin was harried by the Ogilvies. My father, and my two
uncles, and my two elder brothers, and seven of my kinsmen, and
the harper, and the tasker, and some six more of our people, were
killed in defending the castle, and there is not a burning hearth
or a standing stone in all Glen Houlakin."

"Cross of Saint Andrew!" said Le Balafre; "that is what I call an
onslaught! Ay, these Ogilvies were ever but sorry neighbours to
Glen Houlakin -- an evil chance it was; but fate of war -- fate
of war. -- When did this mishap befall, fair nephew?" With that he
took a deep draught of wine, and shook his head with much solemnity,
when his kinsman replied that his family had been destroyed upon
the festival of Saint Jude [October 28] last bypast.

"Look ye there," said the soldier; "I said it was all chance --
on that very day I and twenty of my comrades carried the Castle
of Roche Noir by storm, from Amaury Bras de fer, a captain of
free lances, whom you must have heard of. I killed him on his own
threshold, and gained as much gold as made this fair chain, which
was once twice as long as it now is -- and that minds me to send
part of it on an holy errand. -- Here, Andrew -- Andrew!"

Andrew, his yeoman, entered, dressed like the Archer himself in
the general equipment, but without the armour for the limbs -- that
of the body more coarsely manufactured -- his cap without a plume,
and his cassock made of serge, or ordinary cloth, instead of rich
velvet. Untwining his gold chain from his neck, Balafre twisted
off, with his firm and strong set teeth, about four inches from
the one end of it, and said to his attendant, "Here, Andrew, carry
this to my gossip, jolly Father Boniface, the monk of St. Martin's;
greet him well from me, by the same token that he could not say God
save ye when we last parted at midnight. -- Tell my gossip that my
brother and sister, and some others of my house, are all dead and
gone, and I pray him to say masses for their souls as far as the
value of these links will carry him, and to do on trust what else
may be necessary to free them from Purgatory. And hark ye, as they
were just living people, and free from all heresy, it may be that
they are well nigh out of limbo already, so that a little matter
may have them free of the fetlocks; and in that case, look ye, ye
will say I desire to take out the balance of the gold in curses
upon a generation called the Ogilvies of Angus Shire, in what way
soever the church may best come at them. You understand all this,
Andrew?"

The coutelier nodded.

"Then look that none of the links find their way to the wine house
ere the monk touches them; for if it so chance, thou shalt taste
of saddle girth and stirrup leather till thou art as raw as Saint
Bartholomew [he was flayed alive. In Michael Angelo's Last Judgment
he is represented as holding his skin in his hand] -- Yet hold, I
see thy eye has fixed on the wine measure, and thou shalt not go
without tasting."

So saying, he filled him a brimful cup, which the coutelier drank
off, and retired to do his patron's commission.

"And now, fair nephew, let us hear what was your own fortune in
this unhappy matter."

"I fought it out among those who were older and stouter than I
was, till we were all brought down," said Durward, "and I received
a cruel wound."

"Not a worse slash than I received ten years since myself," said
Le Balafre. "Look at this, now, my fair nephew," tracing the dark
crimson gash which was imprinted on his face. -- "An Ogilvy's sword
never ploughed so deep a furrow."

"They ploughed deep enough," answered Quentin, sadly, "but they
were tired at last, and my mother's entreaties procured mercy for
me, when I was found to retain some spark of life; but although
a learned monk of Aberbrothik, who chanced to be our guest at the
fatal time, and narrowly escaped being killed in the fray, was
permitted to bind my wounds, and finally to remove me to a place
of safety, it was only on promise, given both by my mother and him,
that I should become a monk."

"A monk!" exclaimed the uncle. "Holy Saint Andrew! that is what
never befell me. No one, from my childhood upwards, ever so much
as dreamed of making me a monk. And yet I wonder when I think of
it; for you will allow that, bating the reading and writing, which
I could never learn, and the psalmody, which I could never endure,
and the dress, which is that of a mad beggar -- Our Lady forgive
me! [here he crossed himself] and their fasts, which do not suit my
appetite, I would have made every whit as good a monk as my little
gossip at St. Martin's yonder. But I know not why, none ever proposed
the station to me. -- Oh, so, fair nephew, you were to be a monk,
then -- and wherefore, I pray you?"

"That my father's house might be ended, either in the cloister or
in the tomb," answered Quentin, with deep feeling.

"I see," answered his uncle -- "I comprehend. Cunning rogues --
very cunning! They might have been cheated, though; for, look ye,
fair nephew, I myself remember the canon Robersart who had taken
the vows and afterwards broke out of cloister, and became a captain
of Free Companions. He had a mistress, the prettiest wench I ever
saw, and three as beautiful children. -- There is no trusting
monks, fair nephew -- no trusting them -- they may become soldiers
and fathers when you least expect it -- but on with your tale."

"I have little more to tell," said Durward, "except that, considering
my poor mother to be in some degree a pledge for me, I was induced
to take upon me the dress of a novice, and conformed to the cloister
rules, and even learned to read and write."

"To read and write!" exclaimed Le Balafre, who was one of that sort
of people who think all knowledge is miraculous which chances to
exceed their own. "To write, say'st thou, and to read! I cannot
believe it -- never Durward could write his name that ever I heard
of, nor Lesly either. I can answer for one of them -- I can no
more write than I can fly. Now, in Saint Louis's name, how did they
teach it you?"

"It was troublesome at first," said Durward, "but became more
easy by use; and I was weak with my wounds, and loss of blood, and
desirous to gratify my preserver, Father Peter, and so I was the
more easily kept to my task. But after several months' languishing,
my good, kind mother died, and as my health was now fully restored,
I communicated to my benefactor, who was also Sub Prior of the
convent, my reluctance to take the vows; and it was agreed between
us, since my vocation lay not to the cloister, that I should be
sent out into the world to seek my fortune, and that to save the Sub
Prior from the anger of the Ogilvies, my departure should have the
appearance of flight; and to colour it I brought off the Abbot's
hawk with me. But I was regularly dismissed, as will appear from
the hand and seal of the Abbot himself."

"That is right, that is well," said his uncle. "Our King cares
little what other theft thou mayst have made, but hath a horror at
anything like a breach of the cloister. And I warrant thee, thou
hadst no great treasure to bear thy charges?"

"Only a few pieces of silver," said the youth; "for to you, fair
uncle, I must make a free confession."

"Alas!" replied Le Balafre, "that is hard. Now, though I am never
a hoarder of my pay, because it doth ill to bear a charge about
one in these perilous times, yet I always have (and I would advise
you to follow my example) some odd gold chain, or bracelet, or
carcanet, that serves for the ornament of my person, and can at
need spare a superfluous link or two, or it may be a superfluous
stone for sale, that can answer any immediate purpose. But you may
ask, fair kinsman, how you are to come by such toys as this." (He
shook his chain with complacent triumph.) "They hang not on every
bush -- they grow not in the fields like the daffodils, with whose
stalks children make knights' collars. What then? -- you may get
such where I got this, in the service of the good King of France,
where there is always wealth to be found, if a man has but the
heart to seek it at the risk of a little life or so."

"I understood," said Quentin, evading a decision to which he felt
himself as yet scarcely competent, "that the Duke of Burgundy keeps
a more noble state than the King of France, and that there is more
honour to be won under his banners -- that good blows are struck
there, and deeds of arms done; while the most Christian King, they
say, gains his victories by his ambassadors' tongues."

"You speak like a foolish boy, fair nephew," answered he with the
scar; "and yet, I bethink me, when I came hither I was nearly as
simple: I could never think of a King but what I supposed him either
sitting under the high deas, and feasting amid his high vassals
and Paladins, eating blanc mange, with a great gold crown upon his
head, or else charging at the head of his troops like Charlemagne
in the romaunts, or like Robert Bruce or William Wallace in our
own true histories, such as Barbour and the Minstrel. Hark in thine
ear, man -- it is all moonshine in the water. Policy -- policy does
it all. But what is policy, you will say? It is an art this French
King of ours has found out, to fight with other men's swords, and
to wage his soldiers out of other men's purses. Ah! it is the wisest
prince that ever put purple on his back -- and yet he weareth not
much of that neither -- I see him often go plainer than I would
think befitted me to do."

[Charlemagne (742?-814): King of the Franks and crowned Emperor
of the Holy Roman Empire in 800. His kingdom included Germany and
France, the greater part of Italy, and Spain as far as the Ebro. As
Emperor of the West he bore the title Caesar Augustus. He established
churches and monasteries, and encouraged arts and learning. He
figures largely in mediaeval minstrelsy, where the achievements of
his knights, or paladins, rival those of Arthur's court.]

[Robert Bruce: the grandson of Robert Bruce, the competitor with John
Baliol for the Scottish throne. He defeated the English forces at
Bannockburn in 1314, and thus secured the independence of Scotland,
an independence which lasted until the two kingdoms were united
under one crown in 1707.]

[William Wallace: another brave Scottish leader in the war for
independence against Edward I of England. Wallace was betrayed
in 1305 and carried to London, where he was cruelly executed as a
traitor.]

[Barbour: an eminent Scottish poet contemporary with Chaucer. His
principal work, The Bruce, records the life and deeds of Robert
Bruce.]

[Harry the Minstrel or "Blind Harry" was the author of a poem on
the life and deeds of Wallace which was held in peculiar reverence
by the Scotch people.]

"But you meet not my exception, fair uncle," answered young Durward;
"I would serve, since serve I must in a foreign land, somewhere
where a brave deed, were it my hap to do one, might work me a name."

"I understand you, my fair nephew," said the royal man at arms, "I
understand you passing well; but you are unripe in these matters.
The Duke of Burgundy is a hot brained, impetuous, pudding headed,
iron ribbed dare all. He charges at the head of his nobles and
native knights, his liegemen of Artois and Hainault; think you, if
you were there, or if I were there myself, that we could be much
farther forward than the Duke and all his brave nobles of his own
land? If we were not up with them, we had a chance to be turned on
the Provost Marshal's hands for being slow in making to; if we were
abreast of them, all would be called well and we might be thought
to have deserved our pay; and grant that I was a spear's length
or so in the front, which is both difficult and dangerous in such
a melee where all do their best, why, my lord Duke says in his
Flemish tongue, when he sees a good blow struck, 'Ha! gut getroffen
[well struck]! a good lance -- a brave Scot -- give him a florin
to drink our health;' but neither rank, nor lands, nor treasures
come to the stranger in such a service -- all goes to the children
of the soil."

"And where should it go, in Heaven's name, fair uncle?" demanded
young Durward.

"To him that protects the children of the soil," said Balafre,
drawing up his gigantic height. "Thus says King Louis 'My good
French peasant -- mine honest Jacques Bonhomme, get you to your
tools, your plough and your harrow, your pruning knife and your hoe
-- here is my gallant Scot that will fight for you, and you shall
only have the trouble to pay him. And you, my most serene duke, my
illustrious count, and my most mighty marquis, e'en rein up your
fiery courage till it is wanted, for it is apt to start out of the
course, and to hurt its master; here are my companies of ordnance
-- here are my French Guards -- here are, above all, my Scottish
Archers, and mine honest Ludovic with the Scar, who will fight,
as well or better than you, will fight with all that undisciplined
valour which, in your father's time, lost Cressy and Azincour [two
famous victories in the Hundred Years' War gained over the French
by the English, near the towns of Crecy and Agincourt, in 1346 and
1415. See Shakespeare's Henry V for a description of the latter.].
Now, see you not in which of these states a cavalier of fortune
holds the highest rank, and must come to the highest honour?"

"I think I understand you, fair uncle," answered the nephew; "but,
in my mind, honour cannot be won where there is no risk. Sure,
this is -- I pray pardon me -- an easy and almost slothful life,
to mount guard round an elderly man whom no one thinks of harming,
to spend summer day and winter night up in yonder battlements, and
shut up all the while in iron cages, for fear you should desert
your posts -- uncle, uncle, it is but a hawk upon his perch, who
is never carried out to the fields!"

"Now, by Saint Martin of Tours, the boy has some spirit! a right
touch of the Lesly in him; much like myself, though always with a
little more folly in it. Hark ye, youth -- Long live the King of
France! -- scarce a day but there is some commission in hand, by
which some of his followers may win both coin and credit. Think not
that the bravest and most dangerous deeds are done by daylight. I
could tell you of some, as scaling castles, making prisoners, and
the like, where one who shall be nameless hath run higher risk and
gained greater favour than any desperado in the train of desperate
Charles of Burgundy. And if it please his Majesty to remain behind,
and in the background, while such things are doing, he hath the
more leisure of spirit to admire, and the more liberality of hand
to reward the adventurers, whose dangers, perhaps, and whose feats
of arms, he can better judge of than if he had personally shared
them. Oh, 't is a sagacious and most politic monarch!"

His nephew paused, and then said, in a low but impressive tone of
voice, "the good Father Peter used often to teach me there might
be much danger in deeds by which little glory was acquired. I need
not say to you, fair uncle, that I do in course suppose that these
secret commissions must needs be honourable."

"For whom or for what take you me, fair nephew," said Balafre,
somewhat sternly; "I have not been trained, indeed, in the cloister,
neither can I write or read. But I am your mother's brother; I am
a loyal Lesly. Think you that I am like to recommend to you anything
unworthy? The best knight in France, Du Guesclin himself, if he were
alive again, might be proud to number my deeds among his achievements."

"I cannot doubt your warranty, fair uncle," said the youth; "you
are the only adviser my mishap has left me. But is it true, as
fame says, that this King keeps a meagre Court here at his Castle
of Plessis? No repair of nobles or courtiers, none of his grand
feudatories in attendance, none of the high officers of the crown;
half solitary sports, shared only with the menials of his household;
secret councils, to which only low and obscure men are invited;
rank and nobility depressed, and men raised from the lowest origin
to the kingly favour -- all this seems unregulated, resembles not
the manners of his father, the noble Charles, who tore from the
fangs of the English lion this more than half conquered kingdom of
France."

"You speak like a giddy child," said Le Balafre, "and even as a
child, you harp over the same notes on a new string. Look you: if
the King employs Oliver Dain, his barber, to do what Oliver can do
better than any peer of them all, is not the kingdom the gainer?
If he bids his stout Provost Marshal, Tristan, arrest such or such
a seditious burgher, take off such or such a turbulent noble, the
deed is done, and no more of it; when, were the commission given
to a duke or peer of France, he might perchance send the King back
a defiance in exchange. If, again, the King pleases to give to plain
Ludovic le Balafre a commission which he will execute, instead of
employing the High Constable, who would perhaps betray it, doth it
not show wisdom? Above all, doth not a monarch of such conditions
best suit cavaliers of fortune, who must go where their services
are most highly prized, and most frequently in demand? -- No, no,
child, I tell thee Louis knows how to choose his confidants, and
what to charge them with; suiting, as they say, the burden to each
man's back. He is not like the King of Castile, who choked with
thirst, because the great butler was not beside to hand his cup.
-- But hark to the bell of St. Martin's! I must hasten, back to the
Castle -- Farewell -- make much of yourself, and at eight tomorrow
morning present yourself before the drawbridge, and ask the sentinel
for me. Take heed you step not off the straight and beaten path in
approaching the portal! There are such traps and snap haunches as
may cost you a limb, which you will sorely miss. You shall see the
King, and learn to judge him for yourself -- farewell."

So saying, Balafre hastily departed, forgetting, in his hurry, to
pay for the wine he had called for, a shortness of memory incidental to
persons of his description, and which his host, overawed perhaps by
the nodding bonnet and ponderous two handed sword, did not presume
to use any efforts for correcting. It might have been expected
that, when left alone, Durward would have again betaken himself to
his turret, in order to watch for the repetition of those delicious
sounds which had soothed his morning reverie. But that was a chapter
of romance, and his uncle's conversation had opened to him a page
of the real history of life. It was no pleasing one, and for the
present the recollections and reflections which it excited were
qualified to overpower other thoughts, and especially all of a
light and soothing nature.

Quentin resorted to a solitary walk along the banks of the rapid
Cher, having previously inquired of his landlord for one which he
might traverse without fear of disagreeable interruption from snares
and pitfalls, and there endeavoured to compose his turmoiled and
scattered thoughts, and consider his future motions, upon which
his meeting with his uncle had thrown some dubiety.



CHAPTER VI: THE BOHEMIANS

Sae rantingly, sae wantingly,
Sae dantingly gaed he,
He play'd a spring and danced a round
Beneath the gallows tree!

OLD SONG


[The Bohemians: In . . . Guy Mannering the reader will find some
remarks on the gipsies as they are found in Scotland. Their first
appearance in Europe took place in the beginning of the fifteenth
century. The account given by these singular people was, that it was
appointed to them, as a penance, to travel for a certain number of
years. Their appearance, however, and manners, strongly contradicted
the allegation that they travelled from any religious motive. Their
dress and accoutrements were at once showy and squalid; those who
acted as captains and leaders of any horde, . . . were arrayed in
dresses of the most showy colours, such as scarlet or light green;
were well mounted; assumed the title of dukes and counts, and
affected considerable consequence. The rest of the tribe were most
miserable in their diet and apparel, fed without hesitation on
animals which had died of disease, and were clad in filthy and scanty
rags. . . . Their complexion was positively Eastern, approaching
to that of the Hindoos. Their manners were as depraved as their
appearance was poor and beggarly. The men were in general thieves,
and the women of the most abandoned character. The few arts which
they studied with success were of a slight and idle, though ingenious
description. They practised working in iron, but never upon any
great scale. Many were good sportsmen, good musicians. . . . But
their ingenuity never ascended into industry. . . . Their pretensions
to read fortunes, by palmistry and by astrology, acquired them sometimes
respect, but oftener drew them under suspicion as sorcerers; the
universal accusation that they augmented their horde by stealing
children, subjected them to doubt and execration. . . . The pretension
set up by these wanderers, of being pilgrims in the act of penance,
although it . . . in many instances obtained them protection from
the governments of the countries through which they travelled,
was afterwards totally disbelieved, and they were considered
as incorrigible rogues and vagrants. . . . A curious and accurate
account of their arrival in France is quoted by Pasquier "On August
27th, 1427, came to Paris twelve penitents, . . . viz. a duke, an
earl, and ten men, all on horseback, and calling themselves good
Christians. They were of Lower Egypt, and gave out that, not long
before, the Christians had subdued their country, and obliged them
to embrace Christianity on pain of being put to death. Those who
were baptized were great lords in their own country, and had a king
and queen there. Soon after their conversion, the Saracens overran
the country, and obliged them to renounce Christianity. When the
Emperor of Germany, the King of Poland, and other Christian princes
heard of this, they fell upon them, and obliged the whole of them,
both great and small, to quit the country, and go to the Pope at
Rome, who enjoined them seven years' penance to wander over the
world, without lying in a bed. They had been wandering five years
when they came to Paris first. . . . Nearly all of them had their
ears bored, and wore two silver rings in each. . . . The men were
black, their hair curled; the women remarkably black, their only
clothes a large old duffle garment, tied over the shoulders with a
cloth or cord, and under it a miserable rocket; . . . notwithstanding
their poverty, there were among them women who, by looking into
people's hands, told their fortunes, and what was worse, they
picked people's pockets of their money, and got it into their own,
by telling these things through airy magic, et cetera." Pasquier
remarks upon this singular journal that however the story of
a penance savours of a trick, these people wandered up and down
France, under the eye, and with the knowledge, of the magistrates,
for more than a hundred years; and it was not till 1561, that
a sentence of banishment was passed against them in that kingdom.
The arrival of the Egyptians (as these singular people were called)
in various parts of Europe, corresponds with the period in which
Timur or Tamerlane invaded Hindostan, affording its natives the
choice between the Koran and death. There can be little doubt that
these wanderers consisted originally of the Hindostanee tribes,
who, displaced, and flying from the sabres of the Mohammedans,
undertook this species of wandering life, without well knowing
whither they were going. When they are in closest contact with
the ordinary peasants around them, they still keep their language
a mystery. There is little doubt, however, that it is a dialect of
the Hindostanee, from the specimens produced by Grellman, Hoyland,
and others, who have written on the subject. S.]

The manner in which Quentin Durward had been educated was not of a
kind to soften the heart, or perhaps to improve the moral feeling.
He, with the rest of his family, had been trained to the chase
as an amusement, and taught to consider war as their only serious
occupation, and that it was the great duty of their lives stubbornly
to endure, and fiercely to retaliate, the attacks of their feudal
enemies, by whom their race had been at last almost annihilated.
And yet there mixed with these feuds a spirit of rude chivalry,
and even courtesy, which softened their rigour; so that revenge,
their only justice, was still prosecuted with some regard to humanity
and generosity. The lessons of the worthy old monk, better attended
to, perhaps, during a long illness and adversity, than they might
have been in health and success, had given young Durward still
farther insight into the duties of humanity towards others; and
considering the ignorance of the period, the general prejudices
entertained in favour of a military life, and the manner in which
he himself had been bred, the youth was disposed to feel more
accurately the moral duties incumbent on his station than was usual
at the time.

He reflected on his interview with his uncle with a sense of
embarrassment and disappointment. His hopes had been high; for although
intercourse by letters was out of the question, yet a pilgrim, or
an adventurous trafficker, or a crippled soldier sometimes brought
Lesly's name to Glen Houlakin, and all united in praising his
undaunted courage, and his success in many petty enterprises which
his master had intrusted to him. Quentin's imagination had filled
up the sketch in his own way, and assimilated his successful and
adventurous uncle (whose exploits probably lost nothing in the telling)
to some of the champions and knights errant of whom minstrels sung
and who won crowns and kings' daughters by dint of sword and lance.
He was now compelled to rank his kinsman greatly lower in the scale
of chivalry; but, blinded by the high respect paid to parents and
those who approach that character -- moved by every early prejudice
in his favour -- inexperienced besides, and passionately attached
to his mother's memory, he saw not, in the only brother of that
dear relation, the character he truly held, which was that of an
ordinary mercenary soldier, neither much worse nor greatly better
than many of the same profession whose presence added to the
distracted state of France.

Without being wantonly cruel, Le Balafre was, from habit, indifferent
to human life and human suffering; he was profoundly ignorant,
greedy of booty, unscrupulous how he acquired it, and profuse in
expending it on the gratification of his passions. The habit of
attending exclusively to his own wants and interests had converted
him into one of the most selfish animals in the world; so that he
was seldom able, as the reader may have remarked, to proceed far
in any subject without considering how it applied to himself, or,
as it is called, making the case his own, though not upon feelings
connected with the golden rule, but such as were very different.
To this must be added that the narrow round of his duties and his
pleasures had gradually circumscribed his thoughts, hopes, and
wishes, and quenched in a great measure the wild spirit of honour,
and desire of distinction in arms, by which his youth had been once
animated.

Balafre was, in short, a keen soldier, hardened, selfish, and
narrow minded; active and bold in the discharge of his duty, but
acknowledging few objects beyond it, except the formal observance
of a careless devotion, relieved by an occasional debauch with
brother Boniface, his comrade and confessor. Had his genius been
of a more extended character, he would probably have been promoted
to some important command, for the King, who knew every soldier
of his bodyguard personally, reposed much confidence in Balafre's
courage and fidelity; and besides, the Scot had either wisdom or
cunning enough perfectly to understand, and ably to humour, the
peculiarities of that sovereign. Still, however, his capacity was
too much limited to admit of his rising to higher rank, and though
smiled on and favoured by Louis on many occasions, Balafre continued
a mere Life Guardsman, or Scottish Archer.

Without seeing the full scope of his uncle's character, Quentin
felt shocked at his indifference to the disastrous extirpation of
his brother in law's whole family, and could not help being surprised,
moreover, that so near a relative had not offered him the assistance
of his purse, which, but for the generosity of Maitre Pierre, he
would have been under the necessity of directly craving from him.
He wronged his uncle, however, in supposing that this want of
attention to his probable necessities was owing to avarice. Not
precisely needing money himself at that moment, it had not occurred
to Balafre that his nephew might be in exigencies; otherwise, he
held a near kinsman so much a part of himself, that he would have
provided for the weal of the living nephew, as he endeavoured to do
for that of his deceased sister and her husband. But whatever was
the motive, the neglect was very unsatisfactory to young Durward,
and he wished more than once he had taken service with the Duke
of Burgundy before he quarrelled with his forester. "Whatever had
then become of me," he thought to himself, "I should always have
been able to keep up my spirits with the reflection that I had, in
case of the worst, a stout back friend in this uncle of mine. But
now I have seen him, and, woe worth him, there has been more help
in a mere mechanical stranger, than I have found in my own mother's
brother, my countryman and a cavalier! One would think the slash,
that has carved all comeliness out of his face, had let at the same
time every drop of gentle blood out of his body."

Durward now regretted he had not had an opportunity to mention
Maitre Pierre to Le Balafre, in the hope of obtaining some farther
account of that personage; but his uncle's questions had followed
fast on each other, and the summons of the great bell of Saint
Martin of Tours had broken off their conference rather suddenly.
That old man, he thought to himself, was crabbed and dogged in
appearance, sharp and scornful in language, but generous and liberal
in his actions; and such a stranger is worth a cold kinsman.

"What says our old Scottish proverb? -- 'Better kind fremit, than
fremit kindred.' ['Better kind strangers than estranged kindred.'
The motto is engraved on a dirk, belonging to a person who had but
too much reason to choose such a device. It was left by him to my
father. The weapon is now in my possession. S.] I will find out that
man, which, methinks, should be no difficult task, since he is so
wealthy as mine host bespeaks him. He will give me good advice for
my governance, at least; and if he goes to strange countries, as
many such do, I know not but his may be as adventurous a service
as that of those Guards of Louis."

As Quentin framed this thought, a whisper from those recesses of the
heart in which lies much that the owner does not know of, or will
not acknowledge willingly, suggested that, perchance, the lady of
the turret, she of the veil and lute, might share that adventurous
journey. As the Scottish youth made these reflections, he met two
grave looking men, apparently citizens of Tours, whom, doffing
his cap with the reverence due from youth to age, he respectfully
asked to direct him to the house of Maitre Pierre.

"The house of whom, my fair son?" said one of the passengers.

"Of Maitre Pierre, the great silk merchant, who planted all the
mulberry trees in the park yonder," said Durward.

"Young man," said one of them who was nearest to him, "you have
taken up an idle trade a little too early."

"And have chosen wrong subjects to practise your fooleries upon,"
said the farther one, still more gruffly. "The Syndic of Tours
is not accustomed to be thus talked to by strolling jesters from
foreign parts."

Quentin was so much surprised at the causeless offence which these
two decent looking persons had taken at a very simple and civil
question, that he forgot to be angry at the rudeness of their reply,
and stood staring after them as they walked on with amended pace,
often looking back at him, as if they were desirous to get as soon
as possible out of his reach.

He next met a party of vine dressers, and addressed to them the
same question; and in reply, they demanded to know whether he wanted
Maitre Pierre, the schoolmaster? or Maitre Pierre, the carpenter?
or Maitre Pierre, the beadle? or half a dozen of Maitre Pierres
besides. When none of these corresponded with the description
of the person after whom he inquired, the peasants accused him of
jesting with them impertinently, and threatened to fall upon him
and beat him, in guerdon of his raillery. The oldest amongst them,
who had some influence over the rest, prevailed on them to desist
from violence.

"You see by his speech and his fool's cap," said he, "that he is
one of the foreign mountebanks who are come into the country, and
whom some call magicians and soothsayers, and some jugglers, and
the like, and there is no knowing what tricks they have amongst
them. I have heard of such a one's paying a liard [a small copper
coin worth a quarter of a cent, current in France in the fifteenth
century.] to eat his bellyfull of grapes in a poor man's vineyard;
and he ate as many as would have loaded a wain, and never undid a
button of his jerkin -- and so let him pass quietly, and keep his
way, as we will keep ours. -- And you, friend, if you would shun
worse, walk quietly on, in the name of God, our Lady of Marmoutier,
and Saint Martin of Tours, and trouble us no more about your Maitre
Pierre, which may be another name for the devil, for aught we know."

The Scot finding himself much the weaker party, judged it his Wisest
course to walk on without reply; but the peasants, who at first
shrunk from him in horror, at his supposed talents for sorcery and
grape devouring, took heart of grace as he got to a distance, and
having uttered a few cries and curses, finally gave them emphasis
with a shower of stones, although at such a distance as to do
little or no harm to the object of their displeasure. Quentin, as
he pursued his walk, began to think, in his turn, either that he
himself lay under a spell, or that the people of Touraine were the
most stupid, brutal, and inhospitable of the French peasants. The
next incident which came under his observation did not tend to
diminish this opinion.

On a slight eminence, rising above the rapid and beautiful Cher,
in the direct line of his path, two or three large chestnut trees
were so happily placed as to form a distinguished and remarkable
group; and beside them stood three or four peasants, motionless,
with their eyes turned upwards, and fixed, apparently, upon some
object amongst the branches of the tree next to them. The meditations
of youth are seldom so profound as not to yield to the slightest,
impulse of curiosity, as easily as the lightest pebble, dropped
casually from the hand, breaks the surface of a limpid pool. Quentin
hastened his pace, and ran lightly up the rising ground, in time
enough to witness the ghastly spectacle which attracted the notice
of these gazers -- which was nothing less than the body of a man,
convulsed by the last agony, suspended on one of the branches.

"Why do you not cut him down?" said the young Scot, whose hand was
as ready to assist affliction, as to maintain his own honour when
he deemed it assailed.

One of the peasants, turning on him an eye from which fear had
banished all expression but its own, and a face as pale as clay,
pointed to a mark cut upon the bark of the tree, having the same rude
resemblance to a fleur de lys which certain talismanic scratches,
well known to our revenue officers, bear to a broad arrow. Neither
understanding nor heeding the import of this symbol, young Durward
sprung lightly as the ounce up into the tree, drew from his pouch
that most necessary implement of a Highlander or woodsman, the
trusty skene dhu [black knife; a species of knife without clasp or
hinge formerly much used by the Highlanders, who seldom travelled
without such an ugly weapon, though it is now rarely used. S.],
and, calling to those below to receive the body on their hands,
cut the rope asunder in less than a minute after he had perceived
the exigency.

But his humanity was ill seconded by the bystanders. So far from
rendering Durward any assistance, they seemed terrified at the
audacity of his action, and took to flight with one consent, as if
they feared their merely looking on might have been construed into
accession to his daring deed. The body, unsupported from beneath,
fell heavily to earth in such a manner that Quentin, who presently
afterwards jumped down, had the mortification to see that the last
sparks of life were extinguished. He gave not up his charitable
purpose, however, without farther efforts. He freed the wretched
man's neck from the fatal noose, undid the doublet, threw water
on the face, and practised the other ordinary remedies resorted to
for recalling suspended animation.

While he was thus humanely engaged, a wild clamour of tongues,
speaking a language which he knew not, arose around him; and he had
scarcely time to observe that he was surrounded by several men and
women of a singular and foreign appearance, when he found himself
roughly seized by both arms, while a naked knife, at the same
moment, was offered to his throat.

"Pale slave of Eblis!" [in Mohammedan religion the name of the
chief of the fallen angels] said a man, in imperfect French, "are
you robbing him you have murdered? -- But we have you -- and you
shall abuy it."

There were knives drawn on every side of him, as these words were
spoken, and the grim and distorted countenances which glared on
him were like those of wolves rushing on their prey.

Still the young Scot's courage and presence of mind bore him out.
"What mean ye, my masters?" he said; "if that be your friend's
body, I have just now cut him down, in pure charity, and you will
do better to try to recover his life, than to misuse an innocent
stranger to whom he owes his chance of escape."

The women had by this time taken possession of the dead body, and
continued the attempts to recover animation which Durward had been
making use of, though with the like bad success; so that, desisting
from their fruitless efforts, they seemed to abandon themselves to
all the Oriental expressions of grief; the women making a piteous
wailing, and tearing their long black hair, while the men seemed
to rend their garments, and to sprinkle dust upon their heads. They
gradually became so much engaged in their mourning rites, that they
bestowed no longer any attention on Durward, of whose innocence
they were probably satisfied from circumstances. It would certainly
have been his wisest plan to have left these wild people to their
own courses, but he had been bred in almost reckless contempt of
danger, and felt all the eagerness of youthful curiosity.

The singular assemblage, both male and female, wore turbans and
caps, more similar in general appearance to his own bonnet than
to the hats commonly worn in France. Several of the men had curled
black beards, and the complexion of all was nearly as dark as that
of Africans. One or two who seemed their chiefs, had some tawdry
ornaments of silver about their necks and in their ears, and wore
showy scarfs of yellow, or scarlet, or light green; but their legs
and arms were bare, and the whole troop seemed wretched and squalid
in appearance. There were no weapons among them that Durward saw,
except the long knives with which they had lately menaced him, and
one short, crooked sabre, or Moorish sword, which was worn by an
active looking young man, who often laid his hand upon the hill, while
he surpassed the rest of the party in his extravagant expressions
of grief, and seemed to mingle with them threats of vengeance.

The disordered and yelling group were so different in appearance
from any beings whom Quentin had yet seen, that he was on the point
of concluding them to be a party of Saracens, of those "heathen
hounds," who were the opponents of gentle knights and Christian
monarchs in all the romances which he had heard or read, and was
about to withdraw himself from a neighbourhood so perilous, when
a galloping of horse was heard, and the supposed Saracens, who had
raised by this time the body of their comrade upon their shoulders,
were at once charged by a party of French soldiers.

This sudden apparition changed the measured wailing of the mourners
into irregular shrieks of terror. The body was thrown to the ground
in an instant, and those who were around it showed the utmost and
most dexterous activity in escaping under the bellies as it were
of the horses, from the point of the lances which were levelled at
them, with exclamations of "Down with the accursed heathen thieves
-- take and kill -- bind them like beasts -- spear them like wolves!"

These cries were accompanied with corresponding acts of violence;
but such was the alertness of the fugitives, the ground being
rendered unfavourable to the horsemen by thickets and bushes,
that only two were struck down and made prisoners, one of whom was
the young fellow with the sword, who had previously offered some
resistance. Quentin, whom fortune seemed at this period to have
chosen for the butt of her shafts, was at the same time seized by
the soldiers, and his arms, in spite of his remonstrances, bound
down with a cord; those who apprehended him showing a readiness
and dispatch in the operation, which proved them to be no novices
in matters of police.

Looking anxiously to the leader of the horsemen, from whom he hoped
to obtain liberty, Quentin knew not exactly whether to be pleased
or alarmed upon recognising in him the down looking and silent
companion of Maitre Pierre. True, whatever crime these strangers
might be accused of, this officer might know, from the history of
the morning, that he, Durward, had no connection with them whatever;
but it was a more difficult question, whether this sullen man would
be either a favourable judge or a willing witness in his behalf,
and he felt doubtful whether he would mend his condition by making
any direct application to him.

But there was little leisure for hesitation. "Trois Eschelles and
Petit Andre," said the down looking officer to two of his band,
"These same trees stand here quite convenient. I will teach these
misbelieving, thieving sorcerers to interfere with the King's
justice, when it has visited any of their accursed race. Dismount,
my children, and do your office briskly."

Trois Eschelles and Petit Andre were in an instant on foot, and
Quentin observed that they had each, at the crupper and pommel of
his saddle, a coil or two of ropes, which they hastily undid, and
showed that, in fact, each coil formed a halter, with the fatal
noose adjusted, ready for execution. The blood ran cold in Quentin's
veins, when he saw three cords selected, and perceived that it was
proposed to put one around his own neck. He called on the officer
loudly, reminded him of their meeting that morning, claimed the
right of a free born Scotsman in a friendly and allied country, and
denied any knowledge of the persons along with whom he was seized,
or of their misdeed.

The officer whom Durward thus addressed, scarce deigned to look
at him while he was speaking, and took no notice whatever of the
claim he preferred to prior acquaintance. He barely turned to one
or two of the peasants who were now come forward, either to volunteer
their evidence against the prisoners, or out of curiosity, and said
gruffly, "Was yonder young fellow with the vagabonds?"

"That he was, sir, and it please your noble Provostship," answered
one of the clowns; "he was the very first blasphemously to cut down
the rascal whom his Majesty's justice most deservedly hung up, as
we told your worship."

"I'll swear by God, and Saint Martin of Tours, to have seen him
with their gang," said another, "when they pillaged our metairie
[a small farm]."

"Nay, but," said a boy, "yonder heathen was black, and this youth
is fair; yonder one had short curled hair, and this hath long fair
locks."

"Ay, child," said the peasant, "and perhaps you will say yonder
one had a green coat and this a gray jerkin. But his worship, the
Provost, knows that they can change their complexions as easily as
their jerkins, so that I am still minded he was the same."

"It is enough that you have seen him intermeddle with the course of
the King's justice, by attempting to recover an executed traitor,"
said the officer. -- "Trois Eschelles and Petit Andre, dispatch."

"Stay, signior officer!" exclaimed the youth in mortal agony; "hear
me speak -- let me not die guiltlessly -- my blood will be required
of you by my countrymen in this world, and by Heaven's justice in
that which is to follow."

"I will answer for my actions in both," said the Provost, coldly,
and made a sign with his left hand to the executioners; then, with
a smile of triumphant malice, touched with his forefinger his right
arm, which hung suspended in a scarf, disabled probably by the blow
which Durward had dealt him that morning.

"Miserable, vindictive wretch!" answered Quentin, persuaded by
that action that private revenge was the sole motive of this man's
rigour, and that no mercy whatever was to be expected from him.

"The poor youth raves," said the functionary: "speak a word of
comfort to him ere he make his transit, Trois Eschelles; thou art
a comfortable man in such cases when a confessor is not to be had.
Give him one minute of ghostly advice, and dispatch matters in the
next. I must proceed on the rounds. -- Soldiers, follow me!"

The Provost rode on, followed by his guard, excepting two or three,
who were left to assist in the execution. The unhappy youth cast
after him an eye almost darkened by despair, and thought he heard
in every tramp of his horse's retreating hoofs the last slight
chance of his safety vanish. He looked around him in agony, and was
surprised, even in that moment, to see the stoical indifference of
his fellow prisoners. They had previously testified every sign of
fear, and made every effort of escape; but now, when secured and
destined apparently to inevitable death, they awaited its arrival
with the utmost composure. The scene of fate before them gave,
perhaps, a more yellow tinge to their swarthy cheeks; but it neither
agitated their features, nor quenched the stubborn haughtiness of
their eye. They seemed like foxes, which, after all their wiles
and artful attempts at escape are exhausted, die with a silent and
sullen fortitude which wolves and bears, the fiercer objects of the
chase, do not exhibit. They were undaunted by the conduct of the
fatal executioners, who went about their work with more deliberation
than their master had recommended, and which probably arose from
their having acquired by habit a sort of pleasure in the discharge
of their horrid office. We pause an instant to describe them, because,
under a tyranny, whether despotic or popular, the character of the
hangman becomes a subject of grave importance.

These functionaries were essentially different in their appearance
and manners. Louis used to call them Democritus and Heraclitus,
and their master, the Provost, termed them Jean qui pleure and Jean
qui rit.

[Democritus and Heraclitus: two Greek philosophers of the fifth
century; the former because of his propensity to laugh at the
follies of men was called the "laughing philosopher;" the latter,
according to a current notion, probably unfounded, habitually wept
over the follies of mankind]

[Jean qui pleure, and Jean qui rit: John who weeps and John who
laughs. One of these two persons, . . might with more accuracy
have been called Petit Jean, than Petit Andre. This was actually
the name of the son of Henry de Cousin, master executioner of the
High Court of Justice. S.]

Trois Eschelles was a tall, thin, ghastly man, with a peculiar
gravity of visage, and a large rosary round his neck, the use of
which he was accustomed piously to offer to those sufferers on whom
he did his duty. He had one or two Latin texts continually in his
mouth on the nothingness and vanity of human life; and, had it
been regular to have enjoyed such a plurality, he might have held
the office of confessor to the jail in commendam with that of
executioner. Petit Andre, on the contrary, was a joyous looking,
round, active, little fellow, who rolled about in execution of his
duty as if it were the most diverting occupation in the world. He
seemed to have a sort of fond affection for his victims, and always
spoke of them in kindly and affectionate terms. They were his poor
honest fellows, his pretty dears, his gossips, his good old fathers,
as their age or sex might be; and as Trois Eschelles endeavoured to
inspire them with a philosophical or religious regard to futurity,
Petit Andre seldom failed to refresh them with a jest or two, as if
to induce them to pass from life as something that was ludicrous,
contemptible, and not worthy of serious consideration.

I cannot tell why or wherefore it was, but these two excellent
persons, notwithstanding the variety of their talents, and the rare
occurrence of such among persons of their profession, were both
more utterly detested than perhaps any creatures of their kind,
whether before or since; and the only doubt of those who knew aught
of them was, whether the grave and pathetic Trois Eschelles or the
frisky, comic, alert Petit Andre was the object of the greatest
fear, or of the deepest execration. It is certain they bore the
palm in both particulars over every hangman in France, unless it
were perhaps their master Tristan l'Hermite, the renowned Provost
Marshal, or his master, Louis XI.

It must not be supposed that these reflections were of Quentin
Durward's making. Life, death, time, and eternity were swimming
before his eyes -- a stunning and overwhelming prospect, from which
human nature recoiled in its weakness, though human pride would
fain have borne up. He addressed himself to the God of his fathers;
and when he did so, the little rude and unroofed chapel, which now
held almost all his race but himself, rushed on his recollection.

"Our feudal enemies gave my kindred graves in our own land," he
thought, "but I must feed the ravens and kites of a foreign land,
like an excommunicated felon!"

The tears gushed involuntarily from his eyes. Trois Eschelles,
touching one shoulder, gravely congratulated him on his heavenly
disposition for death, and pathetically exclaiming, Beati qui in
Domino moriuntur [blessed are they who die in the Lord], remarked,
the soul was happy that left the body while the tear was in the eye.
Petit Andre, slapping the other shoulder, called out, "Courage, my
fair son! since you must begin the dance, let the ball open gaily,
for all the rebecs are in tune," twitching the halter at the same
time, to give point to his joke. As the youth turned his dismayed
looks, first on one and then on the other, they made their meaning
plainer by gently urging him forward to the fatal tree, and bidding
him be of good courage, for it would be over in a moment.

In this fatal predicament, the youth cast a distracted look around
him. "Is there any good Christian who hears me," he said, "that will
tell Ludovic Lesly of the Scottish Guard, called in this country Le
Balafre, that his nephew is here basely murdered?" The words were
spoken in good time, for an Archer of the Scottish Guard, attracted
by the preparations for the execution, was standing by, with one
or two other chance passengers, to witness what was passing.

"Take heed what you do," he said to the executioners, "if this young
man be of Scottish birth, I will not permit him to have foul play."

"Heaven forbid, Sir Cavalier," said Trois Eschelles; "but we must
obey our orders," drawing Durward forward by one arm. "The shortest
play is ever the fairest," said Petit Andre, pulling him onward by
the other.

But Quentin had heard words of comfort, and, exerting his strength,
he suddenly shook off both the finishers of the law, and, with
his arms still bound, ran to the Scottish Archer. "Stand by me,
countryman," he said, in his own language, "for the love of Scotland
and Saint Andrew! I am innocent -- I am your own native landsman.
Stand by me, as you shall answer at the last day."

"By Saint Andrew! they shall make at you through me!" said the
Archer, and unsheathed his sword.

"Cut my bonds, countryman," said Quentin, "and I will do something
for myself."

This was done with a touch of the Archer's weapon, and the liberated
captive, springing suddenly on one of the Provost's guard, wrested
from him a halbert with which he was armed. "And now" he said,
"come on, if you dare."

The two officers whispered together.

"Ride thou after the Provost Marshal," said Trois Eschelles, "and
I will detain them here, if I can. Soldiers of the Provost's guard,
stand to your arms."

Petit Andre mounted his horse, and left the field, and the other
Marshals men in attendance drew together so hastily at the command
of Trois Eschelles, that they suffered the other two prisoners to
make their escape during the confusion. Perhaps they were not very
anxious to detain them; for they had of late been sated with the
blood of such wretches, and, like other ferocious animals, were,
through long slaughter, become tired of carnage. But the pretext
was, that they thought themselves immediately called upon to attend
to the safety of Trois Eschelles; for there was a jealousy, which
occasionally led to open quarrels, betwixt the Scottish Archers
and the Marshal guards, who executed the orders of their Provost.

"We are strong enough to beat the proud Scots twice over, if it be
your pleasure," said one of these soldiers to Trois Eschelles.

But that cautious official made a sign to him to remain quiet, and
addressed the Scottish Archer with great civility. "Surely, sir,
this is a great insult to the Provost Marshal, that you should
presume to interfere with the course of the King's justice, duly
and lawfully committed to his charge; and it is no act of justice
to me, who am in lawful possession of my criminal. Neither is
it a well meant kindness to the youth himself, seeing that fifty
opportunities of hanging him may occur, without his being found in
so happy a state of preparation as he was before your ill advised
interference."

"If my young countryman," said the Scot, smiling, "be of opinion I
have done him an injury, I will return him to your charge without
a word more dispute."

"No, no! -- for the love of Heaven, no!" exclaimed Quentin. "I
would rather you swept my head off with your long sword -- it would
better become my birth, than to die by the hands of such a foul
churl."

"Hear how he revileth," said the finisher of the law. "Alas! how
soon our best resolutions pass away! -- he was in a blessed frame
for departure but now, and in two minutes he has become a contemner
of authorities."

"Tell me at once," said the Archer, "what has this young man done."

"Interfered," answered Trois Eschelles, with some earnestness, "to
take down the dead body of a criminal, when the fleur de lys was
marked on the tree where he was hung with my own proper hand."

"How is this, young man?" said the Archer; "how came you to have
committed such an offence?"

"As I desire your protection," answered Durward, "I will tell you
the truth as if I were at confession. I saw a man struggling on the
tree, and I went to cut him down out of mere humanity. I thought
neither of fleur de lys nor of clove gilliflower, and had no more
idea of offending the King of France than our Father the Pope."

"What a murrain had you to do with the dead body, then?" said the
Archer. "You 'll see them hanging, in the rear of this gentleman,
like grapes on every tree, and you will have enough to do in this
country if you go a-gleaning after the hangman. However, I will
not quit a countryman's cause if I can help it. -- Hark ye, Master
Marshals man, you see this is entirely a mistake. You should have
some compassion on so young a traveller. In our country at home
he has not been accustomed to see such active proceedings as yours
and your master's."

"Not for want of need of them, Signior Archer," said Petit Andre,
who returned at this moment. "Stand fast, Trois Eschelles, for
here comes the Provost Marshal; we shall presently see how he will
relish having his work taken out of his hand before it is finished."

"And in good time," said the Archer, "here come some of my comrades."

Accordingly, as the Provost Tristan rode up with his patrol on one
side of the little bill which was the scene of the altercation,
four or five Scottish Archers came as hastily up on the other, and
at their head the Balafre himself.

Upon this urgency, Lesly showed none of that indifference towards
his nephew of which Quentin had in his heart accused him; for he
no sooner saw his comrade and Durward standing upon their defence,
than he exclaimed, "Cunningham, I thank thee. -- Gentlemen --
comrades, lend me your aid. -- It is a young Scottish gentleman --
my nephew -- Lindesay -- Guthrie -- Tyrie, draw, and strike in!"

There was now every prospect of a desperate scuffle between the
parties, who were not so disproportioned in numbers but that the
better arms of the Scottish cavaliers gave them an equal chance
of victory. But the Provost Marshal, either doubting the issue of
the conflict, or aware that it would be disagreeable to the King,
made a sign to his followers to forbear from violence, while he
demanded of Balafre, who now put himself forward as the head of the
other party, what he, a cavalier of the King's Bodyguard, purposed
by opposing the execution of a criminal.

"I deny that I do so," answered the Balafre. "Saint Martin! [patron
saint of Tours, Lucca, and of penitent drunkards. He was greatly
honoured in the Middle Ages.] there is, I think, some difference
between the execution of a criminal and a slaughter of my own
nephew!"

"Your nephew may be a criminal as well as another," said the Provost
Marshal; "and every stranger in France is amenable to the laws of
France."

"Yes, but we have privileges, we Scottish Archers," said Balafre,
"have we not, comrades?"

"Yes, yes," they all exclaimed together. "Privileges -- privileges!
Long live King Louis -- long live the bold Balafre -- long live the
Scottish Guard -- and death to all who would infringe our privileges!"

"Take reason with you, gentlemen cavaliers," said the Provost
Marshal; "consider my commission."

"We will have no reason at your hand," said Cunningham; "our own
officers shall do us reason. We will be judged by the King's grace,
or by our own Captain, now that the Lord High Constable is not in
presence."

"And we will be hanged by none," said Lindesay, "but Sandie Wilson,
the auld Marshals man of our ain body."

"It would be a positive cheating of Sandie, who is as honest
a man as ever tied noose upon hemp, did we give way to any other
proceeding," said the Balafre. "Were I to be hanged myself, no
other should tie tippet about my craig."

"But hear ye," said the Provost Marshal, "this young fellow belongs
not to you, and cannot share what you call your privileges."

"What we call our privileges, all shall admit to be such," said
Cunningham.

"We will not hear them questioned!" was the universal cry of the
Archers.

"Ye are mad, my masters," said Tristan l'Hermite. "No one disputes
your privileges; but this youth is not one of you."

"He is my nephew," said the Balafre, with a triumphant air.

"But no Archer of the Guard, I think," retorted Tristan l'Hermite.

The Archers looked on each other in some uncertainty.

"Stand to it yet, comrade," whispered Cunningham to Balafre. "Say
he is engaged with us."

"Saint Martin! you say well, fair countryman," answered Lesly; and
raising his voice, swore that he had that day enrolled his kinsman
as one of his own retinue. This declaration was a decisive argument.

"It is well, gentlemen," said the Provost Tristan, who was aware of
the King's nervous apprehension of disaffection creeping in among
his Guards. "You know, as you say, your privileges, and it is
not my duty to have brawls with the King's Guards, if it is to be
avoided. But I will report this matter for the King's own decision;
and I would have you to be aware, that, in doing so, I act more
mildly than perhaps my duty warrants."

So saying, he put his troop into motion, while the Archers, remaining
on the spot, held a hasty consultation what was next to be done.
"We must report the matter to Lord Crawford, our Captain, in the
first place, and have the young fellow's name put on the roll."

"But, gentlemen, and my worthy friends and preservers," said
Quentin, with some hesitation, "I have not yet determined whether
to take service with you or no."

"Then settle in your own mind," said his uncle, "whether you choose
to do so, or be hanged -- for I promise you, that, nephew of mine
as you are, I see no other chance of your 'scaping the gallows."

This was an unanswerable argument, and reduced Quentin at once to
acquiesce in what he might have otherwise considered as no very
agreeable proposal; but the recent escape from the halter, which
had been actually around his neck, would probably have reconciled
him to a worse alternative than was proposed.

"He must go home with us to our caserne," said Cunningham; "there
is no safety for him out of our bounds, whilst these man hunters
are prowling."

"May I not then abide for this night at the hostelry where
I breakfasted, fair uncle?" said the youth -- thinking, perhaps,
like many a new recruit, that even a single night of freedom was
something gained.

"Yes, fair nephew," answered his uncle, ironically, "that we may have
the pleasure of fishing you out of some canal or moat, or perhaps
out of a loop of the Loire, knit up in a sack for the greater
convenience of swimming -- for that is like to be the end on't. The
Provost Marshal smiled on us when we parted," continued he, addressing
Cunningham, "and that is a sign his thoughts were dangerous."

"I care not for his danger," said Cunningham; "such game as we are
beyond his bird bolts. But I would have thee tell the whole to the
Devil's Oliver [Oliver Dain: Oliver's name, or nickname, was Le
Diable, which was bestowed on him by public hatred, in exchange
for Le Daim, or Le Dain. He was originally the King's barber, but
afterwards a favourite counsellor. S.], who is always a good friend
to the Scottish Guard, and will see Father Louis before the Provost
can, for he is to shave him tomorrow."

"But hark you," said Balafre, "it is ill going to Oliver empty
handed, and I am as bare as the birch in December."

"So are we all," said Cunningham. "Oliver must not scruple to take
our Scottish words for once. We will make up something handsome
among us against the next payday; and if he expects to share, let
me tell you, the payday will come about all the sooner."

"And now for the Chateau," said Balafre; "and my nephew shall tell
us by the way how he brought the Provost Marshal on his shoulders,
that we may know how to frame our report both to Crawford and
Oliver."



CHAPTER VII: THE ENROLMENT

Justice of Peace. --
Here, hand me down the statute -- read the articles --
Swear, kiss the book -- subscribe, and be a hero;
Drawing a portion from the public stock
For deeds of valour to be done hereafter --
Sixpence per day, subsistence and arrears.

THE RECRUITING OFFICER


An attendant upon the Archers having been dismounted, Quentin
Durward was accommodated with his horse, and, in company of his
martial countrymen, rode at a round pace towards the Castle of
Plessis, about to become, although on his own part involuntarily,
an inhabitant of that gloomy fortress, the outside of which had,
that morning, struck him with so much surprise.

In the meanwhile, in answer to his uncle's repeated interrogations,
he gave him an exact account of the accident which had that morning
brought him into so much danger. Although he himself saw nothing
in his narrative save what was affecting, he found it was received
with much laughter by his escort.

"And yet it is no good jest either," said his uncle, "for what, in
the devil's name, could lead the senseless boy to meddle with the
body of a cursed misbelieving Jewish Moorish pagan?"

"Had he quarrelled with the Marshals men about a pretty wench,
as Michael of Moffat did, there had been more sense in it," said
Cunningham.

"But I think it touches our honour that Tristan and his people pretend
to confound our Scottish bonnets with these pilfering vagabonds --
torques and turbands, as they call them," said Lindesay. "If they
have not eyes to see the difference they must be taught by rule of
hand. But it 's my belief, Tristan but pretends to mistake, that he
may snap up the kindly Scots that come over to see their kinsfolks."

"May I ask, kinsman," said Quentin, "what sort of people these are
of whom you speak?"

"In troth you may ask," said his uncle, "but I know not, fair nephew,
who is able to answer you. Not I, I am sure, although I know, it
may be, as much as other people; but they appeared in this land
within a year or two, just as a flight of locusts might do."

"Ay," said Lindesay, "and Jacques Bonhomme (that is our name for
the peasant, young man -- you will learn our way of talk in time)
-- honest Jacques, I say, cares little what wind either brings them
or the locusts, so he but knows any gale that would carry them away
again."

"Do they do so much evil?" asked the young man.

"Evil? why, boy, they are heathens, or Jews, or Mahommedans at
the least, and neither worship Our Lady, nor the Saints" (crossing
himself) "and steal what they can lay hands on, and sing, and tell
fortunes," added Cunningham.

"And they say there are some goodly wenches amongst these," said
Guthrie; "but Cunningham knows that best."

"How, brother!" said Cunningham. "I trust ye mean me no reproach?"

"I am sure I said ye none," answered Guthrie.

"I will be judged by the company," said Cunningham. "Ye said as
much as that I, a Scottish gentleman, and living within pale of holy
church, had a fair friend among these off scourings of Heathenesse."

"Nay, nay," said Balafre, "he did but jest. We will have no quarrels
among comrades."

"We must have no such jesting then," said Cunningham, murmuring,
as if he had been speaking to his own beard.

"Be there such vagabonds in other lands than France?" said Lindesay.

"Ay, in good sooth, are there -- tribes of them have appeared in
Germany, and in Spain, and in England," answered Balafre. "By the
blessing of good Saint Andrew, Scotland is free of them yet."

"Scotland," said Cunningham, "is too cold, a country for locusts,
and too poor a country for thieves."

"Or perhaps John Highlander will suffer no thieves to thrive there
but his own," said Guthrie.

"I let you all know," said Balafre, "that I come from the Braes
of Angus, and have gentle Highland kin in Glen Isla and I will not
have the Highlanders slandered."

"You will not deny that they are cattle lifters?" said Guthrie.

"To drive a spreagh [to plunder] or so, is no thievery," said
Balafre, "and that I will maintain when and how you dare."

"For shame, comrade!" said Cunningham, "who quarrels now? The young
man should not see such mad misconstruction -- Come, here we are
at the Chateau. I will bestow a runlet of wine to have a rouse in
friendship, and drink to Scotland, Highland and Lowland both, if
you will meet me at dinner at my quarters."

"Agreed -- agreed," said Balafre; "and I will bestow another to
wash away unkindness, and to drink a health to my nephew on his
first entrance to our corps."

At their approach, the wicket was opened, and the drawbridge fell.
One by one they entered; but when Quentin appeared, the sentinels
crossed their pikes, and commanded him to stand, while bows were
bent, and harquebusses aimed at him from the walls, a rigour of
vigilance used, notwithstanding that the young stranger came in
company of a party of the garrison, nay, of the very body which
furnished the sentinels who were then upon duty.

Le Balafre, who had remained by his nephew's side on purpose, gave
the necessary explanations, and, after some considerable hesitation
and delay, the youth was conveyed under a strong guard to the Lord
Crawford's apartment.

This Scottish nobleman was one of the last relics of the gallant band
of Scottish lords and knights who had so long and so truly served
Charles VI in those bloody wars which decided the independence of
the French crown, and the expulsion of the English. He had fought,
when a boy, abreast with Douglas and with Buchan, had ridden beneath
the banner of the Maid of Arc, and was perhaps one of the last of
those associates of Scottish chivalry who had so willingly drawn
their swords for the fleur de lys, against their "auld enemies of
England." Changes which had taken place in the Scottish kingdom, and
perhaps his having become habituated to French climate and manners,
had induced the old Baron to resign all thoughts of returning to
his native country, the rather that the high office which he held
in the household of Louis and his own frank and loyal character
had gained a considerable ascendancy over the King, who, though in
general no ready believer in human virtue or honour, trusted and
confided in those of the Lord Crawford, and allowed him the greater
influence, because he was never known to interfere excepting in
matters which concerned his charge.

[Douglas: fourth earl of Douglas. He was created Duke of Touraine
in 1423 by Charles VII of France.]

[Buchan: Regent of Scotland and grandson of Robert II. He entered
the service of Charles VII in 1420, and was appointed Constable of
France.]

[Maid of Arc (1412-1431): Joan of Arc. She believed that God had
called her to liberate France from the curse of the English who
were besieging Orleans. In person she led the French troops from
victory to victory until she saw the Dauphin crowned as Charles
VII at Rheims. She was then betrayed by her people into the hands
of the English, who, in 1431, sentenced her to the flames.]

Balafre and Cunningham followed Durward and the guard to the
apartment of their officer, by whose dignified appearance, as well
as with the respect paid to him by these proud soldiers, who seemed
to respect no one else, the young man was much and strongly impressed.

Lord Crawford was tall, and through advanced age had become gaunt
and thin; yet retaining in his sinews the strength, at least, if
not the elasticity, of youth, he was able to endure the weight of
his armour during a march as well as the youngest man who rode in
his band. He was hard favoured, with a scarred and weather-beaten
countenance, and an eye that had looked upon death as his playfellow
in thirty pitched battles, but which nevertheless expressed a calm
contempt of danger, rather than the ferocious courage of a mercenary
soldier. His tall, erect figure was at present wrapped in a loose
chamber gown, secured around him by his buff belt, in which was
suspended his richly hilted poniard. He had round his neck the
collar and badge of the order of Saint Michael [a patron saint of
France. In 1469, a military order was instituted in his honour by
Louis XI]. He sat upon a couch covered with deer's hide, and with
spectacles on his nose (then a recent invention) was labouring to
read a huge manuscript called the Rosier de la Guerre, a code of
military and civil policy which Louis had compiled for the benefit
of his son the Dauphin, and upon which he was desirous to have the
opinion of the experienced Scottish warrior.

Lord Crawford laid his book somewhat peevishly aside upon the
entrance of these unexpected visitors, and demanded, in his broad
national dialect, what, in the foul fiend's name, they lacked now.

Le Balafre, with more respect than perhaps he would have shown to
Louis himself, stated at full length the circumstances in which his
nephew was placed, and humbly requested his Lordship's protection.
Lord Crawford listened very attentively. He could not but smile
at the simplicity with which the youth had interfered in behalf of
the hanged criminal, but he shook his head at the account which he
received of the ruffle betwixt the Scottish Archers and the Provost
Marshal's guard.

[Such disputes between the Scots Guards and the other constituted
authorities of the ordinary military corps often occurred. In 1474,
two Scotsmen had been concerned in robbing . . . a fishmonger of
a large sum of money. They were accordingly apprehended by Philip
du Four, Provost, with some of his followers. But ere they could
lodge one of them, . . in the prison of the Chastellet, they were
attacked by two Archers of the King's Scottish Guard, who rescued
the prisoner. . . . S.]

"How often," he said, "will you bring me such ill winded pirns
to ravel out? How often must I tell you, and especially both you,
Ludovic Lesly, and you, Archie Cunningham, that the foreign soldier
should bear himself modestly and decorously towards the people of
the country if you would not have the whole dogs of the town at your
heels? However, if you must have a bargain [a quarrel, videlicet.
S.], I would rather it were with that loon of a Provost than any
one else; and I blame you less for this onslaught than for other
frays that you have made, Ludovic, for it was but natural and
kind-like to help your young kinsman. This simple bairn must come
to no skaith [same as scathe] neither; so give me the roll of the
company yonder down from the shelf, and we will even add his name
to the troop, that he may enjoy the privileges."

"May it please your Lordship" said Durward.

"Is the lad crazed?" exclaimed his uncle. "Would you speak to his
Lordship without a question asked?"

"Patience, Ludovic," said Lord Crawford, "and let us hear what the
bairn has to say."

"Only this, if it may please your Lordship," replied Quentin, "that
I told my uncle formerly I had some doubts about entering this
service. I have now to say that they are entirely removed, since
I have seen the noble and experienced commander under whom I am to
serve; for there is authority in your look."

"Weel said, my bairn," said the old Lord, not insensible to the
compliment; "we have had some experience, had God sent us grace
to improve by it, both in service and in command. There you stand,
Quentin, in our honourable corps of Scottish Bodyguards, as esquire
to your uncle, and serving under his lance. I trust you will do
well, for you should be a right man at arms, if all be good that
is upcome [that is, if your courage corresponds with your personal
appearance. S.], and you are come of a gentle kindred. -- Ludovic,
you will see that your kinsman follow his exercise diligently, for
we will have spears breaking one of these days."

"By my hilts, and I am glad of it, my Lord -- this peace makes
cowards of us all. I myself feel a sort of decay of spirit, closed
up in this cursed dungeon of a Castle."

"Well, a bird whistled in my ear," continued Lord Crawford, "that
the old banner will be soon dancing in the field again."

"I will drink a cup the deeper this evening to that very tune,"
said Balafre.

"Thou wilt drink to any tune," said Lord Crawford; "and I fear
me, Ludovic, you will drink a bitter browst [as much liquor as is
brewed at one time] of your own brewing one day."

Lesly, a little abashed, replied that it had not been his wont for
many a day; but that his Lordship knew the use of the company, to
have a carouse to the health of a new comrade.

"True," said the old leader, "I had forgot the occasion. I will
send a few stoups of wine to assist your carouse; but let it be over
by sunset. And, hark ye -- let the soldiers for duty he carefully
pricked off; and see that none of them be more or less partakers
of your debauch."

"Your Lordship shall be lawfully obeyed," said Ludovic, "and your
health duly remembered."

"Perhaps," said Lord Crawford, "I may look in myself upon your
mirth -- just to see that all is carried decently."

"Your Lordship shall be most dearly welcome;" said Ludovic; and the
whole party retreated in high spirits to prepare for their military
banquet, to which Lesly invited about a score of his comrades, who
were pretty much in the habit of making their mess together.

A soldier's festival is generally a very extempore affair, providing
there is enough of meat and drink to be had; but on the present
occasion, Ludovic bustled about to procure some better wine than
ordinary; observing that the old Lord was the surest gear in their
aught, and that, while he preached sobriety to them, he himself,
after drinking at the royal table as much wine as he could honestly
come by, never omitted any creditable opportunity to fill up the
evening over the wine pot.

"So you must prepare, comrades," he said, "to hear the old histories
of the battles of Vernoil and Beauge [in both these battles the
Scottish auxiliaries of France, under Stewart, Earl of Buchan, were
distinguished. . . . S.]."

The Gothic apartment in which they generally met was, therefore,
hastily put into the best order; their grooms were dispatched to
collect green rushes to spread upon the floor; and banners, under
which the Scottish Guard had marched to battle, or which they had
taken from the enemies' ranks, were displayed, by way of tapestry,
over the table and around the walls of the chamber.

The next point was, to invest the young recruit as hastily as
possible with the dress and appropriate arms of the Guard, that he
might appear in every respect the sharer of its important privileges,
in virtue of which, and by the support of his countrymen, he might
freely brave the power and the displeasure of the Provost Marshal
-- although the one was known to be as formidable as the other was
unrelenting.

The banquet was joyous in the highest degree; and the guests gave
vent to the whole current of their national partiality on receiving
into their ranks a recruit from their beloved fatherland. Old
Scottish songs were sung, old tales of Scottish heroes told -- the
achievements of their fathers, and the scenes in which they were
wrought, were recalled to mind; and, for a time, the rich plains of
Touraine seemed converted into the mountainous and sterile regions
of Caledonia.

When their enthusiasm was at high flood, and each was endeavouring
to say something to enhance the dear remembrance of Scotland, it
received a new impulse from the arrival of Lord Crawford, who, as
Le Balafre had well prophesied, sat as it were on thorns at the
royal board, until an opportunity occurred of making his escape
to the revelry of his own countrymen. A chair of state had been
reserved for him at the upper end of the table; for, according to
the manners of the age and the constitution of that body, although
their leader and commander under the King and High Constable, the
members of the corps (as we should now say, the privates) being all
ranked as noble by birth, their captain sat with them at the same
table without impropriety, and might mingle when he chose in their
festivity, without derogation from his dignity as commander.

At present, however, Lord Crawford declined occupying the seat
prepared for him, and bidding them "hold themselves merry," stood
looking on the revel with a countenance which seemed greatly to
enjoy it.

"Let him alone," whispered Cunningham to Lindesay, as the latter
offered the wine to their noble captain, "let him alone -- hurry
no man's cattle -- let him take it of his own accord."

In fact, the old Lord, who at first smiled, shook his head, and
placed the untasted winecup before him, began presently, as if it
were in absence of mind, to sip a little of the contents, and in
doing so, fortunately recollected that it would be ill luck did he
not drink a draught to the health of the gallant lad who had joined
them this day. The pledge was filled, and answered, as may well be
supposed, with many a joyous shout, when the old leader proceeded
to acquaint them that he had possessed Master Oliver with an account
of what had passed that day.

"And as," he said, "the scraper of chins hath no great love for the
stretcher of throats, he has joined me in obtaining from the King
an order, commanding the Provost to suspend all proceedings, under
whatever pretence, against Quentin Durward; and to respect, on all
occasions, the privileges of the Scottish guard."

Another shout broke forth, the cups were again filled till the
wine sparkled on the brim, and there was an acclaim to the health
of the noble Lord Crawford, the brave conservator of the privileges
and rights of his countrymen. The good old Lord could not but in
courtesy do reason to this pledge also, and gliding into the ready
chair; as it were, without reflecting what he was doing, he caused
Quentin to come up beside him, and assailed him with many more
questions concerning the state of Scotland, and the great families
there, than he was well able to answer, while ever and anon, in the
course of his queries, the good Lord kissed the wine cup by way of
parenthesis, remarking that sociality became Scottish gentlemen,
but that young men, like Quentin, ought to practise it cautiously,
lest it might degenerate into excess; upon which occasion he uttered
many excellent things, until his own tongue, although employed in
the praises of temperance, began to articulate something thicker
than usual. It was now that, while the military ardour of the
company augmented with each flagon which they emptied, Cunningham
called on them to drink the speedy hoisting of the Oriflamme, the
royal banner of France.

"And a breeze of Burgundy to fan it!" echoed Lindesay.

"With all the soul that is left in this worn body do I accept
the pledge, bairns," echoed Lord Crawford; "and as old as I am, I
trust I may see it flutter yet. Hark ye, my mates," (for wine had
made him something communicative), "ye are all true servants to the
French crown, and wherefore should ye not know there is an envoy
come from Duke Charles of Burgundy, with a message of an angry
favour?"

"I saw the Count of Crevecoeur's equipage, horses, and retinue,"
said another of the guests, "down at the inn yonder at the Mulberry
Grove. They say the King will not admit him into the Castle."

"Now, Heaven send him an ungracious answer!" said Guthrie; "but
what is it he complains of?"

"A world of grievances upon the frontier," said Lord Crawford; "and
latterly, that the King hath received under his protection a lady
of his land, a young Countess, who hath fled from Dijon, because,
being a ward of the Duke, he would have her marry his favourite,
Campobasso."

"And hath she actually come hither alone, my lord?" said Lindesay.

"Nay, not altogether alone, but with the old Countess, her kinswoman,
who hath yielded to her cousin's wishes in this matter."

"And will the King," said Cunningham, "he being the Duke's feudal
sovereign, interfere between the Duke and his ward, over whom
Charles hath the same right, which, were he himself dead, the King
would have over the heiress of Burgundy?"

"The King will be ruled as he is wont, by rules of policy, and
you know," continued Crawford, "that he hath not publicly received
these ladies, nor placed them under the protection of his daughters,
the Lady of Beaujeu, or the Princess Joan, so, doubtless, he will
be guided by circumstances. He is our Master -- but it is no treason
to say, he will chase with the hounds, and run with the hare, with
any prince in Christendom."

"But the Duke of Burgundy understands no such doubling;" said
Cunningham.

"No," answered the old Lord; "and, therefore, it is likely to make
work between them."

"Well -- Saint Andrew further the fray!" said Le Balafre. "I had
it foretold me ten, ay, twenty years since, that I was to make
the fortune of my house by marriage. Who knows what may happen, if
once we come to fight for honour and ladies' love, as they do in
the old romaunts."

"Thou name ladies' love, with such a trench in thy visage!" said
Guthrie.

"As well not love at all, as love a Bohemian woman of Heathenesse,"
retorted Le Balafre.

"Hold there, comrades," said Lord Crawford; "no tilting with sharp
weapons, no jesting with keen scoffs -- friends all. And for the
lady, she is too wealthy to fall to a poor Scottish lord, or I would
put in my own claim, fourscore years and all, or not very far from
it. But here is her health, nevertheless, for they say she is a
lamp of beauty."

"I think I saw her," said another soldier, "when I was upon guard
this morning at the inner barrier; but she was more like a dark
lantern than a lamp, for she and another were brought into the
Chateau in close litters."

"Shame! shame! Arnot!" said Lord Crawford; "a soldier on duty should
say naught of what he sees. Besides," he added after a pause, his
own curiosity prevailing over the show of discipline which he had
thought it necessary to exert, "why should these litters contain
this very same Countess Isabelle de Croye?"

"Nay, my Lord," replied Arnot, "I know nothing of it save this,
that my coutelier was airing my horses in the road to the village,
and fell in with Doguin the muleteer, who brought back the litters
to the inn, for they belong to the fellow of the Mulberry Grove
yonder -- he of the Fleur de Lys, I mean -- and so Doguin asked
Saunders Steed to take a cup of wine, as they were acquainted,
which he was no doubt willing enough to do."

"No doubt -- no doubt," said the old Lord; "it is a thing I wish
were corrected among you, gentlemen; but all your grooms, and
couteliers, and jackmen as we should call them in Scotland, are
but too ready to take a cup of wine with any one. -- It is a thing
perilous in war, and must be amended. But, Andrew Arnot, this
is a long tale of yours, and we will cut it with a drink; as the
Highlander says, Skeoch doch nan skial ['Cut a tale with a drink;'
an expression used when a man preaches over his liquor, as bons
vivants say in England. S.]; and that 's good Gaelic. -- Here is to
the Countess Isabelle of Croye, and a better husband to her than
Campobasso, who is a base Italian cullion! -- And now, Andrew Arnot,
what said the muleteer to this yeoman of thine?"

"Why, he told him in secrecy, if it please your Lordship," continued
Arnot, "that these two ladies whom he had presently before convoyed
up to the Castle in the close litters, were great ladies, who had
been living in secret at his house for some days, and that the
King had visited them more than once very privately, and had done
them great honour; and that they had fled up to the Castle, as he
believed, for fear of the Count de Crevecoeur, the Duke of Burgundy's
ambassador, whose approach was just announced by an advanced
courier."

"Ay, Andrew, come you there to me?" said Guthrie. "Then I will be
sworn it was the Countess whose voice I heard singing to the lute,
as I came even now through the inner court -- the sound came from
the bay windows of the Dauphin's Tower; and such melody was there
as no one ever heard before in the Castle of Plessis of the Park.
By my faith, I thought it was the music of the Fairy Melusina's
making. There I stood -- though I knew your board was covered, and
that you were all impatient -- there I stood like --"

[The Fairy Melusina: a water fay who married a mortal on condition
that she should be allowed to spend her Saturdays in deep seclusion.
This promise, after many years, was broken, and Melusina, half
serpent, half woman, was discovered swimming in a bath. For this
breach of faith on the part of her husband, Melusina was compelled
to leave her home. She regularly returned, however, before the death
of any of the lords of her family, and by her wailings foretold
that event. Her history is closely interwoven with the legends of
the Banshee and Mermaid.]

"-- Like an ass, Johnny Guthrie," said his commander; "thy long
nose smelling the dinner, thy long ears hearing the music, and thy
short discretion not enabling thee to decide which of them thou
didst prefer. -- Hark! is that not the Cathedral bell tolling to
vespers? -- Sure it cannot be that time yet? The mad old sexton
has toll'd evensong an hour too soon."

"In faith, the bell rings but too justly the hour," said Cunningham;
"yonder the sun is sinking on the west side of the fair plain."

"Ay," said the Lord Crawford, "is it even so? -- Well, lads, we
must live within compass. -- Fair and soft goes far -- slow fire
makes sweet malt -- to be merry and wise is a sound proverb. --
One other rouse to the weal of old Scotland, and then each man to
his duty."

The parting cup was emptied, and the guests dismissed -- the stately
old Baron taking the Balafre's arm, under pretence of giving him
some instructions concerning his nephew, but, perhaps, in reality,
lest his own lofty pace should seem in the public eye less steady
than became his rank and high command. A serious countenance did
he bear as he passed through the two courts which separated his
lodging from the festal chamber, and solemn as the gravity of a
hogshead was the farewell caution with which he prayed Ludovic to
attend his nephew's motions, especially in the matters of wenches
and wine cups.

Meanwhile, not a word that was spoken concerning the beautiful
Countess Isabelle had escaped the young Durward, who, conducted
into a small cabin, which he was to share with his uncle's page,
made his new and lowly abode the scene of much high musing. The
reader will easily imagine that the young soldier should build a
fine romance on such a foundation as the supposed, or rather the
assumed, identification of the Maiden of the Turret, to whose lay
he had listened with so much interest, and the fair cup bearer of
Maitre Pierre, with a fugitive Countess of rank and wealth, flying
from the pursuit of a hated lover, the favourite of an oppressive
guardian, who abused his feudal power. There was an interlude in
Quentin's vision concerning Maitre Pierre, who seemed to exercise
such authority even over the formidable officer from whose hands
he had that day, with much difficulty, made his escape. At length
the youth's reveries, which had been respected by little Will Harper,
the companion of his cell, were broken in upon by the return of his
uncle, who commanded Quentin to bed, that he might arise betimes
in the morning, and attend him to his Majesty's antechamber, to
which he was called by his hour of duty, along with five of his
comrades.



CHAPTER VIII: THE ENVOY

Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
For ere thou canst report I will be there.
The thunder of my cannon shall be heard --
So, hence! be thou the trumpet of our wrath.

KING JOHN


Had sloth been a temptation by which Durward was easily beset,
the noise with which the caserne of the guards resounded after the
first toll of primes, had certainly banished the siren from his
couch; but the discipline of his father's tower, and of the convent
of Aberbrothick, had taught him to start with the dawn; and he did
on his clothes gaily, amid the sounding of bugles and the clash of
armour, which announced the change of the vigilant guards -- some
of whom were returning to barracks after their nightly duty, whilst
some were marching out to that of the morning -- and others, again,
amongst whom was his uncle, were arming for immediate attendance
upon the person of Louis. Quentin Durward soon put on, with the
feelings of so young a man on such an occasion, the splendid dress
and arms appertaining to his new situation; and his uncle, who
looked with great accuracy and interest to see that he was completely
fitted out in every respect, did not conceal his satisfaction at
the improvement which had been thus made in his nephew's appearance.

"If thou dost prove as faithful and bold as thou art well favoured,
I shall have in thee one of the handsomest and best esquires in
the Guard, which cannot but be an honour to thy mother's family.
Follow me to the presence chamber; and see thou keep close at my
shoulder."

So saying, he took up a partisan, large, weighty, and beautifully
inlaid and ornamented, and directing his nephew to assume a lighter
weapon of a similar description, they proceeded to the inner court
of the palace, where their comrades, who were to form the guard of
the interior apartments, were already drawn up and under arms --
the squires each standing behind their masters, to whom they thus
formed a second rank. Here were also in attendance many yeomen
prickers, with gallant horses and noble dogs, on which Quentin
looked with such inquisitive delight that his uncle was obliged
more than once to remind him that the animals were not there for
his private amusement, but for the King's, who had a strong passion
for the chase, one of the few inclinations which he indulged even
when coming in competition with his course of policy; being so
strict a protector of the game in the royal forests that it was
currently said you might kill a man with greater impunity than a
stag.

On a signal given, the Guards were put into motion by the command
of Le Balafre, who acted as officer upon the occasion; and, after
some minutiae of word and signal, which all served to show the extreme
and punctilious jealousy with which their duty was performed, they
marched into the hall of audience where the King was immediately
expected.

New as Quentin was to scenes of splendour, the effect of that
which was now before him rather disappointed the expectations which
he had formed of the brilliancy of a court. There were household
officers, indeed, richly attired; there were guards gallantly armed,
and there were domestics of various degrees. But he saw none of
the ancient counsellors of the kingdom, none of the high officers
of the crown, heard none of the names which in those days sounded
an alarum to chivalry; saw none either of those generals or leaders,
who, possessed of the full prime of manhood, were the strength
of France, or of the more youthful and fiery nobles, those early
aspirants after honour, who were her pride. The jealous habits,
the reserved manners, the deep and artful policy of the King, had
estranged this splendid circle from the throne, and they were only
called around it upon certain stated and formal occasions, when
they went reluctantly, and returned joyfully, as the animals in
the fable are supposed to have approached and left the den of the
lion.

The very few persons who seemed to be there in the character of
counsellors were mean looking men, whose countenances sometimes
expressed sagacity, but whose manners showed they were called into
a sphere for which their previous education and habits had qualified
them but indifferently. One or two persons, however, did appear
to Durward to possess a more noble mien, and the strictness of the
present duty was not such as to prevent his uncle's communicating
the names of those whom he thus distinguished.

With the Lord Crawford, who was in attendance, dressed in the rich
habit of his office, and holding a leading staff of silver in his
hand, Quentin, as well as the reader, was already acquainted. Among
others, who seemed of quality, the most remarkable was the Count
de Dunois, the son of that celebrated Dunois, known by the name of
the Bastard of Orleans, who, fighting under the banner of Jeanne
d'Arc, acted such a distinguished part in liberating France from
the English yoke. His son well supported the high renown which had
descended to him from such an honoured source; and, notwithstanding
his connexion with the royal family, and his hereditary popularity
both with the nobles and the people, Dunois had, upon all occasions,
manifested such an open, frank loyalty of character that he seemed
to have escaped all suspicion, even on the part of the jealous
Louis, who loved to see him near his person, and sometimes even
called him to his councils. Although accounted complete in all the
exercises of chivalry, and possessed of much of the character of
what was then termed a perfect knight, the person of the Count was
far from being a model of romantic beauty. He was under the common
size, though very strongly built, and his legs rather curved
outwards, into that make which is more convenient for horseback,
than elegant in a pedestrian. His shoulders were broad, his hair
black, his complexion swarthy, his arms remarkably long and nervous.
The features of his countenance were irregular, even to ugliness;
yet, after all, there was an air of conscious worth and nobility
about the Count de Dunois, which stamped, at the first glance, the
character of the high born nobleman and the undaunted soldier. His
mien was bold and upright, his step free and manly, and the harshness
of his countenance was dignified by a glance like an eagle, and a
frown like a lion. His dress was a hunting suit, rather sumptuous
than gay, and he acted on most occasions as Grand Huntsman, though
we are not inclined to believe that he actually held the office.

Upon the arm of his relation Dunois, walking with a step so slow
and melancholy that he seemed to rest on his kinsman and supporter,
came Louis Duke of Orleans, the first prince of the Blood Royal
(afterwards King, by the name of Louis XII), and to whom the guards
and attendants rendered their homage as such. The jealously watched
object of Louis's suspicions, this Prince, who, failing the King's
offspring, was heir to the kingdom, was not suffered to absent
himself from Court, and, while residing there, was alike denied
employment and countenance. The dejection which his degraded and
almost captive state naturally impressed on the deportment of this
unfortunate Prince, was at this moment greatly increased by his
consciousness that the King meditated, with respect to him, one of
the most cruel and unjust actions which a tyrant could commit, by
compelling him to give his hand to the Princess Joan of France,
the younger daughter of Louis, to whom he had been contracted in
infancy, but whose deformed person rendered the insisting upon such
an agreement an act of abominable rigour.

The exterior of this unhappy Prince was in no respect distinguished
by personal advantages; and in mind, he was of a gentle, mild and
beneficent disposition, qualities which were visible even through
the veil of extreme dejection with which his natural character
was at present obscured. Quentin observed that the Duke studiously
avoided even looking at the Royal Guards, and when he returned their
salute, that he kept his eyes bent on the ground, as if he feared
the King's jealousy might have construed the gesture of ordinary
courtesy as arising from the purpose of establishing a separate
and personal interest among them.

Very different was the conduct of the proud Cardinal and Prelate,
John of Balue, the favourite minister of Louis for the time, whose
rise and character bore as close a resemblance to that of Wolsey,
as the difference betwixt the crafty and politic Louis and the
headlong and rash Henry VIII of England would permit. The former
had raised his minister from the lowest rank, to the dignity, or
at least to the emoluments, of Grand Almoner of France, loaded him
with benefices, and obtained for him the hat of a cardinal; and
although he was too cautious to repose in the ambitious Balue the
unbounded power and trust which Henry placed in Wolsey, yet he was
more influenced by him than by any other of his avowed counsellors.
The Cardinal, accordingly, had not escaped the error incidental to
those who are suddenly raised to power from an obscure situation,
for he entertained a strong persuasion, dazzled doubtlessly by
the suddenness of his elevation, that his capacity was equal to
intermeddling with affairs of every kind, even those most foreign
to his profession and studies. Tall and ungainly in his person,
he affected gallantry and admiration of the fair sex, although his
manners rendered his pretensions absurd, and his profession marked
them as indecorous. Some male or female flatterer had, in evil hour,
possessed him with the idea that there was much beauty of contour
in a pair of huge, substantial legs, which he had derived from his
father, a car man of Limoges -- or, according to other authorities,
a miller of Verdun, and with this idea he had become so infatuated
that he always had his cardinal's robes a little looped up on one
side, that the sturdy proportion of his limbs might not escape
observation. As he swept through the stately apartment in his
crimson dress and rich cope, he stopped repeatedly to look at the
arms and appointments of the cavaliers on guard, asked them several
questions in an authoritative tone, and took upon him to censure
some of them for what he termed irregularities of discipline, in
language to which these experienced soldiers dared no reply, although
it was plain they listened to it with impatience and with contempt.

[Wolsey (1471-1530): at one time the chief favourite of Henry VIII.
He was raised from obscurity by that sovereign to be Archbishop of
York, Lord Chancellor of England, and Cardinal. As legate of the
Pope, he gained the ill will of Henry by his failure to secure
that king's divorce. He was deprived of his offices, his property
was confiscated to the crown, and in 1530 he was arrested for high
treason, but died on his way to trial.]

"Is the King aware," said Dunois to the Cardinal, "that the Burgundian
Envoy is peremptory in demanding an audience?"

"He is," answered the Cardinal; "and here, as I think, comes the
all sufficient Oliver Dain, to let us know the royal pleasure."

As he spoke, a remarkable person, who then divided the favour
of Louis with the proud Cardinal himself, entered from the inner
apartment, but without any of that important and consequential
demeanour which marked the full blown dignity of the churchman.
On the contrary, this was a little, pale, meagre man, whose black
silk jerkin and hose, without either coat, cloak, or cassock,
formed a dress ill qualified to set off to advantage a very ordinary
person. He carried a silver basin in his hand, and a napkin flung
over his arm indicated his menial capacity. His visage was penetrating
and quick, although he endeavoured to banish such expression from
his features by keeping his eyes fixed on the ground, while, with
the stealthy and quiet pace of a cat, he seemed modestly rather to
glide than to walk through the apartment. But though modesty may
easily obscure worth, it cannot hide court favour; and all attempts
to steal unperceived through the presence chamber were vain, on
the part of one known to have such possession of the King's ear as
had been attained by his celebrated barber and groom of the chamber,
Oliver le Dain, called sometimes Oliver le Mauvais, and sometimes
Oliver le Diable, epithets derived from the unscrupulous cunning with
which he assisted in the execution of the schemes of his master's
tortuous policy. At present he spoke earnestly for a few moments
with the Count de Dunois, who instantly left the chamber, while
the tonsor glided quietly back towards the royal apartment whence
he had issued, every one giving place to him; which civility he only
acknowledged by the most humble inclination of the body, excepting
in a very few instances, where he made one or two persons the
subject of envy to all the other courtiers, by whispering a single
word in their ear; and at the same time muttering something of the
duties of his place, he escaped from their replies as well as from
the eager solicitations of those who wished to attract his notice.
Ludovic Lesly had the good fortune to be one of the individuals
who, on the present occasion, was favoured by Oliver with a single
word, to assure him that his matter was fortunately terminated.

Presently afterwards he had another proof of the same agreeable
tidings; for Quentin's old acquaintance, Tristan l'Hermite, the
Provost Marshal of the royal household, entered the apartment, and
came straight to the place where Balafre was posted. This formidable
officer's uniform, which was very rich, had only the effect of making
his sinister countenance and bad mien more strikingly remarkable,
and the tone, which he meant for conciliatory, was like nothing so
much as the growling of a bear. The import of his words, however,
was more amicable than the voice in which they were pronounced. He
regretted the mistake which had fallen between them on the preceding
day, and observed it was owing to the Sieur Le Balafre's nephew's
not wearing the uniform of his corps, or announcing himself as
belonging to it, which had led him into the error for which he now
asked forgiveness.

Ludovic Lesly made the necessary reply, and as soon as Tristan had
turned away, observed to his nephew that they had now the distinction
of having a mortal enemy from henceforward in the person of this
dreaded officer.

"But we are above his volee [brood, rank, class] -- a soldier,"
said he, "who does his duty, may laugh at the Provost Marshal."

Quentin could not help being of his uncle's opinion, for, as Tristan
parted from them, it was with the look of angry defiance which the
bear casts upon the hunter whose spear has wounded him. Indeed,
even when less strongly moved, the sullen eye of this official
expressed a malevolence of purpose which made men shudder to meet
his glance; and the thrill of the young Scot was the deeper and
more abhorrent, that he seemed to himself still to feel on his
shoulders the grasp of the two death doing functionaries of this
fatal officer.

Meanwhile, Oliver, after he had prowled around the room in the
stealthy manner which we have endeavoured to describe -- all, even
the highest officers making way for him, and loading him with their
ceremonious attentions, which his modesty seemed desirous to avoid
-- again entered the inner apartment, the doors of which were
presently thrown open, and King Louis entered the presence chamber.

Quentin, like all others, turned his eyes upon him; and started so
suddenly that he almost dropped his weapon, when he recognised in
the King of France that silk merchant, Maitre Pierre, who had been
the companion of his morning walk. Singular suspicions respecting
the real rank of this person had at different times crossed his
thoughts; but this, the proved reality, was wilder than his wildest
conjecture.

The stern look of his uncle, offended at this breach of the decorum
of his office, recalled him to himself; but not a little was he
astonished when the King, whose quick eye had at once discovered
him, walked straight to the place where he was posted, without
taking notice of any one else.

"So;" he said, "young man, I am told you have been brawling on your
first arrival in Touraine; but I pardon you, as it was chiefly the
fault of a foolish old merchant, who thought your Caledonian blood
required to be heated in the morning with Vin de Beaulne. If I
can find him, I will make him an example to those who debauch my
Guards. -- Balafre," he added, speaking to Lesly, "your kinsman
is a fair youth, though a fiery. We love to cherish such spirits,
and mean to make more than ever we did of the brave men who are
around us. Let the year, day, hour, and minute of your nephew's
birth be written down and given to Oliver Dain."

Le Balafre bowed to the ground, and re-assumed his erect military
position, as one who would show by his demeanour his promptitude
to act in the King's quarrel or defence. Quentin, in the meantime,
recovered from his first surprise, studied the King's appearance
more attentively, and was surprised to find how differently he now
construed his deportment and features than he had done at their
first interview.

These were not much changed in exterior, for Louis, always a scorner
of outward show, wore, on the present occasion, an old dark blue
hunting dress, not much better than the plain burgher suit of the
preceding day, and garnished with a huge rosary of ebony which had
been sent to him by no less a personage than the Grand Seignior,
with an attestation that it had been used by a Coptic hermit on
Mount Lebanon, a personage of profound sanctity. And instead of
his cap with a single image, he now wore a hat, the band of which
was garnished with at least a dozen of little paltry figures of
saints stamped in lead. But those eyes, which, according to Quentin's
former impression, only twinkled with the love of gain, had, now
that they were known to be the property of an able and powerful
monarch, a piercing and majestic glance; and those wrinkles on the
brow, which he had supposed were formed during a long series of
petty schemes of commerce, seemed now the furrows which sagacity
had worn while toiling in meditation upon the fate of nations.

Presently after the King's appearance, the Princesses of France,
with the ladies of their suite, entered the apartment. With the
eldest, afterwards married to Peter of Bourbon, and known in French
history by the name of the Lady of Beaujeu, our story has but little
to do. She was tall, and rather handsome, possessed eloquence, talent,
and much of her father's sagacity, who reposed great confidence in
her, and loved her as well perhaps as he loved any one.

The younger sister, the unfortunate Joan, the destined bride of
the Duke of Orleans, advanced timidly by the side of her sister,
conscious of a total want of those external qualities which women
are most desirous of possessing, or being thought to possess. She
was pale, thin, and sickly in her complexion; her shape visibly bent
to one side, and her gait was so unequal that she might be called
lame. A fine set of teeth, and eyes which were expressive of
melancholy, softness, and resignation, with a quantity of light
brown locks, were the only redeeming points which flattery itself
could have dared to number, to counteract the general homeliness
of her face and figure. To complete the picture, it was easy to
remark, from the Princess's negligence in dress and the timidity of
her manner, that she had an unusual and distressing consciousness
of her own plainness of appearance, and did not dare to make any
of those attempts to mend by manners or by art what nature had left
amiss, or in any other way to exert a power of pleasing. The King
(who loved her not) stepped hastily to her as she entered.

"How now," he said, "our world contemning daughter -- Are you robed
for a hunting party, or for the convent, this morning? Speak --
answer."

"For which your highness pleases, sire," said the Princess, scarce
raising her voice above her breath.

"Ay, doubtless, you would persuade me it is your desire to quit
the Court, Joan, and renounce the world and its vanities. -- Ha!
maiden, wouldst thou have it thought that we, the first born of
Holy Church, would refuse our daughter to Heaven? -- Our Lady and
Saint Martin forbid we should refuse the offering, were it worthy
of the altar, or were thy vocation in truth thitherward!"

So saying, the King crossed himself devoutly, looking in
the meantime, as appeared to Quentin, very like a cunning vassal,
who was depreciating the merit of something which he was desirous
to keep to himself, in order that he might stand excused for not
offering it to his chief or superior.

"Dares he thus play the hypocrite with Heaven," thought Durward,
"and sport with God and the Saints, as he may safely do with men,
who dare not search his nature too closely?"

Louis meantime resumed, after a moment's mental devotion, "No,
fair daughter, I and another know your real mind better. Ha! fair
cousin of Orleans, do we not? Approach, fair sir, and lead this
devoted vestal of ours to her horse."

Orleans started when the King spoke and hastened to obey him; but
with such precipitation of step, and confusion, that Louis called
out, "Nay, cousin, rein your gallantry, and look before you. Why,
what a headlong matter a gallant's haste is on some occasions! You
had well nigh taken Anne's hand instead of her sister's. -- Sir,
must I give Joan's to you myself?"

The unhappy Prince looked up, and shuddered like a child, when
forced to touch something at which it has instinctive horror --
then making an effort, took the hand which the Princess neither gave
nor yet withheld. As they stood, her cold, damp fingers enclosed
in his trembling hand, with their eyes looking on the ground, it
would have been difficult to say which of these two youthful beings
was rendered more utterly miserable -- the Duke, who felt himself
fettered to the object of his aversion by bonds which he durst not
tear asunder, or the unfortunate young woman, who too plainly saw
that she was an object of abhorrence to him, to gain whose kindness
she would willingly have died.

"And now to horse, gentlemen and ladies -- we will ourselves lead
forth our daughter of Beaujeu," said the King; "and God's blessing
and Saint Hubert's be on our morning's sport!"

"I am, I fear, doomed to interrupt it, Sire," said the Comte de
Dunois; "the Burgundian Envoy is before the gates of the Castle
and demands an audience."

"Demands an audience, Dunois?" replied the King. "Did you not answer
him, as we sent you word by Oliver, that we were not at leisure
to see him today, -- and that tomorrow was the festival of Saint
Martin, which, please Heaven, we would disturb by no earthly thoughts
-- and that on the succeeding day we were designed for Amboise --
but that we would not fail to appoint him as early an audience,
when we returned, as our pressing affairs would permit."

"All this I said," answered Dunois, "but yet, Sire --"

"Pasques dieu! man, what is it that thus sticks in thy throat?" said
the King. "This Burgundian's terms must have been hard of digestion."

"Had not my duty, your Grace's commands, and his character as
an envoy, restrained me," said Dunois, "he should have tried to
digest them himself; for, by our Lady of Orleans, I had more mind
to have made him eat his own words, than to have brought them to
your Majesty."

"Body of me," said the King, "it is strange that thou, one of
the most impatient fellows alive, should have so little sympathy
with the like infirmity in our blunt and fiery cousin, Charles of
Burgundy. Why, man, I mind his blustering messages no more than the
towers of this Castle regard the whistling of the northeast wind,
which comes from Flanders, as well as this brawling Envoy."

"Know then, Sire," replied Dunois, "that the Count of Crevecoeur
tarries below, with his retinue of pursuivants and trumpets, and
says, that since your Majesty refuses him the audience which his
master has instructed him to demand, upon matters of most pressing
concern, he will remain there till midnight, and accost your Majesty
at whatever hour you are pleased to issue from your Castle, whether
for business, exercise, or devotion; and that no consideration,
except the use of absolute force, shall compel him to desist from
this."

"He is a fool," said the King, with much composure. "Does the hot
headed Hainaulter think it any penance for a man of sense to remain
for twenty-four hours quiet within the walls of his Castle, when
he hath the affairs of a kingdom to occupy him? These impatient
coxcombs think that all men, like themselves, are miserable,
save when in saddle and stirrup. Let the dogs be put up, and well
looked to, gentle Dunois. -- We will hold council today, instead
of hunting."

"My Liege," answered Dunois, "you will not thus rid yourself of
Crevecoeur; for his master's instructions are, that if he hath not
this audience which he demands, he shall nail his gauntlet to the
palisade before the Castle in token of mortal defiance on the part
of his master, shall renounce the Duke's fealty to France, and
declare instant war."

"Ay," said Louis without any perceptible alteration of voice, but
frowning until his piercing dark eyes became almost invisible under
his shaggy eyebrows, "is it even so? will our ancient vassal prove
so masterful -- our dear cousin treat us thus unkindly? -- Nay,
then, Dunois, we must unfold the Oriflamme, and cry Dennis Montjoye!"

[Montjoie St. Denis, a former war cry of the French soldiers. Saint
Denis was a patron saint of France who suffered martyrdom in the
third century. Montjoie (mont and joie) may be the name of the
hill where the saint met his death; or it may signify that any such
place is a "hill of joy."]

"Marry and amen, and in a most happy hour!" said the martial Dunois;
and the guards in the hall, unable to resist the same impulse,
stirred each upon his post, so as to produce a low but distinct
sound of clashing arms. The King cast his eye proudly round, and,
for a moment, thought and looked like his heroic father.

But the excitement of the moment presently gave way to the host
of political considerations, which, at that conjuncture, rendered
an open breach with Burgundy so peculiarly perilous. Edward IV, a
brave and victorious king, who had in his own person fought thirty
battles, was now established on the throne of England, was brother
to the Duchess of Burgundy, and, it might well be supposed, waited
but a rupture between his near connexion and Louis, to carry into
France, through the ever open gate of Calais, those arms which had
been triumphant in the English civil wars, and to obliterate the
recollection of internal dissensions by that most popular of all
occupations amongst the English, an invasion of France. To this
consideration was added the uncertain faith of the Duke of Bretagne,
and other weighty subjects of reflection. So that, after a deep
pause, when Louis again spoke, although in the same tone, it was
with an altered spirit. "But God forbid," he said, "that aught
less than necessity should make us, the Most Christian' King, give
cause to the effusion of Christian blood, if anything short of
dishonour may avert such a calamity. We tender our subjects' safety
dearer than the ruffle which our own dignity may receive from the
rude breath of a malapert ambassador, who hath perhaps exceeded the
errand with which he was charged. -- Admit the Envoy of Burgundy
to our presence."

"Beati pacifici, [blessed are the peace makers]" said the Cardinal
Balue.

"True; and your Eminence knoweth that they who humble themselves
shall be exalted," added the King.

The Cardinal spoke an Amen, to which few assented, for even the
pale cheek of Orleans kindled with shame, and Balafre suppressed
his feelings so little, as to let the butt end of his partisan
fall heavily on the floor -- a movement of impatience for which
he underwent a bitter reproof from the Cardinal, with a lecture on
the mode of handling his arms when in presence of the Sovereign.
The King himself seemed unusually embarrassed at the silence around
him.

"You are pensive, Dunois," he said. "You disapprove of our giving
way to this hot headed Envoy."

"By no means,"' said Dunois; "I meddle not with matters beyond my
sphere. I was thinking of asking a boon of your Majesty."

"A boon, Dunois -- what is it? You are an unfrequent suitor, and
may count on our favour."

"I would, then, your Majesty would send me to Evreux to regulate
the clergy," said Dunois, with military frankness.

"That were indeed beyond thy sphere," replied the King, smiling.

"I might order priests as well," replied the Count, "as my Lord
Bishop of Evreux, or my Lord Cardinal, if he likes the title better,
can exercise the soldiers of your Majesty's guard."

The King smiled again, and more mysteriously, while he whispered
Dunois, "The time may come when you and I will regulate the priests
together. -- But this is for the present a good conceited animal
of a Bishop. Ah, Dunois! Rome, Rome puts him and other burdens upon
us. -- But patience, cousin, and shuffle the cards, till our hand
is a stronger one."

[Dr. Dryasdust here remarks that cards, said to have been invented
in a preceding reign, for the amusement of Charles V during the
intervals of his mental disorder, seem speedily to have become
common among the courtiers. . . . The alleged origin of the invention
of cards produced one of the shrewdest replies I have ever heard
given in evidence. It was made by the late Dr. Gregory of Edinburgh
to a counsel of great eminence at the Scottish bar. The Doctor's
testimony went to prove the insanity of the party whose mental
capacity was the point at issue. On a cross interrogation, he admitted
that the person in question played admirably at whist. "And do you
seriously say, doctor," said the learned counsel, "that a person
having a superior capacity for a game so difficult, and which requires
in a preeminent degree, memory, judgment, and combination, can be
at the same time deranged in his understanding?" -- "I am no card
player," said the doctor, with great address, "but I have read in
history that cards were invented for the amusement of an insane
king." The consequences of this reply were decisive. S.]

The flourish of trumpets in the courtyard now announced the arrival
of the Burgundian nobleman. All in the presence chamber made haste
to arrange themselves according to their proper places of precedence,
the King and his daughters remaining in the centre of the assembly.

The Count of Crevecoeur, a renowned and undaunted warrior, entered
the apartment; and, contrary to the usage among the envoys of friendly
powers, he appeared all armed, excepting his head, in a gorgeous
suit of the most superb Milan armour, made of steel, inlaid and
embossed with gold, which was wrought into the fantastic taste called
the Arabesque. Around his neck and over his polished cuirass, hung
his master's order of the Golden Fleece, one of the most honoured
associations of chivalry then known in Christendom. A handsome
page bore his helmet behind him, a herald preceded him, bearing
his letters of credence which he offered on his knee to the King;
while the ambassador himself paused in the midst of the hall, as
if to give all present time to admire his lofty look, commanding
stature, and undaunted composure of countenance and manner. The
rest of his attendants waited in the antechamber, or courtyard.

[The military order of the Golden Fleece was instituted by Philip
the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in the year 1429, the King of Spain
being grand master of the order, as Duke of Burgundy.]

"Approach, Seignior Count de Crevecoeur," said Louis, after a
moment's glance at his commission; "we need not our cousin's letters
of credence, either to introduce to us a warrior so well known,
or to assure us of your highly deserved credit with your master.
We trust that your fair partner, who shares some of our ancestral
blood, is in good health. Had you brought her in your hand, Seignior
Count, we might have thought you wore your armour, on this unwonted
occasion, to maintain the superiority of her charms against the
amorous chivalry of France. As it is, we cannot guess the reason
of this complete panoply."

"Sire," replied the ambassador, "the Count of Crevecoeur must
lament his misfortune, and entreat your forgiveness, that he cannot,
on this occasion, reply with such humble deference as is due to
the royal courtesy with which your Majesty has honoured him. But,
although it is only the voice of Philip Crevecoeur de Cordes which
speaks, the words which he utters must be those of his gracious
Lord and Sovereign, the Duke of Burgundy."

"And what has Crevecoeur to say in the words of Burgundy?" said
Louis, with an assumption of sufficient dignity. "Yet hold --
remember, that in this presence, Philip Crevecoeur de Cordes speaks
to him who is his Sovereign's Sovereign."

Crevecoeur bowed, and then spoke aloud: "King of France, the mighty
Duke of Burgundy once more sends you a written schedule of the
wrongs and oppressions committed on his frontiers by your Majesty's
garrisons and officers; and the first point of inquiry is, whether
it is your Majesty's purpose to make him amends for these injuries?"

The King, looking slightly at the memorial which the herald
delivered to him upon his knee, said, "These matters have been
already long before our Council. Of the injuries complained of,
some are in requital of those sustained by my subjects, some are
affirmed without any proof, some have been retaliated by the Duke's
garrisons and soldiers; and if there remain any which fall under
none of those predicaments, we are not, as a Christian prince,
averse to make satisfaction for wrongs actually sustained by our
neighbour, though committed not only without our countenance, but
against our express order."'

"I will convey your Majesty's answer," said the ambassador, "to my
most gracious master; yet, let me say, that, as it is in no degree
different from the evasive replies which have already been returned
to his just complaints, I cannot hope that it will afford the means
of re-establishing peace and friendship betwixt France and Burgundy."

"Be that at God's pleasure," said the King. "It is not for dread
of thy master's arms, but for the sake of peace only, that I return
so temperate an answer to his injurious reproaches. Proceed with
thine errand."

"My master's next demand," said the ambassador, "is that your
Majesty will cease your secret and underhand dealings with his
towns of Ghent, Liege, and Malines. He requests that your Majesty
will recall the secret agents by whose means the discontents of
his good citizens of Flanders are inflamed; and dismiss from your
Majesty's dominions, or rather deliver up to the condign punishment
of their liege lord, those traitorous fugitives, who, having fled
from the scene of their machinations, have found too ready a refuge
in Paris, Orleans, Tours, and other French cities."

"Say to the Duke of Burgundy," replied the King, "that I know of no
such indirect practices as those with which he injuriously charges
me; that many subjects of France have frequent intercourse with the
good cities of Flanders, for the purpose of mutual benefit by free
traffic, which it would be as much contrary to the Duke's interest
as mine to interrupt; and that many Flemings have residence in my
kingdom, and enjoy the protection of my laws, for the same purpose;
but none, to our knowledge, for those of treason or mutiny against
the Duke. Proceed with your message -- you have heard my answer."

"As formerly, Sire, with pain," replied the Count of Crevecoeur;
"it not being of that direct or explicit nature which the Duke,
my master, will accept, in atonement for a long train of secret
machinations, not the less certain, though now disavowed by your
Majesty. But I proceed with my message. The Duke of Burgundy farther
requires the King of France to send back to his dominions without
delay, and under a secure safeguard, the persons of Isabelle Countess
of Croye, and of her relation and guardian the Countess Hameline,
of the same family, in respect the said Countess Isabelle, being,
by the law of the country and the feudal tenure of her estates, the
ward of the said Duke of Burgundy, hath fled from his dominions,
and from the charge which he, as a careful guardian, was willing
to extend over her, and is here maintained in secret by the King
of France and by him fortified in her contumacy to the Duke, her
natural lord and guardian, contrary to the laws of God and man, as
they ever have been acknowledged in civilized Europe. -- Once more
I pause for your Majesty's reply."

"You did well, Count de Crevecoeur," said Louis, scornfully, "to
begin your embassy at an early hour; for if it be your purpose
to call on me to account for the flight of every vassal whom your
master's heady passion may have driven from his dominions, the
head roll may last till sunset. Who can affirm that these ladies
are in my dominions? who can presume to say, if it be so, that I
have either countenanced their flight hither, or have received them
with offers of protection? Nay, who is it will assert, that, if
they are in France, their place of retirement is within my knowledge?"

"Sire," said Crevecoeur, "may it please your Majesty, I was provided
with a witness on this subject -- one who beheld these fugitive
ladies in the inn called the Fleur de Lys, not far from this
Castle -- one who saw your Majesty in their company, though under
the unworthy disguise of a burgess of Tours -- one who received
from them, in your royal presence, messages and letters to their
friends in Flanders -- all which he conveyed to the hand and ear
of the Duke of Burgundy."

"Bring them forward," said the King; "place the man before my face
who dares maintain these palpable falsehoods."

"You speak in triumph, my lord, for you are well aware that
this witness no longer exists. When he lived, he was called Zamet
Magraubin, by birth one of those Bohemian wanderers. He was yesterday
-- as I have learned -- executed by a party of your Majesty's Provost
Marshal, to prevent, doubtless, his standing here to verify what
he said of this matter to the Duke of Burgundy, in presence of his
Council, and of me, Philip Crevecoeur de Cordes."

"Now, by Our Lady of Embrun," said the King, "so gross are these
accusations, and so free of consciousness am I of aught that
approaches them, that, by the honour of a King, I laugh, rather
than am wroth at them. My Provost guard daily put to death, as is
their duty, thieves and vagabonds; and is my crown to be slandered
with whatever these thieves and vagabonds may have said to our hot
cousin of Burgundy and his wise counsellors? I pray you, tell my
kind cousin, if he loves such companions, he had best keep them in
his own estates; for here they are like to meet short shrift and
a tight cord."

"My master needs no such subjects, Sir King," answered the Count,
in a tone more disrespectful than he had yet permitted himself to
make use of; "for the noble Duke uses not to inquire of witches,
wandering Egyptians, or others, upon the destiny and fate of his
neighbours and allies."

"We have had patience enough, and to spare," said the King,
interrupting him; "and since thy sole errand here seems to be for
the purpose of insult, we will send some one in our name to the
Duke of Burgundy -- convinced, in thus demeaning thyself towards
us, thou hast exceeded thy commission, whatever that may have been."

"On the contrary," said Crevecoeur, "I have not yet acquitted
myself of it -- Hearken, Louis of Valois, King of France -- Hearken,
nobles and gentlemen, who may be present. -- Hearken, all good and
true men. -- And thou, Toison d'Or," addressing the herald, "make
proclamation after me. -- I, Philip Crevecoeur of Cordes, Count
of the Empire, and Knight of the honourable and princely Order of
the Golden Fleece, in the name of the most puissant Lord and Prince,
Charles, by the grace of God, Duke of Burgundy and Lotharingia,
of Brabant and Limbourg, of Luxembourg and of Gueldres; Earl of
Flanders and of Artois; Count Palatine of Hainault, of Holland,
Zealand, Namur, and Zutphen; Marquis of the Holy Empire; Lord
of Friezeland, Salines, and Malines, do give you, Louis, King
of France, openly to know, that you, having refused to remedy the
various griefs, wrongs, and offences, done and wrought by you, or
by and through your aid, suggestion, and instigation, against the
said Duke and his loving subjects, he, by my mouth, renounces all
allegiance and fealty towards your crown and dignity -- pronounces
you false and faithless; and defies you as a Prince, and as a man.
There lies my gage, in evidence of what I have said."

So saying, he plucked the gauntlet off his right hand, and flung
it down on the floor of the hall.

Until this last climax of audacity, there had been a deep silence
in the royal apartment during the extraordinary scene; but no sooner
had the clash of the gauntlet, when cast down, been echoed by the
deep voice of Toison d'Or, the Burgundian herald, with the ejaculation,
"Vive Bourgogne!" than there was a general tumult. While Dunois,
Orleans, old Lord Crawford, and one or two others, whose rank
authorized their interference, contended which should lift up the
gauntlet, the others in the hall exclaimed, "Strike him down! Cut
him to pieces! Comes he here to insult the King of France in his
own palace?"

But the King appeased the tumult by exclaiming, in a voice like
thunder, which overawed and silenced every other sound, "Silence,
my lieges, lay not a hand on the man, not a finger on the gage!
-- And you, Sir Count, of what is your life composed, or how is it
warranted, that you thus place it on the cast of a die so perilous?
or is your Duke made of a different metal from other princes, since
he thus asserts his pretended quarrel in a manner so unusual?"

"He is indeed framed of a different and more noble metal than the
other princes of Europe," said the undaunted Count of Crevecoeur;
"for, when not one of them dared to give shelter to you -- to you, I
say, King Louis -- when you were yet only Dauphin, an exile from
France, and pursued by the whole bitterness of your father's revenge,
and all the power of his kingdom, you were received and protected
like a brother by my noble master, whose generosity of disposition
you have so grossly misused. Farewell, Sire, my mission is discharged."

So saying, the Count de Crevecoeur left the apartment abruptly,
and without farther leave taking.

"After him -- after him -- take up the gauntlet and after him!" said
the King. "I mean not you, Dunois, nor you, my Lord of Crawford,
who, methinks, may be too old for such hot frays; nor you, cousin
of Orleans, who are too young for them. -- My Lord Cardinal --
my Lord Bishop of Auxerre -- it is your holy office to make peace
among princes; do you lift the gauntlet, and remonstrate with Count
Crevecoeur on the sin he has committed, in thus insulting a great
monarch in his own Court, and forcing us to bring the miseries of
war upon his kingdom, and that of his neighbour."

Upon this direct personal appeal, the Cardinal Balue proceeded to
lift the gauntlet, with such precaution as one would touch an adder
-- so great was apparently his aversion to this symbol of war --
and presently left the royal apartment to hasten after the challenger.

Louis paused and looked round the circle of his courtiers, most of
whom, except such as we have already distinguished, being men of
low birth, and raised to their rank in the King's household for
other gifts than courage or feats of arms, looked pale on each
other, and had obviously received an unpleasant impression from
the scene which had been just acted. Louis gazed on them with
contempt, and then said aloud, "Although the Count of Crevecoeur
be presumptuous and overweening, it must be confessed that in him
the Duke of Burgundy hath as bold a servant as ever bore message
for a prince. I would I knew where to find as faithful an Envoy to
carry back my answer."

"You do your French nobles injustice, Sire," said Dunois; "not one
of them but would carry a defiance to Burgundy on the point of his
sword."

"And, Sire," said old Crawford, "you wrong also the Scottish
gentlemen who serve you. I, or any of my followers, being of meet
rank, would not hesitate a moment to call yonder proud Count to a
reckoning; my own arm is yet strong enough for the purpose, if I
have but your Majesty's permission."

"But your Majesty," continued Dunois, "will employ us in no service
through which we may win honour to ourselves, to your Majesty, or
to France."

"Say rather," said the King, "that I will not give way, Dunois,
to the headlong impetuosity, which, on some punctilio of chivalry,
would wreck yourselves, the throne, France, and all. There is not
one of you who knows not how precious every hour of peace is at
this moment, when so necessary to heal the wounds of a distracted
country; yet there is not one of you who would not rush into war
on account of the tale of a wandering gipsy, or of some errant
damosel, whose reputation, perhaps, is scarce higher. -- Here comes
the Cardinal, and we trust with more pacific tidings. -- How now,
my Lord, -- have you brought the Count to reason and to temper?"

"Sire," said Balue, "my task hath been difficult. I put it to
yonder proud Count, how he dared to use towards your Majesty the
presumptuous reproach with which his audience had broken up, and
which must be understood as proceeding, not from his master, but from
his own insolence, and as placing him therefore in your Majesty's
discretion for what penalty you might think proper."

"You said right," replied the King; "and what was his answer?"

"The Count," continued the Cardinal, "had at that moment his foot
in the stirrup, ready to mount; and, on hearing my expostulation,
he turned his head without altering his position. 'Had I,' said
he, 'been fifty leagues distant, and had heard by report that a
question vituperative of my Prince had been asked by the King of
France, I had, even at that distance, instantly mounted, and returned
to disburden my mind of the answer which I gave him but now.'"

"I said, sirs," said the King, turning around, without any show of
angry emotion, "that in the Count Philip of Crevecoeur, our cousin
the Duke possesses as worthy a servant as ever rode at a prince's
right hand. -- But you prevailed with him to stay?"

"To stay for twenty-four hours; and in the meanwhile to receive
again his gage of defiance," said the Cardinal; "he has dismounted
at the Fleur de Lys."

"See that he be nobly attended and cared for, at our charges,"
said the King; "such a servant is a jewel in a prince's crown.
Twenty-four hours?" he added, muttering to himself, and looking as
if he were stretching his eyes to see into futurity; "twenty-four
hours? It is of the shortest. Yet twenty-four hours, ably and
skilfully employed, may be worth a year in the hand of indolent
or incapable agents. -- Well -- to the forest -- to the forest, my
gallant lords! -- Orleans, my fair kinsman, lay aside that modesty,
though it becomes you; mind not my Joan's coyness. The Loire may
as soon avoid mingling with the Cher, as she from favouring your
suit, or you from preferring it," he added, as the unhappy prince
moved slowly on after his betrothed bride. "And now for your boar
spears, gentlemen -- for Allegre, my pricker, hath harboured one
that will try both dog and man. -- Dunois, lend me your spear --
take mine, it is too weighty for me; but when did you complain of
such a fault in your lance? -- To horse -- to horse, gentlemen."

And all the chase rode on.



CHAPTER IX: THE BOAR HUNT

I will converse with unrespective boys
And iron witted fools.  None are for me
that look into me with suspicious eyes.

KING RICHARD


All the experience which the Cardinal had been able to collect
of his master's disposition, did not, upon the present occasion,
prevent his falling into a great error of policy. His vanity induced
him to think that he had been more successful in prevailing upon
the Count of Crevecoeur to remain at Tours, than any other moderator
whom the King might have employed, would, in all probability,
have been. And as he was well aware of the importance which Louis
attached to the postponement of a war with the Duke of Burgundy, he
could not help showing that he conceived himself to have rendered
the King great and acceptable service. He pressed nearer to the
King's person than he was wont to do, and endeavoured to engage
him in conversation on the events of the morning.

This was injudicious in more respects than one, for princes love
not to see their subjects approach them with an air conscious of
deserving, and thereby seeming desirous to extort, acknowledgment
and recompense for their services; and Louis, the most jealous
monarch that ever lived, was peculiarly averse and inaccessible to
any one who seemed either to presume upon service rendered or to
pry into his secrets.

Yet, hurried away, as the most cautious sometimes are, by the self
satisfied humour of the moment, the Cardinal continued to ride
on the King's right hand, turning the discourse, whenever it was
possible, upon Crevecoeur and his embassy which, although it might
be the matter at that moment most in the King's thoughts, was
nevertheless precisely that which he was least willing to converse
on. At length Louis, who had listened to him with attention, yet
without having returned any answer which could tend to prolong the
conversation, signed to Dunois, who rode at no great distance, to
come up on the other side of his horse.

"We came hither for sport and exercise," said he, "but the reverend
Father here would have us hold a council of state."

"I hope your Highness will excuse my assistance," said Dunois; "I
am born to fight the battles of France, and have heart and hand
for that, but I have no head for her councils."

"My Lord Cardinal hath a head turned for nothing else, Dunois,"
answered Louis; "he hath confessed Crevecoeur at the Castle gate,
and he hath communicated to us his whole shrift. -- Said you not
the whole?" he continued, with an emphasis on the word, and a glance
at the Cardinal, which shot from betwixt his long dark eyelashes
as a dagger gleams when it leaves the scabbard.

The Cardinal trembled, as, endeavouring to reply to the King's jest,
he said that though his order were obliged to conceal the secrets
of their penitents in general, there was no sigillum confessionis
[seal of confession] which could not be melted at his Majesty's
breath.

"And as his Eminence," said the King, "is ready to communicate
the secrets of others to us, he naturally expects that we should
be equally communicative to him; and, in order to get upon this
reciprocal footing, he is very reasonably desirous to know if these
two ladies of Croye be actually in our territories. We are sorry
we cannot indulge his curiosity, not ourselves knowing in what
precise place errant damsels, disguised princesses, distressed
countesses, may lie leaguer within our dominions, which are, we
thank God and our Lady of Embrun, rather too extensive for us to
answer easily his Eminence's most reasonable inquiries. But supposing
they were with us, what say you, Dunois, to our cousin's peremptory
demand?"

"I will answer you, my Liege, if you will tell me in sincerity,
whether you want war or peace," replied Dunois, with a frankness
which, while it arose out of his own native openness and intrepidity
of character, made him from time to time a considerable favourite
with Louis, who, like all astucious persons, was as desirous of
looking into the hearts of others as of concealing his own.

"By my halidome," said he, "I should be as well contented as thyself,
Dunois, to tell thee my purpose, did I myself but know it exactly.
But say I declared for war, what should I do with this beautiful
and wealthy young heiress, supposing her to be in my dominions?"

"Bestow her in marriage on one of your own gallant followers, who
has a heart to love, and an arm to protect her," said Dunois.

"Upon thyself, ha!" said the King. "Pasques dieu! thou art more
politic than I took thee for, with all thy bluntness."

"Nay," answered Dunois, "I am aught except politic. By our Lady
of Orleans, I come to the point at once, as I ride my horse at the
ring. Your Majesty owes the house of Orleans at least one happy
marriage."

"And I will pay it, Count. Pasques dieu, I will pay it! -- See you
not yonder fair couple?"

The King pointed to the unhappy Duke of Orleans and the Princess,
who, neither daring to remain at a greater distance from the King,
nor in his sight appear separate from each other, were riding side
by side, yet with an interval of two or three yards betwixt them,
a space which timidity on the one side, and aversion on the other,
prevented them from diminishing, while neither dared to increase
it.

Dunois looked in the direction of the King's signal, and as
the situation of his unfortunate relative and the destined bride
reminded him of nothing so much as of two dogs, which, forcibly
linked together, remain nevertheless as widely separated as the
length of their collars will permit, he could not help shaking his
head, though he ventured not on any other reply to the hypocritical
tyrant. Louis seemed to guess his thoughts.

"It will be a peaceful and quiet household they will keep -- not
much disturbed with children, I should augur. But these are not
always a blessing."

[Here the King touches on the very purpose for which he pressed
on the match with such tyrannic severity, which was that as the
Princess's personal deformity admitted little chance of its being
fruitful, the branch of Orleans, which was next in succession to
the crown, might be, by the want of heirs, weakened or extinguished]

It was, perhaps, the recollection of his own filial ingratitude
that made the King pause as he uttered the last reflection, and
which converted the sneer that trembled on his lip into something
resembling an expression of contrition. But he instantly proceeded
in another tone.

"Frankly, my Dunois, much as I revere the holy sacrament of matrimony"
(here he crossed himself), "I would rather the house of Orleans
raised for me such gallant soldiers as thy father and thyself, who
share the blood royal of France without claiming its rights, than
that the country should be torn to pieces, like to England, by wars
arising from the rivalry of legitimate candidates for the crown.
The lion should never have more than one cub."

Dunois sighed and was silent, conscious that contradicting his
arbitrary Sovereign might well hurt his kinsman's interests but
could do him no service; yet he could not forbear adding, in the
next moment,

"Since your Majesty has alluded to the birth of my father, I must
needs own that, setting the frailty of his parents on one side, he
might be termed happier, and more fortunate, as the son of lawless
love than of conjugal hatred."

"Thou art a scandalous fellow, Dunois, to speak thus of holy wedlock,"
answered Louis jestingly. "But to the devil with the discourse,
for the boar is unharboured. -- Lay on the dogs, in the name of the
holy Saint Hubert! -- Ha! ha! tra-la-la-lira-la" -- And the King's
horn rang merrily through the woods as he pushed forward on the
chase, followed by two or three of his guards, amongst whom was
our friend Quentin Durward. And here it was remarkable that, even
in the keen prosecution of his favourite sport, the King in indulgence
of his caustic disposition, found leisure to amuse himself by
tormenting Cardinal Balue.

It was one of that able statesman's weaknesses, as we have elsewhere
hinted, to suppose himself, though of low rank and limited education,
qualified to play the courtier and the man of gallantry. He did
not, indeed, actually enter the lists of chivalrous combat, like
Becket, or levy soldiers, like Wolsey. But gallantry, in which they
also were proficients, was his professed pursuit; and he likewise
affected great fondness for the martial amusement of the chase.
Yet, however well he might succeed with certain ladies, to whom
his power, his wealth, and his influence as a statesman might atone
for deficiencies in appearance and manners, the gallant horses,
which he purchased at almost any price, were totally insensible
to the dignity of carrying a Cardinal, and paid no more respect to
him than they would have done to his father, the carter, miller,
or tailor, whom he rivalled in horsemanship. The King knew this,
and, by alternately exciting and checking his own horse, he brought
that of the Cardinal, whom he kept close by his side, into such
a state of mutiny against his rider, that it became apparent they
must soon part company; and then, in the midst of its starting,
bolting, rearing, and lashing out, alternately, the royal tormentor
rendered the rider miserable, by questioning him upon many affairs
of importance, and hinting his purpose to take that opportunity
of communicating to him some of those secrets of state which the
Cardinal had but a little while before seemed so anxious to learn.

[In imputing to the Cardinal a want of skill in horsemanship, I
recollected his adventure in Paris when attacked by assassins, on
which occasion his mule, being scared by the crowd, ran away with
the rider, and taking its course to a monastery, to the abbot of
which he formerly belonged; was the means of saving his master's
life. . . . S.]

A more awkward situation could hardly be imagined than that of a
privy councillor forced to listen to and reply to his sovereign,
while each fresh gambade of his unmanageable horse placed him in
a new and more precarious attitude -- his violet robe flying loose
in every direction, and nothing securing him from an instant and
perilous fall save the depth of the saddle, and its height before
and behind. Dunois laughed without restraint; while the King, who
had a private mode of enjoying his jest inwardly, without laughing
aloud, mildly rebuked his minister on his eager passion for the
chase, which would not permit him to dedicate a few moments to
business.

"I will no longer be your hindrance to a course," continued he,
addressing the terrified Cardinal, and giving his own horse the
rein at the same time.

Before Balue could utter a word by way of answer or apology, his
horse, seizing the bit with his teeth, went forth at an uncontrollable
gallop, soon leaving behind the King and Dunois, who followed at a
more regulated pace, enjoying the statesman's distressed predicament.
If any of our readers has chanced to be run away with in his time
(as we ourselves have in ours), he will have a full sense at once
of the pain, peril, and absurdity of the situation. Those four
limbs of the quadruped, which, noway under the rider's control,
nor sometimes under that of the creature they more properly belong
to, fly at such a rate as if the hindermost meant to overtake the
foremost; those clinging legs of the biped which we so often wish
safely planted on the greensward, but which now only augment our
distress by pressing the animal's sides -- the hands which have
forsaken the bridle for the mane -- the body, which, instead of
sitting upright on the centre of gravity, as old Angelo [a celebrated
riding and fencing master at the beginning of the nineteenth
century] used to recommend, or stooping forward like a jockey's at
Newmarket [the scene of the annual horse races has been at Newmarket
Heath since the time of James I], lies, rather than hangs, crouched
upon the back of the animal, with no better chance of saving
itself than a sack of corn -- combine to make a picture more than
sufficiently ludicrous to spectators, however uncomfortable to the
exhibiter. But add to this some singularity of dress or appearance
on the part of the unhappy cavalier -- a robe of office, a splendid
uniform, or any other peculiarity of costume -- and let the scene
of action be a race course, a review, a procession, or any other
place of concourse and public display, and if the poor wight would
escape being the object of a shout of inextinguishable laughter,
he must contrive to break a limb or two, or, which will be more
effectual, to be killed on the spot; for on no slighter condition
will his fall excite anything like serious sympathy. On the present
occasion, the short violet coloured gown of the Cardinal, which he
used as riding dress (having changed his long robes before he left
the Castle), his scarlet stockings, and scarlet hat, with the long
strings hanging down, together with his utter helplessness, gave
infinite zest to his exhibition of horsemanship.

The horse, having taken matters entirely into his own hand, flew
rather than galloped up a long green avenue; overtook the pack in
hard pursuit of the boar, and then, having overturned one or two
yeomen prickers, who little expected to be charged in the rear --
having ridden down several dogs, and greatly confused the chase
-- animated by the clamorous expostulations and threats of the
huntsman, carried the terrified Cardinal past the formidable animal
itself, which was rushing on at a speedy trot, furious and embossed
with the foam which he churned around his tusks. Balue, on beholding
himself so near the boar, set up a dreadful cry for help, which,
or perhaps the sight of the boar, produced such an effect on his
horse, that the animal interrupted its headlong career by suddenly
springing to one side; so that the Cardinal, who had long kept his
seat only because the motion was straight forward, now fell heavily
to the ground. The conclusion of Balue's chase took place so near
the boar that, had not the animal been at that moment too much
engaged about his own affairs, the vicinity might have proved as
fatal to the Cardinal, as it is said to have done to Favila, King
of the Visigoths of Spain [he was killed by a bear while hunting].
The powerful churchman got off, however, for the fright, and, crawling
as hastily as he could out of the way of hounds and huntsmen, saw
the whole chase sweep by him without affording him assistance, for
hunters in those days were as little moved by sympathy for such
misfortunes as they are in our own. The King, as he passed, said
to Dunois, "Yonder lies his Eminence low enough -- he is no great
huntsman, though for a fisher (when a secret is to be caught) he
may match Saint Peter himself. He has, however, for once, I think,
met with his match."

The Cardinal did not hear the words, but the scornful look with
which they were spoken led him to suspect their general import. The
devil is said to seize such opportunities of temptation as were now
afforded by the passions of Balue, bitterly moved as they had been
by the scorn of the King. The momentary fright was over so soon as
he had assured himself that his fall was harmless; but mortified
vanity, and resentment against his Sovereign, had a much longer
influence on his feelings. After all the chase had passed him, a
single cavalier, who seemed rather to be a spectator than a partaker
of the sport, rode up with one or two attendants, and expressed
no small surprise to find the Cardinal upon the ground, without
a horse or attendants, and in such a plight as plainly showed the
nature of the accident which had placed him there. To dismount,
and offer his assistance in this predicament -- to cause one of his
attendants to resign a staid and quiet palfrey for the Cardinal's
use -- to express his surprise at the customs of the French Court,
which thus permitted them to abandon to the dangers of the chase,
and forsake in his need, their wisest statesman, were the natural
modes of assistance and consolation which so strange a rencontre
supplied to Crevecoeur, for it was the Burgundian ambassador who
came to the assistance of the fallen Cardinal.

He found the minister in a lucky time and humour for essaying some
of those practices on his fidelity, to which it is well known that
Balue had the criminal weakness to listen. Already in the morning,
as the jealous temper of Louis had suggested, more had passed
betwixt them than the Cardinal durst have reported to his master.
But although he had listened with gratified ears to the high value,
which, he was assured by Crevecoeur, the Duke of Burgundy placed
upon his person and talents, and not without a feeling of temptation,
when the Count hinted at the munificence of his master's disposition,
and the rich benefices of Flanders, it was not until the accident,
as we have related, had highly irritated him that, stung with
wounded vanity, he resolved, in a fatal hour, to show Louis XI that
no enemy can be so dangerous as an offended friend and confidant.
On the present occasions he hastily requested Crevecoeur to separate
from him lest they should be observed, but appointed him a meeting
for the evening in the Abbey of Saint Martin's at Tours, after vesper
service; and that in a tone which assured the Burgundian that his
master had obtained an advantage hardly to have been hoped for
except in such a moment of exasperation. In the meanwhile, Louis,
who, though the most politic Prince of his time, upon this, as on
other occasions, had suffered his passions to interfere with his
prudence, followed contentedly the chase of the wild boar, which
was now come to an interesting point. It had so happened that a
sounder (i.e., in the language of the period, a boar of only two
years old), had crossed the track of the proper object of the chase,
and withdrawn in pursuit of him all the dogs (except two or three
couples of old stanch hounds) and the greater part of the huntsmen.
The King saw, with internal glee, Dunois, as well as others,
follow upon this false scent, and enjoyed in secret the thought
of triumphing over that accomplished knight in the art of venerie,
which was then thought almost as glorious as war. Louis was well
mounted, and followed, close on the hounds; so that, when the
original boar turned to bay in a marshy piece of ground, there was
no one near him but the King himself. Louis showed all the bravery
and expertness of an experienced huntsman; for, unheeding the
danger, he rode up to the tremendous animal, which was defending
itself with fury against the dogs, and struck him with his boar
spear; yet, as the horse shied from the boar, the blow was not so
effectual as either to kill or disable him. No effort could prevail
on the horse to charge a second time; so that the King, dismounting,
advanced on foot against the furious animal, holding naked in his
hand one of those short, sharp, straight, and pointed swords, which
huntsmen used for such encounters. The boar instantly quitted the
dogs to rush on his human enemy, while the King, taking his station,
and posting himself firmly, presented the sword, with the purpose
of aiming it at the boar's throat, or rather chest, within
the collarbone; in which case, the weight of the beast, and the
impetuosity of its career, would have served to accelerate its own
destruction. But, owing to the wetness of the ground, the King's
foot slipped, just as this delicate and perilous manoeuvre ought to
have been accomplished, so that the point of the sword encountering
the cuirass of bristles on the outside of the creature's shoulder,
glanced off without making any impression, and Louis fell flat on
the ground. This was so far fortunate for the Monarch, because the
animal, owing to the King's fall, missed his blow in his turn, and
in passing only rent with his tusk the King's short hunting cloak,
instead of ripping up his thigh. But when, after running a little
ahead in the fury of his course, the boar turned to repeat his attack
on the King at the moment when he was rising, the life of Louis
was in imminent danger. At this critical moment, Quentin Durward,
who had been thrown out in the chase by the slowness of his horse,
but who, nevertheless, had luckily distinguished and followed the
blast of the King's horn, rode up, and transfixed the animal with
his spear.

The King, who had by this time recovered his feet, came in turn to
Durward's assistance, and cut the animal's throat with his sword.
Before speaking a word to Quentin, he measured the huge creature
not only by paces, but even by feet -- then wiped the sweat from
his brow, and the blood from his hands -- then took off his hunting
cap, hung it on a bush, and devoutly made his orisons to the little
leaden images which it contained -- and at length, looking upon
Durward, said to him, "Is it thou, my young Scot? -- Thou hast begun
thy woodcraft well, and Maitre Pierre owes thee as good entertainment
as he gave thee at the Fleur de Lys yonder. -- Why dost thou not
speak? Thou hast lost thy forwardness and fire, methinks, at the
Court, where others find both."

Quentin, as shrewd a youth as ever Scottish breeze breathed caution
into, had imbibed more awe than confidence towards his dangerous
master, and was far too wise to embrace the perilous permission
of familiarity which he seemed thus invited to use. He answered
in very few and well chosen words, that if he ventured to address
his Majesty at all, it could be but to crave pardon for the rustic
boldness with which he had conducted himself when ignorant of his
high rank.

"Tush! man," said the King; "I forgive thy sauciness for thy spirit
and shrewdness. I admired how near thou didst hit upon my gossip
Tristan's occupation. You have nearly tasted of his handiwork
since, as I am given to understand. I bid thee beware of him; he is
a merchant who deals in rough bracelets and tight necklaces. Help
me to my horse; -- I like thee, and will do thee good. Build on no
man's favour but mine -- not even on thine uncle's or Lord Crawford's
-- and say nothing of thy timely aid in this matter of the boar;
for if a man makes boast that he has served a King in such pinch,
he must take the braggart humour for its own recompense."

The King then winded his horn, which brought up Dunois and several
attendants, whose compliments he received on the slaughter of such
a noble animal, without scrupling to appropriate a much greater
share of merit than actually belonged to him; for he mentioned
Durward's assistance as slightly as a sportsman of rank, who,
in boasting of the number of birds which he has bagged, does not
always dilate upon the presence and assistance of the gamekeeper.
He then ordered Dunois to see that the boar's carcass was sent to
the brotherhood of Saint Martin, at Tours, to mend their fare on
holydays, and that they might remember the King in their private
devotions.

"And," said Louis, "who hath seen his Eminence my Lord Cardinal?
Methinks it were but poor courtesy, and cold regard to Holy Church
to leave him afoot here in the forest."

"May it please you," said Quentin, when he saw that all were silent,
"I saw his Lordship the Cardinal accommodated with a horse, on
which he left the forest."

"Heaven cares for its own," replied the King. "Set forward to the
Castle, my lords; we'll hunt no more this morning. -- You, Sir
Squire," addressing Quentin, "reach me my wood knife -- it has
dropt from the sheath beside the quarry there. Ride on, Dunois --
I follow instantly."

Louis, whose lightest motions were often conducted like stratagems,
thus gained an opportunity to ask Quentin privately, "My bonny
Scot, thou hast an eye, I see. Canst thou tell me who helped the
Cardinal to a palfrey? -- Some stranger, I should suppose; for,
as I passed without stopping, the courtiers would likely be in no
hurry to do him such a timely good turn."

"I saw those who aided his Eminence but an instant, Sire," said
Quentin; "it was only a hasty glance, for I had been unluckily
thrown out, and was riding fast to be in my place; but I think it
was the Ambassador of Burgundy and his people."

"Ha," said Louis. "Well, be it so. France will match them yet."

There was nothing more remarkable happened, and the King, with his
retinue, returned to the Castle.



CHAPTER X: THE SENTINEL

Where should this music be?  i' the air or the earth?

THE TEMPEST

I was all ear,
And took in strains that might create a soul
Under the ribs of death.

COMUS


Quentin had hardly reached his little cabin, in order to make some
necessary changes in his dress, when his worthy relation required
to know the full particulars of all that had befallen him at the
hunt.

The youth, who could not help thinking that his uncle's hand was
probably more powerful than his understanding, took care, in his
reply, to leave the King in full possession of the victory which he
had seemed desirous to appropriate. Le Balafre's reply was a boast
of how much better he himself would have behaved in the like
circumstances, and it was mixed with a gentle censure of his nephew's
slackness in not making in to the King's assistance, when he might
be in imminent peril. The youth had prudence, in answer, to abstain
from all farther indication of his own conduct, except that, according
to the rules of woodcraft, he held it ungentle to interfere with
the game attacked by another hunter, unless he was specially called
upon for his assistance. The discussion was scarcely ended, when
occasion was afforded Quentin to congratulate himself for observing
some reserve towards his kinsman. A low tap at the door announced
a visitor -- it was presently opened, and Oliver Dain, or Mauvais,
or Diable, for by all these names he was known, entered the apartment.

This able but most unprincipled man has been already described in
so far as his exterior is concerned. The aptest resemblance of his
motions and manners might perhaps be to those of a domestic cat,
which, while couching in seeming slumber, or gliding through the
apartment with slow, stealthy, and timid steps, is now engaged
in watching the hole of some unfortunate mouse, now in rubbing
herself with apparent confidence and fondness against those by whom
she desires to be caressed, and, presently after, is flying upon
her prey, or scratching, perhaps, the very object of her former
cajolements.

He entered with stooping shoulders, a humble and modest look, and
threw such a degree of civility into his address to the Seignior
Balafre, that no one who saw the interview could have avoided
concluding that he came to ask a boon of the Scottish Archer. He
congratulated Lesly on the excellent conduct of his young kinsman
in the chase that day, which, he observed, had attracted the King's
particular attention. He here paused for a reply; and, with his
eyes fixed on the ground, save just when once or twice they stole
upwards to take a side glance at Quentin, he heard Balafre observe
that his Majesty had been unlucky in not having himself by his side
instead of his nephew, as he would questionless have made in, and
speared the brute, a matter which he understood Quentin had left
upon his Majesty's royal hands, so far as he could learn the story.

"But it will be a lesson to his Majesty," he said, "while he lives, to
mount a man of my inches on a better horse; for how could my great
hill of a Flemish dray horse keep up with his Majesty's Norman
runner? I am sure I spurred till his sides were furrowed. It is ill
considered, Master Oliver, and you must represent it to his Majesty."

Master Oliver only replied to this observation by turning towards
the bold, bluff speaker one of those slow, dubious glances which,
accompanied by a slight motion of the hand, and a gentle depression
of the head to one side, may be either interpreted as a mute assent
to what is said, or as a cautious deprecation of farther prosecution
of the subject. It was a keener, more scrutinizing glance, which
he bent on the youth, as he said, with an ambiguous smile, "So,
young man, is it the wont of Scotland to suffer your Princes to
be endangered for the lack of aid in such emergencies as this of
today?"

"It is our custom," answered Quentin, determined to throw no farther
light on the subject, "not to encumber them with assistance in
honourable pastimes, when they can aid themselves without it. We
hold that a Prince in a hunting field must take his chance with
others, and that he comes there for the very purpose. What were
woodcraft without fatigue and without danger?"

"You hear the silly boy," said his uncle; "that is always the way
with him; he hath an answer or a reason ready to be rendered to
every one. I wonder whence he hath caught the gift; I never could
give a reason for anything I have ever done in my life, except
for eating when I was a-hungry, calling the muster roll, and such
points of duty as the like."

"And pray, worthy Seignior," said the royal tonsor, looking at him
from under his eyelids, "what might your reason be for calling the
muster roll on such occasions?"

"Because the Captain commanded me," said Le Balafre. "By Saint
Giles [patron saint of lepers, beggars, and cripples. He has been
especially venerated in England and Scotland], I know no other
reason! If he had commanded Tyrie or Cunningham, they must have
done the same."

"A most military final cause!" said Oliver. "But, Seignior Le
Balafre, you will be glad, doubtless, to learn that his Majesty is
so far from being displeased with your nephew's conduct, that he
hath selected him to execute a piece of duty this afternoon."

"Selected him?" said Balafre in great surprise -- "selected me, I
suppose you mean?"

"I mean precisely as I speak," replied the barber, in a mild but
decided tone; "the King hath a commission with which to intrust
your nephew."

"Why, wherefore, and for what reason?" said Balafre. "Why doth he
choose the boy, and not me?"

"I can go no farther back than your own ultimate cause, Seignior
Le Balafre, such are his Majesty's commands. But," said he, "if
I might use the presumption to form a conjecture, it may be his
Majesty hath work to do, fitter for a youth like your nephew, than
for an experienced warrior like yourself, Seignior Balafre. --
Wherefore, young gentleman, get your weapons and follow me. Bring
with you a harquebuss, for you are to mount sentinel."

"Sentinel!" said the uncle. "Are you sure you are right, Master
Oliver? The inner guards of the Castle have ever been mounted by
those only who have (like me) served twelve years in our honourable
body."

"I am quite certain of his Majesty's pleasure," said Oliver, "and
must no longer delay executing it."

"But," said Le Balafre, "my nephew is not even a free Archer, being
only an Esquire, serving under my lance."

"Pardon me," answered Oliver; "the King sent for the register not
half an hour since, and enrolled him among the Guard. Have the
goodness to assist to put your nephew in order for the service."

Balafre, who had no ill nature, or even much jealousy in his
disposition, hastily set about adjusting his nephew's dress, and
giving him directions for his conduct under arms, but was unable
to refrain from larding them with interjections of surprise at such
luck's chancing to fall upon the young man so early.

It had never taken place before in the Scottish Guard, he said,
not even in his own instance. But doubtless his service must be
to mount guard over the popinjays and Indian peacocks, which the
Venetian ambassador had lately presented to the King -- it could
be nothing else; and such duty being only fit for a beardless boy
(here he twirled his own grim mustaches), he was glad the lot had
fallen on his fair nephew.

Quick and sharp of wit, as well as ardent in fancy, Quentin saw
visions of higher importance in this early summons to the royal
presence, and his heart beat high at the anticipation of rising into
speedy distinction. He determined carefully to watch the manners
and language of his conductor, which he suspected must, in some
cases at least, be interpreted by contraries, as soothsayers are
said to discover the interpretation of dreams. He could not but
hug himself on having observed strict secrecy on the events of the
chase, and then formed a resolution, which, for so young a person,
had much prudence in it, that while he breathed the air of this
secluded and mysterious Court, he would keep his thoughts locked
in his bosom, and his tongue under the most careful regulation.

His equipment was soon complete, and, with his harquebuss on his
shoulder (for though they retained the name of Archers, the Scottish
Guard very early substituted firearms for the long bow, in the use
of which their nation never excelled), he followed Master Oliver
out of the barrack.

His uncle looked long after him, with a countenance in which wonder
was blended with curiosity; and though neither envy nor the malignant
feelings which it engenders entered into his honest meditations,
there was yet a sense of wounded or diminished self importance,
which mingled with the pleasure excited by his nephew's favourable
commencement of service.

He shook his head gravely, opened a privy cupboard, took out a
large bottrine of stout old wine, shook it to examine how low the
contents had ebbed, filled and drank a hearty cup; then took his
seat, half reclining, on the great oaken settle; and having once
again slowly shaken his head, received so much apparent benefit
from the oscillation, that, like the toy called a mandarin, he
continued the motion until he dropped into a slumber, from which
he was first roused by the signal to dinner.

When Quentin Durward left his uncle to these sublime meditations,
he followed his conductor, Master Oliver, who, without crossing any
of the principal courts, led him, partly through private passages
exposed to the open air, but chiefly through a maze of stairs,
vaults, and galleries, communicating with each other by secret
doors and at unexpected points, into a large and spacious latticed
gallery, which, from its breadth, might have been almost termed a
hall, hung with tapestry more ancient than beautiful, and with a
very few of the hard, cold, ghastly looking pictures, belonging to
the first dawn of the arts which preceded their splendid sunrise.
These were designed to represent the Paladins of Charlemagne, who
made such a distinguished figure in the romantic history of France;
and as this gigantic form of the celebrated Orlando constituted the
most prominent figure, the apartment acquired from him the title
of Rolando's Hall, or Roland's Gallery.

[Charlemagne . . . was accounted a saint during the dark ages:
and Louis XI, as one of his successors, honoured his shrine with
peculiar observance. S.]

[Orlando: also called Roland. His history may be read in the Chanson
de Roland.]

"You will keep watch here," said Oliver, in a low whisper, as if
the hard delineations of monarchs and warriors around could have
been offended at the elevation of his voice, or as if he had feared
to awaken the echoes that lurked among the groined vaults and Gothic
drop work on the ceiling of this huge and dreary apartment.

"What are the orders and signs of my watch?" answered Quentin, in
the same suppressed tone.

"Is your harquebuss loaded?" replied Oliver, without answering his
query.

"That," answered Quentin, "is soon done;" and proceeded to charge
his weapon, and to light the slow match (by which when necessary
it was discharged) at the embers of a wood fire, which was expiring
in the huge hall chimney -- a chimney itself so large that it
might have been called a Gothic closet or chapel appertaining to
the hall.

When this was performed, Oliver told him that he was ignorant of
one of the high privileges of his own corps, which only received
orders from the King in person, or the High Constable of France, in
lieu of their own officers. "You are placed here by his Majesty's
command, young man," added Oliver, "and you will not be long here
without knowing wherefore you are summoned. Meantime your walk
extends along this gallery. You are permitted to stand still while
you list, but on no account to sit down, or quit your weapon. You
are not to sing aloud, or whistle, upon any account; but you may,
if you list, mutter some of the church's prayers, or what else you
list that has no offence in it, in a low voice. Farewell, and keep
good watch."

"Good watch!" thought the youthful soldier as his guide stole away
from him with that noiseless gliding step which was peculiar to
him, and vanished through a side door behind the arras.

"Good watch! but upon whom and against whom? -- for what, save
bats or rats, are there here to contend with, unless these grim
old representatives of humanity should start into life for the
disturbance of my guard? Well, it is my duty, I suppose, and I must
perform it."

With the vigorous purpose of discharging his duty, even to the
very rigour, he tried to while away the time with some of the pious
hymns which he had learned in the convent in which he had found
shelter after the death of his father -- allowing in his own mind,
that, but for the change of a novice's frock for the rich military
dress which he now wore, his soldierly walk in the royal gallery
of France resembled greatly those of which he had tired excessively
in the cloistered seclusion of Aberbrothick.

Presently, as if to convince himself he now belonged not to the
cell but to the world, he chanted to himself, but in such tone as
not to exceed the license given to him, some of the ancient rude
ballads which the old family harper had taught him, of the defeat
of the Danes at Aberlemno and Forres, the murder of King Duffus at
Forfar, and other pithy sonnets and lays which appertained to the
history of his distant native country, and particularly of the
district to which he belonged. This wore away a considerable space
of time, and it was now more than two hours past noon when Quentin
was reminded by his appetite that the good fathers of Aberbrothick,
however strict in demanding his attendance upon the hours of devotion,
were no less punctual in summoning him to those of refection; whereas
here, in the interior of a royal palace, after a morning spent in
exercise, and a noon exhausted in duty, no man seemed to consider it
as a natural consequence that he must be impatient for his dinner.

There are, however, charms in sweet sounds which can lull to rest
even the natural feelings of impatience by which Quentin was now
visited. At the opposite extremities of the long hall or gallery
were two large doors, ornamented with heavy architraves, probably
opening into different suites of apartments, to which the gallery
served as a medium of mutual communication. As the sentinel directed
his solitary walk betwixt these two entrances, which formed the
boundary of his duty, he was startled by a strain of music which
was suddenly waked near one of those doors, and which, at least in
his imagination, was a combination of the same lute and voice by
which he had been enchanted on the preceding day. All the dreams of
yesterday morning, so much weakened by the agitating circumstances which
he had since undergone, again arose more vivid from their slumber,
and, planted on the spot where his ear could most conveniently, drink
in the sounds, Quentin remained, with his harquebuss shouldered,
his mouth half open, ear, eye, and soul directed to the spot, rather
the picture of a sentinel than a living form, -- without any other
idea than that of catching, if possible, each passing sound of the
dulcet melody.

These delightful sounds were but partially heard -- they languished,
lingered, ceased entirely, and were from time to time renewed after
uncertain intervals. But, besides that music, like beauty, is often
most delightful, or at least most interesting, to the imagination
when its charms are but partially displayed and the imagination
is left to fill up what is from distance but imperfectly detailed,
Quentin had matter enough to fill up his reverie during the intervals
of fascination. He could not doubt, from the report of his uncle's
comrades and the scene which had passed in the presence chamber
that morning, that the siren who thus delighted his ears, was not,
as he had profanely supposed, the daughter or kinswoman of a base
Cabaretier [inn keeper], but the same disguised and distressed
Countess for whose cause kings and princes were now about to buckle
on armour, and put lance in rest. A hundred wild dreams, such as
romantic and adventurous youth readily nourished in a romantic and
adventurous age, chased from his eyes the bodily presentiment of
the actual scene, and substituted their own bewildering delusions,
when at once, and rudely, they were banished by a rough grasp laid
upon his weapon, and a harsh voice which exclaimed, close to his
ear, "Ha! Pasques dieu, Sir Squire, methinks you keep sleepy ward."

The voice was the tuneless, yet impressive and ironical tone
of Maitre Pierre, and Quentin, suddenly recalled to himself, saw,
with shame and fear, that he had, in his reverie, permitted Louis
himself -- entering probably by some secret door, and gliding along
by the wall, or behind the tapestry -- to approach him so nearly
as almost to master his weapon.

The first impulse of his surprise was to free his harquebuss by
a violent exertion, which made the King stagger backward into the
hall. His next apprehension was that, in obeying the animal instinct,
as it may be termed, which prompts a brave man to resist an attempt
to disarm him, he had aggravated, by a personal struggle with the
King, the displeasure produced by the negligence with which he
had performed his duty upon guard; and, under this impression, he
recovered his harquebuss without almost knowing what he did, and,
having again shouldered it, stood motionless before the Monarch,
whom he had reason to conclude he had mortally offended.

Louis, whose tyrannical disposition was less founded on natural
ferocity or cruelty of temper, than on cold blooded policy
and jealous suspicion, had, nevertheless, a share of that caustic
severity which would have made him a despot in private conversation,
and he always seemed to enjoy the pain which he inflicted on
occasions like the present. But he did not push his triumph far,
and contented himself with saying, "Thy service of the morning hath
already overpaid some negligence in so young a soldier. -- Hast
thou dined?"

Quentin, who rather looked to be sent to the Provost Marshal than
greeted with such a compliment, answered humbly in the negative.

"Poor lad," said Louis, in a softer tone than he usually spoke in,
"hunger hath made him drowsy. -- I know thine appetite is a wolf,"
he continued; "and I will save thee from one wild beast as thou
didst me from another; thou hast been prudent too in that matter,
and I thank thee for it. -- Canst thou yet hold out an hour without
food?"

"Four-and-twenty, Sire," replied Durward, "or I were no true Scot."

"I would not for another kingdom be the pasty which should encounter
thee after such a vigil," said the King; "but the question now is,
not of thy dinner, but of my own. I admit to my table this day, and
in strict privacy, the Cardinal Balue and this Burgundian -- this
Count de Crevecoeur -- and something may chance; the devil is most
busy when foes meet on terms of truce."

He stopped, and remained silent, with a deep and gloomy look. As
the King was in no haste to proceed, Quentin at length ventured to
ask what his duty was to be in these circumstances.

"To keep watch at the beauffet, with thy loaded weapon," said Louis;
"and if there is treason, to shoot the traitor."

"Treason, Sire! and in this guarded castle!" exclaimed Durward.

"You think it impossible," said the King, not offended, it would
seem, by his frankness; "but our history has shown that treason can
creep into an auger hole. -- Treason excluded by guards! Oh, thou
silly boy! -- quis custodiat ipsos custodes -- who shall exclude
the treason of those very warders?"

"Their Scottish honour," answered Durward, boldly.

"True: most right: -- thou pleasest me," said the King, cheerfully;
"the Scottish honour was ever true, and I trust it accordingly.
But treason!" -- here he relapsed into his former gloomy mood, and
traversed the apartment with unequal steps -- "she sits at our feasts,
she sparkles in our bowls, she wears the beard of our counsellors,
the smiles of our courtiers, the crazy laugh of our jesters -- above
all, she lies hid under the friendly air of a reconciled enemy.
Louis of Orleans trusted John of Burgundy -- he was murdered in
the Rue Barbette. John of Burgundy trusted the faction of Orleans
-- he was murdered on the bridge of Montereau. -- I will trust no
one -- no one. Hark ye; I will keep my eye on that insolent Count;
ay, and on the churchman too, whom I hold not too faithful. When
I say, Ecosse, en avant [Forward, Scotland], shoot Crevecoeur dead
on the spot."

"It is my duty," said Quentin, "your Majesty's life being endangered."

"Certainly -- I mean it no otherwise," said the King. "What should
I get by slaying this insolent soldier? -- Were it the Constable
Saint Paul indeed" -- here he paused, as if he thought he had said
a word too much, but resumed, laughing, "our brother-in-law, James
of Scotland -- your own James, Quentin -- poniarded the Douglas
when on a hospitable visit, within his own royal castle of Skirling."

[Douglas: the allusion in the text is to the fate of James, Earl of
Douglas, who, upon the faith of a safe conduct, after several acts
of rebellion, visited James the Second in the Castle of Stirling.
The king stabbed Douglas, who received his mortal wound from Sir
Patrick Grey, one of the king's attendants.]

"Of Stirling," said Quentin, "and so please your Highness. -- It
was a deed of which came little good."

"Stirling call you the castle?" said the King, overlooking the
latter part of Quentin's speech. "Well, let it be Stirling -- the
name is nothing to the purpose. But I meditate no injury to these
men -- none. -- It would serve me nothing. They may not purpose
equally fair by me -- I rely on thy harquebuss."

"I shall be prompt at the signal," said Quentin; "but yet"

"You hesitate," said the King. "Speak out -- I give thee full leave.
From such as thou art, hints may be caught that are right valuable."

"I would only presume to say," replied Quentin, "that your Majesty
having occasion to distrust this Burgundian, I marvel that you
suffer him to approach so near your person, and that in privacy."

"Oh, content you, Sir Squire," said the King. "There are some
dangers which when they are braved, disappear, and which yet, when
there is an obvious and apparent dread of them displayed, become
certain and inevitable. When I walk boldly up to a surly mastiff,
and caress him, it is ten to one I soothe him to good temper; if I
show fear of him, he flies on me and rends me. I will be thus far
frank with thee. -- It concerns me nearly that this man returns
not to his headlong master in a resentful humour. I run my risk,
therefore. I have never shunned to expose my life for the weal of
my kingdom. Follow me."

Louis led his young Life Guardsman, for whom he seemed to have taken
a special favour, through the side door by which he had himself
entered, saying, as he showed it him, "He who would thrive at Court
must know the private wickets and concealed staircases -- ay, and
the traps and pitfalls of the palace, as well as the principal
entrances, folding doors, and portals."

After several turns and passages, the King entered a small vaulted
room, where a table was prepared for dinner with three covers. The
whole furniture and arrangements of the room were plain almost to
meanness. A beauffet, or folding and movable cupboard, held a few
pieces of gold and silver plate, and was the only article in the
chamber which had in the slightest degree the appearance of royalty.
Behind this cupboard, and completely hidden by it, was the post which
Louis assigned to Quentin Durward; and after having ascertained,
by going to different parts of the room, that he was invisible
from all quarters, he gave him his last charge: "Remember the word,
Posse, en avant; and so soon as ever I utter these sounds, throw
down the screen -- spare not for cup or goblet, and be sure thou
take good aim at Crevecoeur -- if thy piece fail, cling to him,
and use thy knife -- Oliver and I can deal with the Cardinal."

Having thus spoken, he whistled aloud, and summoned into the
apartment Oliver, who was premier valet of the chamber as well as
barber, and who, in fact, performed all offices immediately connected
with the King's person, and who now appeared, attended by two old
men, who were the only assistants or waiters at the royal table. So
soon as the King had taken his place, the visitors were admitted;
and Quentin, though himself unseen, was so situated as to remark
all the particulars of the interview.

The King welcomed his visitors with a degree of cordiality which
Quentin had the utmost difficulty to reconcile with the directions
which he had previously received, and the purpose for which he stood
behind the beauffet with his deadly weapon in readiness. Not only
did Louis appear totally free from apprehension of any kind, but
one would have supposed that those visitors whom he had done the
high honour to admit to his table were the very persons in whom he
could most unreservedly confide, and whom he was, most willing to
honour. Nothing could be more dignified, and, at the same time,
more courteous than his demeanour. While all around him, including
even his own dress, was far beneath the splendour which the petty
princes of the kingdom displayed in their festivities, his own
language and manners were those of a mighty Sovereign in his most
condescending mood. Quentin was tempted to suppose, either that the
whole of his previous conversation with Louis had been a dream, or
that the dutiful demeanour of the Cardinal, and the frank, open,
and gallant bearing of the Burgundian noble had entirely erased
the King's suspicion.

But whilst the guests, in obedience to the King, were in the act
of placing themselves at the table, his Majesty darted one keen
glance on them, and then instantly directed his look to Quentin's
post. This was done in an instant; but the glance conveyed so much
doubt and hatred towards his guests, such a peremptory injunction
on Quentin to be watchful in attendance, and prompt in execution,
that no room was left for doubting that the sentiments of Louis
continued unaltered, and his apprehensions unabated. He was,
therefore, more than ever astonished at the deep veil under which
that Monarch was able to conceal the movements of his jealous
disposition.

Appearing to have entirely forgotten the language which Crevecoeur
had held towards him in the face of his Court, the King conversed
with him of old times, of events which had occurred during his own
exile in the territories of Burgundy, and inquired respecting all
the nobles with whom he had been then familiar, as if that period
had indeed been the happiest of his life, and as if he retained
towards all who had contributed to soften the term of his exile,
the kindest and most grateful sentiments.

"To an ambassador of another nation," he said, "I would have
thrown something of state into our reception; but to an old friend,
who often shared my board at the Castle of Genappes [during his
residence in Burgundy, in his father's lifetime, Genappes was the
usual abode of Louis. . . . S.], I wished to show myself, as I love
best to live, old Louis of Valois, as simple and plain as any of
his Parisian badauds [idlers]. But I directed them to make some
better cheer than ordinary for you, Sir Count, for I know your
Burgundian proverb, 'Mieux vault bon repas que bel habit' [a good
meal is better than a beautiful coat. (Present spelling is vaut.)];
and therefore I bid them have some care of our table. For our wine,
you know well it is the subject of an old emulation betwixt France
and Burgundy, which we will presently reconcile; for I will drink
to you in Burgundy, and you, Sir Count, shall pledge me in Champagne.
-- Here, Oliver, let me have a cup of Vin d'Auxerre;" and he hummed
gaily a song then well known,


"Auxerre est le boisson des Rois."

[Auxerre wine is the beverage of kings]


"Here, Sir Count, I drink to the health of the noble Duke of Burgundy,
our kind and loving cousin. -- Oliver, replenish yon golden cup
with Vin de Rheims, and give it to the Count on your knee -- he
represents our loving brother. -- My Lord Cardinal, we will ourself
fill your cup."

"You have already, Sire, even to overflowing," said the Cardinal,
with the lowly mien of a favourite towards an indulgent master.

"Because we know that your Eminence can carry it with a steady
hand," said Louis. "But which side do you espouse in the great
controversy, Sillery or Auxerre -- France or Burgundy?"

"I will stand neutral, Sire," said the Cardinal, "and replenish my
cup with Auvernat."

"A neutral has a perilous part to sustain," said the King; but as he
observed the Cardinal colour somewhat, he glided from the subject
and added, "But you prefer the Auvernat, because it is so noble
a wine it endures not water. -- You, Sir Count, hesitate to empty
your cup. I trust you have found no national bitterness at the
bottom."

"I would, Sire," said the Count de Crevecoeur, "that all national
quarrels could be as pleasantly ended as the rivalry betwixt our
vineyards."

"With time, Sir Count," answered the King, "with time -- such time
as you have taken to your draught of Champagne. -- And now that it
is finished, favour me by putting the goblet in your bosom, and
keeping it as a pledge of our regard. It is not to every one that we
would part with it. It belonged of yore to that terror of France,
Henry V of England, and was taken when Rouen was reduced, and those
islanders expelled from Normandy by the joint arms of France and
Burgundy. It cannot be better bestowed than on a noble and valiant
Burgundian, who well knows that on the union of these two nations
depends the continuance of the freedom of the continent from the
English yoke."

The Count made a suitable answer, and Louis gave unrestrained way
to the satirical gaiety of disposition which sometimes enlivened
the darker shades of his character. Leading, of course, the
conversation, his remarks, always shrewd and caustic, and often
actually witty, were seldom good natured, and the anecdotes with
which he illustrated them were often more humorous than delicate;
but in no one word, syllable, or letter did he betray the state of
mind of one who, apprehensive of assassination, hath in his apartment
an armed soldier with his piece loaded, in order to prevent or
anticipate an attack on his person.

The Count de Crevecoeur gave frankly in to the King's humour [the
nature of Louis XI's coarse humour may be guessed at by those who
have perused the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, which are grosser than
most similar collections of the age. S.]; while the smooth churchman
laughed at every jest and enhanced every ludicrous idea, without
exhibiting any shame at expressions which made the rustic young
Scot blush even in his place of concealment. In about an hour and
a half the tables were drawn; and the King, taking courteous leave
of his guests, gave the signal that it was his desire to be alone.

So soon as all, even Oliver, had retired, he called Quentin from
his place of concealment; but with a voice so faint, that the youth
could scarcely believe it to be the same which had so lately given
animation to the jest, and zest to the tale. As he approached, he saw
an equal change in his countenance. The light of assumed vivacity
had left the King's eyes, the smile had deserted his face, and
he exhibited all the fatigue of a celebrated actor, when he has
finished the exhausting representation of some favourite character,
in which, while upon the stage, he had displayed the utmost vivacity.

"Thy watch is not yet over," said he to Quentin; "refresh thyself
for an instant -- yonder table affords the means; I will then
instruct thee in thy farther duty. Meanwhile it is ill talking
between a full man and a fasting."

He threw himself back on his seat, covered his brow with his hand,
and was silent.



CHAPTER XI: THE HALL OF ROLAND

Painters show cupid blind -- Hath Hymen eyes?
Or is his sight warp'd by those spectacles
which parents, guardians, and advisers, lent him,
That he may look through them on lands and mansions,
On jewels, gold, and all such rich dotations,
And see their value ten times magnified? --
Methinks 't will brook a question.

THE MISERIES OF ENFORCED MARRIAGE


Louis XI of France, though the sovereign in Europe who was fondest
and most jealous of power, desired only its substantial enjoyment;
and though he knew well enough, and at times exacted strictly, the
observances due to his rank, he was in general singularly careless
of show.

In a prince of sounder moral qualities, the familiarity with
which he invited subjects to his board -- nay, occasionally sat at
theirs -- must have been highly popular; and even such as he was,
the King's homeliness of manners atoned for many of his vices with
that class of his subjects who were not particularly exposed to
the consequences of his suspicion and jealousy. The tiers etat, or
commons of France, who rose to more opulence and consequence under
the reign of this sagacious Prince, respected his person, though
they loved him not; and it was resting on their support that he was
enabled to make his party good against the hatred of the nobles,
who conceived that he diminished the honour of the French crown,
and obscured their own splendid privileges by that very neglect of
form which gratified the citizens and commons.

With patience which most other princes would have considered as
degrading, and not without a sense of amusement, the Monarch of
France waited till his Life Guardsman had satisfied the keenness
of a youthful appetite. It may be supposed, however, that Quentin
had too much sense and prudence to put the royal patience to a long
or tedious proof; and indeed he was repeatedly desirous to break
off his repast ere Louis would permit him.

"I see it in thine eye," he said good naturedly, "that thy courage
is not half abated. Go on -- God and Saint Denis! -- charge again.
I tell thee that meat and mass" (crossing himself) "never hindered
the work of a good Christian man. Take a cup of wine; but mind thou
be cautious of the wine pot -- it is the vice of thy countrymen as
well as of the English, who, lacking that folly, are the choicest
soldiers ever wore armour. And now wash speedily -- forget not thy
benedicite, and follow me."

Quentin obeyed, and, conducted by a different but as maze-like an
approach as he had formerly passed, he followed Louis into the Hall
of Roland.

"Take notice," said the King, imperatively, "thou hast never left
this post -- let that be thine answer to thy kinsman and comrades
-- and, hark thee, to bind the recollection on thy memory, I give
thee this gold chain" (flinging on his arm one of considerable
value). "If I go not brave myself, those whom I trust have ever
the means to ruffle it with the best. But when such chains as these
bind not the tongue from wagging too freely, my gossip, L'Hermite,
hath an amulet for the throat, which never fails to work a certain
cure. And now attend. -- No man, save Oliver or I myself, enters
here this evening; but ladies will come hither, perhaps from the
one extremity of the hall, perhaps from the other, perhaps one from
each. You may answer if they address you, but, being on duty, your
answer must be brief; and you must neither address them in your
turn, nor engage in any prolonged discourse. But hearken to what
they say. Thine ears as well as thy hands are mine -- I have bought
thee, body and soul. Therefore, if thou hearest aught of their
conversation, thou must retain it in memory until it is communicated
to me, and then forget it. And, now I think better on it, it will be
best that thou pass for a Scottish recruit, who hath come straight
down from his mountains, and hath not yet acquired our most Christian
language. -- Right. -- So, if they speak to thee, thou wilt not
answer -- this will free you from embarrassment, and lead them to
converse without regard to your presence. You understand me. --
Farewell. Be wary, and thou hast a friend."

The King had scarce spoken these words ere he disappeared behind the
arras, leaving Quentin to meditate on what he had seen and heard.
The youth was in one of those situations from which it is pleasanter
to look forward than to look back; for the reflection that he had
been planted like a marksman in a thicket who watches for a stag,
to take the life of the noble Count of Crevecoeur, had in it nothing
ennobling. It was very true that the King's measures seemed on this
occasion merely cautionary and defensive; but how did the youth know
but he might be soon commanded on some offensive operation of the
same kind? This would be an unpleasant crisis, since it was plain,
from the character of his master, that there would be destruction
in refusing, while his honour told him that there would be disgrace
in complying. He turned his thoughts from this subject of reflection
with the sage consolation so often adopted by youth when prospective
dangers intrude themselves on their mind, that it was time enough
to think what was to be done when the emergence actually arrived,
and that sufficient for the day was the evil thereof.

Quentin made use of this sedative reflection the more easily that the
last commands of the King had given him something more agreeable to
think of than his own condition. The Lady of the Lute was certainly
one of those to whom his attention was to be dedicated; and well
in his mind did he promise to obey one part of the King's mandate,
and listen with diligence to every word that might drop from her
lips that he might know if the magic of her conversation equalled
that of her music. But with as much sincerity did he swear to
himself, that no part of her discourse should be reported by him
to the King which might affect the fair speaker otherwise than
favourably.

Meantime, there was no fear of his again slumbering on his post.
Each passing breath of wind, which, finding its way through the
open lattice, waved the old arras, sounded like the approach of
the fair object of his expectation. He felt, in short, all that
mysterious anxiety and eagerness of expectation which is always
the companion of love, and sometimes hath a considerable share in
creating it.

At length, a door actually creaked and jingled (for the doors even
of palaces did not in the fifteenth century turn on their hinges so
noiseless as ours); but, alas! it was not at that end of the hall
from which the lute had been heard. It opened, however, and a female
figure entered, followed by two others, whom she directed by a sign
to remain without, while she herself came forward into the hall. By
her imperfect and unequal gait, which showed to peculiar disadvantage
as she traversed this long gallery, Quentin at once recognised the
Princess Joan, and with the respect which became his situation,
drew himself up in an attitude of silent vigilance, and lowered
his weapon to her as she passed. She acknowledged the courtesy by
a gracious inclination of her head, and he had an opportunity of
seeing her countenance more distinctly than he had in the morning.

There was little in the features of this ill fated Princess to atone
for the misfortune of her shape and gait. Her face was, indeed, by
no means disagreeable in itself, though destitute of beauty; and
there was a meek impression of suffering patience in her large blue
eyes, which were commonly fixed upon the ground. But besides that
she was extremely pallid in complexion, her skin had the yellowish
discoloured tinge which accompanies habitual bad health; and though
her teeth were white and regular, her lips were thin and pale.
The Princess had a profusion of flaxen hair, but it was so light
coloured as to be almost of a bluish tinge; and her tire woman,
who doubtless considered the luxuriance of her mistress's tresses
as a beauty, had not greatly improved matters by arranging them in
curls around her pale countenance, to which they added an expression
almost corpse-like and unearthly. To make matters still worse, she
had chosen a vest or cymar of a pale green silk, which gave her,
on the whole, a ghastly and even spectral appearance.

While Quentin followed this singular apparition with eyes in which
curiosity was blended with compassion, for every look and motion
of the Princess seemed to call for the latter feeling, two ladies
entered from the upper end of the apartment.

One of these was the young person who upon Louis's summons had
served him with fruit, while Quentin made his memorable breakfast
at the Fleur de Lys. Invested now with all the mysterious dignity
belonging to the nymph of the veil and lute, and proved, besides
(at least in Quentin's estimation), to be the high born heiress of
a rich earldom, her beauty made ten times the impression upon him
which it had done when he beheld in her one whom he deemed the daughter
of a paltry innkeeper, in attendance upon a rich and humorous old
burgher. He now wondered what fascination could ever have concealed
from him her real character. Yet her dress was nearly as simple
as before, being a suit of deep mourning, without any ornaments.
Her headdress was but a veil of crape, which was entirely thrown
back, so as to leave her face uncovered; and it was only Quentin's
knowledge of her actual rank, which gave in his estimation new
elegance to her beautiful shape, a dignity to her step which had
before remained unnoticed, and to her regular features, brilliant
complexion, and dazzling eyes, an air of conscious nobleness that
enhanced their beauty.

Had death been the penalty, Durward must needs have rendered to
this beauty and her companion the same homage which he had just
paid to the royalty of the Princess. They received it as those who
were accustomed to the deference of inferiors, and returned it with
courtesy; but he thought -- perhaps it was but a youthful vision
-- that the young lady coloured slightly, kept her eyes on the
ground, and seemed embarrassed though in a trifling degree, as she
returned his military salutation. This must have been owing to her
recollection of the audacious stranger in the neighbouring turret
at the Fleur de Lys; but did that discomposure express displeasure?
This question he had no means to determine.

The companion of the youthful Countess, dressed like herself simply
and in deep mourning, was at the age when women are apt to cling
most closely to that reputation for beauty which has for years been
diminishing. She had still remains enough to show what the power
of her charms must once have been, and, remembering past triumphs,
it was evident from her manner that she had not relinquished the
pretensions to future conquests. She was tall and graceful, though
somewhat haughty in her deportment, and returned the salute of
Quentin with a smile of gracious condescension, whispering the next
instant something into her companion's ear, who turned towards the
soldier as if to comply with some hint from the elder lady, but
answered, nevertheless, without raising her eyes. Quentin could
not help suspecting that the observation called on the young lady
to notice his own good mien; and he was (I do not know why) pleased
with the idea that the party referred to did not choose to look at
him, in order to verify with her own eyes the truth of the observation.
Probably he thought there was already a sort of mysterious connexion
beginning to exist between them, which gave importance to the
slightest trifle.

This reflection was momentary, for he was instantly wrapped up in
attention to the meeting of the Princess Joan with these stranger
ladies. She had stood still upon their entrance, in order to receive
them, conscious, perhaps, that motion did not become her well; and
as she was somewhat embarrassed in receiving and repaying their
compliments, the elder stranger, ignorant of the rank of the party
whom she addressed, was led to pay her salutation in a manner rather
as if she conferred than received an honour through the interview.

"I rejoice," she said, with a smile which was meant to express
condescension at once and encouragement, "that we are at length
permitted the society of such a respectable person of our own sex
as you appear to be. I must say that my niece and I have had but
little for which to thank the hospitality of King Louis. -- Nay,
niece, never pluck my sleeve -- I am sure I read in the looks of
this young lady sympathy for out situation. -- Since we came hither,
fair madam, we have been used little better than mere prisoners;
and after a thousand invitations to throw our cause and our persons
under the protection of France, the Most Christian King has afforded
us at first but a base inn for our residence, and now a corner of
this moth eaten palace, out of which we are only permitted to creep
towards sunset, as if we were bats or owls, whose appearance in
the sunshine is to be held matter of ill omen."

"I am sorry," said the Princess, faltering with the awkward embarrassment
of the interview, "that we have been unable, hitherto, to receive
you according to your deserts. -- Your niece, I trust, is better
satisfied?"

"Much -- much better than I can express," answered the youthful
Countess. "I sought but safety and I have found solitude and secrecy
besides. The seclusion of our former residence, and the still
greater solitude of that now assigned to us, augment, in my eye,
the favour which the King vouchsafed to us unfortunate fugitives."

"Silence, my silly cousin," said the elder lady, "and let us speak
according to our conscience, since at last we are alone with one
of our own sex -- I say alone, for that handsome young soldier is
a mere statue, since he seems not to have the use of his limbs,
and I am given to understand he wants that of his tongue, at least
in civilized language -- I say, since no one but this lady can
understand us, I must own there is nothing I have regretted equal
to taking this French journey. I looked for a splendid reception,
tournaments, carousals, pageants, and festivals; instead of which,
all has been seclusion and obscurity! and the best society whom the
King introduced to us, was a Bohemian vagabond, by whose agency he
directed us to correspond with our friends in Flanders. -- Perhaps,"
said the lady, "it is his politic intention to mew us up here
until our lives' end, that he may seize on our estates, after the
extinction of the ancient house of Croye. The Duke of Burgundy was
not so cruel; he offered my niece a husband, though he was a bad
one."

"I should have thought the veil preferable to an evil husband,"
said the Princess, with difficulty finding opportunity to interpose
a word.

"One would at least wish to have the choice, madam," replied the
voluble dame. "It is, Heaven knows, on account of my niece that I
speak; for myself, I have long laid aside thoughts of changing my
condition. I see you smile, but by my halidome, it is true -- yet
that is no excuse for the King, whose conduct, like his person,
hath more resemblance to that of old Michaud, the moneychanger of
Ghent, than to the successor of Charlemagne."

"Hold!" said the Princess, with some asperity in her tone; "remember
you speak of my father."

"Of your father!" replied the Burgundian lady, in surprise.

"Of my father," repeated the Princess, with dignity, "I am Joan
of France. -- But fear not, madam," she continued, in the gentle
accent which was natural to her, "you designed no offence, and I
have taken none. Command my influence to render your exile and that
of this interesting young person more supportable. Alas! it is but
little I have in my power, but it is willingly offered."

Deep and submissive was the reverence with which the Countess Hameline
de Croye, so was the elder lady called, received the obliging offer
of the Princess's protection. She had been long the inhabitant of
courts, was mistress of the manners which are there acquired, and
held firmly the established rule of courtiers of all ages, who,
although their usual private conversation turns upon the vices and
follies of their patrons, and on the injuries and neglect which
they themselves have sustained, never suffer such hints to drop
from them in the presence of the Sovereign or those of his family.
The lady was, therefore, scandalised to the last degree at the
mistake which had induced her to speak so indecorously in presence
of the daughter of Louis. She would have exhausted herself in
expressing regret and making apologies, had she not been put to
silence and restored to equanimity by the Princess, who requested,
in the most gentle manner, yet which, from a Daughter of France,
had the weight of a command, that no more might be said in the way
either of excuse or of explanation.

The Princess Joan then took her own chair with a dignity which
became her, and compelled the two strangers to sit, one on either
hand, to which the younger consented with unfeigned and respectful
diffidence, and the elder with an affectation of deep humility and
deference which was intended for such.

They spoke together, but in such a low tone that the sentinel could
not overhear their discourse, and only remarked that the Princess
seemed to bestow much of her regard on the younger and more
interesting lady; and that the Countess Hameline, though speaking
a great deal more, attracted less of the Princess's attention by
her full flow of conversation and compliment, than did her kinswoman
by her brief and modest replies to what was addressed to her.

The conversation of the ladies had not lasted a quarter of an
hour, when the door at the lower end of the hall opened, and a man
entered shrouded in a riding cloak. Mindful of the King's injunction,
and determined not to be a second time caught slumbering, Quentin
instantly moved towards the intruder, and, interposing between him
and the ladies, requested him to retire instantly.

"By whose command?" said the stranger, in a tone of contemptuous
surprise.

"By that of the King," said Quentin, firmly, "which I am placed
here to enforce."

"Not against Louis of Orleans," said the Duke, dropping his cloak.

The young man hesitated a moment; but how enforce his orders against
the first Prince of the Blood, about to be allied, as the report
now generally went, with the King's own family?

"Your Highness," he said, "is too great that your pleasure should
be withstood by me. I trust your Highness will bear me witness that
I have done the duty of my post so far as your will permitted."

"Go to -- you shall have no blame, young soldier," said Orleans;
and passing forward, paid his compliments to the Princess, with that
air of constraint which always marked his courtesy when addressing
her.

He had been dining, he said, with Dunois, and understanding there
was society in Roland's Gallery, he had ventured on the freedom of
adding one to the number.

The colour which mounted into the pale cheek of the unfortunate
Joan, and which for the moment spread something of beauty over her
features, evinced that this addition to the company was anything
but indifferent to her. She hastened to present the Prince to the
two Ladies of Croye, who received him with the respect due to his
eminent rank; and the Princess, pointing to a chair, requested him
to join their conversation party.

The Duke declined the freedom of assuming a seat in such society;
but taking a cushion from one of the settles, he laid it at the feet
of the beautiful young Countess of Croye, and so seated himself,
that, without appearing to neglect the Princess, he was enabled to
bestow the greater share of his attention on her lovely neighbour.

At first, it seemed as if this arrangement rather pleased
than offended his destined bride. She encouraged the Duke in his
gallantries towards the fair stranger, and seemed to regard them as
complimentary to herself. But the Duke of Orleans, though accustomed
to subject his mind to the stern yoke of his uncle when in the
King's presence, had enough of princely nature to induce him to
follow his own inclinations whenever that restraint was withdrawn;
and his high rank giving him a right to overstep the ordinary
ceremonies, and advance at once to familiarity, his praises of the
Countess Isabelle's beauty became so energetic, and flowed with such
unrestrained freedom, owing perhaps to his having drunk a little
more wine than usual -- for Dunois was no enemy to the worship of
Bacchus -- that at length he seemed almost impassioned, and the
presence of the Princess appeared well nigh forgotten.

The tone of compliment which he indulged was grateful only to
one individual in the circle; for the Countess Hameline already
anticipated the dignity of an alliance with the first Prince of the
Blood, by means of her whose birth, beauty, and large possessions
rendered such an ambitious consummation by no means impossible, even
in the eyes of a less sanguine projector, could the views of Louis
XI have been left out of the calculation of chances. The younger
Countess listened to the Duke's gallantries with anxiety and
embarrassment, and ever and anon turned an entreating look towards
the Princess, as if requesting her to come to her relief. But the
wounded feelings and the timidity of Joan of France rendered her
incapable of an effort to make the conversation more general; and
at length, excepting a few interjectional civilities of the Lady
Hameline, it was maintained almost exclusively by the Duke himself,
though at the expense of the younger Countess of Croye, whose beauty
formed the theme of his high flown eloquence.

Nor must I forget that there was a third person, the unregarded
sentinel, who saw his fair visions melt away like wax before the
sun, as the Duke persevered in the warm tenor of his passionate
discourse. At length the Countess Isabelle de Croye made a determined
effort to cut short what was becoming intolerably disagreeable to
her, especially from the pain to which the conduct of the Duke was
apparently subjecting the Princess.

Addressing the latter, she said, modestly, but with some firmness,
that the first boon she had to claim from her promised protection
was, "that her Highness would undertake to convince the Duke
of Orleans that the ladies of Burgundy, though inferior in wit
and manners to those of France, were not such absolute fools as
to be pleased with no other conversation than that of extravagant
compliment."

"I grieve, lady," said the Duke, preventing the Princess's answer,
"that you will satirize, in the same sentence, the beauty of the
dames of Burgundy and the sincerity of the Knights of France. If
we are hasty and extravagant in the expression of our admiration,
it is because we love as we fight, Without letting cold deliberation
come into our bosoms, and surrender to the fair with the same
rapidity with which we defeat the valiant."

"The beauty of our countrywomen," said the young Countess, with
more of reproof than she had yet ventured to use towards the high
born suitor, "is as unfit to claim such triumphs, as the valour of
the men of Burgundy is incapable of yielding them."

"I respect your patriotism, Countess," said the Duke; "and the last
branch of your theme shall not be impugned by me, till a Burgundian
knight shall offer to sustain it with lance in rest. But for
the injustice which you have done to the charms which your land
produces, I appeal from yourself to yourself. -- Look there," he
said, pointing to a large mirror, the gift of the Venetian republic,
and then of the highest rarity and value, "and tell me, as you
look, what is the heart that can resist the charms there represented?"

The Princess, unable to sustain any longer the neglect of her
lover, here sunk backwards on her chair with a sigh, which at once
recalled the Duke from the land of romance, and induced the Lady
Hameline to ask whether her Highness found herself ill.

"A sudden pain shot through my forehead," said the Princess,
attempting to smile; "but I shall be presently better."

Her increasing paleness contradicted her words, and induced the
Lady Hameline to call for assistance, as the Princess was about to
faint.

The Duke, biting his lip, and cursing the folly which could not
keep guard over his tongue, ran to summon the Princess's attendants,
who were in the next chamber, and when they came hastily, with the
usual remedies, he could not but, as a cavalier and gentleman, give
his assistance to support and to recover her. His voice, rendered
almost tender by pity and self reproach, was the most powerful
means of recalling her to herself, and just as the swoon was passing
away, the King himself entered the apartment.



CHAPTER XII: THE POLITICIAN

This is a lecturer, so skill'd in policy,
That (no disparagement to Satan's cunning)
He well might read a lesson to the devil,
And teach the old seducer new temptations.

OLD PLAY


As Louis entered the gallery, he bent his brows in the manner we
have formerly described as peculiar to him, and sent, from under
his gathered and gloomy eyebrows, a keen look on all around; in
darting which, as Quentin afterwards declared, his eyes seemed to
turn so small, so fierce, and so piercing, as to resemble those
of an aroused adder looking through the bush of heath in which he
lies coiled.

When, by this momentary and sharpened glance, the King had
reconnoitered the cause of the bustle which was in the apartment,
his first address was to the Duke of Orleans.

"You here, my fair cousin?" he said; -- and turning to Quentin,
added sternly, "Had you not charge?"

"Forgive the young man, Sire," said the Duke; "he did not neglect
his duty; but I was informed that the Princess was in this gallery."

"And I warrant you would not be withstood when you came hither to
pay your court," said the King, whose detestable hypocrisy persisted
in representing the Duke as participating in a passion which was
felt only on the side of his unhappy daughter; "and it is thus you
debauch the sentinels of my guard, young man? -- But what cannot
be pardoned to a gallant who only lives par amours [by his love
affairs]?"

The Duke of Orleans raised his head, as if about to reply in some
manner which might correct the opinion conveyed in the King's
observation; but the instinctive reverence, not to say fear, of
Louis, in which he had been bred from childhood, chained up his
voice.

"And Joan hath been ill?" said the King; "but do not be grieved,
Louis; it will soon pass away; lend her your arm to her apartment,
while I will conduct these strange ladies to theirs."

The order was given in a tone which amounted to a command, and
Orleans accordingly made his exit with the Princess at one extremity
of the gallery, while the King, ungloving his right hand, courteously
handed the Countess Isabelle and her kinswoman to their apartment,
which opened from the other. He bowed profoundly as they entered,
and remained standing on the threshold for a minute after they had
disappeared; then, with great composure, shut the door by which
they had retired and turning the huge key, took it from the lock,
and put it into his girdle -- an appendage which gave him still
more perfectly the air of some old miser, who cannot journey in
comfort unless he bear with him the key of his treasure closet.

With slow and pensive step, and eyes fixed on the ground, Louis
now paced towards Quentin Durward, who, expecting his share of the
royal displeasure, viewed his approach with no little anxiety.

"Thou hast done wrong," said the King, raising his eyes, and fixing
them firmly on him when he had come within a yard of him, -- "thou
hast done foul wrong, and deservest to die. -- Speak not a word
in defence! -- What hadst thou to do with Dukes or Princesses? --
what with any thing but my order?"

"So please your Majesty," said the young soldier, "what could I
do?"

"What couldst thou do when thy post was forcibly passed?" answered
the King, scornfully, -- "what is the use of that weapon on
thy shoulder? Thou shouldst have levelled thy piece, and if the
presumptuous rebel did not retire on the instant, he should have
died within this very hall! Go -- pass into these farther apartments.
In the first thou wilt find a large staircase, which leads to the
inner Bailley; there thou wilt find Oliver Dain [the inner bailey
contained the stables and often the chapel. It communicated directly
with the keep]. Send him to me -- do thou begone to thy quarters.
-- As thou dost value thy life, be not so loose of thy tongue as
thou hast been this day slack of thy hand."

Well pleased to escape so easily, yet with a soul which revolted
at the cold blooded cruelty which the King seemed to require from
him in the execution of his duty, Durward took the road indicated;
hastened down stairs, and communicated the royal pleasure to Oliver,
who was waiting in the court beneath. The wily tonsor bowed, sighed,
and smiled, as, with a voice even softer than ordinary, he wished
the youth a good evening; and they parted, Quentin to his quarters,
and Oliver to attend the King.

In this place, the Memoirs which we have chiefly followed in
compiling this true history were unhappily defective; for, founded
chiefly on information supplied by Quentin, they do not convey the
purport of the dialogue which, in his absence, took place between
the King and his secret counsellor. Fortunately the Library of
Hautlieu contains a manuscript copy of the Chronique Scandaleuse of
Jean de Troyes [the Marquis de Hautlieu is the name of an imaginary
character in whose library Scott declares himself to have found the
memorials which form the basis of the novel of Quentin Durward],
much more full than that which has been printed; to which are added
several curious memoranda, which we incline to think must have been
written down by Oliver himself after the death of his master, and
before he had the happiness to be rewarded with the halter which he
had so long merited. From this we have been able to extract a very
full account of the obscure favourite's conversation with Louis
upon the present occasion, which throws a light upon the policy of
that Prince, which we might otherwise have sought for in vain.

When the favourite attendant entered the Gallery of Roland, he
found the King pensively seated upon the chair which his daughter
had left some minutes before. Well acquainted with his temper, he
glided on with his noiseless step until he had just crossed the
line of the King's sight, so as to make him aware of his presence,
then shrank modestly backward and out of sight, until he should
be summoned to speak or to listen. The Monarch's first address was
an unpleasant one: "So, Oliver, your fine schemes are melting like
snow before the south wind! -- I pray to Our Lady of Embrun that
they resemble not the ice heaps of which the Switzer churls tell
such stories, and come rushing down upon our heads."

"I have heard with concern that all is not well, Sire," answered
Oliver.

"Not well!" exclaimed the King, rising and hastily marching up and
down the gallery. "All is ill, man -- and as ill nearly as possible;
so much for thy fond romantic advice, that I, of all men, should
become a protector of distressed damsels! I tell thee Burgundy is
arming, and on the eve of closing an alliance with England. And
Edward, who hath his hands idle at home, will pour his thousands
upon us through that unhappy gate of Calais. Singly, I might cajole
or defy them; but united, united -- and with the discontent and
treachery of that villain Saint Paul! -- All thy fault, Oliver,
who counselled me to receive the women, and to use the services of
that damned Bohemian to carry messages to their vassals."

"My lord," said Oliver, "you know my reasons. The Countess's
domains lie between the frontiers of Burgundy and Flanders -- her
castle is almost impregnable -- her rights over neighbouring estates
are such as, if well supported, cannot but give much annoyance to
Burgundy, were the lady but wedded to one who should be friendly
to France."

"It is, it is a tempting bait," said the King; "and could we have
concealed her being here, we might have arranged such a marriage
for this rich heiress as would have highly profited -- France. But
that cursed Bohemian, how couldst thou recommend such a heathen
hound for a commission which required trust?"

"Please you," said Oliver, "to remember it was your Grace's self
who trusted him too far -- much farther than I recommended. He
would have borne a letter trustily enough to the Countess's kinsman,
telling him to hold out her castle, and promising speedy relief;
but your Highness must needs put his prophetic powers to the test;
and thus he became possessed of secrets which were worth betraying
to Duke Charles."

"I am ashamed, I am ashamed," said Louis. "And yet, Oliver, they
say that these heathen people are descended from the sage Chaldeans,
who did read the mysteries of the stars in the plains of Shinar
[they lie between the Tigris and Euphrates]."

Well aware that his master, with all his acuteness and sagacity,
was but the more prone to be deceived by soothsayers, astrologers,
diviners, and all that race of pretenders to occult science, and
that he even conceived himself to have some skill in these arts.
Oliver dared to press this point no farther; and only observed
that the Bohemian had been a bad prophet on his own account, else
he would have avoided returning to Tours, and saved himself from
the gallows he had merited.

"It often happens that those who are gifted with prophetic
knowledge," answered Louis, with much gravity, "have not the power
of foreseeing those events in which they themselves are personally
interested."

"Under your Majesty's favour," replied the confidant, "that seems
as if a man could not see his own hand by means of the candle which
he holds, and which shows him every other object in the apartment."

"He cannot see his own features by the light which shows the faces
of others," replied Louis; "and that is the more faithful illustration
of the case. -- But this is foreign to my purpose at present. The
Bohemian hath had his reward, and peace be with him. -- But these
ladies! -- Not only does Burgundy threaten us with war for harbouring
them, but their presence is like to interfere with my projects in
my own family. My simple cousin of Orleans hath barely seen this
damsel, and I venture to prophesy that the sight of her is like to
make him less pliable in the matter of his alliance with Joan."

"Your Majesty," answered the counsellor, "may send these ladies of
Croye back to Burgundy, and so make your peace with the Duke. Many
might murmur at this as dishonourable; but if necessity demands
the sacrifice --"

"If profit demanded the sacrifice, Oliver, the sacrifice should
be made without hesitation," answered the King. "I am an old,
experienced salmon, and use not to gulp the angler's hook because
it is busked up with a feather called honour. But what is worse than
a lack of honour, there were, in returning those ladies to Burgundy,
a forfeiture of those views of advantage which moved us to give
them an asylum. It were heart breaking to renounce the opportunity
of planting a friend to ourselves, and an enemy to Burgundy, in
the very centre of his dominions, and so near to the discontented
cities of Flanders. Oliver, I cannot relinquish the advantages
which our scheme of marrying the maiden to a friend of our own
house seems to hold out to us."

"Your Majesty," said Oliver, after a moment's thought, "might confer
her hand on some right trusty friend, who would take all blame on
himself, and serve your Majesty secretly, while in public you might
disown him."

"And where am I to find such a friend?" said Louis. "Were I to
bestow her upon any one of our mutinous and ill ruled nobles, would
it not be rendering him independent? and hath it not been my policy
for years to prevent them from becoming so? -- Dunois indeed --
him, and him only, I might perchance trust. -- He would fight for
the crown of France, whatever were his condition. But honours and
wealth change men's natures. -- Even Dunois I will not trust."

"Your Majesty may find others," said Oliver, in his smoothest
manner, and in a tone more insinuating than that which he usually
employed in conversing with the King, who permitted him considerable
freedom; "men dependent entirely on your own grace and favour, and
who could no more exist without your countenance than without sun
or air -- men rather of head than of action -- men who"

"Men who resemble thyself, ha!" said King Louis. "No, Oliver, by
my faith that arrow was too rashly shot! -- What! because I indulge
thee with my confidence, and let thee, in reward, poll my lieges
a little now and then, dost thou think it makes thee fit to be the
husband of that beautiful vision, and a Count of the highest class
to boot? -- thee -- thee, I say, low born, and lower bred, whose
wisdom is at best a sort of dinning, and whose courage is more than
doubtful."

"Your Majesty imputes to me a presumption of which I am not guilty,
in supposing me to aspire so highly," said Oliver.

"I am glad to hear it, man," said the King; "and truly, I hold your
judgment the healthier that you disown such a reverie. But methinks
thy speech sounded strangely in that key. -- Well, to return. -- I
dare not wed this beauty to one of my subjects -- I dare not return
her to Burgundy -- I dare not transmit her to England or to Germany,
where she is likely to become the prize of some one more apt to
unite with Burgundy than with France, and who would be more ready
to discourage the honest malcontents in Ghent and Liege, than to
yield them that wholesome countenance which might always find Charles
the Hardy enough to exercise his valour on, without stirring from
his domains -- and they were in so ripe a humour for insurrection,
the men of Liege in especial, that they alone, well heated and
supported, would find my fair cousin work for more than a twelvemonth;
and backed by a warlike Count of Croye -- O, Oliver! the plan is
too hopeful to be resigned without a struggle. -- Cannot thy fertile
brain devise some scheme?"

Oliver paused for a long time -- then at last replied, "What if a
bridal could be accomplished betwixt Isabelle of Croye and young
Adolphus, the Duke of Gueldres?"

"What!" said the King, in astonishment "sacrifice her, and she,
too, so lovely a creature, to the furious wretch who deposed,
imprisoned, and has often threatened to murder his own father! --
No, Oliver, no that were too unutterably cruel even for you and
me, who look so steadfastly to our excellent end, the peace and the
welfare of France, and respect so little the means by which it is
attained. Besides, he lies distant from us and is detested by the
people of Ghent and Liege. -- No, no -- I will none of Adolphus of
Gueldres -- think on some one else."

"My invention is exhausted, Sire," said the counsellor; "I can
remember no one who, as husband to the Countess of Croye, would be
likely to answer your Majesty's views. He must unite such various
qualities -- a friend to your Majesty -- an enemy to Burgundy --
of policy enough to conciliate the Ghentois and Liegeois, and of
valour sufficient to defend his little dominions against the power
of Duke Charles -- of noble birth besides -- that your Highness
insists upon; and of excellent and virtuous character to the boot
of all."

"Nay, Oliver," said the King, "I leaned not so much -- that is so
very much, on character; but methinks Isabelle's bridegroom should
be something less publicly and generally abhorred than Adolphus
of Gueldres. For example, since I myself must suggest some one --
why not William de la Marck?"

"On my halidome, Sire," said Oliver, "I cannot complain of your
demanding too high a standard of moral excellence in the happy
man, if the Wild Boar of Ardennes can serve your turn. De la Marck!
-- why, he is the most notorious robber and murderer on all the
frontiers -- excommunicated by the Pope for a thousand crimes."

"We will have him released from the sentence, friend Oliver -- Holy
Church is merciful."

"Almost an outlaw," continued Oliver, "and under the ban of the
Empire, by an ordinance of the Chamber at Ratisbon."

[Ratisbon was the seat of the German Reichstag from 1663 to 1806.]

"We will have the ban taken off, friend Oliver," continued the
King, in the same tone; "the Imperial Chamber will hear reason."

[A supreme court of appeals established in 1495 by Maximilian I:
the first law court established in Germany.]

"And admitting him to be of noble birth," said Oliver, "he hath the
manners, the face, and the outward form, as well as the heart, of
a Flemish butcher -- she will never accept of him."

"His mode of wooing, if I mistake him not," said Louis, "will render
it difficult for her to make a choice."

"I was far wrong indeed, when I taxed your Majesty with being
over scrupulous," said the counsellor. "On my life, the crimes of
Adolphus are but virtues to those of De la Marck! -- And then how
is he to meet with his bride? Your Majesty knows he dare not stir
far from his own forest of Ardennes."

"That must be cared for," said the King; "and, in the first place,
the two ladies must be acquainted privately that they can be no
longer maintained at this Court, except at the expense of a war
between France and Burgundy, and that, unwilling to deliver them up
to my fair cousin of Burgundy, I am desirous they should secretly
depart from my dominions."

"They will demand to be conveyed to England," said Oliver "and we
shall have her return to Flanders with an island lord, having a
round, fair face, long brown hair, and three thousand archers at
his back."

"No -- no," replied the king; "we dare not (you understand me) so
far offend our fair cousin of Burgundy as to let her pass to England.
It would bring his displeasure as certainly as our maintaining her
here. No, no -- to the safety of the Church alone we will venture
to commit her; and the utmost we can do is to connive at the Ladies
Hameline and Isabelle de Croye departing in disguise, and with a
small retinue, to take refuge with the Bishop of Liege, who will
place the fair Isabelle for the time under the safeguard of a
convent."

"And if that convent protect her from William de la Marck, when
he knows of your Majesty's favourable intentions, I have mistaken
the man."

"Why, yes," answered the King, "thanks to our secret supplies of
money, De la Marck hath together a handsome handful of as unscrupulous
soldiery as ever were outlawed; with which he contrives to maintain
himself among the woods, in such a condition as makes him formidable
both to the Duke of Burgundy and the Bishop of Liege. He lacks
nothing but some territory which he may call his own; and this
being so fair an opportunity to establish himself by marriage, I
think that, Pasques dieu! he will find means to win and wed, without
more than a hint on our part. The Duke of Burgundy will then have
such a thorn in his side as no lancet of our time will easily
cut out from his flesh. The Boar of Ardennes, whom he has already
outlawed, strengthened by the possession of that fair lady's lands,
castles, and seigniory, with the discontented Liegeois to boot,
who, by may faith, will not be in that case unwilling to choose
him for their captain and leader -- let Charles then think of wars
with France when he will, or rather let him bless his stars if she
war not with him. -- How dost thou like the scheme, Oliver, ha?"

"Rarely," said Oliver, "save and except the doom which confers
that lady on the Wild Boar of Ardennes. -- By my halidome, saving
in a little outward show of gallantry, Tristan, the Provost Marshal,
were the more proper bridegroom of the two."

"Anon thou didst propose Master Oliver the barber," said Louis; "but
friend Oliver and gossip Tristan, though excellent men in the way
of counsel and execution, are not the stuff that men make counts of.
- Know you not that the burghers of Flanders value birth in other
men precisely because they have it not themselves? -- A plebeian
mob ever desire an aristocratic leader. Yonder Ked, or Cade, or
-- how called they him? -- in England, was fain to lure his rascal
rout after him by pretending to the blood of the Mortimers [Jack
Cade was the leader of Cade's Rebellion. Calling himself Mortimer,
and claiming to be a cousin of Richard, Duke of York, in 1450,
at the head of twenty thousand men, he took formal possession of
London. His alleged object was to procure representation for the
people, and so reduce excessive taxation.]. William de la Marck
comes of the blood of the Princes of Sedan, as noble as mine own.
-- And now to business. I must determine the ladies of Croye to a
speedy and secret flight, under sure guidance. This will be easily
done -- we have but to hint the alternative of surrendering them
to Burgundy. Thou must find means to let William de la Marck know
of their motions, and let him choose his own time and place to push
his suit. I know a fit person to travel with them."

"May I ask to whom your Majesty commits such an important charge?"
asked the tonsor.

"To a foreigner, be sure," replied the King, "one who has neither
kin nor interest in France, to interfere with the execution of my
pleasure; and who knows too little of the country and its factions,
to suspect more of my purpose than I choose to tell him -- in
a word, I design to employ the young Scot who sent you hither but
now."

Oliver paused in a manner which seemed to imply a doubt of the
prudence of the choice, and then added, "Your Majesty has reposed
confidence in that stranger boy earlier than is your wont."

"I have my reasons," answered the King. "Thou knowest" (and he
crossed himself) "my devotion for the blessed Saint Julian. I had
been saying my orisons to that holy Saint late in the night before
last, wherein (as he is known to be the guardian of travellers) I
made it my humble petition that he would augment my household with
such wandering foreigners as might best establish throughout our
kingdom unlimited devotion to our will; and I vowed to the good
Saint in guerdon, that I would, in his name, receive, and relieve;
and maintain them."

"And did Saint Julian," said Oliver, "send your Majesty this long
legged importation from Scotland in answer to your prayers?"

Although the barber, who well knew that his master had superstition
in a large proportion to his want of religion, and that on such
topics nothing was more easy than to offend him -- although, I
say, he knew the royal weakness, and therefore carefully put the
preceding question in the softest and most simple tone of voice,
Louis felt the innuendo which it contained, and regarded the speaker
with high displeasure.

"Sirrah," he said, "thou art well called Oliver the Devil, who
darest thus to sport at once with thy master and with the blessed
Saints. I tell thee, wert thou one grain less necessary to me,
I would have thee hung up on yonder oak before the Castle, as an
example to all who scoff at things holy -- Know, thou infidel slave,
that mine eyes were no sooner closed; than the blessed Saint Julian
was visible to me, leading a young man whom he presented to me,
saying that his fortune should be to escape the sword, the cord,
the river, and to bring good fortune to the side which he should
espouse, and to the adventures in which he should be engaged.
I walked out on the succeeding morning and I met with this youth,
whose image I had seen in my dream. In his own country he hath escaped
the sword, amid the massacre of his whole family, and here within
the brief compass of two days, he hath been strangely rescued from
drowning and from the gallows, and hath already, on a particular
occasion, as I but lately hinted to thee, been of the most material
service to me. I receive him as sent hither by Saint Julian to
serve me in the most difficult, the most dangerous, and even the
most desperate services."

The King, as he thus expressed himself, doffed his hat, and selecting
from the numerous little leaden figures with which the hat band was
garnished that which represented Saint Julian, he placed it on the
table, as was often his wont when some peculiar feeling of hope,
or perhaps of remorse, happened to thrill across his mind, and,
kneeling down before it, muttered, with an appearance of profound
devotion, "Sancte Juliane, adsis precibus nostris! Ora, ora, pro
nobis! [St. Julian, give heed to our prayers. Plead, plead for
us!]"

This was one of those ague fits of superstitious devotion which
often seized on Louis in such extraordinary times and places, that
they gave one of the most sagacious monarchs who ever reigned the
appearance of a madman, or at least of one whose mind was shaken
by some deep consciousness of guilt.

While he was thus employed, his favourite looked at him with
an expression of sarcastic contempt which he scarce attempted to
disguise. Indeed, it was one of this man's peculiarities, that in
his whole intercourse with his master, he laid aside that fondling,
purring affectation of officiousness and humility which distinguished
his conduct to others; and if he still bore some resemblance to a
cat, it was when the animal is on its guard, -- watchful, animated,
and alert for sudden exertion. The cause of this change was probably
Oliver's consciousness that his Master was himself too profound a
hypocrite not to see through the hypocrisy of others.

"The features of this youth, then, if I may presume to speak," said
Oliver, "resemble those of him whom your dream exhibited?"

"Closely and intimately," said the King, whose imagination, like
that of superstitious people in general, readily imposed upon itself.
"I have had his horoscope cast, besides, by Galeotti Martivalle, and
I have plainly learned, through his art and mine own observation,
that, in many respects, this unfriended youth has his destiny under
the same constellation with mine."

Whatever Oliver might think of the causes thus boldly assigned
for the preference of an inexperienced stripling, he dared make no
farther objections, well knowing that Louis, who, while residing in
exile, had bestowed much of his attention on the supposed science
of judicial astrology, would listen to no raillery of any kind which
impeached his skill. He therefore only replied that he trusted the
youth would prove faithful in the discharge of a task so delicate.

"We will take care he hath no opportunity to be otherwise," said
Louis; "for he shall be privy to nothing, save that he is sent to
escort the Ladies of Croye to the residence of the Bishop of Liege.
Of the probable interference of William de la Marck he shall know
as little as they themselves. None shall know that secret but the
guide; and Tristan or thou must find one fit for our purpose."

"But in that case," said Oliver, "judging of him from his country
and his appearance, the young man is like to stand to his arms as
soon as the Wild Boar comes on them, and may not come off so easily
from the tusks as he did this morning."

"If they rend his heart strings," said Louis, composedly, "Saint
Julian, blessed be his name! can send me another in his stead.
It skills as little that the messenger is slain after his duty is
executed, as that the flask is broken when the wine is drunk out.
-- Meanwhile, we must expedite the ladies' departure, and then
persuade the Count de Crevecoeur that it has taken place without our
connivance; we having been desirous to restore them to the custody
of our fair cousin, which their sudden departure has unhappily
prevented."

"The Count is perhaps too wise, and his master too prejudiced, to
believe it."

"Holy Mother!" said Louis, "what unbelief would that be in Christian
men! But, Oliver, they shall believe us. We will throw into our
whole conduct towards our fair cousin, Duke Charles, such thorough
and unlimited confidence, that, not to believe we have been sincere
with him in every respect, he must be worse than an infidel. I
tell thee, so convinced am I that I could make Charles of Burgundy
think of me in every respect as I would have him, that, were it
necessary for silencing his doubts, I would ride unarmed, and on
a palfrey, to visit him in his tent, with no better guard about me
than thine own simple person, friend Oliver."

"And I," said Oliver, "though I pique not myself upon managing
steel in any other shape than that of a razor, would rather charge
a Swiss battalion of pikes, than I would accompany your Highness
upon such a visit of friendship to Charles of Burgundy, when he
hath so many grounds to be well assured that there is enmity in
your Majesty's bosom against him."

"Thou art a fool, Oliver," said the King, "with all thy pretensions
to wisdom -- and art not aware that deep policy must often assume
the appearance of the most extreme simplicity, as courage occasionally
shrouds itself under the show of modest timidity. Were it needful,
full surely would I do what I have said -- the Saints always blessing
our purpose, and the heavenly constellations bringing round in
their course a proper conjuncture for such an exploit."

In these words did King Louis XI give the first hint of the
extraordinary resolution which he afterwards adopted in order to
dupe his great rival, the subsequent execution of which had very
nearly proved his own ruin.

He parted with his counsellor, and presently afterwards went to
the apartment of the Ladies of Croye. Few persuasions beyond his
mere license would have been necessary to determine their retreat
from the Court of France, upon the first hint that they might not
be eventually protected against the Duke of Burgundy; but it was
not so easy to induce them to choose Liege for the place of their
retreat. They entreated and requested to be transferred to Bretagne
or Calais, where, under protection of the Duke of Bretagne or
King of England, they might remain in a state of safety, until the
sovereign of Burgundy should relent in his rigorous purpose towards
them. But neither of these places of safety at all suited the plans
of Louis, and he was at last successful in inducing them to adopt
that which did coincide with them.

The power of the Bishop of Liege for their defence was not to be
questioned, since his ecclesiastical dignity gave him the means
of protecting the fugitives against all Christian Princes; while,
on the other hand, his secular forces, if not numerous, seemed at
least sufficient to defend his person, and all under his protection,
from any sudden violence. The difficulty was to reach the little
Court of the Bishop in safety; but for this Louis promised to provide,
by spreading a report that the Ladies of Croye had escaped from
Tours by night, under fear of being delivered up to the Burgundian
Envoy, and had taken their flight towards Bretagne. He also promised
them the attendance of a small but faithful retinue, and letters
to the commanders of such towns and fortresses as they might pass,
with instructions to use every means for protecting and assisting
them in their journey.

The Ladies of Croye, although internally resenting the ungenerous
and discourteous manner in which Louis thus deprived them of the
promised asylum in his Court, were so far from objecting to the
hasty departure which he proposed, that they even anticipated his
project, by entreating to be permitted to set forward that same
night. The Lady Hameline was already tired of a place where there
were neither admiring courtiers, nor festivities to be witnessed;
and the Lady Isabelle thought she had seen enough to conclude
that, were the temptation to become a little stronger, Louis XI,
not satisfied with expelling them from his Court, would not hesitate
to deliver her up to her irritated Suzerain, the Duke of Burgundy.
Lastly, Louis himself readily acquiesced in their hasty departure,
anxious to preserve peace with Duke Charles, and alarmed lest the
beauty of Isabelle should interfere with and impede the favourite
plan which he had formed for bestowing the hand of his daughter
Joan upon his cousin of Orleans.



CHAPTER XIII: THE JOURNEY

Talk not of kings -- I scorn the poor comparison;
I am a sage and can command the elements --
At least men think I can; and on that thought
I found unbounded empire.

ALBUMAZAR


Occupation and adventure might be said to crowd upon the young
Scottishman with the force of a spring tide; for he was speedily
summoned to the apartment of his Captain, the Lord Crawford, where,
to his astonishment, he again beheld the King. After a few words
respecting the honour and trust which were about to be reposed
in him, which made Quentin internally afraid that they were again
about to propose to him such a watch as he had kept upon the Count
of Crevecoeur, or perhaps some duty still more repugnant to his
feelings, he was not relieved merely, but delighted, with hearing
that he was selected, with the assistance of four others under his
command, one of whom was a guide, to escort the Ladies of Croye to
the little Court of their relative, the Bishop of Liege, in the
safest and most commodious, and, at the same time, in the most
secret manner possible. A scroll was given him, in which were set
down directions for his guidance, for the places of halt (generally
chosen in obscure villages, solitary monasteries, and situations
remote from towns), and for the general precautions which he was
to attend to, especially on approaching the frontier of Burgundy.
He was sufficiently supplied with instructions what he ought to say
and do to sustain the personage of the Maitre d'Hotel of two English
ladies of rank, who had been on a pilgrimage to Saint Martin of Tours,
and were about to visit the holy city of Cologne, and worship the
relics of the sage Eastern Monarchs, who came to adore the nativity
of Bethlehem [the relics of the three kings, or Magi, were placed
in the Cathedral of Cologne in 1162]; for under that character the
Ladies of Croye were to journey.

Without having any defined notions of the cause of his delight,
Quentin Durward's heart leapt for joy at the idea of approaching
thus nearly to the person of the Beauty of the Turret, and in a
situation which entitled him to her confidence, since her protection
was in so great a degree intrusted to his conduct and courage.
He felt no doubt in his own mind that he should be her successful
guide through the hazards of her pilgrimage. Youth seldom thinks
of dangers, and bred up free, and fearless, and self confiding,
Quentin, in particular, only thought of them to defy them. He longed
to be exempted from the restraint of the Royal presence, that he
might indulge the secret glee with which such unexpected tidings
filled him, and which prompted him to bursts of delight which would
have been totally unfitting for that society.

But Louis had not yet done with him. That cautious monarch had to
consult a counsellor of a different stamp from Oliver le Diable,
who was supposed to derive his skill from the superior and astral
intelligences, as men, judging from their fruits, were apt to think
the counsels of Oliver sprang from the Devil himself.

Louis therefore led the way, followed by the impatient Quentin, to
a separate tower of the castle of Plessis, in which was installed,
in no small ease and splendour; the celebrated astrologer, poet, and
philosopher, Galeotti Marti, or Martius, or Martivalle, a native
of Narni, in Italy, the author of the famous Treatise De Vulgo
Incognitis [concerning things unknown to the generality of mankind.
S.], and the subject of his age's admiration, and of the panegyrics
of Paulus Jovius [an Italian historian of the sixteenth century who
lived at the Pope's court]. He had long flourished at the court of
the celebrated Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, from whom he
was in some measure decoyed by Louis, who grudged the Hungarian
monarch the society and the counsels of a sage accounted so skilful
in reading the decrees of Heaven.

[Martius Galeotti . . . was secretary to Matthias Carvinus, King of
Hungary. He left Hungary in 1477, and was made prisoner at Venice
on a charge of having propagated heterodox opinions. . . . He might
have suffered seriously but for the protection of Sixtus IV, then
Pope, who had been one of his scholars. . . . He attached himself
to Louis XI, and died in his service. S.]

Martivalle was none of those ascetic, withered, pale professors
of mystic learning of those days, who bleared their eyes over the
midnight furnace, and macerated their bodies by out watching the
Polar Bear. He indulged in all courtly pleasures, and until he
grew corpulent, had excelled in all martial sports and gymnastic
exercises, as well as in the use of arms; insomuch, that Janus
Pannonius [a Hungarian poet of the fifteenth century] has left a
Latin epigram upon a wrestling match betwixt Galeotti and a renowned
champion of that art, in the presence of the Hungarian King and
Court, in which the Astrologer was completely victorious.

The apartments of this courtly and martial sage were far more
splendidly furnished than any which Quentin had yet seen in the royal
palace; and the carving and ornamented woodwork of his library, as
well as the magnificence displayed in the tapestries, showed the
elegant taste of the learned Italian. Out of his study one door
opened to his sleeping apartment, another led to the turret which
served as his observatory. A large open table, in the midst of
the chamber, was covered with a rich Turkey carpet, the spoils of
the tent of a Pacha, after the great battle of Jaiza, where the
Astrologer had fought abreast with the valiant champion of Christendom,
Matthias Corvinus. On the table lay a variety of mathematical and
astrological instruments, all of the most rich materials and curious
workmanship. His astrolabe of silver was the gift of the Emperor
of Germany, and his Jacob's staff of ebony [a divining rod made of
a hazel fork], jointed with gold and curiously inlaid, was a mark
of esteem from the reigning Pope.

There were various other miscellaneous articles disposed on the
table, or hanging around the walls; amongst others, two complete
suits of armour, one of mail, the other of plate, both of which,
from their great size, seemed to call the gigantic Astrologer their
owner; a Spanish toledo, a Scottish broadsword, a Turkish scymetar,
with bows, quivers, and other warlike weapons; musical instruments
of several different kinds; a silver crucifix, a sepulchral antique
vase, and several of the little brazen Penates of the ancient
heathens, with other curious nondescript articles, some of which,
in the superstitious opinions of that period, seemed to be designed
for magical purposes. The library of this singular character was of
the same miscellaneous description with its other effects. Curious
manuscripts of classical antiquity lay mingled with the voluminous
labours of Christian divines, and of those painstaking sages who
professed the chemical science, and proffered to guide their students
into the most secret recesses of nature, by means of the Hermetical
Philosophy [a system of philosophy ascribed to the Egyptian Hermes
(Thoth) who was reputed to have written certain sacred books
treating of religion and the natural sciences]. Some were written
in the Eastern character, and others concealed their sense or
nonsense under the veil of hieroglyphics and cabalistic characters.
The whole apartment and its furniture of every kind, formed a scene
very impressive on the fancy, considering the general belief then
indisputably entertained concerning the truth of the occult sciences;
and that effect was increased by the manners and appearance of
the individual himself, who, seated in a huge chair, was employed
in curiously examining a specimen, just issued from the Frankfort
press, of the newly invented art of printing.

Galeotti Martivalle was a tall, bulky, yet stately man, considerably
past his prime, and whose youthful habits of exercise, though
still occasionally resumed, had not been able to contend with his
natural tendency to corpulence, increased by sedentary study, and
indulgence in the pleasures of the table. His features, though
rather overgrown, were dignified and noble, and a Santon might have
envied the dark and downward sweep of his long descending beard.
His dress was a chamber robe of the richest Genoa velvet, with
ample sleeves, clasped with frogs of gold, and lined with sables.
It was fastened round his middle by a broad belt of virgin parchment,
round which were represented, in crimson characters, the signs of
the Zodiac. He rose and bowed to the King, yet with the air of one
to whom such exalted society was familiar, and who was not at all
likely, even in the royal presence, to compromise the dignity then
especially affected by the pursuers of science.

"You are engaged, father," said the King, "and, as I think, with
this new fashioned art of multiplying manuscripts by the intervention
of machinery. Can things of such mechanical and terrestrial import
interest the thoughts of one before whom Heaven has unrolled her
own celestial volumes?"

"My brother," replied Martivalle. "for so the tenant of this cell
must term even the King of France, when he deigns to visit him as
a disciple -- believe me that in considering the consequences of
this invention, I read with as certain augury as by any combination
of the heavenly bodies, the most awful and portentous changes.
When I reflect with what slow and limited supplies the stream of
science hath hitherto descended to us, how difficult to be obtained
by those most ardent in its search, how certain to be neglected by
all who regard their ease; how liable to be diverted, altogether
dried up, by the invasions of barbarism; can I look forward without
wonder and astonishment to the lot of a succeeding generation
on whom knowledge will descend like the first and second rain,
uninterrupted, unabated, unbounded; fertilizing some grounds,
and overflowing others; changing the whole form of social life;
establishing and overthrowing religions; erecting and destroying
kingdoms"

"Hold, Galeotti," said Louis, "shall these changes come in our
time?"

"No, my royal brother," replied Martivalle; "this invention may
be likened to a young tree, which is now newly planted, but shall,
in succeeding generations, bear fruit as fatal, yet as precious,
as that of the Garden of Eden; the knowledge, namely, of good and
evil."

Louis answered, after a moment's pause, "Let futurity look to what
concerns them -- we are men of this age, and to this age we will
confine our care. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

"Tell me, hast thou proceeded farther in the horoscope Which I sent
to thee, and of which you made me some report? I have brought the
party hither, that you may use palmistry, or chiromancy if such is
your pleasure. The matter is pressing."

The bulky sage arose from his seat, and, approaching the young
soldier, fixed on him his keen large dark eyes as if he were in
the act of internally spelling and dissecting every lineament and
feature.

Blushing and borne down by this close examination on the part of
one whose expression was so reverend at once and commanding, Quentin
bent his eyes on the ground, and did not again raise them, till in
the act of obeying the sonorous command of the Astrologer, "Look
up and be not afraid, but hold forth thy hand."

When Martivalle had inspected his palm, according to the form of the
mystic arts which he practised, he led the King some steps aside.

"My royal brother," he said, "the physiognomy of this youth, together
with the lines impressed on his hand, confirm, in a wonderful
degree, the report which I founded on his horoscope, as well as
that judgment which your own proficiency in our sublime arts induced
you at once to form of him. All promises that this youth will be
brave and fortunate."

"And faithful?" said the King; "for valour and fortune square not
always with fidelity."

"And faithful also," said the Astrologer; "for there is manly
firmness in look and eye, and his linea vitae [the line of life, a
term used in palmistry] is deeply marked and clear, which indicates
a true and upright adherence to those who do benefit or lodge trust
in him. But yet --"

"But what?" said the King; "Father Galeotti, wherefore do you now
pause?"

"The ears of Kings," said the sage, "are like the palates of those
dainty patients which are unable to endure the bitterness of the
drugs necessary for their recovery."

"My ears and my palate have no such niceness," said Louis; "let me
hear what is useful counsel, and swallow what is wholesome medicine.
I quarrel not with the rudeness of the one, or the harsh taste of
the other. I have not been cockered in wantonness or indulgence;
my youth was one of exile and suffering. My ears are used to harsh
counsel, and take no offence at it."

"Then plainly, Sire," replied Galeotti, "if you have aught in
your purposed commission which -- which, in short, may startle a
scrupulous conscience -- intrust it not to this youth, at least,
not till a few years' exercise in your service has made him as
unscrupulous as others."

"And is this what you hesitated to speak, my good Galeotti? and
didst thou think thy speaking it would offend me?" said the King.
"Alack, I know that thou art well sensible that the path of royal policy
cannot be always squared (as that of private life ought invariably
to be) by the abstract maxims of religion and of morality. Wherefore
do we, the Princes of the earth, found churches and monasteries,
make pilgrimages, undergo penances, and perform devotions with
which others may dispense, unless it be because the benefit of the
public, and the welfare of our kingdoms, force us upon measures
which grieve our consciences as Christians? But Heaven has mercy,
the Church, an unbounded stock of merits and the intercession of
Our Lady of Embrun and the blessed saints, is urgent, everlasting,
and omnipotent."

He laid his hat on the table, and devoutly kneeling before the
images stuck into the hat band, repeated in an earnest tone, "Sancte
Huberte, Sancte Juliane, Sancte Martine, Sancta Rosalia, Sancti
quotquot adestis, orate pro me peccatore!" [St. Hubert, St. Julian,
St. Martin, St. Rosalia, all ye saints who hear me, pray for me,
a sinner.] He then smote his breast, arose, reassumed his hat, and
continued: "Be assured, good father, that whatever there may be in
our commission of the nature at which you have hinted, the execution
shall not be intrusted to this youth, nor shall he be privy to such
part of our purpose."

"In this," said the Astrologer, "you, my royal brother, will walk
wisely. -- Something may be apprehended likewise from the rashness
of this your young commissioner, a failing inherent in those of
sanguine complexion. But I hold that, by the rules of art, this
chance is not to be weighed against the other properties discovered
from his horoscope and otherwise."

"Will this next midnight be a propitious hour in which to commence
a perilous journey?" said the King. "See, here is your Ephemerides
-- you see the position of the moon in regard to Saturn, and the
ascendence of Jupiter. -- That should argue, methinks, in submission
to your better art, success to him who sends forth the expedition
at such an hour."

"To him who sends forth the expedition," said the Astrologer,
after a pause, "this conjunction doth indeed promise success; but,
methinks, that Saturn, being combust, threatens danger and infortune
to the party sent; whence I infer that the errand may be perilous,
or even fatal to those who are to journey. Violence and captivity,
methinks, are intimated in that adverse conjunction."

"Violence and captivity to those who are sent," answered the King,
"but success to the wishes of the sender. -- Runs it not thus, my
learned father?"

"Even so," replied the Astrologer.

The King paused, without giving any farther indication how far
this presaging speech (probably hazarded by the Astrologer from his
conjecture that the commission related to some dangerous purpose)
squared with his real object, which, as the reader is aware, was
to betray the Countess Isabelle of Croye into the hands of William
de la Marck, a nobleman indeed of high birth, but degraded by his
crimes into a leader of banditti, distinguished for his turbulent
disposition and ferocious bravery.

The King then pulled forth a paper from his pocket, and, ere he
gave it to Martivalle, said, in a tone which resembled that of an
apology, "Learned Galeotti, be not surprised that, possessing in
you an oracular treasure, superior to that lodged in the breast
of any now alive, not excepting the great Nostradamus himself [a
French astrologer of the sixteenth century, author of a book of
prophecies, which was condemned by the papal court in 1781], I am
desirous frequently to avail myself of your skill in those doubts
and difficulties which beset every Prince who hath to contend with
rebellion within his land, and with external enemies, both powerful
and inveterate."

"When I was honoured with your request, Sire," said the philosopher,
"and abandoned the Court of Buda for that of Plessis, it was with
the resolution to place at the command of my royal patron whatever
my art had, that might be of service to him."

"Enough, good Martivalle -- I pray thee attend to the import of
this question."

He proceeded to read from the paper in his hand: "A person having
on hand a weighty controversy, which is like to draw to debate
either by law or by force of arms, is desirous, for the present,
to seek accommodation by a personal interview with his antagonist.
He desires to know what day will be propitious for the execution
of such a purpose; also what is likely to be the success of such
a negotiation, and whether his adversary will be moved to answer
the confidence thus reposed in him, with gratitude and kindness, or
may rather be likely to abuse the opportunity and advantage which
such meeting may afford him."

"It is an important question," said Martivalle, when the King had
done reading, "and requires that I should set a planetary figure
[to prepare a diagram which would represent the heavens at that
particular moment], and give it instant and deep consideration."

"Let it be so, my good father in the sciences, and thou shalt know
what it is to oblige a King of France. We are determined, if the
constellations forbid not -- and our own humble art leads us to
think that they approve our purpose -- to hazard something, even
in our own person, to stop these anti-Christian wars."

"May the Saints forward your Majesty's pious intent," said the
Astrologer, "and guard your sacred person."

"Thanks, learned father. Here is something, the while, to enlarge
your curious library."

He placed under one of the volumes a small purse of gold; for,
economical even in his superstitions, Louis conceived the Astrologer
sufficiently bound to his service by the pensions he had assigned
him, and thought himself entitled to the use of his skill at a
moderate rate, even upon great exigencies.

Louis, having thus, in legal phrase, added a refreshing fee to his
general retainer, turned from him to address Durward.

"Follow me," he said, "my bonny Scot, as one chosen by Destiny and
a Monarch to accomplish a bold adventure. All must be got ready,
that thou mayest put foot in stirrup the very instant the bell of
Saint Martin's tolls twelve. One minute sooner, one minute later,
were to forfeit the favourable aspect of the constellations which
smile on your adventure."

Thus saying, the King left the apartment, followed by his young
guardsman; and no sooner were they gone than the Astrologer gave
way to very different feelings from those which seemed to animate
him during the royal presence.

"The niggardly slave!" he said, weighing the purse in his hand
-- for, being a man of unbounded expense, he had almost constant
occasion for money -- "The base, sordid scullion! A coxswain's wife
would give more to know that her husband had crossed the narrow
seas in safety. He acquire any tincture of humane letters! -- yes,
when prowling foxes and yelling wolves become musicians. He read
the glorious blazoning of the firmament! -- ay, when sordid moles
shall become lynxes. Post tot promissa -- after so many promises
made, to entice me from the Court of the magnificent Matthias, where
Hun and Turk, Christian and Infidel, the Czar of Muscovia and the
Cham of Tartary themselves, contended to load me with gifts --
doth he think I am to abide in this old castle like a bullfinch in
a cage, fain to sing as oft as he chooses to whistle, and all for
seed and water? Not so -- aut inveniam viam, aut faciam -- I will
discover or contrive a remedy. The Cardinal Balue is politic and
liberal -- this query shall to him, and it shall be his Eminence's
own fault if the stars speak not as he would have them."

He again took the despised guerdon, and weighed it in his hand.
"It may be," he said, "there is some jewel, or pearl of price,
concealed in this paltry case -- I have heard he can be liberal
even to lavishness, when it suits his caprice or interest."

He emptied the purse, which contained neither more nor less than
ten gold pieces. The indignation of the Astrologer was extreme.

"Thinks he that for such paltry rate of hire I will practise that
celestial science which I have studied with the Armenian Abbot of
Istrahoff, who had not seen the sun for forty years -- with the
Greek Dubravius, who is said to have raised the dead -- and have even
visited the Sheik Ebn Hali in his cave in the deserts of Thebais?
No, by Heaven! -- he that contemns art shall perish through his
own ignorance. Ten pieces! -- a pittance which I am half ashamed
to offer to Toinette, to buy her new breast laces."

So saying, the indignant Sage nevertheless plunged the contemned
pieces of gold into a large pouch which he wore at his girdle,
which Toinette, and other abettors of lavish expense, generally
contrived to empty fully faster than the philosopher, with all his
art, could find the means of filling.



CHAPTER XIV: THE JOURNEY

I see thee yet, fair France -- thou favour'd land
Of art and nature -- thou art still before me,
Thy sons, to whom their labour is a sport,
So well thy grateful soil returns its tribute,
Thy sunburnt daughters, with their laughing eyes
And glossy raven locks. But, favour'd France,
Thou hast had many a tale of woe to tell
In ancient times as now.

ANONYMOUS


Avoiding all conversation with any one (for such was his charge),
Quentin Durward proceeded hastily to array himself in a strong but
plain cuirass, with thigh and arm pieces, and placed on his head
a good steel cap without any visor. To these was added a handsome
cassock of chamois leather, finely dressed, and laced down the seams
with some embroidery, such as might become a superior officer in
a noble household.

These were brought to his apartment by Oliver, who, with his quiet,
insinuating smile and manner, acquainted him that his uncle had been
summoned to mount guard purposely that he might make no inquiries
concerning these mysterious movements.

"Your excuse will be made to your kinsman," said Oliver, smiling
again, "and, my dearest son, when you return safe from the execution
of this pleasing trust, I doubt not you will be found worthy of such
promotion as will dispense with your accounting for your motions
to any one, while it will place you at the head of those who must
render an account of theirs to you."

So spoke Oliver le Diable, calculating, probably, in his own mind,
the great chance there was that the poor youth whose hand he squeezed
affectionately as he spoke, must necessarily encounter death or
captivity in the commission intrusted to his charge. He added to
his fair words a small purse of gold, to defray necessary expenses
on the road, as a gratuity on the King's part.

At a few minutes before twelve at midnight, Quentin, according to
his directions, proceeded to the second courtyard, and paused under
the Dauphin's Tower, which, as the reader knows, was assigned for
the temporary residence of the Countesses of Croye. He found, at
this place of rendezvous, the men and horses appointed to compose
the retinue, leading two sumpter mules already loaded with baggage,
and holding three palfreys for the two Countesses and a faithful
waiting woman, with a stately war horse for himself, whose steel
plated saddle glanced in the pale moonlight. Not a word of recognition
was spoken on either side. The men sat still in their saddles as
if they were motionless, and by the same imperfect light Quentin
saw with pleasure that they were all armed, and held long lances
in their hands. They were only three in number, but one of them
whispered to Quentin, in a strong Gascon accent, that their guide
was to join them beyond Tours.

Meantime, lights glanced to and fro at the lattices of the tower,
as if there was bustle and preparation among its inhabitants. At
length a small door, which led from the bottom of the tower to the
court, was unclosed, and three females came forth attended by a
man wrapped in a cloak. They mounted in silence the palfreys which
stood prepared for them, while their attendant on foot led the way,
and gave the passwords and signals to the watchful guards, whose
posts they passed in succession. Thus they at length reached the
exterior of these formidable barriers. Here the man on foot, who had
hitherto acted as their guide, paused, and spoke low and earnestly
to the two foremost females.

"May heaven bless you, Sire," said a voice which thrilled upon
Quentin Durward's ear, "and forgive you, even if your purposes be
more interested than your words express! To be placed in safety
under the protection of the good Bishop of Liege, is the utmost
extent of my desire."

The person whom she thus addressed muttered an inaudible answer,
and retreated back through the barrier gate, while Quentin thought
that, by the moon glimpse, he recognized in him the King himself,
whose anxiety for the departure of his guests had probably induced
him to give his presence, in case scruples should arise on their
part, or difficulties on that of the guards of the Castle.

When the riders were beyond the Castle, it was necessary for some
time to ride with great precaution, in order to avoid the pitfalls,
snares, and similar contrivances which were placed for the annoyance
of strangers. The Gascon was, however, completely possessed of the
clew to this labyrinth, and in a quarter of an hour's riding they
found themselves beyond the limits of Plessis le Parc, and not far
distant from the city of Tours.

The moon, which had now extricated herself from the clouds through
which she was formerly wading, shed a full sea of glorious light
upon a landscape equally glorious. They saw the princely Loire
rolling his majestic tide through the richest plain in France, and
sweeping along between banks ornamented with towers and terraces,
and with olives and vineyards. They saw the walls of the city of
Tours, the ancient capital of Touraine, raising their portal towers
and embattlements white in the moonlight, while from within their
circle rose the immense Gothic mass, which the devotion of the
sainted Bishop Perpetuus erected as early as the fifth century,
and which the zeal of Charlemagne and his successors had enlarged
with such architectural splendour as rendered it the most magnificent
church in France. The towers of the church of Saint Gatien [the
cathedral of Tours] were also visible, and the gloomy strength
of the Castle, which was said to have been, in ancient times, the
residence of the Emperor Valentinian [a Roman emperor who strengthened
the northern frontiers against the barbarians].

Even the circumstances in which he was placed, though of a nature
so engrossing, did not prevent the wonder and delight with which
the young Scottishman, accustomed to the waste though impressive
landscape of his own mountains, and the poverty even of his country's
most stately scenery, looked on a scene which art and nature seemed
to have vied in adorning with their richest splendour. But he was
recalled to the business of the moment by the voice of the elder
lady (pitched at least an octave higher than those soft tones which
bade adieu to King Louis), demanding to speak with the leader of
the band. Spurring his horse forward, Quentin respectfully presented
himself to the ladies in that capacity, and thus underwent the
interrogatories of the Lady Hameline.

"What was his name, and what his degree?"

He told both.

"Was he perfectly acquainted with the road?"

"He could not," he replied, "pretend to much knowledge of the route,
but he was furnished with full instructions, and he was, at their
first resting place, to be provided with a guide, in all respects
competent to the task of directing their farther journey, meanwhile,
a horseman, who had just joined them and made the number of their
guard four, was to be their guide for the first stage."

"And wherefore were you selected for such a duty, young gentleman?"
said the lady. "I am told you are the same youth who was lately
upon guard in the gallery in which we met the Princess of France.
You seem young and inexperienced for such a charge -- a stranger,
too, in France, and speaking the language as a foreigner."

"I am bound to obey the commands of the King, madam, but am not
qualified to reason on them," answered the young soldier.

"Are you of noble birth?" demanded the same querist.

"I may safely affirm so, madam," replied Quentin.

"And are you not," said the younger lady, addressing him in her
turn, but with a timorous accent, "the same whom I saw when I was
called to wait upon the King at yonder inn?"

Lowering his voice, perhaps from similar feelings of timidity,
Quentin answered in the affirmative.

"Then methinks, my cousin," said the Lady Isabelle, addressing
the Lady Hameline, "we must be safe under this young gentleman's
safeguard, he looks not, at least, like one to whom the execution
of a plan of treacherous cruelty upon two helpless women could be
with safety intrusted."

"On my honour," said Durward, "by the fame of my house, by the
bones of my ancestry, I could not, for France and Scotland laid
into one, be guilty of treachery or cruelty towards you!"

"You speak well, young man," said the Lady Hameline, "but we are
accustomed to hear fair speeches from the King of France and his
agents. It was by these that we were induced, when the protection
of the Bishop of Liege might have been attained with less risk than
now, or when we might have thrown ourselves on that of Winceslaus
of Germany, or of Edward of England, to seek refuge in France.
And in what did the promises of the King result? In an obscure
and shameful concealing of us, under plebeian names, as a sort of
prohibited wares in yonder paltry hostelry, when we -- who, as thou
knowest, Marthon" (addressing her domestic), "never put on our head
tire save under a canopy, and upon a dais of three degrees -- were
compelled to attire ourselves, standing on the simple floor, as if
we had been two milkmaids."

Marthon admitted that her lady spoke a most melancholy truth.

"I would that had been the sorest evil, dear kinswoman," said the
Lady Isabelle, "I could gladly have dispensed with state."

"But not with society," said the elder Countess, "that, my sweet
cousin, was impossible."

"I would have dispensed with all, my dearest kinswoman," answered
Isabelle, in a voice which penetrated to the very heart of her
young conductor and guard, "with all, for a safe and honourable
retirement. I wish not -- God knows, I never wished -- to occasion
war betwixt France and my native Burgundy, or that lives should
be lost for such as I am. I only implored permission to retire to
the Convent of Marmoutier, or to any other holy sanctuary."

"You spoke then like a fool, my cousin," answered the elder lady,
"and not like a daughter of my noble brother. It is well there
is still one alive who hath some of the spirit of the noble House
of Croye. How should a high born lady be known from a sunburnt
milkmaid, save that spears are broken for the one, and only hazel
poles shattered for the other? I tell you, maiden, that while I
was in the very earliest bloom, scarcely older than yourself, the
famous Passage of Arms at Haflinghem was held in my honour, the
challengers were four, the assailants so many as twelve. It lasted
three days, and cost the lives of two adventurous knights, the
fracture of one backbone, one collarbone, three legs, and two arms,
besides flesh wounds and bruises beyond the heralds' counting, and
thus have the ladies of our House ever been honoured. Ah! had you
but half the heart of your noble ancestry, you would find means at
some court where ladies' love and fame in arms are still prized,
to maintain a tournament at which your hand should be the prize, as
was that of your great grandmother of blessed memory, at the spear
running of Strasbourg, and thus should you gain the best lance in
Europe, to maintain the rights of the House of Croye, both against
the oppression of Burgundy and the policy of France."

"But, fair kinswoman," answered the younger Countess, "I have
been told by my old nurse, that although the Rhinegrave [formerly
a Rhenish prince] was the best lance at the great tournament at
Strasbourg, and so won the hand of my respected ancestor, yet the
match was no happy one, as he used often to scold, and sometimes
even to beat, my great grandmother of blessed memory."

"And wherefore not?" said the elder Countess, in her romantic enthusiasm
for the profession of chivalry, "why should those victorious arms,
accustomed to deal blows when abroad, be bound to restrain their
energies at home? A thousand times rather would I be beaten twice
a day by a husband whose arm was as much feared by others as by
me, than be the wife of a coward, who dared neither to lift hand
to his wife, nor to any one else!"

"I should wish you joy of such an active mate, fair aunt," replied
Isabelle, "without envying you, for if broken bones be lovely in
tourneys, there is nothing less amiable in ladies' bower."

"Nay, but the beating is no necessary consequence of wedding with
a knight of fame in arms," said the Lady Hameline, "though it is
true that your ancestor of blessed memory, the Rhinegrave Gottfried,
was something rough tempered, and addicted to the use of Rheinwein.

"The very perfect knight is a lamb among ladies, and a lion among
lances. There was Thibault of Montigni -- God be with him! -- he was
the kindest soul alive, and not only was he never so discourteous
as to lift hand against his lady, but, by our good dame, he who
beat all enemies without doors, found a fair foe who could belabour
him within. -- Well, 't was his own fault -- he was one of the
challengers at the Passage of Haflinghem, and so well bestirred
himself, that, if it had pleased Heaven, and your grandfather, there
might have been a lady of Montigni who had used his gentle nature
more gently."

The Countess Isabelle, who had some reason to dread this Passage of
Haflinghem, it being a topic upon which her aunt was at all times
very diffuse, suffered the conversation to drop, and Quentin, with
the natural politeness of one who had been gently nurtured dreading
lest his presence might be a restraint on their conversation, rode
forward to join the guide, as if to ask him some questions concerning
their route.

Meanwhile the ladies continued their journey in silence, or in such
conversation as is not worth narrating, until day began to break,
and as they had then been on horseback for several hours, Quentin,
anxious lest they should be fatigued, became impatient to know
their distance from the nearest resting place.

"I will show it you," answered the guide, "in half an hour."

"And then you leave us to other guidance?" continued Quentin.

"Even so, Seignior Archer," replied the man, "my journeys are
always short and straight. When you and others, Seignior Archer,
go by the bow, I always go by the cord."

The moon had by this time long been down, and the lights of dawn
were beginning to spread bright and strong in the east, and to gleam
on the bosom of a small lake, on the verge of which they had been
riding for a short space of time. This lake lay in the midst of a
wide plain, scattered over with single trees, groves and thickets,
but which might be yet termed open, so that objects began to be
discerned with sufficient accuracy. Quentin cast his eye on the
person whom he rode beside, and under the shadow of a slouched
overspreading hat, which resembled the sombrero of a Spanish peasant,
he recognised the facetious features of the same Petit Andre whose
fingers, not long since, had, in concert with those of his lugubrious
brother, Trois Eschelles, been so unpleasantly active about his
throat. -- Impelled by aversion, not altogether unmixed with fear
(for in his own country the executioner is regarded with almost
superstitious horror), which his late narrow escape had not
diminished, Durward instinctively moved his horse's head to the
right, and pressing him at the same time with the spur, made a
demi-volte, which separated him eight feet from his hateful companion.

"Ho, ho, ho, ho!" exclaimed Petit Andre, "by Our Lady of the Grave,
our young soldier remembers us of old. What! comrade, you bear no
malice, I trust? -- every one wins his bread in this country. No
man need be ashamed of having come through my hands, for I will do
my work with any that ever tied a living weight to a dead tree. --
And God hath given me grace to be such a merry fellow withal. --
Ha! ha! ha! -- I could tell you such jests I have cracked between
the foot of a ladder and the top of the gallows, that, by my
halidome, I have been obliged to do my job rather hastily, for fear
the fellows should die with laughing, and so shame my mystery!"

As he thus spoke he edged his horse sideways to regain the interval
which the Scot had left between them, saying, at the same time,
"Come, Seignior Archer, let there be no unkindness betwixt us! --
For my part, I always do my duty without malice, and with a light
heart, and I never love a man better than when I have put my scant
of wind collar about his neck, to dub him Knight of the order of
Saint Patibularius [patibulum, a gibbet], as the Provost's Chaplain,
the worthy Father Vaconeldiablo [possibly Baco (Bacchus) el Diablo
(the Devil)], is wont to call the Patron Saint of the Provostry."

"Keep back, thou wretched object!" exclaimed Quentin, as the finisher
of the law again sought to approach him closer, "or I shall be
tempted to teach you the distance that should be betwixt men of
honour and such an outcast."

"La you there, how hot you are!" said the fellow, "had you said
men of honesty, there had been some savour of truth in it, but for
men of honour, good lack, I have to deal with them every day, as
nearly and closely as I was about to do business with you. -- But
peace be with you, and keep your company to yourself. I would have
bestowed a flagon of Auvernat upon you to wash away every unkindness
-- -- but 't is like you scorn my courtesy. -- Well. Be as churlish
as you list -- I never quarrel with my customers -- my jerry come
tumbles, my merry dancers, my little playfellows, as Jacques Butcher
says to his lambs -- those in fine, who, like your seigniorship,
have H. E. M. P. written on their foreheads. -- No, no, let them
use me as they list, they shall have my good service at last -- and
yourself shall see, when you next come under Petit Andre's hands,
that he knows how to forgive an injury."

So saying, and summing up the whole with a provoking wink, and such
an interjectional tchick as men quicken a dull horse with, Petit
Andre drew off to the other side of the path, and left the youth
to digest the taunts he had treated him with, as his proud Scottish
stomach best might. A strong desire had Quentin to have belaboured
him while the staff of his lance could hold together, but he put
a restraint on his passion, recollecting that a brawl with such
a character could be creditable at no time or place, and that a
quarrel of any kind, on the present occasion, would be a breach of
duty, and might involve the most perilous consequences. He therefore
swallowed his wrath at the ill timed and professional jokes of Mons.
Petit Andre, and contented himself with devoutly hoping that they
had not reached the ears of his fair charge, on which they could
not be supposed to make an impression in favour of himself, as one
obnoxious to such sarcasms. But he was speedily roused from such
thoughts by the cry of both the ladies at once, to "Look back --
look back! -- For the love of Heaven look yourself, and us -- we
are pursued!"

Quentin hastily looked back, and saw that two armed men were in
fact following them, and riding at such a pace as must soon bring
them up with their party. "It can," he said, "be only some of the
Provostry making their rounds in the forest. -- Do thou look," he
said to Petit Andre, "and see what they may be."

Petit Andre obeyed, and rolling himself jocosely in the saddle
after he had made his observations, replied, "These, fair sir, are
neither your comrades nor mine -- neither Archers nor Marshals men
-- for I think they wear helmets, with visors lowered, and gorgets
of the same. -- A plague upon these gorgets of all other pieces
of armour! -- I have fumbled with them an hour before I could undo
the rivets."

"Do you, gracious ladies," said Durward, without attending to
Petit Andre, "ride forward -- not so fast as to raise an opinion
of your being in flight, and yet fast enough to avail yourself of
the impediment which I shall presently place between you and these
men who follow us."

The Countess Isabelle looked to their guide, and then whispered to
her aunt, who spoke to Quentin thus: "We have confidence in your
care, fair Archer, and will rather abide the risk of whatever may
chance in your company, than we will go onward with that man, whose
mien is, we think, of no good augury."

"Be it as you will, ladies," said the youth. "There are but two
who come after us, and though they be knights, as their arms seem
to show, they shall, if they have any evil purpose, learn how a
Scottish gentleman can do his devour in the presence and for the
defence of such as you.

"Which of you," he continued, addressing the guards whom he
commanded, "is willing to be my comrade, and to break a lance with
these gallants?"

Two of the men obviously faltered in resolution, but the third,
Bertrand Guyot, swore that cap de diou, were they Knights of King
Arthur's Round Table, he would try their mettle, for the honour of
Gascony.

While he spoke, the two knights -- for they seemed of no less rank
-- came up with the rear of the party, in which Quentin, with his
sturdy adherent, had by this time stationed himself. They were
fully accoutred in excellent armour of polished steel, without any
device by which they could be distinguished.

One of them, as they approached, called out to Quentin, "Sir Squire,
give place -- we come to relieve you of a charge which is above
your rank and condition. You will do well to leave these ladies in
our care, who are fitter to wait upon them, especially as we know
that in yours they are little better than captives."

"In return to your demand, sirs," replied Durward, "know, in the
first place, that I am discharging the duty imposed upon me by my
present sovereign, and next, that however unworthy I may be, the
ladies desire to abide under my protection."

"Out, sirrah!" exclaimed one of the champions, "will you, a wandering
beggar, put yourself on terms of resistance against belted knights?"

"They are indeed terms of resistance," said Quentin, "since they oppose
your insolent and unlawful aggression, and if there be difference
of rank between us, which as yet I know not, your discourtesy has
done it away. Draw your sword, or if you will use the lance, take
ground for your career."

While the knights turned their horses, and rode back to the distance
of about a hundred and fifty yards, Quentin, looking to the ladies,
bent low on his saddlebow, as if desiring their favourable regard,
and as they streamed towards him their kerchiefs, in token of
encouragement, the two assailants had gained the distance necessary
for their charge.

Calling to the Gascon to bear himself like a man, Durward put his
steed into motion, and the four horsemen met in full career in the
midst of the ground which at first separated them. The shock was
fatal to the poor Gascon, for his adversary, aiming at his face,
which was undefended by a visor, ran him through the eye into the
brain, so that he fell dead from his horse.

On the other hand, Quentin, though labouring under the same
disadvantage, swayed himself in the saddle so dexterously, that
the hostile lance, slightly scratching his cheek, passed over his
right shoulder, while his own spear, striking his antagonist fair
upon the breast, hurled him to the ground. Quentin jumped off, to
unhelm his fallen opponent, but the other knight (who had never
yet spoken), seeing the fortune of his companion, dismounted still
more speedily than Durward, and bestriding his friend, who lay
senseless, exclaimed, "In the name of God and Saint Martin, mount,
good fellow, and get thee gone with thy woman's ware -- Ventre
Saint Gris, they have caused mischief enough this morning."

"By your leave, Sir Knight," said Quentin, who could not brook the
menacing tone in which this advice was given, "I will first see whom
I have had to do with, and learn who is to answer for the death of
my comrade."

"That shalt thou never live to know or to tell," answered the
knight. "Get thee back in peace, good fellow. If we were fools for
interrupting your passage, we have had the worst, for thou hast done
more evil than the lives of thee and thy whole hand could repay.
-- Nay, if thou wilt have it" (for Quentin now drew his sword, and
advanced on him), "take it with a vengeance!"

So saying, he dealt the Scot such a blow on the helmet, as, till
that moment (though bred where good blows were plenty), he had only
read of in romance. It descended like a thunderbolt, beating down
the guard which the young soldier had raised to protect his head,
and, reaching his helmet of proof, cut it through so far as to
touch his hair, but without farther injury while Durward, dizzy,
stunned, and beaten down on one knee, was for an instant at the
mercy of the knight, had it pleased him to second his blow. But
compassion for Quentin's youth, or admiration of his courage, or
a generous love of fair play, made him withhold from taking such
advantage: while Durward, collecting himself, sprang up and attacked
his antagonist with the energy of one determined to conquer or
die, and at the same time with the presence of mind necessary for
fighting the quarrel out to the best advantage. Resolved not again
to expose himself to such dreadful blows as he had just obtained,
he employed the advantage of superior agility, increased by the
comparative lightness of his armour, to harass his antagonist by
traversing on all sides, with a suddenness of motion and rapidity
of attack against which the knight -- in his heavy panoply -- found
it difficult to defend himself without much fatigue.

It was in vain that this generous antagonist called aloud to Quentin
that there now remained no cause of fight betwixt them, and that
he was loath to be constrained to do him injury. Listening only
to the suggestions of a passionate wish to redeem the shame of his
temporary defeat, Durward continued to assail him with the rapidity
of lightning -- now menacing him with the edge, now with the point
of his sword, and ever keeping such an eye on the motions of his
opponent, of whose superior strength he had had terrible proof, that
he was ready to spring backward, or aside, from under the blows of
his tremendous weapon.

"Now the devil be with thee for an obstinate and presumptuous fool,"
muttered the knight, "that cannot be quiet till thou art knocked
on the head!"

So saying, he changed his mode of fighting, collected himself, as
if to stand on the defensive, and seemed contented with parrying,
instead of returning, the blows which Quentin unceasingly aimed
at him, with the internal resolution that the instant when either
loss of breath or any false or careless pass of the young soldier
should give an opening, he would put an end to the fight by a single
blow. It is likely he might have succeeded in this artful policy,
but Fate had ordered it otherwise.

The duel was still at the hottest, when a large party of horse rode
up, crying, "Hold, in the King's name!"

Both champions stepped back -- and Quentin saw, with surprise,
that his Captain, Lord Crawford, was at the head of the party who
had thus interrupted their combat. There was also Tristan l'Hermite,
with two or three of his followers, making, in all, perhaps twenty
horse.



CHAPTER XV: THE GUIDE

He was a son of Egypt, as he told me,
And one descended from those dread magicians,
Who waged rash war, when Israel dwelt in Goshen,
With Israel and her Prophet -- matching rod
With his, the son's of Levi's -- and encountering
Jehovah's miracles with incantations,
Till upon Egypt came the avenging Angel,
And those proud sages wept for their first born,
As wept the unletter'd peasant.

ANONYMOUS


The arrival of Lord Crawford and his guard put an immediate end to
the engagement which we endeavoured to describe in the last chapter,
and the knight, throwing off his helmet, hastily gave the old Lord
his sword, saying, "Crawford, I render myself. -- But hither --
and lend me your ear -- a word for God's sake -- save the Duke of
Orleans!"

"How! -- what? -- the Duke of Orleans!" exclaimed the Scottish
commander. "How came this, in the name of the foul fiend? It will
ruin the gallant with the King, for ever and a day."

"Ask no questions," said Dunois -- for it was no other than he
-- "it was all my fault. See, he stirs. I came forth but to have
a snatch at yonder damsel, and make myself a landed and a married
man -- and see what is come on 't. Keep back your canaille -- let
no man look upon him."

So saying, he opened the visor of Orleans, and threw water on his
face, which was afforded by the neighbouring lake.

Quentin Durward, meanwhile, stood like one planet struck [affected
by the supposed influence of the planets], so fast did new adventures
pour in upon him. He had now, as the pale features of his first
antagonist assured him, borne to the earth the first Prince of the
Blood in France, and had measured swords with her best champion,
the celebrated Dunois, -- both of them achievements honourable in
themselves: but whether they might be called good service to the
King, or so esteemed by him, was a very different question.

The Duke had now recovered his breath, and was able to sit up and
give attention to what passed betwixt Dunois and Crawford, while
the former pleaded eagerly that there was no occasion to mention in
the matter the name of the most noble Orleans, while he was ready
to take the whole blame on his own shoulders, and to avouch that
the Duke had only come thither in friendship to him.

Lord Crawford continued listening with his eves fixed on the ground,
and from time to time he sighed and shook his head. At length he
said, looking up, "Thou knowest, Dunois, that, for thy father's
sake, as well as thine own, I would full fain do thee a service."

"It is not for myself I demand anything," answered Dunois. "Thou
hast my sword, and I am your prisoner -- what needs more? But it
is for this noble Prince, the only hope of France, if God should
call the Dauphin. He only came hither to do me a favour -- in an
effort to make my fortune -- in a matter which the King had partly
encouraged."

"Dunois," replied Crawford, "if another had told me thou hadst
brought the noble Prince into this jeopardy to serve any purpose
of thine own, I had told him it was false. And now that thou dost
pretend so thyself, I can hardly believe it is for the sake of
speaking the truth."

"Noble Crawford," said Orleans, who had now entirely recovered from
his swoon, "you are too like in character to your friend Dunois,
not to do him justice. It was indeed I that dragged him hither, most
unwillingly, upon an enterprise of harebrained passion, suddenly
and rashly undertaken. -- Look on me all who will," he added, rising
up and turning to the soldiery, "I am Louis of Orleans, willing to
pay the penalty of my own folly. I trust the King will limit his
displeasure to me, as is but just. -- Meanwhile, as a Child of
France must not give up his sword to any one -- not even to you,
brave Crawford -- fare thee well, good steel."

So saying, he drew his sword from its scabbard, and flung it into
the lake. It went through the air like a stream of lightning, and
sank in the flashing waters, which speedily closed over it. All
remained standing in irresolution and astonishment, so high was
the rank, and so much esteemed was the character, of the culprit,
while, at the same time, all were conscious that the consequences
of his rash enterprise, considering the views which the King had
upon him, were likely to end in his utter ruin.

Dunois was the first who spoke, and it was in the chiding tone of
an offended and distrusted friend: "So! your Highness hath judged
it fit to cast away your best sword, in the same morning when it
was your pleasure to fling away the King's favour, and to slight
the friendship of Dunois?"

"My dearest kinsman," said the Duke, "when or how was it in my
purpose to slight your friendship by telling the truth, when it
was due to your safety and my honour?"

"What had you to do with my safety, my most princely cousin, I would
pray to know?" answered Dunois, gruffly. "What, in God's name, was
it to you, if I had a mind to be hanged, or strangled, or flung into
the Loire, or poniarded, or broke on the wheel, or hung up alive
in an iron cage, or buried alive in a castle fosse, or disposed of
in any other way in which it might please King Louis to get rid of
his faithful subject? -- (You need 'not wink and frown, and point
to Tristan l'Hermite -- I see the scoundrel as well as you do.)
But it would not have stood so hard with me. -- And so much for
my safety. And then for your own honour -- by the blush of Saint
Magdalene, I think the honour would have been to have missed this
morning's work, or kept it out of sight. Here has your Highness
got yourself unhorsed by a wild Scottish boy."

"Tut, tut!" said Lord Crawford, "never shame his Highness for that.
It is not the first time a Scottish boy hath broke a good lance --
I am glad the youth hath borne him well."

"I will say nothing to the contrary," said Dunois, "yet, had your
Lordship come something later than you did, there might have been
a vacancy in your band of Archers."

"Ay, ay," answered Lord Crawford, "I can read your handwriting
in that cleft morion. Some one take it from the lad and give him
a bonnet, which, with its steel lining, will keep his head better
than that broken loom -- And let me tell your Lordship, that your
own armour of proof is not without some marks of good Scottish
handwriting. But, Dunois, I must now request the Duke of Orleans and
you to take horse and accompany me, as I have power and commission
to convey you to a place different from that which my goodwill
might assign you."

"May I not speak one word, my Lord of Crawford, to yonder fair
ladies?" said the Duke of Orleans.

"Not one syllable," answered Lord Crawford, "I am too much a friend
of your Highness to permit such an act of folly."

Then addressing Quentin, he added, "You, young man, have done your
duty. Go on to obey the charge with which you are intrusted."

"Under favour, my Lord," said Tristan, with his usual brutality
of manner, "the youth must find another guide. I cannot do without
Petit Andre, when there is so like to be business on hand for him."

"The young man," said Petit Andre, now coming forward, "has only to
keep the path which lies straight before him, and it will conduct
him to a place where he will find the man who is to act as his
guide.

"I would not for a thousand ducats be absent from my Chief this day
I have hanged knights and esquires many a one, and wealthy Echevins
[during the Middle Ages royal officers possessing a large measure
of power in local administration], and burgomasters to boot -- even
counts and marquises have tasted of my handiwork but, a-humph" --
he looked at the Duke, as if to intimate that he would have filled
up the blank with "a Prince of the Blood!"

"Ho, ho, ho! Petit Andre, thou wilt be read of in Chronicle!"

"Do you permit your ruffians to hold such language in such a
presence?" said Crawford, looking sternly to Tristan.

"Why do you not correct him yourself, my Lord?" said Tristan,
sullenly.

"Because thy hand is the only one in this company that can beat
him without being degraded by such an action."

"Then rule your own men, my Lord, and I will be answerable for
mine," said the Provost Marshal.

Lord Crawford seemed about to give a passionate reply, but as if
he had thought better of it, turned his back short upon Tristan,
and, requesting the Duke of Orleans and Dunois to ride one on either
hand of him, he made a signal of adieu to the ladies, and said to
Quentin, "God bless thee, my child, thou hast begun thy service
valiantly, though in an unhappy cause."

He was about to go off when Quentin could hear Dunois whisper to
Crawford, "Do you carry us to Plessis?"

"No, my unhappy and rash friend," answered Crawford, with a sigh,
"to Loches."

"To Loches!" The name of a castle, or rather prison, yet more
dreaded than Plessis itself, fell like a death toll upon the ear of
the young Scotchman. He had heard it described as a place destined
to the workings of those secret acts of cruelty with which even
Louis shamed to pollute the interior of his own residence. There
were in this place of terror dungeons under dungeons, some of them
unknown even to the keepers themselves, living graves, to which
men were consigned with little hope of farther employment during
the rest of their life than to breathe impure air, and feed on
bread and water. At this formidable castle were also those dreadful
places of confinement called cages, in which the wretched prisoner
could neither stand upright nor stretch himself at length, an
invention, it is said, of the Cardinal Balue [who himself tenanted
one of these dens for more than eleven years. S. De Comines, who
also suffered this punishment, describes the cage as eight feet
wide, and a foot higher than a man.]. It is no wonder that the
name of this place of horrors, and the consciousness that he had
been partly the means of dispatching thither two such illustrious
victims, struck so much sadness into the heart of the young Scot
that he rode for some time with his head dejected, his eyes fixed
on the ground, and his heart filled with the most painful reflections.

As he was now again at the head of the little troop, and pursuing
the road which had been pointed out to him, the Lady Hameline had
an opportunity to say to him, "Methinks, fair sir, you regret the
victory which your gallantry has attained in our behalf?"

There was something in the question which sounded like irony, but
Quentin had tact enough to answer simply and with sincerity.

"I can regret nothing that is done in the service of such ladies
as you are, but, methinks, had it consisted with your safety, I
had rather have fallen by the sword of so good a soldier as Dunois,
than have been the means of consigning that renowned knight and
his unhappy chief, the Duke of Orleans, to yonder fearful dungeons."

"It was, then, the Duke of Orleans," said the elder lady, turning
to her niece. "I thought so, even at the distance from which we
beheld the fray. -- You see, kinswoman, what we might have been,
had this sly and avaricious monarch permitted us to be seen at his
Court. The first Prince of the Blood of France, and the valiant
Dunois, whose name is known as wide as that of his heroic father. --
This young gentleman did his devoir bravely and well, but methinks
't is pity that he did not succumb with honour, since his ill
advised gallantry has stood betwixt us and these princely rescuers"

The Countess Isabelle replied in a firm and almost a displeased
tone, with an energy, in short, which Quentin had not yet observed
her use. She said, "but that I know you jest, I would say your
speech is ungrateful to our brave defender, to whom we owe more,
perhaps, than you are aware of. Had these gentlemen succeeded so
far in their rash enterprise as to have defeated our escort, is
it not still evident, that, on the arrival of the Royal Guard, we
must have shared their captivity? For my own part, I give tears,
and will soon bestow masses, on the brave man who has fallen, and
I trust" (she continued, more timidly) "that he who lives will
accept my grateful thanks."

As Quentin turned his face towards her, to return the fitting
acknowledgments, she saw the blood which streamed down on one
side of his face, and exclaimed, in a tone of deep feeling, "Holy
Virgin, he is wounded! he bleeds! -- Dismount, sir, and let your
wound be bound!"

In spite of all that Durward could say of the slightness of his
hurt he was compelled to dismount, and to seat himself on a bank,
and unhelmet himself, while the Ladies of Croye, who, according to
a fashion not as yet antiquated, pretended some knowledge of leech
craft, washed the wound, stanched the blood, and bound it with the
kerchief of the younger Countess in order to exclude the air, for
so their practice prescribed.

In modern times, gallants seldom or never take wounds for ladies'
sake, and damsels on their side never meddle with the cure of
wounds. Each has a danger the less. That which the men escape will
be generally acknowledged, but the peril of dressing such a slight
wound as that of Quentin's, which involved nothing formidable or
dangerous, was perhaps as real in its way as the risk of encountering
it.

We have already said the patient was eminently handsome, and the
removal of his helmet, or more properly, of his morion, had suffered
his fair locks to escape in profusion, around a countenance in which
the hilarity of youth was qualified by a blush of modesty at once
and pleasure. And then the feelings of the younger Countess, when
compelled to hold the kerchief to the wound, while her aunt sought
in their baggage for some vulnerary remedy, were mingled at once
with a sense of delicacy and embarrassment, a thrill of pity for
the patient, and of gratitude for his services, which exaggerated,
in her eyes, his good mien and handsome features. In short,
this incident seemed intended by Fate to complete the mysterious
communication which she had, by many petty and apparently accidental
circumstances, established betwixt two persons, who, though
far different in rank and fortune, strongly resembled each other
in youth, beauty, and the romantic tenderness of an affectionate
disposition. It was no wonder, therefore, that from this moment
the thoughts of the Countess Isabelle, already so familiar to his
imagination, should become paramount in Quentin's bosom, nor that
if the maiden's feelings were of a less decided character, at least
so far as known to herself, she should think of her young defender,
to whom she had just rendered a service so interesting, with more
emotion than of any of the whole band of high born nobles who had
for two years past besieged her with their adoration. Above all,
when the thought of Campobasso, the unworthy favourite of Duke
Charles, with his hypocritical mien, his base, treacherous spirit,
his wry neck and his squint, occurred to her, his portrait was
more disgustingly hideous than ever, and deeply did she resolve no
tyranny should make her enter into so hateful a union.

In the meantime, whether the good Lady Hameline of Croye understood
and admired masculine beauty as much as when she was fifteen years
younger (for the good Countess was at least thirty-five, if the
records of that noble house speak the truth), or whether she thought
she had done their young protector less justice than she ought, in
the first view which she had taken of his services, it is certain
that he began to find favour in her eyes.

"My niece," she said, "has bestowed on you a kerchief for the binding
of your wound, I will give you one to grace your gallantry, and to
encourage you in your farther progress in chivalry."

So saying, she gave him a richly embroidered kerchief of blue and
silver, and pointing to the housing of her palfrey, and the plumes
in her riding cap, desired him to observe that the colours were
the same.

The fashion of the time prescribed one absolute mode of receiving
such a favour, which Quentin followed accordingly by tying the
napkin around his arm, yet his manner of acknowledgment had more
of awkwardness, and loss of gallantry in it, than perhaps it might
have had at another time, and in another presence, for though the
wearing of a lady's favour, given in such a manner, was merely
matter of general compliment, he would much rather have preferred
the right of displaying on his arm that which bound the wound
inflicted by the sword of Dunois.

Meantime they continued their pilgrimage, Quentin now riding abreast
of the ladies, into whose society he seemed to be tacitly adopted.
He did not speak much, however, being filled by the silent
consciousness of happiness, which is afraid of giving too strong
vent to its feelings. The Countess Isabelle spoke still less, so
that the conversation was chiefly carried on by the Lady Hameline,
who showed no inclination to let it drop, for, to initiate the young
Archer, as she said, into the principles and practice of chivalry,
she detailed to him at full length the Passage of Arms at Haflinghem,
where she had distributed the prizes among the victors.

Not much interested, I am sorry to say, in the description of
this splendid scene, or in the heraldic bearings of the different
Flemish and German knights, which the lady blazoned with pitiless
accuracy, Quentin began to entertain some alarm lest he should have
passed the place where his guide was to join him -- a most serious
disaster, from which, should it really have taken place, the very
worst consequences were to be apprehended.

While he hesitated whether it would be better to send back one of
his followers to see whether this might not be the case, he heard
the blast of a horn, and looking in the direction from which the
sound came, beheld a horseman riding very fast towards them. The
low size, and wild, shaggy, untrained state of the animal, reminded
Quentin of the mountain breed of horses in his own country, but
this was much more finely limbed, and, with the same appearance of
hardiness, was more rapid in its movements. The head particularly,
which, in the Scottish pony, is often lumpish and heavy, was small
and well placed in the neck of this animal, with thin jaws, full
sparkling eyes, and expanded nostrils.

The rider was even more singular in his appearance than the horse
which he rode, though that was extremely unlike the horses of France.
Although he managed his palfrey with great dexterity, he sat with
his feet in broad stirrups, something resembling shovels, so short
in the leathers that his knees were well nigh as high as the pommel
of his saddle. His dress was a red turban of small size, in which
he wore a sullied plume, secured by a clasp of silver, his tunic,
which was shaped like those of the Estradiots (a sort of troops whom
the Venetians at that time levied in the provinces on the eastern
side of their gulf), was green in colour, and tawdrily laced with
gold, he wore very wide drawers or trowsers of white, though none
of the cleanest, which gathered beneath the knee, and his swarthy
legs were quite bare, unless for the complicated laces which bound
a pair of sandals on his feet, he had no spurs, the edge of his
large stirrups being so sharp as to serve to goad the horse in a
very severe manner. In a crimson sash this singular horseman wore
a dagger on the right side, and on the left a short crooked Moorish
sword, and by a tarnished baldric over the shoulder hung the horn
which announced his approach. He had a swarthy and sunburnt visage,
with a thin beard, and piercing dark eyes, a well formed mouth and
nose, and other features which might have been pronounced handsome,
but for the black elf locks which hung around his face, and the
air of wildness and emaciation, which rather seemed to indicate a
savage than a civilized man.

"He also is a Bohemian!" said the ladies to each other. "Holy Mary,
will the King again place confidence in these outcasts?"

"I will question the man, if it be your pleasure," said Quentin,
"and assure myself of his fidelity as I best may."

Durward, as well as the Ladies of Croye, had recognised in this man's
dress and appearance the habit and the manners of those vagrants
with whom he had nearly been confounded by the hasty proceedings
of Trois Eschelles and Petit Andre, and he, too, entertained very
natural apprehensions concerning the risk of reposing trust in one
of that vagrant race.

"Art thou come hither to seek us?" was his first question. The
stranger nodded. "And for what purpose?"

"To guide you to the Palace of Him of Liege."

"Of the Bishop?"

The Bohemian again nodded.

"What token canst thou give me that we should yield credence to
thee?"

"Even the old rhyme, and no other," answered the Bohemian,


"The page slew the boar,
The peer had the gloire."


"A true token," said Quentin, "lead on, good fellow -- I will speak
farther with thee presently."

Then falling back to the ladies, he said, "I am convinced this man
is the guide we are to expect, for he hath brought me a password,
known, I think, but to the King and me. But I will discourse with
him farther, and endeavour to ascertain how far he is to be trusted."



CHAPTER XVI: THE VAGRANT

I am as free as Nature first made man,
Ere the base laws of servitude began
When wild in woods the noble savage ran.

THE CONQUEST OF GRENADA


While Quentin held the brief communication with the ladies necessary
to assure them that this extraordinary addition to their party was
the guide whom they were to expect on the King's part, he noticed
(for he was as alert in observing the motions of the stranger, as
the Bohemian could be on his part) that the man not only turned
his head as far back as he could to peer at them, but that, with
a singular sort of agility, more resembling that of a monkey than
of a man, he had screwed his whole person around on the saddle so
as to sit almost sidelong upon the horse, for the convenience, as
it seemed, of watching them more attentively.

Not greatly pleased with this manoeuvre, Quentin rode up to the
Bohemian and said to him, as he suddenly assumed his proper position
on the horse, "Methinks, friend, you will prove but a blind guide,
if you look at the tail of your horse rather than his ears."

"And if I were actually blind," answered the Bohemian, "I could not
the less guide you through any county in this realm of France, or
in those adjoining to it."

"Yet you are no Frenchman," said the Scot.

"I am not," answered the guide.

"What countryman, then, are you," demanded Quentin.

"I am of no country," answered the guide.

"How! of no country?" repeated the Scot.

"No," answered the Bohemian, "of none. I am a Zingaro, a Bohemian,
an Egyptian, or whatever the Europeans, in their different languages,
may choose to call our people, but I have no country."

"Are you a Christian?" asked the Scotchman.

The Bohemian shook his head.

"Dog," said Quentin (for there was little toleration in the spirit
of Catholicism in those days), "dost thou worship Mahoun?"

[Mahoun: Mohammed. It was a remarkable feature of the character of
these wanderers that they did not, like the Jews whom they otherwise
resembled in some particulars, possess or profess any particular
religion, whether in form or principle. They readily conformed,
as far as might be required, with the religion of any country in
which they happened to sojourn, but they did not practise it more
than was demanded of them. . . . S.]

"No," was the indifferent and concise answer of the guide, who
neither seemed offended nor surprised at the young man's violence
of manner.

"Are you a Pagan, then, or what are you?"

"I have no religion," answered the Bohemian.

Durward started back, for though he had heard of Saracens and
Idolaters, it had never entered into his ideas or belief that any
body of men could exist who practised no mode of worship whatever.
He recovered from his astonishment to ask his guide where he usually
dwelt.

"Wherever I chance to be for the time," replied the Bohemian. "I
have no home."

"How do you guard your property?"

"Excepting the clothes which I wear, and the horse I ride on, I
have no property."

"Yet you dress gaily, and ride gallantly," said Durward. "What are
your means of subsistence?"

"I eat when I am hungry, drink when I am thirsty, and have no
other means of subsistence than chance throws in my Way," replied
the vagabond.

"Under whose laws do you live?"

"I acknowledge obedience to none, but an it suits my pleasure or
my necessities," said the Bohemian.

"Who is your leader, and commands you?"

"The father of our tribe -- if I choose to obey him," said the
guide, "otherwise I have no commander."

"You are, then," said the wondering querist, "destitute of
all that other men are combined by -- you have no law, no leader,
no settled means of subsistence, no house or home. You have, may
Heaven compassionate you, no country -- and, may Heaven enlighten
and forgive you, you have no God! What is it that remains to you,
deprived of government, domestic happiness, and religion?"

"I have liberty," said the Bohemian "I crouch to no one, obey no
one -- respect no one -- I go where I will -- live as I can -- and
die when my day comes."

"But you are subject to instant execution, at the pleasure of the
Judge?"

"Be it so," returned the Bohemian, "I can but die so much the
sooner."

"And to imprisonment also," said the Scot, "and where, then, is
your boasted freedom?"

"In my thoughts," said the Bohemian, "which no chains can bind,
while yours, even when your limbs are free, remain fettered by
your laws and your superstitions, your dreams of local attachment,
and your fantastic visions of civil policy. Such as I are free in
spirit when our limbs are chained. -- You are imprisoned in mind
even when your limbs are most at freedom."

"Yet the freedom of your thoughts," said the Scot, "relieves not
the pressure of the gyves on your limbs."

"For a brief time that may be endured," answered the vagrant, "and
if within that period I cannot extricate myself, and fail of relief
from my comrades, I can always die, and death is the most perfect
freedom of all."

There was a deep pause of some duration, which Quentin at length
broke by resuming his queries.

"Yours is a wandering race, unknown to the nations of Europe. --
Whence do they derive their origin?"

"I may not tell you," answered the Bohemian.

"When will they relieve this kingdom from their presence, and return
to the land from whence they came?" said the Scot.

"When the day of their pilgrimage shall be accomplished," replied
his vagrant guide.

"Are you not sprung from those tribes of Israel which were carried
into captivity beyond the great river Euphrates?" said Quentin, who
had not forgotten the lore which had been taught him at Aberbrothick.

"Had we been so," answered the Bohemian, "we had followed their
faith and practised their rites."

"What is thine own name?" said Durward.

"My proper name is only known to my brethren. The men beyond our
tents call me Hayraddin Maugrabin -- that is, Hayraddin the African
Moor."

"Thou speakest too well for one who hath lived always in thy filthy
horde," said the Scot.

"I have learned some of the knowledge of this land," said Hayraddin.
"When I was a little boy, our tribe was chased by the hunters after
human flesh. An arrow went through my mother's head, and she died.
I was entangled in the blanket on her shoulders, and was taken by
the pursuers. A priest begged me from the Provost's archers, and
trained me up in Frankish learning for two or three years."

"How came you to part with him?" demanded Durward.

"I stole money from him -- even the God which he worshipped,"
answered Hayraddin, with perfect composure, "he detected me, and
beat me -- I stabbed him with my knife, fled to the woods, and was
again united to my people."

"Wretch!" said Durward, "did you murder your benefactor?"

"What had he to do to burden me with his benefits? -- The Zingaro
boy was no house bred cur, to dog the heels of his master, and crouch
beneath his blows, for scraps of food: -- He was the imprisoned
wolf whelp, which at the first opportunity broke his chain, rended
his master, and returned to his wilderness."

There was another pause, when the young Scot, with a view of still
farther investigating the character and purpose of this suspicious
guide, asked Hayraddin whether it was not true that his people,
amid their ignorance, pretended to a knowledge of futurity which was
not given to the sages, philosophers, and divines of more polished
society.

"We pretend to it," said Hayraddin, "and it is with justice."

"How can it be that so high a gift is bestowed on so abject a race?"
said Quentin.

"Can I tell you?" answered Hayraddin. -- "Yes, I may indeed, but it
is when you shall explain to me why the dog can trace the footsteps
of a man, while man, the nobler animal, hath not power to trace
those of the dog. These powers, which seem to you so wonderful,
are instinctive in our race. From the lines on the face and on the
hand, we can tell the future fate of those who consult us, even
as surely as you know from the blossom of the tree in spring what
fruit it will bear in the harvest."

"I doubt of your knowledge, and defy you to the proof."

"Defy me not, Sir Squire," said Hayraddin Maugrabin. "I can tell
you that, say what you will of your religion, the Goddess whom you
worship rides in this company."

"Peace!" said Quentin, in astonishment, "on thy life, not a word
farther, but in answer to what I ask thee. -- Canst thou be faithful?"

"I can -- all men can," said the Bohemian.

"But wilt thou be faithful?"

"Wouldst thou believe me the more should I swear it?" answered
Maugrabin, with a sneer.

"Thy life is in my hand," said the young Scot.

"Strike, and see whether I fear to die," answered the Bohemian.

"Will money render thee a trusty guide?" demanded Durward.

"If I be not such without it, no," replied the heathen.

"Then what will bind thee?" asked the Scot.

"Kindness," replied the Bohemian.

"Shall I swear to show thee such, if thou art true guide to us on
this pilgrimage?"

"No," replied Hayraddin, "it were extravagant waste of a commodity
so rare. To thee I am bound already."

"How?" exclaimed Durward, more surprised than ever.

"Remember the chestnut trees on the banks of the Cher! The victim
whose body thou didst cut down was my brother, Zamet the Maugrabin."

"And yet," said Quentin, "I find you in correspondence with those
very officers by whom your brother was done to death, for it was
one of them who directed me where to meet with you -- the same,
doubtless, who procured yonder ladies your services as a guide."

"What can we do?" answered Hayraddin, gloomily. "These men deal
with us as the sheepdogs do with the flock, they protect us for a
while, drive us hither and thither at their pleasure, and always
end by guiding us to the shambles."

Quentin had afterwards occasion to learn that the Bohemian spoke
truth in this particular, and that the Provost guard, employed
to suppress the vagabond bands by which the kingdom was infested,
entertained correspondence among them, and forbore, for a certain
time, the exercise of their duty, which always at last ended in
conducting their allies to the gallows. This is a sort of political
relation between thief and officer, for the profitable exercise
of their mutual professions, which has subsisted in all countries,
and is by no means unknown to our own.

Durward, parting from the guide, fell back to the rest of the
retinue, very little satisfied with the character of Hayraddin,
and entertaining little confidence in the professions of gratitude
which he had personally made to him. He proceeded to sound the
other two men who had been assigned him for attendants, and he
was concerned to find them stupid and as unfit to assist him with
counsel, as in the rencounter they had shown themselves reluctant
to use their weapons.

"It is all the better," said Quentin to himself, his spirit rising
with the apprehended difficulties of his situation, "that lovely
young lady shall owe all to me. What one hand -- ay, and one head
can do -- methinks I can boldly count upon. I have seen my father's
house on fire, and he and my brothers lying dead amongst the flames
-- I gave not an inch back, but fought it out to the last. Now I
am two years older, and have the best and fairest cause to bear me
well that ever kindled mettle within a brave man's bosom."

Acting upon this resolution, the attention and activity which
Quentin bestowed during the journey had in it something that gave
him the appearance of ubiquity. His principal and most favourite
post was of course by the side of the ladies, who, sensible of his
extreme attention to their safety, began to converse with him in
almost the tone of familiar friendship, and appeared to take great
pleasure in the naivete, yet shrewdness, of his conversation.
Yet Quentin did not suffer the fascination of this intercourse to
interfere with the vigilant discharge of his duty.

If he was often by the side of the Countesses, labouring to describe
to the natives of a level country the Grampian mountains, and,
above all, the beauties of Glen Houlakin, he was as often riding
with Hayraddin in the front of the cavalcade, questioning him about
the road and the resting places, and recording his answers in his
mind, to ascertain whether upon cross examination he could discover
anything like meditated treachery. As often again he was in the
rear, endeavouring to secure the attachment of the two horsemen
by kind words, gifts, and promises of additional recompense, when
their task should be accomplished.

In this way they travelled for more than a week, through bypaths
and unfrequented districts, and by circuitous routes, in order to
avoid large towns. Nothing remarkable occurred, though they now
and then met strolling gangs of Bohemians, who respected them, as
under the conduct of one of their tribe -- straggling soldiers, or
perhaps banditti, Who deemed their party too strong to be attacked
-- or parties of the Marechaussee [mounted police], as they would
now be termed, whom Louis, who searched the wounds of the land
with steel and cautery, employed to suppress the disorderly bands
which infested the interior. These last suffered them to pursue,
their way unmolested by virtue of a password with which Quentin
had been furnished for that purpose by the King himself.

Their resting places were chiefly the monasteries, most of which
were obliged by the rules of their foundation to receive pilgrims,
under which character the ladies travelled, with hospitality and
without any troublesome inquiries into their rank and character,
which most persons of distinction were desirous of concealing
while in the discharge of their vows. The pretence of weariness
was usually employed by the Countesses of Croye as an excuse for
instantly retiring to rest, and Quentin, as their majordomo, arranged
all that was necessary betwixt them and their entertainers, with
a shrewdness which saved them all trouble, and an alacrity that
failed not to excite a corresponding degree of good will on the
part of those who were thus sedulously attended to.

One circumstance gave Quentin peculiar trouble, which was the
character and nation of his guide, who, as a heathen and an infidel
vagabond, addicted besides to occult arts (the badge of all his
tribe), was often looked upon as a very improper guest for the holy
resting places at which the company usually halted, and was not in
consequence admitted within even the outer circuit of their walls,
save with extreme reluctance. This was very embarrassing, for, on
the one hand, it was necessary to keep in good humour a man who
was possessed of the secret of their expedition, and, on the other,
Quentin deemed it indispensable to maintain a vigilant though secret
watch on Hayraddin's conduct, in order that, as far as might be, he
should hold no communication with any one without being observed.
This of course was impossible, if the Bohemian was lodged without
the precincts of the convent at which they stopped, and Durward
could not help thinking that Hayraddin was desirous of bringing about
this latter arrangement for, instead of keeping himself still and
quiet in the quarters allotted to him, his conversation, tricks,
and songs were at the same time so entertaining to the novices and
younger brethren, and so unedifying in the opinion of the seniors
of the fraternity, that, in more cases than one, it required all
the authority, supported by threats, which Quentin could exert
over him, to restrain his irreverent and untimeous jocularity, and
all the interest he could make with the Superiors, to prevent the
heathen hound from being thrust out of the doors. He succeeded,
however, by the adroit manner in which he apologized for the acts
of indecorum committed by their attendant, and the skill with
which he hinted the hope of his being brought to a better sense
of principles and behaviour, by the neighbourhood of holy relics,
consecrated buildings, and, above all, of men dedicated to religion.

But upon the tenth or twelfth day of their journey, after they had
entered Flanders, and were approaching the town of Namur, all the
efforts of Quentin became inadequate to suppress the consequences
of the scandal given by his heathen guide. The scene was a Franciscan
convent, and of a strict and reformed order, and the Prior a man
who afterwards died in the odour of sanctity. After rather more
than the usual scruples (which were indeed in such a case to be
expected) had been surmounted, the obnoxious Bohemian at length
obtained quarters in an out house inhabited by a lay brother,
who acted as gardener. The ladies retired to their apartment, as
usual, and the Prior, who chanced to have some distant alliances
and friends in Scotland, and who was fond of hearing foreigners
tell of their native countries, invited Quentin, with whose mien
and conduct he seemed much pleased, to a slight monastic refection
in his own cell. Finding the Father a man of intelligence, Quentin
did not neglect the opportunity of making himself acquainted with
the state of affairs in the country of Liege, of which, during the
last two days of their journey, he had heard such reports as made
him very apprehensive for the security of his charge during the
remainder of their route, nay, even of the Bishop's power to protect
them, when they should be safely conducted to his residence. The
replies of the Prior were not very consolatory.

He said that the people of Liege were wealthy burghers, who, like
Jeshurun [a designation for Israel] of old, had waxed fat and
kicked -- that they were uplifted in heart because of their wealth
and their privileges -- that they had divers disputes with the
Duke of Burgundy, their liege lord, upon the subject of imports
and immunities and that they had repeatedly broken out into open
mutiny, whereat the Duke was so much incensed, as being a man
of a hot and fiery nature, that he had sworn, by Saint George, on
the next provocation, he would make the city of Liege like to the
desolation of Babylon and the downfall of Tyre, a hissing and a
reproach to the whole territory of Flanders.

[Babylon: taken by Cyrus in 538 B. C. See Revelation xviii, 21:
"A mighty angel took up a stone . . . and cast it into the sea,
saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown
down, and shall be found no more."]

[Tyre: conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 B. C. "I will make
thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more . . . yet shalt thou never
be found again, saith the Lord God." Ezekiel xxvi, 21.]

"And he is a prince by all report likely to keep such a vow," said
Quentin, "so the men of Liege will probably beware how they give
him occasion."

"It were to be so hoped," said the Prior, "and such are the
prayers of the godly in the land, who would not that the blood of
the citizens were poured forth like water, and that they should
perish, even as utter castaways, ere they make their peace with
Heaven. Also the good Bishop labours night and day to preserve
peace, as well becometh a servant of the altar, for it is written
in Holy Scripture, Beati pacifici.  But" -- Here the good Prior
stopped, with a deep sigh.

Quentin modestly urged the great importance of which it was to the
ladies whom he attended, to have some assured information respecting
the internal state of the country, and what an act of Christian
charity it would be, if the worthy and reverend Father would
enlighten them upon that subject.

"It is one," said the Prior, "on which no man speaks with willingness,
for those who speak evil of the powerful, etiam in cubiculo [even
in the bed chamber], may find that a winged thing shall carry the
matter to his ears. Nevertheless, to render you, who seem an ingenuous
youth, and your ladies, who are devout votaresses accomplishing a
holy pilgrimage, the little service that is in my power, I will be
plain with you."

He then looked cautiously round and lowered his voice, as if afraid
of being overheard.

"The people of Liege," he said, "are privily instigated to their
frequent mutinies by men of Belial [in the Bible this term is used
as an appellative of Satan], who pretend, but, as I hope, falsely,
to have commission to that effect from our most Christian King, whom,
however, I hold to deserve that term better than were consistent
with his thus disturbing the peace of a neighbouring state. Yet so
it is, that his name is freely used by those who uphold and inflame
the discontents at Liege. There is, moreover, in the land, a nobleman
of good descent, and fame in warlike affairs, but otherwise, so
to speak, Lapis offensionis et petra scandali -- and a stumbling
block of offence to the countries of Burgundy and Flanders. His
name is William de la Marck."

"Called William with the Beard," said the young Scot, "or the Wild
Boar of Ardennes?"

"And rightly so called, my son," said the Prior, "because he is
as the wild boar of the forest, which treadeth down with his hoofs
and rendeth with his tusks. And he hath formed to himself a band
of more than a thousand men, all, like himself, contemners of civil
and ecclesiastical authority, and holds himself independent of the
Duke of Burgundy, and maintains himself and his followers by rapine
and wrong, wrought without distinction upon churchmen and laymen.
Imposuit manus in Christos Domini -- he hath stretched forth his
hand upon the anointed of the Lord, regardless of what is written,
'Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no wrong.' -- Even
to our poor house did he send for sums of gold and sums of silver,
as a ransom for our lives, and those of our brethren, to which we
returned a Latin supplication, stating our inability to answer his
demand, and exhorting him in the words of the preacher, Ne moliaris
amico tuo malum, cum habet in te fiduciam [devise not evil against
thy neighbour who dwelleth by thee in security]. Nevertheless,
this Guilielmus Barbatus, this William de la Marck, as completely
ignorant of humane letters as of humanity itself, replied, in his
ridiculous jargon, Si non payatis, brulabo monasterium vestrum
[if you do not pay, I will burn your monastery. A similar story is
told of the Duke of Vendome, who answered in this sort of macaronic
Latin the classical expostulations of a German convent against the
imposition of a contribution. S.]."

"Of which rude Latin, however, you, my good father," said the youth,
"were at no loss to conceive the meaning?"

"Alas! my son," said the Prior, "Fear and Necessity are shrewd
interpreters, and we were obliged to melt down the silver vessels
of our altar to satisfy the rapacity of this cruel chief. May Heaven
requite it to him seven fold! Pereat improbus -- Amen, amen, anathema
esto! [let the wicked perish. Let him be anathema! 'In pronouncing
an anathema against a person, the church excludes him from her
communion; and he must, if he continue obstinate, perish eternally.'
Cent. Dict.]"

"I marvel," said Quentin, "that the Duke of Burgundy, who is so
strong and powerful, doth not bait this boar to purpose, of whose
ravages I have already heard so much."

"Alas! my son," said the Prior, "the Duke Charles is now at Peronne,
assembling his captains of hundreds and his captains of thousands,
to make war against France, and thus, while Heaven hath set discord
between the hearts of those great princes, the country is misused
by such subordinate oppressors. But it is in evil time that the Duke
neglects the cure of these internal gangrenes, for this William de
la Marck hath of late entertained open communication with Rouslaer
and Pavillon, the chiefs of the discontented at Liege, and it is
to be feared he will soon stir them up to some desperate enterprise."

"But the Bishop of Liege," said Quentin, "he hath still power
enough to subdue this disquieted and turbulent spirit -- hath he
not, good father? Your answer to this question concerns me much."

"The Bishop, my child," replied the Prior, "hath the sword of Saint
Peter, as well as the keys. He hath power as a secular prince, and
he hath the protection of the mighty House of Burgundy, he hath
also spiritual authority as a prelate, and he supports both with a
reasonable force -- of good soldiers and men at arms. This William
de la Marck was bred in his household, and bound to him by many
benefits. But he gave vent, even in the court of the Bishop, to
his fierce and bloodthirsty temper, and was expelled thence for
a homicide committed on one of the Bishop's chief domestics. From
thenceforward, being banished from the good Prelate's presence, he
hath been his constant and unrelenting foe, and now, I grieve to
say, he hath girded his loins, and strengthened his horn against
him."

"You consider, then, the situation of the worthy Prelate as being
dangerous?" said Quentin, very, anxiously.

"Alas! my son," said the good Franciscan, "what or who is there in
this weary wilderness, whom we may not hold as in danger? But Heaven
forefend I should speak of the reverend Prelate as one whose peril
is imminent. He has much treasure, true counsellors, and brave
soldiers, and, moreover, a messenger who passed hither to the
eastward yesterday saith that the Duke of Burgundy hath dispatched,
upon the Bishop's request, an hundred men at arms to his assistance.
This reinforcement, with the retinue belonging to each lance, are
enough to deal with William de la Marck, on whose name be sorrow!
-- Amen."

At this crisis their conversation was interrupted by the Sacristan,
who, in a voice almost inarticulate with anger, accused the
Bohemian of having practised the most abominable arts of delusion
among the younger brethren. He had added to their nightly meal
cups of a heady and intoxicating cordial, of ten times the strength
of the most powerful wine, under which several of the fraternity
had succumbed, and indeed, although the Sacristan had been strong
to resist its influence, they might yet see, from his inflamed
countenance and thick speech, that even he, the accuser himself,
was in some degree affected by this unhallowed potation. Moreover,
the Bohemian had sung songs of worldly vanity and impure pleasures,
he had derided the cord of Saint Francis, made jest of his miracles,
and termed his votaries fools and lazy knaves. Lastly, he had
practised palmistry, and foretold to the young Father Cherubin that
he was helped by a beautiful lady, who should make him father to
a thriving boy.

The Father Prior listened to these complaints for some time in
silence, as struck with mute horror by their enormous atrocity.
When the Sacristan had concluded, he rose up, descended to the
court of the convent, and ordered the lay brethren, on pain of the
worst consequences of spiritual disobedience, to beat Hayraddin
out of the sacred precincts with their broom staves and cart whips.

This sentence was executed accordingly, in the presence of Quentin
Durward, who, however vexed at the occurrence, easily saw that his
interference would be of no avail.

The discipline inflicted upon the delinquent, notwithstanding the
exhortations of the Superior, was more ludicrous than formidable.
The Bohemian ran hither and thither through the court, amongst the
clamour of voices, and noise of blows, some of which reached him
not because purposely misaimed, others, sincerely designed for his
person, were eluded by his activity, and the few that fell upon
his back and shoulders he took without either complaint or reply.
The noise and riot was the greater, that the inexperienced cudgel
players, among whom Hayraddin ran the gauntlet, hit each other more
frequently than they did him, till at length, desirous of ending a
scene which was more scandalous than edifying, the Prior commanded
the wicket to be flung open, and the Bohemian, darting through it
with the speed of lightning, fled forth into the moonlight. During
this scene, a suspicion which Durward had formerly entertained,
recurred with additional strength. Hayraddin had, that very morning,
promised to him more modest and discreet behaviour than he was
wont to exhibit, when they rested in a convent on their journey,
yet he had broken his engagement, and had been even more offensively
obstreperous than usual. Something probably lurked under this, for
whatever were the Bohemian's deficiencies, he lacked neither sense,
nor, when he pleased, self command, and might it not be probable
that he wished to hold some communication, either with, his own
horde or some one else, from which he was debarred in the course
of the day by the vigilance with which he was watched by Quentin,
and had recourse to this stratagem in order to get himself turned
out of the convent?

No sooner did this suspicion dart once more through Quentin's
mind, than, alert as he always was in his motions, he resolved to
follow his cudgelled guide, and observe (secretly if possible) how
he disposed of himself. Accordingly, when the Bohemian fled, as
already mentioned, out at the gate of the convent, Quentin, hastily
explaining to the Prior the necessity of keeping sight of his guide,
followed in pursuit of him.



CHAPTER XVII: THE ESPIED SPY

What, the rude ranger? and spied spy? -- hands off --
You are for no such rustics.

BEN JONSON'S TALE OF ROBIN HOOD


When Quentin sallied from the convent, he could mark the precipitate
retreat of the Bohemian, whose dark figure was seen in the far
moonlight flying with the speed of a flogged hound quite through
the street of the little village, and across the level meadow that
lay beyond.

"My friend runs fast," said Quentin to himself, "but he must
run faster yet, to escape the fleetest foot that ever pressed the
heather of Glen Houlakin!"

Being fortunately without his cloak and armour, the Scottish
mountaineer was at liberty to put forth a speed which was unrivalled
in his own glens, and which, notwithstanding the rate at which the
Bohemian ran, was likely soon to bring his pursuer up with him.
This was not, however, Quentin's object, for he considered it more
essential to watch Hayraddin's motions, than to interrupt them. He
was the rather led to this by the steadiness with which the Bohemian
directed his course, and which, continuing even after the impulse
of the violent expulsion had subsided, seemed to indicate that his
career had some more certain goal for its object than could have
suggested itself to a person unexpectedly turned out of good quarters
when midnight was approaching, to seek a new place of repose. He
never even looked behind him, and consequently Durward was enabled
to follow him unobserved. At length, the Bohemian having traversed
the meadow and attained the side of a little stream, the banks of
which were clothed with alders and willows, Quentin observed that
he stood still, and blew a low note on his horn, which was answered
by a whistle at some little distance.

"This is a rendezvous," thought Quentin, "but how shall I come
near enough to overhear the import of what passes? The sound of my
steps, and the rustling of the boughs through which I must force
my passage, will betray me, unless I am cautious -- I will stalk
them, by Saint Andrew, as if they were Glen Isla deer -- they shall
learn that I have not conned woodcraft for naught. Yonder they
meet, the two shadows -- and two of them there are -- odds against
me if I am discovered, and if their purpose be unfriendly, as is
much to be doubted. And then the Countess Isabelle loses her poor
friend -- Well, and he were not worthy to be called such, if he
were not ready to meet a dozen in her behalf. Have I not crossed
swords with Dunois, the best knight in France, and shall I fear a
tribe of yonder vagabonds? Pshaw! -- God and Saint Andrew to friend,
they will find me both stout and wary."

Thus resolving, and with a degree of caution taught him by his
silvan habits, our friend descended into the channel of the little
stream, which varied in depth, sometimes scarce covering his shoes,
sometimes coming up to his knees, and so crept along, his form
concealed by the boughs overhanging the bank, and his steps unheard
amid the ripple of the water. (We have ourselves, in the days
of yore, thus approached the nest of the wakeful raven.) In this
manner the Scot drew near unperceived, until he distinctly heard
the voices of those who were the subject of his observation, though
he could not distinguish the words. Being at this time under the
drooping branches of a magnificent weeping willow, which almost swept
the surface of the water, he caught hold of one of its boughs, by
the assistance of which, exerting at once much agility, dexterity,
and strength, he raised himself up into the body of the tree, and
sat, secure from discovery, among the central branches.

From this situation he could discover that the person with whom
Hayraddin was now conversing was one of his own tribe, and at
the same time he perceived, to his great disappointment, that no
approximation could enable him to comprehend their language, which
was totally unknown to him. They laughed much, and as Hayraddin
made a sign of skipping about, and ended by rubbing his shoulder
with his hand, Durward had no doubt that he was relating the story
of the bastinading which he had sustained previous to his escape
from the convent.

On a sudden, a whistle was again heard in the distance, which
was once more answered by a low tone or two of Hayraddin's horn.
Presently afterwards, a tall, stout, soldierly looking man, a strong
contrast in point of thews and sinews to the small and slender
limbed Bohemians, made his appearance. He had a broad baldric over
his shoulder, which sustained a sword that hung almost across his
person, his hose were much slashed, through which slashes was drawn
silk, or tiffany, of various colours, they were tied by at least
five hundred points or strings, made of ribbon, to the tight buff
jacket which he wore, the right sleeve of which displayed a silver
boar's head, the crest of his Captain. A very small hat sat jauntily
on one side of his head, from which descended a quantity of curled
hair, which fell on each side of a broad face, and mingled with
as broad a beard, about four inches long. He held a long lance in
his hand, and his whole equipment was that of one of the German
adventurers, who were known by the name of lanzknechts, in English,
spearmen, who constituted a formidable part of the infantry of the
period. These mercenaries were, of course, a fierce and rapacious
soldiery, and having an idle tale current among themselves, that
a lanzknecht was refused admittance into heaven on account of his
vices, and into hell on the score of his tumultuous, mutinous, and
insubordinate disposition, they manfully acted as if they neither
sought the one nor eschewed the other.

"Donner and blitz! [thunder and lightning!]" was his first salutation,
in a sort of German French, which we can only imperfectly imitate,
"Why have you kept me dancing in attendance dis dree nights?"

"I could not see you sooner, Meinherr," said Hayraddin, very
submissively, "there is a young Scot, with as quick an eye as the
wildcat, who watches my least motions. He suspects me already,
and, should he find his suspicion confirmed, I were a dead man on
the spot, and he would carry back the women into France again."

"Was henker! [what the deuce!]" said the lanzknecht, "we are three
-- we will attack them tomorrow, and carry the women off without
going farther. You said the two valets were cowards -- you and your
comrade may manage them, and the Teufel [the devil] shall hold me,
but I match your Scots wildcat."

"You will find that foolhardy," said Hayraddin, "for besides that
we ourselves count not much in fighting, this spark hath matched
himself with the best knight in France, and come off with honour
-- I have seen those who saw him press Dunois hard enough."

"Hagel and sturmwetter! [hail and stormy weather!] It is but your
cowardice that speaks," said the German soldier.

"I am no more a coward than yourself," said Hayraddin "but my trade
is not fighting. -- If you keep the appointment where it was laid,
it is well -- if not, I guide them safely to the Bishop's Palace,
and William de la Marck may easily possess himself of them there,
provided he is half as strong as he pretended a week since."

"Poz tausend! [Zounds!]" said the soldier, "we are as strong and
stronger, but we hear of a hundreds of the lances of Burgund, --
das ist, see you, -- five men to a lance do make five hundreds, and
then hold me the devil, they will be fainer to seek for us, than
we to seek for them, for der Bischoff hath a goot force on footing
-- ay, indeed!"

"You must then hold to the ambuscade at the Cross of the Three
Kings, or give up the adventure," said the Bohemian.

"Geb up -- geb up the adventure of the rich bride for our noble
hauptman [leader or captain] -- Teufel! I will charge through hell
first. -- Mein soul, we will be all princes and hertzogs, whom
they call dukes, and we will hab a snab at the wein kellar [wine
cellar], and at the mouldy French crowns, and it may be at the
pretty garces too [meaning the countesses], when He with de beard
is weary on them."

"The ambuscade at the Cross of the Three Kings then still holds?
" said the Bohemian.

"Mein Gob ay, -- you will swear to bring them there, and when
they are on their knees before the cross, and down from off their
horses, which all men do, except such black heathens as thou, we
will make in on them and they are ours."

"Ay, but I promised this piece of necessary villainy only on one
condition," said Hayraddin. -- "I will not have a hair of the young
man's head touched. If you swear this to me, by your Three Dead Men
of Cologne, I will swear to you, by the Seven Night Walkers, that
I will serve you truly as to the rest. And if you break your oath,
the Night Walkers shall wake you seven nights from your sleep,
between night and morning, and, on the eighth, they shall strangle
and devour you."

"But donner and bagel, what need you be so curious about the life
of this boy, who is neither your bloot nor kin?" said the German.

"No matter for that, honest Heinrick, some men have pleasure in
cutting throats, some in keeping them whole. -- So swear to me, that
you will spare him life and limb, or by the bright star Aldebaran,
this matter shall go no farther. -- Swear, and by the Three Kings,
as you call them, of Cologne -- I know you care for no other oath."

"Du bist ein comische man [thou art a droll fellow]," said the
lanzknecht, "I swear."

"Not yet," said the Bohemian. "Face about, brave lanzknecht, and
look to the east, else the Kings may not hear you."

The soldier took the oath in the manner prescribed, and then
declared that he would be in readiness, observing the place was
quite convenient, being scarce five miles from their present leaguer.

"But were it not making sure work to have a fahnlein [a regiment
or company] of riders on the other road, by the left side of the
inn, which might trap them if they go that way?"

The Bohemian considered a moment, and then answered. "No -- the
appearance of their troops in that direction might alarm the garrison
of Namur, and then they would have a doubtful fight, instead of
assured success. Besides, they shall travel on the right bank of
the Maes, for I can guide them which way I will, for sharp as this
same Scottish mountaineer is, he hath never asked any one's advice,
save mine, upon the direction of their route. Undoubtedly, I was
assigned to him by an assured friend, whose word no man mistrusts
till they come to know him a little."

"Hark ye, friend Hayraddin," said the soldier, "I would ask you
somewhat. You and your bruder were, as you say yourself, gross
sternen deuter, that is, star lookers and geister seers [seers of
ghosts]. Now, what henker was it made you not foresee him, your
bruder Zamet, to be hanged?"

"I will tell you, Heinrick," said Hayraddin, "if I could have known
my brother was such a fool as to tell the counsel of King Louis to
Duke Charles of Burgundy, I could have foretold his death as sure
as I can foretell fair weather in July. Louis hath both ears and
hands at the Court of Burgundy, and Charles's counsellors love the
chink of French gold as well as thou dost the clatter of a wine
pot. -- But fare thee well, and keep appointment -- I must await
my early Scot a bow shot without the gate of the den of the lazy
swine yonder, else will he think me about some excursion which
bodes no good to the success of his journey."

"Take a draught of comfort first," said the lanzknecht, tendering
him a flask -- "but I forget, thou art beast enough to drink nothing
but water, like a vile vassal of Mahound and Termagund [the name
of the god of the Saracens in medieaval romances where he is linked
with Mahound]."

"Thou art thyself a vassal of the wine measure and the flagon,"
said the Bohemian. "I marvel not that thou art only trusted with
the bloodthirsty and violent part of executing what better heads
have devised. -- He must drink no wine who would know the thoughts
of others, or hide his own. But why preach to thee, who hast a
thirst as eternal as a sand bank in Arabia?

"Fare thee well. Take my comrade Tuisco with thee -- his appearance
about the monastery may breed suspicion."

The two worthies parted, after each had again pledged himself to
keep the rendezvous at the Cross of the Three Kings. Quentin Durward
watched until they were out of sight, and then descended from his
place of concealment, his heart throbbing at the narrow escape
which he and his fair charge had made -- if, indeed, it could yet
be achieved -- from a deep laid plan of villainy. Afraid, on his
return to the monastery, of stumbling upon Hayraddin, he made a
long detour, at the expense of traversing some very rough ground,
and was thus enabled to return to his asylum on a different point
from that by which he left it.

On the route, he communed earnestly with himself concerning
the safest plan to be pursued. He had formed the resolution, when
he first heard Hayraddin avow his treachery, to put him to death
so soon as the conference broke up, and his companions were at a
sufficient distance, but when he heard the Bohemian express so much
interest in saving his own life, he felt it would be ungrateful
to execute upon him, in its rigour, the punishment his treachery
had deserved. He therefore resolved to spare his life, and even,
if possible, still to use his services as a guide, under such
precautions as should ensure the security of the precious charge,
to the preservation of which his own life was internally devoted.

But whither were they to turn? -- The Countesses of Croye could
neither obtain shelter in Burgundy, from which they had fled,
nor in France, from which they had been in a manner expelled. The
violence of Duke Charles, in the one country, was scarcely more to
be feared than the cold and tyrannical policy of King Louis in the
other. After deep thought, Durward could form no better or safer
plan for their security, than that, evading the ambuscade, they
should take the road to Liege by the left hand of the Maes, and throw
themselves, as the ladies originally designed, upon the protection
of the excellent Bishop. That Prelate's will to protect them could
not be doubted, and, if reinforced by this Burgundian party of men
at arms, he might be considered as having the power. At any rate,
if the dangers to which he was exposed from the hostility of William
de la Marck, and from the troubles in the city of Liege, appeared
imminent, he would still be able to protect the unfortunate ladies
until they could be dispatched to Germany with a suitable escort.

To sum up this reasoning -- for when is a mental argument conducted
without some reference to selfish consideration? -- Quentin
imagined that the death or captivity to which King Louis had, in
cold blood, consigned him, set him at liberty from his engagements
to the crown of France: which, therefore, it was his determined
purpose to renounce, The Bishop of Liege was likely, he concluded,
to need soldiers, and he thought that, by the interposition of his
fair friends, who now, especially the elder Countess, treated him
with much familiarity, he might get some command, and perhaps might
have the charge of conducting the Ladies of Croye to some place
more safe than the neighbourhood of Liege. And, to conclude, the
ladies had talked, although almost in a sort of jest, of raising the
Countess's own vassals, and, as others did in those stormy times,
fortifying her strong castle against all assailants whatever, they
had jestingly asked Quentin whether he would accept the perilous
office of their Seneschal, and, on his embracing the office with
ready glee and devotion, they had, in the same spirit, permitted
him to kiss both their hands on that confidential and honourable
appointment. Nay, he thought that the hand of the Countess Isabelle,
one of the best formed and most beautiful to which true vassal
ever did such homage, trembled when his lips rested on it a moment
longer than ceremony required, and that some confusion appeared on
her cheek and in her eye as she withdrew it. Something might come
of all this, and what brave man, at Quentin Durward's age, but
would gladly have taken the thoughts which it awakened, into the
considerations which were to determine his conduct?

This point settled, he had next to consider in what degree he
was to use the farther guidance of the faithless Bohemian. He had
renounced his first thought of killing him in the wood, and, if he
took another guide, and dismissed him alive, it would be sending
the traitor to the camp of William de la Marck, with intelligence
of their motions. He thought of taking the Prior into his counsels,
and requesting him to detain the Bohemian by force, until they
should have time to reach the Bishop's castle, but, on reflection,
he dared not hazard such a proposition to one who was timid both
as an old man and a friar, who held the safety of his convent the
most important object of his duty, and who trembled at the mention
of the Wild Boar of Ardennes.

At length Durward settled a plan of operation on which he could
the better reckon, as the execution rested entirely upon himself,
and, in the cause in which he was engaged, he felt himself capable
of everything. With a firm and bold heart, though conscious of the
dangers of his situation, Quentin might be compared to one walking
under a load, of the weight of which he is conscious, but which
yet is not beyond his strength and power of endurance. Just as his
plan was determined, he reached the convent.

Upon knocking gently at the gate, a brother, considerately stationed
for that purpose by the Prior, opened it, and acquainted him that
the brethren were to be engaged in the choir till daybreak, praying
Heaven to forgive to the community the various scandals which had
that evening taken place among them.

The worthy friar offered Quentin permission to attend their devotions,
but his clothes were in such a wet condition that the young Scot
was obliged to decline the opportunity, and request permission,
instead, to sit by the kitchen fire, in order to his attire being
dried before morning, as he was particularly desirous that the
Bohemian, when they should next meet, should observe no traces of
his having been abroad during the night. The friar not only granted
his request, but afforded him his own company, which fell in very
happily with the desire which Durward had to obtain information
concerning the two routes which he had heard mentioned by the Bohemian
in his conversation with the lanzknecht. The friar, entrusted upon
many occasions with the business of the convent abroad, was the person
in the fraternity best qualified to afford him the information he
requested, but observed that, as true pilgrims, it became the duty
of the ladies whom Quentin escorted, to take the road on the right
side of the Maes, by the Cross of the Kings, where the blessed
relics of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar (as the Catholic Church
has named the eastern Magi who came to Bethlehem with their offerings)
had rested as they were transported to Cologne, and on which spot
they had wrought many miracles.

Quentin replied that the ladies were determined to observe all
the holy stations with the utmost punctuality, and would certainly
visit that of the Cross, either in going to or from Cologne, but
they had heard reports that the road by the right side of the river
was at present rendered unsafe by the soldiers of the ferocious
William de la Marck.

"Now may Heaven forbid," said Father Francis, "that the Wild Boar
of Ardennes should again make his lair so near us! -- Nevertheless,
the broad Maes will be a good barrier betwixt us, even should it
so chance."

"But it will be no barrier between my ladies and the marauder,
should we cross the river, and travel on the right," answered the
Scot.

"Heaven will protect its own, young man," said the friar, "for it
were hard to think that the Kings of yonder blessed city of Cologne,
who will not endure that a Jew or infidel should even enter within
the walls of their town, could be oblivious enough to permit their
worshippers, coming to their shrine as true pilgrims, to be plundered
and misused by such a miscreant dog as this Boar of Ardennes, who
is worse than a whole desert of Saracen heathens, and all the ten
tribes of Israel to boot."

Whatever reliance Quentin, as a sincere Catholic, was bound to rest
upon the special protection of Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar,
he could not but recollect that the pilgrim habits of the ladies
being assumed out of mere earthly policy, he and his charge
could scarcely expect their countenance on the present occasion,
and therefore resolved, as far as possible, to avoid placing the
ladies in any predicament where miraculous interposition might be
necessary, whilst, in the simplicity of his good faith, he himself
vowed a pilgrimage to the Three Kings of Cologne in his own proper
person, provided the simulate design of those over whose safety
he was now watching, should be permitted by those reasonable and
royal, as well as sainted personages, to attain the desired effect.

That he might enter into this obligation with all solemnity, he
requested the friar to show him into one of the various chapels
which opened from the main body of the church of the convent,
where, upon his knees, and with sincere devotion, he ratified the
vow which he had made internally. The distant sound of the choir,
the solemnity of the deep and dead hour which he had chosen for
this act of devotion, the effect of the glimmering lamp with which
the little Gothic building was illuminated -- all contributed to
throw Quentin's mind into the state when it most readily acknowledges
its human frailty, and seeks that supernatural aid and protection
which, in every worship, must be connected with repentance for
past sins and resolutions of future amendment. That the object of
his devotion was misplaced, was not the fault of Quentin, and, its
purpose being sincere, we can scarce suppose it unacceptable to
the only true Deity, who regards the motives, and not the forms
of prayer, and in whose eyes the sincere devotion of a heathen is
more estimable than the specious hypocrisy of a Pharisee.

Having commended himself and his helpless companions to the Saints,
and to the keeping of Providence, Quentin at length retired to
rest, leaving the friar much edified by the depth and sincerity of
his devotion.



CHAPTER XVIII: PALMISTRY

When many a many tale and many a song
Cheer'd the rough road, we wish'd the rough road long.
The rough road, then, returning in a round,
Mock'd our enchanted steps, for all was fairy ground.

SAMUEL JOHNSON


By peep of day Quentin Durward had forsaken his little cell, had
roused the sleepy grooms, and, with more than his wonted care,
seen that everything was prepared for the day's journey. Girths
and bridles, the horse furniture, and the shoes of the horses
themselves, were carefully inspected with his own eyes, that there
might be as little chance as possible of the occurrence of any of
those casualties, which, petty as they seem, often interrupt or
disconcert travelling. The horses were also, under his own inspection,
carefully fed, so as to render them fit for a long day's journey,
or, if that should be necessary, for a hasty flight.

Quentin then betook himself to his own chamber, armed himself with
unusual care, and belted on his sword with the feeling at once of
approaching danger, and of stern determination to dare it to the
uttermost.

These generous feelings gave him a loftiness of step, and a dignity
of manner, which the Ladies of Croye had not yet observed in him,
though they had been highly pleased and interested by the grace,
yet naivete, of his general behaviour and conversation, and the
mixture of shrewd intelligence which naturally belonged to him,
with the simplicity arising from his secluded education and distant
country. He let them understand that it would be necessary that
they should prepare for their journey this morning rather earlier
than usual, and, accordingly, they left the convent immediately
after a morning repast, for which, as well as the other hospitalities
of the House, the ladies made acknowledgment by a donation to the
altar, befitting rather their rank than their appearance. But this
excited no suspicion, as they were supposed to be Englishwomen,
and the attribute of superior wealth attached at that time to the
insular character as strongly as in our own day.

The Prior blessed them as they mounted to depart, and congratulated
Quentin on the absence of his heathen guide.

"For," said the venerable man, "better stumble in the path than be
upheld by the arm of a thief or robber."

Quentin was not quite of his opinion, for, dangerous as he knew the
Bohemian to be, he thought he could use his services, and, at the
same time, baffle his treasonable purpose, now that he saw clearly
to what it tended. But his anxiety upon this subject was soon at
an end, for the little cavalcade was not an hundred yards from the
monastery and the village before Maugrabin joined it, riding as
usual on his little active and wild looking jennet. Their road led
them along the side of the same brook where Quentin had overheard
the mysterious conference the preceding evening, and Hayraddin had
not long rejoined them, ere they passed under the very willow tree
which had afforded Durward the means of concealment, when he became
an unsuspected hearer of what then passed betwixt that false guide
and the lanzknecht.

The recollections which the spot brought back stirred Quentin to
enter abruptly into conversation with his guide, whom hitherto he
had scarce spoken to.

"Where hast thou found night quarter, thou profane knave?" said
the Scot.

"Your wisdom may guess, by looking on my gaberdine," answered the
Bohemian, pointing to his dress, which was covered with seeds of
hay.

"A good haystack," said Quentin, "is a convenient bed for an
astrologer, and a much better than a heathen scoffer at our blessed
religion and its ministers, ever deserves."

"It suited my Klepper better than me, though," said Hayraddin,
patting his horse on the neck, "for he had food and shelter at the
same time. The old bald fools turned him loose, as if a wise man's
horse could have infected with wit or sagacity a whole convent of
asses. Lucky that Klepper knows my whistle, and follows me as truly
as a hound, or we had never met again, and you in your turn might
have whistled for a guide."

"I have told thee more than once," said Durward, sternly, "to restrain
thy ribaldry when thou chancest to be in worthy men's company, a
thing, which, I believe, hath rarely happened to thee in thy life
before now, and I promise thee, that did I hold thee as faithless
a guide as I esteem thee a blasphemous and worthless caitiff, my
Scottish dirk and thy heathenish heart had ere now been acquainted,
although the doing such a deed were as ignoble as the sticking of
swine."

"A wild boar is near akin to a sow," said the Bohemian, without
flinching from the sharp look with which Quentin regarded him, or
altering, in the slightest degree, the caustic indifference which
he affected in his language, "and many men," he subjoined, "find
both pride, pleasure, and profit, in sticking them."

Astonished at the man's ready confidence, and uncertain whether he
did not know more of his own history and feelings than was pleasant
for him to converse upon, Quentin broke off a conversation in
which he had gained no advantage over Maugrabin, and fell back to
his accustomed post beside the ladies.

We have already observed that a considerable degree of familiarity
had begun to establish itself between them. The elder Countess
treated him (being once well assured of the nobility of his birth)
like a favoured equal, and though her niece showed her regard
to their protector less freely, yet, under every disadvantage of
bashfulness and timidity, Quentin thought he could plainly perceive
that his company and conversation were not by any means indifferent
to her.

Nothing gives such life and soul to youthful gaiety as the
consciousness that it is successfully received, and Quentin had
accordingly, during the former period of their journey, amused his
fair charge with the liveliness of his conversation and the songs
and tales of his country, the former of which he sang in his native
language, while his efforts to render the latter into his foreign
and imperfect French, gave rise to a hundred little mistakes and
errors of speech, as diverting as the narratives themselves. But
on this anxious morning, he rode beside the Ladies of Croye without
any of his usual attempts to amuse them, and they could not help
observing his silence as something remarkable.

"Our young companion has seen a wolf," said the Lady Hameline,
alluding to an ancient superstition, "and he has lost his tongue
in consequence."

[Vox quoque Moerim Jam fugit ipsa; lupi Moerim videre priores.
Virgilii ix. Ecloga. The commentators add, in explanation of this
passage, the opinion of Pliny: "The being beheld by a wolf in Italy
is accounted noxious, and is supposed to take away the speech of
a man, if these animals behold him ere he sees them." S.]

"To say I had tracked a fox were nearer the mark," thought Quentin,
but gave the reply no utterance.

"Are you well, Seignior Quentin?" said the Countess Isabelle, in a
tone of interest at which she herself blushed, while she felt that
it was something more than the distance between them warranted.

"He hath sat up carousing with the jolly friars," said the Lady
Hameline, "the Scots are like the Germans, who spend all their mirth
over the Rheinwein, and bring only their staggering steps to the
dance in the evening, and their aching heads to the ladies' bower
in the morning."

"Nay, gentle ladies," said Quentin, "I deserve not your reproach.
The good friars were at their devotions almost all night, and for
myself, my drink was barely a cup of their thinnest and most ordinary
wine."

"It is the badness of his fare that has put him out of humour," said
the Countess Isabelle. "Cheer up, Seignior Quentin, and should we
ever visit my ancient Castle of Bracquemont together, if I myself
should stand your cup bearer, and hand it to you, you shall have
a generous cup of wine, that the like never grew upon the vines of
Hochheim or Johannisberg."

"A glass of water, noble lady, from your hand," -- Thus far did
Quentin begin, but his voice trembled, and Isabelle continued, as
if she had been insensible of the tenderness of the accentuation
upon the personal pronoun.

"The wine was stocked in the deep vaults of Bracquemont, by my great
grandfather the Rhinegrave Godfrey," said the Countess Isabelle.

"Who won the hand of her great grandmother," interjected the Lady
Hameline, interrupting her niece, "by proving himself the best son
of chivalry, at the great tournament of Strasbourg -- ten knights
were slain in the lists. But those days are now over, and no one
now thinks of encountering peril for the sake of honour, or to
relieve distressed beauty."

To this speech, which was made in the tone in which a modern beauty,
whose charms are rather on the wane, may be heard to condemn the
rudeness of the present age, Quentin took upon him to reply that
there was no lack of that chivalry which the Lady Hameline seemed
to consider as extinct, and that, were it eclipsed everywhere else,
it would still glow in the bosoms of the Scottish gentlemen.

"Hear him!" said the Lady Hameline, "he would have us believe that
in his cold and bleak country still lives the noble fire which
has decayed in France and Germany! The poor youth is like a Swiss
mountaineer, mad with partiality to his native land -- he will next
tell us of the vines and olives of Scotland."

"No, madam," said Durward, "of the wine and the oil of our mountains
I can say little more than that our swords can compel these rich
productions as tribute from our wealthier neighbours. But for the
unblemished faith and unfaded honour of Scotland, I must now put
to the proof how far you can repose trust in them, however mean the
individual who can offer nothing more as a pledge of your safety."

"You speak mysteriously -- you know of some pressing and present
danger," said the Lady Hameline.

"I have read it in his eye for this hour past!" exclaimed the Lady
Isabelle, clasping her hands. "Sacred Virgin, what will become of
us?"

"Nothing, I hope, but what you would desire," answered Durward.
"And now I am compelled to ask -- gentle ladies, can you trust me?"

"Trust you?" answered the Countess Hameline. "Certainly. But why
the question? Or how far do you ask our confidence?"

"I, on my part," said the Countess Isabelle, "trust you implicitly,
and without condition. If you can deceive us, Quentin, I will no
more look for truth, save in Heaven!"

"Gentle lady," replied Durward, highly gratified, "you do me but
justice. My object is to alter our route, by proceeding directly by
the left bank of the Maes to Liege, instead of crossing at Namur.
This differs from the order assigned by King Louis and the instructions
given to the guide. But I heard news in the monastery of marauders
on the right bank of the Maes, and of the march of Burgundian
soldiers to suppress them. Both circumstances alarm me for your
safety. Have I your permission so far to deviate from the route of
your journey?"

"My ample and full permission," answered the younger lady.

"Cousin," said the Lady Hameline, "I believe with you that the youth
means us well -- but bethink you -- we transgress the instructions
of King Louis, so positively iterated."

"And why should we regard his instructions?" said the Lady Isabelle.
"I am, I thank Heaven for it, no subject of his, and, as a suppliant,
he has abused the confidence he induced me to repose in him. I
would not dishonour this young gentleman by weighing his word for
an instant against the injunctions of yonder crafty and selfish
despot."

"Now, may God bless you for that very word, lady," said Quentin,
joyously, "and if I deserve not the trust it expresses, tearing
with wild horses in this life and eternal tortures in the next were
e'en too good for my deserts."

So saying, he spurred his horse, and rejoined the Bohemian. This
worthy seemed of a remarkably passive, if not a forgiving temper.
Injury or threat never dwelt, or at least seemed not to dwell in
his recollection, and he entered into the conversation which Durward
presently commenced, just as if there had been no unkindly word
betwixt them in the course of the morning.

The dog, thought the Scot, snarls not now, because he intends to
clear scores with me at once and for ever, when he can snatch me
by the very throat, but we will try for once whether we cannot foil
a traitor at his own weapons.

"Honest Hayraddin," he said, "thou hast travelled with us for ten
days, yet hast never shown us a specimen of your skill in fortune
telling, which you are, nevertheless, so fond of practising that
you must needs display your gifts in every convent at which we stop,
at the risk of being repaid by a night's lodging under a haystack."

"You have never asked me for a specimen of my skill," said the
gipsy. "You are, like the rest of the world, contented to ridicule
those mysteries which they do not understand."

"Give me then a present proof of your skill," said Quentin and,
ungloving his hand, he held it out to the gipsy.

Hayraddin carefully regarded all the lines which crossed each
other on the Scotchman's palm, and noted, with equally Scrupulous
attention, the little risings or swellings at the roots of the
fingers, which were then believed as intimately connected with the
disposition, habits, and fortunes of the individual, as the organs
of the brain are pretended to be in our own time.

"Here is a hand," said Hayraddin, "which speaks of toils endured,
and dangers encountered. I read in it an early acquaintance with the
hilt of the sword, and yet some acquaintance also with the clasps
of the mass book."

"This of my past life you may have learned elsewhere," said Quentin,
"tell me something of the future."

"This line from the hill of Venus," said the Bohemian, "not broken
off abruptly, but attending and accompanying the line of life,
argues a certain and large fortune by marriage, whereby the party
shall be raised among the wealthy and the noble by the influence
of successful love."

"Such promises you make to all who ask your advice," said Quentin,
"they are part of your art."

"What I tell you is as certain," said Hayraddin, "as that you shall
in brief space be menaced with mighty danger, which I infer from
this bright blood red line cutting the table line transversely,
and intimating stroke of sword, or other violence, from which you
shall only be saved by the attachment of a faithful friend."

"Thyself, ha?" said Quentin, somewhat indignant that the chiromantist
should thus practise on his credulity, and endeavour to found a
reputation by predicting the consequences of his own treachery.

"My art," replied the Zingaro, "tells me naught that concerns
myself."

"In this, then, the seers of my land," said Quentin, "excel your
boasted knowledge, for their skill teaches them the dangers by which
they are themselves beset. I left not my hills without having felt
a portion of the double vision with which their inhabitants are
gifted, and I will give thee a proof of it, in exchange for thy
specimen of palmistry. Hayraddin, the danger which threatens me lies
on the right bank of the river -- I will avoid it by travelling to
Liege on the left bank."

The guide listened with an apathy, which, knowing the circumstances
in which Maugrabin stood, Quentin could not by any means comprehend.

"If you accomplish your purpose," was the Bohemian's reply, "the
dangerous crisis will be transferred from your lot to mine."

"I thought," said Quentin, "that you said but now, that you could
not presage your own fortune?"

"Not in the manner in which I have but now told you yours," answered
Hayraddin, "but it requires little knowledge of Louis of Valois,
to presage that he will hang your guide, because your pleasure was
to deviate from the road which he recommended."

"The attaining with safety the purpose of the journey, and ensuring
its happy termination," said Quentin, "must atone for a deviation
from the exact line of the prescribed route."

"Ay," replied the Bohemian, "if you are sure that the King had in
his own eye the same termination of the pilgrimage which he insinuated
to you."

"And of what other termination is it possible that he could have
been meditating? or why should you suppose he had any purpose in his
thought, other than was avowed in his direction?" inquired Quentin.

"Simply," replied the Zingaro, "that those who know aught of the
Most Christian King, are aware that the purpose about which he is
most anxious, is always that which he is least willing to declare.
Let our gracious Louis send twelve embassies, and I will forfeit my
neck to the gallows a year before it is due, if in eleven of them
there is not something at the bottom of the ink horn more than the
pen has written in the letters of credence."

"I regard not your foul suspicions," answered Quentin, "my duty is
plain and peremptory -- to convey these ladies in safety to Liege,
and I take it on me to think that I best discharge that duty in
changing our prescribed route, and keeping the left side of the
river Maes. It is likewise the direct road to Liege. By crossing
the river, we should lose time and incur fatigue to no purpose --
wherefore should we do so?"

"Only because pilgrims, as they call themselves, destined for Cologne,"
said Hayraddin, "do not usually descend the Maes so low as Liege,
and that the route of the ladies will be accounted contradictory
of their professed destination."

"If we are challenged on that account," said Quentin, "we will say
that alarms of the wicked Duke of Gueldres, or of William de la Marck,
or of the Ecorcheurs [flayers; a name given to bands of wandering
troops on account of their cruelty] and lanzknechts, on the right
side of the river, justify our holding by the left, instead of our
intended route."

"As you will, my good seignior," replied the Bohemian. "I am, for
my part, equally ready to guide you down the left as down the right
side of the Maes. Your excuse to your master you must make out for
yourself."

Quentin, although rather surprised, was at the same time pleased
with the ready, or at least the unrepugnant acquiescence of Hayraddin
in their change of route, for he needed his assistance as a guide,
and yet had feared that the disconcerting of his intended act of
treachery would have driven him to extremity. Besides, to expel
the Bohemian from their society would have been the ready mode to
bring down William de la Marck, with whom he was in correspondence,
upon their intended route, whereas, if Hayraddin remained with them
Quentin thought he could manage to prevent the Moor from having any
communication with strangers unless he was himself aware of it.

Abandoning, therefore, all thoughts of their original route, the
little party followed that by the left bank of the broad Maes, so
speedily and successfully that the next day early brought them to
the proposed end of their journey. They found that the Bishop of
Liege, for the sake of his health, as he himself alleged, but rather,
perhaps, to avoid being surprised by the numerous and mutinous
population of the city, had established his residence in his
beautiful Castle of Schonwaldt, about a mile without Liege.

Just as they approached the Castle, they saw the Prelate returning
in long procession from the neighbouring city, in which he had been
officiating at the performance of High Mass. He was at the head
of a splendid train of religious, civil and military men, mingled
together, or, as the old ballad maker expresses it,


"With many a cross bearer before,
And many a spear behind."


The procession made a noble appearance, as winding along the
verdant banks of the broad Maes, it wheeled into, and was as it
were devoured by, the huge Gothic portal of the Episcopal residence.

But when the party came more near, they found that circumstances
around the Castle argued a doubt and sense of insecurity, which
contradicted that display of pomp and power which they had just
witnessed. Strong guards of the Bishop's soldiers were heedfully
maintained all around the mansion and its immediate vicinity, and
the prevailing appearances in an ecclesiastical residence seemed
to argue a sense of danger in the reverend Prelate, who found it
necessary thus to surround himself with all the defensive precautions
of war.

The Ladies of Croye, when announced by Quentin, were reverently
ushered into the great Hall, where they met with the most cordial
reception from the Bishop, who met them there at the head of his
little Court. He would not permit them to kiss his hand, but welcomed
them with a salute, which had something in it of gallantry on the
part of a prince to fine women, and something also of the holy
affection of a pastor to the sisters of his flock.

Louis of Bourbon, the reigning Bishop of Liege, was in truth a
generous and kind hearted prince, whose life had not indeed been
always confined, with precise strictness, within the bounds of
his clerical profession, but who, notwithstanding, had uniformly
maintained the frank and honourable character of the House of
Bourbon, from which he was descended.

In latter times, as age advanced, the Prelate had adopted habits
more beseeming a member of the hierarchy than his early reign
had exhibited, and was loved among the neighbouring princes, as a
noble ecclesiastic, generous and magnificent in his ordinary mode
of life, though preserving no very ascetic severity of character,
and governing with an easy indifference, which, amid his wealthy
and mutinous subjects, rather encouraged than subdued rebellious
purposes.

The Bishop was so fast an ally of the Duke of Burgundy that the
latter claimed almost a joint sovereignty in his bishopric, and repaid
the good natured ease with which the Prelate admitted claims which
he might easily have disputed, by taking his part on all occasions
with the determined and furious zeal which was a part of his character.
He used to say he considered Liege as his own, the Bishop as his
brother (indeed, they might be accounted such, in consequence of
the Duke's having married for his first wife, the Bishop's sister),
and that he who annoyed Louis of Bourbon, had to do with Charles of
Burgundy, a threat which, considering the character and the power
of the prince who used it, would have been powerful with any but
the rich and discontented city of Liege, where much wealth had,
according to the ancient proverb, made wit waver.

The Prelate, as we have said, assured the Ladies of Croye of such
intercession as his interest at the Court of Burgundy, used to the
uttermost, might gain for them, and which, he hoped, might be the
more effectual, as Campobasso, from some late discoveries, stood
rather lower than formerly in the Duke's personal favour. He promised
them also such protection as it was in his power to afford, but
the sigh with which he gave the warrant seemed to allow that his
power was more precarious than in words he was willing to admit.

"At every event, my dearest daughters," said the Bishop, with an
air in which, as in his previous salute, a mixture of spiritual
unction qualified the hereditary gallantry of the House of Bourbon,
"Heaven forbid I should abandon the lamb to the wicked wolf, or
noble ladies to the oppression of faitours. I am a man of peace,
though my abode now rings with arms, but be assured I will care
for your safety as for my own, and should matters become yet more
distracted here, which, with Our Lady's grace, we trust will be
rather pacified than inflamed, we will provide for your safe conduct
to Germany, for not even the will of our brother and protector,
Charles of Burgundy, shall prevail with us to dispose of you in any
respect contrary to your own inclinations. We cannot comply with
your request of sending you to a convent, for, alas! such is the
influence of the sons of Belial among the inhabitants of Liege,
that we know no retreat to which our authority extends, beyond the
bounds of our own castle, and the protection of our soldiery. But
here you are most welcome, and your train shall have all honourable
entertainment, especially this youth whom you recommend so particularly
to our countenance, and on whom in especial we bestow our blessing."

Quentin kneeled, as in duty bound, to receive the Episcopal
benediction.

"For yourselves," proceeded the good Prelate, "you shall reside
here with my sister Isabelle, a Canoness of Triers, with whom you
may dwell in all honour, even under the roof of so gay a bachelor
as the Bishop of Liege."

He gallantly conducted the ladies to his sister's apartment, as he
concluded the harangue of welcome, and his Master of the Household,
an officer who, having taken Deacon's orders, held something between
a secular and ecclesiastical character, entertained Quentin with the
hospitality which his master enjoined, while the other personages
of the retinue of the Ladies of Croye were committed to the inferior
departments.

In this arrangement Quentin could not help remarking that
the presence of the Bohemian, so much objected to in the country
convents, seemed, in the household of this wealthy, and perhaps we
might say worldly prelate, to attract neither objection nor remark.



CHAPTER XIX: THE CITY

Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To any sudden act of mutiny.

JULIUS CAESAR


Separated from the Lady Isabelle, whose looks had been for so many
days his loadstar, Quentin felt a strange vacancy and chillness of
the heart, which he had not yet experienced in any of the vicissitudes
to which his life had subjected him. No doubt the cessation of the
close and unavoidable intercourse and intimacy betwixt them was the
necessary consequence of the Countess's having obtained a place
of settled residence, for under what pretext could she, had she
meditated such an impropriety, have had a gallant young squire such
as Quentin in constant attendance upon her?

But the shock of the separation was not the more welcome that
it seemed unavoidable, and the proud heart of Quentin swelled at
finding he was parted with like an ordinary postilion, or an escort
whose duty is discharged, while his eyes sympathised so far as to
drop a secret tear or two over the ruins of all those airy castles,
so many of which he had employed himself in constructing during
their too interesting journey. He made a manly, but, at first, a
vain effort to throw off this mental dejection, and so, yielding
to the feelings he could not suppress, he sat him down in one of
the deep recesses formed by a window which lighted the great Gothic
hall of Schonwaldt, and there mused upon his hard fortune, which
had not assigned him rank or wealth sufficient to prosecute his
daring suit.

Quentin tried to dispel the sadness which overhung him by dispatching
Charlet, one of the valets, with letters to the court of Louis,
announcing the arrival of the Ladies of Croye at Liege. At length
his natural buoyancy of temper returned, much excited by the title
of an old romaunt [a poetical romance] which had been just printed
at Strasbourg, and which lay beside him in the window, the title
of which set forth --


How the Squire of lowe degree
Loved the King's daughter of Hungarie.

[An old English poem reprinted in Hazlitt's Remains of Early Popular
Poetry of England.]


While he was tracing the "letters blake" of the ditty so congenial
to his own situation, Quentin was interrupted by a touch on the
shoulder, and, looking up, beheld the Bohemian standing by him.



Hayraddin, never a welcome sight, was odious from his late treachery,
and Quentin sternly asked him why he dared take the freedom to
touch a Christian and a gentleman?

"Simply," answered the Bohemian, "because I wished to know if the
Christian gentleman had lost his feeling as well as his eyes and
ears. I have stood speaking to you these five minutes, and you
have stared on that scrap of yellow paper, as if it were a spell
to turn you into a statue, and had already wrought half its purpose."

"Well, what dost thou want? Speak, and begone!"

"I want what all men want, though few are satisfied with it," said
Hayraddin, "I want my due, ten crowns of gold for guiding the,
ladies hither."

"With what face darest thou ask any guerdon beyond my sparing thy
worthless life?" said Durward, fiercely, "thou knowest that it was
thy purpose to have betrayed them on the road."

"But I did not betray them," said Hayraddin, "if I had, I would
have asked no guerdon from you or from them, but from him whom their
keeping on the right hand side of the river might have benefited.
The party that I have served is the party who must pay me."

"Thy guerdon perish with thee, then, traitor," said Quentin, telling
out the money. "Get thee to the Boar of Ardennes, or to the devil!
but keep hereafter out of my sight, lest I send thee thither before
thy time."

"The Boar of Ardennes!" repeated the Bohemian, with a stronger
emotion of surprise than his features usually expressed -- "it
was then no vague guess -- no general suspicion -- which made you
insist on changing the road? -- Can it be -- are there really in
other lands arts of prophecy more sure than those of our wandering
tribes? The willow tree under which we spoke could tell no tales.
But no -- no -- no -- dolt that I was! -- I have it -- I have it!
-- the willow by the brook near yonder convent -- I saw you look
towards it as you passed it, about half a mile from yon hive of
drones -- that could not indeed speak, but it might hide one who
could hear! I will hold my councils in an open plain henceforth, not
a bunch of thistles shall be near me for a Scot to shroud amongst.
-- Ha! ha! the Scot hath beat the Zingaro at his own subtle weapons.
But know, Quentin Durward, that you have foiled me to the marring
of thine own fortune. -- Yes! the fortune I have told thee of, from
the lines on thy hand, had been richly accomplished but for thine
own obstinacy."

"By Saint. Andrew," said Quentin, "thy impudence makes me laugh in
spite of myself. -- How, or in what, should thy successful villainy
have been of service to me? I heard, indeed, that you did stipulate
to save my life, which condition your worthy allies would speedily
have forgotten, had we once come to blows -- but in what thy betrayal
of these ladies could have served me, but by exposing me to death
or captivity, is a matter beyond human brains to conjecture."

"No matter thinking of it, then," said Hayraddin, "for I mean still
to surprise you with my gratitude. Had you kept back my hire, I
should have held that we were quit, and had left you to your own
foolish guidance. As it is, I remain your debtor for yonder matter
on the banks of the Cher."

"Methinks I have already taken out the payment in cursing and
abusing thee," said Quentin.

"Hard words, or kind ones," said the Zingaro, "are but wind, which
make no weight in the balance. Had you struck me, indeed, instead
of threatening --"

"I am likely enough to take out payment in that way, if you provoke
me longer."

"I would not advise it," said the Zingaro, "such payment, made by
a rash hand, might exceed the debt, and unhappily leave a balance
on your side, which I am not one to forget or forgive. And now
farewell, but not for a long space -- I go to bid adieu to the
Ladies of Croye."

"Thou?" said Quentin, in astonishment -- "thou be admitted to the
presence of the ladies, and here, where they are in a manner recluses
under the protection of the Bishop's sister, a noble canoness? It
is impossible."

"Marthon, however, waits to conduct me to their presence," said
the Zingaro, with a sneer, "and I must pray your forgiveness if I
leave you something abruptly."

He turned as if to depart, but instantly coming back, said, with a
tone of deep and serious emphasis, "I know your hopes -- they are
daring, yet not vain if I aid them. I know your fears, they should
teach prudence, not timidity. Every woman may be won. A count is but
a nickname, which will befit Quentin as well as the other nickname
of duke befits Charles, or that of king befits Louis."

Ere Durward could reply, the Bohemian had left the hall. Quentin
instantly followed, but, better acquainted than the Scot with the
passages of the house, Hayraddin kept the advantage which he had
gotten, and the pursuer lost sight of him as he descended a small
back staircase. Still Durward followed, though without exact consciousness
of his own purpose in doing so. The staircase terminated by a door
opening into the alley of a garden, in which he again beheld the
Zingaro hastening down a pleached walk.

On two sides, the garden was surrounded by the buildings of the
castle -- a huge old pile, partly castellated, and partly resembling
an ecclesiastical building, on the other two sides, the enclosure
was a high embattled wall. Crossing the alleys of the garden to
another part of the building, where a postern door opened behind a
large massive buttress, overgrown with ivy, Hayraddin looked back,
and waved his hand in a signal of an exulting farewell to his
follower, who saw that in effect the postern door was opened by
Marthon, and that the vile Bohemian was admitted into the precincts,
as he naturally concluded, of the apartment of the Countesses of
Croye. Quentin bit his lips with indignation, and blamed himself
severely that he had not made the ladies sensible of the full infamy
of Hayraddin's character, and acquainted with his machinations
against their safety. The arrogating manner in which the Bohemian
had promised to back his suit added to his anger and his disgust,
and he felt as if even the hand of the Countess Isabelle would be
profaned, were it possible to attain it by such patronage.

"But it is all a deception," he said, "a turn of his base, juggling
artifice. He has procured access to those ladies upon some false
pretence, and with some mischievous intention. It is well I have
learned where they lodge. I will watch Marthon, and solicit an
interview with them, were it but to place them on their guard. It
is hard that I must use artifice and brook delay, when such as he
have admittance openly and without scruple. They shall find, however,
that though I am excluded from their presence, Isabelle's safety
is the chief subject of my vigilance."

While the young lover was thus meditating, an aged gentleman of
the Bishop's household approached him from the same door by which
he had himself entered the garden, and made him aware, though with
the greatest civility of manner, that the garden was private, and
reserved only for the use of the Bishop and guests of the very
highest distinction.

Quentin heard him repeat this information twice ere he put the
proper construction upon it, and then starting as from a reverie,
he bowed and hurried out of the garden, the official person following
him all the way, and overwhelming him with formal apologies for
the necessary discharge of his duty. Nay, so pertinacious was he
in his attempts to remove the offence which he conceived Durward to
have taken, that he offered to bestow his own company upon him, to
contribute to his entertainment until Quentin, internally cursing
his formal foppery, found no better way of escape, then pretending
a desire of visiting the neighbouring city, and setting off thither
at such a round pace as speedily subdued all desire in the gentleman
usher to accompany him farther than the drawbridge. In a few minutes,
Quentin was within the walls of the city of Liege, then one of the
richest in Flanders, and of course in the world.

Melancholy, even love melancholy, is not so deeply seated, at least
in minds of a manly and elastic character, as the soft enthusiasts
who suffer under it are fond of believing. It yields to unexpected
and striking impressions upon the senses, to change of place, to
such scenes as create new trains of association, and to the influence
of the busy hum of mankind. In a few minutes, Quentin's attention
was as much engrossed by the variety of objects presented in rapid
succession by the busy streets of Liege, as if there had been
neither a Countess Isabelle nor a Bohemian in the world.

The lofty houses -- the stately, though narrow and gloomy streets
-- the splendid display of the richest goods and most gorgeous
armour in the warehouses and shops around -- the walks crowded
by busy citizens of every description, passing and repassing with
faces of careful importance or eager bustle -- the huge wains,
which transported to and fro the subjects of export and import,
the former consisting of broadcloths and serge, arms of all kinds,
nails and iron work, while the latter comprehended every article
of use or luxury, intended either for the consumption of an opulent
city, or received in barter, and destined to be transported elsewhere
-- all these objects combined to form an engrossing picture of
wealth, bustle, and splendour, to which Quentin had been hitherto
a stranger. He admired also the various streams and canals, drawn
from and communicating with the Maes, which, traversing the city
in various directions, offered to every quarter the commercial
facilities of water carriage, and he failed not to hear a mass in
the venerable old Church of Saint Lambert, said to have been founded
in the eighth century.

It was upon leaving this place of worship that Quentin began to
observe that he, who had been hitherto gazing on all around him
with the eagerness of unrestrained curiosity, was himself the object
of attention to several groups of substantial looking burghers,
who seemed assembled to look upon him as he left the church, and
amongst whom arose a buzz and whisper, which spread from one party
to another, while the number of gazers continued to augment rapidly,
and the eyes of each who added to it were eagerly directed to
Quentin with a stare which expressed much interest and curiosity,
mingled with a certain degree of respect.

At length he now formed the centre of a considerable crowd, which
yet yielded before him while he continued to move forward, while those
who followed or kept pace with him studiously avoided pressing on
him, or impeding his motions. Yet his situation was too embarrassing
to be long endured, without making some attempt to extricate himself
and to obtain some explanation.

Quentin looked around him, and fixing upon a jolly, stout made,
respectable man, whom, by his velvet cloak and gold chain, he
concluded to be a burgher of eminence, and perhaps a magistrate,
he asked him whether he saw anything particular in his appearance,
to attract public attention in a degree so unusual? or whether it
was the ordinary custom of the people of Liege thus to throng around
strangers who chanced to visit their city?

"Surely not, good seignior," answered the burgher, "the Liegeois
are neither so idly curious as to practise such a custom, nor is
there anything in your dress or appearance saving that which is most
welcome to this city, and which our townsmen are both delighted to
see and desirous to honour."

"This sounds very polite, worthy sir," said Quentin, "but, by the
Cross of Saint Andrew, I cannot even guess at your meaning."

"Your oath," answered the merchant of Liege, "as well as your
accent, convinces me that we are right in our conjecture."

"By my patron Saint Quentin!" said Durward, "I am farther off from
your meaning than ever."

"There again now," rejoined the Liegeois, looking, as he spoke,
most provokingly, yet most civilly, politic and intelligent.

"It is surely not for us to see that which you, worthy seignior,
deem it proper to conceal: But why swear by Saint Quentin, if you
would not have me construe your meaning? -- We know the good Count
of Saint Paul, who lies there at present, wishes well to our cause."

"On my life," said Quentin, "you are under some delusion. -- I know
nothing of Saint Paul."

"Nay, we question you not," said the burgher, "although, hark ye
-- I say, hark in your ear -- my name is Pavillon."

"And what is my business with that, Seignior Pavillon?" said Quentin.

"Nay, nothing -- only methinks it might satisfy you that I am
trustworthy. -- Here is my colleague Rouslaer, too."

Rouslaer advanced, a corpulent dignitary, whose fair round belly,
like a battering ram, "did shake the press before him," and who,
whispering caution to his neighbour, said in a tone of rebuke, "You
forget, good colleague, the place is too open -- the seignior will
retire to your house or mine, and drink a glass of Rhenish and
sugar, and then we shall hear more of our good friend and ally,
whom we love with all our honest Flemish hearts."

"I have no news for any of you," said Quentin, impatiently, "I will
drink no Rhenish, and I only desire of you, as men of account and
respectability, to disperse this idle crowd, and allow a stranger
to leave your town as quietly as he came into it."

"Nay, then, sir," said Rouslaer, "since you stand so much on your
incognito, and with us, too, who are men of confidence, let me ask
you roundly, wherefore wear you the badge of your company if you
would remain unknown in Liege."

"What badge, and what order?" said Quentin, "you look like reverend
men and grave citizens, yet, on my soul you are either mad yourselves,
or desire to drive me so."

"Sapperment!" said the other burgher, "this youth would make Saint
Lambert swear! Why, who wear bonnets with the Saint Andrew's cross
and fleur de lys, save the Scottish Archers of King Louis's Guards?"

"And supposing I am an Archer of the Scottish Guard, why should you
make a wonder of my wearing the badge of my company?" said Quentin
impatiently.

"He has avowed it, he has avowed it!" said Rouslaer and Pavillon,
turning to the assembled burghers in attitudes of congratulation,
with waving arms, extended palms, and large round faces radiating
with glee. "He hath avowed himself an Archer of Louis's Guard --
of Louis, the guardian of the liberties of Liege!"

A general shout and cry now arose from the multitude, in which were
mingled the various sounds of "Long live Louis of France! Long live
the Scottish Guard! Long live the valiant Archer! Our liberties,
our privileges, or death! No imposts! Long live the valiant Boar of
Ardennes! Down with Charles of Burgundy! and confusion to Bourbon
and his bishopric!" Half stunned by the noise, which began anew
in one quarter so soon as it ceased in another, rising and falling
like the billows of the sea, and augmented by thousands of voices
which roared in chorus from distant streets and market places,
Quentin had yet time to form a conjecture concerning the meaning
of the tumult, and a plan for regulating his own conduct:

He had forgotten that, after his skirmish with Orleans and Dunois,
one of his comrades had, at Lord Crawford's command, replaced the
morion, cloven by the sword of the latter, with one of the steel
lined bonnets which formed a part of the proper and well known
equipment of the Scottish Guards. That an individual of this body,
which was always kept very close to Louis's person, should have
appeared in the streets of a city whose civil discontents had
been aggravated by the agents of that King, was naturally enough
interpreted by the burghers of Liege into a determination on the
part of Louis openly to assist their cause, and the apparition
of an individual archer was magnified into a pledge of immediate
and active support from Louis -- nay, into an assurance that his
auxiliary forces were actually entering the town at one or other,
though no one could distinctly tell which, of the city gates.

To remove a conviction so generally adopted, Quentin easily saw was
impossible -- nay, that any attempt to undeceive men so obstinately
prepossessed in their belief, would be attended with personal risk,
which, in this case, he saw little use of incurring. He therefore
hastily resolved to temporize, and to get free the best way he
could, and this resolution he formed while they were in the act of
conducting him to the Stadthouse [town house], where the notables
of the town were fast assembling, in order to hear the tidings which
he was presumed to have brought, and to regale him with a splendid
banquet.

In spite of all his opposition, which was set down to modesty,
he was on every side surrounded by the donors of popularity, the
unsavoury tide of which now floated around him. His two burgomaster
friends, who were Schoppen, or Syndics of the city, had made fast
both his arms. Before him, Nikkel Blok, the chief of the butchers'
incorporation, hastily summoned from his office in the shambles,
brandished his death doing axe, yet smeared with blood and brains,
with a courage and grace which brantwein [spirits] alone could
inspire. Behind him came the tall, lean, rawboned, very drunk, and
very patriotic figure of Claus Hammerlein, president of the mystery
of the workers in iron, and followed by at least a thousand unwashed
artificers of his class. Weavers, nailers, ropemakers, artisans of
every degree and calling, thronged forward to join the procession
from every gloomy and narrow street. Escape seemed a desperate and
impossible adventure.

In this dilemma, Quentin appealed to Rouslaer, who held one arm,
and to Pavillon, who had secured the other, and who were conducting
him forward at the head of the ovation, of which he had so unexpectedly
become the principal object. He hastily acquainted them with his
having thoughtlessly adopted the bonnet of the Scottish Guard, on
an accident having occurred to the headpiece in which he had proposed
to travel, he regretted that, owing to this circumstance, and the
sharp wit with which the Liegeois drew the natural inference of
his quality, and the purpose of his visit, these things had been
publicly discovered, and he intimated that, if just now conducted
to the Stadthouse, he might unhappily feel himself under the necessity
of communicating to the assembled notables certain matters which
he was directed by the King to reserve for the private ears of his
excellent gossips, Meinheers Rouslaer and Pavillon of Liege.

This last hint operated like magic on the two citizens, who were
the most distinguished leaders of the insurgent burghers, and were,
like all demagogues of their kind, desirous to keep everything
within their own management, so far as possible. They therefore
hastily agreed that Quentin should leave the town for the time,
and return by night to Liege, and converse with them privately in
the house of Rouslaer, near the gate opposite to Schonwaldt. Quentin
hesitated not to tell them that he was at present residing in the
Bishop's palace, under pretence of bearing despatches from the French
Court, although his real errand was, as they had well conjectured,
designed to the citizens of Liege, and this tortuous mode of
conducting a communication as well as the character and rank of the
person to whom it was supposed to be intrusted, was so consonant
to the character of Louis, as neither to excite doubt nor surprise.

Almost immediately after this eclaircissernent [explanation] was
completed, the progress of the multitude brought them opposite to
the door of Pavillon's house, in one of the principal streets, but
which communicated from behind with the Maes by means of a garden,
as well as an extensive manufactory of tan pits, and other conveniences
for dressing hides, for the patriotic burgher was a felt dresser
or currier.

It was natural that Pavillon should desire to do the honours of
his dwelling to the supposed envoy of Louis, and a halt before his
house excited no surprise on the part of the multitude, who, on the
contrary, greeted Meinheer Pavillon with a loud vivat [long live],
as he ushered in his distinguished guest. Quentin speedily laid
aside his remarkable bonnet for the cap of a felt maker, and flung
a cloak over his other apparel. Pavillon then furnished him with a
passport to pass the gates of the city, and to return by night or
day as should suit his convenience, and lastly, committed him to
the charge of his daughter, a fair and smiling Flemish lass, with
instructions how he was to be disposed of, while he himself hastened
back to his colleague to amuse their friends at the Stadthouse with
the best excuses which they could invent for the disappearance of
King Louis's envoy. We cannot, as the footman says in the play,
recollect the exact nature of the lie which the bell wethers told
the flock, but no task is so easy as that of imposing upon a multitude
whose eager prejudices have more than half done the business ere
the impostor has spoken a word.

The worthy burgess was no sooner gone than his plump daughter,
Trudchen, with many a blush, and many a wreathed smile, which
suited very prettily with lips like cherries, laughing blue eyes,
and a skin transparently pure -- escorted the handsome stranger
through the pleached alleys of the Sieur Pavillon's garden, down
to the water side, and there saw him fairly embarked in a boat,
which two stout Flemings, in their trunk hose, fur caps, and many
buttoned jerkins, had got in readiness with as much haste as their
low country nature would permit.

As the pretty Trudchen spoke nothing but German, Quentin -- no
disparagement to his loyal affection to the Countess of Croye --
could only express his thanks by a kiss on those same cherry lips,
which was very gallantly bestowed, and accepted with all modest
gratitude, for gallants with a form and face like our Scottish
Archer were not of everyday occurrence among the bourgeoisie of
Liege [the French middle class. The term has come to mean the middle
class of any country, especially those engaged in trade].

[The adventure of Quentin at Liege may be thought overstrained,
yet it is extraordinary what slight circumstances will influence
the public mind in a moment of doubt and uncertainty. Most readers
must remember that, when the Dutch were on the point of rising
against the French yoke, their zeal for liberation received a
strong impulse from the landing of a person in a British volunteer
uniform, whose presence, though that of a private individual, was
received as a guarantee of succours from England. S.]

While the boat was rowed up the sluggish waters of the Maes, and
passed the defences of the town, Quentin had time enough to reflect
what account he ought to give of his adventure in Liege, when he
returned to the Bishop's palace of Schonwaldt, and disdaining alike
to betray any person who had reposed confidence in him, although
by misapprehension, or to conceal from the hospitable Prelate the
mutinous state of his capital, he resolved to confine himself to
so general an account as might put the Bishop upon his guard, while
it should point out no individual to his vengeance.

He was landed from the boat, within half a mile of the castle, and
rewarded his rowers with a guilder, to their great satisfaction.
Yet, short as was the space which divided him from Schonwaldt, the
castle bell had tolled for dinner, and Quentin found, moreover, that
he had approached the castle on a different side from that of the
principal entrance, and that to go round would throw his arrival
considerably later. He therefore made straight towards the side that
was nearest to him, as he discerned that it presented an embattled
wall, probably that of the little garden already noticed, with a
postern opening upon the moat, and a skiff moored by the postern,
which might serve, he thought, upon summons, to pass him over. As
he approached, in hopes to make his entrance this way, the postern
opened, a man came out, and, jumping into the boat, made his way
to the farther side of the moat, and then, with a long pole, pushed
the skiff back towards the place where he had embarked. As he came
near, Quentin discerned that this person was the Bohemian, who,
avoiding him, as was not difficult, held a different path towards
Liege, and was presently out of his ken.

Here was a new subject for meditation. Had this vagabond heathen
been all this while with the Ladies of Croye, and for what purpose
should they so far have graced him with their presence? Tormented
with this thought, Durward became doubly determined to seek an
explanation with them, for the purpose at once of laying bare the
treachery of Hayraddin, and announcing to them the perilous state
in which their protector, the Bishop, was placed, by the mutinous
state of his town of Liege.

As Quentin thus resolved, he entered the castle by the principal
gate, and found that part of the family who assembled for dinner in
the great hall, including the Bishop's attendant clergy, officers
of the household, and strangers below the rank of the very first
nobility, were already placed at their meal. A seat at the upper
end of the board had, however, been reserved beside the Bishop's
domestic chaplain, who welcomed the stranger with the old college
jest of Sero venientibus ossa [the bones for those who come late],
while he took care so to load his plate with dainties, as to take
away all appearance of that tendency to reality, which, in Quentin's
country, is said to render a joke either no joke, or at best an
unpalatable one ["A sooth boord (true joke) is no boord," says the
Scot. S.].

In vindicating himself from the suspicion of ill breeding, Quentin
briefly described the tumult which had been occasioned in the city
by his being discovered to belong to the Scottish Archer Guard of
Louis, and endeavoured to give a ludicrous turn to the narrative
by saying that he had been with difficulty extricated by a fat
burgher of Liege and his pretty daughter.

But the company were too much interested in the story to taste the
jest. All operations of the table were suspended while Quentin told
his tale, and when he had ceased, there was a solemn pause, which
was only broken by the Majordomo's saying in a low and melancholy
tone, "I would to God that we saw those hundred lances of Burgundy!"

"Why should you think so deeply on it?" said Quentin. "You have
many soldiers here, whose trade is arms, and your antagonists are
only the rabble of a disorderly city, who will fly before the first
flutter of a banner with men at arms arrayed beneath it."

"You do not know the men of Liege," said the Chaplain, "of whom it
may be said, that, not even excepting those of Ghent, they are at
once the fiercest and the most untameable in Europe. Twice has the
Duke of Burgundy chastised them for their repeated revolts against
their Bishop, and twice hath he suppressed them with much severity,
abridged their privileges, taken away their banners, and established
rights and claims to himself which were not before competent
over a free city of the Empire. -- Nay, the last time he defeated
them with much slaughter near Saint Tron, where Liege lost nearly
six thousand men, what with the sword, what with those drowned in
the flight, and thereafter, to disable them from farther mutiny,
Duke Charles refused to enter at any of the gates which they
had surrendered, but, beating to the ground forty cubits' breadth
of their city wall, marched into Liege as a conqueror with visor
closed, and lance in rest, at the head of his chivalry, by the
breach which he had made. Nay, well were the Liegeois then assured,
that, but for the intercession of his father, Duke Philip the Good,
this Charles, then called Count of Charalois, would have given their
town up to spoil. And yet, with all these fresh recollections, with
their breaches unrepaired, and their arsenals scarcely supplied,
the sight of an archer's bonnet is sufficient again to stir them to
uproar. May God amend all! but I fear there will be bloody work
between so fierce a population and so fiery a Sovereign, and I would
my excellent and kind master had a see of lesser dignity and more
safety, for his mitre is lined with thorns instead of ermine.
This much I say to you, Seignior Stranger, to make you aware that,
if your affairs detain you not at Schonwaldt, it is a place from
which each man of sense should depart as speedily as possible. I
apprehend that your ladies are of the same opinion, for one of the
grooms who attended them on the route has been sent back by them
to the Court of France with letters, which doubtless are intended
to announce their going in search of a safer asylum."



CHAPTER XX: THE BILLET

Go to -- thou art made, if thou desirest to be so. --
If not, let me see thee still the fellow of servants,
and not fit to touch Fortune's fingers. --

TWELFTH NIGHT


When the tables were drawn, the Chaplain, who seemed to have taken
a sort of attachment to Quentin Durward's society, or who perhaps
desired to extract from him farther information concerning the meeting
of the morning, led him into a withdrawing apartment, the windows
of which, on one side, projected into the garden, and as he saw his
companion's eye gaze rather eagerly upon the spot, he proposed to
Quentin to go down and take a view of the curious foreign shrubs
with which the Bishop had enriched its parterres.

Quentin excused himself as unwilling to intrude, and therewithal
communicated the check which he had received in the morning.
The Chaplain smiled, and said that there was indeed some ancient
prohibition respecting the Bishop's private garden.

"But this," he added, with a smile, "was when our reverend father
was a princely young prelate of not more than thirty years of
age, and when many fair ladies frequented the Castle for ghostly
consolation. Need there was," he said with a downcast look, and a
smile, half simple and half intelligent, "that these ladies, pained
in conscience, who were ever lodged in the apartments now occupied
by the noble Canoness, should have some space for taking the air,
secure from the intrusion of the profane. But of late years," he
added, "this prohibition, although not formally removed, has fallen
entirely out of observance, and remains but as the superstition
which lingers in the brain of a superannuated gentleman usher. If
you please," he added, "we will presently descend, and try whether
the place be haunted or no."

Nothing could have been more agreeable to Quentin than the prospect
of a free entrance into the garden, through means of which, according
to a chance which had hitherto attended his passion, he hoped to
communicate with, or at least obtain sight of, the object of his
affections, from some such turret or balcony window, or similar
"coign of vantage," as at the hostelry of the Fleur de Lys, near
Plessis, or the Dauphin's Tower, within that Castle itself. Isabelle
seemed still destined, wherever she made her abode, to be the Lady
of the Turret.

[Coign of vantage: an advantageous position for observation or
action. Cf.  'no jutty, frieze, buttress, nor coign of vantage,
but this bird hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle.'
Macbeth, I, vi, 6.]

When Durward descended with his new friend into the garden, the
latter seemed a terrestrial philosopher, entirely busied with the
things of the earth, while the eyes of Quentin, if they did not
seek the heavens, like those of an astrologer, ranged, at least,
all around the windows, balconies, and especially the turrets, which
projected on every part from the inner front of the old building,
in order to discover that which was to be his cynosure.

While thus employed, the young lover heard with total neglect, if
indeed he heard at all, the enumeration of plants, herbs, and shrubs
which his reverend conductor pointed out to him, of which this was
choice, because of prime use in medicine, and that more choice for
yielding a rare flavour to pottage, and a third, choicest of all,
because possessed of no merit but its extreme scarcity. Still it
was necessary to preserve some semblance at least of attention,
which the youth found so difficult, that he fairly wished at the
devil the officious naturalist and the whole vegetable kingdom. He
was relieved at length by the striking of a clock, which summoned
the Chaplain to some official duty.

The reverend man made many unnecessary apologies for leaving his
new friend, and concluded by giving him the agreeable assurance
that he might walk in the garden till supper, without much risk of
being disturbed.

"It is," said he, "the place where I always study my own homilies,
as being most sequestered from the resort of strangers. I am now
about to deliver one of them in the chapel, if you please to favour
me with your audience. I have been thought to have some gift. --
But the glory be where it is due!"

Quentin excused himself for this evening, under pretence of a
severe headache, which the open air was likely to prove the best
cure for, and at length the well meaning, priest left him to himself.

It may be well imagined, that in the curious inspection which he
now made, at more leisure, of every window or aperture which looked
into the garden, those did not escape which were in the immediate
neighbourhood of the small door by which he had seen Marthon admit
Hayraddin, as he pretended, to the apartment of the Countesses.
But nothing stirred or showed itself, which could either confute or
confirm the tale which the Bohemian had told, until it was becoming
dusky, and Quentin began to be sensible, he scarce knew why, that
his sauntering so long in the garden might be subject of displeasure
or suspicion. Just as he had resolved to depart, and was taking
what he had destined for his last turn under the windows which had
such attraction for him, he heard above him a slight and cautious
sound, like that of a cough, as intended to call his attention,
and to avoid the observation of others. As he looked up in joyful
surprise, a casement opened, a female hand was seen to drop a
billet, which fell into a rosemary bush that grew at the foot of
the wall. The precaution used in dropping this letter prescribed
equal prudence and secrecy in reading it. The garden, surrounded,
as we have said, upon two sides, by the buildings of the palace,
was commanded, of course, by the windows of many apartments, but
there was a sort of grotto of rock work, which the Chaplain had shown
Durward with much complacency. To snatch up the billet, thrust it
into his bosom, and hie to this place of secrecy, was the work of
a single minute. He there opened the precious scroll, and blessed,
at the same time, the memory of the Monks of Aberbrothick, whose
nurture had rendered him capable of deciphering its contents.

The first line contained the injunction, "Read this in secret," --
and the contents were as follows: "What your eyes have too boldly
said, mine have perhaps too rashly understood. But unjust persecution
makes its victims bold, and it were better to throw myself on the
gratitude of one, than to remain the object of pursuit to many.
Fortune has her throne upon a rock but brave men fear not to climb.
If you dare do aught for one that hazards much, you need but pass
into this garden at prime tomorrow, wearing in your cap a blue
and white feather, but expect no farther communication. Your stars
have, they say, destined you for greatness, and disposed you to
gratitude. -- Farewell -- be faithful, prompt, and resolute, and
doubt not thy fortune."

Within this letter was enclosed a ring with a table diamond, on
which were cut, in form of a lozenge, the ancient arms of the House
of Croye.

The first feeling of Quentin upon this occasion was unmingled
ecstasy -- a pride and joy which seemed to raise him to the stars
-- a determination to do or die, influenced by which he treated
with scorn the thousand obstacles that placed themselves betwixt
him and the goal of his wishes.

In this mood of rapture, and unable to endure any interruption which
might withdraw his mind, were it but for a moment, from so ecstatic
a subject of contemplation, Durward, retiring to the interior of
the castle, hastily assigned his former pretext of a headache for
not joining the household of the Bishop at the supper meal, and,
lighting his lamp, betook himself to the chamber which had been
assigned him, to read, and to read again and again, the precious
billet, and to kiss a thousand times the no less precious ring.

But such high wrought feelings could not remain long in the same
ecstatic tone. A thought pressed upon him, though he repelled it
as ungrateful -- as even blasphemous -- that the frankness of the
confession implied less delicacy on the part of her who made it,
than was consistent with the high romantic feeling of adoration
with which he had hitherto worshipped the Lady Isabelle. No sooner
did this ungracious thought intrude itself, than he hastened to
stifle it, as he would have stifled a hissing and hateful adder
that had intruded itself into his couch. Was it for him -- him the
Favoured -- on whose account she had stooped from her sphere, to
ascribe blame to her for the very act of condescension, Without
which he dared not have raised his eyes towards her? Did not her
very dignity of birth and of condition reverse, in her case, the
usual rules which impose silence on the lady until her lover shall
have first spoken? To these arguments, which he boldly formed into
syllogisms and avowed to himself, his vanity might possibly suggest
one which he cared not to embody even mentally with the same frankness
-- that the merit of the party beloved might perhaps warrant, on
the part of the lady, some little departure from common rules, and,
after all, as in the case of Malvolio [Olivia's steward in Twelfth
Night], there was example for it in chronicle. The Squire of low
degree, of whom he had just been reading, was, like himself, a
gentleman void of land and living, and yet the generous Princess
of Hungary bestowed on him, without scruple, more substantial marks
of her affection than the billet he had just received:


"'Welcome,' she said, 'my swete Squyre,
My heart's roots, my soul's desire,
I will give thee kisses three,
And als five hundrid poundis in fee.'"


And again the same faithful history made the King of Hongrie himself
avouch --


"I have yknown many a page,
Come to be Prince by marriage."


So that, upon the whole, Quentin generously and magnanimously
reconciled himself to a line of conduct on the Countess's part by
which he was likely to be so highly benefited.

But this scruple was succeeded by another doubt, harder of digestion.
The traitor Hayraddin had been in the apartments of the ladies, for
aught Quentin knew, for the space of four hours, and, considering
the hints which he had thrown out of possessing an influence of the
most interesting kind over the fortunes of Quentin Durward, what
should assure him that this train was not of his laying? And if so,
was it not probable that such a dissembling villain had set it on
foot to conceal some new plan of treachery -- perhaps to seduce
Isabelle out of the protection of the worthy Bishop? This was a
matter to be closely looked into, for Quentin felt a repugnance to
this individual proportioned to the unabashed impudence with which
he had avowed his profligacy, and could not bring himself to hope
that anything in which he was concerned could ever come to an
honourable or happy conclusion.

These various thoughts rolled over Quentin's mind like misty clouds,
to dash and obscure the fair landscape which his fancy had at first
drawn, and his couch was that night a sleepless one. At the hour
of prime -- ay, and an hour before it, was he in the castle garden,
where no one now opposed either his entrance or his abode, with
a feather of the assigned colour, as distinguished as he could by
any means procure in such haste. No notice was taken of his appearance
for nearly two hours, at length he heard a few notes of the lute,
and presently the lattice opened right above the little postern door
at which Marthon had admitted Hayraddin, and Isabelle, in maidenly
beauty, appeared at the opening, greeted him half kindly, half
shyly, coloured extremely at the deep and significant reverence with
which he returned her courtesy -- shut the casement, and disappeared.

Daylight and champaign could discover no more! The authenticity of
the billet was ascertained -- it only remained what was to follow,
and of this the fair writer had given him no hint. But no immediate
danger impended -- the Countess was in a strong castle, under
the protection of a Prince, at once respectable for his secular
and venerable for his ecclesiastical authority. There was neither
immediate room nor occasion for the exulting Squire interfering
in the adventure, and it was sufficient if he kept himself prompt
to execute her commands whensoever they should be communicated to
him. But Fate purposed to call him into action sooner than he was
aware of.

It was the fourth night after his arrival at Schonwaldt, when
Quentin had taken measures for sending back on the morrow, to the
Court of Louis, the remaining groom who had accompanied him on his
journey, with letters from himself to his uncle and Lord Crawford,
renouncing the service of France, for which the treachery to which
he had been exposed by the private instructions of Hayraddin gave
him an excuse, both in honour and prudence, and he betook himself
to his bed with all the rosy coloured ideas around him which flutter
about the couch of a youth when he loves dearly, and thinks his
love is as sincerely repaid.

But Quentin's dreams, which at first partook of the nature of
those happy influences under which he had fallen asleep, began by
degrees to assume a more terrific character.

He walked with the Countess Isabelle beside a smooth and inland
lake, such as formed the principal characteristic of his native
glen, and he spoke to her of his love, without any consciousness
of the impediments which lay between them. She blushed and smiled
when she listened -- even as he might have expected from the tenor
of the letter, which, sleeping or waking, lay nearest to his heart.
But the scene suddenly changed from summer to winter -- from calm
to tempest, the winds and the waves rose with such a contest of
surge and whirlwind as if the demons of the water and of the air
had been contending for their roaring empires in rival strife. The
rising waters seemed to cut off their advance and their retreat
-- the increasing tempest, which dashed them against each other,
seemed to render their remaining on the spot impossible, and the
tumultuous sensations produced by the apparent danger awoke the
dreamer.

He awoke, but although the circumstances of the vision had disappeared,
and given place to reality, the noise, which had probably suggested
them, still continued to sound in his ears.

Quentin's first impulse was to sit erect in bed and listen with
astonishment to sounds, which, if they had announced a tempest, might
have shamed the wildest that ever burst down from the Grampians,
and again in a minute he became sensible that the tumult was not
excited by the fury of the elements, but by the wrath of men. He
sprang from bed, and looked from the window of his apartment, but
it opened into the garden, and on that side all was quiet, though
the opening of the casement made him still more sensible from the
shouts which reached his ears that the outside of the castle was
beleaguered and assaulted, and that by a numerous and determined
enemy. Hastily collecting his dress and arms, and putting them on
with such celerity as darkness and surprise permitted, his attention
was solicited by a knocking at the door of his chamber. As Quentin
did not immediately answer, the door, which was a slight one,
was forced open from without, and the intruder, announced by his
peculiar dialect to be the Bohemian, Hayraddin Maugrabin, entered
the apartment. A phial which he held in his hand, touched by a
match, produced a dark flash of ruddy fire, by means of which he
kindled a lamp, which he took from his bosom.

"The horoscope of your destinies," he said energetically to Durward,
without any farther greeting, "now turns upon the determination of
a minute."

"Caitiff!" said Quentin, in reply, "there is treachery around us,
and where there is treachery thou must have a share in it."

"You are mad," answered Maugrabin. "I never betrayed any one but
to gain by it -- and wherefore should I betray you, by whose safety
I can take more advantage than by your destruction? Hearken for a
moment, if it be possible for you, to one note of reason, ere it
is sounded into your ear by the death shut of ruin. The Liegeois
are up -- William de la Marck with his band leads them. -- Were
there means of resistance, their numbers and his fury would overcome
them, but there are next to none. If you would save the Countess
and your own hopes, follow me, in the name of her who sent you a
table diamond, with three leopards engraved on it."

"Lead the way," said Quentin, hastily. "In that name I dare every
danger."

"As I shall manage it," said the Bohemian, "there is no danger, if
you can but withhold your hand from strife which does not concern
you, for, after all, what is it to you whether the Bishop, as
they call him, slaughters his flock, or the flock slaughters the
shepherd? -- Ha! ha! ha! Follow me, but with caution and patience,
subdue your own courage, and confide in my prudence and my debt of
thankfulness is paid, and you have a Countess for your spouse. --
Follow me."

"I follow," said Quentin, drawing his sword, "but the moment in
which I detect the least sign of treachery, thy head and body are
three yards separate!"

Without more conversation the Bohemian, seeing that Quentin was now
fully armed and ready, ran down the stairs before him, and winded
hastily through various side passages, until they gained the
little garden. Scarce a light was to be seen on that side, scarce
any bustle was to be heard, but no sooner had Quentin entered the
open space, than the noise on the opposite side of the castle became
ten times more stunningly audible, and he could hear the various
war cries of "Liege! Liege! Sanglier! Sanglier! [the Wild Boar:
a name given to William de la Marck]" shouted by the assailants,
while the feebler cry of "Our Lady for the Prince Bishop!" was raised
in a faint and faltering tone by those of the prelate's soldiers
who had hastened, though surprised and at disadvantage, to the
defence of the walls.

But the interest of the fight, notwithstanding the martial character
of Quentin Durward, was indifferent to him, in comparison with the
fate of Isabelle of Croye, which, he had reason to fear, would be
a dreadful one, unless rescued from the power of the dissolute and
cruel freebooter who was now, as it seemed, bursting the gates of
the castle. He reconciled himself to the aid of the Bohemian, as men
in a desperate illness refuse not the remedy prescribed by quacks
and mountebanks, and followed across the garden, with the intention
of being guided by him until he should discover symptoms of treachery,
and then piercing him through the heart, or striking his head from
his body.

Hayraddin seemed himself conscious that his safety turned on a
feather weight, for he forbore, from the moment they entered the
open air, all his wonted gibes and quirks, and seemed to have made
a vow to act at once with modesty, courage, and activity.

At the opposite door, which led to the ladies' apartments, upon a
low signal made by Hayraddin, appeared two women, muffled in the
black silk veils which were then, as now, worn by the women in
the Netherlands. Quentin offered his arm to one of them, who clung
to it with trembling eagerness, and indeed hung upon him so much,
that had her weight been greater, she must have much impeded their
retreat. The Bohemian, who conducted the other female, took the
road straight for the postern which opened upon the moat, through
the garden wall, close to which the little skiff Was drawn up,
by means of which Quentin had formerly observed Hayraddin himself
retreating from the castle.

As they crossed, the shouts of storm and successful violence
seemed to announce that the castle was in the act of being taken,
and so dismal was the sound in Quentin's ears, that he could not
help swearing aloud, "But that my blood is irretrievably devoted to
the fulfilment of my present duty, I would back to the wall, take
faithful part with the hospitable Bishop, and silence some of those
knaves whose throats are full of mutiny and robbery!"

The lady, whose arm was still folded in his, pressed it lightly
as he spoke, as if to make him understand that there was a nearer
claim on his chivalry than the defence of Schonwaldt, while the
Bohemian exclaimed, loud enough to be heard, "Now, that I call
right Christian frenzy, which would turn back to fight when love
and fortune both demand that we should fly.

"On, on -- with all the haste you can make. -- Horses wait us in
yonder thicket of willows."

"There are but two horses," said Quentin, who saw them in the
moonlight.

"All that I could procure without exciting suspicion -- and enough,"
replied the Bohemian. "You two must ride for Tongres ere the way
becomes unsafe -- Marthon will abide with the women of our horde,
with whom she is an old acquaintance. Know she is a daughter of our
tribe, and only dwelt among you to serve our purpose as occasion
should fall."

"Marthon!" exclaimed the Countess, looking at the veiled female
with a shriek of surprise, "is not this my kinswoman?"

"Only Marthon," said Hayraddin. "Excuse me that little piece of
deceit. I dared not carry off both the Ladies of Croye from the
Wild Boar of Ardennes."

"Wretch!" said Quentin, emphatically -- "but it is not -- shall
not be too late -- I will back to rescue the Lady Hameline."

"Hameline," whispered the lady, in a disturbed voice, "hangs on
thy arm, to thank thee for her rescue."

"Ha! what! -- How is this?" said Quentin, extricating himself from
her hold, and with less gentleness than he would at any other time
have used towards a female of any rank. "Is the Lady Isabelle then
left behind! -- Farewell -- farewell."

As he turned to hasten back to the castle, Hayraddin laid hold of
him. -- "Nay, hear you -- hear you -- you run upon your death! What
the foul fiend did you wear the colours of the old one for? -- I
will never trust blue and white silk again. But she has almost as
large a dower -- has jewels and gold -- hath pretensions, too, upon
the earldom."

While he spoke thus, panting on in broken sentences, the Bohemian
struggled to detain Quentin, who at length laid his hand on his
dagger, in order to extricate himself.

"Nay, if that be the case," said Hayraddin, unloosing his hold,
"go -- and the devil, if there be one, go along with you!"

And, soon as freed from his hold, the Scot shot back to the castle
with the speed of the wind.

Hayraddin then turned round to the Countess Hameline, who had sunk
down on the ground, between shame, fear, and disappointment.

"Here has been a mistake," he said, "up, lady, and come with me
-- I will provide you, ere morning comes, a gallanter husband than
this smock faced boy, and if one will not serve, you shall have
twenty."

The Lady Hameline was as violent in her passions, as she was vain
and weak in her understanding. Like many other persons, she went
tolerably well through the ordinary duties of life, but in a crisis
like the present, she was entirely incapable of doing aught, save
pouring forth unavailing lamentations, and accusing Hayraddin of
being a thief, a base slave, an impostor, a murderer.

"Call me Zingaro," returned he, composedly, "and you have said all
at once."

"Monster! you said the stars had decreed our union, and caused me
to write -- Oh, wretch that I was!" exclaimed the unhappy lady.

"And so they had decreed your union," said Hayraddin, "had both
parties been willing -- but think you the blessed constellations
can make any one wed against his will? -- I was led into error with
your accursed Christian gallantries, and fopperies of ribbons and
favours -- and the youth prefers veal to beef, I think -- that 's
all. -- Up and follow me, and take notice, I endure neither weeping
nor swooning."

"I will not stir a foot," said the Countess, obstinately.

"By the bright welkin, but you shall, though!" exclaimed Hayraddin.
"I swear to you, by all that ever fools believed in, that you have
to do with one, who would care little to strip you naked, bind you
to a tree, and leave you to your fortune!"

"Nay," said Marthon, interfering, "by your favour she shall not be
misused. I wear a knife as well as you, and can use it. -- She is
a kind woman, though a fool. -- And you, madam, rise up and follow
us. -- Here has been a mistake, but it is something to have saved
life and limb. There are many in yonder castle would give all the
wealth in the world to stand where we do."

As Marthon spoke, a clamour, in which the shouts of victory were
mingled with screams of terror and despair, was wafted to them from
the Castle of Schonwaldt.

"Hear that, lady!" said Hayraddin, "and be thankful you are not
adding your treble pipe to yonder concert. Believe me, I will care
for you honestly, and the stars shall keep their words, and find
you a good husband."

Like some wild animal, exhausted and subdued by terror amid fatigue,
the Countess Hameline yielded herself up to the conduct of her
guides, and suffered herself to be passively led whichever way they
would. Nay, such was the confusion of her spirits and the exhaustion
of her strength, that the worthy couple, who half bore, half led
her, carried on their discourse in her presence without her even
understanding it."

"I ever thought your plan was folly," said Marthon. "Could you
have brought the young people together, indeed, we might have had
a hold on their gratitude, and a footing in their castle. But what
chance of so handsome a youth wedding this old fool?"

"Rizpah," said Hayraddin, "you have borne the name of a Christian,
and dwelt in the tents of those besotted people, till thou hast become
a partaker in their follies. How could I dream that he would have
made scruples about a few years' youth or age, when the advantages
of the match were so evident? And thou knowest, there would have been
no moving yonder coy wench to be so frank as this coming Countess
here, who hangs on our arms as dead a weight as a wool pack. I
loved the lad too, and would have done him a kindness: to wed him
to this old woman was to make his fortune, to unite him to Isabelle
were to have brought on him De la Marck, Burgundy, France -- every
one that challenges an interest in disposing of her hand. And this
silly woman's wealth being chiefly in gold and jewels, we should
have had our share. But the bow string has burst, and the arrow
failed. Away with her -- we will bring her to William with the
Beard. By the time he has gorged himself with wassail, as is his
wont, he will not know an old Countess from a young one. Away, Rizpah
-- bear a gallant heart. The bright Aldebaran still influences the
destinies of the Children of the Desert!"



CHAPTER XXI: THE SACK

The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
And the flesh'd soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand shall range,
With conscience wide as hell.

HENRY V


The surprised and affrighted garrison of the Castle of Schonwaldt
had, nevertheless, for some time made good the defence of the place
against the assailants, but the immense crowds which, issuing from
the city of Liege, thronged to the assault like bees, distracted
their attention, and abated their courage.

There was also disaffection at least, if not treachery, among the
defenders, for some called out to surrender, and others, deserting
their posts, tried to escape from the castle. Many threw themselves
from the walls into the moat, and such as escaped drowning, flung
aside their distinguishing badges, and saved themselves by mingling
among the motley crowd of assailants. Some few, indeed, from
attachment to the Bishop's person, drew around him, and continued
to defend the great keep, to which he had fled, and others, doubtful
of receiving quarter, or from an impulse of desperate courage, held
out other detached bulwarks and towers of the extensive building.
But the assailants had got possession of the courts and lower
parts of the edifice, and were busy pursuing the vanquished, and
searching for spoil, while one individual, as if he sought for that
death from which all others were flying, endeavoured to force his
way into the scene of tumult and horror, under apprehensions still
more horrible to his imagination than the realities around were to
his sight and senses. Whoever had seen Quentin Durward that fatal
night, not knowing the meaning of his conduct, had accounted him
a raging madman, whoever had appreciated his motives, had ranked
him nothing beneath a hero of romance.

Approaching Schonwaldt on the same side from which he had left it,
the youth met several fugitives making for the wood, who naturally
avoided him as an enemy, because he came in an opposite direction
from that which they had adopted. When he came nearer, he could
hear, and partly see, men dropping from the garden wall into the
castle fosse, and others who seemed precipitated from the battlements
by the assailants. His courage was not staggered, even for an
instant. There was not time to look for the boat, even had it been
practicable to use it, and it was in vain to approach the postern
of the garden, which was crowded with fugitives, who ever and anon,
as they were thrust through it by the pressure behind, fell into
the moat which they had no means of crossing.

Avoiding that point, Quentin threw himself into the moat, near
what was called the little gate of the castle, and where there was
a drawbridge, which was still elevated. He avoided with difficulty
the fatal grasp of more than one sinking wretch, and, swimming to
the drawbridge, caught hold of one of the chains which was hanging
down, and, by a great exertion of strength and activity, swayed
himself out of the water, and attained the platform from which the
bridge was suspended. As with hands and knees he struggled to make
good his footing, a lanzknecht, with his bloody sword in his hand,
made towards him, and raised his weapon for a blow which must have
been fatal.

"How now, fellow," said Quentin, in a tone of authority. "Is that
the way in which you assist a comrade? -- Give me your hand."

The soldier in silence, and not without hesitation, reached him
his arm, and helped him upon the platform, when, without allowing
him time for reflection, the Scot continued in the same tone of
command, "To the western tower, if you would be rich -- the Priest's
treasury is in the western tower."

The words were echoed on every hand: "To the western tower -- the
treasure is in the western tower!" And the stragglers who were
within, hearing of the cry, took, like a herd of raging wolves, the
direction opposite to that which Quentin, come life, come death,
was determined to pursue.

Bearing himself as if he were one, not of the conquered, but of the
victors, he made a way into the garden, and pushed across it with
less interruption than he could have expected, for the cry of "To
the western tower!" had carried off one body of the assailants,
and another was summoned together, by war cry and trumpet sound, to
assist in repelling a desperate sally, attempted by the defenders
of the keep, who had hoped to cut their way out of the castle,
bearing the Bishop along with them. Quentin, therefore, crossed the
garden with an eager step and throbbing heart, commending himself
to those heavenly powers which had protected him through the
numberless perils of his life, and bold in his determination to
succeed, or leave his life in this desperate undertaking. Ere he
reached the garden, three men rushed on him with levelled lances,
crying, "Liege, Liege!"

Putting himself in defence, but without striking, he replied,
"France, France, friend to Liege."

"Vivat France!" cried the burghers of Liege, and passed on. The
same signal proved a talisman to avert the weapons of four or five
of La Marck's followers, whom he found straggling in the garden,
and who set upon him crying, "Sanglier!"

In a word, Quentin began to hope that his character as an emissary
of King Louis, the private instigator of the insurgents of Liege,
and the secret supporter of William de la Marck, might possibly
bear him through the horrors of the night.

On reaching the turret, he shuddered when he found that the little
side door, through which Marthon and the Countess Hameline had
shortly before joined him, was now blockaded with more than one
dead body.

Two of them he dragged hastily aside, and was stepping over the
third body, in order to enter the portal, when the supposed dead
man laid hand on his cloak, and entreated him to stay and assist him
to rise. Quentin was about to use rougher methods than struggling
to rid himself of this untimely obstruction, when the fallen man
continued to exclaim, "I am stifled here, in mine own armour! -- I
am the Syndic Pavillon of Liege! If you are for us, I will enrich
you -- if you are for the other side, I will protect you, but do
not -- do not leave me to die the death of a smothered pig!"

In the midst of this scene of blood and confusion, the presence
of mind of Quentin suggested to him that this dignitary might have
the means of protecting their retreat. He raised him on his feet,
and asked him if he was wounded.

"Not wounded, at least I think not," answered the burgher, "but
much out of wind."

"Sit down, then, on this stone, and recover your breath," said
Quentin, "I will return instantly."

"For whom are you?" said the burgher, still detaining him.

"For France -- for France," answered Quentin, studying to get away.

"What! my lively young Archer?" said the worthy Syndic. "Nay, if
it has been my fate to find a friend in this fearful night, I will
not quit him, I promise you. Go where you will, I follow, and could
I get some of the tight lads of our guildry together, I might be
able to help you in turn, but they are all squandered abroad like
so many pease. -- Oh, it is a fearful night!"

During this time, he was dragging himself on after Quentin, who,
aware of the importance of securing the countenance of a person of
such influence, slackened his pace to assist him, although cursing
in his heart the encumbrance that retarded his pace.

At the top of the stair was an anteroom, with boxes and trunks,
which bore marks of having been rifled, as some of the contents lay
on the floor. A lamp, dying in the chimney, shed a feeble beam on
a dead or senseless man who lay across the hearth.

Bounding from Pavillon like a greyhound from his keeper's leash, and
with an effort which almost overthrew him, Quentin sprang through
a second and a third room, the last of which seemed to be the bedroom
of the Ladies of Croye. No living mortal was to be seen in either
of them. He called upon the Lady Isabelle's name, at first gently,
then more loudly, and then with an accent of despairing emphasis,
but no answer was returned. He wrung his hands, tore his hair, and
stamped on the earth with desperation. At length a feeble glimmer
of light, which shone through a crevice in the wainscoting of a dark
nook in the bedroom, announced some recess or concealment behind
the arras. Quentin hasted to examine it. He found there was indeed
a concealed room, but it resisted his hurried efforts to open it.
Heedless of the personal injury he might sustain, he rushed at the
door with the whole force and weight of his body, and such was the
impetus of an effort made betwixt hope and despair, that it would
have burst much stronger fastenings.

He thus forced his way, almost headlong, into a small oratory, where
a female figure, which had been kneeling in agonizing supplication
before the holy image, now sank at length on the floor, under the
new terrors implied in this approaching tumult. He hastily raised
her from the ground, and, joy of joys it was she whom he sought to
save -- the Countess Isabelle. He pressed her to his bosom -- he
conjured her to awake -- entreated her to be of good cheer -- for
that she was now under time protection of one who had heart and
hand enough to defend her against armies.

"Durward!" she said, as she at length collected herself, "is it
indeed you? -- then there is some hope left. I thought all living
and mortal friends had left me to my fate. -- Do not again abandon
me."

"Never -- never!" said Durward. "Whatever shall happen, whatever
danger shall approach, may I forfeit the benefits purchased by
yonder blessed sign, if I be not the sharer of your fate until it
is again a happy one!"

"Very pathetic and touching, truly," said a rough, broken, asthmatic
voice behind. "A love affair, I see, and, from my soul, I pity the
tender creature as if she were my own Trudchen."

"You must do more than pity," said Quentin, turning towards the
speaker, "you must assist in protecting us, Meinheer Pavillon. Be
assured this lady was put under my especial charge by your ally the
King of France, and, if you aid me not to shelter her from every
species of offence and violence, your city will lose the favour of
Louis of Valois. Above all, she must be guarded from the hands of
William de la Marck."

"That will be difficult," said Pavillon, "for these schelms of
lanzknechts are very devils at rummaging out the wenches. But I'll
do my best. -- We will to the other apartment, and there I will
consider. -- It is but a narrow stair, and you can keep the door
with a pike, while I look from the window, and get together some of
my brisk boys of the curriers' guildry of Liege, that are as true
as the knives they wear in their girdles. -- But first undo me
these clasps -- for I have not worn this corselet since the battle
of Saint Tron [fought by the insurgents of Liege against the Duke
of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, when Count of Charalois, in which
the people of Liege were defeated with great slaughter. S.] and I
am three stone heavier since that time, if there be truth in Dutch
beam and scale."

The undoing of the iron enclosure gave great relief to the honest
man, who, in putting it on, had more considered his zeal to the
cause of Liege, than his capacity of bearing arms. It afterwards
turned out that being, as it were, borne forward involuntarily,
and hoisted over the walls by his company as they thronged to the
assault, the magistrate had been carried here and there, as the
tide of attack and defence flowed or ebbed, without the power,
latterly, of even uttering a word until, as the sea casts a log of
driftwood ashore in the first creek, he had been ultimately thrown
in the entrance to the Ladies of Croye's apartments, where the
encumbrance of his own armour, with the superincumbent weight of
two men slain in the entrance, and who fell above him, might have
fixed him down long enough, had he not been relieved by Durward.

The same warmth of temper which rendered Hermann Pavillon a hot
headed and intemperate zealot in politics, had the more desirable
consequence of making him, in private, a good tempered, kind hearted
man, who, if sometimes a little misled by vanity, was always well
meaning and benevolent. He told Quentin to have an especial care of
the poor pretty yung frau [young woman], and, after this unnecessary
exhortation, began to halloo from the window, "Liege, Liege, for
the gallant skinners' guild of curriers!"

One or two of his immediate followers collected at the summons and
at the peculiar whistle with which it was accompanied (each of the
crafts having such a signal among themselves), and, more joining
them, established a guard under the window from which their leader
was bawling, and before the postern door.

Matters seemed now settling into some sort of tranquillity. All
opposition had ceased, and the leaders of the different classes of
assailants were taking measures to prevent indiscriminate plunder.
The great bell was tolled, a summons to a military counsel, and
its iron tongue communicating to Liege the triumphant possession
of Schonwaldt by the insurgents, was answered by all the bells in
that city, whose distant and clamorous voices seemed to cry, Hail
to the victors! It would have been natural that Meinheer Pavillon
should now have sallied from his fastness, but either in reverent
care of those whom he had taken under his protection, or perhaps
for the better assurance of his own safety, he contented himself
with dispatching messenger on messenger, to command his lieutenant,
Peterkin Geislaer, to attend him directly.

Peterkin came, at length, to his great relief, as being the person
upon whom, on all pressing occasions, whether of war, politics, or
commerce, Pavillon was most accustomed to repose confidence. He was
a stout, squat figure, with a square face and broad black eyebrows,
that announced him to be opinionative and disputatious, -- an
advice giving countenance, so to speak. He was endued with a buff
jerkin, wore a broad belt and cutlass by his side, and carried a
halberd in his hand.

"Peterkin, my dear lieutenant," said the commander, "this has been
a glorious day -- night I should say -- I trust thou art pleased
for once."

"I am well enough pleased that you are so," said the doughty
lieutenant, "though I should not have thought of your celebrating
the victory, if you call it one, up in this garret by yourself,
when you are wanted in council."

"But am I wanted there?" said the Syndic.

"Ay, marry are you, to stand up for the rights of Liege, that are
in more danger than ever," answered the lieutenant.

"Pshaw, Peterkin," answered his principal, "thou art ever such a
frampold grumbler --"

"Grumbler? not I," said Peterkin, "what pleases other people will
always please me. Only I wish we have not got King Stork, instead
of King Log, like the fabliau [fable] that the Clerk of Saint
Lambert's used to read us out of Meister Aesop's book."

[Refers to Aesop's fable. The commonwealth of frogs, having conceived
an aversion for their amiable king Log, asked Jupiter to send them
another sovereign. He accordingly bestowed upon them a stork who
gradually devoured all his subjects.]

"I cannot guess your meaning," said the Syndic.

"Why then, I tell you, Master Pavillon, that this Boar or Bear is
like to make his own den of Schonwaldt, and is probable to turn
out as bad a neighbour to our town as ever was the old Bishop, and
worse. Here has he taken the whole conquest in his own hand, and
is only doubting whether he should be called Prince or Bishop --
and it is a shame to see how they have mishandled the old man among
them."

"I will not permit it, Peterkin," said Pavillon, hustling up, "I
disliked the mitre, but not the head that wore it. We are ten to
one in the field, Peterkin, and will not permit these courses."

"Ay, ten to one in the field, but only man to man in the castle,
besides that Nikkel Blok the butcher, and all the rabble of the
suburbs, take part with William de la Marck, partly for saus and
braus [means here carousing] (for he has broached all the ale tubs
and wine casks), and partly for old envy towards us, who are the
craftsmen, and have privileges."

"Peter," said Pavillon, "we will go presently to the city. I will
stay no longer in Schonwaldt."

"But the bridges of this castle are up, master," said Geislaer --
"the gates locked, and guarded by these lanzknechts, and, if we were
to try to force our way, these fellows, whose everyday business is
war, might make wild work of us that only fight of a holyday."

"But why has he secured the gates?" said the alarmed burgher, "or
what business hath he to make honest men prisoners?"

"I cannot tell -- not I," said Peter. "Some noise there is about the
Ladies of Croye, who have escaped during the storm of the castle.
That first put the Man with the Beard beside himself with anger,
and now he 's beside himself with drink also."

The Burgomaster cast a disconsolate look towards Quentin, and seemed
at a loss what to resolve upon. Durward, who had not lost a word
of the conversation, which alarmed him very much, saw nevertheless
that their only safety depended on his preserving his own presence
of mind, and sustaining the courage of Pavillon. He struck boldly
into the conversation, as one who had a right to have a voice in
the deliberation.

"I am ashamed," he said, "Meinheer Pavillon, to observe you hesitate
what to do on this occasion. Go boldly to William de la Marck, and
demand free leave to quit the castle, you, your lieutenant, your
squire, and your daughter. He can have no pretence for keeping you
prisoner."

"For me and my lieutenant -- that is myself and Peter? -- Good --
but who is my squire?"

"I am for the present," replied the undaunted Scot.

"You!" said the embarrassed burgess, "but are you not the envoy of
King Louis of France?"

"True, but my message is to the magistrates of Liege -- and only
in Liege will I deliver it. -- Were I to acknowledge my quality
before William de la Marck, must I not enter into negotiations
with him? Ay, and, it is like, be detained by him. You must get me
secretly out of the castle in the capacity of your squire."

"Good -- my squire -- but you spoke of my daughter -- my daughter
is, I trust, safe in my house in Liege -- where I wish her father
was, with all my heart and soul."

"This lady," said Durward, "will call you father while we are in
this place."

"And for my whole life afterwards," said the Countess, throwing
herself at the citizen's feet, and clasping his knees.

"Never shall the day pass in which I will not honour you, love
you, and pray for you as a daughter for a father, if you will but
aid me in this fearful strait. -- Oh, be not hard hearted! Think,
your own daughter may kneel to a stranger, to ask him for life and
honour -- think of this, and give me the protection you would wish
her to receive!"

"In troth," said the good citizen, much moved with her pathetic
appeal, "I think, Peter, that this pretty maiden hath a touch of
our Trudchen's sweet look -- I thought so from the first, and that
this brisk youth here, who is so ready with his advice, is somewhat
like Trudchen's bachelor -- I wager a groat, Peter, that this is
a true love matter, and it is a sin not to further it."

"It were shame and sin both," said Peter, a good natured Fleming,
notwithstanding all his self conceit, and as he spoke he wiped his
eyes with the sleeve of his jerkin.

"She shall be my daughter, then," said Pavillon, "well wrapped up
in her black silk veil and if there are not enough of true hearted
skinners to protect her, being the daughter of their Syndic, it were
pity they should ever tug leather more. -- But hark ye -- questions
must be answered -- How if I am asked what should my daughter make
here at such an onslaught?"

"What should half the women in Liege make here when they followed
us to the castle?" said Peter. "They had no other reason, sure, but
that it was just the place in the world that they should not have
come to. Our yung frau Trudchen has come a little farther than the
rest -- that is all."

"Admirably spoken," said Quentin, "only be bold, and take this
gentleman's good counsel, noble Meinheer Pavillon, and, at no
trouble to yourself, you will do the most worthy action since the
days of Charlemagne. -- Here, sweet lady, wrap yourself close in
this veil" (for many articles of female apparel lay scattered about
the apartment) -- "be but confident, and a few minutes will place
you in freedom and safety. Noble Sir," he added, addressing Pavillon,
"set forward."

"Hold -- hold -- hold a minute," said Pavillon, "my mind misgives
me! -- This De la Marck is a fury, a perfect boar in his nature as
in his name, what if the young lady be one of those of Croye? --
and what if he discover her, and be addicted to wrath?"

"And if I were one of those unfortunate women," said Isabelle,
again attempting to throw herself at his feet, "could you for that
reject me in this moment of despair? Oh, that I had been indeed
your daughter, or the daughter of the poorest burgher!"

"Not so poor -- not so poor neither, young lady -- we pay as we
go," said the citizen.

"Forgive me, noble sir," again began the unfortunate maiden.

"Not noble, nor sir, neither," said the Syndic, "a plain burgher of
Liege, that pays bills of exchange in ready guilders. -- But that
is nothing to the purpose. -- Well, say you be a countess, I will
protect you nevertheless."

"You are bound to protect her, were she a duchess," said Peter,
"having once passed your word."

"Right, Peter, very right," said the Syndic "it is our old Low
Dutch fashion, ein wort, ein man [a man of his word], and now let
us to this gear. We must take leave of this William de la Marck,
and yet I know not, my mind misgives me when I think of him, and
were it a ceremony which could be waived, I have no stomach to go
through it."

"Were you not better, since you have a force together, to make for
the gate and force the guard?" said Quentin.

But with united voice, Pavillon and his adviser exclaimed against
the propriety of such an attack upon their ally's soldiers, with
some hints concerning its rashness, which satisfied Quentin that
it was not a risk to be hazarded with such associates.

They resolved, therefore, to repair boldly to the great hall of the
castle, where, as they understood, the Wild Boar of Ardennes held
his feast, and demand free egress for the Syndic of Liege and his
company, a request too reasonable, as it seemed, to be denied. Still
the good burgomaster groaned when he looked on his companions, and
exclaimed to his faithful Peter, "See what it is to have too bold
and too tender a heart! Alas! Peterkin, how much have courage and
humanity cost me! and how much may I yet have to pay for my virtues,
before Heaven makes us free of this damned Castle of Schonwaldt!"

As they crossed the courts, still strewed with the dying and dead,
Quentin, while he supported Isabelle through the scene of horrors,
whispered to her courage and comfort, and reminded her that her
safety depended entirely on her firmness and presence of mind.

"Not on mine -- not on mine," she said, "but on yours -- on yours
only. Oh, if I but escape this fearful night, never shall I forget
him who saved me! One favour more only, let me implore at your
hand, and I conjure you to grant it, by your mother's fame and your
father's honour!"

"What is it you can ask that I could refuse?" said Quentin, in a
whisper.

"Plunge your dagger in my heart," said she, "rather than leave me
captive in the hands of these monsters."

Quentin's only answer was a pressure of the young Countess's hand,
which seemed as if, but for terror, it would have returned the
caress. And, leaning on her youthful protector, she entered the
fearful hall, preceded by Pavillon and his lieutenant, and followed
by a dozen of the Kurschenschaft, or skinner's trade, who attended
as a guard of honour on the Syndic.

As they approached the hall, the yells of acclamation and bursts
of wild laughter which proceeded from it, seemed rather to announce
the revel of festive demons, rejoicing after some accomplished triumph
over the human race, than of mortal beings who had succeeded in a
bold design. An emphatic tone of mind, which despair alone could have
inspired, supported the assumed courage of the Countess Isabelle,
undaunted spirits, which rose with the extremity, maintained that
of Durward, while Pavillon and his lieutenant made a virtue of
necessity, and faced their fate like bears bound to a stake, which
must necessarily stand the dangers of the course.



CHAPTER XXII: THE REVELLERS

Cade. -- Where's Dick, the butcher of Ashford?
Dick. -- Here, sir.
Cade. -- They fell before thee like sheep and oxen, and thou
behavedst thyself as if thou hadst been in thine own slaughter
house.

SECOND PART OF KING HENRY V.


There could hardly exist a more strange and horrible change than
had taken place in the castle hall of Schonwaldt since Quentin had
partaken of the noontide meal there, and it was indeed one which
painted, in the extremity of their dreadful features, the miseries
of war -- more especially when waged by those most relentless of
all agents, the mercenary soldiers of a barbarous age -- men who,
by habit and profession, had become familiarized with all that was
cruel and bloody in the art of war, while they were devoid alike
of patriotism and of the romantic spirit of chivalry.

Instead of the orderly, decent, and somewhat formal meal, at which
civil and ecclesiastical officers had, a few hours before, sat
mingled in the same apartment, where a light jest could only be
uttered in a whisper, and where, even amid superfluity of feasting
and of wine, there reigned a decorum which almost amounted to
hypocrisy, there was now such a scene of wild and roaring debauchery
as Satan himself, had he taken the chair as founder of the feast,
could scarcely have improved.

At the head of the table sat, in the Bishop's throne and state, which
had been hastily brought thither from his great council chamber,
the redoubted Boar of Ardennes himself, well deserving that dreaded
name in which he affected to delight, and which he did as much as
he could think of to deserve.

His head was unhelmeted, but he wore the rest of his ponderous and
bright armour, which indeed he rarely laid aside. Over his shoulders
hung a strong surcoat, made of the dressed skin of a huge wild
boar, the hoofs being of solid silver and the tusks of the same.
The skin of the head was so arranged, that, drawn over the casque,
when the Baron was armed, or over his bare head in the fashion of
a hood, as he often affected when the helmet was laid aside, and as
he now wore it, the effect was that of a grinning, ghastly monster,
and yet the countenance which it overshadowed scarce required
such horrors to improve those which were natural to its ordinary
expression.

The upper part of De la Marck's face, as Nature had formed it,
almost gave the lie to his character, for though his hair, when
uncovered, resembled the rude and wild bristles of the hood he had
drawn over it, yet an open, high, and manly forehead, broad ruddy
cheeks, large, sparkling, light coloured eyes, and a nose which
looked like the beak of the eagle, promised something valiant and
generous. But the effect of these more favourable traits was entirely
overpowered by his habits of violence and insolence, which, joined
to debauchery and intemperance, had stamped upon the features a
character inconsistent with the rough gallantry which they would
otherwise have exhibited. The former had, from habitual indulgence,
swollen the muscles of the cheeks and those around the eyes, in
particular the latter; evil practices and habits had dimmed the
eyes themselves, reddened the part of them that should have been
white, and given the whole face a hideous likeness of the monster
which it was the terrible Baron's pleasure to resemble. But from an
odd sort of contradiction, De la March, while he assumed in other
respects the appearance of the Wild Boar, and even seemed pleased
with the name, yet endeavoured, by the length and growth of his
beard, to conceal the circumstance that had originally procured
him that denomination. This was an unusual thickness and projection
of the mouth and upper jaw, which, with the huge projecting side
teeth, gave that resemblance to the bestial creation, which, joined
to the delight that De la Marck had in hunting the forest so called,
originally procured for him the name of the Boar of Ardennes. The
beard, broad, grisly, and uncombed, neither concealed the natural
horrors of the countenance, nor dignified its brutal expression.

The soldiers and officers sat around the table, intermixed with the
men of Liege, some of them of the very lowest description, among
whom Nikkel Blok the butcher, placed near De la Marck himself,
was distinguished by his tucked up sleeves, which displayed arms
smeared to the elbows with blood, as was the cleaver which lay on
the table before him. The soldiers wore, most of them, their beards
long and grisly, in imitation of their leader, had their hair
plaited and turned upwards, in the manner that ought best improve
the natural ferocity of their appearance, and intoxicated, as many
of them seemed to be, partly with the sense of triumph, and partly
with the long libations of wine which they had been quaffing,
presented a spectacle at once hideous and disgusting. The language
which they held, and the songs which they sang, without even
pretending to pay each other the compliment of listening, were so
full of license and blasphemy, that Quentin blessed God that the
extremity of the noise prevented them from being intelligible to
his companion.

It only remains to say of the better class of burghers who were
associated with William de la Marck's soldiers in this fearful
revel that the wan faces and anxious mien of the greater part showed
that they either disliked their entertainment, or feared their
companions, while some of lower education, or a nature more brutal,
saw only in the excesses of the soldier a gallant bearing, which
they would willingly imitate, and the tone of which they endeavoured
to catch so far as was possible, and stimulated themselves to the
task, by swallowing immense draughts of wine and schwarzbier [black
beer] -- indulging a vice 'which at all times was too common in
the Low Countries.

The preparations for the feast had been as disorderly as the quality
of the company. The whole of the Bishop's plate -- nay, even that
belonging to the service of the Church -- for the Boar of Ardennes
regarded not the imputation of sacrilege -- was mingled with black
jacks, or huge tankards made of leather, and drinking horns of the
most ordinary description.

One circumstance of horror remains to be added and accounted for,
and we willingly leave the rest of the scene to the imagination
of the reader. Amidst the wild license assumed by the soldiers of
De la Marck, one who was excluded from the table (a lanzknecht,
remarkable for his courage and for his daring behaviour during the
storm of the evening), had impudently snatched up a large silver
goblet, and carried it off declaring it should atone for his loss
of the share of the feast. The leader laughed till his sides shook
at a jest so congenial to the character of the company, but when
another, less renowned, it would seem, for audacity in battle, ventured
on using the same freedom, De la Marck instantly put a check to a
jocular practice, which would soon have cleared his table of all
the more valuable decorations.

"Ho! by the spirit of the thunder!" he exclaimed, "those who dare
not be men when they face the enemy, must not pretend to be thieves
among their friends. What! thou frontless dastard, thou -- thou who
didst wait for opened gate and lowered bridge, when Conrade Horst
forced his way over moat and wall, must thou be malapert? -- Knit
him up to the stanchions of the hall window! -- He shall beat time
with his feet, while we drink a cup to his safe passage to the
devil."

The doom was scarce sooner pronounced than accomplished, and in
a moment the wretch wrestled out his last agonies, suspended from
the iron bars. His body still hung there when Quentin and the others
entered the hall, and, intercepting the pale moonbeam, threw on the
castle floor an uncertain shadow, which dubiously, yet fearfully,
intimated the nature of the substance that produced it.

When the Syndic Pavillon was announced from mouth to mouth in
this tumultuous meeting, he endeavoured to assume, in right of his
authority and influence, an air of importance and equality, which
a glance at the fearful object at the window, and at the wild
scene around him, rendered it very difficult for him to sustain,
notwithstanding the exhortations of Peter, who whispered in his
ear with some perturbation, "Up heart, master, or we are but gone
men!"

The Syndic maintained his dignity, however, as well as he could,
in a short address, in which he complimented the company upon the
great victory gained by the soldiers of De la Marck and the good
citizens of Liege.

"Ay," answered De la Marck, sarcastically, "we have brought down
the game at last, quoth my lady's brach to the wolf hound. But ho!
Sir Burgomaster, you come like Mars, with Beauty by your side. Who
is this fair one? -- Unveil, unveil -- no woman calls her beauty
her own tonight."

"It is my daughter, noble leader," answered Pavillon, "and I am
to pray your forgiveness for her wearing a veil. She has a vow for
that effect to the Three Blessed Kings."

"I will absolve her of it presently," said De la Marck, "for here,
with one stroke of a cleaver, will I consecrate myself Bishop of
Liege, and I trust one living bishop is worth three dead kings."

There was a shuddering and murmur among the guests, for the community
of Liege, and even some of the rude soldiers, reverenced the Kings
of Cologne, as they were commonly called, though they respected
nothing else.

"Nay, I mean no treason against their defunct majesties," said De
la Marck, "only Bishop I am determined to be. A prince both secular
and ecclesiastical, having power to bind and loose, will best suit
a band of reprobates such as you, to whom no one else would give
absolution. -- But come hither, noble Burgomaster -- sit beside
me, when you shall see me make a vacancy for my own preferment. --
Bring in our predecessor in the holy seat."

A bustle took place in the hall, while Pavillon, excusing himself
from the proffered seat of honour, placed himself near the bottom
of the table, his followers keeping close behind him, not unlike
a flock of sheep which, when a stranger dog is in presence, may be
sometimes seen to assemble in the rear of an old bell wether, who
is, from office and authority, judged by them to have rather more
courage than themselves. Near the spot sat a very handsome lad, a
natural son, as was said, of the ferocious De la Marck, and towards
whom he sometimes showed affection, and even tenderness. The mother
of the boy, a beautiful concubine, had perished by a blow dealt
her by the ferocious leader in a fit of drunkenness or jealousy,
and her fate had caused her tyrant as much remorse as he was capable
of feeling. His attachment to the surviving orphan might be partly
owing to these circumstances. Quentin, who had learned this point
of the leader's character from the old priest, planted himself
as close as he could to the youth in question, determined to make
him, in some way or other, either a hostage or a protector, should
other means of safety fail them.

While all stood in a kind of suspense, waiting the event of the
orders which the tyrant had issued, one of Pavillon's followers
whispered Peter, "Did not our master call that wench his daughter?
-- Why, it cannot be our Trudchen. This strapping lass is taller
by two inches, and there is a black lock of hair peeps forth yonder
from under her veil. By Saint Michael of the Marketplace, you might
as well call a black bullock's hide a white heifer's!

"Hush! hush!" said Peter, with some presence of mind. "What if
our 'master hath a mind to steal a piece of doe venison out of the
Bishop's parks here, without our good dame's knowledge? And is it
for thee or me to be a spy on him?"

"That will not I," answered the other, "though I would not have
thought of his turning deer stealer at his years. Sapperment --
what a shy fairy it is! See how she crouches down on yonder seat,
behind folks' backs, to escape the gaze of the Marckers. -- But
hold, hold, what are they about to do with the poor old Bishop?"

As he spoke, the Bishop of Liege, Louis of Bourbon, was dragged into
the hall of his own palace by the brutal soldiery. The dishevelled
state of his hair, beard, and attire bore witness to the ill treatment
he had already received, and some of his sacerdotal robes, hastily
flung over him, appeared to have been put on in scorn and ridicule
of his quality and character. By good fortune, as Quentin was
compelled to think it, the Countess Isabelle, whose feelings at
seeing her protector in such an extremity might have betrayed her
own secret and compromised her safety, was so situated as neither
to hear nor see what was about to take place, and Durward sedulously
interposed his own person before her, so as to keep her from
observing alike and from observation.

The scene which followed was short and fearful. When the unhappy
Prelate was brought before the footstool of the savage leader,
although in former life only remarkable for his easy and good
natured temper, he showed in this extremity a sense of his dignity
and noble blood, well becoming the high race from which he was
descended. His look was composed and undismayed, his gesture, when
the rude hands which dragged him forward were unloosed, was noble,
and at the same time resigned, somewhat between the bearing of a
feudal noble and of a Christian martyr and so much was even De la
Marck himself staggered by the firm demeanour of his prisoner and
recollection of the early benefits he had received from him, that
he seemed irresolute, cast down his eyes, and it was not until
he had emptied a large goblet of wine, that, resuming his haughty
insolence of look and manner, he thus addressed his unfortunate
captive.

"Louis of Bourbon," said the truculent soldier, drawing hard his
breath, clenching 'his hands, setting his teeth, and using the
other mechanical actions to rouse up and sustain his native ferocity
of temper, "I sought your friendship, and you rejected mine. What
would you now give that it had been otherwise? -- Nikkel, be ready."

The butcher rose, seized his weapon, and stealing round behind De
la Marck's chair, stood with it uplifted in his bare and sinewy
hands.

"Look at that man, Louis of Bourbon," said De la Marck again, --
"What terms wilt thou now offer, to escape this dangerous hour?"

The Bishop cast a melancholy but unshaken look upon the grisly
satellite, who seemed prepared to execute the will of the tyrant,
and then he said with firmness, "Hear me, William de la Marck, and
good men all, if there be any here who deserve that name, hear the
only terms I can offer to this ruffian.

"William de la Marck, thou hast stirred up to sedition an imperial
city -- hast assaulted and taken the palace of a Prince of the
Holy German Empire -- slain his people -- plundered his goods --
maltreated his person, for this thou art liable to the Ban of the
Empire [to put a prince under the ban of the empire was to divest him
of his dignities, and to interdict all intercourse and all offices
of humanity with the offender] -- hast deserved to be declared
outlawed and fugitive, landless and rightless. Thou hast done more
than all this. More than mere human laws hast thou broken, more
than mere human vengeance hast thou deserved. Thou hast broken into
the sanctuary of the Lord -- laid violent hands upon a Father of
the Church -- defiled the house of God with blood and rapine, like
a sacrilegious robber --"

"Hast thou yet done?" said De la Marck, fiercely interrupting him,
and stamping with his foot.

"No," answered the Prelate, "for I have not yet told thee the terms
which you demanded to hear from me."

"Go on," said De la Marck, "and let the terms please me better than
the preface, or woe to thy gray head!"

And flinging himself back in his seat, he grinded his teeth till
the foam flew from his lips, as from the tusks of the savage animal
whose name and spoils he wore.

"Such are thy crimes," resumed the Bishop, with calm determination,
"now hear the terms, which, as a merciful Prince and a Christian
Prelate, setting aside all personal offence, forgiving each peculiar
injury, I condescend to offer. Fling down thy heading staff --
renounce thy command -- unbind thy prisoners -- restore thy spoil
-- distribute what else thou hast of goods, to relieve those whom
thou hast made orphans and widows -- array thyself in sackcloth
and ashes -- take a palmer's staff in thy hand, and go barefooted
on pilgrimage to Rome, and we will ourselves be intercessors for
thee with the Imperial Chamber at Ratisbon for thy life, With our
Holy Father the Pope for thy miserable soul."

While Louis of Bourbon proposed these terms, in a tone as decided
as if he still occupied his episcopal throne, and as if the usurper
kneeled a suppliant at his feet, the tyrant slowly raised himself
in his chair, the amazement with which he was at first filled giving
way gradually to rage, until, as the Bishop ceased, he looked to
Nikkel Blok, and raised his finger, without speaking a word. The
ruffian struck as if he had been doing his office in the common
shambles, and the murdered Bishop sunk, without a groan, at the foot
of his own episcopal throne. The Liegeois, who were not prepared
for so horrible a catastrophe, and who had expected to hear the
conference end in some terms of accommodation, started up unanimously,
with cries of execration, mingled with shouts of vengeance.

[In assigning the present date to the murder of the Bishop of Liege,
Louis de Bourbon, history has been violated. It is true that the
Bishop was made prisoner by the insurgents of that city. It is
also true that the report of the insurrection came to Charles with
a rumour that the Bishop was slain, which excited his indignation
against Louis, who was then in his power. But these things happened
in 1468, and the Bishop's murder did not take place till 1482.
In the months of August and September of that year, William de la
Marck, called the Wild Boar of Ardennes, entered into a conspiracy
with the discontented citizens of Liege against their Bishop, Louis
of Bourbon, being aided with considerable sums of money by the King
of France. By this means, and the assistance of many murderers and
banditti, who thronged to him as to a leader befitting them, De la
Marck assembled a body of troops, whom he dressed in scarlet as a
uniform, with a boar's head on the left sleeve. With this little
army he approached the city of Liege. Upon this the citizens, who
were engaged in the conspiracy, came to their Bishop, and, offering
to stand by him to the death, exhorted him to march out against
these robbers. The Bishop, therefore, put himself at the head of
a few troops of his own, trusting to the assistance of the people
of Liege. But so soon as they came in sight of the enemy, the
citizens, as before agreed, fled from the Bishop's banner, and he
was left with his own handful of adherents. At this moment De la
Marck charged at the head of his banditti with the expected success.
The Bishop was brought before the profligate Knight, who first cut
him over the face, then murdered him with his own hand, and caused
his body to be exposed naked in the great square of Liege before
Saint Lambert's Cathedral. S.]

But William de la Marck, raising his tremendous voice above the
tumult, and shaking his clenched hand and extended arm, shouted
aloud, "How now, ye porkers of Liege! ye wallowers in the mud of
the Maes! -- do ye dare to mate yourselves with the Wild Boar of
Ardennes? -- Up, ye Boar's brood!" (an expression by which he himself,
and others, often designated his soldiers) "let these Flemish hogs
see your tusks!"

Every one of his followers started up at the command, and mingled
as they were among their late allies, prepared too for such
a surprisal, each had, in an instant, his next neighbour by the
collar, while his right hand brandished a broad dagger that glimmered
against lamplight and moonshine. Every arm was uplifted, but no
one struck, for the victims were too much surprised for resistance,
'and it was probably the object of De la Marck only to impose terror
on his civic confederates.

But the courage of Quentin Durward, prompt and alert in resolution
beyond his years, and stimulated at the moment by all that could
add energy to his natural shrewdness and resolution, gave a new
turn to the scene. Imitating the action of the followers of De
la Marck, he sprang on Carl Eberson, the son of their leader, and
mastering him with ease, held his dirk at the boy's throat, while
he exclaimed, "Is that your game? then here I play my part."

"Hold! hold!" exclaimed De la Marck, "it is a jest -- a jest. --
Think you I would injure my good friends and allies of the city
of Liege! -- Soldiers, unloose your holds, sit down, take away the
carrion" (giving the Bishop's corpse a thrust with his foot) "which
hath caused this strife among friends, and let us drown unkindness
in a fresh carouse."

All unloosened their holds, and the citizens and the soldiers stood
gazing on each other, as if they scarce knew whether they were
friends or foes. Quentin Durward took advantage of the moment.

"Hear me," he said, "William de la Marck, and you, burghers and
citizens of Liege -- and do you, young sir, stand still" (for the
boy Carl was attempting to escape from his grip) - "no harm shall
befall you unless another of these sharp jests shall pass around."

"Who art thou, in the fiend's name," said the astonished De la
Marck, "who art come to hold terms and take hostages from us in
our own lair -- from us, who exact pledges from others, but yield
them to no one?"

"I am a servant of King Louis of France," said Quentin, boldly, "an
Archer of his Scottish Guard, as my language and dress may partly
tell you. I am here to behold and to report your proceedings, and
I see with wonder that they are those of heathens, rather than
Christians -- of madmen, rather than men possessed of reason. The
hosts of Charles of Burgundy will be instantly in motion against
you all, and if you wish assistance from France, you must conduct
yourself in a different manner.

"For you, men of Liege, I advise your instant return to your own
city, and if there is any obstruction offered to your departure,
I denounce those by whom it is so offered, foes to my master, his
Most Gracious Majesty of France."

"France and Liege! France and Liege!" cried the followers of
Pavillon, and several other citizens whose courage began to rise
at the bold language held by Quentin.

"France and Liege, and long live the gallant Archer! We will live
and die with him!"

William de la Marck's eyes sparkled, and he grasped his dagger as
if about to launch it at the heart of the audacious speaker, but
glancing his eye around, he read something in the looks of his
soldiers which even he was obliged to respect. Many of them were
Frenchmen, and all of them knew the private support which William
had received, both in men and in money, from that kingdom, nay, some
of them were rather startled at the violent and sacrilegious action
which had been just committed. The name of Charles of Burgundy, a
person likely to resent to the utmost the deeds of that night, had
an alarming sound, and the extreme impolicy of at once quarrelling
with the Liegeois and provoking the Monarch of France, made an
appalling impression on their minds, confused as their intellects
were. De la Marck, in short, saw he would not be supported, even
by his own band, in any farther act of immediate violence, and
relaxing the terrors of his brow and eye, declared that he had not
the least design against his good friends of Liege, all of whom were
at liberty to depart from Schonwaldt at their pleasure, although he
had hoped they would revel one night with him, at least, in honour
of their victory. He added, with more calmness than he commonly
used, that he would be ready to enter into negotiation concerning
the partition of spoil, and the arrangement of measures for their
mutual defence, either the next day, or as soon after as they would.
Meantime he trusted that the Scottish gentleman would honour his
feast by remaining all night at Schonwaldt.

The young Scot returned his thanks, but said his motions must be
determined by those of Pavillon, to whom he was directed particularly
to attach himself, but that, unquestionably, he would attend him on
his next return to the quarters of the valiant William de la Marck.

"If you depend on my motions," said Pavillon, hastily and aloud,
"you are likely to quit Schonwaldt without an instant's delay --
and, if you do not come back to Schonwaldt, save in my company,
you are not likely to see it again in a hurry."

This last part of the sentence the honest citizen muttered
to himself, afraid of the consequences of giving audible vent 'to
feelings which, nevertheless, he was unable altogether to suppress.

"Keep close about me, my brisk Kurschner [a worker in fur] lads."
he said to his bodyguard, "and we will get as fast as we can out
of this den of thieves."

Most of the better classes of the Liegeois seemed to entertain
similar opinions with the Syndic, and there had been scarce so much
joy amongst them at the obtaining possession of Schonwaldt as now
seemed to arise from the prospect of getting safe out of it. They
were suffered to leave the castle without opposition of any kind,
and glad was Quentin when he turned his back on those formidable
walls.

For the first time since they had entered that dreadful hall,
Quentin ventured to ask the young Countess how she did.

"Well, well," she answered, in feverish haste, "excellently well
-- do not stop to ask a question, let us not lose an instant in
words. -- Let us fly -- let us fly!"

She endeavoured to mend her pace as she spoke, but with so little
success that she must have fallen from exhaustion had not Durward
supported her. With the tenderness of a mother, when she conveys
her infant out of danger, the young Scot raised his precious charge
in his arms, and while she encircled his neck with one arm, lost
to every other thought save the desire of escaping, he would not
have wished one of the risks of the night unencountered, since such
had been the conclusion.

The honest Burgomaster was, in his turn, supported and dragged
forward by his faithful counsellor Peter, and another of his clerks,
and thus, in breathless haste, they reached the banks of the river,
encountering many strolling bands of citizens, who were eager
to know the event of the siege, and the truth of certain rumours
already afloat that the conquerors had quarrelled among themselves.

Evading their curiosity as they best could, the exertions of Peter
and some of his companions at length procured a boat for the use
of the company, and with it an opportunity of enjoying some repose,
equally welcome to Isabelle, who continued to lie almost motionless
in the arms of her deliverer, and to the worthy Burgomaster, who,
after delivering a broken string of thanks to Durward, whose mind
was at the time too much occupied to answer him, began a long
harangue, which he addressed to Peter, upon his own courage and
benevolence, and the dangers to which these virtues had exposed
him, on this and other occasions.

"Peter, Peter," he said, resuming the complaint of the preceding
evening, "if I had not had a bold heart, I would never have stood
out against paying the burghers twentieths, when every other living
soul was willing to pay the same. -- Ay, and then a less stout heart
had not seduced me into that other battle of Saint Tron, where a
Hainault man at arms thrust me into a muddy ditch with his lance,
which neither heart nor hand that I had could help me out of till
the battle was over. -- Ay, and then, Peter, this very night my
courage seduced me, moreover, into too strait a corselet, which
would have been the death of me, but for the aid of this gallant
young gentleman, whose trade is fighting, whereof I wish him
heartily joy. And then for my tenderness of heart, Peter, it has
made a poor man of me, that is, it would have made a poor man of
me, if I had not been tolerably well to pass in this wicked world
-- and Heaven knows what trouble it is likely to bring on me yet,
with ladies, countesses, and keeping of secrets, which, for aught
I know, may cost me half my fortune, and my neck into the bargain!"

Quentin could remain no longer silent, but assured him that whatever
danger or damage he should incur on the part of the young lady now
under his protection should be thankfully acknowledged, and, as
far as was possible, repaid.

"I thank you, young Master Squire Archer, I thank you," answered
the citizen of Liege "but who was it told you that I desired any
repayment at your hand for doing the duty of an honest man? I only
regretted that it might cost me so and so, and I hope I may have
leave to say so much to my lieutenant, without either grudging my
loss or my peril."

Quentin accordingly concluded that his present friend was one of
the numerous class of benefactors to others, who take out their
reward in grumbling, without meaning more than, by showing their
grievances, to exalt a little the idea of the valuable service by
which they have incurred them, and therefore prudently remained
silent, and suffered the Syndic to maunder on to his lieutenant
concerning the risk and the loss he had encountered by his zeal
for the public good, and his disinterested services to individuals,
until they reached his own habitation.

The truth was, that the honest citizen felt that he had lost a little
consequence, by suffering the young stranger to take the lead at
the crisis which had occurred at the castle hall of Schonwaldt,
and, however delighted with the effect of Durward's interference at
the moment, it seemed to him, on reflection, that he had sustained
a diminution of importance, for which he endeavoured to obtain
compensation by exaggerating the claims which he had upon the
gratitude of his country in general, his friends in particular, and
more especially still, on the Countess of Croye, and her youthful
protector.

But when the boat stopped at the bottom of his garden, and he had
got himself assisted on shore by Peter, it seemed as if the touch
of his own threshold had at once dissipated those feelings of
wounded self opinion and jealousy, and converted the discontented
and obscured demagogue into the honest, kind, hospitable, and friendly
host. He called loudly for Trudchen, who presently appeared, for
fear and anxiety would permit few within the walls of Liege to
sleep during that eventful night. She was charged to pay the utmost
attention to the care of the beautiful and half fainting stranger,
and, admiring her personal charms, while she pitied her distress,
Gertrude discharged the hospitable duty with the zeal and affection
of a sister.

Late as it now was, and fatigued as the Syndic appeared, Quentin,
on his side, had difficulty to escape a flask of choice and costly
wine, as old as the battle of Azincour, and must have submitted to
take his share, however unwilling, but for the appearance of the
mother of the family, whom Pavillon's loud summons for the keys of
the cellar brought forth from her bedroom. She was a jolly little
roundabout, woman, who had been pretty in her time, but whose
principal characteristics for several years had been a red and
sharp nose, a shrill voice, and a determination that the Syndic,
in consideration of the authority which he exercised when abroad,
should remain under the rule of due discipline at home.

So soon as she understood the nature of the debate between her
husband and his guest, she declared roundly that the former, instead
of having occasion for more wine, had got too much already, and,
far from using, in furtherance of his request, any of the huge bunch
of keys which hung by a silver chain at her waist, she turned her
back on him without ceremony, and ushered Quentin to the neat and
pleasant apartment in which he was to spend the night, amid such
appliances to rest and comfort as probably he had till that moment
been entirely a stranger to, so much did the wealthy Flemings excel,
not merely the poor and rude Scots, but the French themselves in
all the conveniences of domestic life.



CHAPTER XXIII: THE FLIGHT

Now bid me run,
And I will strive with things impossible;
Yea, get the better of them.

Set on your foot;
And, with a heart new fired, I follow you,
To do I know not what.

JULIUS CAESAR


In spite of a mixture of joy and fear, doubt, anxiety, and other
agitating passions, the exhausting fatigues of the preceding day
were powerful enough to throw the young Scot into a deep and profound
repose, which lasted until late on the day following, when his
worthy host entered the apartment with looks of care on his brow.

He seated himself by his guest's bedside, and began a long and
complicated discourse upon the domestic duties of a married life,
and especially upon the awful power and right supremacy which it
became married men to sustain in all differences of opinion with
their wives. Quentin listened with some anxiety. He knew that
husbands, like other belligerent powers, were sometimes disposed to
sing Te Deum [Te Deum laudamus: We praise Thee, O God; the first
words of an ancient hymn, sung in the morning service of the
Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches], rather to conceal a defeat
than to celebrate a victory, and he hastened to probe the matter
more closely, by hoping their arrival had been attended with no
inconvenience to the good lady of the household.

"Inconvenience! -- no," answered the Burgomaster. -- "No woman can
be less taken unawares than Mother Mabel -- always happy to see
her friends -- always a clean lodging and a handsome meal ready for
them, with God's blessing on bed and board. -- No woman on earth
so hospitable -- only 'tis pity her temper is something particular."

"Our residence here is disagreeable to her, in short?" said the
Scot, starting out of bed, and beginning to dress himself hastily.
"Were I but sure the Lady Isabelle were fit for travel after the
horrors of the last night, we would not increase the offence by
remaining here an instant longer."

"Nay," said Pavillon, "that is just what the young lady herself said
to Mother Mabel, and truly I wish you saw the colour that came to
her face as she said it -- a milkmaid that has skated five miles
to market against the frost wind is a lily compared to it -- I do
not wonder Mother Mabel may be a little jealous, poor dear soul."

"Has the Lady Isabelle then left her apartment?" said the youth,
continuing his toilette operations with more dispatch than before.

"Yes," replied Pavillon, "and she expects your approach with much
impatience, to determine which way you shall go since you are both
determined on going. But I trust you will tarry breakfast?"

"Why did you not tell me this sooner?" said Durward, impatiently.

"Softly -- softly," said the Syndic, "I have told it you too soon,
I think, if it puts you into such a hasty fluster. Now I have some
more matter for your ear, if I saw you had some patience to listen
to me."

"Speak it, worthy sir, as soon and as fast as you can -- I listen
devoutly."

"Well," resumed the Burgomaster, "I have but one word to say, and
that is that Trudchen, who is as sorry to part with yonder pretty
lady as if she had been some sister of hers, wants you to take some
other disguise, for there is word in the town that the Ladies of
Croye travel the country in pilgrim's dresses, attended by a French
life guardsman of the Scottish Archers, and it is said one of them
was brought into Schonwaldt last night by a Bohemian after we had
left it, and it was said still farther, that this same Bohemian had
assured William de la Marck that you were charged with no message
either to him or to the good people of Liege, and that you had stolen
away the young Countess, and travelled with her as her paramour.
And all this news hath come from Schonwaldt this morning, and it
has been told to us and the other councillors, who know not well
what to advise, for though our own opinion is that William de la
Marck has been a thought too rough both with the Bishop and with
ourselves, yet there is a great belief that he is a good natured
soul at bottom -- that is, when he is sober -- and that he is the
only leader in the world to command us against the Duke of Burgundy,
and, in truth, as matters stand, it is partly my own mind that we
must keep fair with him, for we have gone too far to draw back."

"Your daughter advises well," said Quentin Durward, abstaining from
reproaches or exhortations, which he saw would be alike unavailing
to sway a resolution which had been adopted by the worthy magistrate
in compliance at once with the prejudices of his party and the
inclination of his wife.

"Your daughter counsels well. -- We must part in disguise, and
that instantly. We may, I trust, rely upon you for the necessary
secrecy, and for the means of escape?"

"With all my heart -- with all my heart," said the honest citizen,
who, not much satisfied with the dignity of his own conduct, was
eager to find some mode of atonement. "I cannot but remember that
I owed you my life last night, both for unclasping that accursed
steel doublet, and helping me through the other scrape, which was
worse, for yonder Boar and his brood look more like devils than
men. So I will be true to you as blade to haft, as our cutlers say,
who are the best in the whole world. Nay, now you are ready, come
this way -- you shall see how far I can trust you."

The Syndic led him from the chamber in which he had slept to his
own counting room, in which he transacted his affairs of business,
and after bolting the door, and casting a piercing and careful eye
around him, he opened a concealed and vaulted closet behind the
tapestry, in which stood more than one iron chest. He proceeded
to open one which was full of guilders, and placed it at Quentin's
discretion to take whatever sum he might think necessary for his
companion's expenses and his own.

As the money with which Quentin was furnished on leaving Plessis
was now nearly expended, he hesitated not to accept the sum of two
hundred guilders, and by doing so took a great weight from the mind
of Pavillon, who considered the desperate transaction in which he
thus voluntarily became the creditor as an atonement for the breach
of hospitality which various considerations in a great measure
compelled him to commit.

Having carefully locked his treasure chamber, the wealthy Fleming
next conveyed his guest to the parlour, where, in full possession
of her activity of mind and body, though pale from the scenes of
the preceding night, he found the Countess attired in the fashion
of a Flemish maiden of the middling class. No other was present
excepting Trudchen, who was sedulously employed in completing the
Countess's dress, and instructing her how to bear herself. She
extended her hand to him, which, when he had reverently kissed,
she said to him, "Seignior Quentin, we must leave our friends here
unless I would bring on them a part of the misery which has pursued
me ever since my father's death. You must change your dress and
go with me, unless you also are tired of befriending a being so
unfortunate."

"I! -- I tired of being your attendant! -- To the end of the earth
will I guard you! But you -- you yourself -- are you equal to the
task you undertake! -- Can you, after the terrors of last night"

"Do not recall them to my memory," answered the Countess, "I remember
but the confusion of a horrid dream. -- Has the excellent Bishop
escaped?"

"I trust he is in freedom," said Quentin, making a sign to Pavillon,
who seemed about to enter on the dreadful narrative, to be silent.

"Is it possible for us to rejoin him? -- Hath he gathered any
power?" said the lady.

"His only hopes are in Heaven," said the Scot, "but wherever you
wish to go, I stand by your side, a determined guide and guard."

"We will consider," said Isabelle, and after a moment's pause,
she added, "A convent would be my choice, but that I fear it would
prove a weak defence against those who pursue me."

"Hem! hem!" said the Syndic, "I could not well recommend a convent
within the district of Liege, because the Boar of Ardennes, though
in the main a brave leader, a trusty confederate, and a well wisher
to our city, has, nevertheless, rough humours, and payeth, on the
whole, little regard to cloisters, convents, nunneries, and the
like. Men say that there are a score of nuns -- that is, such as
were nuns -- who march always with his company."

"Get yourself in readiness hastily, Seignior Durward," said Isabelle,
interrupting this detail, "since to your faith I must needs commit
myself."

No sooner had the Syndic and Quentin left the room than Isabelle
began to ask of Gertrude various questions concerning the roads,
and so forth, with such clearness of spirit and pertinence, that
the latter could not help exclaiming, "Lady, I wonder at you! --
I have heard of masculine firmness, but yours appears to me more
than belongs to humanity."

"Necessity," answered the Countess, -- "necessity, my friend, is
the mother of courage, as of invention. No long time since, I might
have fainted when I saw a drop of blood shed from a trifling cut --
I have since seen life blood flow around me, I may say, in waves,
yet I have retained my senses and my self possession. -- Do not
think it was an easy task," she added, laying on Gertrude's arm a
trembling hand, although she still spoke with a firm voice, "the
little world within me is like a garrison besieged by a thousand
foes, whom nothing but the most determined resolution can keep from
storming it on every hand, and at every moment. Were my situation
one whit less perilous than it is -- were I not sensible that my
only chance to escape a fate more horrible than death is to retain
my recollection and self possession -- Gertrude, I would at this
moment throw myself into your arms, and relieve my bursting bosom
by such a transport of tears and agony of terror as never rushed
from a breaking heart."

"Do not do so, lady!" said the sympathizing Fleming, "take courage,
tell your beads, throw yourself on the care of Heaven, and surely,
if ever Heaven sent a deliverer to one ready to perish, that bold
and adventurous young gentleman must be designed for yours. There
is one, too," she added, blushing deeply, "in whom I have some
interest. Say nothing to my father, but I have ordered my bachelor,
Hans Glover, to wait for you at the eastern gate, and never to see
my face more, unless he brings word that he has guided you safe
from the territory."

To kiss her tenderly was the only way in which the young Countess
could express her thanks to the frank and kind hearted city maiden,
who returned the embrace affectionately, and added, with a smile,
"Nay, if two maidens and their devoted bachelors cannot succeed in
a disguise and an escape, the world is changed from what I am told
it wont to be."

A part of this speech again called the colour into the Countess's
pale cheeks, which was not lessened by Quentin's sudden appearance. He
entered completely attired as a Flemish boor of the better class,
in the holyday suit of Peter, who expressed his interest in the
young Scot by the readiness with which he parted with it for his
use, and swore, at the same time, that, were he to be curried and
tugged worse than ever was bullock's hide, they should make nothing
out of him, to the betraying of the young folks. Two stout horses
had been provided by the activity of Mother Mabel, who really
desired the Countess and her attendant no harm, so that she could
make her own house and family clear of the dangers which might
attend upon harbouring them. She beheld them mount and go off with
great satisfaction, after telling them that they would find their
way to the east gate by keeping their eye on Peter, who was to walk
in that direction as their guide, but without holding any visible
communication with them. The instant her guests had departed,
Mother Mabel took the opportunity to read a long practical lecture
to Trudchen upon the folly of reading romances, whereby the flaunting
ladies of the Court were grown so bold and venturous, that, instead
of applying to learn some honest housewifery, they must ride,
forsooth, a-damsel erranting through the country, with no better
attendant than some idle squire, debauched page, or rake belly
archer from foreign parts, to the great danger of their health, the
impoverishing of their substance, and the irreparable prejudice of
their reputation. All this Gertrude heard in silence, and without
reply, but, considering her character, it might be doubted whether she
derived from it the practical inference which it was her mother's
purpose to enforce. Meantime, the travellers had gained the eastern
gate of the city, traversing crowds of people, who were fortunately
too much busied in the political events and rumours of the hour to
give any attention to a couple who had so little to render their
appearance remarkable. They passed the guards in virtue of a
permission obtained for them by Pavillon, but in the name of his
colleague Rouslaer, and they took leave of Peter Geislaer with a
friendly though brief exchange of good wishes on either side.

Immediately afterwards, they were joined by a stout young man,
riding a good gray horse, who presently made himself known as Hans
Glover, the bachelor of Trudchen Pavillon. He was a young fellow with
a good Flemish countenance -- not, indeed, of the most intellectual
cast, but arguing more hilarity and good humour than wit, and, as
the Countess could not help thinking, scarce worthy to be bachelor
to the generous Trudchen. He seemed, however, fully desirous to
second the views which she had formed in their favour, for, saluting
them respectfully, he asked of the Countess, in Flemish, on which
road she desired to be conducted.

"Guide me," said she, "towards the nearest town on the frontiers
of Brabant."

"You have then settled the end and object of your journey," said
Quentin, approaching his horse to that of Isabelle, and speaking
French, which their guide did not understand.

"Surely," replied the young lady, "for, situated as I now am, it
must be of no small detriment to me if I were to prolong a journey
in my present circumstances, even though the termination should be
a rigorous prison."

"A prison," said Quentin.

"Yes, my friend, a prison, but I will take care that you shall not
share it."

"Do not talk -- do not think of me," said Quentin. "Saw I you but
safe, my own concerns are little worth minding."

"Do not speak so loud," said the Lady Isabelle, "you will surprise
our guide -- you see he has already rode on before us," -- for,
in truth, the good natured Fleming, doing as he desired to be done
by, had removed from them the constraint of a third person, upon
Quentin's first motion towards the lady.

"Yes," she continued, when she noticed they were free from
observation, "to you, my friend, my protector -- why should I be
ashamed to call you what Heaven has made you to me? -- to you it is
my duty to say that my resolution is taken to return to my native
country, and to throw myself on the mercy of the Duke of Burgundy.
It was mistaken, though well meant advice, which induced me ever
to withdraw from his protection, and place myself under that of
the crafty and false Louis of France."

"And you resolve to become the bride, then, of the Count of
Campobasso, the unworthy favourite of Charles?"

Thus spoke Quentin, with a voice in which internal agony struggled
with his desire to assume an indifferent tone, like that of the
poor condemned criminal, when, affecting a firmness which he is
far from feeling, he asks if the death warrant be arrived.

"No, Durward, no," said the Lady Isabelle, sitting up erect in her
saddle, "to that hated condition all Burgundy's power shall not
sink a daughter of the House of Croye. Burgundy may seize on my
lands and fiefs, he may imprison my person in a convent, but that
is the worst I have to expect, and worse than that I will endure
ere I give my hand to Campobasso."

"The worst?" said Quentin, "and what worse can there be than
plunder and imprisonment? -- Oh, think, while you have God's free
air around you, and one by your side who will hazard life to conduct
you to England, to Germany, even to Scotland, in all of which you
shall find generous protectors. -- - Oh, while this is the case,
do not resolve so rashly to abandon the means of liberty, the best
gift that Heaven gives! -- Oh, well sang a poet of my own land --


"Ah, freedom is a noble thing --
Freedom makes men to have liking --
Freedom the zest to pleasure gives --
He lives at ease who freely lives.
Grief, sickness, poortith [poverty], want, are all
Summ'd up within the name of thrall."

[from Barbour's Bruce]


She listened with a melancholy smile to her guide's tirade in praise
of liberty, and then answered, after a moment's pause. "Freedom
is for man alone -- woman must ever seek a protector, since nature
made her incapable to defend herself. And where am I to find
one? -- In that voluptuary Edward of England -- in the inebriated
Wenceslaus of Germany -- in Scotland? -- Ah, Durward, were I your
sister, and could you promise me shelter in some of those mountain
glens which you love to describe where, for charity, or for the
few jewels I have preserved, I might lead an unharrassed life, and
forget the lot I was born to -- could you promise me the protection
of some honoured matron of the land -- of some baron whose heart
was as true as his sword -- that were indeed a prospect, for which
it were worth the risk of farther censure to wander farther and
wider."

There was a faltering tenderness of voice with which the Countess
Isabelle made this admission that at once filled Quentin with
a sensation of joy, and cut him to the very heart. He hesitated
a moment ere he made an answer, hastily reviewing in his mind the
possibility there might be that he could procure her shelter in
Scotland, but the melancholy truth rushed on him that it would be
alike base and cruel to point out to her a course which he had not
the most distant power or means to render safe.

"Lady," he said at last, "I should act foully against my honour
and oath of chivalry, did I suffer you to ground any plan upon
the thoughts that I have the power in Scotland to afford you other
protection than that of the poor arm which is now by your side. I
scarce know that my blood flows in the veins of an individual who
now lives in my native land. The Knight of Innerquharity stormed
our Castle at midnight, and cut off all that belonged to my name.
Were I again in Scotland, our feudal enemies are numerous and
powerful, I single and weak, and even had the King a desire to do
me justice, he dared not, for the sake of redressing the wrongs
of a poor individual, provoke a chief who rides with five hundred
horse."

"Alas!" said the Countess, "there is then no corner of the world
safe from oppression, since it rages as unrestrained amongst those
wild hills which afford so few objects to covet as in our rich and
abundant lowlands!"

"It is a sad truth, and I dare not deny it," said the Scot, "that
for little more than the pleasure of revenge, and the lust of
bloodshed, our hostile clans do the work of executioners on each
other, and Ogilvies and the like act the same scenes in Scotland
as De la Marck and his robbers do in this country."

"No more of Scotland, then," said Isabelle, with a tone of
indifference, either real or affected -- "no more of Scotland, --
which indeed I mentioned but in jest, to see if you really dared
to recommend to me, as a place of rest, the most distracted kingdom
in Europe. It was but a trial of your sincerity, which I rejoice to
see may be relied on, even when your partialities are most strongly
excited. So, once more, I will think of no other protection than can
be afforded by the first honourable baron holding of Duke Charles,
to whom I am determined to render myself."

"And why not rather betake yourself to your own estates, and to your
own strong castle, as you designed when at Tours?" said Quentin.
"Why not call around you the vassals of your father, and make treaty
with Burgundy, rather than surrender yourself to him? Surely there
must be many a bold heart that would fight in your cause, and I
know at least of one who would willingly lay down his life to give
example."

"Alas," said the Countess, "that scheme, the suggestion of the
crafty Louis, and, like all which he ever suggested, designed more
for his advantage than for mine, has become practicable, since it
was betrayed to Burgundy by the double traitor Zamet Hayraddin. My
kinsman was then imprisoned, and my houses garrisoned. Any attempt
of mine would but expose my dependents to the vengeance of Duke
Charles, and why should I occasion more bloodshed than has already
taken place on so worthless an account? No. I will submit myself
to my Sovereign as a dutiful vassal, in all which shall leave my
personal freedom of choice uninfringed, the rather that I trust my
kinswoman, the Countess Hameline, who first counselled, and indeed
urged my flight, has already taken this wise and honourable step."

"Your kinswoman!" repeated Quentin, awakened to recollections to which
the young Countess was a stranger, and which the rapid succession
of perilous and stirring events had, as matters of nearer concern,
in fact banished from his memory.

"Ay -- my aunt -- the Countess Hameline of Croye -- know you aught
of her?" said the Countess Isabelle. "I trust she is now under
the protection of the Burgundian banner. You are silent. Know you
aught of her?"

The last question, urged in a tone of the most anxious inquiry,
obliged Quentin to give some account of what he knew of the
Countess's fate. He mentioned that he had been summoned to attend
her in a flight from Liege, which he had no doubt the Lady Isabelle
would be partaker in -- he mentioned the discovery that had been
made after they had gained the forest -- and finally, he told his
own return to the castle, and the circumstances in which he found
it. But he said nothing of the views with which it was plain the
Lady Hameline had left the Castle of Schonwaldt, and as little
about the floating report of her having fallen into the hands of
William de la Marck. Delicacy prevented his even hinting at the
one, and regard for the feelings of his companion at a moment when
strength and exertion were most demanded of her, prevented him from
alluding to the latter, which had, besides, only reached him as a
mere rumour.

This tale, though abridged of those important particulars, made a
strong impression on the Countess Isabelle, who, after riding some
time in silence, said at last, with a tone of cold displeasure, "And
so you abandoned my unfortunate relative in a wild forest, at the
mercy of a vile Bohemian and a traitorous waiting woman? -- Poor
kinswoman, thou wert wont to praise this youth's good faith!"

"Had I not done so, madam." said Quentin, not unreasonably offended
at the turn thus given to his gallantry, "what had been the fate
of one to whose service I was far more devotedly bound? Had I not
left the Countess Hameline of Croye to the charge of those whom
she had herself selected as counsellors and advisers, the Countess
Isabelle had been ere now the bride of William de la Marck, the
Wild Boar of Ardennes."

"You are right," said the Countess Isabelle, in her usual manner,
"and I, who have the advantage of your unhesitating devotion, have
done you foul and ungrateful wrong. But oh, my unhappy kinswoman!
and the wretch Marthon, who enjoyed so much of her confidence, and
deserved it so little -- it was she that introduced to my kinswoman
the wretched Zamet and Hayraddin Maugrabin, who, by their pretended
knowledge of soothsaying and astrology, obtained a great ascendancy
over her mind, it was she who, strengthening their predictions,
encouraged her in -- I know not what to call them -- delusions
concerning matches and lovers, which my kinswoman's age rendered
ungraceful and improbable. I doubt not that, from the beginning, we
had been surrounded by these snares by Louis of France, in order
to determine us to take refuge at his Court, or rather to put
ourselves into his power, after which rash act on our part, how
unkingly, unknightly, ignobly, ungentlemanlike, he hath conducted
himself towards us, you, Quentin Durward, can bear witness. But,
alas! my kinswoman -- what think you will be her fate?"

Endeavouring to inspire hopes which he scarce felt, Durward answered
that the avarice of these people was stronger than any other passion,
that Marthon, even when he left them, seemed to act rather as the
Lady Hameline's protectress, and in fine, that it was difficult
to conceive any object these wretches could accomplish by the ill
usage or murder of the Countess, whereas they might be gainers by
treating her well, and putting her to ransom.

To lead the Countess Isabelle's thoughts from this melancholy
subject, Quentin frankly told her the treachery of the Maugrabin,
which he had discovered in the night quarter near Namur, and which
appeared the result of an agreement betwixt the King and William
de la Marck. Isabelle shuddered with horror, and then recovering
herself said, "I am ashamed, and I have sinned in permitting myself
so far to doubt of the saints' protection, as for an instant to have
deemed possible the accomplishment of a scheme so utterly cruel,
base, and dishonourable, while there are pitying eyes in Heaven
to look down on human miseries. It is not a thing to be thought
of with fear or abhorrence, but to be rejected as such a piece of
incredible treachery and villainy, as it were atheism to believe
could ever be successful. But I now see plainly why that hypocritical
Marthon often seemed to foster every seed of petty jealousy or
discontent betwixt my poor kinswoman and myself, whilst she always
mixed with flattery, addressed to the individual who was present,
whatever could prejudice her against her absent kinswoman. Yet never
did I dream she could have proceeded so far as to have caused my
once affectionate kinswoman to have left me behind in the perils
of Schonwaldt, while she made her own escape."

"Did the Lady Hameline not mention to you, then," said Quentin,
"her intended flight?"

"No," replied the Countess, "but she alluded to some communication
which Marthon was to make to me. To say truth, my poor kinswoman's
head was so turned by the mysterious jargon of the miserable
Hayraddin, whom that day she had admitted to a long and secret
conference, and she threw out so many strange hints that -- that
-- in short, I cared not to press on her, when in that humour, for
any explanation. Yet it was cruel to leave me behind her."

"I will excuse the Lady Hameline from intending such unkindness,"
said Quentin, "for such was the agitation of the moment, and the
darkness of the hour, that I believe the Lady Hameline as certainly
conceived herself accompanied by her niece, as I at the same time,
deceived by Marthon's dress and demeanour, supposed I was in the
company of both the Ladies of Croye: and of her especially," he
added, with a low but determined voice, "without whom the wealth
of worlds would not have tempted me to leave."

Isabelle stooped her head forward, and seemed scarce to hear the
emphasis with which Quentin had spoken. But she turned her face to
him again when he began to speak of the policy of Louis, and, it
was not difficult for them, by mutual communication, to ascertain
that the Bohemian brothers, with their accomplice Marthon, had
been the agents of that crafty monarch, although Zamet, the elder
of them, with a perfidy peculiar to his race, had attempted to
play a double game, and had been punished accordingly. In the same
humour of mutual confidence, and forgetting the singularity of their
own situation, as well as the perils of the road, the travellers
pursued their journey for several hours, only stopping to refresh
their horses at a retired dorff, or hamlet, to which they were
conducted by Hans Glover, who, in all other respects, as well as in
leaving them much to their own freedom in conversation, conducted
himself like a person of reflection and discretion.

Meantime, the artificial distinction which divided the two lovers
(for such we may now term them) seemed dissolved, or removed, by
the circumstances in which they were placed, for if the Countess
boasted the higher rank, and was by birth entitled to a fortune
incalculably larger than that of the youth, whose revenue lay in
his sword, it was to be considered that, for the present, she was
as poor as he, and for her safety, honour, and life, exclusively
indebted to his presence of mind, valour, and devotion. They spoke
not indeed of love, for though the young lady, her heart full of
gratitude and confidence, might have pardoned such a declaration,
yet Quentin, on whose tongue there was laid a check, both by natural
timidity and by the sentiments of chivalry, would have held it an
unworthy abuse of her situation had he said anything which could
have the appearance of taking undue advantage of the opportunities
which it afforded them. They spoke not then of love, but the
thoughts of it were on both sides unavoidable, and thus they were
placed in that relation to each other, in which sentiments of mutual
regard are rather understood than announced, and which, with the
freedoms which it permits, and the uncertainties that attend it,
often forms the most delightful hours of human existence, and as
frequently leads to those which are darkened by disappointment,
fickleness, and all the pains of blighted hope and unrequited
attachment.

It was two hours after noon, when the travellers were alarmed by the
report of the guide, who, with paleness and horror in his countenance,
said that they were pursued by a party of De la Marck's Schwarzreiters.
These soldiers, or rather banditti, were bands levied in the
Lower Circles of Germany, and resembled the lanzknechts in every
particular, except that the former acted as light cavalry. To maintain
the name of Black Troopers, and to strike additional terror into
their enemies, they usually rode on black chargers, and smeared
with black ointment their arms and accoutrements, in which operation
their hands and faces often had their share. In morals and in
ferocity these Schwarzreiters emulated their pedestrian brethren
the Lanzknechts.

["To make their horses and boots shine, they make themselves
as black as colliers. These horsemen wear black clothes, and poor
though they be, spend no small time in brushing them. The most of
them have black horses, . . . and delight to have their boots and
shoes shine with blacking stuff, their hands and faces become black,
and thereof they have their foresaid name." . . . Fynes Morrison's
Itinerary. -- S.]

On looking back, and discovering along the long level road which
they had traversed a cloud of dust advancing, with one or two
of the headmost troopers riding furiously in front of it, Quentin
addressed his companion: "Dearest Isabelle, I have no weapon left
save my sword, but since I cannot fight for you, I will fly with
you. Could we gain yonder wood that is before us ere they come up,
we may easily find means to escape."

"So be it, my only friend," said Isabelle, pressing her horse to
the gallop, "and thou, good fellow," she added, addressing Hans
Glover, "get thee off to another road, and do not stay to partake
our misfortune and danger."

The honest Fleming shook his head, and answered her generous
exhortation, with Nein, nein! das geht nicht [no, no! that must
not be], and continued to attend them, all three riding toward the
shelter of the wood as fast as their jaded horses could go, pursued,
at the same time, by the Schwarzreiters, who increased their pace
when they saw them fly. But notwithstanding the fatigue of the
horses, still the fugitives being unarmed, and riding lighter in
consequence, had considerably the advantage of the pursuers, and
were within about a quarter of a mile of the wood, when a body of
men at arms, under a knight's pennon, was discovered advancing from
the cover, so as to intercept their flight.

"They have bright armour," said Isabelle, "they must be Burgundians.
Be they who they will, we must yield to them, rather than to the
lawless miscreants who pursue us."

A moment after, she exclaimed, looking on the pennon, "I know the
cloven heart which it displays! It is the banner of the Count of
Crevecoeur, a noble Burgundian -- to him I will surrender myself."

Quentin Durward sighed, but what other alternative remained, and
how happy would he have been but an instant before, to have been
certain of the escape of Isabelle, even under worse terms? They soon
joined the band of Crevecoeur, and the Countess demanded to speak
to the leader, who had halted his party till he should reconnoitre
the Black Troopers, and as he gazed on her with doubt and uncertainty,
she said, "Noble Count -- Isabelle of Croye, the daughter of your
old companion in arms, Count Reinold of Croye, renders herself,
and asks protection from your valour for her and hers."

"Thou shalt have it, fair kinswoman, were it against a host --
always excepting my liege lord, of Burgundy. But there is little
time to talk of it. These filthy looking fiends have made a halt,
as if they intended to dispute the matter. -- By Saint George of
Burgundy, they have the insolence to advance against the banner of
Crevecoeur! What! will not the knaves be ruled? Damian, my lance!
-- Advance banner! -- Lay your spears in the rest! -- Crevecoeur
to the Rescue!"

Crying his war cry, and followed by his men at arms, he galloped
rapidly forward to charge the Schwarzreiters.



CHAPTER XXIV: THE SURRENDER

Rescue or none, Sir Knight, I am your captive:
Deal with me what your nobleness suggests --
Thinking the chance of war may one day place you
Where I must now be reckon'd -- I' the roll
Of melancholy prisoners.

ANONYMOUS


The skirmish betwixt the Schwarzreiters and the Burgundian men
at arms lasted scarcely five minutes, so soon were the former put
to the rout by the superiority of the latter in armour, weight of
horse, and military spirit. In less than the space we have mentioned,
the Count of Crevecoeur, wiping his bloody sword upon his horse's
mane ere he sheathed it, came back to the verge of the forest,
where Isabelle had remained a spectator of the combat. One part of
his people followed him, while the other continued to pursue the
flying enemy for a little space along the causeway.

"It is shame," said the Count, "that the weapons of knights and
gentlemen should be soiled by the blood of those brutal swine."

So saying, he returned his weapon to the sheath and added, "This
is a rough welcome to your home, my pretty cousin, but wandering
princesses must expect such adventures. And well I came up in time,
for, let me assure you, the Black Troopers respect a countess's
coronet as little as a country wench's coif, and I think your
retinue is not qualified for much resistance."

"My Lord Count," said the Lady Isabelle, "without farther preface,
let me know if I am a prisoner, and where you are to conduct me."

"You know, you silly child," answered the Count, "how I would
answer that question, did it rest on my own will. But you, and your
foolish match making, marriage hunting aunt, have made such wild
use of your wings of late, that I fear you must be contented to
fold them up in a cage for a little while. For my part, my duty,
and it is a sad one, will be ended when I have conducted you to the
Court of the Duke, at Peronne for which purpose I hold it necessary
to deliver the command of this reconnoitring party to my nephew,
Count Stephen, while I return with you thither, as I think you
may need an intercessor. -- And I hope the young giddy pate will
discharge his duty wisely."

"So please you, fair uncle," said Count Stephen, "if you doubt my
capacity to conduct the men at arms, even remain with them yourself,
and I will be the servant and guard of the Countess Isabelle of
Croye."

"No doubt, fair nephew," answered his uncle, "this were a goodly
improvement on my scheme, but methinks I like it as well in the
way I planned it. Please you, therefore, to take notice, that your
business here is not to hunt after and stick these black hogs, for
which you seemed but now to have felt an especial vocation, but to
collect and bring to me true tidings of what is going forward in
the country of Liege, concerning which we hear such wild rumours.
Let some half score of lances follow me and the rest remain with
my banner under your guidance."

"Yet one moment, cousin of Crevecoeur," said the Countess Isabelle,
"and let me, in yielding myself prisoner, stipulate at least for the
safety of those who have befriended me in my misfortunes. Permit
this good fellow, my trusty guide, to go back unharmed to his native
town of Liege."

"My nephew," said Crevecoeur, after looking sharply at Glover's
honest breadth of countenance, "shall guard this good fellow, who
seems, indeed, to have little harm in him, as far into the territory
as he himself advances, and then leave him at liberty."

"Fail not to remember me to the kind Gertrude," said the Countess
to her guide, and added, taking a string of pearls from under her
veil, "Pray her to wear this in remembrance of her unhappy friend."

Honest Glover took the string of pearls, and kissed with clownish
gesture, but with sincere kindness, the fair hand which had found
such a delicate mode of remunerating his own labours and peril.

"Umph! signs and tokens," said the Count, "any farther bequests to
make, my fair cousin? -- It is time we were on our way."

"Only," said the Countess, making an effort to speak, "that you
will be pleased to be favourable to this -- this young gentleman."

"Umph!" said Crevecoeur, casting the same penetrating glance on
Quentin which he had bestowed on Glover, but apparently with a much
less satisfactory result, and mimicking, though not offensively,
the embarrassment of the Countess.

"Umph! -- Ay -- this is a blade of another temper. -- And pray, my
cousin, what has this -- this very young gentleman done, to deserve
such intercession at your hands?"

"He has saved my life and honour," said the Countess, reddening
with shame and resentment.

Quentin also blushed with indignation, but wisely concluded that
to give vent to it might only make matters worse.

"Life and honour? -- Umph!" said again the Count Crevecoeur, "methinks
it would have been as well, my cousin, if you had not put yourself
in the way of lying under such obligations to this very young
gentleman. -- But let it pass. The young gentleman may wait on us,
if his quality permit, and I will see he has no injury -- only I
will myself take in future the office of protecting your life and
honour, and may perhaps find for him some fitter duty than that of
being a squire of the body to damosels errant."

"My Lord Count," said Durward, unable to keep silence any longer,
"lest you should talk of a stranger in slighter terms than you
might afterwards think becoming, I take leave to tell you, that I
am Quentin Durward, an Archer of the Scottish Bodyguard, in which,
as you well know, none but gentlemen and men of honour are enrolled."

"I thank you for your information, and I kiss your hands, Seignior
Archer," said Crevecoeur, in the same tone of raillery. "Have the
goodness to ride with me to the front of the party."

As Quentin moved onward at the command of the Count, who had now
the power, if not the right, to dictate his motions, he observed
that the Lady Isabelle followed his motions with a look of anxious
and timid interest, which amounted almost to tenderness, and the
sight of which brought water into his eyes. But he remembered that
he had a man's part to sustain before Crevecoeur, who, perhaps of
all the chivalry in France or Burgundy, was the least likely to be
moved to anything but laughter by a tale of true love sorrow. He
determined, therefore, not to wait his addressing him, but to open
the conversation in a tone which should assert his claim to fair
treatment, and to more respect than the Count, offended perhaps at
finding a person of such inferior note placed so near the confidence
of his high born and wealthy cousin, seemed disposed to entertain
for him.

"My Lord Count of Crevecoeur," he said, in a temperate but firm
tone of voice, "may I request of you, before our interview goes
farther, to tell me if I am at liberty, or am to account myself
your prisoner?"

"A shrewd question," replied the Count, "which at present I can
only answer by another. -- Are France and Burgundy, think you, at
peace or war with each other?"

"That," replied the Scot, "you, my lord, should certainly know
better than I. I have been absent from the Court of France, and
have heard no news for some time."

"Look you there," said the Count, "you see how easy it is to ask
questions, but how difficult to answer them. Why, I myself, who
have been at Peronne with the Duke for this week and better, cannot
resolve this riddle any more than you, and yet, Sir Squire, upon
the solution of that question depends the said point, whether you
are prisoner or free man, and, for the present, I must hold you
as the former. -- Only, if you have really and honestly been of
service to my kinswoman, and for you are candid in your answers
to the questions I shall ask, affairs shall stand the better with
you."

"The Countess of Croye," said Quentin, "is best judge if I have
rendered any service, and to her I refer you on that matter. My
answers you will yourself judge of when you ask me your questions."

"Umph! -- haughty enough," muttered the Count of Crevecoeur, "and
very like one that wears a lady's favour in his hat, and thinks he
must carry things with a high tone, to honour the precious remnant
of silk and tinsel. Well, sir, I trust it will be no abatement of
your dignity, if you answer me, how long you have been about the
person of the Lady Isabelle of Croye?"

"Count of Crevecoeur," said Quentin Durward, "if I answer questions
which are asked in a tone approaching towards insult, it is only
lest injurious inferences should be drawn from my silence respecting
one to whom we are both obliged to render justice. I have acted as
escort to the Lady Isabelle since she left France to retire into
Flanders."

"Ho! ho!" said the Count, "and that is to say, since she fled
from Plessis les Tours? -- You, an Archer of the Scottish Guard,
accompanied her, of course, by the express orders of King Louis?"

However little Quentin thought himself indebted to the King of
France, who, in contriving the surprisal of the Countess Isabelle
by William de la Marck, had probably calculated on the young
Scotchman's being slain in her defence, he did not yet conceive
himself at liberty to betray any trust which Louis had reposed,
or had seemed to repose, in him, and therefore replied to Count
Crevecoeur's inference that it was sufficient for him to have the
authority of his superior officer for what he had done, and he
inquired no farther.

"It is quite sufficient," said the Count. "We know the King does
not permit his officers to send the Archers of his Guard to prance
like paladins by the bridle rein of wandering ladies, unless he
hath some politic purpose to serve. It will be difficult for King
Louis to continue to aver so boldly that he knew' not of the Ladies
of Croye's having escaped from France, since they were escorted
by one of his own Life guard. -- And whither, Sir Archer, was your
retreat directed?"

"To Liege, my lord," answered the Scot, "where the ladies desired
to be placed under the protection of the late Bishop."

"The late Bishop!" exclaimed the Count of Crevecoeur, "is Louis of
Bourbon dead? -- Not a word of his illness had reached the Duke.
-- Of what did he die?"

"He sleeps in a bloody grave, my lord -- that is, if his murderers
have conferred one on his remains."

"Murdered!" exclaimed Crevecoeur again. -- "Holy Mother of Heaven!
-- young man, it is impossible!"

"I saw the deed done with my own eyes, and many an act of horror
besides."

"Saw it! and made not in to help the good Prelate!" exclaimed the
Count, "or to raise the castle against his murderers? -- Know'st
thou not that even to look on such a deed, without resisting it,
is profane sacrilege?"

"To be brief, my lord," said Durward, "ere this act was done, the
castle was stormed by the bloodthirsty William de la Marck, with
help of the insurgent Liegeois."

"I am struck with thunder," said Crevecoeur. "Liege in insurrection!
-- Schonwaldt taken! -- the Bishop murdered -- Messenger of sorrow,
never did one man unfold such a packet of woes! -- Speak -- knew
you of this assault -- of this insurrection -- of this murder? --
Speak -- thou art one of Louis's trusted Archers, and it is he that
has aimed this painful arrow. -- Speak, or I will have thee torn
with wild horses!"

"And if I am so torn, my lord, there can be nothing rent out of
me, that may not become a true Scottish gentleman: I know no more
of these villainies than you -- was so far from being partaker in
them, that I would have withstood them to the uttermost, had my
means in a twentieth degree equalled my inclination. But what could
I do? -- they were hundreds, and I but one. My only care was to
rescue the Countess Isabelle, and in that I was happily successful.
Yet, had I been near enough when the ruffian deed was so cruelly
done on the old man, I had saved his gray hairs, or I had avenged
them, and as it was, my abhorrence was spoken loud enough to prevent
other horrors."

"I believe thee, youth," said the Count, "thou art neither of an age
nor nature to be trusted with such bloody work, however well fitted
to be the squire of dames. But alas! for the kind and generous
Prelate, to be murdered on the hearth where he so often entertained
the stranger with Christian charity and princely bounty -- and that
by a wretch, a monster! a portentous growth of blood and cruelty!
-- bred up in the very hall where he has imbrued his hands in his
benefactor's blood! But I know not Charles of Burgundy -- nay, I
should doubt of the justice of Heaven, if vengeance be not as sharp,
and sudden, and severe, as this villainy has been unexampled in
atrocity. And, if no other shall pursue the murderer" -- here he
paused, grasped his sword, then quitting his bridle, struck both
gauntleted hands upon his breast, until his corselet clattered, and
finally held them up to heaven, as he solemnly continued, -- "I --
I, Philip Crevecoeur of Cordes, make a vow to God, Saint Lambert,
and the Three Kings of Cologne, that small shall be my thought of
other earthly concerns, till I take full revenge on the murderers
of the good Louis of Bourbon, whether I find them in forest or
field, in city or in country, in hill or in plain, in King's Court
or in God's Church! and thereto I pledge hands and living, friends
and followers, life and honour. So help me God, and Saint Lambert
of Liege, and the Three Kings of Cologne!"

When the Count of Crevecoeur had made his vow, his mind seemed in
some sort relieved from the overwhelming grief and astonishment
with which he had heard the fatal tragedy that had been acted
at Schonwaldt, and he proceeded to question Durward more minutely
concerning the particulars of that disastrous affair, which the
Scot, nowise desirous to abate the spirit of revenge which the Count
entertained against William de la Marck, gave him at full length.

"But those blind, unsteady, faithless, fickle beasts, the Liegeois,"
said the Count, "that they should have combined themselves with
this inexorable robber and murderer, to put to death their lawful
Prince!"

Durward here informed the enraged Burgundian that the Liegeois,
or at least the better class of them, however rashly they had run
into the rebellion against their Bishop, had no design, so far as
appeared to him, to aid in the execrable deed of De la Marck but,
on the contrary, would have prevented it if they had had the means,
and were struck with horror when they beheld it.

"Speak not of the faithless, inconstant plebeian rabble!" said
Crevecoeur. "When they took arms against a Prince who had no fault,
save that he was too kind and too good a master for such a set of
ungrateful slaves -- when they armed against him, and broke into his
peaceful house, what could there be in their intention but murder?
-- when they banded themselves with the Wild Boar of Ardennes,
the greatest homicide in the marches of Flanders, what else could
there be in their purpose but murder, which is the very trade he
lives by? And again, was it not one of their own vile rabble who
did the very deed, by thine own account? I hope to see their canals
running blood by the flight of their burning houses. Oh, the kind,
noble, generous lord, whom they have slaughtered! -- Other vassals
have rebelled under the pressure of imposts and penury but the men
of Liege in the fullness of insolence and plenty."

He again abandoned the reins of his war horse, and wrung bitterly
the hands, which his mail gloves rendered untractable. Quentin
easily saw that the grief which he manifested was augmented by the
bitter recollection of past intercourse and friendship with the
sufferer, and was silent accordingly, respecting feelings which he
was unwilling to aggravate, and at the same time felt it impossible
to soothe. But the Count of Crevecoeur returned again and again to
the subject -- questioned him on every particular of the surprise
of Schonwaldt, and the death of the Bishop, and then suddenly,
as if he had recollected something which had escaped his memory,
demanded what had become of the Lady Hameline, and why she was not
with her kinswoman?

"Not," he added contemptuously, "that I consider her absence as
at all a loss to the Countess Isabelle, for, although she was her
kinswoman, and upon the whole a well meaning woman, yet the Court
of Cocagne never produced such a fantastic fool, and I hold it for
certain that her niece, whom I have always observed to be a modest
and orderly young lady, was led into the absurd frolic of flying
from Burgundy to France, by that blundering, romantic old match
making and match seeking idiot!"

[Court of Cocagne: a fabled land intended to ridicule the stories
of Avalon, the apple green island, the home of King Arthur. "Its
houses were built of good things to eat: roast geese went slowly
down the street, turning themselves, and inviting the passersby to
eat them; buttered larks fell in profusion; the shingles of the
houses were of cake." Cent. Dict. Cocagne has also been called
Lubberland.]

What a speech for a romantic lover to hear! and to hear, too,
when it would have been ridiculous in him to attempt what it was
impossible for him to achieve -- namely, to convince the Count, by
force of arms, that he did foul wrong to the Countess -- the peerless
in sense as in beauty -- in terming her a modest and orderly young
woman, qualities which might have been predicated with propriety
of the daughter of a sunburnt peasant, who lived by goading the
oxen, while her father held the plough. And then, to suppose her
under the domination and supreme guidance of a silly and romantic
aunt! -- The slander should have been repelled down the slanderer's
throat. But the open, though severe, physiognomy of the Count of
Crevecoeur, the total contempt which he seemed to entertain for
those feelings which were uppermost in Quentin's bosom, overawed
him, not for fear of the Count's fame in arms, that was a risk
which would have increased his desire of making out a challenge --
but in dread of ridicule, the weapon of all others most feared by
enthusiasts of every description, and which, from its predominance
over such minds, often checks what is absurd, and fully as often
smothers that which is noble.

Under the influence of this fear of becoming an object of scorn
rather than resentment, Durward, though with some pain, confined
his reply to a confused account of the Lady Hameline's having made
her escape from Schonwaldt before the attack took place. He could
not, indeed, have made his story very distinct, without throwing
ridicule on the near relation of Isabelle and perhaps incurring some
himself, as having been the object of her preposterous expectations.
He added to his embarrassed detail, that he had heard a report,
though a vague one, of the Lady Hameline's having again fallen into
the hands of William de la Marck.

"I trust in Saint Lambert that he will marry her," said Crevecoeur,
"as indeed, he is likely enough to do, for the sake of her moneybags,
and equally likely to knock her on the head, so soon as these are
either secured in his own grasp, or, at farthest, emptied."

The Count then proceeded to ask so many questions concerning the
mode in which both ladies had conducted themselves on the journey,
the degree of intimacy to which they admitted Quentin himself, and
other trying particulars, that, vexed, and ashamed, and angry, the
youth was scarce able to conceal his embarrassment from the keen
sighted soldier and courtier, who seemed suddenly disposed to take
leave of him, saying, at the same time, "Umph -- I see it is as I
conjectured, on one side at least, I trust the other party has kept
her senses better. -- Come, Sir Squire, spur on, and keep the van,
while I fall back to discourse with the Lady Isabelle. I think I
have learned now so much from you, that I can talk to her of these
sad passages without hurting her nicety, though I have fretted
yours a little. -- Yet stay, young gallant -- one word ere you go.
You have had, I imagine, a happy journey through Fairyland -- all
full of heroic adventure, and high hope, and wild minstrel-like
delusion, like the gardens of Morgaine la Fee [half-sister of
Arthur. Her gardens abounded in all good things; music filled the
air, and the inhabitants enjoyed perpetual youth]. Forget it all,
young soldier," he added, tapping him on the shoulder, "remember
yonder lady only as the honoured Countess of Croye -- forget her
as a wandering and adventurous damsel. And her friends -- one of
them I can answer for -- will remember, on their part, only the
services you have done her, and forget the unreasonable reward
which you have had the boldness to propose to yourself."

Enraged that he had been unable to conceal from the sharp sighted
Crevecoeur feelings which the Count seemed to consider as the
object of ridicule, Quentin replied indignantly, "My Lord Count,
when I require advice of you, I will ask it, when I demand assistance
of you, it will be time enough to grant or refuse it, when I set
peculiar value on your opinion of me, it will not be too late to
express it."

"Heyday!" said the Count, "I have come between Amadis and Oriana,
and must expect a challenge to the lists!"

[Amadis is the hero of a famous mediaeval romance originally written
in Portuguese, but translated into French and much enlarged by
subsequent romancers. Amadis is represented as a model of chivalry.
His lady was Oriana.]

"You speak as if that were an impossibility," said Quentin. "When
I broke a lance with the Duke of Orleans, it was against a head
in which flowed better blood than that of Crevecoeur. -- When I
measured swords with Dunois, I engaged a better warrior."

"Now Heaven nourish thy judgment, gentle youth," said Crevecoeur,
still laughing at the chivalrous inamorato. "If thou speak'st truth,
thou hast had singular luck in this world, and, truly, if it be
the pleasure of Providence exposes thee to such trials, without
a beard on thy lip, thou wilt be mad with vanity ere thou writest
thyself man. Thou canst not move me to anger, though thou mayst
to mirth. Believe me, though thou mayst have fought with Princes,
and played the champion for Countesses, by some of those freaks which
Fortune will sometimes exhibit, thou art by no means the equal of
those of whom thou hast been either the casual opponent, or more
casual companion. I can allow thee like a youth, who hath listened to
romances till he fancied himself a Paladin, to form pretty dreams
for some time, but thou must not be angry at a well meaning friend,
though he shake thee something roughly by the shoulders to awake
thee."

"My Lord of Crevecoeur," said Quentin, "my family --"

"Nay, it was not utterly of family that I spoke," said the Count,
"but of rank, fortune, high station, and so forth, which place
a distance between various degrees and classes of persons. As for
birth, all men are descended from Adam and Eve."

"My Lord Count," repeated Quentin, "my ancestors, the Durwards of
Glen Houlakin --"

"Nay," said the Count, "if you claim a farther descent for them
than from Adam, I have done! Good even to you."

He reined back his horse, and paused to join the Countess, to whom,
if possible, his insinuations and advices, however well meant,
were still more disagreeable than to Quentin, who, as he rode on,
muttered to himself, "Cold blooded, insolent, overweening coxcomb!
-- Would that the next Scottish Archer who has his harquebuss
pointed at thee, may not let thee off so easily as I did!"

In the evening they reached the town of Charleroi, on the Sambre,
where the Count of Crevecoeur had determined to leave the Countess
Isabelle, whom the terror and fatigue of yesterday, joined to a
flight of fifty miles since morning, and the various distressing
sensations by which it was accompanied, had made incapable of
travelling farther with safety to her health. The Count consigned
her, in a state of great exhaustion, to the care of the Abbess of
the Cistercian convent in Charleroi, a noble lady, to whom both
the families of Crevecoeur and Croye were related, and in whose
prudence and kindness he could repose confidence.

Crevecoeur himself only stopped to recommend the utmost caution to
the governor of a small Burgundian garrison who occupied the place,
and required him also to mount a guard of honour upon the convent
during the residence of the Countess Isabelle of Croye -- ostensibly
to secure her safety, but perhaps secretly to prevent her attempting
to escape. The Count only assigned as a cause for the garrison's
being vigilant, some vague rumours which he had heard of disturbances
in the Bishopric of Liege. But he was determined himself to be the
first who should carry the formidable news of the insurrection and
the murder of the Bishop, in all their horrible reality, to Duke
Charles, and for that purpose, having procured fresh horses for
himself and suite, he mounted with the resolution of continuing
his journey to Peronne without stopping for repose, and, informing
Quentin Durward that he must attend him, he made, at the same
time, a mock apology for parting fair company, but hoped that to
so devoted a squire of dames a night's journey by moonshine would
be more agreeable than supinely to yield himself to slumber like
an ordinary mortal.

Quentin, already sufficiently afflicted by finding that he was
to be parted from Isabelle, longed to answer this taunt with an
indignant defiance, but aware that the Count would only laugh at his
anger, and despise his challenge, he resolved to wait some future
time, when he might have an opportunity of obtaining some amends
from this proud lord, who, though for very different reasons,
had become nearly as odious to him as the Wild Boar of Ardennes
himself. He therefore assented to Crevecoeur's proposal, as to what
he had no choice of declining, and they pursued in company, and
with all the despatch they could exert, the road between Charleroi
and Peronne.



CHAPTER XXV: THE UNBIDDEN GUEST

No human quality is so well wove
In warp and woof, but there 's some flaw in it:
I've known a brave man fly a shepherd's cur,
A wise man so demean him, drivelling idiocy
Had wellnigh been ashamed on't. For your crafty,
Your worldly wise man, he, above the rest,
Weaves his own snares so fine, he 's often caught in them.

OLD PLAY


Quentin, during the earlier part of the night journey, had to
combat with that bitter heartache which is felt when youth parts,
and probably forever, with her he loves. As, pressed by the urgency
of the moment, and the impatience of Crevecoeur, they hasted on
through the rich lowlands of Hainault, under the benign guidance
of a rich and lustrous harvest moon, she shed her yellow influence
over rich and deep pastures, woodland, and cornfields, from which
the husbandmen were using her light to withdraw the grain, such
was the industry of the Flemings, even at that period, she shone on
broad, level, and fructifying rivers, where glided the white sail
in the service of commerce, uninterrupted by rock and torrent,
beside lively quiet villages, whose external decency and cleanliness
expressed the ease and comfort of the inhabitants, -- she gleamed
upon the feudal castle of many a Baron and Knight, with its deep
moat, battlemented court, and high belfry -- for the chivalry of
Hainault was renowned among the nobles of Europe -- and her light
displayed at a distance, in its broad beam, the gigantic towers of
more than one lofty minster.

Yet all this fair variety, however, differing from the waste and
wilderness of his own land, interrupted not the course of Quentin's
regrets and sorrows. He had left his heart behind him when he
departed from Charleroi, and the only reflection which the farther
journey inspired was that every step was carrying him farther from
Isabelle. His imagination was taxed to recall every word she had
spoken, every look she had directed towards him, and, as happens
frequently in such cases, the impression made upon his imagination
by the recollection of these particulars, was even stronger than
the realities themselves had excited.

At length, after the cold hour of midnight was past, in spite
alike of love and of sorrow, the extreme fatigue which Quentin
had undergone the two preceding days began to have an effect on
him, which his habits of exercise of every kind, and his singular
alertness and activity of character, as well as the painful nature
of the reflections which occupied his thoughts, had hitherto
prevented his experiencing. The ideas of his mind began to be
so little corrected by the exertions of his senses, worn out and
deadened as the latter now were by extremity of fatigue, that the
visions which the former drew superseded or perverted the information
conveyed by the blunted organs of seeing and hearing, and Durward
was only sensible that he was awake, by the exertions which, sensible
of the peril of his situation, he occasionally made to resist
falling into a deep and dead sleep. Every now and then, strong
consciousness of the risk of falling from or with his horse roused
him to exertion and animation, but ere long his eyes again were
dimmed by confused shades of all sorts of mingled colours, the
moonlight landscape swam before them, and he was so much overcome
with fatigue, that the Count of Crevecoeur, observing his condition,
was at length compelled to order two of his attendants, one to
each rein of Durward's bridle, in order to prevent the risk of his
falling from his horse.

When at length they reached the town of Landrecy, the Count, in
compassion to the youth, who had now been in a great measure without
sleep for three nights, allowed himself and his retinue a halt of
four hours, for rest and refreshment. Deep and sound were Quentin's
slumbers, until they were broken by the sound of the Count's trumpet, and
the cry of his Fouriers [subordinate officers who secure quarters
for the army while manoeuvring] and harbingers, "Debout! debout!
Ha! Messires, en route, en route! [arise, let us set out!]"

Yet, unwelcomely early as the tones came, they awaked him
a different being in strength and spirits from what he had fallen
asleep. Confidence in himself and his fortunes returned with his
reviving spirits, and with the rising sun. He thought of his love
no longer as a desperate and fantastic dream, but as a high and
invigorating principle, to be cherished in his bosom, although he
might never purpose to himself, under all the difficulties by which
he was beset, to bring it to any prosperous issue.

"The pilot," he reflected, "steers his bark by the polar star,
although he never expects to become possessor of it, and the
thoughts of Isabelle of Croye shall make me a worthy man at arms,
though I may never see her more. When she hears that a Scottish
soldier named Quentin Durward distinguished himself in a well fought
field, or left his body on the breach of a disputed fortress, she
will remember the companion of her journey, as one who did all
in his power to avert the snares and misfortunes which beset it,
and perhaps will honour his memory with a tear, his coffin with a
garland."

In this manly mood of bearing his misfortune, Quentin felt himself
more able to receive and reply to the jests of the Count of Crevecoeur,
who passed several on his alleged effeminacy and incapacity of
undergoing fatigue. The young Scot accommodated himself so good
humouredly to the Count's raillery, and replied at once so happily
and so respectfully, that the change of his tone and manner made
obviously a more favourable impression on the Count than he had
entertained from his prisoner's conduct during the preceding evening,
when, rendered irritable by the feelings of his situation, he was
alternately moodily silent or fiercely argumentative. The veteran
soldier began at length to take notice of his young companion as
a pretty fellow, of whom something might be made, and more than
hinted to him that would he but resign his situation in the Archer
Guard of France, he would undertake to have him enrolled in the
household of the Duke of Burgundy in an honourable condition, and
would himself take care of his advancement. And although Quentin,
with suitable expressions of gratitude, declined this favour at
present, until he should find out how far he had to complain of
his original patron, King Louis, he, nevertheless, continued to
remain on good terms with the Count of Crevecoeur, and, while his
enthusiastic mode of thinking, and his foreign and idiomatical
manner of expressing himself, often excited a smile on the grave
cheek of the Count, that smile had lost all that it had of sarcastic
and bitter, and did not exceed the limits of good humour and good
manners.

Thus travelling on with much more harmony than on the preceding
day, the little party came at last within two miles of the famous
and strong town of Peronne, near which the Duke of Burgundy's army
lay encamped, ready, as was supposed, to invade France, and, in
opposition to which, Louis XI had himself assembled a strong force
near Saint Maxence, for the purpose of bringing to reason his over
powerful vassal.

Perrone, situated upon a deep river, in a flat country, and surrounded
by strong bulwarks and profound moats, was accounted in ancient as
in modern times, one of the strongest fortresses in France. [Indeed,
though lying on an exposed and warlike frontier, it was never taken
by an enemy, but preserved the proud name of Peronne la Pucelle,
until the Duke of Wellington, a great destroyer of that sort of
reputation, took the place in the memorable advance upon Paris in
1815. S.] The Count of Crevecoeur, his retinue, and his prisoner,
were approaching the fortress about the third hour after noon, when
riding through the pleasant glades of a large forest, which then
covered the approach to the town on the east side, they were met by
two men of rank, as appeared from the number of their attendants,
dressed in the habits worn in time of peace, and who, to judge from
the falcons which they carried on their wrists, and the number of
spaniels and greyhounds led by their followers, were engaged in
the amusement of hawking. But on perceiving Crevecoeur, with whose
appearance and liveries they were sufficiently intimate, they quitted
the search which they were making for a heron along the banks of
a long canal, and came galloping towards him.

"News, news, Count of Crevecoeur," they cried both together, "will
you give news, or take news? or will you barter fairly?"

"I would barter fairly, Messires," said Crevecoeur, after saluting
them courteously, "did I conceive you had any news of importance
sufficient to make an equivalent for mine."

The two sportsmen smiled on each other, and the elder of the two,
a fine baronial figure, with a dark countenance, marked with that
sort of sadness which some physiognomists ascribe to a melancholy
temperament, and some, as the Italian statuary augured of the visage
of Charles I, consider as predicting an unhappy death, turning to
his companion, said, "Crevecoeur has been in Brabant, the country
of commerce, and he has learned all its artifices -- he will be
too hard for us if we drive a bargain."

"Messires," said Crevecoeur, "the Duke ought in justice to have
the first of my wares, as the Seigneur takes his toll before open
market begins. But tell me, are your news of a sad or a pleasant
complexion?"

The person whom he particularly addressed was a lively looking man,
with an eye of great vivacity, which was corrected by an expression
of reflection and gravity about the mouth and upper lip -- the whole
physiognomy marking a man who saw and judged rapidly, but was sage
and slow in forming resolutions or in expressing opinions. This
was the famous Knight of Hainault, son of Collara, or Nicolas de
l'Elite, known in history, and amongst historians, by the venerable
name of Philip de Comines, at this time close to the person of
Duke Charles the Bold, and one of his most esteemed counsellors.
He answered Crevecoeur's question concerning the complexion of the
news of which he and his companion, the Baron D'Hymbercourt, were
the depositaries.

[Philip de Comines was described in the former editions of this
work as a little man, fitted rather for counsel than action. This
was a description made at a venture, to vary the military portraits
with which the age and work abound. Sleidan the historian, upon
the authority of Matthieu d'Arves, who knew Philip de Comines, and
had served in his household, says he was a man of tall stature,
and a noble presence. The learned Monsieur Petitot . . . intimates
that Philip de Comines made a figure at the games of chivalry
and pageants exhibited on the wedding of Charles of Burgundy with
Margaret of England in 1468. . . . He is the first named, however,
of a gallant band of assailants, knights and noblemen, to the
number of twenty, who, with the Prince of Orange as their leader,
encountered, in a general tourney, with a party of the same number
under the profligate Adolf of Cleves, who acted as challenger, by
the romantic title of Arbre d'or. The encounter, though with arms
of courtesy, was very fierce, and separated by main force, not
without difficulty. Philip de Comines has, therefore, a title to
be accounted tam Martre quam Mercurio. . . S.]

[D'Hymbercourt, or Imbercourt, was put to death by the inhabitants
of Ghent, with the Chancellor of Burgundy, in the year 1477. Mary
of Burgundy, daughter of Charles the Bold, appeared in mourning in
the marketplace, and with tears besought the life of her servants
from her insurgent subjects, but in vain. S.]

"They were," he said, "like the colours of the rainbow, various
in hue, as they might be viewed from different points, and placed
against the black cloud or the fair sky. -- Such a rainbow was
never seen in France or Flanders, since that of Noah's ark."

"My tidings," replied Crevecoeur, "are altogether like the comet,
gloomy, wild, and terrible in themselves, yet to be accounted the
forerunners of still greater and more dreadful evils which are to
ensue."

"We must open our bales," said Comines to his companion, "or our
market will be forestalled by some newcomers, for ours are public
news. -- In one word, Crevecoeur -- listen and wonder -- King Louis
is at Peronne."

"What!" said the Count in astonishment, "has the Duke retreated
without a battle? and do you remain here in your dress of peace,
after the town is besieged by the French? -- for I cannot suppose
it taken."

"No, surely," said D'Hymbercourt, "the banners of Burgundy have
not gone back a foot, and still King Louis is here."

"Then Edward of England must have come over the seas with his
bowmen," said Crevecoeur, "and, like his ancestors, gained a second
field of Poictiers?"

"Not so," said Comines. "Not a French banner has been borne down,
not a sail spread from England -- where Edward is too much amused
among the wives of the citizens of London to think of playing the
Black Prince. Hear the extraordinary truth. You know, when you
left us, that the conference between the commissioners on the parts
of France and Burgundy was broken up, without apparent chance of
reconciliation."

"True, and we dreamt of nothing but war."

"What has followed has been indeed so like a dream," said Comines,
"that I almost expect to awake, and find it so. Only one day since,
the Duke had in council protested so furiously against farther
delay that it was resolved to send a defiance to the King, and
march forward instantly into France. Toison d'Or, commissioned for
the purpose, had put on his official dress, and had his foot in
the stirrup to mount his horse, when lo! the French herald Montjoie
rode into our camp.

"We thought of nothing else than that Louis had been beforehand
with our defiance, and began to consider how much the Duke would
resent the advice which had prevented him from being the first to
declare war. But a council being speedily assembled, what was our
wonder when the herald informed us, that Louis, King of France, was
scarce an hour's riding behind, intending to visit Charles, Duke
of Burgundy, with a small retinue, in order that their differences
might be settled at a personal interview!"

"You surprise me, Messires," said Crevecoeur, "yet you surprise me
less than you might have expected, for, when I was last at Plessis
les Tours, the all trusted Cardinal Balue, offended with his master,
and Burgundian at heart, did hint to me that he could so work upon
Louis's peculiar foibles as to lead him to place himself in such
a position with regard to Burgundy that the Duke might have the
terms of peace of his own making. But I never suspected that so
old a fox as Louis could have been induced to come into the trap
of his own accord. What said the Burgundian counsellors?"

"As you may guess," answered D'Hymbercourt, "talked much of faith
to be observed, and little of advantage to be obtained by such a
visit, while it was manifest they thought almost entirely of the
last, and were only anxious to find some way to reconcile it with
the necessary preservation of appearances."

"And what said the Duke?" continued the Count of Crevecoeur.

"Spoke brief and bold as usual," replied Comines. "'Which of you
was it,' he asked, 'who witnessed the meeting of my cousin Louis
and me after the battle of Montl'hery, when I was so thoughtless as
to accompany him back within the intrenchments of Paris with half
a score of attendants, and so put my person at the King's mercy?'
I replied, that most of us had been present, and none could ever
forget the alarm which it had been his pleasure to give us. 'Well,'
said the Duke, 'you blamed me for my folly, and I confessed to you
that I had acted like a giddy pated boy, and I am aware, too, that
my father of happy memory being then alive, my kinsman, Louis,
would have had less advantage by seizing on my person than I might
now have by securing his. But, nevertheless, if my royal kinsman
comes hither on the present occasion, in the same singleness of
heart under which I then acted, he shall be royally welcome. -- If
it is meant by this appearance of confidence to circumvent and to
blind me, till he execute some of his politic schemes, by Saint
George of Burgundy, let him to look to it!' And so, having turned
up his mustaches and stamped on the ground, he ordered us all to
get on our horses, and receive so extraordinary a guest."

[After the battle of Montl'hery, in 1465, Charles . . . had an
interview with Louis under the walls of Paris, each at the head of
a small party. The two Princes dismounted, and walked together so
deeply engaged in discussing the business of their meeting, that
Charles forgot the peculiarity of his situation; and when Louis
turned back towards the town of Paris, from which he came, the
Count of Charalois kept him company so far as to pass the line of
outworks with which Paris was surrounded, and enter a field work
which communicated with the town by a trench. . . . His escort and
his principal followers rode forward from where he had left them.
. . . To their great joy the Count returned uninjured, accompanied
with a guard belonging to Louis. The Burgundians taxed him with
rashness in no measured terms. "Say no more of it," said Charles;
"I acknowledge the extent of my folly, but I was not aware what
I was doing till I entered the redoubt." Memoires de Philippe de
Comines. -- S.]

"And you met the King accordingly?" replied the Count of Crevecoeur.
"Miracles have not ceased -- How was he accompanied?"

"As slightly as might be," answered D'Hymbercourt, "only a score
or two of the Scottish Guard, and a few knights and gentlemen of
his household among whom his astrologer, Galeotti, made the gayest
figure."

"That fellow," said Crevecoeur, "holds some dependence on the
Cardinal Balue -- I should not be surprised that he has had his
share in determining the King to this step of doubtful policy. Any
nobility of higher rank?"

"There are Monsieur of Orleans, and Dunois," replied Comines.

"I will have a rouse with Dunois," said Crevecoeur, "wag the world
as it will. But we heard that both he and the Duke had fallen into
disgrace, and were in prison."

"They were both under arrest in the Castle of Loches, that delightful
place of retirement for the French nobility," said D'Hymbercourt,
"but Louis has released them, in order to bring them with him --
perhaps because he cared not to leave Orleans behind. For his other
attendants, faith, I think his gossip, the Hangman Marshal, with
two or three of his retinue, and Oliver, his barber, may be the most
considerable -- and the whole bevy so poorly arrayed, that, by my
honour, the King resembles most an old usurer, going to collect
desperate debts, attended by a body of catchpolls."

"And where is he lodged?" said Crevecoeur.

"Nay, that," replied the Comines, "is the most marvellous of all.
Our Duke offered to let the King's Archer Guard have a gate of the
town, and a bridge of boats over the Somme, and to have assigned to
Louis himself the adjoining house, belonging to a wealthy burgess,
Giles Orthen, but, in going thither, the King espied the banners
of De Lau and Pencil de Riviere, whom he had banished from France,
and scared, as it would seem, with the thought of lodging so near
refugees and malcontents of his own making, he craved to be quartered
in the castle of Peronne, and there he hath his abode accordingly."

"Why, God ha' mercy!" exclaimed Crevecoeur, "this is not only not
being content with venturing into the lion's den, but thrusting
his head into his very jaws. -- Nothing less than the very bottom
of the rat trap would serve the crafty old politician!"

"Nay," said Comines, "D'Hymbercourt hath not told you the speech
of Le Glorieux [the jester of Charles of Burgundy of whom more
hereafter. S.] -- which, in my mind, was the shrewdest opinion that
was given."

"And what said his most illustrious wisdom?" asked the Count.

"As the Duke," replied Comines, "was hastily ordering some vessels
and ornaments of plate and the like, to be prepared as presents
for the King and his retinue, by way of welcome on his arrival:

"'Trouble not thy small brain about it, my friend Charles,' said
Le Glorieux, 'I will give thy cousin Louis a nobler and a fitter
gift than thou canst, and that is my cap and bells, and my bauble
to boot, for, by the mass, he is a greater fool than I am, for
putting himself in thy power.'

"'But if I give him no reason to repent it, sirrah, how thou?' said
the Duke.

"'Then, truly, Charles, thou shalt have cap and bauble thyself, as
the greatest fool of the three of us.'

"I promise you this knavish quip touched the Duke closely -- I saw
him change colour and bite his lip. And now, our news are told,
noble Crevecoeur, and what think you they resemble?"

"A mine full charged with gunpowder," answered Crevecoeur, "to
which, I fear, it is my fate to bring the kindled linstock. Your
news and mine are like flax and fire, which cannot meet without
bursting into flame, or like certain chemical substances which
cannot be mingled without an explosion. Friends -- gentlemen --
ride close by my rein, and when I tell you what has chanced in the
bishopric of Liege, I think you will be of opinion that King Louis
might as safely have undertaken a pilgrimage to the infernal regions
as this ill timed visit to Peronne."

The two nobles drew up close on either hand of the Count, and
listened, with half suppressed exclamations, and gestures of the
deepest wonder and interest, to his account of the transactions at
Liege and Schonwaldt. Quentin was then called forward, and examined
and re-examined on the particulars of the Bishop's death, until
at length he refused to answer any farther interrogatories, not
knowing wherefore they were asked, or what use might be made of
his replies.

They now reached the rich and level banks of the Somme, and the
ancient walls of the little town of Peronne la Pucelle, and the
deep green meadows adjoining, now whitened with the numerous tents
of the Duke of Burgundy's army, amounting to about fifteen thousand
men.



CHAPTER XXVI: THE INTERVIEW

When Princes meet, Astrologers may mark it
An ominous conjunction, full of boding,
Like that of Mars with Saturn.

OLD PLAY


One hardly knows whether to term it a privilege or a penalty annexed
to the quality of princes, that, in their intercourse with each
other, they are required by the respect which is due to their own
rank and dignity, to regulate their feelings and expressions by a
severe etiquette, which precludes all violent and avowed display
of passion, and which, but that the whole world are aware that this
assumed complaisance is a matter of ceremony, might justly pass
for profound dissimulation. It is no less certain, however, that
the overstepping of these bounds of ceremonial, for the purpose
of giving more direct vent to their angry passions, has the effect
of compromising their dignity with the world in general; as was
particularly noted when those distinguished rivals, Francis the
First and the Emperor Charles, gave each other the lie direct, and
were desirous of deciding their differences hand to hand, in single
combat.

Charles of Burgundy, the most hasty and impatient, nay, the most
imprudent prince of his time, found himself, nevertheless, fettered
within the magic circle which prescribed the most profound deference
to Louis, as his Suzerain and liege Lord, who had deigned to confer
upon him, a vassal of the crown, the distinguished honour of a
personal visit. Dressed in his ducal mantle, and attended by his
great officers and principal knights and nobles, he went in gallant
cavalcade to receive Louis XI. His retinue absolutely blazed with
gold and silver; for the wealth of the Court of England being
exhausted by the wars of York and Lancaster, and the expenditure
of France limited by the economy of the Sovereign, that of Burgundy
was for the time the most magnificent in Europe. The cortege of
Louis, on the contrary, was few in number, and comparatively mean
in appearance, and the exterior of the King himself, in a threadbare
cloak, with his wonted old high crowned hat stuck full of images,
rendered the contrast yet more striking; and as the Duke, richly
attired with the coronet and mantle of state, threw himself from
his noble charger, and, kneeling on one knee, offered to hold the
stirrup while Louis dismounted from his little ambling palfrey,
the effect was almost grotesque.

The greeting between the two potentates was, of course, as full
of affected kindness and compliment as it was totally devoid of
sincerity. But the temper of the Duke rendered it much more difficult
for him to preserve the necessary appearances, in voice, speech,
and demeanour; while in the King, every species of simulation and
dissimulation seemed so much a part of his nature that those best
acquainted with him could not have distinguished what was feigned
from what was real.

Perhaps the most accurate illustration, were it not unworthy two
such high potentates, would be to suppose the King in the situation
of a stranger, perfectly acquainted with the habits and dispositions
of the canine race, who, for some, purpose of his own, is desirous
to make friends with a large and surly mastiff that holds him in
suspicion and is disposed to worry him on the first symptoms either
of diffidence or of umbrage. The mastiff growls internally, erects
his bristles, shows his teeth, yet is ashamed to fly upon the
intruder, who seems at the same time so kind and so confiding, and
therefore the animal endures advances which are far from pacifying
him, watching at the same time the slightest opportunity which may
justify him in his own eyes for seizing his friend by the throat.

The King was no doubt sensible, from the altered voice, constrained
manner, and abrupt gestures of the Duke, that the game he had to
play was delicate, and perhaps he more than once repented having
ever taken it in hand. But repentance was too late, and all that
remained for him was that inimitable dexterity of management, which
the King understood equally at least with any man that ever lived.

The demeanour which Louis used towards the Duke was such as to
resemble the kind overflowing of the heart in a moment of sincere
reconciliation with an honoured and tried friend, from whom
he had been estranged by temporary circumstances now passed away,
and forgotten as soon as removed. The King blamed himself for not
having sooner taken the decisive step, of convincing his kind and
good kinsman by such a mark of confidence as he was now bestowing,
that the angry passages which had occurred betwixt them were nothing
in his remembrance, when weighed against the kindness which received
him when an exile from France, and under the displeasure of the
King his father. He spoke of the good Duke of Burgundy, as Philip
the father of Duke Charles was currently called, and remembered a
thousand instances of his paternal kindness.

"I think, cousin," he said, "your father made little difference in
his affection betwixt you and me; for I remember when by an accident
I had bewildered myself in a hunting party, I found the good Duke
upbraiding you with leaving me in the forest, as if you had been
careless of the safety of an elder brother."

The Duke of Burgundy's features were naturally harsh and severe;
and when he attempted to smile, in polite acquiescence to the truth
of what the King told him, the grimace which he made was truly
diabolical.

"Prince of dissemblers," he said, in his secret soul, "would that
it stood with my honour to remind you how you have requited all
the benefits of our House!"

"And then," continued the King, "if the ties of consanguinity and
gratitude are not sufficient to bind us together, my fair cousin,
we have those of spiritual relationship; for I am godfather to your
fair daughter Mary, who is as dear to me as one of my own maidens;
and when the Saints (their holy name be blessed!) sent me a little
blossom which withered in the course of three months, it was your
princely father who held it at the font, and celebrated the ceremony
of baptism with richer and prouder magnificence than Paris itself
could have afforded. Never shall I forget the deep, the indelible
impression which the generosity of Duke Philip, and yours, my
dearest cousin, made upon the half broken heart of the poor exile!"

"Your Majesty," said the Duke, compelling himself to make some
reply, "acknowledged that slight obligation in terms which overpaid
all the display which Burgundy could make, to show a due sense of
the honour you had done its Sovereign."

"I remember the words you mean, fair cousin," said the King, smiling;
"I think they were, that in guerdon of the benefit of that day, I,
poor wanderer, had nothing to offer, save the persons of myself, of
my wife, and of my child. -- Well, and I think I have indifferently
well redeemed my pledge."

"I mean not to dispute what your Majesty is pleased to aver," said
the Duke; "but --"

"But you ask," said the King, interrupting him, "how my actions
have accorded with my words. -- Marry thus: the body of my infant
child Joachim rests in Burgundian earth -- my own person I have
this morning placed unreservedly in your power -- and, for that of
my wife, -- truly, cousin, I think, considering the period of time
which has passed, you will scarce insist on my keeping my word in
that particular. She was born on the Day of the Blessed Annunciation"
(he crossed himself, and muttered an Ora pro nobis [intercede for
us]), "some fifty years since; but she is no farther distant than
Rheims, and if you insist on my promise being fulfilled to the
letter, she shall presently wait your pleasure."

Angry as the Duke of Burgundy was at the barefaced attempt of the
King to assume towards him a tone of friendship and intimacy, he
could not help laughing at the whimsical reply of that singular
monarch, and his laugh was as discordant as the abrupt tones of
passion in which he often spoke. Having laughed longer and louder
than was at that period, or would now be, thought fitting the time
and occasion, he answered in the same tone, bluntly declining the
honour of the Queen's company, but stating his willingness to accept
that of the King's eldest daughter, whose beauty was celebrated.

"I am happy, fair cousin," said the King, with one of those dubious
smiles of which he frequently made use, "that your gracious pleasure
has not fixed on my younger daughter, Joan. I should otherwise have
had spear breaking between you and my cousin of Orleans; and, had
harm come of it, I must on either side have lost a kind friend and
affectionate cousin."

"Nay, nay, my royal sovereign," said Duke Charles, "the Duke of
Orleans shall have no interruption from me in the path which he
has chosen par amours. The cause in which I couch my lance against
Orleans must be fair and straight."

Louis was far from taking amiss this brutal allusion to the personal
deformity of the Princess Joan. On the contrary, he was rather
pleased to find that the Duke was content to be amused with broad
jests, in which he was himself a proficient, and which (according
to the modern phrase) spared much sentimental hypocrisy. Accordingly,
he speedily placed their intercourse on such a footing that Charles,
though he felt it impossible to play the part of an affectionate
and reconciled friend to a monarch whose ill offices he had so
often encountered, and whose sincerity on the present occasion he
so strongly doubted, yet had no difficulty in acting the hearty
landlord towards a facetious guest; and so the want of reciprocity
in kinder feelings between them was supplied by the tone of good
fellowship which exists between two boon companions -- a tone
natural to the Duke from the frankness, and, it might be added, the
grossness of his character, and to Louis, because, though capable
of assuming any mood of social intercourse, that which really suited
him best was mingled with grossness of ideas and of caustic humour
and expression.

Both Princes were happily able to preserve, during the period of a
banquet at the town house of Peronne, the same kind of conversation,
on which they met as on a neutral ground, and which, as Louis easily
perceived, was more available than any other to keep the Duke of
Burgundy in that state of composure which seemed necessary to his
own safety.

Yet he was alarmed to observe that the Duke had around him several
of those French nobles, and those of the highest rank, and in situations
of great trust and power, whom his own severity or injustice had
driven into exile; and it was to secure himself from the possible
effects of their resentment and revenge, that (as already mentioned)
he requested to be lodged in the Castle or Citadel of Peronne,
rather than in the town itself. This was readily granted by Duke
Charles, with one of those grim smiles of which it was impossible
to say whether it meant good or harm to the party whom it concerned.

[Scott quotes from the Memoires of De Comines as follows: "these
nobles . . . inspired Louis with so much suspicion that he . . .
demanded to be lodged in the old Castle of Peronne, and thus rendered
himself an absolute captive."]

But when the King, expressing himself with as much delicacy as he
could, and in the manner he thought best qualified to lull suspicion
asleep, asked whether the Scottish Archers of his Guard might not
maintain the custody of the Castle of Peronne during his residence
there, in lieu of the gate of the town which the Duke had offered
to their care, Charles replied, with his wonted sternness of voice
and abruptness of manner, rendered more alarming by his habit, when
he spoke, of either turning up his mustaches, or handling his sword
or dagger, the last of which he used frequently to draw a little
way, and then return to the sheath [this gesture, very indicative
of a fierce character, is also by stage tradition a distinction of
Shakespeare's Richard III. S.],

"Saint Martin! No, my Liege. You are in your vassal's camp and city
-- so men call me in respect to your Majesty -- my castle and town
are yours, and my men are yours; so it is indifferent whether my
men at arms or the Scottish Archers guard either the outer gate or
defences of the Castle. -- No, by Saint George! Peronne is a virgin
fortress -- she shall not lose her reputation by any neglect of
mine. Maidens must be carefully watched, my royal cousin, if we
would have them continue to live in good fame."

"Surely, fair cousin, and I altogether agree with you," said the
King, "I being in fact more interested in the reputation of the
good little town than you are -- Peronne being, as you know, fair
cousin, one of those upon the same river Somme, which, pledged to
your father of happy memory for redemption of money, are liable to
be redeemed upon repayment. And, to speak truth; coming, like an
honest debtor, disposed to clear off my obligations of every kind,
I have brought here a few sumpter mules loaded with silver for
the redemption -- enough to maintain even your princely and royal
establishment, fair cousin, for the space of three years."

"I will not receive a penny of it," said the Duke, twirling his
mustaches -- "the day of redemption is past, my royal cousin; nor
were there ever serious purpose that the right should be exercised,
the cession of these towns being the sole recompense my father
ever received from France, when, in a happy hour for your family,
he consented to forget the murder of my grandfather, and to exchange
the alliance of England for that of your father. Saint George! if
he had not so acted, your royal self, far from having towns in the
Somme, could scarce have kept those beyond the Loire. No -- I will
not render a stone of them, were I to receive for every stone so
rendered its weight in gold. I thank God, and the wisdom and valour
of my ancestors, that the revenues of Burgundy, though it be a
duchy, will maintain my state, even when a King is my guest, without
obliging me to barter my heritage."

"Well, fair cousin," answered the King, with the same mild
and placid manner as before, and unperturbed by the loud tone and
violent gestures of the Duke, "I see that you are so good a friend
to France that you are unwilling to part with aught that belongs
to her. But we shall need some moderator in those affairs when we
come to treat of them in council. -- What say you to Saint Paul?"

"Neither Saint Paul, nor Saint Peter, nor e'er a Saint in the
Calendar," said the Duke of Burgundy, "shall preach me out of the
possession of Peronne."

"Nay, but you mistake me," said King Louis, smiling; "I mean Louis
de Luxembourg, our trusty constable, the Count of Saint Paul. --
Ah! Saint Mary of Embrun! we lack but his head at our conference!
the best head in France, and the most useful to the restoration of
perfect harmony betwixt us."

"By Saint George of Burgundy!" said the Duke, "I marvel to hear
your Majesty talk thus of a man, false and perjured, both to France
and Burgundy -- one who hath ever endeavoured to fan into a flame
our frequent differences, and that with the purpose of giving
himself the airs of a mediator. I swear by the Order I wear that
his marshes shall not be long a resource for him!"

"Be not so warm, cousin," said the King, smiling, and speaking under
his breath; "when I wished for the head constable, as a means of
ending the settlement of our trifling differences, I had no desire
for his body, which might remain at Saint Quentin's with much
convenience."

"Ho! ho! I take your meaning, my royal cousin," said Charles, with
the same dissonant laugh which some other of the King's coarse
pleasantries had extorted; and added, stamping his heel on the
ground, "I allow, in that sense, the head of the Constable might
be useful at Peronne."

These, and other discourses, by which the King mixed hints at serious
affairs amid matters of mirth and amusement, did not follow each
other consecutively; but were adroitly introduced during the time
of the banquet at the Hotel de Ville, during a subsequent interview
in the Duke's own apartments, and, in short, as occasion seemed to
render the introduction of such delicate subjects easy and natural.

Indeed, however rashly Louis had placed himself in a risk which the
Duke's fiery temper and the mutual subjects of exasperated enmity
which subsisted betwixt them rendered of doubtful and perilous
issue, never pilot on an unknown coast conducted himself with more
firmness and prudence. He seemed to sound with the utmost address
and precision the depths and shallows of his rival's mind and
temper, and manifested neither doubt nor fear when the result of his
experiments discovered much more of sunken rocks and of dangerous
shoals than of safe anchorage.

At length a day closed which must have been a wearisome one to Louis,
from the constant exertion, vigilance, precaution, and attention
which his situation required, as it was a day of constraint to the
Duke, from the necessity of suppressing the violent feelings to
which he was in the general habit of giving uncontrolled vent.

No sooner had the latter retired into his own apartment, after he
had taken a formal leave of the King for the night, than he gave
way to the explosion of passion which he had so long suppressed;
and many an oath and abusive epithet, as his jester, Le Glorieux
said, "fell that night upon heads which they were never coined
for," his domestics reaping the benefit of that hoard of injurious
language which he could not in decency bestow on his royal guest,
even in his absence, and which was yet become too great to be
altogether suppressed. The jests of the clown had some effect in
tranquillizing the Duke's angry mood -- he laughed loudly, threw
the jester a piece of gold, caused himself to be disrobed in
tranquillity, swallowed a deep cup of wine and spices, went to bed,
and slept soundly.

The couchee of King Louis is more worthy of notice than that of
Charles; for the violent expression of exasperated and headlong
passion, as indeed it belongs more to the brutal than the intelligent
part of our nature, has little to interest us, in comparison to
the deep workings of a vigorous and powerful mind.

Louis was escorted to the lodgings he had chosen in the Castle, or
Citadel of Peronne, by the Chamberlains and harbingers of the Duke
of Burgundy, and received at the entrance by a strong guard of
archers and men at arms.

As he descended from his horse to cross the drawbridge, over a
moat of unusual width and depth, he looked on the sentinels, and
observed to Comines, who accompanied him, with other Burgundian
nobles, "They wear Saint Andrew's crosses -- but not those of my
Scottish Archers."

"You will find them as ready to die in your defence, Sire," said
the Burgundian, whose sagacious ear had detected in the King's tone
of speech a feeling which doubtless Louis would have concealed if
he could. "They wear the Saint Andrew's Cross as the appendage of
the collar of the Golden Fleece, my master the Duke of Burgundy's
Order."

"Do I not know it?" said Louis, showing the collar which he himself
wore in compliment to his host. "It is one of the dear bonds of
fraternity which exist between my kind brother and myself. We are
brothers in chivalry, as in spiritual relationship; cousins by birth,
and friends by every tie of kind feeling and good neighbourhood.
-- No farther than the base court, my noble lords and gentlemen!
I can permit your attendance no farther -- you have done me enough
of grace."

"We were charged by the Duke," said D'Hymbercourt, "to bring your
Majesty to your lodging. -- We trust your Majesty will permit us
to obey our master's command."

"In this small matter," said the King, "I trust you will allow my
command to outweigh his, even with you his liege subjects. -- I am
something indisposed, my lords -- something fatigued. Great pleasure
hath its toils, as well as great pain. I trust to enjoy your society
better tomorrow. -- And yours, too, Seignior Philip of Comines --
I am told you are the annalist of the time -- we that desire to have
a name in history must speak you fair, for men say your pen hath
a sharp point, when you will. -- Goodnight, my lords and gentles,
to all and each of you."

The Lords of Burgundy retired, much pleased with the grace of
Louis's manner, and the artful distribution of his attentions; and
the King was left with only one or two of his own personal followers,
under the archway of the base court of the Castle of Peronne,
looking on the huge tower which occupied one of the angles, being
in fact the Donjon, or principal Keep, of the palace. This tall,
dark, massive building was seen clearly by the same moon which was
lighting Quentin Durward betwixt Charleroi and Peronne, which, as
the reader is aware, shone with peculiar lustre. The great Keep
was in form nearly resembling the White Tower in the Citadel of
London, but still more ancient in its architecture, deriving its
date, as was affirmed, from the days of Charlemagne. The walls were
of a tremendous thickness, the windows very small, and grated with
bars of iron, and the huge clumsy bulk of the building cast a dark
and portentous shadow over the whole of the courtyard.

"I am not to be lodged there," the King said, with a shudder that
had something in it ominous.

"No," replied the gray headed seneschal, who attended upon him
unbonneted. "God forbid! -- Your Majesty's apartments are prepared
in these lower buildings which are hard by, and in which King John
slept two nights before the battle of Poitiers."

"Hum -- that is no lucky omen neither," muttered the King; "but what
of the Tower, my old friend? and why should you desire of Heaven
that I may not be there lodged?"

"Nay, my gracious Liege," said the seneschal, "I know no evil of
the Tower at all, only that the sentinels say lights are seen, and
strange noises heard in it at night; and there are reasons why that
may be the case, for anciently it was used as a state prison, and
there are many tales of deeds which have been done in it."

Louis asked no further questions; for no man was more bound than
he to respect the secrets of a prison house. At the door of the
apartments destined for his use, which, though of later date than
the Tower, were still both ancient and gloomy, stood a small party
of the Scottish Guard, which the Duke, although he declined to
concede the point to Louis, had ordered to be introduced, so as
to be near the person of their master. The faithful Lord Crawford
was at their head.

"Crawford -- my honest and faithful Crawford," said the King, "where
hast thou been today? -- Are the Lords of Burgundy so inhospitable
as to neglect one of the bravest and most noble gentlemen that ever
trode a court? -- I saw you not at the banquet."

"I declined it, my Liege," said Crawford, "times are changed with
me. The day has been that I could have ventured a carouse with the
best man in Burgundy and that in the juice of his own grape; but a
matter of four pints now flusters me, and I think it concerns your
Majesty's service to set in this an example to my gallants."

"Thou art ever prudent," said the King, "but surely your toil
is the less when you have so few men to command? -- and a time of
festivity requires not so severe self denial on your part as a time
of danger."

"If I have few men to command," said Crawford, "I have the more need
to keep the knaves in fitting condition; and whether this business
be like to end in feasting or fighting, God and your Majesty know
better than old John of Crawford."

"You surely do not apprehend any danger?" said the King hastily,
yet in a whisper.

"Not I," answered Crawford; "I wish I did; for, as old Earl Tineman
[an Earl of Douglas, so called. S.] used to say, apprehended dangers
may be always defended dangers. -- The word for the night, if your
Majesty pleases?"

"Let it be Burgundy, in honour of our host and of a liquor that
you love, Crawford."

"I will quarrel with neither Duke nor drink, so called," said
Crawford, "provided always that both be sound. A good night to your
Majesty!"

"A good night, my trusty Scot," said the King, and passed on to
his apartments.

At the door of his bedroom Le Balafre was placed sentinel. "Follow
me hither," said the King, as he passed him; and the Archer
accordingly, like a piece of machinery put into motion by an artist,
strode after him into the apartment, and remained there fixed,
silent, and motionless, attending the royal command.

"Have you heard from that wandering Paladin, your nephew?" said
the King; "for he hath been lost to us, since, like a young knight
who had set out upon his first adventures, he sent us home two
prisoners as the first fruits of his chivalry."

"My Lord, I heard something of that," said Balafre, "and I hope
your Majesty will believe that if he acted wrongfully, it was in
no shape by any precept or example, since I never was so bold as
to unhorse any of your Majesty's most illustrious house, better
knowing my own condition, and --"

"Be silent on that point," said the King; "your nephew did his duty
in the matter."

"There indeed," continued Balafre, "he had the cue from me.
-- 'Quentin,' said I to him, 'whatever comes of it, remember you
belong to the Scottish Archer Guard, and do your duty whatever
comes on't.'"

"I guess he had some such exquisite instructor," said Louis; "but
it concerns me that you answer me my first question. -- Have you
heard of your nephew of late? -- Stand aback, my masters," he added,
addressing the gentlemen of his chamber, "for this concerneth no
ears but mine."

"Surely, please your Majesty," said Balafre, "I have seen this very
evening the groom Charlot, whom my kinsman dispatched from Liege,
or some castle of the Bishop's which is near it, and where he hath
lodged the Ladies of Croye in safety."

"Now Our Lady of Heaven be praised for it!" said the King. "Art
thou sure of it? -- sure of the good news?"

"As sure as I can be of aught," said Le Balafre, "the fellow, I
think, hath letters for your Majesty from the Ladies of Croye."

"Haste to get them," said the King. "Give the harquebuss to one
of these knaves -- to Oliver -- to any one. Now Our Lady of Embrun
be praised! and silver shall be the screen that surrounds her high
altar!"

Louis, in this fit of gratitude and devotion, doffed, as usual,
his hat, selected from the figures with which it was garnished that
which represented his favourite image of the Virgin, placed it on
a table, and, kneeling down, repeated reverently the vow he had
made.

The groom, being the first messenger whom Durward had despatched
from Schonwaldt, was now introduced with his letters. They were
addressed to the King by the Ladies of Croye, and barely thanked
him in very cold terms for his courtesy while at his Court,
and something more warmly for having permitted them to retire and
sent them in safety from his dominions; expressions at which Louis
laughed very heartily, instead of resenting them. He then demanded
of Charlot, with obvious interest, whether they had not sustained
some alarm or attack upon the road? Charlot, a stupid fellow, and
selected for that quality, gave a very confused account of the affray
in which his companion, the Gascon, had been killed, but knew of
no other. Again Louis demanded of him, minutely and particularly,
the route which the party had taken to Liege; and seemed much
interested when he was informed, in reply, that they had, upon
approaching Namur, kept the more direct road to Liege, upon the
right bank of the Maes, instead of the left bank, as recommended
in their route. The King then ordered the man a small present, and
dismissed him, disguising the anxiety he had expressed as if it
only concerned the safety of the Ladies of Croye.

Yet the news, though they implied the failure of one of his own
favourite plans, seemed to imply more internal satisfaction on
the King's part than he would have probably indicated in a case of
brilliant success. He sighed like one whose breast has been relieved
from a heavy burden, muttered his devotional acknowledgments with
an air of deep sanctity, raised up his eyes, and hastened to adjust
newer and surer schemes of ambition.

With such purpose, Louis ordered the attendance of his astrologer,
Martius Galeotti, who appeared with his usual air of assumed dignity,
yet not without a shade of uncertainty on his brow, as if he had
doubted the King's kind reception. It was, however, favourable,
even beyond the warmest which he had ever met with at any former
interview. Louis termed him his friend, his father in the sciences
-- the glass by which a king should look into distant futurity --
and concluded by thrusting on his finger a ring of very considerable
value. Galeotti, not aware of the circumstances which had thus
suddenly raised his character in the estimation of Louis, yet
understood his own profession too well to let that ignorance be
seen. He received with grave modesty the praises of Louis, which
he contended were only due to the nobleness of the science which
he practised, a science the rather the more deserving of admiration
on account of its working miracles through means of so feeble an
agent as himself; and he and the King took leave, for once much
satisfied with each other.

On the Astrologer's departure, Louis threw himself into a chair,
and appearing much exhausted, dismissed the rest of his attendants,
excepting Oliver alone, who, creeping around with gentle assiduity
and noiseless step, assisted him in the task of preparing for
repose.

While he received this assistance, the King, unlike to his wont, was
so silent and passive, that his attendant was struck by the unusual
change in his deportment. The worst minds have often something of
good principle in them -- banditti show fidelity to their captain,
and sometimes a protected and promoted favourite has felt a gleam
of sincere interest in the monarch to whom he owed his greatness.
Oliver le Diable, le Mauvais (or by whatever other name he was called
expressive of his evil propensities), was, nevertheless, scarcely
so completely identified with Satan as not to feel some touch of
grateful feeling for his master in this singular condition, when, as
it seemed, his fate was deeply interested and his strength seemed
to be exhausted. After for a short time rendering to the King
in silence the usual services paid by a servant to his master
at the toilette, the attendant was at length tempted to say, with
the freedom which his Sovereign's indulgence had permitted him in
such circumstances, "Tete dieu, Sire, you seem as if you had lost
a battle; and yet I, who was near your Majesty during this whole
day, never knew you fight a field so gallantly."

"A field!" said King Louis, looking up, and assuming his wonted
causticity of tone and manner. "Pasques dieu, my friend Oliver,
say I have kept the arena in a bullfight; for a blinder, and more
stubborn, untameable, uncontrollable brute than our cousin of
Burgundy never existed, save in the shape of a Murcian bull, trained
for the bull feasts. -- Well, let it pass -- I dodged him bravely.
But, Oliver, rejoice with me that my plans in Flanders have not
taken effect, whether as concerning those two rambling Princesses
of Croye, or in Liege -- you understand me?"

"In faith, I do not, Sire," replied Oliver; "it is impossible for
me to congratulate your Majesty on the failure of your favourite
schemes, unless you tell me some reason for the change in your own
wishes and views."

"Nay," answered the King, "there is no change in either, in a general
view. But, Pasques dieu, my friend, I have this day learned more of
Duke Charles than I before knew. When he was Count de Charalois, in
the time of the old Duke Philip and the banished Dauphin of France,
we drank, and hunted, and rambled together -- and many a wild
adventure we have had. And in those days I had a decided advantage
over him -- like that which a strong spirit naturally assumes
over a weak one. But he has since changed -- has become a dogged,
daring, assuming, disputatious dogmatist, who nourishes an obvious
wish to drive matters to extremities, while he thinks he has the
game in his own hands. I was compelled to glide as gently away from
each offensive topic, as if I touched red hot iron. I did but hint
at the possibility of those erratic Countesses of Croye, ere they
attained Liege (for thither I frankly confessed that, to the best
of my belief, they were gone), falling into the hands of some
wild snapper upon the frontiers, and, Pasques dieu! you would have
thought I had spoken of sacrilege. It is needless to tell you what
he said, and quite enough to say that I would have held my head's
safety very insecure, if, in that moment, accounts had been brought
of the success of thy friend, William with the Beard, in his and
thy honest scheme of bettering himself by marriage."

"No friend of mine, if it please your Majesty," said Oliver, "neither
friend nor plan of mine."

"True, Oliver," answered the King; "thy plan had not been to wed,
but to shave such a bridegroom. Well, thou didst wish her as bad
a one, when thou didst modestly hint at thyself. However, Oliver,
lucky the man who has her not; for hang, draw, and quarter were the
most gentle words which my gentle cousin spoke of him who should
wed the young Countess, his vassal, without his most ducal permission."

"And he is, doubtless, as jealous of any disturbances in the good
town of Liege?" asked the favourite.

"As much, or much more," replied the King, "as your understanding
may easily anticipate; but, ever since I resolved on coming hither,
my messengers have been in Liege to repress, for the present, every
movement to insurrection; and my very busy and bustling friends,
Rousalaer and Pavillon, have orders to be quiet as a mouse until
this happy meeting between my cousin and me is over."

"Judging, then, from your Majesty's account," said Oliver dryly,
"the utmost to be hoped from this meeting is that it should not make
your condition worse -- Surely this is like the crane that thrust
her head into the fox's mouth, and was glad to thank her good
fortune that it was not bitten off. Yet your Majesty seemed deeply
obliged even now to the sage philosopher who encouraged you to play
so hopeful a game."

"No game," said the King sharply, "is to be despaired of until it
is lost, and that I have no reason to expect it will be in my own
case. On the contrary, if nothing occurs to stir the rage of this
vindictive madman, I am sure of victory; and surely, I am not
a little obliged to the skill which selected for my agent, as the
conductor of the Ladies of Croye, a youth whose horoscope so far
corresponded with mine that he hath saved me from danger, even by
the disobedience of my own commands, and taking the route which
avoided De la Marck's ambuscade."

"Your Majesty," said Oliver, "may find many agents who will serve
you on the terms of acting rather after their own pleasure than
your instructions."

"Nay, nay, Oliver," said Louis impatiently, "the heathen poet speaks
of Vota diis exaudita malignis, -- wishes, that is, which the saints
grant to us in their wrath; and such, in the circumstances, would
have been the success of William de la Marck's exploit, had it
taken place about this time, and while I am in the power of this
Duke of Burgundy. -- And this my own art foresaw -- fortified by
that of Galeotti -- that is, I foresaw not the miscarriage of De
la Marck's undertaking, but I foresaw that the expedition of yonder
Scottish Archer should end happily for me -- and such has been the
issue, though in a manner different from what I expected; for the
stars, though they foretell general results, are yet silent on the
means by which such are accomplished, being often the very reverse
of what we expect, or even desire. -- But why talk I of these
mysteries to thee, Oliver, who art in so far worse than the very
devil, who is thy namesake, since he believes and trembles; whereas
thou art an infidel both to religion and to science, and wilt remain
so till thine own destiny is accomplished, which as thy horoscope
and physiognomy alike assure me, will be by the intervention of
the gallows!"

"And if it indeed shall be so," said Oliver, in a resigned tone of
voice, "it will be so ordered, because I was too grateful a servant
to hesitate at executing the commands of my royal master."

Louis burst into his usual sardonic laugh. -- "Thou hast broke thy
lance on me fairly, Oliver; and by Our Lady thou art right, for
I defied thee to it. But, prithee, tell me in sadness, dost thou
discover anything in these measures towards us which may argue any
suspicion of ill usage?"

"My Liege," replied Oliver, "your Majesty and yonder learned
philosopher look for augury to the stars and heavenly host -- I am
an earthly reptile, and consider but the things connected with my
vocation. But methinks there is a lack of that earnest and precise
attention on your Majesty which men show to a welcome guest of a
degree so far above them. The Duke tonight pleaded weariness, and
saw your Majesty not farther than to the street, leaving to the
officers of his household the task of conveying you to your lodgings.
The rooms here are hastily and carelessly fitted up -- the tapestry
is hung up awry -- and, in one of the pieces, as you may observe,
the figures are reversed and stand on their heads, while the trees
grow with their roots uppermost."

"Pshaw! accident, and the effect of hurry," said the King. "When
did you ever know me concerned about such trifles as these?"

"Not on their own account are they worth notice," said Oliver;
"but as intimating the degree of esteem in which the officers of
the Duke's household observe your Grace to be held by him. Believe
me, that, had his desire seemed sincere that your reception should
be in all points marked by scrupulous attention, the zeal of his
people would have made minutes do the work of days. -- And when,"
he added, pointing to the basin and ewer, "was the furniture of
your Majesty's toilette of other substance than silver?"

"Nay," said the King, with a constrained smile, "that last remark
upon the shaving utensils, Oliver, is too much in the style of thine
own peculiar occupation to be combated by any one. -- True it is,
that when I was only a refugee, and an exile, I was served upon gold
plate by order of the same Charles, who accounted silver too mean
for the Dauphin, though he seems to hold that metal too rich for
the King of France. Well, Oliver, we will to bed. -- Our resolution
has been made and executed; there is nothing to be done, but to play
manfully the game on which we have entered. I know that my cousin
of Burgundy, like other wild bulls, shuts his eyes when he begins
his career. I have but to watch that moment, like one of the
tauridors [Spanish bull fighters] whom we saw at Burgos, and his
impetuosity places him at my mercy."



CHAPTER XXVII: THE EXPLOSION

'T is listening fear, and dumb amazement all,
When to the startled eye, the sudden glance
Appears far south, eruptive through the cloud.

THOMSON'S SUMMER


The preceding chapter, agreeably to its title, was designed as a
retrospect which might enable the render fully to understand the
terms upon which the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy stood
together, when the former, moved partly perhaps by his belief
in astrology, which was represented as favourable to the issue of
such a measure, and in a great measure doubtless by the conscious
superiority of his own powers of mind over those of Charles, had
adopted the extraordinary, and upon any other ground altogether
inexplicable, resolution of committing his person to the faith of
a fierce and exasperated enemy -- a resolution also the more rash
and unaccountable, as there were various examples in that stormy
time to show that safe conducts, however solemnly plighted, had
proved no assurance for those in whose favour they were conceived;
and indeed the murder of the Duke's grandfather at the Bridge of
Montereau, in presence of the father of Louis, and at an interview
solemnly agreed upon for the establishment of peace and amnesty,
was a horrible precedent, should the Duke be disposed to resort to
it.

But the temper of Charles, though rough, fierce, headlong, and
unyielding, was not, unless in the full tide of passion, faithless
or ungenerous, faults which usually belong to colder dispositions.
He was at no pains to show the King more courtesy than the laws of
hospitality positively demanded; but, on the other hand, he evinced
no purpose of overleaping their sacred barriers.

On the following morning after the King's arrival, there was a
general muster of the troops of the Duke of Burgundy, which were
so numerous and so excellently appointed, that, perhaps, he was not
sorry to have an opportunity of displaying them before his great
rival. Indeed, while he paid the necessary compliment of a vassal
to his Suzerain, in declaring that these troops were the King's
and not his own, the curl of his upper lip and the proud glance
of his eye intimated his consciousness that the words he used were
but empty compliment, and that his fine army at his own unlimited
disposal, was as ready to march against Paris as in any other
direction. It must have added to Louis's mortification that he
recognised, as forming part of this host, many banners of French
nobility, not only of Normandy and Bretagne, but of provinces more
immediately subjected to his own authority, who, from various causes
of discontent, had joined and made common cause with the Duke of
Burgundy.

True to his character, however, Louis seemed to take little notice
of these malcontents, while, in fact, he was revolving in his mind
the various means by which it might be possible to detach them
from the banners of Burgundy and bring them back to his own, and
resolved for that purpose that he would cause those to whom he
attached the greatest importance to be secretly sounded by Oliver
and other agents.

He himself laboured diligently, but at the same time cautiously,
to make interest with the Duke's chief officers and advisers,
employing for that purpose the usual means of familiar and frequent
notice, adroit flattery, and liberal presents; not, as he represented,
to alienate their faithful services from their noble master, but
that they might lend their aid in preserving peace betwixt France
and Burgundy -- an end so excellent in itself, and so obviously
tending to the welfare of both countries and of the reigning Princes
of either.

The notice of so great and so wise a King was in itself a mighty
bribe; promises did much, and direct gifts, which the customs of the
time permitted the Burgundian courtiers to accept without scruple,
did still more. During a boar hunt in the forest, while the
Duke, eager always upon the immediate object, whether business
or pleasure, gave himself entirely up to the ardour of the chase,
Louis, unrestrained by his presence, sought and found the means of
speaking secretly and separately to many of those who were reported
to have most interest with Charles, among whom D'Hymbercourt and
Comines were not forgotten; nor did he fail to mix up the advances
which he made towards those two distinguished persons with praises
of the valour and military skill of the first, and of the profound
sagacity and literary talents of the future historian of the period.

Such an opportunity of personally conciliating, or, if the reader
pleases, corrupting the ministers of Charles, was perhaps what the
King had proposed to himself as a principal object of his visit, even
if his art should fail to cajole the Duke himself. The connection
betwixt France and Burgundy was so close that most of the nobles
belonging to the latter country had hopes or actual interests
connected with the former, which the favour of Louis could advance,
or his personal displeasure destroy. Formed for this and every other
species of intrigue, liberal to profusion when it was necessary to
advance his plans, and skilful in putting the most plausible colour
upon his proposals and presents, the King contrived to reconcile
the spirit of the proud to their profit, and to hold out to the
real or pretended patriot the good of both France and Burgundy as
the ostensible motive; whilst the party's own private interest, like
the concealed wheel of some machine, worked not the less powerfully
that its operations' were kept out of sight. For each man he had a
suitable bait, and a proper mode of presenting it; he poured the
guerdon into the sleeve of those who were too proud to extend their
hand, and trusted that his bounty, thought it descended like the
dew, without noise and imperceptibly, would not fail to produce,
in due season, a plentiful crop of goodwill at least, perhaps of
good offices, to the donor. In fine, although he had been long paving
the way by his ministers for an establishment of such an interest
in the Court of Burgundy as should be advantageous to the interests
of France, Louis's own personal exertions, directed doubtless by
the information of which he was previously possessed, did more to
accomplish that object in a few hours than his agents had effected
in years of negotiation.

One man alone the King missed, whom he had been particularly
desirous of conciliating, and that was the Count de Crevecoeur,
whose firmness, during his conduct as Envoy at Plessis, far from
exciting Louis's resentment, had been viewed as a reason for making
him his own if possible. He was not particularly gratified when he
learnt that the Count, at the head of an hundred lances, was gone
towards the frontiers of Brabant, to assist the Bishop, in case
of necessity, against William de la Marck and his discontented
subjects; but he consoled himself that the appearance of this
force, joined with the directions which he had sent by faithful
messengers, would serve to prevent any premature disturbances in
that country, the breaking out of which might, he foresaw, render
his present situation very precarious.

The Court upon this occasion dined in the forest when the hour
of noon arrived, as was common in those great hunting parties; an
arrangement at this time particularly agreeable to the Duke, desirous
as he was to abridge that ceremonious and deferential solemnity
with which he was otherwise under the necessity of receiving King
Louis. In fact, the King's knowledge of human nature had in one
particular misled him on this remarkable occasion. He thought that
the Duke would have been inexpressibly flattered to have received
such a mark of condescension and confidence from his liege lord;
but he forgot that the dependence of this dukedom upon the Crown
of France was privately the subject of galling mortification to a
Prince so powerful, so wealthy, and so proud as Charles, whose aim
it certainly was to establish an independent kingdom. The presence
of the King at the Court of the Duke of Burgundy imposed on that
prince the necessity of exhibiting himself in the subordinate
character of a vassal, and of discharging many rites of feudal
observance and deference, which, to one of his haughty disposition,
resembled derogation from the character of a Sovereign Prince,
which on all occasions he affected as far as possible to sustain.

But although it was possible to avoid much ceremony by having the
dinner upon the green turf, with sound of bugles, broaching of
barrels, and all the freedom of a sylvan meal, it was necessary
that the evening repast should, even for that very reason, be held
with more than usual solemnity.

Previous orders for this purpose had been given, and, upon returning to
Peronne, King Louis found a banquet prepared with such a profusion
of splendour and magnificence, as became the wealth of his formidable
vassal, possessed as he was of almost all the Low Countries, then
the richest portion of Europe. At the head of the long board, which
groaned under plate of gold and silver, filled to profusion with
the most exquisite dainties, sat the Duke, and on his right hand,
upon a seat more elevated than his own, was placed his royal guest.
Behind him stood on one side the son of the Duke of Gueldres, who
officiated as his grand carver -- on the other, Le Glorieux, his
jester, without whom he seldom stirred for, like most men of his
hasty and coarse character, Charles carried to extremity the general
taste of that age for court fools and jesters -- experiencing that
pleasure in their display of eccentricity and mental infirmity
which his more acute but not more benevolent rival loved better to
extract from marking the imperfections of humanity in its nobler
specimens, and finding subject for mirth in the "fears of the brave
and follies of the wise." And indeed, if the anecdote related by
Brantome be true, that a court fool, having overheard Louis, in
one of his agonies of repentant devotion, confess his accession to
the poisoning of his brother, Henry, Count of Guyenne, divulged it
next day at dinner before the assembled court, that monarch might
be supposed rather more than satisfied with the pleasantries of
professed jesters for the rest of his life.

But, on the present occasion, Louis neglected not to take notice
of the favourite buffoon of the Duke, and to applaud his repartees,
which he did the rather that he thought he saw that the folly of
Le Glorieux, however grossly it was sometimes displayed, covered
more than the usual quantity of shrewd and caustic observation
proper to his class.

In fact, Tiel Wetzweiler, called Le Glorieux, was by no means
a jester of the common stamp. He was a tall, fine looking man,
excellent at many exercises, which seemed scarce reconcilable with
mental imbecility, because it must have required patience and
attention to attain them. He usually followed the Duke to the chase
and to the fight; and at Montl'hery, when Charles was in considerable
personal danger, wounded in the throat, and likely to be made
prisoner by a French knight who had hold of his horse's rein,
Tiel Wetzweiler charged the assailant so forcibly as to overthrow
him and disengage his master. Perhaps he was afraid of this being
thought too serious a service for a person of his condition, and
that it might excite him enemies among those knights and nobles
who had left the care of their master's person to the court fool.
At any rate, he chose rather to be laughed at than praised for his
achievement; and made such gasconading boasts of his exploits in
the battle, that most men thought the rescue of Charles was as ideal
as the rest of his tale; and it was on this occasion he acquired
the title of Le Glorieux (or the boastful), by which he was ever
afterwards distinguished.

Le Glorieux was dressed very richly, but with little of the
usual distinction of his profession; and that little rather of a
symbolical than a very literal character. His head was not shorn;
on the contrary, he wore a profusion of long curled hair, which
descended from under his cap, and joining with a well arranged and
handsomely trimmed beard, set off features, which, but for a wild
lightness of eye, might have been termed handsome. A ridge of
scarlet velvet carried across the top of his cap indicated, rather
than positively represented, the professional cock's comb, which
distinguished the head gear of a fool in right of office. His bauble,
made of ebony, was crested as usual with a fool's head, with ass's
ears formed of silver; but so small, and so minutely carved, that,
till very closely examined, it might have passed for an official
baton of a more solemn character. These were the only badges of
his office which his dress exhibited. In other respects, it was
such as to match with that of the most courtly nobles. His bonnet
displayed a medal of gold, he wore a chain of the same metal around
his neck, and the fashion of his rich garments was not much more
fantastic than those of young gallants who have their clothes made
in the extremity of the existing fashion.

To this personage Charles, and Louis, in imitation of his host, often
addressed themselves during the entertainment; and both seemed to
manifest, by hearty laughter, their amusement at the answers of Le
Glorieux.

"Whose seats be those that are vacant?" said Charles to the jester.

"One of those at least should be mine by right of succession,
Charles," replied Le Glorieux.

"Why so, knave?" said Charles.

"Because they belong to the Sieur D'Hymbercourt and De Comines, who
are gone so far to fly their falcons, that they have forgot their
supper. They who would rather look at a kite on the wing than a
pheasant on the board, are of kin to the fool, and he should succeed
to the stools, as a part of their movable estate."

"That is but a stale jest, my friend Tiel," said the Duke; "but,
fools or wise men, here come the defaulters."

As he spoke, Comines and D'Hymbercourt entered the room, and, after
having made their reverence to the two Princes, assumed in silence
the seats which were left vacant for them.

"What ho! sirs," exclaimed the Duke, addressing them, "your sport
has been either very good or very bad, to lead you so far and so
late. Sir Philip de Comines, you are dejected -- hath D'Hymbercourt
won so heavy a wager on you? -- You are a philosopher, and should
not grieve at bad fortune. -- By Saint George D'Hymbercourt looks
as sad as thou dost. -- How now, sirs? Have you found no game? or
have you lost your falcons? or has a witch crossed your way? or
has the Wild Huntsman [the famous apparition, sometimes called le
Grand Veneur. Sully gives some account of this hunting spectre. S.]
met you in the forest? By my honour, you seem as if you were come
to a funeral, not a festival."

While the Duke spoke, the eyes of the company were all directed
towards D'Hymbercourt and De Comines; and the embarrassment and
dejection of their countenances, neither being of that class of
persons to whom such expression of anxious melancholy was natural,
became so remarkable, that the mirth and laughter of the company,
which the rapid circulation of goblets of excellent wine had raised
to a considerable height, was gradually hushed; and, without being
able to assign any reason for such a change in their spirits, men
spoke in whispers to each other, as on the eve of expecting some
strange and important tidings.

"What means this silence, Messires?" said the Duke, elevating his
voice, which was naturally harsh. "If you bring these strange looks,
and this stranger silence, into festivity, we shall wish you had
abode in the marshes seeking for herons, or rather for woodcocks
and howlets."

"My gracious lord," said De Comines, "as we were about to return
hither from the forest, we met the Count of Crevecoeur --"

"How!" said the Duke, "already returned from Brabant? -- but he
found all well there, doubtless?"

"The Count himself will presently give your Grace an account of
his news," said D'Hymbercourt, "which we have heard but imperfectly."

"Body of me, where is the Count?" said the Duke.

"He changes his dress, to wait upon your Highness," answered
D'Hymbercourt.

"His dress? Saint Bleu!" exclaimed the impatient Prince, "what care
I for his dress! I think you have conspired with him to drive me
mad."

"Or rather, to be plain," said De Comines, "he wishes to communicate
these news at a private audience."

"Teste dieu! my Lord King," said Charles, "this is ever the way
our counsellors serve us. -- If they have got hold of aught which
they consider as important for our ear, they look as grave upon the
matter and are as proud of their burden as an ass of a new pack
saddle. -- Some one bid Crevecoeur come to us directly! -- He
comes from the frontiers of Liege, and we, at least" (he laid some
emphasis on the pronoun), "have no secrets in that quarter which
we would shun to have proclaimed before the assembled world."

All perceived that the Duke had drunk so much wine as to increase
the native obstinacy of his disposition; and though many would
willingly have suggested that the present was neither a time for
hearing news nor for taking counsel, yet all knew the impetuosity
of his temper too well to venture on farther interference, and sat
in anxious expectation of the tidings which the Count might have
to communicate.

A brief interval intervened, during which the Duke remained looking
eagerly to the door, as if in a transport of impatience; whilst
the guests sat with their eyes bent on the table, as if to conceal
their curiosity and anxiety. Louis, alone maintaining perfect
composure, continued his conversation alternately with the grand
carver and with the jester.

At length Crevecoeur entered, and was presently saluted by the
hurried question of his master, "What news from Liege and Brabant,
Sir Count? -- the report of your arrival has chased mirth from our
table -- we hope your actual presence will bring it back to us."

"My Liege and master," answered the Count in a firm but melancholy
tone, "the news which I bring you are fitter for the council board
than the feasting table."

"Out with them, man, if they were tidings from Antichrist!" said
the Duke; "but I can guess them -- the Liegeois are again in mutiny."

"They are, my lord," said Crevecoeur very gravely.

"Look there," said the Duke, "I have hit at once on what you had
been so much afraid to mention to me: the hare brained burghers
are again in arms. It could not be in better time, for we may at
present have the advice of our own Suzerain," bowing to King Louis,
with eyes which spoke the most bitter though suppressed resentment,
"to teach us how such mutineers should be dealt with. -- Hast thou
more news in thy packet? Out with them, and then answer for yourself
why you went not forward to assist the Bishop."

"My lord, the farther tidings are heavy for me to tell, and will
be afflicting to you to hear. -- No aid of mine, or of living
chivalry, could have availed the excellent Prelate. William de la
Marck, united with the insurgent Liegeois, has taken his Castle of
Schonwaldt, and murdered him in his own hall."

"Murdered him!" repeated the Duke in a deep and low tone, which
nevertheless was heard from the one end of the hall in which they
were assembled to the other, "thou hast been imposed upon, Crevecoeur,
by some wild report -- it is impossible!"

"Alas! my lord!" said the Count, "I have it from an eyewitness, an
archer of the King of France's Scottish Guard, who was in the hall
when the murder was committed by William de la Marck's order."

"And who was doubtless aiding and abetting in the horrible
sacrilege," said the Duke, starting up and stamping with his foot
with such fury that he dashed in pieces the footstool which was
placed before him. "Bar the doors of this hall, gentlemen -- secure
the windows -- let no stranger stir from his seat, upon pain of
instant death! -- Gentlemen of my chamber, draw your swords."

And turning upon Louis, he advanced his own hand slowly and deliberately
to the hilt of his weapon, while the King, without either showing
fear or assuming a defensive posture, only said -- "These news,
fair cousin, have staggered your reason."

"No!" replied the Duke, in a terrible tone, "but they have awakened
a just resentment, which I have too long suffered to be stifled by
trivial considerations of circumstance and place. Murderer of thy
brother! -- rebel against thy parent -- tyrant over thy subjects!
-- treacherous ally! -- perjured King! -- dishonoured gentleman!
-- thou art in my power, and I thank God for it."

"Rather thank my folly," said the King; "for when we met on equal
terms at Montl'hery, methinks you wished yourself farther from me
than we are now."

The Duke still held his hand on the hilt of his sword, but refrained
to draw his weapon or to strike a foe who offered no sort of
resistance which could in any wise provoke violence.

Meanwhile, wild and general confusion spread itself through the hall.
The doors were now fastened and guarded by order of the Duke; but
several of the French nobles, few as they were in number, started
from their seats, and prepared for the defence of their Sovereign.
Louis had spoken not a word either to Orleans or Dunois since they
were liberated from restraint at the Castle of Loches, if it could
be termed liberation, to be dragged in King Louis's train, objects
of suspicion evidently, rather than of respect and regard; but,
nevertheless, the voice of Dunois was first heard above the tumult,
addressing himself to the Duke of Burgundy.

"Sir Duke, you have forgotten that you are a vassal of France, and
that we, your guests, are Frenchmen. If you lift a hand against
our Monarch, prepare to sustain the utmost effects of our despair;
for, credit me, we shall feast as high with the blood of Burgundy
as we have done with its wine. -- Courage, my Lord of Orleans --
and you, gentlemen of France, form yourselves round Dunois, and do
as he does."

It was in that moment when a King might see upon what tempers he
could certainly rely. The few independent nobles and knights who
attended Louis, most of whom had only received from him frowns or
discountenance, unappalled by the display of infinitely superior
force, and the certainty of destruction in case they came to blows,
hastened to array themselves around Dunois, and, led by him, to
press towards the head of the table where the contending Princes
were seated.

On the contrary, the tools and agents whom Louis had dragged forward
out of their fitting and natural places into importance which was
not due to them, showed cowardice and cold heart, and, remaining
still in their seats, seemed resolved not to provoke their fate by
intermeddling, whatever might become of their benefactor.

The first of the more generous party was the venerable Lord Crawford,
who, with an agility which no one would have expected at his years,
forced his way through all opposition (which was the less violent,
as many of the Burgundians, either from a point of honour, or
a secret inclination to prevent Louis's impending fate, gave way
to him), and threw himself boldly between the King and the Duke.
He then placed his bonnet, from which his white hair escaped in
dishevelled tresses, upon one side of his head -- his pale cheek
and withered brow coloured, and his aged eye lightened with all
the fire of a gallant who is about to dare some desperate action.
His cloak was flung over one shoulder, and his action intimated
his readiness to wrap it about his left arm, while he unsheathed
his sword with his right.

"I have fought for his father and his grandsire," that was all he
said, "and by Saint Andrew, end the matter as it will, I will not
fail him at this pinch."

What has taken some time to narrate, happened, in fact, with the
speed of light; for so soon as the Duke assumed his threatening
posture, Crawford had thrown himself betwixt him and the object of
his vengeance; and the French gentlemen, drawing together as fast
as they could, were crowding to the same point.

The Duke of Burgundy still remained with his hand on his sword, and
seemed in the act of giving the signal for a general onset, which
must necessarily have ended in the massacre of the weaker party,
when Crevecoeur rushed forward, and exclaimed in a voice like a
trumpet, "My liege Lord of Burgundy, beware what you do! This is
your hall -- you are the King's vassal -- do not spill the blood
of your guest on your hearth, the blood of your Sovereign on the
throne you have erected for him, and to which he came under your
safeguard. For the sake of your house's honour, do not attempt to
revenge one horrid murder by another yet worse!"

"Out of my road, Crevecoeur," answered the Duke, "and let my vengeance
pass! -- Out of my path! The wrath of kings is to be dreaded like
that of Heaven."

"Only when, like that of Heaven, it is just," answered Crevecoeur
firmly. "Let me pray of you, my lord, to rein the violence of
your temper, however justly offended. -- And for you, my Lords of
France, where resistance is unavailing, let me recommend you to
forbear whatever may lead towards bloodshed."

"He is right," said Louis, whose coolness forsook him not in that
dreadful moment, and who easily foresaw that if a brawl should
commence, more violence would be dared and done in the heat of
blood than was likely to be attempted if peace were preserved.

"My cousin Orleans -- kind Dunois -- and you, my trusty Crawford
-- bring not on ruin and bloodshed by taking offence too hastily.
Our cousin the Duke is chafed at the tidings of the death of a near
and loving friend, the venerable Bishop of Liege, whose slaughter
we lament as he does. Ancient, and, unhappily, recent subjects of
jealousy lead him to suspect us of having abetted a crime which
our bosom abhors. Should our host murder us on this spot -- us,
his King and his kinsman, under a false impression of our being
accessory to this unhappy accident, our fate will be little lightened,
but, on the contrary, greatly aggravated, by your stirring. --
Therefore stand back, Crawford. -- Were it my last word, I speak as
a King to his officer, and demand obedience. -- Stand back, and,
if it is required, yield up your sword. I command you to do so,
and your oath obliges you to obey."

"True, true, my lord," said Crawford, stepping back, and returning
to the sheath the blade he had half drawn. -- "It may be all very
true; but, by my honour, if I were at the head of threescore and
ten of my brave fellows, instead of being loaded with more than the
like number of years, I would try whether I could have some reason
out of these fine gallants, with their golden chains and looped up
bonnets, with braw warld dyes [gaudy colors] and devices on them."

The Duke stood with his eyes fixed on the ground for a considerable
space, and then said, with bitter irony, "Crevecoeur, you say
well; and it concerns our honour that our obligations to this great
King, our honoured and loving guest, be not so hastily adjusted, as
in our hasty anger we had at first proposed. We will so act that
all Europe shall acknowledge the justice of our proceedings. --
Gentlemen of France, you must render up your arms to my officers!
Your master has broken the truce, and has no title to take farther
benefit of it. In compassion, however, to your sentiments of
honour, and in respect to the rank which he hath disgraced, and the
race from which he hath degenerated, we ask not our cousin Louis's
sword."

"Not one of us," said Dunois, "will resign our weapon, or quit this
hall, unless we are assured of at least our King's safety, in life
and limb."

"Nor will a man of the Scottish Guard," exclaimed Crawford, "lay
down his arms, save at the command of the King of France, or his
High Constable."

"Brave Dunois," said Louis, "and you, my trusty Crawford, your zeal
will do me injury instead of benefit. -- I trust," he added with
dignity, "in my rightful cause, more than in a vain resistance,
which would but cost the lives of my best and bravest. Give up
your swords. -- The noble Burgundians, who accept such honourable
pledges, will be more able than you are to protect both you and
me. -- Give up your swords. -- It is I who command you."

It was thus that, in this dreadful emergency, Louis showed the
promptitude of decision and clearness of judgment which alone could
have saved his life. He was aware that, until actual blows were
exchanged, he should have the assistance of most of the nobles
present to moderate the fury of their Prince; but that, were a melee
once commenced, he himself and his few adherents must be instantly
murdered. At the same time, his worst enemies confessed that
his demeanour had in it nothing either of meanness or cowardice.
He shunned to aggravate into frenzy the wrath of the Duke; but he
neither deprecated nor seemed to fear it, and continued to look on
him with the calm and fixed attention with which a brave man eyes
the menacing gestures of a lunatic, whilst conscious that his own
steadiness and composure operate as an insensible and powerful
check on the rage even of insanity.

Crawford, at the King's command, threw his sword to Crevecoeur,
saying, "Take it! and the devil give you joy of it. -- It is no
dishonour to the rightful owner who yields it, for we have had no
fair play."

"Hold, gentlemen," said the Duke in a broken voice, as one whom
passion had almost deprived of utterance, "retain your swords; it is
sufficient you promise not to use them. And you, Louis of Valois,
must regard yourself as my prisoner, until you are cleared of having
abetted sacrilege and murder. Have him to the Castle. -- Have him
to Earl Herbert's Tower. Let him have six gentlemen of his train to
attend him, such as he shall choose. -- My Lord of Crawford, your
guard must leave the Castle, and shall be honourably quartered
elsewhere. Up with every drawbridge, and down with every portcullis. --
Let the gates of the town be trebly guarded. -- Draw the floating
bridge to the right hand side of the river. -- Bring round
the Castle my band of Black Walloons [regiments of Dutch troops,
wearing black armour], and treble the sentinels on every post! --
You, D'Hymbercourt, look that patrols of horse and foot make the
round of the town every half hour during the night and every hour
during the next day -- if indeed such ward shall be necessary after
daybreak, for it is like we may be sudden in this matter. -- Look
to the person of Louis, as you love your life."

He started from the table in fierce and moody haste, darted a glance
of mortal enmity at the King, and rushed out of the apartment.

"Sirs," said the King, looking with dignity around him, "grief for
the death of his ally hath made your Prince frantic. I trust you
know better your duty, as knights and noblemen, than to abet him
in his treasonable violence against the person of his liege Lord."

At this moment was heard in the streets the sound of drums beating,
and horns blowing, to call out the soldiery in every direction.

"We are," said Crevecoeur, who acted as the Marshal of the Duke's
household, "subjects of Burgundy, and must do our duty as such. Our
hopes and prayers, and our efforts, will not be wanting to bring
about peace and union between your Majesty and our liege Lord.
Meantime, we must obey his commands. These other lords and knights
will be proud to contribute to the convenience of the illustrious
Duke of Orleans, of the brave Dunois, and the stout Lord Crawford.
I myself must be your Majesty's chamberlain, and bring you to your
apartments in other guise than would be my desire, remembering the
hospitality of Plessis. You have only to choose your attendants,
whom the Duke's commands limit to six."

"Then," said the King, looking around him, and thinking for a moment
-- "I desire the attendance of Oliver le Dain, of a private of my
Life Guard called Balafre, who may be unarmed if you will -- of
Tristan l'Hermite, with two of his people -- and my right royal
and trusty philosopher, Martius Galeotti."

"Your Majesty's will shall be complied with in all points," said
the Count de Crevecoeur. "Galeotti," he added, after a moment's
inquiry, "is, I understand, at present supping in some buxom
company, but he shall instantly be sent for; the others will obey
your Majesty's command upon the instant."

"Forward, then, to the new abode, which the hospitality of our
cousin provides for us," said the King. "We know it is strong, and
have only to hope it may be in a corresponding degree safe."

"Heard you the choice which King Louis has made of his attendants?"
said Le Glorieux to Count Crevecoeur apart, as they followed Louis
from the hall.

"Surely, my merry gossip," replied the Count. "What hast thou to
object to them?"

"Nothing, nothing -- only they are a rare election! -- A panderly
barber -- a Scottish hired cutthroat -- a chief hangman and his two
assistants, and a thieving charlatan. -- I will along with you,
Crevecoeur, and take a lesson in the degrees of roguery, from
observing your skill in marshalling them. The devil himself could
scarce have summoned such a synod, or have been a better president
amongst them."

Accordingly, the all licensed jester, seizing the Count's arm
familiarly, began to march along with him, while, under a strong
guard, yet forgetting no semblance of respect, he conducted the
King towards his new apartment.

[The historical facts attending this celebrated interview are
expounded and enlarged upon in this chapter. Agents sent by Louis
had tempted the people of Liege to rebel against their superior,
Duke Charles, and persecute and murder their Bishop. But Louis was
not prepared for their acting with such promptitude. They flew to
arms with the temerity of a fickle rabble, took the Bishop prisoner,
menaced and insulted him, and tore to pieces one or two of his
canons. This news was sent to the Duke of Burgundy at the moment
when Louis had so unguardedly placed himself in his power; and
the consequence was that Charles placed guards on the Castle of
Peronne, and, deeply resenting the treachery of the king of France
in exciting sedition in his dominions, while he pretended the most
intimate friendship, he deliberated whether he should not put Louis
to death. Three days Louis was detained in this very precarious
situation, and it was only his profuse liberality amongst Charles's
favourites and courtiers which finally ensured him from death or
deposition. Comines, who was the Duke of Burgundy's chamberlain at
the time, and slept in his apartment, says Charles neither undressed
nor slept, but flung himself from time to time on the bed, and,
at other times, wildly traversed the apartment. It was long before
his violent temper became in any degree tractable. At length he only
agreed to give Louis his liberty, on condition of his accompanying
him in person against, and employing his troops in subduing, the
mutineers whom his intrigues had instigated to arms. This was a
bitter and degrading alternative. But Louis, seeing no other mode
of compounding for the effects of his rashness, not only submitted
to this discreditable condition, but swore to it upon a crucifix
said to have belonged to Charlemagne. These particulars are from
Comines. There is a succinct epitome of them in Sir Nathaniel
Wraxall's History of France, vol. i. -- S.]



CHAPTER XXVIII: UNCERTAINTY

Then happy low, lie down;
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

SECOND PART OF KING HENRY IV.


Forty men at arms, carrying alternately naked swords and blazing
torches, served as the escort, or rather the guard, of King Louis,
from the town hall of Peronne to the Castle; and as he entered
within its darksome and gloomy strength, it seemed as if a voice
screamed in his ear that warning which the Florentine has inscribed
over the portal of the infernal regions, "Leave all hope behind."

[The Florentine (1265-1321): Dante Alighieri, the greatest of
Italian poets. The Divine Comedy, his chief work, describes his
passage through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven; the inscription here
referred to Dante places at the entrance of Hell.]

At that moment, perhaps, some feeling of remorse might have crossed
the King's mind, had he thought on the hundreds, nay, thousands
whom, without cause, or on light suspicion, he had committed to
the abysses of his dungeons, deprived of all hope of liberty, and
loathing even the life to which they clung by animal instinct.

The broad glare of the torches outfacing the pale moon, which was
more obscured on this than on the former night, and the red smoky
light which they dispersed around the ancient buildings, gave a
darker shade to that huge donjon, called the Earl Herbert's Tower.
It was the same that Louis had viewed with misgiving presentiment
on the preceding evening, and of which he was now doomed to become
an inhabitant, under the terror of what violence soever the wrathful
temper of his overgrown vassal might tempt him to exercise in those
secret recesses of despotism.

To aggravate the King's painful feelings, he saw, as he crossed the
courtyard, one or two bodies, over each of which had been hastily
flung a military cloak. He was not long in discerning that they
were corpses of slain Archers of the Scottish Guard, who having
disputed, as the Count Crevecoeur informed him, the command given
them to quit the post near the King's apartments, a brawl had
ensued between them and the Duke's Walloon bodyguards, and before
it could be composed by the officers on either side, several lives
had been lost.

"My trusty Scots!" said the King as he looked upon this melancholy
spectacle; "had they brought only man to man, all Flanders, ay,
and Burgundy to boot, had not furnished champions to mate you."

"Yes, an it please your Majesty," said Balafre, who attended close
behind the King, "Maistery mows the meadow [maist, a Scotch form
of most.  That is, there is strength in numbers] -- few men can
fight more than two at once. -- I myself never care to meet three,
unless it be in the way of special duty, when one must not stand
to count heads."

"Art thou there, old acquaintance," said the King, looking behind
him; "then I have one true subject with me yet."

"And a faithful minister, whether in your councils, or in his
offices about your royal person," whispered Oliver le Dain.

"We are all faithful," said Tristan l'Hermite gruffly; "for should
they put to death your Majesty, there is not one of us whom they
would suffer to survive you, even if we would."

"Now, that is what I call good corporal bail for fidelity," said Le
Glorieux, who, as already mentioned, with the restlessness proper
to an infirm brain, had thrust himself into their company.

Meanwhile the Seneschal, hastily summoned, was turning with laborious
effort the ponderous key which opened the reluctant gate of the
huge Gothic Keep, and was at last fain to call for the assistance
of one of Crevecoeur's attendants. When they had succeeded, six
men entered with torches, and showed the way through a narrow and
winding passage, commanded at different points by shot holes from
vaults and casements constructed behind, and in the thickness
of the massive walls. At the end of this passage arose a stair of
corresponding rudeness, consisting of huge blocks of stone, roughly
dressed with the hammer, and of unequal height. Having mounted this
ascent, a strong iron clenched door admitted them to what had been
the great hall of the donjon, lighted but very faintly even during
the daytime (for the apertures, diminished, in appearance by
the excessive thickness of the walls, resembled slits rather than
windows), and now but for the blaze of the torches, almost perfectly
dark. Two or three bats, and other birds of evil presage, roused
by the unusual glare, flew against the lights, and threatened to
extinguish them; while the Seneschal formally apologized to the
King that the State Hall had not been put in order, such was the
hurry of the notice sent to him, adding that, in truth, the apartment
had not been in use for twenty years, and rarely before that time,
so far as ever he had heard, since the time of King Charles the
Simple.

"King Charles the Simple!" echoed Louis; "I know the history of
the Tower now. -- He was here murdered by his treacherous vassal,
Herbert, Earl of Vermandois. -- So say our annals. I knew there
was something concerning the Castle of Peronne which dwelt on my
mind, though I could not recall the circumstance. -- Here, then,
my predecessor was slain!"

"Not here, not exactly here, and please your Majesty," said the old
Seneschal, stepping with the eager haste of a cicerone who shows
the curiosities of such a place.

"Not here, but in the side chamber a little onward, which opens
from your Majesty's bedchamber."

He hastily opened a wicket at the upper end of the hall, which led
into a bedchamber, small, as is usual in those old buildings; but,
even for that reason, rather more comfortable than the waste hall
through which they had passed. Some hasty preparations had been
here made for the King's accommodation. Arras had been tacked up,
a fire lighted in the rusty grate, which had been long unused, and
a pallet laid down for those gentlemen who were to pass the night
in his chamber, as was then usual.

"We will get beds in the hall for the rest of your attendants,"
said the garrulous old man; "but we have had such brief notice, if
it please your Majesty. -- And if it please your Majesty to look
upon this little wicket behind the arras, it opens into the little
old cabinet in the thickness of the wall where Charles was slain;
and there is a secret passage from below, which admitted the men
who were to deal with him. And your Majesty, whose eyesight I hope
is better than mine, may see the blood still on the oak floor,
though the thing was done five hundred years ago."

While he thus spoke, he kept fumbling to open the postern of which
he spoke, until the King said, "Forbear, old man -- forbear but a
little while, when thou mayst have a newer tale to tell, and fresher
blood to show. -- My Lord of Crevecoeur, what say you?"

"I can but answer, Sire, that these two interior apartments are
as much at your Majesty's disposal as those in your own Castle at
Plessis, and that Crevecoeur, a name never blackened by treachery
or assassination, has the guard of the exterior defences of it."

"But the private passage into that closet, of which the old man
speaks?" This King Louis said in a low and anxious tone, holding
Crevecoeur's arm fast with one hand, and pointing to the wicket
door with the other.

"It must be some dream of Mornay's," said Crevecoeur, "or some old
and absurd tradition of the place; but we will examine."

He was about to open the closet door, when Louis answered, "No,
Crevecoeur, no. -- Your honour is sufficient warrant. -- But what
will your Duke do with me, Crevecoeur? He cannot hope to keep me
long a prisoner; and -- in short, give me your opinion, Crevecoeur."

"My Lord, and Sire," said the Count, "how the Duke of Burgundy must
resent this horrible cruelty on the person of his near relative
and ally, is for your Majesty to judge; and what right he may
have to consider it as instigated by your Majesty's emissaries,
you only can know. But my master is noble in his disposition, and
made incapable, even by the very strength of his passions, of any
underhand practices. Whatever he does, will be done in the face
of day, and of the two nations. And I can but add, that it will be
the wish of every counsellor around him -- excepting perhaps one --
that he should behave in this matter with mildness and generosity,
as well as justice."

"Ah! Crevecoeur," said Louis, taking his hand as if affected by some
painful recollections, "how happy is the Prince who has counsellors
near him, who can guard him against the effects of his own angry
passions! Their names will be read in golden letters, when the
history of his reign is perused. -- Noble Crevecoeur, had it been
my lot to have such as thou art about my person!"

"It had in that case been your Majesty's study to have got rid of
them as fast as you could," said Le Glorieux.

"Aha! Sir Wisdom, art thou there?" said Louis, turning round, and
instantly changing the pathetic tone in which he had addressed
Crevecoeur, and adopting with facility one which had a turn of
gaiety in it. -- "Hast thou followed us hither?"

"Ay, Sir," answered Le Glorieux, "Wisdom must follow, in motley,
where Folly leads the way in purple."

"How shall I construe that, Sir Solomon?" answered Louis. "Wouldst
thou change conditions with me?"

"Not I, by my halidome," quoth Le Glorieux, "if you would give me
fifty crowns to boot."

"Why, wherefore so? -- Methinks I could be well enough contented,
as princes go, to have thee for my king."

"Ay, Sire," replied Le Glorieux, "but the question is, whether,
judging of your Majesty's wit from its having lodged you here, I
should not have cause to be ashamed of having so dull a fool."

"Peace, sirrah!" said the Count of Crevecoeur, "your tongue runs
too fast."

"Let it take its course," said the King, "I know of no such fair
subject of raillery as the follies of those who should know better.
-- Here, my sagacious friend, take this purse of gold, and with it
the advice never to be so great a fool as to deem yourself wiser
than other people. Prithee, do me so much favour as to inquire after
my astrologer, Martius Galeotti, and send him hither to me presently."

"I will, without fail, my Liege," answered the jester; "and I wot
well I shall find him at Jan Dopplethur's, for philosophers, as
well as fools, know where the best wine is sold."

"Let me pray for free entrance for this learned person through your
guards, Seignior de Crevecoeur," said Louis.

"For his entrance, unquestionably," answered the Count; "but it
grieves me to add that my instructions do not authorize me to permit
any one to quit your Majesty's apartments. -- I wish your Majesty
a goodnight," he subjoined, "and will presently make such arrangements
in the outer hall, as may put the gentlemen who are to inhabit it
more at their ease."

"Give yourself no trouble for them, Sir Count," replied the King,
"they are men accustomed to set hardships at defiance; and, to
speak truth, excepting that I wish to see Galeotti, I would desire
as little farther communication from without this night as may be
consistent with your instructions."

"These are, to leave your Majesty," replied Crevecoeur, "undisputed
possession of your own apartments. Such are my master's orders."

"Your Master, Count," answered Louis, "whom I may also term mine,
is a right gracious master. -- My dominions," he added, "are somewhat
shrunk in compass, now that they have dwindled to an old hall and
a bedchamber, but they are still wide enough for all the subjects
which I can at present boast of."

The Count of Crevecoeur took his leave, and shortly after, they could
hear the noise of the sentinels moving to their posts, accompanied
with the word of command from the officers, and the hasty tread of
the guards who were relieved. At length all became still, and the
only sound which filled the air was the sluggish murmur of the
river Somme, as it glided, deep and muddy, under the walls of the
castle.

"Go into the hall, my mates," said Louis to his train; "but do
not lie down to sleep. Hold yourselves in readiness, for there is
still something to be done tonight, and that of moment."

Oliver and Tristan retired to the hall, accordingly, in which Le
Balafre and the two officers had remained, when the others entered
the bedchamber. They found that those without had thrown fagots
enough upon the fire to serve the purpose of light and heat at the
same time, and, wrapping themselves in their cloaks, had sat down
on the floor, in postures which variously expressed the discomposure
and dejection of their minds. Oliver and Tristan saw nothing better
to be done than to follow their example and, never very good friends
in the days of their court prosperity, they were both equally
reluctant to repose confidence in each other upon this strange and
sudden reverse of fortune. So the whole party sat in silent dejection.

Meanwhile their master underwent, in the retirement of his secret
chamber, agonies that might have atoned for some of those which
had been imposed by his command. He paced the room with short and
unequal steps, often stood still and clasped his hands together,
and gave loose, in short, to agitation, which in public he had
found himself able to suppress so successfully. At length, pausing
and wringing his hands, he planted himself opposite to the wicket
door, which had been pointed out by old Mornay as leading to the
scene of the murder of one of his predecessors, and gradually gave
voice to his feelings in a broken soliloquy.

"Charles the Simple -- Charles the Simple! -- what will posterity
call the Eleventh Louis, whose blood will probably soon refresh
the stains of thine! Louis the Fool -- Louis the Driveller -- Louis
the Infatuated -- are all terms too slight to mark the extremity
of my idiocy! To think these hot headed Liegeois, to whom rebellion
is as natural as their food, would remain quiet -- to dream that
the Wild Beast of Ardennes would for a moment be interrupted in
his career of force and bloodthirsty brutality -- to suppose that
I could use reason and arguments to any good purpose with Charles
of Burgundy, until I had tried the force of such exhortations with
success upon a wild bull. Fool, and double idiot that I was! But
the villain Martius shall not escape. -- He has been at the bottom
of this, he and the vile priest, the detestable Balue.  If I ever
get out of this danger, I will tear from his head the Cardinal's
cap, though I pull the scalp along with it! But the other traitor
is in my hands -- I am yet King enough -- have yet an empire roomy
enough -- for the punishment of the quack salving, word mongering,
star gazing, lie coining impostor, who has at once made a prisoner
and a dupe of me! -- The conjunction of the constellations -- ay,
the conjunction. -- He must talk nonsense which would scarce gull
a thrice sodden sheep's head, and I must be idiot enough to think
I understand him! But we shall see presently what the conjunction
hath really boded. But first let me to my devotions."

[Louis kept his promise of vengeance against Cardinal La Balue, whom
he always blamed as having betrayed him to Burgundy. After he had
returned to his own kingdom, he caused his late favourite to be
immured in one of the iron cages at Loches. These were constructed
with horrible ingenuity, so that a person of ordinary size could
neither stand up at his full height, nor lie lengthwise in them.
Some ascribe this horrid device to Balue himself. At any rate, he
was confined in one of these dens for eleven years, nor did Louis
permit him to be liberated till his last illness. S.]

Above the little door, in memory perhaps of the deed which had been
done within, was a rude niche, containing a crucifix cut in stone.
Upon this emblem the King fixed his eyes, as if about to kneel, but
stopped short, as if he applied to the blessed image the principles
of worldly policy, and deemed it rash to approach its presence
without having secured the private intercession of some supposed
favourite. He therefore turned from the crucifix as unworthy to
look upon it, and selecting from the images with which, as often
mentioned, his hat was completely garnished, a representation of
the Lady of Clery, knelt down before it, and made the following
extraordinary prayer; in which, it is to be observed, the grossness
of his superstition induced him, in some degree, to consider the
Virgin of Clery as a different person from the Madonna of Embrun,
a favourite idol, to whom he often paid his vows.

"Sweet Lady of Clery," he exclaimed, clasping his hands and beating
his breast while he spoke, "blessed Mother of Mercy! thou who art
omnipotent with Omnipotence, have compassion with me, a sinner!
It is true, that I have something neglected thee for thy blessed
sister of Embrun; but I am a King, my power is great, my wealth
boundless; and, were it otherwise, I would double the gabelle on
my subjects, rather than not pay my debts to you both. Undo these
iron doors -- fill up these tremendous moats -- lead me, as a mother
leads a child, out of this present and pressing danger! If I have
given thy sister the county of Boulogne, to be held of her for ever,
have I no means of showing devotion to thee also? Thou shalt have
the broad and rich province of Champagne, and its vineyards shall
pour their abundance into thy convent. I had promised the province
to my brother Charles; but he, thou knowest, is dead -- poisoned
by that wicked Abbe of Saint John d'Angely, whom, if I live, I will
punish! -- I promised this once before, but this time I will keep
my word. -- If I had any knowledge of the crime, believe, dearest
patroness, it was because I knew no better method of quieting the
discontents of my kingdom. Oh, do not reckon that old debt to my
account today; but be, as thou hast ever been, kind, benignant, and
easy to be entreated! Sweetest Lady, work with thy child, that he
will pardon all past sins, and one -- one little deed which I must
do this night -- nay, it is no sin, dearest Lady of Clery -- no
sin, but an act of justice privately administered, for the villain
is the greatest impostor that ever poured falsehood into a Prince's
ear, and leans besides to the filthy heresy of the Greeks. He is
not deserving of thy protection, leave him to my care; and hold
it as good service that I rid the world of him, for the man is
a necromancer and wizard, that is not worth thy thought and care
-- a dog, the extinction of whose life ought to be of as little
consequence in thine eyes as the treading out a spark that drops
from a lamp, or springs from a fire. Think not of this little matter,
gentlest, kindest Lady, but only consider how thou canst best aid
me in my troubles! and I here, bind my royal signet to thy effigy,
in token that I will keep word concerning the county of Champagne,
and that this shall be the last time I will trouble thee in affairs of
blood, knowing thou art so kind, so gentle, and so tender hearted."

[As overheard and reported by the court jester this historic prayer
reads as follows: "Ah, my good Lady, my gentle mistress, my only
friend, in whom alone I have resource, I pray you to supplicate God
in my behalf, and to be my advocate with him that he may pardon me
the death of my brother whom I caused to be poisoned by that wicked
Abbot of Saint John. I confess my guilt to thee as to my good
patroness and mistress. But then what could I do? he was perpetually
causing disorder in my kingdom. Cause me then to be pardoned, my
good Lady, and I know what a reward I will give thee."]

After this extraordinary contract with the object of his adoration,
Louis recited, apparently with deep devotion, the seven penitential
psalms [the 6th, 32d, 38th, 51st, 102d, 130th, and 143d, so called
from their penitential character] in Latin, and several aves and
prayers especially belonging to the service of the Virgin. He then
arose, satisfied that he had secured the intercession of the Saint
to whom he had prayed, the rather, as he craftily reflected, that
most of the sins for which he had requested her mediation on former
occasions had been of a different character, and that, therefore,
the Lady of Clery was less likely to consider him as a hardened and
habitual shedder of blood than the other saints whom he had more
frequently made confidants of his crimes in that respect.

When he had thus cleared his conscience, or rather whited it over
like a sepulchre, the King thrust his head out at the door of the
hall, and summoned Le Balafre into his apartment. "My good soldier,"
he said, "thou hast served me long, and hast had little promotion.
We are here in a case where I may either live or die; but I would
not willingly die an ungrateful man, or leave, so far as the Saints
may place it in my power, either a friend or an enemy unrecompensed.
Now I have a friend to be rewarded, that is thyself -- an enemy
to be punished according to his deserts, and that is the base,
treacherous villain; Martius Galeotti, who, by his impostures
and specious falsehoods, has trained me hither into the power of
my mortal enemy, with as firm a purpose of my destruction as ever
butcher had of slaying the beast which he drove to the shambles."

"I will challenge him on that quarrel, since they say he is a
fighting blade, though he looks somewhat unwieldy," said Le Balafre.
"I doubt not but the Duke of Burgundy is so much a friend to men of
the sword that he will allow us a fair field within some reasonable
space, and if your Majesty live so long, and enjoy so much freedom,
you shall behold me do battle in your right, and take as proper a
vengeance on this philosopher as your heart could desire."

"I commend your bravery and your devotion to my service," said the
King. "But this treacherous villain is a stout man at arms, and I
would not willingly risk thy life, my brave soldier."

"I were no brave soldier, if it please your Majesty," said Balafre,
"if I dared not face a better man than he. A fine thing it would
be for me, who can neither read nor write, to be afraid of a fat
lurdane, who has done little else all his Life!"

"Nevertheless," said the King, "it is not our pleasure so to put
thee in venture, Balafre. This traitor comes hither, summoned by our
command. We would have thee, so soon as thou canst find occasion,
close up with him, and smite him under the fifth rib. -- Dost thou
understand me?"

"Truly I do," answered Le Balafre, "but, if it please your Majesty,
this is a matter entirely out of my course of practice. I could not
kill you a dog unless it were in hot assault, or pursuit, or upon
defiance given, or such like."

"Why, sure, thou dost not pretend to tenderness of heart," said
the King; "thou who hast been first in storm and siege, and most
eager, as men tell me, on the pleasures and advantages which are
gained on such occasions by the rough heart and the bloody hand?"

"My lord," answered Le Balafre, "I have neither feared nor spared
your enemies, sword in hand. And an assault is a desperate matter,
under risks which raise a man's blood so that, by Saint Andrew, it
will not settle for an hour or two -- which I call a fair license
for plundering after a storm. And God pity us poor soldiers, who
are first driven mad with danger, and then madder with victory. I
have heard of a legion consisting entirely of saints; and methinks
it would take them all to pray and intercede for the rest of the
army, and for all who wear plumes and corselets, buff coats and
broadswords. But what your Majesty purposes is out of my course of
practice, though I will never deny that it has been wide enough. As
for the Astrologer, if he be a traitor, let him e'en die a traitor's
death -- I will neither meddle nor make with it. Your Majesty has
your Provost and two of his Marshals men without, who are more fit
for dealing with him than a Scottish gentleman of my family and
standing in the service."

"You say well," said the King; "but, at least, it belongs to thy
duty to prevent interruption, and to guard the execution of my most
just sentence."

"I will do so against all Peronne," said Le Balafre. "Your Majesty
need not doubt my fealty in that which I can reconcile to my
conscience, which, for mine own convenience and the service of your
royal Majesty, I can vouch to be a pretty large one -- at least, I
know I have done some deeds for your Majesty, which I would rather
have eaten a handful of my own dagger than I would have done for
any one else."

"Let that rest," said the King, "and hear you -- when Galeotti is
admitted, and the door shut on him, do you stand to your weapon,
and guard the entrance on the inside of the apartment. Let no one
intrude -- that is all I require of you. Go hence, and send the
Provost Marshal to me."

Balafre left the apartment accordingly, and in a minute afterwards
Tristan l'Hermite entered from the hall.

"Welcome, gossip," said the King; "what thinkest thou of our
situation?"

"As of men sentenced to death," said the Provost Marshal, "unless
there come a reprieve from the Duke."'

"Reprieved or not, he that decoyed us into this snare shalt go our
fourrier to the next world, to take up lodgings for us," said the
King, with a grisly and ferocious smile. "Tristan, thou hast done
many an act of brave justice -- finis -- I should have said funis
coronat opus [the end -- I should have said the rope -- crowns the
work] -- thou must stand by me to the end."

"I will, my Liege," said Tristan, "I am but a plain fellow, but I
am grateful. I will do my duty within these walls, or elsewhere;
and while I live, your Majesty's breath shall pour as potential a
note of condemnation, and your sentence be as literally executed,
as when you sat on your own throne. They may deal with me the next
hour for it if they will -- I care not."

"It is even what I expected of thee, my loving gossip," said Louis;
"but hast thou good assistance? -- The traitor is strong and able
bodied, and will doubtless be clamorous for aid. The Scot will do
naught but keep the door, and well that he can be brought to that
by flattery and humouring. Then Oliver is good for nothing but
lying, flattering, and suggesting dangerous counsels; and, Ventre
Saint Dieu! I think is more like one day to deserve the halter
himself than to use it to another. Have you men, think you, and
means, to make sharp and sure work?"

"I have Trois Eschelles and Petit Andre with me," said he, "men so
expert in their office that, out of three men, they would hang up
one ere his two companions were aware. And we have all resolved
to live or die with your Majesty, knowing we shall have as short
breath to draw when you are gone, as ever fell to the lot of
any of our patients. -- But what is to be our present subject, an
it please your Majesty? I love to be sure of my man; for, as your
Majesty is pleased sometimes to remind me, I have now and then
mistaken the criminal, and strung up in his place an honest labourer,
who had given your Majesty no offence."

"Most true," said the other. "Know then, Tristan, that the condemned
person is Martius Galeotti. -- You start, but it is even as I say.
The villain hath trained us all hither by false and treacherous
representations, that he might put us into the hands of the Duke
of Burgundy without defence."

"But not without vengeance!" said Tristan, "were it the last act
of my life, I would sting him home like an expiring wasp, should
I be crushed to pieces on the next instant!"

"I know thy trusty spirit," said the King, "and the pleasure which,
like other good men, thou dost find in the discharge of thy duty,
since virtue, as the schoolmen say, is its own reward. But away
and prepare the priests, for the victim approaches."

"Would you have it done in your own presence, my gracious Liege?"
said Tristan.

Louis declined this offer; but charged the Provost Marshal to have
everything ready for the punctual execution of his commands the
moment the Astrologer left his apartment.

"For," said the King, "I will see the villain once more, just to
observe how he bears himself towards the master whom he has led
into the toils. I shall love to see the sense of approaching death
strike the colour from that ruddy cheek, and dim that eye which
laughed as it lied. -- Oh, that there were but another with him,
whose counsels aided his prognostications! But if I survive this
-- look to your scarlet, my Lord Cardinal! for Rome shall scarce
protect you -- be it spoken under favour of Saint Peter and the
blessed Lady of Clery, who is all over mercy. -- Why do you tarry?
Go get your rooms ready. I expect the villain instantly. I pray to
Heaven he take not fear and come not! -- that were indeed a balk.
-- Begone, Tristan -- thou wert not wont to be so slow when business
was to be done."

"On the contrary, an it like your Majesty, you were ever wont to
say that I was too fast, and mistook your purpose, and did the job
on the wrong subject. Now, please your Majesty to give me a sign,
just when you part with Galeotti for the night, whether the business
goes on or no. I have known your Majesty once or twice change your
mind, and blame me for over dispatch."

[The Provost Marshal was often so precipitate in execution as to
slay another person instead of him whom the King had indicated. This
always occasioned a double execution, for the wrath or revenge of
Louis was never satisfied with a vicarious punishment. S.]

"Thou suspicious creature," answered King Louis, "I tell thee I will
not change my mind -- but to silence thy remonstrances, observe,
if I say to the knave at parting, 'There is a Heaven above us!'
then let the business go on; but if I say 'Go in peace,' you will
understand that my purpose is altered."

"My head is somewhat of the dullest out of my own department,"
said Tristan l'Hermite. "Stay, let me rehearse. -- If you bid him
depart in peace, I am to have him dealt upon?"

"No, no -- idiot, no," said the King, "in that case, you let him
pass free. But if I say, 'There is a heaven above us,' up with him
a yard or two nearer the planets he is so conversant with."

"I wish we may have the means here," said the Provost.

"Then up with him, or down with him, it matters not which," answered
the King, grimly smiling.

"And the body," said the Provost, "how shall we dispose of it?"

"Let me see an instant," said the King -- "the windows of the hall
are too narrow; but that projecting oriel is wide enough. We will
over with him into the Somme, and put a paper on his breast, with
the legend, 'Let the justice of the King pass toll free.' The Duke's
officers may seize it for duties if they dare."

The Provost Marshal left the apartment of Louis, and summoned his
two assistants to council in an embrasure in the great hall, where
Trois Eschelles stuck a torch against the wall to give them light.
They discoursed in whispers, little noticed by Oliver le Dain, who
seemed sunk in dejection, and Le Balafre, who was fast asleep.

"Comrades," said the Provost to his executioners, "perhaps you
have thought that our vocation was over, or that, at least, we were
more likely to be the subjects of the duty of others than to have
any more to discharge on our own parts. But courage, my mates! Our
gracious master has reserved for us one noble cast of our office,
and it must be gallantly executed, as by men who would live in
history."

"Ay, I guess how it is," said Trois Eschelles; "our patron is like
the old Kaisers of Rome, who, when things came to an extremity, or,
as we would say, to the ladder foot with them, were wont to select
from their own ministers of justice some experienced person,
who might spare their sacred persons from the awkward attempts of
a novice, or blunderer in our mystery. It was a pretty custom for
Ethnics; but, as a good Catholic, I should make some scruple at
laying hands on the Most Christian King."

"Nay, but, brother, you are ever too scrupulous," said Petit Andre.
"If he issues word and warrant for his own execution, I see not
how we can in duty dispute it. He that dwells at Rome must obey
the Pope -- the Marshalsmen, must do their master's bidding, and
he the King's."

"Hush, you knaves!" said the Provost Marshal, "there is here no
purpose concerning the King's person, but only that of the Greek
heretic pagan and Mahomedan wizard, Martius Galeotti."

"Galeotti!" answered Petit-Andre, "that comes quite natural. I
never knew one of these legerdemain fellows, who pass their lives,
as one may say, in dancing upon a tight rope, but what they came
at length to caper at the end of one -- tchick."

"My only concern is," said Trois Eschelles, looking upwards, "that
the poor creature must die without confession."

"Tush! tush!" said the Provost Marshal, in reply, "he is a rank
heretic and necromancer -- a whole college of priests could not
absolve him from the doom he has deserved. Besides, if he hath
a fancy that way, thou hast a gift, Trois Eschelles, to serve him
for ghostly father thyself. But, what is more material, I fear you
most use your poniards, my mates; for you have not here the fitting
conveniences for the exercise of your profession."

"Now our Lady of the Isle of Paris forbid," said Trois Eschelles,
"that the King's command should find me destitute of my tools!
I always wear around my body Saint Francis's cord, doubled four
times, with a handsome loop at the farther end of it; for I am of
the company of Saint Francis, and may wear his cowl when I am in
extremis [at the point of death] -- I thank God and the good fathers
of Saumur."

"And for me," said Petit Andre, "I have always in my budget a handy
block and sheaf, or a pulley as they call it, with a strong screw
for securing it where I list, in case we should travel where trees
are scarce, or high branched from the ground. I have found it a
great convenience."

"That will suit us well," said the Provost Marshal. "You have but
to screw your pulley into yonder beam above the door, and pass the
rope over it. I will keep the fellow in some conversation near the
spot until you adjust the noose under his chin, and then --"

"And then we run up the rope," said Petit Andre, "and, tchick, our
Astrologer is so far in Heaven that he hath not a foot on earth."

"But these gentlemen," said Trois Eschelles, looking towards the
chimney, "do not these help, and so take a handsel of our vocation?"

"Hem! no," answered the Provost, "the barber only contrives mischief,
which he leaves other men to execute; and for the Scot, he keeps
the door when the deed is a-doing, which he hath not spirit or
quickness sufficient to partake in more actively -- every one to
his trade."

[The author has endeavoured to give to the odious Tristan l'Hermite
a species of dogged and brutal fidelity to Louis, similar to the
attachment of a bulldog to his master. With all the atrocity of his
execrable character, he was certainly a man of courage, and was in
his youth made knight in the breach of Fronsac, with a great number
of other young nobles, by the honour giving hand of the elder
Dunois, the celebrated hero of Charles the Fifth's reign. S.]

With infinite dexterity, and even a sort of professional delight
which sweetened the sense of their own precarious situation, the
worthy executioners of the Provost's mandates adapted their rope
and pulley for putting in force the sentence which had been uttered
against Galeotti by the captive Monarch -- seeming to rejoice that
that last action was to be one so consistent with their past lives.
Tristan l'Hermite sat eyeing their proceedings with a species of
satisfaction; while Oliver paid no attention to them whatever; and
Ludovic Lesly, if, awaked by the bustle, he looked upon them at
all, considered them as engaged in matters entirely unconnected
with his own duty, and for which he was not to be regarded as
responsible in one way or other.



CHAPTER XXIX: RECRIMINATION

Thy time is not yet out -- the devil thou servest
Has not as yet deserted thee. He aids
The friends who drudge for him, as the blind man
Was aided by the guide, who lent his shoulder
O'er rough and smooth, until he reached the brink
Of the fell precipice -- then hurl'd him downward.

OLD PLAY


When obeying the command, or rather the request of Louis -- for
he was in circumstances in which, though a monarch, he could only
request Le Glorieux to go in search of Martius Galeotti -- the
jester had no trouble in executing his commission, betaking himself
at once to the best tavern in Peronne, of which he himself was
rather more than an occasional frequenter, being a great admirer
of that species of liquor which reduced all other men's brains to
a level with his own.

He found, or rather observed, the Astrologer in the corner of the
public drinking room -- stove, as it is called in German and Flemish,
from its principal furniture -- sitting in close colloquy with a
female in a singular and something like a Moorish or Asiatic garb,
who, as Le Glorieux approached Martius, rose as in the act to
depart.

"These," said the stranger, "are news upon which you may rely with
absolute certainty," and with that disappeared among the crowd of
guests who sat grouped at different tables in the apartment.

"Cousin Philosopher," said the jester, presenting himself, "Heaven
no sooner relieves one sentinel than it sends another to supply
the place. One fool being gone, here I come another, to guide you
to the apartments of Louis of France."

"And art thou the messenger?" said Martius, gazing on him with
prompt apprehension, and discovering at once the jester's quality,
though less intimated, as we have before noticed, than was usual,
by his external appearance.

"Ay, sir, and like your learning," answered Le Glorieux. "When
Power sends Folly to entreat the approach of Wisdom, 't is a sure
sign what foot the patient halts upon."

"How if I refuse to come, when summoned at so late an hour by such
a messenger?" said Galeotti.

"In that case, we will consult your ease, and carry you," said Le
Glorieux. "Here are half a score of stout Burgundian yeomen at the
door, with whom He of Crevecoeur has furnished me to that effect.
For know that my friend Charles of Burgundy and I have not taken
away our kinsman Louis's crown, which he was ass enough to put into
our power, but have only filed and clipt it a little, and, though
reduced to the size of a spangle, it is still pure gold. In plain
terms, he is still paramount over his own people, yourself included,
and Most Christian King of the old dining hall in the Castle of
Peronne, to which you, as his liege subject, are presently obliged
to repair."

"I attend you, sir," said Martius Galeotti, and accompanied Le Glorieux
accordingly -- seeing, perhaps, that no evasion was possible.

"Ay, sir," said the Fool, as they went towards the Castle, "you do
well; for we treat our kinsman as men use an old famished lion in
his cage, and thrust him now and then a calf to mumble, to keep
his old jaws in exercise."

"Do you mean," said Martius, "that the King intends me bodily
injury?"

"Nay, that you can guess better than I," said the jester; "for
though the night be cloudy, I warrant you can see the stars through
the mist. I know nothing of the matter, not I -- only my mother
always told me to go warily near an old rat in a trap, for he was
never so much disposed to bite."

The Astrologer asked no more questions, and Le Glorieux, according
to the custom of those of his class, continued to run on in a wild
and disordered strain of sarcasm and folly mingled together, until
he delivered the philosopher to the guard at the Castle gate of
Peronne, where he was passed from warder to warder, and at length
admitted within Herbert's Tower.

The hints of the jester had not been lost on Martius Galeotti,
and he saw something which seemed to confirm them in the look and
manner of Tristan, whose mode of addressing him, as he marshalled
him to the King's bedchamber, was lowering, sullen, and ominous. A
close observer of what passed on earth, as well as among the heavenly
bodies, the pulley and the rope also caught the Astrologer's eye;
and as the latter was in a state of vibration he concluded that
some one who had been busy adjusting it had been interrupted in the
work by his sudden arrival. All this he saw, and summoned together
his subtilty to evade the impending danger, resolved, should he find
that impossible, to defend himself to the last against whomsoever
should assail him.

Thus resolved, and with a step and look corresponding to
the determination he had taken, Martius presented himself before
Louis, alike unabashed at the miscarriage of his predictions, and
undismayed at the Monarch's anger, and its probable consequences.

"Every good planet be gracious to your Majesty!" said Galeotti, with
an inclination almost Oriental in manner. "Every evil constellation
withhold its influence from my royal master!"

"Methinks," replied the King, "that when you look around this
apartment, when you think where it is situated, and how guarded,
your wisdom might consider that my propitious stars had proved
faithless and that each evil conjunction had already done its
worst. Art thou not ashamed, Martius Galeotti, to see me here and a
prisoner, when you recollect by what assurances I was lured hither?"

"And art thou not ashamed, my royal Sire?" replied the philosopher,
"thou, whose step in science was so forward, thy apprehension so
quick, thy perseverance so unceasing -- art thou not ashamed to
turn from the first frown of fortune, like a craven from the first
clash of arms? Didst thou propose to become participant of those
mysteries which raise men above the passions, the mischances,
the pains, the sorrows of life, a state only to be attained by
rivalling the firmness of the ancient Stoic, and dost thou shrink
from the first pressure of adversity, and forfeit the glorious prize
for which thou didst start as a competitor, frightened out of the
course, like a scared racer, by shadowy and unreal evils?"

"Shadowy and unreal! frontless as thou art!" exclaimed the King.
"Is this dungeon unreal? -- the weapons of the guards of my detested
enemy Burgundy, which you may hear clash at the gate, are those
shadows? What, traitor, are real evils, if imprisonment, dethronement,
and danger of life are not so?"

"Ignorance -- ignorance, my brother, and prejudice," answered the
sage, with great firmness, "are the only real evils. Believe me
that Kings in the plenitude of power, if immersed in ignorance and
prejudice, are less free than sages in a dungeon, and loaded with
material chains. Towards this true happiness it is mine to guide
you -- be it yours to attend to my instructions."

"And it is to such philosophical freedom that your lessons would
have guided me?" said the King very bitterly. "I would you had
told me at Plessis that the dominion promised me so liberally was
an empire over my own passions; that the success of which I was
assured, related to my progress in philosophy, and that I might
become as wise and as learned as a strolling mountebank of Italy!
I might surely have attained this mental ascendency at a more moderate
price than that of forfeiting the fairest crown in Christendom, and
becoming tenant of a dungeon in Peronne! Go, sir, and think not to
escape condign punishment. -- There is a Heaven above us!"

"I leave you not to your fate," replied Martius, "until I have
vindicated, even in your eyes, darkened as they are, that reputation,
a brighter gem than the brightest in thy crown, and at which the
world shall wonder, ages after all the race of Capet [the surname
of the kings of France, beginning with Hugh Capet, 987] are mouldered
into oblivion in the charnels of Saint Denis."

"Speak on," said Louis. "Thine impudence cannot make me change my
purposes or my opinion. -- Yet as I may never again pass judgment
as a King, I will not censure thee unheard. Speak, then -- though
the best thou canst say will be to speak the truth. Confess that I
am a dupe, thou an impostor, thy pretended science a dream, and the
planets which shine above us as little influential of our destiny
as their shadows, when reflected in the river, are capable of
altering its course."

"And how know'st thou," answered the Astrologer boldly, "the
secret influence of yonder blessed lights? Speak'st thou of their
inability to influence waters, when yet thou know'st that ever
the weakest, the moon herself -- weakest because nearest to this
wretched earth of ours -- holds under her domination not such poor
streams as the Somme, but the tides of the mighty ocean itself,
which ebb and increase as her disc waxes and wanes, and watch her
influence as a slave waits the nod of a Sultana? And now, Louis of
Valois, answer my parable in turn. -- Confess, art thou not like
the foolish passenger, who becomes wroth with his pilot because he
cannot bring the vessel into harbour without experiencing occasionally
the adverse force of winds and currents? I could indeed point to
thee the probable issue of thine enterprise as prosperous, but it
was in the power of Heaven alone to conduct thee thither; and if
the path be rough and dangerous, was it in my power to smooth or
render it more safe? Where is thy wisdom of yesterday, which taught
thee so truly to discern that the ways of destiny are often ruled
to our advantage, though in opposition to our wishes?"

"You remind me -- you remind me," said the King hastily, "of one
specific falsehood. You foretold yonder Scot should accomplish
his enterprise fortunately for my interest and honour; and thou
knowest it has so terminated that no more mortal injury could I have
received than from the impression which the issue of that affair
is like to make on the excited brain of the Mad Bull of Burgundy.
This is a direct falsehood. -- Thou canst plead no evasion here --
canst refer to no remote favourable turn of the tide, for which,
like an idiot sitting on the bank until the river shall pass away,
thou wouldst have me wait contentedly. -- Here thy craft deceived
thee. -- Thou wert weak enough to make a specific prediction, which
has proved directly false."

"Which will prove most firm and true," answered the Astrologer
boldly. "I would desire no greater triumph of art over ignorance,
than that prediction and its accomplishment will afford. - I told
thee he would be faithful in any honourable commission. -- Hath he
not been so? -- I told thee he would be scrupulous in aiding any
evil enterprise. -- Hath he not proved so? -- If you doubt it, go
ask the Bohemian, Hayraddin Maugrabin."

The King here coloured deeply with shame and anger.

"I told thee," continued the Astrologer, "that the conjunction of
planets under which he set forth augured danger to the person --
and hath not his path been beset by danger? -- I told thee that it
augured an advantage to the sender -- and of that thou wilt soon
have the benefit."

"Soon have the benefit!" exclaimed the King. "Have I not the result
already, in disgrace and imprisonment?"

"No," answered the Astrologer, "the End is not as yet -- thine own
tongue shall ere long confess the benefit which thou hast received,
from the manner in which the messenger bore himself in discharging
thy commission."

"This is too -- too insolent," said the King, "at once to deceive
and to insult. -- But hence! -- think not my wrongs shall be
unavenged. -- There is a Heaven above us!"

Galeotti turned to depart.

"Yet stop," said Louis; "thou bearest thine imposture bravely out.
-- Let me hear your answer to one question and think ere you speak.
-- Can thy pretended skill ascertain the hour of thine own death?"

"Only by referring to the fate of another," said Galeotti.

"I understand not thine answer," said Louis.

"Know then, O King," said Martius, "that this only I can tell
with certainty concerning mine own death, that it shall take place
exactly twenty-four hours before that of your Majesty."

[This story appropriated by Scott was told of Tiberius, whose
soothsayer made the prediction that his own death would take place
three days before that of the Emperor.  Louis received a similar
reply from a soothsayer, who had foretold the death of one
of his favourites. Greatly incensed, he arranged for the death of
the soothsayer when he should leave the royal presence after an
interview. When Louis questioned him as to the day of his death,
the astrologer answere that "it would be exactly three days before
that of his Majesty. There was, of course, care taken that he should
escape his destined fate, and he was ever after much protected by
the King, as a man of real science, and intimately connected with the
royal destinies." S. . . . Louis was the slave of his physicians
also.  Cottier, one of these, was paid a retaining fee of ten thousand
crowns, besides great sums in lands and money. "He maintained over
Louis unbounded influence, by using to him the most disrespectful
harshness and insolence. 'I know,' he said to the suffering King,
'that one morning you will turn me adrift like so many others. But,
by Heaven, you had better beware, for you will not live eight days
after you have done so!' S.]

"Ha! sayest thou?" said Louis, his countenance again altering.
"Hold -- hold -- go not -- wait one moment. -- Saidst thou, my
death should follow thine so closely?"

"Within the space of twenty-four hours," repeated Galeotti firmly,
"if there be one sparkle of true divination in those bright and
mysterious intelligences, which speak, each on their courses, though
without a tongue. I wish your Majesty good rest."

"Hold -- hold -- go not," said the King, taking him by the arm,
and leading him from the door. "Martius Galeotti, I have been a
kind master to thee -- enriched thee -- made thee my friend -- my
companion -- the instructor of my studies. -- Be open with me, I
entreat you. -- Is there aught in this art of yours in very deed?
-- Shall this Scot's mission be, in fact, propitious to me? -- And is
the measure of our lives so very -- very nearly matched? Confess,
my good Martius, you speak after the trick of your trade. -- Confess,
I pray you, and you shall have no displeasure at my hand. I am in
years -- a prisoner -- likely to be deprived of a kingdom -- to
one in my condition truth is worth kingdoms, and it is from thee,
dearest Martius, that I must look for this inestimable jewel."

"And I have laid it before your Majesty," said Galeotti, "at the
risk that, in brutal passion, you might turn upon me and rend me."

"Who, I, Galeotti?" replied Louis mildly. "Alas! thou mistakest
me! -- Am I not captive -- and should not I be patient, especially
since my anger can only show my impotence? -- Tell me then in
sincerity. -- Have you fooled me? -- Or is your science true, and
do you truly report it?"

"Your Majesty will forgive me if I reply to you," said Martius
Galeotti, "that time only -- time and the event, will convince
incredulity. It suits ill the place of confidence which I have held
at the council table of the renowned conqueror, Matthias Corvinus
of Hungary -- nay, in the cabinet of the Emperor himself --
to reiterate assurances of that which I have advanced as true. If
you will not believe me, I can but refer to the course of events.
A day or two days' patience will prove or disprove what I have
averred concerning the young Scot, and I will be contented to die
on the wheel, and have my limbs broken joint by joint, if your
Majesty have not advantage, and that in a most important degree,
from the dauntless conduct of that Quentin Durward. But if I were
to die under such tortures, it would be well your Majesty should
seek a ghostly father, for, from the moment my last groan is
drawn, only twenty-four hours will remain to you for confession
and penitence."

Louis continued to keep hold of Galeotti's robe as he led him
towards the door, and pronounced, as he opened it, in a loud voice,
"Tomorrow we 'll talk more of this. Go in peace, my learned father.
-- Go in peace. -- Go in peace!"

He repeated these words three times; and, still afraid that the
Provost Marshal might mistake his purpose, he led the Astrologer
into the hall, holding fast his robe, as if afraid that he should
be torn from him, and put to death before his eyes. He did not
unloose his grasp until he had not only repeated again and again
the gracious phrase, "Go in peace," but even made a private signal
to the Provost Marshal to enjoin a suspension of all proceedings
against the person of the Astrologer.

Thus did the possession of some secret information, joined to
audacious courage and readiness of wit, save Galeotti from the most
imminent danger; and thus was Louis, the most sagacious, as well
as the most vindictive, amongst the monarchs of the period, cheated
of his revenge by the influence of superstition upon a selfish
temper and a mind to which, from the consciousness of many crimes,
the fear of death was peculiarly terrible.

He felt, however, considerable mortification at being obliged to
relinquish his purposed vengeance, and the disappointment seemed to
be shared by his satellites, to whom the execution was to have been
committed. Le Balafre alone, perfectly indifferent on the subject,
so soon as the countermanding signal was given, left the door at
which he had posted himself, and in a few minutes was fast asleep.
The Provost Marshal, as the group reclined themselves to repose
in the hall after the King retired to his bedchamber, continued to
eye the goodly form of the Astrologer with the look of a mastiff
watching a joint of meat which the cook had retrieved from his jaws,
while his attendants communicated to each other in brief sentences,
their characteristic sentiments.

"The poor blinded necromancer," whispered Trois Eschelles, with an
air of spiritual unction and commiseration, to his comrade, Petit
Andre, "hath lost the fairest chance of expiating some of his vile
sorceries, by dying through means of the cord of the blessed Saint
Francis, and I had purpose, indeed, to leave the comfortable noose
around his neck, to scare the foul fiend from his unhappy carcass."

"And I," said Petit Andre, "have missed the rarest opportunity of
knowing how far a weight of seventeen stone will stretch a three
plied cord! -- It would have been a glorious experiment in our line
-- and the jolly old boy would have died so easily!"

While this whispered dialogue was going forward, Martius, who had
taken the opposite side of the huge stone fireplace, round which
the whole group was assembled, regarded them askance, and with a
look of suspicion. He first put his hand into his vest, and satisfied
himself that the handle of a very sharp double edged poniard,
which he always carried about him, was disposed conveniently for
his grasp; for, as we have already noticed, he was, though now
somewhat unwieldy, a powerful, athletic man, and prompt and active
at the use of his weapon. Satisfied that this trusty instrument was
in readiness, he next took from his bosom a scroll of parchment,
inscribed with Greek characters, and marked with cabalistic signs,
drew together the wood in the fireplace, and made a blaze by which
he could distinguish the features and attitude of all who sat or
lay around -- the heavy and deep slumbers of the Scottish soldier,
who lay motionless, with rough countenance as immovable as if it
were cast in bronze -- the pale and anxious face of Oliver, who at
one time assumed the appearance of slumber, and again opened his
eyes and raised his head hastily, as if stung by some internal
throe, or awakened by some distant sound -- the discontented,
savage, bulldog aspect of the Provost, who looked --


"frustrate of his will,
not half sufficed, and greedy yet to kill"


-- while the background was filled up by the ghastly, hypocritical
countenance of Trois Eschelles -- whose eyes were cast up towards
Heaven, as if he was internally saying his devotions -- and the
grim drollery of Petit Andre, who amused himself with mimicking the
gestures and wry faces of his comrade before he betook himself to
sleep.

Amidst these vulgar and ignoble countenances nothing could show
to greater advantage than the stately form, handsome mien, and
commanding features of the Astrologer, who might have passed for
one of the ancient magi, imprisoned in a den of robbers, and about
to invoke a spirit to accomplish his liberation. And, indeed, had
he been distinguished by nothing else than the beauty of the graceful
and flowing beard which descended over the mysterious roll which
he held in his hand, one might have been pardoned for regretting
that so noble an appendage had been bestowed on one who put both
talents, learning, and the advantages of eloquence, and a majestic
person, to the mean purposes of a cheat and an imposter.

Thus passed the night in Count Herbert's Tower, in the Castle of
Peronne. When the first light of dawn penetrated the ancient Gothic
chamber, the King summoned Oliver to his presence, who found the
Monarch sitting in his nightgown, and was astonished at the alteration
which one night of mortal anxiety had made in his looks. He would
have expressed some anxiety on the subject, but the King silenced
him by entering into a statement of the various modes by which he
had previously endeavoured to form friends at the Court of Burgundy,
and which Oliver was charged to prosecute so soon as he should be
permitted to stir abroad.

And never was that wily minister more struck with the clearness of
the King's intellect, and his intimate knowledge of all the springs
which influence human actions, than he was during that memorable
consultation.

About two hours afterwards, Oliver accordingly obtained permission
from the Count of Crevecoeur to go out and execute the commissions
which his master had intrusted him with, and Louis, sending for
the Astrologer, in whom he seemed to have renewed his faith, held
with him, in like manner, a long consultation, the issue of which
appeared to give him more spirits and confidence than he had
at first exhibited; so that he dressed himself, and received the
morning compliments of Crevecoeur with a calmness at which the
Burgundian Lord could not help Wondering, the rather that he had
already heard that the Duke had passed several hours in a state of
mind which seemed to render the King's safety very precarious.



CHAPTER XXX: UNCERTAINTY

Our counsels waver like the unsteady bark,
That reels amid the strife of meeting currents.

OLD PLAY


If the night passed by Louis was carefully anxious and agitated,
that spent by the Duke of Burgundy, who had at no time the same
mastery over his passions, and, indeed, who permitted them almost
a free and uncontrolled dominion over his actions, was still more
disturbed.

According to the custom of the period, two of his principal and
most favoured counsellors, D'Hymbercourt and De Comines, shared
his bedchamber, couches being prepared for them near the bed of the
prince. Their attendance was never more necessary than upon this
night, when, distracted by sorrow, by passion, by the desire of
revenge, and by the sense of honour, which forbade him to exercise
it upon Louis in his present condition, the Duke's mind resembled
a volcano in eruption, which throws forth all the different contents
of the mountain, mingled and molten into one burning mass.

He refused to throw off his clothes, or to make any preparation
for sleep; but spent the night in a succession of the most violent
bursts of passion. In some paroxysms he talked incessantly to his
attendants so thick and so rapidly, that they were really afraid
his senses would give way, choosing for his theme the merits and
the kindness of heart of the murdered Bishop of Liege, and recalling
all the instances of mutual kindness, affection, and confidence
which had passed between them, until he had worked himself into
such a transport of grief, that he threw himself upon his face in
the bed, and seemed ready to choke with the sobs and tears which he
endeavoured to stifle. Then starting from the couch, he gave vent
at once to another and more furious mood, and traversed the room
hastily, uttering incoherent threats, and still more incoherent
oaths of vengeance, while stamping with his foot, according to
his customary action, he invoked Saint George, Saint Andrew, and
whomsoever else he held most holy, to bear witness that he would
take bloody vengeance on De la Marck, on the people of Liege,
and on him who was the author of the whole. -- These last threats,
uttered more obscurely than the others, obviously concerned the person
of the King, and at one time the Duke expressed his determination
to send for the Duke of Normandy, the brother of the King, and with
whom Louis was on the worst terms, in order to compel the captive
monarch to surrender either the Crown itself, or some of its most
valuable rights and appanages.

Another day and night passed in the same stormy and fitful deliberations,
or rather rapid transitions of passion, for the Duke scarcely ate
or drank, never changed his dress, and, altogether, demeaned himself
like one in whom rage might terminate in utter insanity. By degrees
he became more composed, and began to hold, from time to time,
consultations with his ministers, in which much was proposed, but
nothing resolved on. Comines assures us that at one time a courier
was mounted in readiness to depart for the purpose of summoning
the Duke of Normandy, and in that event, the prison of the French
Monarch would probably have been found, as in similar cases, a
brief road to his grave.

At other times, when Charles had exhausted his fury, he sat with his
features fixed in stern and rigid immobility, like one who broods
over some desperate deed, to which he is as yet unable to work up
his resolution. And unquestionably it would have needed little more
than an insidious hint from any of the counsellors who attended
his person to have pushed the Duke to some very desperate action.
But the nobles of Burgundy, from the sacred character attached to
the person of a King, and a Lord Paramount, and from a regard to
the public faith, as well as that of their Duke, which had been
pledged when Louis threw himself into their power, were almost
unanimously inclined to recommend moderate measures; and the arguments
which D'Hymbercourt and De Comines had now and then ventured to
insinuate during the night, were, in the cooler hours of the next
morning, advanced and urged by Crevecoeur and others. Possibly
their zeal in behalf of the King might not be entirely disinterested.

Many, as we have mentioned, had already experienced the bounty of
the King; others had either estates or pretensions in France, which
placed them a little under his influence; and it is certain that
the treasure which had loaded four mules when the King entered
Peronne, became much lighter in the course of these negotiations.

In the course of the third day, the Count of Campobasso brought
his Italian wit to assist the counsels of Charles; and well was it
for Louis that he had not arrived when the Duke was in his first
fury. Immediately on his arrival, a regular meeting of the Duke's
counsellors was convened for considering the measures to be adopted
in this singular crisis.

On this occasion, Campobasso gave his opinion, couched in the
apologue of the Traveller, the Adder, and the Fox; and reminded the
Duke of the advice which Reynard gave to the man, that he should
crush his mortal enemy, now that chance had placed his fate at his
disposal. [The fox advised the man who had found a snake by the
roadside to kill it. He, however, placed it in his bosom, and was
afterwards bitten.] De Comines, who saw the Duke's eyes sparkle at
a proposal which his own violence of temper had already repeatedly
suggested, hastened to state the possibility that Louis might not
be, in fact, so directly accessory to the sanguinary action which
had been committed at Schonwaldt; that he might be able to clear
himself of the imputation laid to his charge, and perhaps to
make other atonement for the distractions which his intrigues had
occasioned in the Duke's dominions, and those of his allies; and
that an act of violence perpetrated on the King was sure to bring
both on France and Burgundy a train of the most unhappy consequences,
among which not the least to be feared was that the English might
avail themselves of the commotions and civil discord which must
needs ensue, to repossess themselves of Normandy and Guyenne, and
renew those dreadful wars which had only, and with difficulty,
been terminated by the union of both France and Burgundy against
the common enemy. Finally, he confessed that he did not mean to urge
the absolute and free dismissal of Louis; but only that the Duke
should avail himself no farther of his present condition than merely
to establish a fair and equitable treaty between the countries,
with such security on the King's part as should make it difficult
for him to break his faith, or disturb the internal peace of Burgundy
in the future. D'Hymbercourt, Crevecoeur, and others signified their
reprobation of the violent measures proposed by Campobasso, and
their opinion, that in the way of treaty more permanent advantages
could be obtained, and in a manner more honourable for Burgundy,
than by an action which would stain her with a breach of faith and
hospitality.

The Duke listened to these arguments with his looks fixed on the
ground, and his brow so knitted together as to bring his bushy
eyebrows into one mass. But when Crevecoeur proceeded to say that
he did not believe Louis either knew of, or was accessory to, the
atrocious act of violence committed at Schonwaldt, Charles raised
his head, and darting a fierce look at his counsellor, exclaimed,
"Have you too, Crevecoeur, heard the gold of France clink? --
Methinks it rings in my council as merrily as ever the bells of
Saint Denis. -- Dare any one say that Louis is not the fomenter of
these feuds in Flanders?"

"My gracious lord," said Crevecoeur, "my hand has ever been more
conversant with steel than with gold, and so far am I from holding
that Louis is free from the charge of having caused the disturbances
in Flanders, that it is not long since, in the face of his whole
Court, I charged him with that breach of faith, and offered him
defiance in your name. But although his intrigues have been doubtless
the original cause of these commotions, I am so far from believing
that he authorized the death of the Archbishop, that I believe
one of his emissaries publicly protested against it; and I could
produce the man, were it your Grace's pleasure to see him."

"It is our pleasure," said the Duke. "Saint George, can you doubt
that we desire to act justly? Even in the highest flight of our
passion, we are known for an upright and a just judge. We will see
France ourself -- we will ourself charge him with our wrongs, and
ourself state to him the reparation which we expect and demand.
If he shall be found guiltless of this murder, the atonement for
other crimes may be more easy. -- If he hath been guilty, who shall
say that a life of penitence in some retired monastery were not a
most deserved and a most merciful doom? -- Who," he added, kindling
as be spoke, "who shall dare to blame a revenge yet more direct and
more speedy? -- Let your witness attend. -- We will to the Castle
at the hour before noon. Some articles we will minute down with
which he shall comply, or woe on his head! Others shall depend upon
the proof. Break up the council, and dismiss yourselves. I will
but change my dress, as this is scarce a fitting trim in which to
wait on my most gracious Sovereign."

With a deep and bitter emphasis on the last expression, the Duke
arose and strode out of the room.

"Louis's safety, and, what is worse, the honour of Burgundy, depend
on a cast of the dice," said D'Hymbercourt to Crevecoeur and to De
Comines. "Haste thee to the Castle, De Comines, thou hast a better
filed tongue than either Crevecoeur or I. Explain to Louis what
storm is approaching -- he will best know how to pilot himself.
I trust this Life Guardsman will say nothing which can aggravate;
for who knows what may have been the secret commission with which
he was charged?"

"The young man," said Crevecoeur, "seems bold, yet prudent and wary
far beyond his years. In all which he said to me he was tender of
the King's character, as of that of the Prince whom he serves. I
trust he will be equally so in the Duke's presence. I must go seek
him, and also the young Countess of Croye."

"The Countess -- you told us you had left her at Saint Bridget's"

"Ay, but I was obliged," said the Count, "to send for her express,
by the Duke's orders; and she has been brought hither on a litter,
as being unable to travel otherwise. She was in a state of the
deepest distress, both on account of the uncertainty of the fate
of her kinswoman, the Lady Hameline, and the gloom which overhangs
her own, guilty as she has been of a feudal delinquency, in
withdrawing herself from the protection of her liege lord, Duke
Charles, who is not the person in the world most likely to view
with indifference what trenches on his seignorial rights."

The information that the young Countess was in the hands of Charles,
added fresh and more pointed thorns to Louis's reflections. He
was conscious that, by explaining the intrigues by which he had
induced the Lady Hameline and her to resort to Peronne, she might
supply that evidence which he had removed by the execution of
Zamet Maugrabin, and he knew well how much such proof of his having
interfered with the rights of the Duke of Burgundy would furnish
both motive and pretext for Charles's availing himself to the
uttermost of his present predicament.

Louis discoursed on these matters with great anxiety to the Sieur
de Comines, whose acute and political talents better suited the
King's temper than the blunt martial character of Crevecoeur, or
the feudal haughtiness of D'Hymbercourt.

"These iron handed soldiers, my good friend Comines," he said to
his future historian, "should never enter a King's cabinet, but
be left with the halberds and partisans in the antechamber. Their
hands are indeed made for our use, but the monarch who puts their
heads to any better occupation than that of anvils for his enemies'
swords and maces, ranks with the fool who presented his mistress
with a dog leash for a carcanet. It is with such as thou, Philip,
whose eyes are gifted with the quick and keen sense that sees
beyond the exterior surface of affairs, that Princes should share
their council table, their cabinet -- what do I say? -- the most
secret recesses of their soul."

De Comines, himself so keen a spirit, was naturally gratified with
the approbation of the most sagacious Prince in Europe, and he could
not so far disguise his internal satisfaction, but that Louis was
aware he had made some impression on him.

"I would," continued he, "that I had such a servant, or rather
that I were worthy to have such a one! I had not then been in this
unfortunate situation, which, nevertheless, I should hardly regret,
could I but discover any means of securing the services of so
experienced a statist."

De Comines said that all his faculties, such as they were, were
at the service of his Most Christian Majesty, saving always his
allegiance to his rightful lord, Duke Charles of Burgundy.

"And am I one who would seduce you from that allegiance?" said
Louis pathetically. "Alas! am I not now endangered by having reposed
too much confidence in my vassal? and can the cause of feudal good
faith be more sacred with any than with me, whose safety depends
on an appeal to it? -- No, Philip de Comines -- continue to serve
Charles of Burgundy, and you will best serve him, by bringing round
a fair accommodation with Louis of France. In doing thus you will
serve us both, and one, at least, will be grateful. I am told your
appointments in this Court hardly match those of the Grand Falconer
and thus the services of the wisest counsellor in Europe are put
on a level, or rather ranked below, those of a fellow who feeds and
physics kites! France has wide lands -- her King has much gold.
Allow me, my friend, to rectify this scandalous inequality. The
means are not distant. -- Permit me to use them."

The King produced a weighty bag of money; but De Comines, more delicate
in his sentiments than most courtiers of that time, declined the
proffer, declaring himself perfectly satisfied with the liberality
of his native Prince, and assuring Louis that his desire to serve
him could not be increased by the acceptance of any such gratuity
as he had proposed.

"Singular man!" exclaimed the King; "let me embrace the only
courtier of his time, at once capable and incorruptible. Wisdom is
to be desired more than fine gold; and believe me, I trust in thy
kindness, Philip, at this pinch, more than I do in the purchased
assistance of many who have received my gifts. I know you will not
counsel your master to abuse such an opportunity as fortune, and,
to speak plain, De Comines, as my own folly, has afforded him."

"To abuse it, by no means," answered the historian, "but most
certainly to use it."

"How, and in what degree?" said Louis. "I am not ass enough to
expect that I shall escape without some ransom -- but let it be a
reasonable one -- reason I am ever Willing to listen to at Paris
or at Plessis, equally as at Peronne."

"Ah, but if it like your Majesty," replied De Comines, "Reason at
Paris or Plessis was used to speak in so low and soft a tone of
voice, that she could not always gain an audience of your Majesty
-- at Peronne she borrows the speaking trumpet of Necessity, and
her voice becomes lordly and imperative."

"You are figurative," said Louis, unable to restrain an emotion of
peevishness; "I am a dull, blunt man, Sir of Comines. I pray you
leave your tropes, and come to plain ground. What does your Duke
expect of me?"

"I am the bearer of no propositions, my lord," said De Comines; "the
Duke will soon explain his own pleasure; but some things occur to
me as proposals, for which your Majesty- ought to hold yourself
prepared. As, for example, the final cession of these towns here
upon the Somme."

"I expected so much," said Louis.

"That you should disown the Liegeois, and William de la Marck."

"As willingly as I disclaim Hell and Satan," said Louis.

"Ample security will be required, by hostages, or occupation of
fortresses, or otherwise, that France shall in future abstain from
stirring up rebellion among the Flemings."

"It is something new," answered the King, "that a vassal should
demand pledges from his Sovereign; but let that pass too."

"A suitable and independent appanage for your illustrious brother,
the ally and friend of my master -- Normandy or Champagne. The Duke
loves your father's house, my Liege."

"So well," answered Louis, "that, mort Dieu! he's about to make
them all kings. -- Is your budget of hints yet emptied?"

"Not entirely," answered the counsellor: "it will certainly be
required that your Majesty will forbear molesting, as you have done
of late, the Duke de Bretagne, and that you will no longer contest
the right which he and other grand feudatories have, to strike money,
to term themselves dukes and princes by the grace of God --"

"In a word, to make so many kings of my vassals. Sir Philip,
would you make a fratricide of me? -- You remember well my brother
Charles -- he was no sooner Duke of Guyenne, than he died. -- And
what will be left to the descendant and representative of Charlemagne,
after giving away these rich provinces, save to be smeared with
oil [a king, priest, or prophet was consecrated by means of oil]
at Rheims, and to eat their dinner under a high canopy?"

"We will diminish your Majesty's concern on that score, by giving
you a companion in that solitary exaltation," said Philip de Comines.
"The Duke of Burgundy, though he claims not at present the title
of an independent king, desires nevertheless to be freed in future
from the abject marks of subjection required of him to the crown
of France -- it is his purpose to close his ducal coronet with an
imperial arch, and surmount it with a globe, in emblem that his
dominions are independent."

"And how dares the Duke of Burgundy, the sworn vassal of France,"
exclaimed Louis, starting up, and showing an unwonted degree of
emotion, "how dares he propose such terms to his Sovereign, as, by
every law of Europe, should infer a forfeiture of his fief?"

"The doom of forfeiture it would in this case be difficult to
enforce," answered De Comines calmly. "Your Majesty is aware that
the strict interpretation of the feudal law is becoming obsolete
even in the Empire, and that superior and vassal endeavour to mend
their situation in regard to each other, as they have power and.
opportunity.

"Your Majesty's interferences with the Duke's vassals in Flanders
will prove an exculpation of my master's conduct, supposing him to
insist that, by enlarging his independence, France should in future
be debarred from any pretext of doing so."

"Comines, Comines!" said Louis, arising again, and pacing the room
in a pensive manner, "this is a dreadful lesson on the text Vae
victis! [woe to the vanquished!] -- You cannot mean that the Duke
will insist on all these hard conditions?"

"At least I would have your Majesty be in a condition to discuss
them all."

"Yet moderation, De Comines, moderation in success, is -- no one
knows better than you -- necessary to its ultimate advantage."

"So please your Majesty, the merit of moderation is, I have
observed, most apt to be extolled by the losing party. The winner
holds in more esteem the prudence which calls on him not to leave
an opportunity unimproved."

"Well, we will consider," replied the King; "but at least thou hast
reached the extremity of your Duke's unreasonable exaction? there
can remain nothing -- or if there does, for so thy brow intimates
-- what is it -- what indeed can it be -- unless it be my crown?
which these previous demands, if granted, will deprive of all its
lustre?"

"My lord," said De Comines, "what remains to be mentioned, is
a thing partly -- indeed in a great measure within the Duke's own
power, though he means to invite your Majesty's accession to it,
for in truth it touches you nearly."

"Pasques Dieu!" exclaimed the King impatiently, "what is it? -- Speak
out, Sir Philip -- am I to send him my daughter for a concubine,
or what other dishonour is he to put on me?"

"No dishonour, my Liege; but your Majesty's cousin, the illustrious
Duke of Orleans --"

"Ha!" exclaimed the King; but De Comines proceeded without heeding
the interruption.

"-- having conferred his affections on the young Countess Isabelle
de Croye, the Duke expects your Majesty will, on your part, as he
on his, yield your assent to the marriage, and unite with him in
endowing the right noble couple with such an appanage, as, joined
to the Countess's estates, may form a fit establishment for a Child
of France."

"Never, never!" said the King, bursting out into that emotion which
he had of late suppressed with much difficulty, and striding about
in a disordered haste, which formed the strongest contrast to the
self command which he usually exhibited.

"Never, never! -- let them bring scissors, and shear my hair like
that of the parish fool, whom I have so richly resembled -- let
them bid the monastery or the grave yawn for me, let them bring
red hot basins to sear my eyes -- axe or aconite -- whatever they
will, but Orleans shall not break his plighted faith to my daughter,
or marry another while she lives!"

"Your Majesty," said De Comines, "ere you set your mind so keenly
against what is proposed, will consider your own want of power to
prevent it. Every wise man, when he sees a rock giving way, withdraws
from the bootless attempt of preventing the fall."

"But a brave man," said Louis, "will at least find his grave beneath
it. De Comines, consider the great loss, the utter destruction,
such a marriage will bring upon my kingdom. Recollect, I have but
one feeble boy, and this Orleans is the next heir -- consider that
the Church hath consented to his union with Joan, which unites so
happily the interests of both branches of my family, think on all
this, and think too that this union has been the favourite scheme
of my whole life -- that I have schemed for it, fought for it, watched
for it, prayed for it -- and sinned for it. Philip de Comines, I
will not forego it! Think man, think! -- pity me in this extremity,
thy quick brain can speedily find some substitute for this sacrifice
-- some ram to be offered up instead of that project which is dear
to me as the Patriarch's only son was to him. [Isaac, whose father
Abraham, in obedience to the command of God, was about to sacrifice
him upon the altar when a ram appeared, which Abraham offered in
his stead.]  Philip, pity me! -- you at least should know that,
to men of judgment and foresight, the destruction of the scheme on
which they have long dwelt, and for which they have long toiled,
is more inexpressibly bitter than the transient grief of ordinary
men, whose pursuits are but the gratification of some temporary
passion -- you, who know how to sympathize with the deeper, the more
genuine distress of baffled prudence and disappointed sagacity --
will you not feel for me?"

"My Lord and King," replied De Comines, "I do sympathize with your
distress in so far as duty to my master --"

"Do not mention him!" said Louis, acting, or at least appearing
to act, under an irresistible and headlong impulse, which withdrew
the usual guard which he maintained over his language. "Charles
of Burgundy is unworthy of your attachment. He who can insult and
strike his councillors -- he who can distinguish the wisest and
most faithful among them by the opprobrious name of Booted Head!"

The wisdom of Philip de Comines did not prevent his having a high
sense of personal consequence; and he was so much struck with the
words which the King uttered, as it were, in the career of a passion
which overleaped ceremony, that he could only reply by repetition
of the words "Booted Head! It is impossible that my master the Duke
could have so termed the servant who has been at his side since he
could mount a palfrey -- and that too before a foreign monarch! --
it is impossible!"

Louis instantly saw the impression he had made, and avoiding alike
a tone of condolence, which might have seemed insulting, and one of
sympathy, which might have savoured of affectation; he said, with
simplicity, and at the same time with dignity, "My misfortunes
make me forget my courtesy, else I had not spoken to you of what
it must be unpleasant for you to hear. But you have in reply taxed
me with having uttered impossibilities -- this touches my honour;
yet I must submit to the charge, if I tell you not the circumstances
which the Duke, laughing until his eyes ran over, assigned for the
origin of that opprobrious name, which I will not offend your ears
by repeating. Thus, then, it chanced. You, Sir Philip de Comines,
were at a hunting match with the Duke of Burgundy, your master;
and when he alighted after the chase, he required your services in
drawing off his boots. Reading in your looks, perhaps, some natural
resentment of this disparaging treatment, he ordered you to sit
down in turn, and rendered you the same office he had just received
from you. But offended at your understanding him literally, he no
sooner plucked one of your boots off than he brutally beat it about
your head till the blood flowed, exclaiming against the insolence
of a subject who had the presumption to accept of such a service
at the hand of his Sovereign; and hence he, or his privileged fool,
Le Glorieux, is in the current habit of distinguishing you by the
absurd and ridiculous name of Tete botte, which makes one of the
Duke's most ordinary subjects of pleasantry."

[The story is told more bluntly, and less probably, in the French
memoirs of the period, which affirm that Comines, out of a presumption
inconsistent with his excellent good sense, had asked of Charles
of Burgundy to draw off his boots, without having been treated
with any previous familiarity to lead to such a freedom. I have
endeavoured to give the anecdote a turn more consistent with the
sense and prudence of the great author concerned. S.]

While Louis thus spoke, he had the double pleasure of galling to
the quick the person whom he addressed -- an exercise which it was
in his nature to enjoy, even where he had not, as in the present
case, the apology that he did so in pure retaliation -- and that of
observing that he had at length been able to find a point in De
Comines's character which might lead him gradually from the interests
of Burgundy to those of France. But although the deep resentment
which the offended courtier entertained against his master induced
him at a future period to exchange the service of Charles for that
of Louis, yet, at the present moment, he was contented to throw out
only some general hints of his friendly inclination towards France,
which he well knew the King would understand how to interpret. And
indeed it would be unjust to stigmatize the memory of the excellent
historian with the desertion of his master on this occasion,
although he was certainly now possessed with sentiments much more
favourable to Louis than when he entered the apartment.

He constrained himself to laugh at the anecdote which Louis had
detailed, and then added, "I did not think so trifling a frolic
would have dwelt on the mind of the Duke so long as to make it
worth telling again. Some such passage there was of drawing off
boots and the like, as your Majesty knows that the Duke is fond of
rude play; but it has been much exaggerated in his recollection.
Let it pass on."

"Ay, let it pass on," said the King; "it is indeed shame it should
have detained us a minute. -- And now, Sir Philip, I hope you are
French so far as to afford me your best counsel in these difficult
affairs. You have, I am well aware, the clew to the labyrinth, if
you would but impart it."

"Your Majesty may command my best advice and service," replied De
Comines, "under reservation always of my duty to my own master."

This was nearly what the courtier had before stated; but he now
repeated it in a tone so different that, whereas Louis understood
from the former declaration that the reserved duty to Burgundy was
the prime thing to be considered, so he now saw clearly that the
emphasis was reversed, and that more weight was now given by the
speaker to his promise of counsel than to a restriction which seemed
interposed for the sake of form and consistency. The King resumed
his own seat, and compelled De Comines to sit by him, listening
at the same time to that statesman as if the words of an oracle
sounded in his ears. De Comines spoke in that low and impressive
tone which implies at once great sincerity and some caution, and at
the same time so slowly as if he was desirous that the King should
weigh and consider each individual word as having its own peculiar
and determined meaning.

"The things," he said, "which I have suggested for your Majesty's
consideration, harsh as they sound in your ear, are but substitutes
for still more violent proposals brought forward in the Duke's
counsels, by such as are more hostile to your Majesty. And I need
scarce remind your Majesty, that the more direct and more violent
suggestions find readiest acceptance with our master, who loves
brief and dangerous measures better than those that are safe, but
at the same time circuitous."

"I remember," said the King. "I have seen him swim a river at the
risk of drowning, though there was a bridge to be found for riding
two hundred yards."

"True, Sire; and he that weighs not his life against the gratification
of a moment of impetuous passion will, on the same impulse, prefer
the gratification of his will to the increase of his substantial
power."

"Most true," replied the King; "a fool will ever grasp rather at
the appearance than the reality of authority. And this I know to be
true of Charles of Burgundy. But, my dear friend De Comines, what
do you infer from these premises?"

"Simply this, my lord," answered the Burgundian, "that as your
Majesty has seen a skilful angler control a large and heavy fish,
and finally draw him to land by a single hair, which fish had
broke through a tackle tenfold stronger, had the fisher presumed
to strain the line on him, instead of giving him head enough for
all his wild flourishes; even so your Majesty, by gratifying the
Duke in these particulars on which he has pitched his ideas of
honour, and the gratification of his revenge, may evade many of the
other unpalatable propositions at which I have hinted; and which
-- including, I must state openly to your Majesty, some of those
through which France would be most especially weakened -- will
slide out of his remembrance and attention, and, being referred
to subsequent conferences and future discussion, may be altogether
eluded."

"I understand you, my good Sir Philip; but to the matter," said the
King. "To which of those happy propositions is your Duke so much
wedded that contradiction will make him unreasonable and untractable?"

"To any or to all of them, if it please your Majesty, on which you
may happen to contradict him. This is precisely what your Majesty
must avoid; and to take up my former parable, you must needs remain
on the watch, ready to give the Duke line enough whenever he shoots
away under the impulse of his rage. His fury, already considerably
abated, will waste itself if he be unopposed, and you will presently
find him become more friendly and more tractable."

"Still," said the' King, musing, "there must be some particular
demands which lie deeper at my cousin's heart than the other
proposals. Were I but aware of these, Sir Philip"

"Your Majesty may make the lightest of his demands the most important
simply by opposing it," said De Comines, "nevertheless, my lord,
thus far I can say, that every shadow of treaty will be broken off,
if your Majesty renounce not William de la Marck and the Liegeois."

"I have already said that I will disown them," said the King, "and
well they deserve it at my hand; the villains have commenced their
uproar at a moment that might have cost me my life."

"He that fires a train of powder," replied the historian, "must
expect a speedy explosion of the mine. -- But more than mere
disavowal of their cause will be expected of your Majesty by Duke
Charles, for know that he will demand your Majesty assistance to
put the insurrection down, and your royal presence to witness the
punishment which he destines for the rebels."

"That may scarce consist with our honour, De Comines," said the
King.

"To refuse it will scarcely consist with your Majesty's safety,"
replied De Comines. "Charles is determined to show the people of
Flanders that no hope, nay, no promise, of assistance from France
will save them in their mutinies from the wrath and vengeance of
Burgundy."

"But, Sir Philip, I will speak plainly," answered the King. "Could
we but procrastinate the matter, might not these rogues of Liege make
their own part good against Duke Charles? The knaves are numerous
and steady. -- Can they not hold out their town against him?"

"With the help of the thousand archers of France whom your Majesty
promised them, they might have done something, but --"

"Whom I promised them?" said the King. "Alas! good Sir Philip! you
much wrong me in saying so."

"But without whom," continued De Comines, not heeding the interruption,
"as your Majesty will not now likely find it convenient to supply
them, what chance will the burghers have of making good their town,
in whose walls the large breaches made by Charles after the battle
of St. Tron are still unrepaired; so that the lances of Hainault,
Brabant, and Burgundy may advance to the attack twenty men in
front?"

"The improvident idiots!" said the King. "If they have thus neglected
their own safety, they deserve not my protection. Pass on -- I will
make no quarrel for their sake."

"The next point, I fear, will sit closer to your Majesty's heart,"
said De Comines.

"Ah!" replied the King, "you mean that infernal marriage! I will
not consent to the breach of the contract betwixt my daughter Joan
and my cousin of Orleans -- it would be wresting the sceptre of
France from me and my posterity; for that feeble boy, the Dauphin,
is a blighted blossom, which will wither without fruit. This match
between Joan and Orleans has been my thought by day, my dream by
night. -- I tell thee, Sir Philip, I cannot give it up! -- Besides,
it is inhuman to require me, with my own hand, to destroy at once
my own scheme of policy, and the happiness of a pair brought up
for each other."

"Are they, then, so much attached?" said De Comines.

"One of them at least," said the King, "and the one for whom I am
bound to be most anxious. But you smile, Sir Philip -- you are no
believer in the force of love."

"Nay," said De Comines, "if it please you, Sire, I am so little
an infidel in that particular that I was about to ask whether it
would reconcile you in any degree to your acquiescing in the proposed
marriage betwixt the Duke of Orleans and Isabelle de Croye, were I
to satisfy you that the Countess's inclinations are so much fixed
on another, that it is likely it will never be a match?"

King Louis sighed. "Alas," he said, "my good and dear friend, from
what sepulchre have you drawn such dead comfort? Her inclinations,
indeed! -- Why, to speak truth, supposing that Orleans detested
my daughter Joan, yet, but for this ill ravelled web of mischance,
he must needs have married her; so you may conjecture how little
chance there is of this damsel's being able to refuse him under a
similar compulsion, and he a Child of France besides. -- Ah, no,
Philip! little fear of her standing obstinate against the suit
of such a lover. -- Varium et mutabile [(semper femina): woman is
always inconstant and capricious], Philip."

"Your Majesty may, in the present instance, undervalue the obstinate
courage of this young lady. She comes of a race determinately
wilful; and I have picked out of Crevecoeur that she has formed a
romantic attachment to a young squire, who, to say truth, rendered
her many services on the road."

"Ha!" said the King -- "an Archer of my Guards, by name Quentin
Durward?"

"The same, as I think," said De Comines; "he was made prisoner
along with the Countess, travelling almost alone together."

"Now, our Lord and our Lady, and Monseigneur Saint Martin, and
Monseigneur Saint Julian, be praised every one of them!" said the
King, "and all laud and honour to the learned Galeotti; who read
in the stars that this youth's destiny was connected with mine! If
the maiden be so attached to him as to make her refractory to the
will of Burgundy, this Quentin hath indeed been rarely useful to
me."

"I believe, my lord," answered the Burgundian, "according
to Crevecoeur's report, that there is some chance of her being
sufficiently obstinate; besides, doubtless, the noble Duke himself,
notwithstanding what your Majesty was pleased to hint in way of
supposition, will not willingly renounce his fair cousin, to whom
he has been long engaged."

"Umph!" answered the King -- "but you have never seen my daughter
Joan. -- A howlet, man! -- an absolute owl, whom I am ashamed of!
But let him be only a wise man, and marry her, I will give him
leave to be mad par amours for the fairest lady in France. -- And
now, Philip, have you given me the full map of your master's mind?"

"I have possessed you, Sire, of those particulars on which he is at
present most disposed to insist. But your Majesty well knows that
the Duke's disposition is like a sweeping torrent, which only passes
smoothly forward when its waves encounter no opposition; and what
may be presented to chafe him info fury, it is impossible even
to guess. Were more distinct evidence of your Majesty's practices
(pardon the phrase, when there is so little time for selection)
with the Liegeois and William de la Marck to occur unexpectedly,
the issue might be terrible. -- There are strange news from that
country -- they say La Marck hath married Hameline, the elder
Countess of Croye."

"That old fool was so mad on marriage that she would have accepted
the hand of Satan," said the King; "but that La Marck, beast as he
is, should have married her, rather more surprises me."

"There is a report also," continued De Comines, "that an envoy, or
herald, on La Marck's part, is approaching Peronne; this is like to
drive the Duke frantic with rage -- I trust that he has no letters
or the like to show on your Majesty's part?"

"Letters to a Wild Boar!" answered the King. -- "No, no, Sir Philip,
I was no such fool as to cast pearls before swine. -- What little
intercourse I had with the brute animal was by message, in which
I always employed such low bred slaves and vagabonds that their
evidence would not be received in a trial for robbing a hen roost."

"I can then only further recommend," said De Comines, taking his
leave, "that your Majesty should remain on your guard, be guided by
events, and, above all, avoid using any language or argument with
the Duke which may better become your dignity than your present
condition."

"If my dignity," said the King, "grow troublesome to me -- which
it seldom doth while there are deeper interests to think of -- I
have a special remedy for that swelling of the heart. -- It is but
looking into a certain ruinous closet, Sir Philip, and thinking of
the death of Charles the Simple; and it cures me as effectually as
the cold bath would cool a fever. -- And now, my friend and monitor,
must thou be gone? Well, Sir Philip, the time must come when thou
wilt tire reading lessons of state policy to the Bull of Burgundy,
who is incapable of comprehending your most simple argument.
-- If Louis of Valois then lives, thou hast a friend in the Court
of France. I tell thee, my Philip, it would be a blessing to my
kingdom should I ever acquire thee; who, with a profound view of
subjects of state, hast also a conscience, capable of feeling and
discerning between right and wrong. So help me our Lord and Lady,
and Monseigneur Saint Martin, Oliver and Balue have hearts as hardened
as the nether millstone; and my life is embittered by remorse and
penances for the crimes they make me commit. Thou, Sir Philip,
possessed of the wisdom of present and past times, canst teach how
to become great without ceasing to be virtuous."

"A hard task, and which few have attained," said the historian;
"but which is yet within the reach of princes who will strive for
it. Meantime, Sire, be prepared, for the Duke will presently confer
with you."

Louis looked long after Philip when he left the apartment, and at
length burst into a bitter laugh. "He spoke of fishing -- I have
sent him home, a trout properly tickled! -- And he thinks himself
virtuous because he took no bribe, but contented himself with
flattery and promises, and the pleasure of avenging an affront to
his vanity! -- Why, he is but so much the poorer for the refusal
of the money -- not a jot the more honest. He must be mine, though,
for he hath the shrewdest head among them. Well, now for nobler
game! I am to face this leviathan Charles, who will presently swim
hitherward, cleaving the deep before him. I must, like a trembling
sailor, throw a tub overboard to amuse him. But I may one day find
the chance of driving a harpoon into his entrails!"

[If a ship is threatened by a school of whales, a tub is thrown
into the sea to divert their attention. Hence to mislead an enemy,
or to create a diversion in order to avoid a danger.]

[Scott says that during this interesting scene Comines first
realized the great powers of Louis, and entertained from this
time a partiality to France which allured him to Louis's court in
1472. After the death of Louis he fell under the suspicion of that
sovereign's daughter and was imprisoned in one of the cages he has
so feelingly described. He was subjected to trial and exiled from
court, but was afterwards employed by Charles VIII in one or two
important missions. He died at his Castle of Argenton in 1509, and
was regretted as one of the most profound statesmen, and the best
historian of his age.]



CHAPTER XXXI: THE INTERVIEW

Hold fast thy truth, young soldier. -- Gentle maiden,
Keep you your promise plight -- leave age its subtleties,
And gray hair'd policy its maze of falsehood,
But be you candid as the morning sky,
Ere the high sun sucks vapours up to stain it.

THE TRIAL


On the perilous and important morning which preceded the meeting
of the two Princes in the Castle of Peronne, Oliver le Dain did his
master the service of an active and skilful agent, making interest
for Louis in every quarter, both with presents and promises; so
that when the Duke's anger should blaze forth, all around should
be interested to smother, and not to increase, the conflagration.
He glided like night, from tent to tent, from house to house, making
himself friends, but not in the Apostle's sense, with the Mammon
of unrighteousness. As was said of another active political agent,
"his finger was in every man's palm, his mouth was in every man's
ear;" and for various reasons, some of which we have formerly hinted
at, he secured the favour of many Burgundian nobles, who either
had something to hope or fear from France, or who thought that,
were the power of Louis too much reduced, their own Duke would be
likely to pursue the road to despotic authority, to which his heart
naturally inclined him, with a daring and unopposed pace.

Where Oliver suspected his own presence or arguments might be less
acceptable, he employed that of other servants of the King; and it
was in this manner that he obtained, by the favour of the Count de
Crevecoeur, an interview betwixt Lord Crawford, accompanied by Le
Balafre, and Quentin Durward, who, since he had arrived at Peronne,
had been detained in a sort of honourable confinement. Private
affairs were assigned as the cause of requesting this meeting;
but it is probable that Crevecoeur, who was afraid that his master
might be stirred up in passion to do something dishonourably violent
towards Louis, was not sorry to afford an opportunity to Crawford
to give some hints to the young Archer, which might prove useful
to his master.

The meeting between the countrymen was cordial and even affecting.

"Thou art a singular youth," said Crawford, stroking the head
of young Durward, as a grandsire might do that of his descendant.
"Certes, you have had as meikle good fortune as if you had been
born with a lucky hood on your head."

"All comes of his gaining an Archer's place at such early years,"
said Le Balafre; "I never was so much talked of, fair nephew,
because I was five and twenty years old before I was hors de page
[passed out of the rank of the page]."

"And an ill looking mountainous monster of a page thou wert, Ludovic,"
said the old commander, "with a beard like a baker's shool, and a
back like old Wallace Wight [so called because of his vigour and
activity]."

"I fear," said Quentin, with downcast eyes, "I shall enjoy that
title to distinction but a short time -- since it is my purpose to
resign the service of the Archer Guard."

Le Balafre was struck almost mute with astonishment, and Crawford's
ancient features gleamed with displeasure. The former at length
mustered words enough to say, "Resign! -- leave your place in the
Scottish Archers! -- such a thing was never dreamed of. I would
not give up my situation to be made Constable of France."

"Hush! Ludovic," said Crawford; "this youngster knows better how
to shape his course with the wind than we of the old world do. His
journey hath given him some pretty tales to tell about King Louis;
and he is turning Burgundian, that he may make his own little profit
by telling them to Duke Charles."

"If I thought so," said Le Balafre, "I would cut his throat with
my own hand, were he fifty times my sister's son."

"But you would first inquire whether I deserved to be so treated,
fair kinsman?" answered Quentin; "and you, my lord, know that I
am no tale bearer; nor shall either question or torture draw out
of me a word to King Louis's prejudice, which may have come to my
knowledge while I was in his service. -- So far my oath of duty
keeps me silent. But I will not remain in that services in which,
besides the perils of fair battle with mine enemies, I am to be
exposed to the dangers of ambuscade on the part of my friends."

"Nay, if he objects to lying in ambuscade," said the slow witted
Le Balafre, looking sorrowfully at the Lord Crawford, "I am afraid,
my lord, that all is over with him! I myself have had thirty bushments
break upon me, and truly I think I have laid in ambuscade twice as
often myself, it being a favourite practice in our King's mode of
making war."

"It is so indeed, Ludovic," answered Lord Crawford; "nevertheless,
hold your peace, for I believe I understand this gear better than
you do."

"I wish to Our Lady you may, my lord," answered Ludovic; "but it
wounds me to the very midriff, to think my sister's son should fear
an ambushment."

"Young man," said Crawford, "I partly guess your meaning. You have
met foul play on the road where you travelled by the King's command,
and you think you have reason to charge him with being the author
of it."

"I have been threatened with foul play in the execution of the
King's commission," answered Quentin; "but I have had the good
fortune to elude it -- whether his Majesty be innocent or guilty in
the matter, I leave to God and his own conscience. He fed me when
I was a-hungered -- received me when I was a wandering stranger.
I will never load him in his adversity with accusations which may
indeed be unjust, since I heard them only from the vilest mouths."

"My dear boy -- my own lad!" said Crawford, taking him in his arms.
-- "Ye think like a Scot, every joint of you! Like one that will
forget a cause of quarrel with a friend whose back is already at
the wall, and remember nothing of him but his kindness."

"Since my Lord Crawford has embraced my nephew," said Ludovic Lesly,
"I will embrace him also -- though I would have you to know that
to understand the service of an ambushment is as necessary to a
soldier as it is to a priest to be able to read his breviary."

"Be hushed, Ludovic," said Crawford; "ye are an ass, my friend, and
ken not the blessing Heaven has sent you in this braw callant. --
And now tell me, Quentin, my man, hath the King any advice of this
brave, Christian, and manly resolution of yours, for, poor man,
he had need, in his strait, to ken what he has to reckon upon. Had
he but brought the whole brigade of Guards with him! -- But God's
will be done. -- Kens he of your purpose, think you?"

"I really can hardly tell," answered Quentin; "but I assured
his learned Astrologer, Martius Galeotti, of my resolution to be
silent on all that could injure the King with the Duke of Burgundy.
The particulars which I suspect, I will not (under your favour)
communicate even to your lordship; and to the philosopher I was,
of course, far less willing to unfold myself."

"Ha! -- ay!" answered Lord Crawford. -- "Oliver did indeed tell
me that Galeotti prophesied most stoutly concerning the line of
conduct you were to hold; and I am truly glad to find he did so on
better authority than the stars."

"He prophesy!" said Le Balafre, laughing; "the stars never told
him that honest Ludovic Lesly used to help yonder wench of his to
spend the fair ducats he flings into her lap."

"Hush! Ludovic," said his captain, "hush! thou beast, man! -- If
thou dost not respect my gray hairs, because I have been e'en too
much of a routier myself, respect the boy's youth and innocence,
and let us have no more of such unbecoming daffing."

"Your honour may say your pleasure," answered' Ludovic Lesly; "but,
by my faith, second sighted Saunders Souplesaw, the town souter of
Glen Houlakin, was worth Galeotti, or Gallipotty, or whatever ye
call him, twice told, for a prophet. He foretold that all my sister's
children, would die some day; and he foretold it in the very hour
that the youngest was born, and that is this lad Quentin -- who,
no doubt, will one day die, to make up the prophecy -- the more's
the pity -- the whole curney of them is gone but himself. And Saunders
foretold to myself one day, that I should be made by marriage,
which doubtless will also happen in due time, though it hath not yet
come to pass -- though how or when, I can hardly guess, as I care
not myself for the wedded state, and Quentin is but a lad. Also,
Saunders predicted --"

"Nay," said Lord Crawford, "unless the prediction be singularly
to the purpose, I must cut you short, my good Ludovic; for both
you and I must now leave your nephew, with prayers to Our Lady to
strengthen him in the good mind he is in; for this is a case in
which a light word might do more mischief than all the Parliament
of Paris could mend. My blessing with you, my lad; and be in no
hurry to think of leaving our body; for there will be good blows
going presently in the eye of day, and no ambuscade."

"And my blessing, too, nephew," said Ludovic Lesly; "for, since you
have satisfied our most noble captain, I also am satisfied, as in
duty bound."

"Stay, my lord," said Quentin, and led Lord Crawford a little
apart from his uncle. "I must not forget to mention that there is
a person besides in the world, who, having learned from me these
circumstances, which it is essential to King Louis's safety should
at present remain concealed, may not think that the same obligation
of secrecy, which attaches to me as the King's soldier, and as
having been relieved by his bounty, is at all binding on her."

"On her!" replied Crawford; "nay, if there be a woman in the secret,
the Lord have mercy, for we are all on the rocks again!"

"Do not suppose so, my lord," replied Durward, "but use your interest
with the Count of Crevecoeur to permit me an interview with the
Countess Isabelle of Croye, who is the party possessed of my secret,
and I doubt not that I can persuade her to be as silent as I shall
unquestionably myself remain, concerning whatever may incense the
Duke against King Louis."

The old soldier mused for a long time -- looked up to the ceiling,
then down again upon the floor -- then shook his head -- and at
length said, "There is something in all this, which, by my honour,
I do not understand. The Countess Isabelle of Croye! -- an interview
with a lady of her birth, blood, and possessions! -- and thou a
raw Scottish lad, so certain of carrying thy point with her? Thou
art either strangely confident, my young friend, or else you have
used your time well upon the journey. But, by the cross of Saint
Andrew, I will move Crevecoeur in thy behalf; and, as he truly fears
that Duke Charles may be provoked against the King to the extremity
of falling foul, I think it likely he may grant thy request, though,
by my honour, it is a comical one!"

So saying, and shrugging up his shoulders, the old Lord left the
apartment, followed by Ludovic Lesly, who, forming his looks on
those of his principal, endeavoured, though knowing nothing of the
cause of his wonder, to look as mysterious and important as Crawford
himself.

In a few minutes Crawford returned, but without his attendant,
Le Balafre. The old man seemed in singular humour, laughing and
chuckling to himself in a manner which strangely distorted his
stern and rigid features, and at the same time shaking his head,
as at something which he could not help condemning, while he found
it irresistibly ludicrous. "My certes, countryman," said he, "but
you are not blate -- you will never lose fair lady for faint heart!
Crevecoeur swallowed your proposal as he would have done a cup of
vinegar, and swore to me roundly, by all the saints in Burgundy,
that were less than the honour of princes and the peace of kingdoms
at stake, you should never see even so much as the print of the
Countess Isabelle's foot on the clay. Were it not that he had a
dame, and a fair one, I would have thought that he meant to break
a lance for the prize himself. Perhaps he thinks of his nephew,
the County Stephen. A Countess! -- would no less serve you to be
minting at? -- But come along -- your interview with her must be
brief. -- But I fancy you know how to make the most of little time
-- ho! ho! ho! -- By my faith, I can hardly chide thee for the
presumption, I have such a good will to laugh at it!"

With a brow like scarlet, at once offended and disconcerted by
the blunt inferences of the old soldier, and vexed at beholding
in what an absurd light his passion was viewed by every person of
experience, Durward followed Lord Crawford in silence to the Ursuline
convent, in which the Countess was lodged, and in the parlour of
which he found the Count de Crevecoeur.

"So, young gallant," said the latter sternly, "you must see the
fair companion of your romantic expedition once more, it seems."

"Yes, my Lord Count," answered Quentin firmly, "and what is more,
I must see her alone."

"That shall never be," said the Count de Crevecoeur. -- "Lord
Crawford, I make you judge. This young lady, the daughter of my
old friend and companion in arms, the richest heiress in Burgundy,
has confessed a sort of a -- what was I going to say? -- in short,
she is a fool, and your man at arms here a presumptuous coxcomb.
-- In a word, they shall not meet alone."

"Then will I not speak a single word to the Countess in your
presence," said Quentin, much delighted. "You have told me much
that I did not dare, presumptuous as I may be, even to hope."

"Ay, truly said, my friend," said Crawford. "You have been imprudent
in your communications; and, since you refer to me, and there is a
good stout grating across the parlour, I would advise you to trust
to it, and let them do the worst with their tongues. What, man! the
life of a King, and many thousands besides, is not to be weighed
with the chance of two young things whilly whawing in ilk other's
ears for a minute."

So saying, he dragged off Crevecoeur, who followed very reluctantly,
and cast many angry glances at the young Archer as he left the
room.

In a moment after, the Countess Isabelle entered on the other side
of the grate, and no sooner saw Quentin alone in the parlour, than
she stopped short, and cast her eyes on the ground for the space of
half a minute. "Yet why should I be ungrateful," she said, "because
others are unjustly suspicious? -- My friend -- my preserver,
I may almost say, so much have I been beset by treachery, my only
faithful and constant friend!"

As she spoke thus, she extended her hand to him through the grate,
nay, suffered him to retain it until he had covered it with kisses,
not unmingled with tears. She only said, "Durward, were we ever to
meet again, I would not permit this folly."

If it be considered that Quentin had guided her through so many
perils -- that he had been, in truth, her only faithful and zealous
protector, perhaps my fair readers, even if countesses and heiresses
should be of the number, will pardon the derogation.

But the Countess extricated her hand at length, and stepping a pace
back from the grate, asked Durward, in a very embarrassed tone,
what boon he had to ask of her? -- "For that you have a request
to make, I have learned from the old Scottish Lord, who came here
but now with my cousin of Crevecoeur. Let it be but reasonable,"
she said, "but such as poor Isabelle can grant with duty and honour
uninfringed, and you cannot tax my slender powers too highly. But,
oh! do not speak hastily -- do not say," she added, looking around
with timidity, "aught that might, if overheard, do prejudice to us
both!"

"Fear not, noble lady," said Quentin sorrowfully; "it is not here
that I can forget the distance which fate has placed between us,
or expose you to the censures of your proud kindred, as the object
of the most devoted love to one, poorer and less powerful -- not
perhaps less noble -- than themselves. Let that pass like a dream
of the night to all but one bosom, where, dream as it is, it will
fill up the room of all existing realities."

"Hush! hush!" said Isabelle "for your own sake -- for mine -- be
silent on such a theme. Tell me rather what it is you have to ask
of me."

"Forgiveness to one," replied Quentin, "who, for his own selfish
views, hath conducted himself as your enemy."

"I trust I forgive all my enemies," answered Isabelle; "but oh,
Durward! through what scenes have your courage and presence of mind
protected me! -- Yonder bloody hall -- the good Bishop -- I knew
not till yesterday half the horrors I had unconsciously witnessed!"

"Do not think on them," said Quentin, who saw the transient colour
which had come to her cheek during their conference fast fading into
the most deadly paleness. -- "Do not look back, but look steadily
forward, as they needs must who walk in a perilous road. Hearken
to me. King Louis deserves nothing better at your hand, of all
others; than to be proclaimed the wily and insidious politician
which he really is. But to tax him as the encourager of your flight
-- still more as the author of a plan to throw you into the hands
of De la Marck -- will at this moment produce perhaps the King's
death or dethronement; and, at all events, the most bloody war
between France and Burgundy which the two countries have ever been
engaged in."

"These evils shall not arrive for my sake, if they can be prevented,"
said the Countess Isabelle; "and indeed your slightest request
were enough to make me forego my revenge, were that at any time
a passion which I deeply cherish. Is it possible I would rather
remember King Louis's injuries than your invaluable services? --
Yet how is this to be? -- When I am called before my Sovereign, the
Duke of Burgundy, I must either stand silent or speak the truth.
The former would be contumacy; and to a false tale you will not
desire me to train my tongue."

"Surely not," said Durward; "but let your evidence concerning Louis
be confined to what you yourself positively know to be truth; and
when you mention what others have reported, no matter how credibly,
let it be as reports only, and beware of pledging your own personal
evidence to that, which, though you may fully believe, you cannot
personally know to be true. The assembled Council of Burgundy cannot
refuse to a monarch the justice which in my country is rendered to
the meanest person under accusation. They must esteem him innocent,
until direct and sufficient proof shall demonstrate his guilt. Now,
what does not consist with your own certain knowledge, should be
proved by other evidence than your report from hearsay."

"I think I understand you," said the Countess Isabelle.

"I will make my meaning plainer," said Quentin; and was illustrating
it accordingly by more than one instance when the convent bell
tolled.

"That," said the Countess, "is a signal that we must part -- part
for ever! -- But do not forget me, Durward; I will never forget
you -- your faithful services --"

She could not speak more, but again extended her hand, which was
again pressed to his lips; and I know not how it was, that, in
endeavouring to withdraw her hand, the Countess came so close to
the grating that Quentin was encouraged to press the adieu on her
lips. The young lady did not chide him -- perhaps there was no
time; for Crevecoeur and Crawford, who had been from some loophole
eye witnesses if not ear witnesses, also, of what was passing,
rushed into the apartment, the first in a towering passion, the
latter laughing, and holding the Count back.

"To your chamber, young mistress -- to your chamber!" exclaimed
the Count to Isabelle, who, flinging down her veil, retired in
all haste -- "which should be exchanged for a cell, and bread and
water. -- And you, gentle sir, who are so malapert, the time will
come when the interests of kings and kingdoms may not be connected
with such as you are; and you shall then learn the penalty of your
audacity in raising your beggarly eyes --"

"Hush! hush! -- enough said -- rein up -- rein up," said the old
Lord "and you, Quentin, I command you to be silent, and begone to
your quarters. -- There is no such room for so much scorn, neither,
Sir Count of Crevecoeur, that I must say now he is out of hearing.
-- Quentin Durward is as much a gentleman as the King, only, as
the Spaniard says, not so rich. He is as noble as myself, and I
am chief of my name. Tush, tush! man, you must not speak to us of
penalties."

"My lord, my lord," said Crevecoeur impatiently, "the insolence of
these foreign mercenaries is proverbial, and should receive rather
rebuke than encouragement from you, who are their leader."

"My Lord Count," answered Crawford, "I have ordered my command for
these fifty years without advice either from Frenchman or Burgundian;
and I intend to do so, under your favour, so long as I shall continue
to hold it."

"Well, well, my lord," said Crevecoeur, "I meant you no disrespect;
your nobleness, as well as your age, entitle you to be privileged
in your impatience; and for these young people. I am satisfied
to overlook the past, since I will take care that they never meet
again."

"Do not take that upon your salvation, Crevecoeur," said the old
Lord, laughing; "mountains, it is said, may meet, and why not mortal
creatures that have legs, and life and love to put those legs in
motion?  Yon kiss, Crevecoeur, came tenderly off -- methinks it
was ominous."

"You are striving again to disturb my patience," said Crevecoeur,
"but I will not give you that advantage over me. -- -- Hark! they
toll the summons to the Castle -- an awful meeting, of which God
only can foretell the issue."

"This issue I can foretell," said the old Scottish lord, "that
if violence is to be offered to the person of the King, few as
his friends are, and surrounded by his shall neither fall alone
nor unavenged; and grieved I am that his own positive orders have
prevented my taking measures to prepare for such an issue."

"My Lord of Crawford," said the Burgundian, "to anticipate
such evil is the sure way to give occasion to it. Obey the orders
of your royal master, and give no pretext for violence by taking
hasty offence, and you will find that the day will pass over more
smoothly than you now conjecture."



CHAPTER XXXII: THE INVESTIGATION

Me rather had my heart might feel your love,
Than my displeased eye see your courtesy.
Up, cousin, up -- your heart is up, I know,
Thus high at least -- although your knee --

KING RICHARD II


At the first toll of the bell which was to summon the great nobles
of Burgundy together in council, with the very few French peers
who could be present on the occasion, Duke Charles, followed by a
part of his train, armed with partisans and battle axes, entered
the Hall of Herbert's Tower, in the Castle of Peronne. King Louis,
who had expected the visit, arose and made two steps towards the
Duke, and then remained standing with an air of dignity, which,
in spite of the meanness of his dress, and the familiarity of his
ordinary manners, he knew very well how to assume when he judged
it necessary. Upon the present important crisis, the composure of
his demeanour had an evident effect upon his rival, who changed
the abrupt and hasty step with which he entered the apartment into
one more becoming a great vassal entering the presence of his Lord
Paramount. Apparently the Duke had formed the internal resolution
to treat Louis, in the outset at least, with the formalities due
to his high station; but at the same time it was evident, that, in
doing so, he put no small constraint upon the fiery impatience of
his own disposition, and was scarce able to control the feelings
of resentment and the thirst of revenge which boiled in his bosom.
Hence, though he compelled himself to use the outward acts, and
in some degree the language, of courtesy and reverence, his colour
came and went rapidly -- his voice was abrupt, hoarse, and broken
-- his limbs shook, as if impatient of the curb imposed on his
motions -- he frowned and bit his lip until the blood came -- and
every look and movement showed that the most passionate prince
who ever lived was under the dominion of one of his most violent
paroxysms of fury.

The King marked this war of passion with a calm and untroubled
eye, for, though he gathered from the Duke's looks a foretaste of
the bitterness of death, which he dreaded alike as a mortal and
a sinful man, yet he was resolved, like a wary and skilful pilot,
neither to suffer himself to be disconcerted by his own fears,
nor to abandon the helm, while there was a chance of saving the
vessel by adroit pilotage. Therefore, when the Duke, in a hoarse and
broken tone, said something of the scarcity of his accommodations,
he answered with a smile that he could not complain, since he had
as yet found Herbert's Tower a better residence than it had proved
to one of his ancestors.

"They told you the tradition then?" said Charles.

"Yes -- here he was slain -- but it was because he refused to take
the cowl, and finish his days in a monastery."

"The more fool he," said Louis, affecting unconcern, "since he
gained the torment of being a martyr, without the merit of being
a saint."

"I come," said the Duke, "to pray your Majesty to attend a high
council at which tidings of weight are to be deliberated upon
concerning the welfare of France and Burgundy. You will presently
meet them -- that is, if such be your pleasure."

"Nay, my fair cousin," said the King. "never strain courtesy so
far as to entreat what you may so boldly command. -- To council,
since such is your Grace's pleasure. We are somewhat shorn of
our train," he added, looking upon the small suite that arranged
themselves to attend him, "but you, cousin, must shine out for us
both."

Marshalled by Toison d'Or, chief of the heralds of Burgundy,
the Princes left the Earl Herbert's Tower, and entered the castle
yard, which Louis observed was filled with the Duke's bodyguard and
men at arms, splendidly accoutred, and drawn up in martial array.
Crossing the court, they entered the Council Hall, which was in a
much more modern part of the building than that of which Louis had
been the tenant, and, though in disrepair, had been hastily arranged
for the solemnity of a public council. Two chairs of state were
erected under the same canopy, that for the King being raised two
steps higher than the one which the Duke was to occupy; about twenty
of the chief nobility sat, arranged in due order, on either hand
of the chair of state; and thus, when both the Princes were seated,
the person for whose trial, as it might be called, the council was
summoned, held the highest place, and appeared to preside in it.

It was perhaps to get rid of this inconsistency, and the scruples
which might have been inspired by it, that Duke Charles, having
bowed slightly to the royal chair, bluntly opened the sitting with
the following words --

"My good vassals and councillors, it is not unknown to you what
disturbances have arisen in our territories, both in our father's
time and in our own, from the rebellion of vassals against superiors,
and subjects against their princes. And lately we have had the most
dreadful proof of the height to which these evils have arrived in
our case, by the scandalous flight of the Countess Isabelle of Croye,
and her aunt the Lady Hameline, to take refuge with a foreign power,
thereby renouncing their fealty to us, and inferring the forfeiture
of their fiefs; and in another more dreadful and deplorable instance,
by the sacrilegious and bloody murder of our beloved brother and
ally, the Bishop of Liege, and the rebellion of that treacherous
city, which was but too mildly punished for the last insurrection.
We have been informed that these sad events may be traced, not
merely to the inconstancy and folly of women, and the presumption
of pampered citizens, but to the agency of foreign power, and the
interference of a mighty neighbour, from whom, if good deeds could
merit any return in kind, Burgundy could have expected nothing
but the most sincere and devoted friendship. If this should prove
truth," said the Duke, setting his teeth and pressing his heel
against the ground, "what consideration shall withhold us -- the
means being in our power -- from taking such measures as shall
effectually, and at the very source, close up the main spring from
which these evils have yearly flowed on us?"

The Duke had begun his speech with some calmness, but he elevated
his voice at the conclusion; and the last sentence was spoken in a
tone which made all the councillors tremble, and brought a transient
fit of paleness across the King's cheek. He instantly recalled his
courage, however, and addressed the council in his turn in a tone
evincing so much ease and composure that the Duke, though he seemed
desirous to interrupt or stop him, found no decent opportunity to
do so.

"Nobles of France and of Burgundy," he said, "Knights of the Holy
Spirit and of the Golden Fleece! Since a King must plead his cause
as an accused person he cannot desire more distinguished judges than
the flower of nobleness and muster and pride of chivalry. Our fair
cousin of Burgundy hath but darkened the dispute between us, in so
far as his courtesy has declined to state it in precise terms. I,
who have no cause for observing such delicacy, nay, whose condition
permits me not to do so, crave leave to speak more precisely. It
is to Us, my lords -- to Us, his liege lord, his kinsman, his ally,
that unhappy circumstances, perverting our cousins's clear judgment
and better nature, have induced him to apply the hateful charges of
seducing his vassals from their allegiance, stirring up the people
of Liege to revolt, and stimulating the outlawed William de la Marck
to commit a most cruel and sacrilegious murder. Nobles of France
and Burgundy, I might truly appeal to the circumstances in which I
now stand, as being in themselves a complete contradiction of such
an accusation, for is it to be supposed that, having the sense of
a rational being left me, I should have thrown myself unreservedly
into the power of the Duke of Burgundy while I was practising
treachery against him such as could not fail to be discovered,
and which being discovered, must place me, as I now stand, in the
power of a justly exasperated prince? The folly of one who should
seat himself quietly down to repose on a mine, after he had
lighted the match which was to cause instant explosion, would have
been wisdom compared to mine. I have no doubt that, amongst the
perpetrators of those horrible treasons at Schonwaldt, villains
have been busy with my name -- but am I to be answerable, who have
given them no right to use it? -- If two silly women, disgusted
on account of some romantic cause of displeasure, sought refuge at
my Court, does it follow that they did so by my direction? -- It
will be found, when inquired into, that, since honour and chivalry
forbade my sending them back prisoners to the Court of Burgundy
-- which, I think, gentlemen, no one who wears the collar of these
Orders would suggest -- that I came as nearly as possible to the
same point by placing them in the hands of the venerable father in
God, who is now a saint in Heaven."

Here Louis seemed much affected and pressed his kerchief to his eyes.
"In the hands, I say, of a member of my own family, and still more
closely united with that of Burgundy, whose situation, exalted
condition in the church, and, alas! whose numerous virtues qualified
him to be the protector of these unhappy wanderers for a little
while, and the mediator betwixt them and their liege lord. I say,
therefore, the only circumstances which seem, in my brother of
Burgundy's hasty view of this subject, to argue unworthy suspicions
against me, are such as can be explained on the fairest and most
honourable motives; and I say, moreover, that no one particle of
credible evidence can be brought to support the injurious charges
which have induced my brother to alter his friendly looks towards
one who came to him in full confidence of friendship -- have
caused him to turn his festive hall into a court of justice, and
his hospitable apartments into a prison."

"My lord, my lord," said Charles, breaking in as soon as the King
paused, "for your being here at a time so unluckily coinciding with
the execution of your projects, I can only account by supposing
that those who make it their trade to impose on others do sometimes
egregiously delude themselves. The engineer is sometimes killed by
the springing of his own petard. -- For what is to follow, let it
depend on the event of this solemn inquiry. -- Bring hither the
Countess Isabelle of Croye."

As the young lady was introduced, supported on the one side by
the Countess of Crevecoeur, who had her husband's commands to that
effect, and on the other by the Abbess of the Ursuline convent,
Charles exclaimed, with his usual harshness of voice and manner,
"So! sweet Princess -- you, who could scarce find breath to answer
us when we last laid our just and reasonable commands on you, yet
have had wind enough to run as long a course as ever did hunted
doe -- what think you of the fair work you have made between two
great Princes, and two mighty countries, that have been like to go
to war for your baby face?"

The publicity of the scene and the violence of Charles's manner
totally overcame the resolution which Isabelle had formed of throwing
herself at the Duke's feet and imploring him to take possession of
her estates, and permit her to retire into a cloister. She stood
motionless, like a terrified female in a storm, who hears the
thunder roll on every side of her, and apprehends in every fresh peal
the bolt which is to strike her dead. The. Countess of Crevecoeur,
a woman of spirit equal to her birth and to the beauty which
she preserved even in her matronly years, judged it necessary to
interfere.

"My Lord Duke," she said, "my fair cousin is under my protection.
I know better than your Grace how women should be treated, and
we will leave this presence instantly, unless you use a tone and
language more suitable to our rank and sex."

The Duke burst out into a laugh. "Crevecoeur," he said, "thy
tameness hath made a lordly dame of thy Countess; but that is no
affair of mine. Give a seat to yonder simple girl, to whom, so far
from feeling enmity, I design the highest grace and honour. -- Sit
down, mistress, and tell us at your leisure what fiend possessed
you to fly from your native country, and embrace the trade of a
damsel adventurous."

With much pain, and not without several interruptions, Isabelle
confessed that, being absolutely determined against a match
proposed to her by the Duke of Burgundy, she had indulged the hope
of obtaining protection of the Court of France.

"And under protection of the French Monarch," said Charles. "Of
that, doubtless, you were well assured?"

"I did indeed so think myself assured," said the Countess Isabelle,
"otherwise I had not taken a step so decided."

Here Charles looked upon Louis with a smile of inexpressible
bitterness, which the King supported with the utmost firmness,
except that his lip grew something whiter than it was wont to be.

"But my information concerning King Louis's intentions towards us,"
continued the Countess, after a short pause, "was almost entirely
derived from my unhappy aunt, the Lady Hameline, and her opinions
were formed upon the assertions and insinuations of persons whom I
have since discovered to be the vilest traitors and most faithless
wretches in the world."

She then stated, in brief terms, what she had since come to learn
of the treachery of Marthon, and of Hayraddin Maugrabin, and added
that she "entertained no doubt that the elder Maugrabin, called
Zamet, the original adviser of their flight, was capable of every
species of treachery, as well as of assuming the character of an
agent of Louis without authority."

There was a pause while the Countess had continued her story,
which she prosecuted, though very briefly, from the time she left
the territories of Burgundy, in company with her aunt, until the
storming of Schonwaldt, and her final surrender to the Count of
Crevecoeur. All remained mute after she had finished her brief and
broken narrative, and the Duke of Burgundy bent his fierce dark
eyes on the ground, like one who seeks for a pretext to indulge his
passion, but finds none sufficiently plausible to justify himself
in his own eyes.

"The mole," he said at length, looking upwards, "winds not his
dark subterranean path beneath our feet the less certainly that
we, though conscious of his motions, cannot absolutely trace them.
Yet I would know of King Louis wherefore he maintained these ladies
at his Court, had they not gone thither by his own invitation."

"I did not so entertain them, fair cousin," answered the King.
"Out of compassion, indeed, I received them in privacy, but took
an early opportunity of placing them under the protection of the
late excellent Bishop, your own ally, and who was (may God assoil
him!) a better judge than I, or any secular prince, how to reconcile
the protection due to fugitives with the duty which a king owes to
his ally, from whose dominions they have fled. I boldly ask this
young lady whether my reception of them was cordial, or whether
it was not, on the contrary, such as made them express regret that
they had made my Court their place of refuge?"

"So much was it otherwise than cordial," answered the Countess,
"that it induced me, at least, to doubt how far it was possible
that your Majesty should have actually given the invitation of which
we had been assured, by those who called themselves your agents,
since, supposing them to have proceeded only as they were duly
authorized, it would have been hard to reconcile your Majesty's
conduct with that to be expected from a king, a knight, and a
gentleman."

The Countess turned her eyes to the King as she spoke, with a look
which was probably intended as a reproach, but the breast of Louis
was armed against all such artillery. On the contrary, waving slowly
his expanded hands, and looking around the circle, he seemed to
make a triumphant appeal to all present, upon the testimony borne
to his innocence in the Countess's reply.

Burgundy, meanwhile, cast on him a look which seemed to say,
that if in some degree silenced, he was as far as ever from being
satisfied, and then said abruptly to the Countess, "Methinks, fair
mistress, in this account of your wanderings, you have forgot all
mention of certain love passages. -- So, ho, blushing already?
-- Certain knights of the forest, by whom your quiet was for a
time interrupted. Well -- that incident hath come to our ear, and
something we may presently form out of it. -- Tell me, King Louis,
were it not well, before this vagrant Helen of Troy [the wife of
Menelaus. She was carried to Troy by Paris, and thus was the cause
of the Trojan War], or of Croye, set more Kings by the ears, were
it not well to carve out a fitting match for her?"

King Louis, though conscious what ungrateful proposal was likely to
be made next, gave a calm and silent assent to what Charles said;
but the Countess herself was restored to courage by the very
extremity of her situation. She quitted the arm of the Countess of
Crevecoeur, on which she had hitherto leaned, came forward timidly,
yet with an air of dignity, and kneeling before the Duke's throne,
thus addressed him "Noble Duke of Burgundy, and my liege lord, I
acknowledge my fault in having withdrawn myself from your dominions
without your gracious permission, and will most humbly acquiesce
in any penalty you are pleased to impose. I place my lands and
castles at your rightful disposal, and pray you only of your own
bounty, and for the sake of my memory, to allow the last of the
line of Croye, out of her large estate, such a moderate maintenance
as may find her admission into a convent for the remainder of her
life."

"What think you, Sire, of the young person's petition to us," said
the Duke, addressing Louis.

"As of a holy and humble motion," said the King, "which doubtless
comes from that grace which ought not to be resisted or withstood."

"The humble and lowly shall be exalted," said Charles. "Arise,
Countess Isabelle -- we mean better for you than you have devised
for yourself. We mean neither to sequestrate your estates, nor to
abase your honours, but, on the contrary, will add largely to both."

"Alas! my lord," said the Countess, continuing on her knees, "it
is even that well meant goodness which I fear still more than your
Grace's displeasure, since it compels me --"

"Saint George of Burgundy!" said Duke Charles, "is our will to
be thwarted, and our commands disputed, at every turn? Up, I say,
minion, and withdraw for the present -- when we have time to think
of thee, we will so order matters that, Teste Saint Gris! you shall
either obey us, or do worse."

Notwithstanding this stern answer, the Countess Isabelle remained
at his feet, and would probably, by her pertinacity, have driven him
to say upon the spot something yet more severe, had not the Countess
of Crevecoeur, who better knew that Prince's humour, interfered to
raise her young friend, and to conduct her from the hall.

Quentin Durward was now summoned to appear, and presented himself
before the King and Duke with that freedom, distant alike from
bashful reserve and intrusive boldness, which becomes a youth
at once well born and well nurtured, who gives honour where it is
due but without permitting himself to be dazzled or confused by
the presence of those to whom it is to be rendered. His uncle had
furnished him with the means of again equipping himself in the arms
and dress of an Archer of the Scottish Guard, and his complexion,
mien, and air suited in an uncommon degree his splendid appearance.
His extreme youth, too, prepossessed the councillors in his favour,
the rather that no one could easily believe that the sagacious Louis
would have chosen so very young a person to become the confidant
of political intrigues; and thus the King enjoyed, in this, as in
other cases, considerable advantage from his singular choice of
agents, both as to age and rank, where such election seemed least
likely to be made. At the command of the Duke, sanctioned by that
of Louis, Quentin commenced an account of his journey with the Ladies
of Croye to the neighbourhood of Liege, premising a statement of
King Louis's instructions, which were that he should escort them
safely to the castle of the Bishop.

"And you obeyed my orders accordingly," said the King.

"I did, Sire," replied the Scot.

"You omit a circumstance," said the Duke. "You were set upon in
the forest by two wandering knights."

"It does not become me to remember or to proclaim such an incident,"
said the youth, blushing ingenuously.

"But it doth not become me to forget it," said the Duke of Orleans.
"This youth discharged his commission manfully, and maintained
his trust in a manner that I shall long remember. -- Come to my
apartment, Archer, when this matter is over, and thou shalt find
I have not forgot thy brave bearing, while I am glad to see it is
equalled by thy modesty."

"And come to mine," said Dunois. "I have a helmet for thee, since
I think I owe thee one."

Quentin bowed low to both, and the examination was resumed. At the
command of Duke Charles he produced the written instructions which
he had received for the direction of his journey.

"Did you follow these instructions literally, soldier?" said the
Duke.

"No; if it please your Grace," replied Quentin. "They directed me,
as you may be pleased to observe, to cross the Maes near Namur;
whereas I kept the left bank, as being both the nigher and the
safer road to Liege."

"And wherefore that alteration?" said the Duke.

"Because I began to suspect the fidelity of my guide," answered
Quentin.

"Now mark the questions I have next to ask thee," said the Duke.
"Reply truly to them, and fear nothing from the resentment of any
one. But if you palter or double in your answers I will have thee
hung alive in an iron chain from the steeple of the market house,
where thou shalt wish for death for many an hour ere he come to
relieve you!"

There was a deep silence ensued. At length, having given the youth
time, as he thought, to consider the circumstances in which he was
placed, the Duke demanded to know of Durward who his guide was, by
whom supplied, and wherefore he had been led to entertain suspicion
of him. To the first of these questions Quentin Durward answered
by naming Hayraddin Maugrabin, the Bohemian; to the second, that
the guide had been recommended by Tristan l'Hermite; and in reply
to the third point he mentioned what had happened in the Franciscan
convent near Namur, how the Bohemian had been expelled from the
holy house, and how, jealous of his behaviour, he had dogged him to
a rendezvous with one of William de la Marck's lanzknechts, where
he overheard them arrange a plan for surprising the ladies who were
under his protection.

"Now, hark," said the Duke, "and once more remember thy life
depends on thy veracity, did these villains mention their having
this King's -- I mean this very King Louis of France's authority
for their scheme of surprising the escort and carrying away the
ladies?"

"If such infamous fellows had said," replied Quentin, "I know not
how I should have believed them, having the word of the King himself
to place in opposition to theirs."

Louis, who had listened hitherto with most earnest attention, could
not help drawing his breath deeply when he heard Durward's answer,
in the manner of one from whose bosom a heavy weight has been at
once removed. The Duke again looked disconcerted and moody, and,
returning to the charge, questioned Quentin still more closely,
whether he did not understand, from these men's private conversation,
that the plots which they meditated had King Louis's sanction?

"I repeat that I heard nothing which could authorize me to say
so," answered the young man, who, though internally convinced of
the King's accession to the treachery of Hayraddin, yet held it
contrary to his allegiance to bring forward his own suspicions on
the subject; "and if I had heard such men make such an assertion,
I again say that I would not have given their testimony weight
against the instructions of the King himself."

"Thou art a faithful messenger," said the Duke, with a sneer, "and
I venture to say that, in obeying the King's instructions, thou
hast disappointed his expectations in a manner that thou mightst
have smarted for, but that subsequent events have made thy bull
headed fidelity seem like good service."

"I understand you not, my lord," said Quentin Durward, "all I know
is that my master King Louis sent me to protect these ladies, and
that I did so accordingly, to the extent of my ability, both in
the journey to Schonwaldt, and through the subsequent scenes which
took place. I understood the instructions of the King to be honourable,
and I executed them honourably; had they been of a different tenor,
they would not have suited one of my name or nation."

"Fier comme an Ecossois," said Charles, who, however disappointed
at the tenor of Durward's reply, was not unjust enough to blame him
for his boldness. "But hark thee, Archer, what instructions were
those which made thee, as some sad fugitives from Schonwaldt have
informed us, parade the streets of Liege, at the head of those
mutineers, who afterwards cruelly murdered their temporal Prince
and spiritual Father? And what harangue was it which thou didst
make after that murder was committed, in which you took upon you,
as agent for Louis, to assume authority among the villains who had
just perpetrated so great a crime?"

"My lord," said Quentin, "there are many who could testify that
I assumed not the character of an envoy of France in the town of
Liege, but had it fixed upon me by the obstinate clamours of the
people themselves, who refused to give credit to any disclamation
which I could make. This I told to those in the service of the
Bishop when I had made my escape from the city, and recommended
their attention to the security of the Castle, which might have
prevented the calamity and horror of the succeeding night. It is,
no doubt, true that I did, in the extremity of danger, avail myself
of the influence which my imputed character gave me, to save the
Countess Isabelle, to protect my own life, and, so far as I could,
to rein in the humour for slaughter, which had already broke out
in so dreadful an instance. I repeat, and will maintain it with my
body, that I had no commission of any kind from the King of France
respecting the people of Liege, far less instructions to instigate
them to mutiny; and that, finally, when I did avail myself of
that imputed character, it was as if I had snatched up a shield to
protect myself in a moment of emergency, and used it, as I should
surely have done, for the defence of myself and others, without
inquiring whether I had a right to the heraldic emblazonments which
it displayed."

"And therein my young companion and prisoner," said Crevecoeur,
unable any longer to remain silent, "acted with equal spirit and
good sense; and his doing so cannot justly be imputed as blame to
King Louis."

There was a murmur of assent among the surrounding nobility, which
sounded joyfully in the ears of King Louis, whilst it gave no
little offence to Charles. He rolled his eyes angrily around; and
the sentiments so generally expressed by so many of his highest
vassals and wisest councillors, would not perhaps have prevented his
giving way to his violent and despotic temper, had not De Comines,
who foresaw the danger, prevented it, by suddenly announcing a
herald from the city of Liege.

"A herald from weavers and nailers!" exclaimed the Duke. "But admit
him instantly. By Our Lady, I will learn from this same herald
something farther of his employers' hopes and projects than this
young French Scottish man at arms seems desirous to tell me!"



CHAPTER XXXIII: THE HERALD

Ariel. -- Hark! they roar.
Prospero. Let them be hunted soundly.

THE TEMPEST


There was room made in the assembly, and no small curiosity evinced
by those present to see the herald whom the insurgent Liegeois had
ventured to send to so haughty a Prince as the Duke of Burgundy, while
in such high indignation against them. For it must be remembered
that at this period heralds were only dispatched from sovereign
princes to each other upon solemn occasions; and that the inferior
nobility employed pursuivants, a lower rank of officers at arms. It
may be also noticed, in passing, that Louis XI, an habitual derider
of whatever did not promise real power or substantial advantage,
was in especial a professed contemner of heralds and heraldry, "red,
blue, and green, with all their trumpery," to which the pride of
his rival Charles, which was of a very different kind, attached no
small degree of ceremonious importance.

The herald, who was now introduced into the presence of the monarchs,
was dressed in a tabard, or coat, embroidered with the arms of his
master, in which the Boar's Head made a distinguished appearance,
in blazonry, which in the opinion of the skilful was more showy
than accurate. The rest of his dress -- a dress always sufficiently
tawdry -- was overcharged with lace, embroidery, and ornament of
every kind, and the plume of feathers which he wore was so high,
as if intended to sweep the roof of the hall. In short, the usual
gaudy splendour of the heraldic attire was caricatured and overdone.
The Boar's Head was not only repeated on every part of his dress,
but even his bonnet was formed into that shape, and it was represented
with gory tongue and bloody tusks, or in proper language, langed
and dentated gules, and there was something in the man's appearance
which seemed to imply a mixture of boldness and apprehension, like
one who has undertaken a dangerous commission, and is sensible that
audacity alone can carry him through it with safety. Something of
the same mixture of fear and effrontery was visible in the manner
in which he paid his respects, and he showed also a grotesque
awkwardness, not usual amongst those who were accustomed to be
received in the presence of princes.

"Who art thou, in the devil's name?" was the greeting with which
Charles the Bold received this singular envoy.

"I am Rouge Sanglier," answered the herald, "the officer at arms
of William de la Marck, by the grace of God, and the election of
the Chapter, Prince Bishop of Liege."

"Ha!" exclaimed Charles, but, as if subduing his own passion, he
made a sign to him to proceed.

"And, in right of his wife, the Honourable Countess Hameline of
Croye, Count of Croye, and Lord of Bracquemont."

The utter astonishment of Duke Charles at the extremity of boldness
with which these titles were announced in his presence seemed to
strike him dumb; and the herald conceiving, doubtless, that he had
made a suitable impression by the annunciation of his character,
proceeded to state his errand.

"Annuncio vobis gaudium magnum [I announce to you a great joy],"
he said; "I let you, Charles of Burgundy and Earl of Flanders,
to know, in my master's name, that under favour of a dispensation
of our Holy Father of Rome, presently expected, and appointing
a fitting substitute ad sacra [to the sacred office], he proposes
to exercise at once the office of Prince Bishop, and maintain the
rights of Count of Croye."

The Duke of Burgundy, at this and other pauses in the herald's
speech, only ejaculated, "Ha!" or some similar interjection, without
making any answer; and the tone of exclamation was that of one who,
though surprised and moved, is willing to hear all that is to be
said ere he commits himself by making an answer. To the further
astonishment of all who were present, he forbore from his usual
abrupt and violent gesticulations, remaining with the nail of his
thumb pressed against his teeth, which was his favourite attitude
when giving attention, and keeping his eyes bent on the ground, as
if unwilling to betray the passion which might gleam in them.

The envoy, therefore, proceeded boldly and unabashed in the delivery
of his message. "In the name, therefore, of the Prince Bishop of
Liege, and Count of Croye, I am to require of you, Duke Charles,
to desist from those pretensions and encroachments which you have
made on the free and imperial city of Liege, by connivance with
the late Louis of Bourbon, unworthy Bishop thereof."

"Ha," again exclaimed the Duke.

"Also to restore the banners of the community, which you took
violently from the town, to the number of six and thirty -- to
rebuild the breaches in their walls, and restore the fortifications
which you tyrannically dismantled -- and to acknowledge my master,
William de la Marck, as Prince Bishop, lawfully elected in a free
Chapter of Canons, of which behold the proces verbal."

"Have you finished?" said the Duke.

"Not yet," replied the envoy. "I am farther to require your Grace,
on the part of the said right noble and venerable Prince, Bishop,
and Count, that you do presently withdraw the garrison from the
Castle of Bracquemont, and other places of strength, belonging to
the Earldom of Croye, which have been placed there, whether in your
own most gracious name, or in that of Isabelle, calling herself
Countess of Croye, or any other, until it shall be decided by the
Imperial Diet whether the fiefs in question shall not pertain to the
sister of the late Count, my most gracious Lady Hameline, rather
than to his daughter, in respect of the jus emphyteusis [a permanent
tenure of land upon condition of cultivating it properly, and paying
a stipulated rent; a sort of fee farm or copyhold]."

"Your master is most learned," replied the Duke.

"Yet," continued the herald, "the noble and venerable Prince and
Count will be disposed, all other disputes betwixt Burgundy and
Liege being settled, to fix upon the Lady Isabelle such an appanage
as may become her quality."

"He is generous and considerate," said the Duke, in the same tone.

"Now, by a poor fool's conscience," said Le Glorieux apart to the
Count of Crevecoeur, "I would rather be in the worst cow's hide
that ever died of the murrain than in that fellow's painted coat!
The poor man goes on like drunkards, who only look to the ether pot,
and not to the score which mine host chalks up behind the lattice."

"Have you yet done?" said the Duke to the herald.

"One word more," answered Rouge Sanglier, "from my noble and
venerable lord aforesaid, respecting his worthy and trusty ally,
the most Christian King."

"Ha!" exclaimed the Duke, starting, and in a fiercer tone than he
had yet used; but checking himself, he instantly composed himself
again to attention.

"Which most Christian King's royal person it is rumoured that you,
Charles of Burgundy, have placed under restraint contrary to your
duty as a vassal of the Crown of France, and to the faith observed
among Christian Sovereigns. For which reason, my said noble and
venerable master, by my mouth, charges you to put his royal and
most Christian ally forthwith at freedom, or to receive the defiance
which I am authorized to pronounce to you."

"Have you yet done?" said the Duke.

"I have," answered the herald, "and await your Grace's answer,
trusting it may be such as will save the effusion of Christian
blood."

"Now, by Saint George of Burgundy!" said the Duke, but ere he could
proceed farther, Louis arose, and struck in with a tone of so much
dignity and authority that Charles could not interrupt him.

"Under your favour, fair cousin of Burgundy," said the King, "we
ourselves crave priority of voice in replying to this insolent
fellow. -- Sirrah herald, or whatever thou art, carry back notice
to the perjured outlaw and murderer, William de la Marck, that
the King of France will be presently before Liege, for the purpose
of punishing the sacrilegious murderer of his late beloved kinsman,
Louis of Bourbon; and that he proposes to gibbet De la Marck
alive, for the insolence of terming himself his ally, and putting
his royal name into the mouth of one of his own base messengers."

"Add whatever else on my part," said Charles, "which it may not
misbecome a prince to send to a common thief and murderer. -- And
begone! -- Yet stay. -- Never herald went from the Court of Burgundy
without having cause to cry, Largesse! -- Let him be scourged till
the bones are laid bare."

"Nay, but if it please your Grace," said Crevecoeur and D'Hymbercourt
together, "he is a herald, and so far privileged."

"It is you, Messires," replied the Duke, "who are such owls as
to think that the tabard makes the herald. I see by that fellow's
blazoning he is a mere impostor. Let Toison d'Or step forward, and
question him in your presence."

In spite of his natural effrontery, the envoy of the Wild Boar of
Ardennes now became pale; and that notwithstanding some touches of
paint with which he had adorned his countenance. Toison d'Or, the
chief herald, as we have elsewhere said, of the Duke, and King at
arms within his dominions, stepped forward with the solemnity of
one who knew what was due to his office, and asked his supposed
brother in what college he had studied the science which he professed.

"I was bred a pursuivant at the Heraldic College of Ratisbon,"
answered Rouge Sanglier, "and received the diploma of Ehrenhold [a
herald] from that same learned fraternity."

"You could not derive it from a source more worthy," answered
Toison d'Or, bowing still lower than he had done before; "and if I
presume to confer with you on the mysteries of our sublime science,
in obedience to the orders of the most gracious Duke, it is not in
hopes of giving, but of receiving knowledge."

"Go to," said the Duke impatiently. "Leave off ceremony, and ask
him some question that may try his skill."

"It were injustice to ask a disciple of the worthy College of Arms
at Ratisbon if he comprehendeth the common terms of blazonry," said
Toison d'Or, "but I may, without offence, crave of Rouge Sanglier
to say if he is instructed in the more mysterious and secret terms
of the science, by which the more learned do emblematically, and
as it were parabolically, express to each other what is conveyed
to others in the ordinary language, taught in the very accidence
as it were of Heraldry."

"I understand one sort of blazonry as well as another," answered
Rouge Sanglier boldly, "but it may be we have not the same terms
in Germany which you have here in Flanders."

"Alas, that you will say so!" replied Toison d'Or. "our noble
science, which is indeed the very banner of nobleness and glory of
generosity, being the same in all Christian countries, nay, known
and acknowledged even by the Saracens and Moors. I would, therefore,
pray of you to describe what coat you will after the celestial
fashion, that is, by the planets."

"Blazon it yourself as you will," said Rouge Sanglier; "I will do
no such apish tricks upon commandment, as an ape is made to come
aloft."

"Show him a coat and let him blazon it his own way," said the Duke;
"and if he fails, I promise him that his back shall be gules, azure,
and sable."

"Here," said the herald of Burgundy, taking from his pouch a piece
of parchment, "is a scroll in which certain considerations led me
to prick down, after my own poor fashion, an ancient coat. I will
pray my brother, if indeed he belong to the honourable College of
Arms at Ratisbon, to decipher it in fitting language."

Le Glorieux, who seemed to take great pleasure in this discussion,
had by this time bustled himself close up to the two heralds.
"I will help thee, good fellow," said he to Rouge Sanglier, as he
looked hopelessly upon the scroll. "This, my lords and masters,
represents the cat looking out at the dairy window."

This sally occasioned a laugh, which was something to the advantage
of Rouge Sanglier, as it led Toison d'Or, indignant at the
misconstruction of his drawing, to explain it as the coat of arms
assumed by Childebert, King of France, after he had taken prisoner
Gandemar, King of Burgundy; representing an ounce, or tiger cat,
the emblem of the captive prince, behind a grating, or, as Toison
d'Or technically defined it, "Sable, a musion [a tiger cat; a term
of heraldry] passant Or, oppressed with a trellis gules, cloue of
the second."

"By my bauble," said Le Glorieux, "if the cat resemble Burgundy,
she has the right side of the grating nowadays."

"True, good fellow," said Louis, laughing, while the rest of the
presence, and even Charles himself, seemed disconcerted at so broad
a jest.

"I owe thee a piece of gold for turning some thing that looked like
sad earnest into the merry game, which I trust it will end in."

"Silence, Le Glorieux," said the Duke; "and you, Toison d'Or, who
are too learned to be intelligible, stand back -- and bring that
rascal forward, some of you. -- Hark ye, villain," he said in his
harshest tone, "do you know the difference between argent and or,
except in the shape of coined money?"

"For pity's sake, your Grace, be good unto me! -- Noble King Louis,
speak for me!"

"Speak for thyself," said the Duke. "In a word, art thou herald or
not?"

"Only for this occasion!" acknowledged the detected official.

"Now, by Saint George!" said the Duke, eyeing Louis askance, "we know
no king -- no gentleman -- save one, who would have so prostituted
the noble science on which royalty and gentry rest, save that King
who sent to Edward of England a serving man disguised as a herald."

[The heralds of the middle ages were regarded almost as sacred
characters. It was treasonable to strike a herald, or to counterfeit
the character of one. Yet Louis "did not hesitate to practise such
an imposition when he wished to enter into communication with Edward
IV of England. . . . He selected, as an agentfit for his purpose,
a simple valet. This man . . . he disguised as a herald, with all
the insignia of his office, and sent him in that capacity to open
a communication with the English army.  The stratagem, though of so
fraudulent a nature, does not seem to have been necessarily called
for, since all that King Louis could gain by it would be that he
did not commit himself by sending a more responsible messenger.
. . . Ferne . . . imputes this intrusion on their rights in some
degree to necessity.  'I have heard some,' he says, '. . . allow
of the action of Louis XI who had so unknightly a regard both of
his own honour, and also of armes, that he seldom had about his
court any officer at armes. And therefore, at such time as Edward
IV, King of England, . . . lay before the town of Saint Quentin,
the same French King, for want of a herald to carry his mind to
the English King, was constrained to suborn a vadelict, or common
serving man, with a trumpet banner, having a hole made through the
middest for this preposterous herauld to put his head through, and
to cast it over his shoulders instead of a better coat armour of
France. And thus came this hastily arrayed courier as a counterfeit
officer at armes, with instructions from his sovereign's mouth to
offer peace to our King.'     Ferne's Blazen of Gentry, 1586, p.
161. -- S.]

"Such a stratagem," said Louis, laughing, or affecting to laugh,
"could only be justified at a Court where no herald were at the
time, and when the emergency was urgent. But, though it might have
passed on the blunt and thick witted islander, no one with brains
a whit better than those of a wild boar would have thought of
passing such a trick upon the accomplished Court of Burgundy."

"Send him who will," said the Duke fiercely, "he shall return on
their hands in poor case. -- Here! -- drag him to the market place!
-- slash him with bridle reins and dog whips until the tabard hang
about him in tatters! -- Upon the Rouge Sanglier! -- ca, ca! --
Haloo, haloo!"

Four or five large hounds, such as are painted in the hunting pieces
upon which Rubens and Schneiders laboured in conjunction, caught
the well known notes with which the Duke concluded, and began to
yell and bay as if the boar were just roused from his lair.

[Rubens (1577-1640): a great Flemish artist whose works were sought
by kings and princes. He painted the history of Marie de Medicis in
the series of colossal pictures now in the Louvre. He was knighted
by Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England.]

[Schneiders, or Snyders: a Flemish painter of the seventeenth
century.]

"By the rood!" said King Louis, observant to catch the vein of
his dangerous cousin, "since the ass has put on the boar's hide,
I would set the dogs on him to bait him out of it!"

"Right! right!" exclaimed Duke Charles, the fancy exactly chiming
in with his humour at the moment -- "it shall be done! -- Uncouple
the hounds! -- Hyke a Talbot! [a hunter's cry to his dog. See Dame
Berner's Boke of Hawking and Hunting.] hyke a Beaumont! -- We will
course him from the door of the Castle to the east gate!"

"I trust your Grace will treat me as a beast of chase," said the
fellow, putting the best face he could upon the matter, "and allow
me fair law?"

"Thou art but vermin," said the Duke, "and entitled to no law, by
the letter of the book of hunting; nevertheless, thou shalt have
sixty yards in advance, were it but for the sake of thy unparalleled
impudence. -- Away, away, sirs! -- we will see this sport."

And the council breaking up tumultuously, all hurried, none faster
than the two Princes, to enjoy the humane pastime which King Louis
had suggested.

The Rouge Sanglier showed excellent sport; for, winged with terror,
and having half a score of fierce boar hounds hard at his haunches,
encouraged by the blowing of horns and the woodland cheer of the
hunters, he flew like the very wind, and had he not been encumbered
with his herald's coat (the worst possible habit for a runner), he
might fairly have escaped dog free; he also doubled once or twice,
in a manner much approved of by the spectators. None of these,
nay, not even Charles himself, was so delighted with the sport as
King Louis, who, partly from political considerations, and partly
as being naturally pleased with the sight of human suffering when
ludicrously exhibited, laughed till the tears ran from his eyes,
and in his ecstasies of rapture caught hold of the Duke's ermine
cloak, as if to support himself; whilst the Duke, no less delighted,
flung his arm around the King's shoulder, making thus an exhibition
of confidential sympathy and familiarity, very much at variance
with the terms on which they had so lately stood together. At length
the speed of the pseudo herald could save him no longer from the
fangs of his pursuers; they seized him, pulled him down, and would
probably soon have throttled him, had not the Duke called out, "Stave
and tail! -- stave and tail! [to strike the bear with a staff, and
pull off the dogs by the tail, to separate them.] -- Take them off
him! -- He hath shown so good a course, that, though he has made
no sport at bay, we will not have him dispatched."

Several officers accordingly busied themselves in taking off the
dogs; and they were soon seen coupling some up, and pursuing others
which ran through the streets, shaking in sport and triumph the
tattered fragments of painted cloth and embroidery rent from the
tabard, which the unfortunate wearer had put on in an unlucky hour.

At this moment, and while the Duke was too much engaged with what
passed before him to mind what was said behind him, Oliver le
Dain, gliding behind King Louis, whispered into his ear, "It is the
Bohemian, Hayraddin Maugrabin. -- It were not well he should come
to speech of the Duke."

"He must die," answered Louis in the same tone, "dead men tell no
tales."

One instant afterwards, Tristan l'Hermite, to whom Oliver had given
the hint, stepped forward before the King and the Duke, and said,
in his blunt manner, "So please your Majesty and your Grace, this
piece of game is mine, and I claim him -- he is marked with my
stamp -- the fleur de lis is branded on his shoulder, as all men may
see. -- He is a known villain, and hath slain the King's subjects,
robbed churches, deflowered virgins, slain deer in the royal parks
--"

"Enough, enough," said Duke Charles, "he is my royal cousin's
property by many a good title. What will your Majesty do with him?"

"If he is left to my disposal," said the King, "I will at least
give him one lesson in the science of heraldry, in which he is so
ignorant -- only explain to him practically the meaning of a cross
potence, with a noose dangling proper."

"Not as to be by him borne, but as to bear him. -- Let him take
the degrees under your gossip Tristan -- he is a deep professor in
such mysteries."

Thus answered the Duke, with a burst of discordant laughter at his
own wit, which was so cordially chorused by Louis that his rival
could not help looking kindly at him, while he said, "Ah, Louis,
Louis! would to God thou wert as faithful a monarch as thou art a
merry companion! -- I cannot but think often on the jovial time we
used to spend together."

"You may bring it back when you will," said Louis; "I will grant
you as fair terms as for very shame's sake you ought to ask in my
present condition, without making yourself the fable of Christendom;
and I will swear to observe them upon the holy relique which I
have ever the grace to bear about my person, being a fragment of
the true cross."

Here he took a small golden reliquary, which was suspended from
his neck next to his shirt by a chain of the same metal, and having
kissed it devoutly, continued -- "Never was false oath sworn on
this most sacred relique, but it was avenged within the year."

"Yet," said the Duke, "it was the same on which you swore amity to
me when you left Burgundy, and shortly after sent the Bastard of
Rubempre to murder or kidnap me."

"Nay, gracious cousin, now you are ripping up ancient grievances,"
said the King. "I promise you, that you were deceived in that
matter. -- Moreover, it was not upon this relique which I then
swore, but upon another fragment of the true cross which I got from
the Grand Seignior, weakened in virtue, doubtless, by sojourning
with infidels. Besides, did not the war of the Public Good break
out within the year; and was not a Burgundian army encamped at
Saint Denis, backed by all the great feudatories of France; and was
I not obliged to yield up Normandy to my brother? -- O God, shield
us from perjury on such a warrant as this!"

"Well, cousin," answered the Duke, "I do believe thou hadst a lesson
to keep faith another time. -- And now for once, without finesse
and doubling, will you make good your promise, and go with me to
punish this murdering La Marck and the Liegeois?"

"I will march against them," said Louis, "with the Ban and Arriere
Ban of France [the military force called out by the sovereign in
early feudal times, together with their vassals, equipment, and
three months' provision], and the Oriflamme displayed."

"Nay, nay," said the Duke, "that is more than is needful, or may
be advisable. The presence of your Scottish Guard, and two hundred
choice lances, will serve to show that you are a free agent. A
large army might --"

"Make me so in effect, you would say, my fair cousin?" said the
King. "Well, you shall dictate the number of my attendants."

"And to put this fair cause of mischief out of the way, you will
agree to the Countess Isabelle of Croye's wedding with the Duke of
Orleans?"

"Fair cousin," said the King, "you drive my courtesy to extremity.
The Duke is the betrothed bridegroom of my daughter Joan. Be generous
-- yield up this matter, and let us speak rather of the towns on
the Somme."

"My council will talk to your Majesty of these," said Charles, "I
myself have less at heart the acquisition of territory than the
redress of injuries. You have tampered with my vassals, and your
royal pleasure must needs dispose of the hand of a ward of Burgundy.
Your Majesty must bestow it within the pale of your own royal family,
since you have meddled with it -- otherwise our conference breaks
off."

"Were I to say I did this willingly," said the King, "no one would
believe me, therefore do you, my fair cousin, judge of the extent
of my wish to oblige you, when I say most reluctantly, that the
parties consenting, and a dispensation from the Pope being obtained,
my own objections shall be no bar to this match which you purpose."

"All besides can be easily settled by our ministers," said the
Duke, "and we are once more cousins and friends."

"May Heaven be praised!" said Louis, "who, holding in his hand
the hearts of princes, doth mercifully incline them to peace and
clemency, and prevent the effusion of human blood.

"Oliver," he added apart to that favourite, who ever waited around
him like the familiar beside a sorcerer, "hark thee -- tell Tristan
to be speedy in dealing with yonder runagate Bohemian."




CHAPTER XXXIV: THE EXECUTION

I'll take thee to the good green wood,
And make thine own hand choose the tree.

OLD BALLAD


"Now God be praised, that gave us the power of laughing, and making
others laugh, and shame to the dull cur who scorns the office of
a jester! Here is a joke, and that none of the brightest (though
it might pass, since it has amused two Princes), which hath gone
farther than a thousand reasons of state to prevent a war between
France and Burgundy."

Such was the inference of Le Glorieux, when, in consequence of the
reconciliation of which we gave the particulars in the last chapter,
the Burgundian guards were withdrawn from the Castle of Peronne, the
abode of the King removed from the ominous Tower of Count Herbert,
and, to the great joy both of French and Burgundians, an outward
show at least of confidence and friendship seemed so established
between Duke Charles and his liege lord. Yet still the latter,
though treated with ceremonial observance, was sufficiently aware
that he continued to be the object of suspicion, though he prudently
affected to overlook it, and appeared to consider himself as entirely
at his ease.

Meanwhile, as frequently happens in such cases, whilst the principal
parties concerned had so far made up their differences, one
of the subaltern agents concerned in their intrigues was bitterly
experiencing the truth of the political maxim that if the great
have frequent need of base tools, they make amends to society by
abandoning them to their fate, so soon as they find them no longer
useful.

Thus was Hayraddin Maugrabin, who, surrendered by the Duke's officers
to the King's Provost Marshal, was by him placed in the hands of
his two trusty aides de camp, Trois Eschelles and Petit Andre, to
be dispatched without loss of time. One on either side of him, and
followed by a few guards and a multitude of rabble -- this playing
the Allegro, that the Penseroso, [the mirthful and the serious.
Cf. Milton's poems by these names.] -- he was marched off (to use
a modern comparison, like Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy) to
the neighbouring forest; where, to save all farther trouble and
ceremonial of a gibbet, and so forth, the disposers of his fate
proposed to knit him up to the first sufficient tree.

They were not long in finding an oak, as Petit Andre facetiously
expressed it, fit to bear such an acorn; and placing the wretched
criminal on a bank, under a sufficient guard, they began their
extemporaneous preparations for the final catastrophe. At that
moment, Hayraddin, gazing on the crowd, encountered the eyes of
Quentin Durward, who, thinking he recognized the countenance of
his faithless guide in that of the detected impostor, had followed
with the crowd to witness the execution, and assure himself of the
identity.

When the executioners informed him that all was ready, Hayraddin,
with much calmness, asked a single boon at their hands.

"Anything, my son, consistent with our office," said Trois Eschelles.

"That is," said Hayraddin, "anything but my life."

"Even so," said Trois Eschelles, "and something more, for you seem
resolved to do credit to our mystery, and die like a man, without
making wry mouths -- why, though our orders are to be prompt, I
care not if I indulge you ten minutes longer."

"You are even too generous," said Hayraddin.

"Truly we may be blamed for it," said Petit Andre, "but what of
that? -- I could consent almost to give my life for such a jerry
come tumble, such a smart, tight, firm lad, who proposes to come
from aloft with a grace, as an honest fellow should."

"So that if you want a confessor --" said Trois Eschelles.

"Or a lire of wine --" said his facetious companion.

"Or a psalm --" said Tragedy.

"Or a song --" said Comedy.

"Neither, my good, kind, and most expeditious friends," said the
Bohemian. "I only pray to speak a few minutes with yonder Archer
of the Scottish Guard."

The executioners hesitated a moment; but Trois Eschelles, recollecting
that Quentin Durward was believed, from various circumstances, to
stand high in the favour of their master, King Louis, they resolved
to permit the interview.

When Quentin, at their summons, approached the condemned criminal,
he could not but be shocked at his appearance, however justly his
doom might have been deserved. The remnants of his heraldic finery,
rent to tatters by the fangs of the dogs, and the clutches of
the bipeds who had rescued him from their fury to lead him to the
gallows, gave him at once a ludicrous and a wretched appearance.
His face was discoloured with paint and with some remnants of a
fictitious beard, assumed for the purpose of disguise, and there
was the paleness of death upon his cheek and upon his lip; yet,
strong in passive courage, like most of his tribe, his eye, while
it glistened and wandered, as well as the contorted smile of his
mouth, seemed to bid defiance to the death he was about to die.

Quentin was struck, partly with horror, partly with compassion,
as he approached the miserable man; and these feelings probably
betrayed themselves in his manner, for Petit Andre called out, "Trip
it more smartly, jolly Archer. -- This gentleman's leisure cannot
wait for you, if you walk as if the pebbles were eggs, and you
afraid of breaking them."

"I must speak with him in privacy," said the criminal, despair
seeming to croak in his accent as he uttered the words.

"That may hardly consist with our office, my merry Leap the ladder,"
said Petit Andre, "we know you for a slippery eel of old."

"I am tied with your horse girths, hand and foot," said the criminal.
"You may keep guard around me, though out of earshot -- the Archer
is your own King's servant. And if I give you ten guilders --"

"Laid out in masses, the sum may profit his poor soul," said Trois
Eschelles.

"Laid out in wine or brantwein, it will comfort my poor body,"
responded Petit Andre. "So let them be forthcoming, my little crack
rope."

"Pay the bloodhounds their fee," said Hayraddin to Durward, "I was
plundered of every stiver when they took me -- it shall avail thee
much."

Quentin paid the executioners their guerdon, and, like men of promise,
they retreated out of hearing -- keeping, however, a careful eye on
the criminal's motions. After waiting an instant till the unhappy
man should speak, as he still remained silent, Quentin at length
addressed him, "And to this conclusion thou hast at length arrived?"

"Ay," answered Hayraddin, "it required neither astrologer, or
physiognomist, nor chiromantist to foretell that I should follow
the destiny of my family."

"Brought to this early end by thy long course of crime and treachery?"
said the Scot.

"No, by the bright Aldebaran and all his brother twinklers!" answered
the Bohemian. "I am brought hither by my folly in believing that
the bloodthirsty cruelty of a Frank could be restrained even by what
they themselves profess to hold most sacred. A priest's vestment
would have been no safer garb for me than a herald's tabard, however
sanctimonious are your professions of devotion and chivalry."

"A detected impostor has no right to claim the immunities of the
disguise he had usurped," said Durward.

"Detected!" said the Bohemian. "My jargon was as good as yonder
old fool of a herald's, but let it pass. As well now as hereafter."

"You abuse time," said Quentin. "If you have aught to tell me, say
it quickly, and then take some care of your soul."

"Of my soul?" said the Bohemian, with a hideous laugh. "Think ye
a leprosy of twenty years can be cured in an instant? -- If I have
a soul, it hath been in such a course since I was ten years old
and more, that it would take me one month to recall all my crimes,
and another to tell them to the priest! -- and were such space
granted me, it is five to one I would employ it otherwise."

"Hardened wretch, blaspheme not! Tell me what thou hast to say,
and I leave thee to thy fate," said Durward, with mingled pity and
horror.

"I have a boon to ask," said Hayraddin; "but first I will buy it
of you; for your tribe, with all their professions of charity, give
naught for naught."

"I could well nigh say, thy gifts perish with thee," answered
Quentin, "but that thou art on the very verge of eternity. -- Ask
thy boon -- reserve thy bounty -- it can do me no good -- I remember
enough of your good offices of old."

"Why, I loved you," said Hayraddin, "for the matter that chanced
on the banks of the Cher; and I would have helped you to a wealthy
dame. You wore her scarf, which partly misled me, and indeed I
thought that Hameline, with her portable wealth, was more for your
market penny than the other hen sparrow, with her old roost at
Bracquemont, which Charles has clutched, and is likely to keep his
claws upon."

"Talk not so idly, unhappy man," said Quentin; "yonder officers
become impatient."

"Give them ten guilders for ten minutes more," said the culprit,
who, like most in his situation, mixed with his hardihood a desire
of procrastinating his fate, "I tell thee it shall avail thee much."

"Use then well the minutes so purchased," said Durward, and easily
made a new bargain with the Marshals men.

This done, Hayraddin continued. -- "Yes, I assure you I meant you
well; and Hameline would have proved an easy and convenient spouse.
Why, she has reconciled herself even with the Boar of Ardennes,
though his mode of wooing was somewhat of the roughest, and lords
it yonder in his sty, as if she had fed on mast husks and acorns
all her life."

"Cease this brutal and untimely jesting," said Quentin, "or, once
more I tell you, I will leave you to your fate."

"You are right," said Hayraddin, after a moment's pause; "what cannot
be postponed must be faced! -- Well, know then, I came hither in
this accursed disguise, moved by a great reward from De la Marck,
and hoping a yet mightier one from King Louis, not merely to bear
the message of defiance which yon may have heard of, but to tell
the King an important secret."

"It was a fearful risk," said Durward.

"It was paid for as such, and such it hath proved," answered the
Bohemian. "De la Marck attempted before to communicate with Louis
by means of Marthon; but she could not, it seems, approach nearer
to him than the Astrologer, to whom she told all the passages of
the journey, and of Schonwaldt; but it is a chance if her tidings
ever reach Louis, except in the shape of a prophecy. But hear my
secret, which is more important than aught she could tell. William
de la Marck has assembled a numerous and strong force within the
city of Liege, and augments it daily by means of the old priest's
treasures. But he proposes not to hazard a battle with the chivalry
of Burgundy, and still less to stand a siege in the dismantled town.
This he will do -- he will suffer the hot brained Charles to sit
down before the place without opposition, and in the night, make
an outfall or sally upon the leaguer with his whole force. Many
he will have in French armour, who will cry, France, Saint Louis,
and Denis Montjoye, as if there were a strong body of French auxiliaries
in the city. This cannot choose but strike utter confusion among
the Burgundians; and if King Louis, with his guards, attendants,
and such soldiers as he may have with him, shall second his efforts,
the Boar of Ardennes nothing doubts the discomfiture of the whole
Burgundian army. -- There is my secret, and I bequeath it to you.
Forward or prevent the enterprise -- sell the intelligence to King
Louis, or to Duke Charles, I care not -- save or destroy whom thou
wilt; for my part, I only grieve that I cannot spring it like a
mine, to the destruction of them all."

"It is indeed an important secret," said Quentin, instantly
comprehending how easily the national jealousy might be awakened
in a camp consisting partly of French, partly of Burgundians.

"Ay, so it is," answered Hayraddin; "and now you have it, you would
fain begone, and leave me without granting the boon for which I
have paid beforehand."

"Tell me thy request," said Quentin. "I will grant it if it be in
my power."

"Nay, it is no mighty demand -- it is only in behalf of poor Klepper,
my palfrey, the only living thing that may miss me. -- A due mile
south, you will find him feeding by a deserted collier's hut;
whistle to him thus" (he whistled a peculiar note), "and call him
by his name, Klepper, he will come to you; here is his bridle under
my gaberdine -- it is lucky the hounds got it not, for he obeys
no other. Take him, and make much of him -- I do not say for his
master's sake, -- but because I have placed at your disposal the
event of a mighty war. He will never fail you at need -- night and
day, rough and smooth, fair and foul, warm stables and the winter
sky, are the same to Klepper; had I cleared the gates of Peronne,
and got so far as where I left him, I had not been in this case.
-- Will you be kind to Klepper?"

"I swear to you that I will," answered Quentin, affected by what
seemed a trait of tenderness in a character so hardened.

"Then fare thee well!" said the criminal. "Yet stay -- stay -- I would
not willingly die in discourtesy, forgetting a lady's commission.
-- This billet is from the very gracious and extremely silly Lady
of the Wild Boar of Ardennes, to her black eyed niece -- I see by
your look I have chosen a willing messenger. -- And one word more
-- I forgot to say, that in the stuffing of my saddle you will find
a rich purse of gold pieces, for the sake of which I put my life
on the venture which has cost me so dear. Take them, and replace a
hundred fold the guilders you have bestowed on these bloody slaves
-- I make you mine heir."

"I will bestow them in good works and masses for the benefit of
thy soul," said Quentin.

"Name not that word again," said Hayraddin, his countenance assuming
a dreadful expression; "there is -- there can be, there shall be
-- no such thing! -- it is a dream of priestcraft."

"Unhappy, most unhappy being! Think better! let me speed for a
priest -- these men will delay yet a little longer. I will bribe
them to it," said Quentin. "What canst thou expect, dying in such
opinions, and impenitent?"

"To be resolved into the elements," said the hardened atheist,
pressing his fettered arms against his bosom; "my hope, trust, and
expectation is that the mysterious frame of humanity shall melt
into the general mass of nature, to be recompounded in the other
forms with which she daily supplies those which daily disappear,
and return under different forms -- the watery particles to streams
and showers, the earthy parts to enrich their mother earth, the
airy portions to wanton in the breeze, and those of fire to supply
the blaze of Aldebaran and his brethren. -- In this faith have
I lived, and I will die in it! -- Hence! begone! -- disturb me
no farther! -- I have spoken the last word that mortal ears shall
listen to."

Deeply impressed with the horrors of his condition, Quentin
Durward yet saw that it was vain to hope to awaken him to a sense
of his fearful state. He bade him, therefore, farewell, to which
the criminal only replied by a short and sullen nod, as one who,
plunged in reverie, bids adieu to company which distracts his
thoughts. He bent his course towards the forest, and easily found
where Klepper was feeding. The creature came at his call, but was
for some time unwilling to be caught, snuffing and starting when
the stranger approached him. At length, however, Quentin's general
acquaintance with the habits of the animal, and perhaps some particular
knowledge of those of Klepper, which he had often admired while
Hayraddin and he travelled together, enabled him to take possession
of the Bohemian's dying bequest. Long ere he returned to Peronne,
the Bohemian had gone where the vanity of his dreadful creed was
to be put to the final issue -- a fearful experience for one who
had neither expressed remorse for the past, nor apprehension for
the future!



CHAPTER XXXV: A PRIZE FOR HONOUR

'T is brave for Beauty when the best blade wins her.

THE COUNT PALATINE


When Quentin Durward reached Peronne, a council was sitting, in
the issue of which he was interested more deeply than he could have
apprehended, and which, though held by persons of a rank with whom
one of his could scarce be supposed to have community of interest,
had nevertheless the most extraordinary influence on his fortunes.

King Louis, who, after the interlude of De la Marck's envoy, had
omitted no opportunity to cultivate the returning interest which
that circumstance had given him in the Duke's opinion, had been
engaged in consulting him, or, it might be almost said, receiving
his opinion, upon the number and quality of the troops, by whom, as
auxiliary to the Duke of Burgundy, he was to be attended in their
joint expedition against Liege. He plainly saw the wish of Charles
was to call into his camp such Frenchmen as, from their small number
and high quality, might be considered rather as hostages than as
auxiliaries; but, observant of Crevecoeur's advice, he assented
as readily to whatever the Duke proposed, as if it had arisen from
the free impulse of his own mind.

The King failed not, however, to indemnify himself for his complaisance
by the indulgence of his vindictive temper against Balue, whose
counsels had led him to repose such exuberant trust in the Duke of
Burgundy. Tristan, who bore the summons for moving up his auxiliary
forces, had the farther commission to carry the Cardinal to the
Castle of Loches, and there shut him up in one of those iron cages
which he himself is said to have invented.

"Let him make proof of his own devices," said the King; "he is a
man of holy church -- we may not shed his blood; but, Pasques dieu!
his bishopric, for ten years to come, shall have an impregnable
frontier to make up for its small extent! -- And see the troops
are brought up instantly."

Perhaps, by this prompt acquiescence, Louis hoped to evade the
more unpleasing condition with which the Duke had clogged their
reconciliation. But if he so hoped, he greatly mistook the temper
of his cousin, for never man lived more tenacious of his purpose than
Charles of Burgundy, and least of all was he willing to relax any
stipulation which he made in resentment, or revenge, of a supposed
injury.

No sooner were the necessary expresses dispatched to summon up
the forces who were selected to act as auxiliaries, than Louis was
called upon by his host to give public consent to the espousals of
the Duke of Orleans and Isabelle of Croye. The King complied with
a heavy sigh, and presently after urged a slight expostulation,
founded upon the necessity of observing the wishes of the Duke
himself.

"These have not been neglected," said the Duke of Burgundy, "Crevecoeur
hath communicated with Monsieur d'Orleans, and finds him (strange
to say) so dead to the honour of wedding a royal bride, that he
acceded to the proposal of marrying the Countess of Croye as the
kindest proposal which father could have made to him."

"He is the more ungracious and thankless," said Louis, "but the
whole shall be as you, my cousin, will, if you can bring it about
with consent of the parties themselves."

"Fear not that," said the Duke, and accordingly, not many minutes
after, the affair had been proposed, the Duke of Orleans and the
Countess of Croye, the latter attended, as on the preceding occasion,
by the Countess of Crevecoeur and the Abbess of the Ursulines, were
summoned to the presence of the Princes, and heard from the mouth
of Charles of Burgundy, unobjected to by that of Louis, who sat
in silent and moody consciousness of diminished consequence, that
the union of their hands was designed by the wisdom of both Princes,
to confirm the perpetual alliance which in future should take place
betwixt France and Burgundy.

The Duke of Orleans had much difficulty in suppressing the joy which
he felt upon the proposal, and which delicacy rendered improper
in the presence of Louis; and it required his habitual awe of that
monarch to enable him to rein in his delight, so much as merely
to reply that his duty compelled him to place his choice at the
disposal of his Sovereign.

"Fair cousin of Orleans," said Louis with sullen gravity, "since I
must speak on so unpleasant an occasion, it is needless for me to
remind you that my sense of your merits had led me to propose for
you a match into my own family. But since my cousin of Burgundy thinks
that the disposing of your hand otherwise is the surest pledge of
amity between his dominions and mine, I love both too well not to
sacrifice to them my own hopes and wishes."

The Duke of Orleans threw himself on his knees, and kissed -- and,
for once, with sincerity of attachment -- the hand which the King,
with averted countenance, extended to him. In fact he, as well as
most present, saw, in the unwilling acquiescence of this accomplished
dissembler, who, even with that very purpose, had suffered
his reluctance to be visible, a King relinquishing his favourite
project, and subjugating his paternal feelings to the necessities
of state, and interest of his country. Even Burgundy was moved,
and Orleans's heart smote him for the joy which he involuntarily
felt on being freed from his engagement with the Princess Joan. If
he had known how deeply the King was cursing him in his soul, and
what thoughts of future revenge he was agitating, it is probable
his own delicacy on the occasion would not have been so much hurt.

Charles next turned to the young Countess, and bluntly announced
the proposed match to her, as a matter which neither admitted delay
nor hesitation, adding, at the same time, that it was but a too
favourable consequence of her intractability on a former occasion.

"My Lord Duke and Sovereign," said Isabelle, summoning up all her
courage, "I observe your Grace's commands, and submit to them."

"Enough, enough," said the Duke, interrupting her, "we will arrange
the rest. -- Your Majesty," he continued, addressing King Louis,
"hath had a boar's hunt in the morning; what say you to rousing a
wolf in the afternoon?"

The young Countess saw the necessity of decision.

"Your Grace mistakes my meaning," she said, speaking, though timidly,
yet loudly and decidedly enough to compel the Duke's attention,
which, from some consciousness, he would otherwise have willingly
denied to her.

"My submission," she said, "only respected those lands and estates
which your Grace's ancestors gave to mine, and which I resign to
the House of Burgundy, if my Sovereign thinks my disobedience in
this matter renders me unworthy to hold them."

"Ha! Saint George!" said the Duke, stamping furiously on the ground,
"does the fool know in what presence she is? -- And to whom she
speaks?"

"My lord," she replied, still undismayed, "I am before my Suzerain,
and, I trust, a just one. If you deprive me of my lands, you take
away all that your ancestors' generosity gave, and you break the
only bonds which attach us together. You gave not this poor and
persecuted form, still less the spirit which animates me. -- And
these it is my purpose to dedicate to Heaven in the convent of the
Ursulines, under the guidance of this Holy Mother Abbess."

The rage and astonishment of the Duke can hardly be conceived,
unless we could estimate the surprise of a falcon against whom a
dove should ruffle its pinions in defiance.

"Will the Holy Mother receive you without an appanage?" he said in
a voice of scorn.

"If she doth her convent, in the first instance, so much wrong,"
said the Lady Isabelle, "I trust there is charity enough among the
noble friends of my house to make up some support for the orphan
of Croye."

"It is false!" said the Duke, "it is a base pretext to cover some
secret and unworthy passion. -- My Lord of Orleans, she shall be
yours, if I drag her to the altar with my own hands!"

The Countess of Crevecoeur, a high spirited woman and confident
in her husband's merits and his favour with the Duke, could keep
silent no longer.

"My lord," she said, "your passions transport you into language
utterly unworthy. -- The hand of no gentlewoman can be disposed of
by force."

"And it is no part of the duty of a Christian Prince," added the
Abbess, "to thwart the wishes of a pious soul, who, broken with
the cares and persecutions of the world, is desirous to become the
bride of Heaven."

"Neither can my cousin of Orleans," said Dunois, "with honour accept
a proposal to which the lady has thus publicly stated her objections."

"If I were permitted," said Orleans, on whose facile mind Isabelle's
beauty had made a deep impression, "some time to endeavour to place
my pretensions before the Countess in a more favourable light --"

"My lord," said Isabelle, whose firmness was now fully supported
by the encouragement which she received from all around, "it were
to no purpose -- my mind is made up to decline this alliance, though
far above my deserts."

"Nor have I time," said the Duke, "to wait till these whimsies are
changed with the next change of the moon. -- Monseigneur d'Orleans,
she shall learn within this hour that obedience becomes matter of
necessity."

"Not in my behalf, Sire," answered the Prince, who felt that he
could not, with any show of honour, avail himself of the Duke's
obstinate disposition; "to have been once openly and positively
refused is enough for a son of France. He cannot prosecute his
addresses farther."

The Duke darted one furious glance at Orleans, another at Louis, and
reading in the countenance of the latter, in spite of his utmost
efforts to suppress his feelings, a look of secret triumph, he
became outrageous.

"Write," he said, to the secretary, "our doom of forfeiture and
imprisonment against this disobedient and insolent minion. She
shall to the Zuchthaus, to the penitentiary, to herd with those
whose lives have rendered them her rivals in effrontery."

There was a general murmur.

"My Lord Duke," said the Count of Crevecoeur, taking the word for the
rest, "this must be better thought on. We, your faithful vassals,
cannot suffer such a dishonour to the nobility and chivalry
of Burgundy. If the Countess hath done amiss, let her be punished
-- but in the manner that becomes her rank, and ours, who stand
connected with her house by blood and alliance."

The Duke paused a moment, and looked full at his councillor with
the stare of a bull, which, when compelled by the neat herd from
the road which he wishes to go, deliberates with himself whether
to obey, or to rush on his driver, and toss him into the air.

Prudence, however, prevailed over fury -- he saw the sentiment was
general in his council -- was afraid of the advantages which Louis
might derive from seeing dissension among his vassals; and probably
-- for he was rather of a coarse and violent, than of a malignant
temper -- felt ashamed of his own dishonourable proposal.

"You are right," he said, "Crevecoeur, and I spoke hastily. Her
fate shall be determined according to the rules of chivalry. Her
flight to Liege hath given the signal for the Bishop's murder. He
that best avenges that deed, and brings us the head of the Wild
Boar of Ardennes, shall claim her hand of us; and if she denies
his right, we can at least grant him her fiefs, leaving it to his
generosity to allow her what means he will to retire into a convent."

"Nay!" said the Countess, "think I am the daughter of Count Reinold
-- of your father's old, valiant, and faithful servant. Would you
hold me out as a prize to the best sword player?"

"Your ancestress," said the Duke, "was won at a tourney -- you shall
be fought for in real melee. Only thus far, for Count Reinold's
sake, the successful prizer shall be a gentleman, of unimpeached
birth, and unstained bearings; but, be he such, and the poorest
who ever drew the strap of a sword belt through the tongue of a
buckle, he shall have at least the proffer of your hand. I swear
it, by St. George, by my ducal crown, and by the Order that I wear!
-- Ha! Messires," he added, turning to the nobles present, "this
at least is, I think, in conformity with the rules of chivalry?"

Isabelle's remonstrances were drowned in a general and jubilant
assent, above which was heard the voice of old Lord Crawford,
regretting the weight of years that prevented his striking for so
fair a prize. The Duke was gratified by the general applause, and
his temper began to flow more smoothly, like that of a swollen
river when it hath subsided within its natural boundaries.

"Are we to whom fate has given dames already," said Crevecoeur,
"to be bystanders at this fair game? It does not consist with my
honour to be so, for I have myself a vow to be paid at the expense
of that tusked and bristled brute, De la Marck."

"Strike boldly in, Crevecoeur," said the Duke, "to win her, and
since thou canst not wear her thyself, bestow her where thou wilt
-- on Count Stephen, your nephew, if you list."

"Gramercy, my lord!" said Crevecoeur, "I will do my best in the
battle; and, should I be fortunate enough to be foremost, Stephen
shall try his eloquence against that of the Lady Abbess."

"I trust," said Dunois, "that the chivalry of France are not excluded
from this fair contest?"

"Heaven forbid! brave Dunois," answered the Duke, "were it but for
the sake of seeing you do your uttermost. But," he added, "though
there be no fault in the Lady Isabelle wedding a Frenchman, it
will be necessary that the Count of Croye must become a subject of
Burgundy."

"Enough," said Dunois, "my bar sinister may never be surmounted
by the coronet of Croye -- I will live and die French. But, yet,
though I should lose the lands, I will strike a blow for the lady."

Le Balafre dared not speak aloud in such a presence, but he muttered
to himself,

"Now, Saunders Souplejaw, hold thine own! -- thou always saidst
the fortune of our house was to be won by marriage, and never had
you such a chance to keep your word with us."

"No one thinks of me," said Le Glorieux, "who am sure to carry off
the prize from all of you."

"Right, my sapient friend," said Louis, laughing, "when a woman is
in the case, the greatest fool is ever the first in favour."

While the princes and their nobles thus jested over her fate, the
Abbess and the Countess of Crevecoeur endeavoured in vain to console
Isabelle, who had withdrawn with them from the council-presence.
The former assured her that the Holy Virgin would frown on every
attempt to withdraw a true votaress from the shrine of Saint
Ursula; while the Countess of Crevecoeur whispered more temporal
consolation, that no true knight, who might succeed in the enterprise
proposed, would avail himself, against her inclinations, of the
Duke's award; and that perhaps the successful competitor might
prove one who should find such favour in her eyes as to reconcile
her to obedience. Love, like despair, catches at straws; and,
faint and vague as was the hope which this insinuation conveyed,
the tears of the Countess Isabelle flowed more placidly while she
dwelt upon it.

[Saint Ursula: the patron saint of young girls. Tradition says
she was martyred by the Huns, together with her eleven thousand
companions. Her history has been painted by Carpacelo and by Hans
Memling.]



CHAPTER XXXVI: THE SALLY

The wretch condemn'd with life to part,
Still, still on hope relies,
And every pang that rends the heart,
Bids expectation rise.

Hope, like the glimmering taper's light,
Adorns and cheers the way;
And still, the darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.

GOLDSMITH


Few days had passed ere Louis had received, with a smile of gratified
vengeance, the intelligence that his favourite and his councillor,
the Cardinal Balue, was groaning within a cage of iron, so disposed
as scarce to permit him to enjoy repose in any posture except when
recumbent, and of which, be it said in passing, he remained the
unpitied tenant for nearly twelve years. The auxiliary forces which
the Duke had required Louis to bring up had also appeared, and he
comforted himself that their numbers were sufficient to protect
his person against violence, although too limited to cope, had such
been his purpose, with the large army of Burgundy. He saw himself
also at liberty, when time should suit, to resume his project of
marriage between his daughter and the Duke of Orleans; and, although
he was sensible to the indignity of serving with his noblest peers
under the banners of his own vassal, and against the people whose
cause he had abetted, he did not allow these circumstances to
embarrass him in the meantime, trusting that a future day would
bring him amends.

"For chance," said he to his trusty Oliver, "may indeed gain one
hit, but it is patience and wisdom which win the game at last."

With such sentiments, upon a beautiful day in the latter end of
harvest, the King mounted his horse; and, indifferent that he was
looked upon rather as a part of the pageant of a victor, than in
the light of an independent Sovereign surrounded by his guards and
his chivalry, King Louis sallied from under the Gothic gateway of
Peronne, to join the Burgundian army, which commenced at the same
time its march against Liege.

Most of the ladies of distinction who were in the place attended,
dressed in their best array, upon the battlements and defences of
the gate, to see the gallant show of the warriors setting forth
on the expedition. Thither had the Countess Crevecoeur brought the
Countess Isabelle. The latter attended very reluctantly, but the
peremptory order of Charles had been, that she who was to bestow
the palm in the tourney should be visible to the knights who were
about to enter the lists.

As they thronged out from under the arch, many a pennon and shield was
to be seen, graced with fresh devices, expressive of the bearer's
devoted resolution to become a competitor for a prize so fair.
Here a charger was painted starting for the goal -- there an arrow
aimed at a mark -- one knight bore a bleeding heart, indicative of
his passion -- another a skull and a coronet of laurels, showing
his determination to win or die. Many others there were; and some
so cunningly intricate and obscure, that they might have defied the
most ingenious interpreter. Each knight, too, it may be presumed,
put his courser to his mettle, and assumed his most gallant seat
in the saddle, as he passed for a moment under the view of the fair
bevy of dames and damsels, who encouraged their valour by their
smiles, and the waving of kerchiefs and of veils. The Archer Guard,
selected almost at will from the flower of the Scottish nation,
drew general applause, from the gallantry and splendour of their
appearance.

And there was one among these strangers who ventured on a demonstration
of acquaintance with the Lady Isabelle, which had not been attempted
even by the most noble of the French nobility. It was Quentin
Durward, who, as he passed the ladies in his rank, presented to
the Countess of Croye, on the point of his lance, the letter of
her aunt.

"Now, by my honour," said the Count of Crevecoeur, "that is over
insolent in an unworthy adventurer!"

"Do not call him so, Crevecoeur," said Dunois; "I have good reason
to bear testimony to his gallantry -- and in behalf of that lady,
too."

"You make words of nothing," said Isabelle, blushing with shame, and
partly with resentment; "it is a letter from my unfortunate aunt.
-- She writes cheerfully, though her situation must be dreadful."

"Let us hear, let us hear what says the Boar's bride," said
Crevecoeur.

The Countess Isabelle read the letter, in which her aunt seemed
determined to make the best of a bad bargain, and to console herself
for the haste and indecorum of her nuptials, by the happiness of
being wedded to one of the bravest men of the age, who had just
acquired a princedom by his valour. She implored her niece not to
judge of her William (as she called him) by the report of others, but
to wait till she knew him personally. He had his faults, perhaps,
but they were such as belonged to characters whom she had ever
venerated. William was rather addicted to wine, but so was the
gallant Sir Godfrey, her grandsire -- he was something hasty and
sanguinary in his temper, such had been her brother Reinold of
blessed memory; he was blunt in speech, few Germans were otherwise;
and a little wilful and peremptory, but she believed all men loved to
rule. More there was to the same purpose; and the whole concluded
with the hope and request that Isabelle would, by means of the bearer,
endeavour her escape from the tyrant of Burgundy, and come to her
loving kinswoman's Court of Liege, where any little differences
concerning their mutual rights of succession to the Earldom might
be adjusted by Isabelle's marrying Earl Eberson -- a bridegroom
younger indeed than his bride, but that, as she (the Lady Hameline)
might perhaps say from experience, was an inequality more easy to
be endured than Isabelle could be aware of.

[The marriage of William de la Marck with the Lady Hameline is as
apocryphal as the lady herself. -- S.]

Here the Countess Isabelle stopped, the Abbess observing, with a
prim aspect, that she had read quite enough concerning such worldly
vanities, and the Count of Crevecoeur, breaking out, "Aroint thee,
deceitful witch! -- Why, this device smells rank as the toasted
cheese in a rat trap. -- Now fie, and double fie, upon the old
decoy duck!"

The Countess of Crevecoeur gravely rebuked her husband for his
violence.

"The Lady," she said, "must have been deceived by De la Marck with
a show of courtesy."

"He show courtesy!" said the Count. "I acquit him of all such
dissimulation. You may as well expect courtesy from a literal wild
boar, you may as well try to lay leaf gold on old rusty gibbet
irons. No -- idiot as she is, she is not quite goose enough to fall
in love with the fox who has snapped her, and that in his very den.
But you women are all alike -- fair words carry it -- and, I dare
say, here is my pretty cousin impatient to join her aunt in this
fool's paradise, and marry the Bear Pig."

"So far from being capable of such folly," said Isabelle, "I
am doubly desirous of vengeance on the murderers of the excellent
Bishop, because it will, at the same time, free my aunt from the
villain's power."

"Ah! there indeed spoke the voice of Croye!" exclaimed the Count,
and no more was said concerning the letter.

But while Isabelle read her aunt's epistle to her friends, it must
be observed that she did not think it necessary to recite a certain
postscript, in which the Countess Hameline, lady-like, gave an
account of her occupations, and informed her niece that she had
laid aside for the present a surcoat which she was working for her
husband, bearing the arms of Croye and La Marck in conjugal fashion,
parted per pale, because her William had determined, for purposes
of policy, in the first action to have others dressed in his coat
armour and himself to assume the arms of Orleans, with a bar sinister
-- in other words, those of Dunois. There was also a slip of paper
in another hand, the contents of which the Countess did not think
it necessary to mention, being simply these words: "If you hear
not of me soon, and that by the trumpet of Fame, conclude me dead,
but not unworthy."

A thought, hitherto repelled as wildly incredible, now glanced
with double keenness through Isabelle's soul. As female wit seldom
fails in the contrivance of means, she so ordered it that ere the
troops were fully on march, Quentin Durward received from an unknown
hand the billet of Lady Hameline, marked with three crosses opposite
to the postscript, and having these words subjoined: "He who feared
not the arms of Orleans when on the breast of their gallant owner,
cannot dread them when displayed on that of a tyrant and murderer."

A thousand thousand times was this intimation kissed and pressed
to the bosom of the young Scot! for it marshalled him on the path
where both Honour and Love held out the reward, and possessed him
with a secret unknown to others, by which to distinguish him whose
death could alone give life to his hopes, and which he prudently
resolved to lock up in his own bosom.

But Durward saw the necessity of acting otherwise respecting the
information communicated by Hayraddin, since the proposed sally
of De la Marck, unless heedfully guarded against, might prove
the destruction of the besieging army, so difficult was it, in
the tumultuous warfare of those days, to recover from a nocturnal
surprise. After pondering on the matter, he formed the additional
resolution, that he would not communicate the intelligence save
personally, and to both the Princes while together, perhaps because
he felt that to mention so well contrived and hopeful a scheme to
Louis whilst in private, might be too strong a temptation to the
wavering probity of that Monarch, and lead him to assist, rather
than repel, the intended sally. He determined, therefore, to watch
for an opportunity of revealing the secret whilst Louis and Charles
were met, which, as they were not particularly fond of the constraint
imposed by each other's society, was not likely soon to occur.

Meanwhile the march continued, and the confederates soon entered
the territories of Liege. Here the Burgundian soldiers, at least
a part of them, composed of those bands who had acquired the title
of Ecorcheurs, or flayers, showed, by the usage which they gave
the inhabitants, under pretext of avenging the Bishop's death,
that they well deserved that honourable title; while their conduct
greatly prejudiced the cause of Charles, the aggrieved inhabitants,
who might otherwise have been passive in the quarrel, assuming arms
in self defence, harassing his march by cutting off small parties,
and falling back before the main body upon the city itself, thus
augmenting the numbers and desperation of those who had resolved to
defend it. The French, few in number, and those the choice soldiers
of the country, kept, according to the King's orders, close by
their respective standards, and observed the strictest discipline,
a contrast which increased the suspicions of Charles, who could not
help remarking that the troops of Louis demeaned themselves as if
they were rather friends to the Liegeois than allies of Burgundy.

At length, without experiencing any serious opposition, the army
arrived in the rich valley of the Maes, and before the large and
populous city of Liege. The Castle of Schonwaldt they found had
been totally destroyed, and learned that William de la Marck, whose
only talents were of a military cast, had withdrawn his whole forces
into the city, and was determined to avoid the encounter of the
chivalry of France and Burgundy in the open field. But the invaders
were not long of experiencing the danger which must always exist
in attacking a large town, however open, if the inhabitants are
disposed to defend it desperately.

A part of the Burgundian vanguard, conceiving that, from the
dismantled and breached state of the walls, they had nothing to do
but to march into Liege at their ease, entered one of the suburbs
with the shouts of "Burgundy, Burgundy, Kill, kill -- all is ours!
-- Remember Louis of Bourbon!"

But as they marched in disorder through the narrow streets, and
were partly dispersed for the purpose of pillage, a large body of
the inhabitants issued suddenly from the town, fell furiously upon
them, and made considerable slaughter. De la Marck even availed
himself of the breaches in the walls, which permitted the defenders
to issue out at different points, and, by taking separate routes
into the contested suburb, to attack, in the front, flank, and rear
at once the assailants, who, stunned by the furious, unexpected,
and multiplied nature of the resistance offered, could hardly stand
to their arms. The evening, which began to close, added to their
confusion.

When this news was brought to Duke Charles, he was furious with
rage, which was not much appeased by the offer of King Louis to
send the French men at arms into the suburbs, to rescue and bring
off the Burgundian vanguard. Rejecting this offer briefly, he would
have put himself at the head of his own Guards, to extricate those
engaged in the incautious advance; but D'Hymbercourt and Crevecoeur
entreated him to leave the service to them, and, marching into the
scene of action at two points with more order and proper arrangement
for mutual support, these two celebrated captains succeeded in
repulsing the Liegeois, and in extricating the vanguard, who lost,
besides prisoners, no fewer than eight hundred men, of whom about
a hundred were men at arms. The prisoners, however, were not
numerous, most of them having been rescued by D'Hymbercourt, who
now proceeded to occupy the contested suburb, and to place guards
opposite to the town, from which it was divided by an open space,
or esplanade, of five or six hundred yards, left free of buildings
for the purposes of defence. There was no moat betwixt the suburb
and town, the ground being rocky in that place. A gate fronted the
suburb, from which sallies might be easily made, and the wall was
pierced by two or three of those breaches which Duke Charles had
caused to be made after the battle of Saint Tron, and which had
been hastily repaired with mere barricades of timber.

D'Hymbercourt turned two culverins on the gate, and placed two
others opposite to the principal breach, to repel any sally from
the city, and then returned to the Burgundian army, which he found
in great disorder. In fact, the main body and rear of the numerous
army of the Duke had continued to advance, while the broken and
repulsed vanguard was in the act of retreating; and they had come
into collision with each other, to the great confusion of both. The
necessary absence of D'Hymbercourt, who discharged all the duties
of Marechal du Camp, or, as we should now say, of Quartermaster
General, augmented the disorder; and to complete the whole, the
night sank down dark as a wolf's mouth; there fell a thick and heavy
rain, and the ground on which the beleaguering army must needs take
up their position, was muddy and intersected with many canals. It
is scarce possible to form an idea of the confusion which prevailed
in the Burgundian army, where leaders were separated from their
soldiers, and soldiers from their standards and officers. Every
one, from the highest to the lowest, was seeking shelter and
accommodation where he could individually find it; while the wearied
and wounded, who had been engaged in the battle, were calling in
vain for shelter and refreshment; and while those who knew nothing
of the disaster were pressing on to have their share in the sack
of the place, which they had no doubt was proceeding merrily.

When D'Hymbercourt returned, he had a task to perform of incredible
difficulty, and imbittered by the reproaches of his master, who
made no allowance for the still more necessary duty in which he
had been engaged, until the temper of the gallant soldier began to
give way under the Duke's unreasonable reproaches.

"I went hence to restore some order in the van," he said, "and
left the main body under your Grace's own guidance, and now, on my
return, I can neither find that we have front, flank, nor rear, so
utter is the confusion."

"We are the more like a barrel of herrings," answered Le Glorieux,
"which is the most natural resemblance for a Flemish army."

The jester's speech made the Duke laugh, and perhaps prevented a
farther prosecution of the altercation betwixt him and his general.

By dint of great exertion, a small lusthaus, or country villa of
some wealthy citizen of Liege, was secured and cleared of other
occupants, for the accommodation of the Duke and his immediate
attendants; and the authority of D'Hymbercourt and Crevecoeur at
length established a guard in the vicinity, of about forty men at
arms, who lighted a very large fire, made with the timber of the
outhouses, which they pulled down for the purpose.

A little to the left of this villa, and betwixt it and the suburb,
which, as we have said, was opposite to the city gate, and occupied
by the Burgundian Vanguard, lay another pleasure house, surrounded
by a garden and courtyard, and having two or three small enclosures
or fields in the rear of it. In this the King of France established
his own headquarters. He did not himself pretend to be a soldier
further than a natural indifference to danger and much sagacity
qualified him to be called such; but he was always careful to
employ the most skilful in that profession, and reposed in them
the confidence they merited. Louis and his immediate attendants
occupied this second villa, a part of his Scottish Guard were
placed in the court, where there were outhouses and sheds to shelter
them from the weather; the rest were stationed in the garden. The
remainder of the French men at arms were quartered closely together
and in good order, with alarm posts stationed, in case of their
having to sustain an attack.

Dunois and Crawford, assisted by several old officers and soldiers,
amongst whom Le Balafre was conspicuous for his diligence, contrived,
by breaking down walls, making openings through hedges, filling
up ditches, and the like, to facilitate the communication of the
troops with each other, and the orderly combination of the whole
in case of necessity.

Meanwhile, the King judged it proper to go without farther ceremony
to the quarters of the Duke of Burgundy, to ascertain what was to
be the order of proceeding, and what cooperation was expected from
him. His presence occasioned a sort of council of war to be held,
of which Charles might not otherwise have dreamed.

It was then that Quentin Durward prayed earnestly to be admitted,
as having something of importance to deliver to the two Princes.
This was obtained without much difficulty, and great was the
astonishment of Louis, when he heard him calmly and distinctly
relate the purpose of William de la Marck to make a sally upon the
camp of the besiegers, under the dress and banners of the French.
Louis would probably have been much better pleased to have had such
important news communicated in private, but as the whole story had
been publicly told in presence of the Duke of Burgundy, he only
observed, that, whether true or false, such a report concerned them
most materially.

"Not a whit! -- not a whit!" said the Duke carelessly. "Had there
been such a purpose as this young man announces, it had not been
communicated to me by an Archer of the Scottish Guard."

"However that may be," answered Louis, "I pray you, fair cousin,
you and your captains, to attend, that to prevent the unpleasing
consequences of such an attack, should it be made unexpectedly, I
will cause my soldiers to wear white scarfs over their armour. --
Dunois, see it given out on the instant -- that is," he added, "if
our brother and general approves of it."

"I see no objection," replied the Duke, "if the chivalry of France
are willing to run the risk of having the name of the Knights of
the Smock Sleeve bestowed on them in future."

"It would be a right well adapted title, friend Charles," said
Le Glorieux, "considering that a woman is the reward of the most
valiant."

"Well spoken, Sagacity," said Louis. "Cousin, good night, I will
go arm me. -- By the way, what if I win the Countess with mine own
hand?

"Your Majesty," said the Duke, in an altered tone of voice, "must
then become a true Fleming."

"I cannot," answered Louis, in a tone of the most sincere
confidence, "be more so than I am already, could I but bring you,
my dear cousin, to believe it."

The Duke only replied by wishing the King good night in a tone
resembling the snort of a shy horse, starting from the caress of
the rider when he is about to mount, and is soothing him to stand
still.

"I could pardon all his duplicity," said the Duke to Crevecoeur,
"but cannot forgive his supposing me capable of the gross folly of
being duped by his professions."

Louis, too, had his confidences with Oliver le Dain, when he
returned to his own quarters. "This," he said, "is such a mixture
of shrewdness and simplicity, that I know not what to make of
him. Pasques dieu! think of his unpardonable folly in bringing out
honest De la Marck's plan of a sally before the face of Burgundy,
Crevecoeur, and all of them, instead of rounding it in my ear, and
giving me at least the choice of abetting or defeating it!"

"It is better as it is, Sire," said Oliver; "there are many in
your present train who would scruple to assail Burgundy undefied,
or to ally themselves with De la Marck."

"Thou art right, Oliver. Such fools there are in the world, and we
have no time to reconcile their scruples by a little dose of self
interest. We must be true men, Oliver, and good allies of Burgundy,
for this night at least -- time may give us a chance of a better
game. Go, tell no man to unarm himself; and let them shoot, in case
of necessity, as sharply on those who cry France and St. Denis!
as if they cried Hell and Satan! I will myself sleep in my armour.
Let Crawford place Quentin Durward on the extreme point of our
line of sentinels, next to the city. Let him e'en have the first
benefit of the sally which he has announced to us -- if his luck
bear him out, it is the better for him. But take an especial care
of Martius Galeotti, and see he remain in the rear, in a place
of the most absolute safety -- he is even but too venturous, and,
like a fool, would be both swordsman and philosopher. See to these
things, Oliver, and good night. -- Our Lady of Clery, and Monseigneur
St. Martin of Tours, be gracious to my slumbers!"

[The Duke of Burgundy, full of resentment for the usage which the
Bishop had received from the people of Liege (whose death, as already
noticed, did not take place for some years after), and knowing that
the walls of the town had not been repaired since they were breached
by himself after the battle of Saint Tron, advanced recklessly to
their chastisement. His commanders shared his presumptuous confidence:
for the advanced guard of his army, under the Marechal of Burgundy,
and Seigneur D'Hymbercourt, rushed upon one of the suburbs, without
waiting for the rest of their army, which, commanded by the Duke
in person, remained about seven or eight leagues in the rear.
The night was closing, and, as the Burgundian troops observed no
discipline, they were exposed to a sudden attack from a party of
the citizens commanded by Jean de Vilde, who, assaulting them in
the front and rear, threw them into great disorder, and killed more
than eight hundred men, of whom one hundred were men at arms. When
Charles and the King of France came up, they took up their quarters
in two villas situated near to the wall of the city. In the two
or three days which followed, Louis was distinguished for the quiet
and regulated composure with which he pressed the siege, and provided
for defence in case of sallies; while the Duke of Burgundy, no
way deficient in courage, and who showed the rashness and want of
order which was his principal characteristic, seemed also extremely
suspicious that the King would desert him and join with the Liegeois.
They lay before the town for five or six days, and at length fixed
the 30th of October, 1468, for a general storm.  The citizens,
who had probably information of their intent, resolved to prevent
their purpose and determined on anticipating it by a desperate sally
through the breaches in their walls. They placed at their head six
hundred of the men of the little territory of Fraudemont, belonging
to the Bishopric of Liege, and reckoned the most valiant of their
troops. They burst out of the town on a sudden, surprised the Duke
of Burgundy's quarters, ere his guards could put on their armour,
which they had laid off to enjoy some repose before the assault.
The King of France's lodgings were also attacked and endangered.
A great confusion ensued, augmented incalculably by the mutual
jealousy and suspicions of the French and Burgundians. The people
of Liege were, however, unable to maintain their hardy enterprise,
when the men at arms of the king and Duke began to recover from
their confusion, and were finally forced to retire within their
walls, after narrowly missing the chance of surprising both King
Louis and the Duke of Burgundy, the most powerful princes of their
time. At daybreak the storm took place, as had been originally
intended, and the citizens, disheartened and fatigued by the
nocturnal sally, did not make so much resistance as was expected.
Liege was taken and miserably pillaged, without regard to sex or
age, things sacred or things profane. These particulars are fully
related by Comines in his Memoires, liv. ii, chap. 11, 12, 13, and
do not differ much from the account of the same events given in
the text. S.]



CHAPTER XXXVII: THE SALLY

He look'd, and saw what numbers numberless
The city gates outpour'd.

PARADISE REGAINED


A dead silence soon reigned over that great host which lay in leaguer
before Liege. For a long time the cries of the soldiers repeating
their signals, and seeking to join their several banners, sounded
like the howling of bewildered dogs seeking their masters. But at
length, overcome with weariness by the fatigues of the day, the
dispersed soldiers crowded under such shelter as they could meet
with, and those who could find none sunk down through very fatigue
under walls, hedges, and such temporary protection, there to await
for morning -- a morning which some of them were never to behold.
A dead sleep fell on almost all, excepting those who kept a faint
and wary watch by the lodgings of the King and the Duke. The dangers
and hopes of the morrow -- even the schemes of glory which many of
the young nobility had founded upon the splendid prize held out to
him who should avenge the murdered Bishop of Liege -- glided from
their recollection as they lay stupefied with fatigue and sleep.
But not so with Quentin Durward. The knowledge that he alone was
possessed of the means of distinguishing La Marck in the contest
-- the recollection by whom that information had been communicated,
and the fair augury which might be drawn from her conveying it
to him -- the thought that his fortune had brought him to a most
perilous and doubtful crisis indeed, but one where there was still,
at least, a chance of his coming off triumphant -- banished every
desire to sleep and strung his nerves with vigour which defied
fatigue.

Posted, by the King's express order, on the extreme point between
the French quarters and the town, a good way to the right of the
suburb which we have mentioned, he sharpened his eye to penetrate
the mass which lay before him, and excited his ears to catch the
slightest sound which might announce any commotion in the beleaguered
city. But its huge clocks had successively knelled three hours
after midnight, and all continued still and silent as the grave.

At length, and just when Quentin began to think the attack would be
deferred till daybreak, and joyfully recollected that there would
be then light enough to descry the Bar Sinister across the Fleur de
lis of Orleans, he thought he heard in the city a humming murmur,
like that of disturbed bees mustering for the defence of their hives.
He listened -- the noise continued, but it was of a character so
undistinguished by any peculiar or precise sound, that it might be
the murmur of a wind arising among the boughs of a distant grove,
or perhaps some stream, swollen by the late rain, which was discharging
itself into the sluggish Maes with more than usual clamour. Quentin
was prevented by these considerations from instantly giving the
alarm, which, if done carelessly, would have been a heavy offence.
But, when the noise rose louder, and seemed pouring at the same
time towards his own post, and towards the suburb, he deemed it
his duty to fall back as silently as possible and call his uncle,
who commanded the small body of Archers destined to his support.
All were on their feet in a moment, and with as little noise as
possible. In less than a second Lord Crawford was at their head,
and, dispatching an Archer to alarm the King and his household,
drew back his little party to some distance behind their watchfire,
that they might not be seen by its light. The rushing sound, which
had approached them more nearly, seemed suddenly to have ceased,
but they still heard distinctly the more distant heavy tread of a
large body of men approaching the suburb.

"The lazy Burgundians are asleep on their post," whispered Crawford;
"make for the suburb, Cunningham, and awaken the stupid oxen."

"Keep well to the rear as you go," said Durward; "if ever I heard
the tread of mortal men, there is a strong body interposed between
us and the suburb."

"Well said, Quentin, my dainty callant," said Crawford; "thou art
a soldier beyond thy years. They only made halt till the others
come forward. -- I would I had some knowledge where they are!"

"I will creep forward, my Lord," said Quentin, "and endeavour to
bring you information."

"Do so, my bonny chield; thou hast sharp ears and eyes, and good
will -- but take heed -- I would not lose thee for two and a plack
[an homely Scottish expression for something you value]."

Quentin, with his harquebuss ready prepared, stole forward, through
ground which he had reconnoitred carefully in the twilight of the
preceding evening, until he was not only certain that he was in the
neighbourhood of a very large body of men, who were standing fast
betwixt the King's quarters and the suburbs, but also that there
was a detached party of smaller number in advance, and very close
to him. They seemed to whisper together, as if uncertain what to do
next. At last the steps of two or three Enfans perdus [literally,
lost children], detached from that smaller party, approached him
so near as twice a pike's length. Seeing it impossible to retreat
undiscovered, Quentin called out aloud, "Qui vive? [who goes there?]"
and was answered, by "Vive Li -- Li -- ege -- c'est a dire [that
is to say]" (added he who spoke, correcting himself), "Vive -- la
France!"

Quentin instantly fired his harquebuss -- a man groaned and fell,
and he himself, under the instant but vague discharge of a number
of pieces, the fire of which ran in a disorderly manner along the
column, and showed it to be very numerous, hastened back to the
main guard.

"Admirably done, my brave boy!" said Crawford. "Now, callants,
draw in within the courtyard -- they are too many to mell with in
the open field."

They drew within the courtyard and garden accordingly, where they
found all in great order and the King prepared to mount his horse.

"Whither away, Sire!" said Crawford; "you are safest here with your
own people."

"Not so," said Louis, "I must instantly to the Duke. He must be
convinced of our good faith at this critical moment, or we shall
have both Liegeois and Burgundians upon us at once."

And, springing on his horse, he bade Dunois command the French
troops without the house, and Crawford the Archer Guard and other
household troops to defend the lusthaus and its enclosures. He
commanded them to bring up two sakers and as many falconets (pieces
of cannon for the field), which had been left about half a mile in
the rear; and, in the meantime, to make good their posts, but by
no means to advance, whatever success they might obtain; and having
given these orders, he rode off, with a small escort, to the Duke's
quarters. The delay which permitted these arrangements to be carried
fully into effect was owing to Quentin's having fortunately shot
the proprietor of the house, who acted as guide to the column
which was designed to attack it, and whose attack, had it been made
instantly, might have had a chance of being successful.

Durward, who, by the King's order, attended him to the Duke's, found
the latter in a state of choleric distemperature, which almost
prevented his discharging the duties of a general, which were
never more necessary; for, besides the noise of a close and furious
combat which had now taken place in the suburb upon the left of
their whole army -- besides the attack upon the King's quarters,
which was fiercely maintained in the centre -- a third column
of Liegeois, of even superior numbers, had filed out from a more
distant breach, and, marching by lanes, vineyards, and passes known
to themselves, had fallen upon the right flank of the Burgundian
army, who, alarmed at their war cries of Vive la France! and Denis
Montjoie! which mingled with those of Liege! and Rouge Sanglier! and
at the idea thus inspired, of treachery on the part of the French
confederates, made a very desultory and imperfect resistance; while
the Duke, foaming and swearing and cursing his liege Lord and all
that belonged to him, called out to shoot with bow and gun on all
that was French whether black or white, -- alluding to the sleeves
with which Louis's soldiers had designated themselves.

The arrival of the King, attended only by Le Balafre and Quentin
and half a score of Archers, restored confidence between France and
Burgundy. D'Hymbercourt, Crevecoeur, and others of the Burgundian
leaders, whose names were then the praise and dread of war, rushed
devotedly into the conflict; and, while some commanders hastened to
bring up more distant troops, to whom the panic had not extended,
others threw themselves into the tumult, reanimated the instinct
of discipline, and while the Duke toiled in the front, shouting,
hacking, and hewing, like an ordinary man at arms, brought their
men by degrees into array, and dismayed the assailants by the use
of their artillery. The conduct of Louis, on the other hand, was
that of a calm, collected, sagacious leader, who neither sought nor
avoided danger, but showed so much self possession and sagacity,
that the Burgundian leaders readily obeyed the orders which he
issued.

The scene was now become in the utmost degree animated and horrible.
On the left the suburb, after a fierce contest, had been set on
fire, and a wide and dreadful conflagration did not prevent the
burning ruins from being still disputed. On the centre, the French
troops, though pressed by immense odds, kept up so close and
constant a fire, that the little pleasure house shone bright with
the glancing flashes, as if surrounded with a martyr's crown of
flames. On the left, the battle swayed backwards and forwards, with
varied success, as fresh reinforcements poured out of the town,
or were brought forward from the rear of the Burgundian host; and
the strife continued with unremitting fury for three mortal hours,
which at length brought the dawn, so much desired by the besiegers.
The enemy, at this period, seemed to be slackening their efforts
upon the right and in the centre, and several discharges of cannon
were heard from the lusthaus.

"Go," said the King to Le Balafre and Quentin, the instant his ear
had caught the sound; "they have got up the sakers and falconets
-- the pleasure house is safe, blessed be the Holy Virgin! -- Tell
Dunois to move this way, but rather nearer the walls of Liege, with
all our men at arms, excepting what he may leave for the defence
of the house, and cut in between those thick headed Liegeois on
the right and the city from which they are supplied with recruits."

The uncle and nephew galloped off to Dunois and Crawford, who, tired
of their defensive war, joyfully obeyed the summons, and, filing
out at the head of a gallant body of about two hundred French
gentlemen, besides squires, and the greater part of the Archers
and their followers, marched across the field, trampling down the
wounded till they gained the flank of the large body of Liegeois,
by whom the right of the Burgundians had been so fiercely assailed.
The increasing daylight discovered that the enemy were continuing
to pour out from the city, either for the purpose of continuing
the battle on that point, or of bringing safely off the forces who
were already engaged.

"By Heaven!" said old Crawford to Dunois, "were I not certain it
is thou that art riding by my side, I would say I saw thee among
yonder banditti and burghers, marshalling and arraying them with
thy mace -- only, if yon be thou, thou art bigger than thou art
wont to be. Art thou sure yonder armed leader is not thy wraith,
thy double man, as these Flemings call it?"

"My wraith!" said Dunois; "I know not what you mean. But yonder
is a caitiff with my bearings displayed on crest and shield, whom
I will presently punish for his insolence."

"In the name of all that is noble, my lord, leave the vengeance to
me!" said Quentin.

"To thee, indeed, young man," said Dunois; "that is a modest request.

"No -- these things brook no substitution." Then turning on his
saddle, he called out to those around him, "Gentlemen of France,
form your line, level your lances! Let the rising sunbeams shine
through the battalions of yonder swine of Liege and hogs of Ardennes,
that masquerade in our ancient coats."

The men at arms answered with a loud shout of "A Dunois! a Dunois!
Long live the bold Bastard! -- Orleans to the rescue!"

And, with their leader in the centre, they charged at full gallop.
They encountered no timid enemy. The large body which they charged
consisted (excepting some mounted officers) entirely of infantry,
who, setting the butt of their lances against their feet, the front
rank kneeling, the second stooping, and those behind presenting
their spears over their heads, offered such resistance to the rapid
charge of the men at arms as the hedgehog presents to his enemy.
Few were able to make way through that iron Wall; but of those few
was Dunois, who, giving spur to his horse, and making the noble
animal leap wore than twelve feet at a bound, fairly broke his way
into the middle of the phalanx, and made toward the object of his
animosity. What was his surprise to find Quentin still by his side,
and fighting in the same front with himself -- youth, desperate
courage, and the determination to do or die having still kept the
youth abreast with the best knight in Europe; for such was Dunois
reported, and truly reported at the period.

Their spears were soon broken, but the lanzknechts Were unable to
withstand the blows of their long, heavy swords; while the horses
and riders, armed in complete steel, sustained little injury from
their lances. Still Dunois and Durward were contending with rival
efforts to burst forward to the spot where he who had usurped the
armorial bearings of Dunois was doing the duty of a good and valiant
leader, when Dunois, observing the boar's head and tusks -- the
usual bearing of William de la Marck -- in another part of the
conflict, called out to Quentin, "Thou art worthy to avenge the
arms of Orleans! I leave thee the task. -- Balafre, support your
nephew; but let none dare to interfere with Dunois's boar hunt!"

That Quentin Durward joyfully acquiesced in this division of labour
cannot be doubted, and each pressed forward upon his separate
object, followed, and defended from behind, by such men at arms as
were able to keep up with them.

But at this moment the column which De la Marck had proposed to
support, when his own course was arrested by the charge of Dunois,
had lost all the advantages they had gained during the night; while
the Burgundians, with returning day, had begun to show the qualities
which belong to superior discipline. The great mass of Liegeois
were compelled to retreat, and at length to fly; and, falling back
on those who were engaged with the French men at arms, the whole
became a confused tide of fighters, fliers, and pursuers, which
rolled itself towards the city walls, and at last was poured into
the ample and undefended breach through which the Liegeois had
sallied.

Quentin made more than human exertions to overtake the special
object of his pursuit, who was still in his sight, striving, by
voice and example, to renew the battle, and bravely supported by a
chosen party of lanzknechts. Le Balafre and several of his comrades
attached themselves to Quentin, much marvelling at the extraordinary
gallantry displayed by so young a soldier. On the very brink of the
breach, De la Marck -- for it was himself -- succeeded in effecting
a momentary stand, and repelling some of the most forward of the
pursuers. He had a mace of iron in his hand, before which everything
seemed to go down, and was so much covered with blood that it was
almost impossible to discern those bearings on his shield which
had so much incensed Dunois.

Quentin now found little difficulty in singling him out, for the
commanding situation of which he had possessed himself, and the
use he made of his terrible mace, caused many of the assailants to
seek safer points of attack than that where so desperate a defender
presented himself. But Quentin, to whom the importance attached to
victory over this formidable antagonist was better known, sprung
from his horse at the bottom of the breach, and, letting the
noble animal, the gift of the Duke of Orleans, run loose through
the tumult, ascended the ruins to measure swords with the Boar
of Ardennes. The latter, as if he had seen his intention, turned
towards Durward with mace uplifted; and they were on the point
of encounter, when a dreadful shout of triumph, of tumult, and of
despair, announced that the besiegers were entering the city at
another point, and in the rear of those who defended the breach.
Assembling around him, by voice and bugle, the desperate partners
of his desperate fortune, De la Marck, at those appalling sounds,
abandoned the breach, and endeavoured to effect his retreat towards
a part of the city from which he might escape to the other side
of the Maes. His immediate followers formed a deep body of well
disciplined men, who, never having given quarter, were resolved now
not to ask it, and who, in that hour of despair, threw themselves
into such firm order that their front occupied the whole breadth
of the street, through which they slowly retired, making head from
time to time, and checking the pursuers, many of whom began to
seek a safer occu