faith, no one shall know it; the matter his own left, caught the hilt of Biron's shall go no further, and all it shall cost sword with the other hand, exclaimyou shall be a sincere repentance.” ing, “ The King commands me to

The Marshal replied, proudly, that give an account of your person, sir. he had nothing to confess, and that his Yield me your sword.”. purpose in coming, was to meet his Biron started, and a mortal paleaccusers. There was a rudeness in ness came over his face; for it would his answer, which was not the bold seem that he never dreamed for a ness of innocence; and Henry, turn- moment, either that the monarch had ing away, rejoined the court. Still accurate information of his treason, or Henry tried more than once during would proceed to do justice against the day to win from the traitor one him. He suffered himself to be disrepentant word. He again and again armed, however, and led to a secure solicited him to speak. He sent his apartment, where, after he had refriends to him, and his relations; and covered from his first surprise, he though urged by his council-before passed the night in violent and intemwhich full proofs of the Marshal's perate language, injurious to his own guilt had long been laid, and which cause, and indecent in itself. From had taken prompt measures, as we thence he was conveyed to the Bashave seen, for securing his followers tile, and his trial proceeded in with and dependents---still Henry's heart great rapidity. A thousand efforts rebelled against his better judgment, were made to save him, by his friends and would not suffer him to order and relations; and Henry was behis arrest. “ If this matter be tried, sieged, wherever he appeared, with and proved against him," said the tears and petitions. But the day of King, “justice must have its way, mercy had gone by; and the same for the sake of public example; but monarch who had almost supplicated I would fain avert the necessity." his rebellious subject to say one word At length, even at midnight, Henry that might save himself, now sternly once more called his treacherous ser- declared that justice must take its vant to his presence; and again beg- course ; and that whatever the law ged him, for his own sake, to confess awarded, without fail should be put his fault. “ Let me hear from your

in execution. own mouth,” said the monarch,“ that In the meanwhile, St Maurice passwhich, with great sorrow, I have ed his time in bitter meditations, beard from too good authority; and confined in a dull cell of the Bastile, on a frank acknowledgment, I promise which, though not absolutely a dunto grant you pardon and kindness. Whatever crime you may have com

geon, contained nothing but one of

those small narrow beds, whose very mitted or meditated against my per- look was like that of the grave, a son, if you will but confess it, I will crucifix, and a missal. The hours cover it over with the mantle of my and the days wore on, and he saw protection, and forget it myself for no one but the people who brought ever.” *

him his daily food, and a few per“ Sire!” replied the Marshal boldly, “ I have nothing to say but what inner court of the Bastile; so that

sons passing occasionally across the I have said. I did not come to your

solitude and sad thoughts traced majesty to justify myself, but to beg every day deeper and deeper lines you only to tell me my enemies, upon his heart, and upon his brow. that I may seek justice against them, He thought of her whom he lovedor render it to myself.”

of what her situation was, and what Henry turned away disgusted, and it might be; and when that was too the Duke advanced through the door painful, he turned his mind to bis of the saloon into the antechambers own fate, and tried to look it calmly beyond. At the door of that, how in the face, but still the image of ever, which led out upon the stair- Marie rose up in every scene, and case, he was met by the Count de reduced all the native resolution of Vitry, who, seizing his right hand in his heart to woman's weakness.

These two remarkable speeches are upon record,

He was thus one day cast heedless- Another long week passed, and ly on his bed, when the door of his day after day grew more weary and cell opened, and the jailer desired horrible than the last. Each hour, him to follow. St Maurice rose and each moment, added to anxiety, unobeyed, and a few minutes brought certainty, and expectation, already him to a larger chamber, which he beyond endurance. The rising and was bade to enter. At the other side the setting of the sun, the heavy of the room there stood a middle- passing away of the long and tardy sized man, habited in a plain suit of minutes, the wide vague infinity rusty black velvet, with strong mark- through which apprehension and ed aquiline features, and grey hair care had leave to roam, overwhelmand beard. His eye was keen and ed his mind, and shook even his quick, his forehead broad and high, corporeal strength. Each noise, each and there was something peculiar in sound, made him start; and the very the firm rooted attitude with which opening of his cell door brought with he stood, bending his eyes upon the it some quick indistinct fear. It is open door. Even had St Maurice said that those long accustomed to never seen him before, he could solitary confinement, get inured to never have doubted that he was a the dead, blank vacancy of exist. King

ence without action; lose hope, and “Come hither, Sir Count,” said fear, and thought, and care; and Henry IV. abruptly, “and tell me all exist, but hardly can be said to live. you know of this treason of the Duke But St Maurice had not yet had time de Biron. Tell me all, tell me true, to let one of the fresh pangs of his and, by my faith, you shall have full situation become lulled by the opiate pardon.”

of custom, and every moment of its “Sire," replied St Maurice,“ when endurance was a moment of new my father died in the service of your agony. He heard no tidings, he remajesty, and my mother left this ceived no comfort, no hope, from world a few days after my birth, I any one. The very joys that he had was left a penniless orphan, for all known, and the love he valued most, our fortunes had been lost in your became a torture to him; his own royal cause-" Henry knitted his heart was a burden, and while the brow_“I was a beggar,” continued future was all dark and lowering, St Maurice,“ and the Duke de Biron the past was full of regret, and protook pity on me-brought me up, lific of apprehension. led me io the field-protected-pro- At length one evening an unusual vided for me”

number of footsteps traversing the “ Hold! hold! hold !" cried the court below, called him from the King. “Say no more! say no more bed on which he usually cast himself -get you gone-yet stay-I seek in prostrate despondency, and he benot, sir, this unhappy man's death. held, from the small window of his Justice shall be done, but no more cell, a number of people gathered than justice--not severity. If you together in the open space, of a know any thing which can mitigate quality which shewed at once that his offence, speak it boldly, and the some great and formal act was about King will thank you ; any thing that to take place within the walls of the may render his crime less black.” prison. The Chancellor was there,

"I know little, Sire, of the Mar- and various judges and officers of shal's late conduct," replied the the Parliament, and a number of the Count," for in truth I have been municipal body of Paris were on less in his confidence than formerly; the spot, with clerks and sergeants, but this I know, and do believe, that and the two chief prévóts. A small he is one of those men to speak, aye, body of soldiers also guarded the and to write, many base things in a different doors of the court, and on hasty and a passionate mood, that he the side next to the garden was raiwould be the last on earth to act." sed a scaffold, about five feet above

Henry mused for a moment in the ground, at the foot of which a silence, and then, without any far- strong man in black stood, with two ther observation, ordered St Maurice others of an inferior grade, examiback again to his cell.

ning the edge of a large heavy sword, which was suddenly put into the with the priest who stood by his side sheath on the sound of some voices His countenance grew calmer and at the other side of the court. graver; and after having received

At that moment the Duke de Biron absolution and the sacrament, he was brought in through the opposite looked for a brief space up towards door, accompanied by several of the the sky, then knelt down before the officers of the prison. His dark scaffold, and prayed for some time, swarthy countenance was not a shade while a dead silence was maintained paler than usual, and, with his hat around-you might have heard a feaand plume upon his head, he walked ther fall. As he still knelt, the sun boldly forward with an erect and broke out, and shone calmly and daring carriage ; but as his eye first sweetly over the whole array of death, fell upon the scaffold, he paused a while a bird in the neighbouring garsingle instant, exclaiming, “ Ha!” He den, wakened by the sunshine and then strode forward again, as if he the deep stillness, broke into a clear, had been marching against an enemy, shrill, joyful song, with the most painand came to the foot of the ladder ful music that ever struck the ear. which led to the scaffold. There he The prisoner started on his feet, paused and looked round him with and, after looking round for an infurious and impatient eyes, as if he stant, mounted the scaffold with the would fain have vented the wrath same bold step wherewith he had that was in his heart upon some of approached it

. His eyes, however, those around him.

still had in them that sort of wild, “Sir Chancellor ! Sir Chancellor!” ferocious gleam, which they had ex. he cried, “ you have condemned a hibited ever since his arrest; and man more innocent than many you though he seemed to strive for calmhavesuffered to escape, and that upon ness, and displayed not a touch of the evidence of two perjured villains. fear, yet there was an angry spirit You have done injustice, sir, which in his tone as he addressed those you could have prevented, and you around him. “ I have wronged the shall answer for it before God.— Yes, King,” he said sharply, “ I have sir, before him to whose presence I wronged the King. 'Tis better to summon you before a year pass acknowledge it. But that I ever over.” Then turning to the com- sought his life, is a lie and perjury. mandant, he added, “* Ah, Monsieur Had I listened to evil counsel, he de Roissy, Monsieur de Roissy ! had would have been dead ten years ago. your father been alive, he would Ah! my old friends and fellow-solhave aided me to quit this place. diers,” he added, turning to the Fie! fie! is this a fate for one who guards," why will none of you fire has served his country as I have ?” your piece into my heart, instead of

My lord duke,” said the Chan- leaving me to the vile hands of this cellor, “you have heard the sentence common butcher.” And he pointed of your peers, and it must now be to the executioner. “ Touch me executed. The King commands me not,” he continued, seeing the other to demand the insignia of that noble approach him with a handkerchief to order to which you once belonged.” bind his eyes—“Touch me not with

There, sir, take it!” cried the those hellish fingers, or, by heavens, duke, giving him his star and riband. I will tear you limb from limb! “ Tell the king, that, though he treat Give me the handkerchief.” me thus, I have never broken one He then cast his hat away from statute of the order to which my him, and bound his own eyes-knelt deeds in his service raised me. -prayed again for a moment-rose Pshaw !” he continued, turning from suddenly up as the executioner was the priests, who now pressed him about to draw the sword-withdrew to confess—“ I make my confession the covering from his sight-gazed aloud. All my words are my con- wildly round him for an instant, and fession.-Still,” he added, as his beckoned one of the officers to tie eye rested for a moment on the scaf- up his long bair under the handkerfold and all the awful preparation chief. This was immediately done, for his fate, “still I may as well think and his eyes being covered, he calla while of where I am going.”. ed out, “ Haste ! haste!”—“ Repeat

He then spoke fora few minutəs the In manus, my lord,” said the

executioner, taking the heavy sword, faint but coherent words, and the which had been hitherto concealed light of intelligence re-awakened in by the attendants.

his eye, shewed the nurse, for such Biron began to repeat the psalm she was, that the fever had left of the dying—the blade glittered in him, and going out of the chamber, the air-swayed round the head of she returned with a soldier-like the executioner; and before the eye man, whom St Maurice at once recould'trace the blow which ended membered as the old Count de Bethe earthly career of the unfortunate Jin, who had arrested him at Bourg. but guilty soldier, his head was se- Many words of comfort and solace vered at once from his body, and were spoken by the old soldier, but Biron was no more.

St Maurice was forbidden to utter a A feeling of intense and painful in- word, or ask a question for several terest had kept St Maurice at the days. A physician, too, with a grave window till the moment that the un- and solemn face, visited him twice happy soldier covered his own eyes each day, and gave manifold cautions with the handkerchief; but then a and warnings as to his treatment, sensation of giddy sickness forced which the young gentleman began him away, and he cast himself down soon to think unnecessary, as the firm once more, with bitterer feelings calm pulse of health grew fuller and than ever at his heart. The world fuller in his frame. At length one seemed all a hell of cares and sor- day, as he lay somewhat weary of rows, and he could have died that restraint, the door opened, and Henry moment with hardly a regret. After IV. himself stood by his bed-side. he had lain there for near two hours, “Now, faith, my good young Count,” he once more rose, and approached said the Monarch, “ I had a hearty the window. The crowd were all mind to keep you to silence and thin gone, but the dark scaffold still re- bouillon for some days longer, to pumained, and the young soldier drew nish certain rash words spoken in back again, saying to himself, “ Who the Bastile, casting a stigma upon next? who next?" He lay down and royal gratitude for leaving faithful tried to sleep, but his throbbing friends, who had lost all in our betemples, and his heated blood, ren- half, to poverty and want. But I dered the effort vain. Strange wild have lately heard all your story, and images rose up before his eyes. Fiends more of it than you thought I ever and foul shapes were grinning at would hear; and therefore, though him in the air. Fire seemed circling I shall take care that there be no through his veins, and burning his more reproaches against my gratiheart; he talked, with no one to hear tude, as a punishment for your -he raved—he struggled—and then crimes, I shall sell you as a slave for came a long term of perfect forget- ever. Come hither, sweet taskmasfulness, at the end of which he woke ter,” he added, raising his voice, as from a profound sleep.

“ and be sure you do all

that woman He was weak as a child, and his can—and that is no small power-to ideas of the past were but faint and tease this youth through all his life confused. The first thing, however, to come.” that returned to memory was the As the King spoke, the flutter of image of his cell, and he cast his heavy a woman's robe-the bright, dear eyes around, in search of the bolts, eyes-the sweet, all-graceful form, and bars, and grated windows; but the bland, glad smile of her he no such things were near. He was loved, burst upon the young solin a small but handsome room, with dier's sight; and she, forgetting the open lattice admitting the breath fear, timidity, the presence of royof many flowers, and by his side sat alty-all, all but love, sprung foran old and reverend dame, whom ward at once, and bedewed his bohe had never seen before. A few som with her happy tears.


[ocr errors]

You will not be surprised if I in- drink. Whether or not my behaform you, that after this recommen- viour in this respect was influenced dation from the general, I was re- by the Marquis's declaration, that he ceived by the authorities at home would consider it a personal insult with the highest consideration. I for any gentleman to leave his table was courted and caressed as if I had in a condition which enabled him to been a perfect hero of romance. walk, I will not say,—but his lordAmong those who extended their ship was known to be an inimitable patronage to me in the kindest and shot, and, on occasions of that sort, most gratifying manner, was the gal- seldom to be worse than his word. lant old Marquis of Hardbottle. Du- My mornings were happy,-or, if ring my stay in England, which was unhappy, only disturbed by my fears limited to three weeks, I was almost of the evening's debauch. a constant guest at his table. His The drawing-room, and the fascifamily circle consisted at that time- nating society of the ladies, you will as his sons were both abroad--of two perhaps imagine, were a sufficient lovely daughters ; indeed, I may say, compensation for any sufferings. that at the period I speak of, now With me, indeed, it was so. Every eight-and-twenty years ago, they time I was admitted into their prewere the most beautiful and fascina- sence, I found the Lady Annabella's ting women I had ever seen. Per- influence gaining the ascendency haps you may imagine that the su over my heart. I do not mean that periority of their rank had some the conquest she made of my affecthing to do in bringing me to this tions was the result of her arts, or judgment of their charms; but cir even her wishes.-Far from it. I cumstances have since occurred, saw, that even if fortune favoured which, in my eyes at least, have de me in future, as much as she had prived them of that superiority, and hitherto done, aye, if I raised myself my opinion remains unchanged. Of to an equal rank with the object of the two, the

Lady Annabella was my my admiration, my suit would still favourite. There was so much play- be hopeless,-for though I perceived ful ease, at the same time so much that her heart was untouched, I delicate propriety, in whatever she knew, alas! that her hand was ensaid or did, that while she immedi- gaged. The Honourable Henry Fitz ately attracted the affection, she as D’Angle, heir to an immense fortune surely retained the admiration and and dukedom, was her affianced esteem.

husband, and I have often thought, In this family I passed the happi- since the period I mention, that it est hours of my life. There was but was little less than madness to yield one drawback to my felicity. The to the delicious enchantment of those Marquis was an officer of the old interviews and conversations, when school, and, next to being unflinching I was aware that I was only nursing in the field, he ranked among the a flame, which, in all probability, soldier's virtues the being unflinch- would consume me. However, I ing over the bottle. He attached found resistance to my passion imsuch importance to this accomplish- possible, and heart and soul, I gave ment, that I plainly saw he estimated myself up to the lovely and accoma man's courage and strength of plished Lady Annabella. Our mornnerve, in the exact ratio of his ings were often employed in shopstrength of stomach. To this failing ping: on these occasions, the Marof his lordship I made myself a mar- chioness, out of consideration for my tyr. In spite of my wound, which wound, allowed me a seat beside her was now indeed nearly well, I felt in the carriage. Fitz D’Angle, who, myself irresistibly called upon to though an intolerable puppy, was

* Continued from the November Number,

« 前へ次へ »