Page images
PDF
EPUB

tresses ?

What you say, madam,' replied I,' would be reasonable enough, if his majesty took the money all out of his own purse; but to make a new levy upon the merchants, artists, labourers, and countrymen, it will never do; it is by them that the king and all of us are supported, and it is enough that they provide for a master, without having so many cousins, friends, and mistresses, to maintain.

« Madam de Verneuil lost none of my words, she dwelt particularly upon the last; and, in the rage with which she was transported, made use of them to form a thousand wicked slanders.”

" and

This quarrel with an unreasonable woman led to one with a man not more reasonable, the count de Soissons; which, but for the interposition of the king, would have ended seriously.

The twentieth book commences with the process against the Counts of Auvergne and Entragues, whose sentence was perpetual imprisonment in the Bastille. The Marchioness de Verneuil, who was equally implicated, had a full pardon, even dictated the conditions herself.”

These affairs were scarcely concluded, when the sovereign and his minister were alike harassed by an endeavour to separate them by rendering the faithful servant an object of suspicion and dislike to his master. This was the work of father Cotton, a Jesuit, who was seconded by the many who envied the power and loathed the virtues of Sully. There have been many similar seasons of coldness during the years we have passed; but none so bad as this, in which the king seems to have suffered nearly a month of anxiety and estrangement; but which, like every other trial, only established their friendship more permanently. When the explanation was complete, the candid monarch observed :

You cannot conceive, my friend, how easily and happily I have slept this night, after having opened my heart to you, and had all my doubts cleared up. He then asked me if I did not feel the same calm satisfaction; I replied that I did, and that he should always find in me the same fidelity'

We have, in the twenty-first book, an account of the finances, the expenditure, the debts, and the payments of France; and abundant proof of the wise and liberal economy, the immense resources, the unremitting diligence, and the comprehensive views of this great minister ; who not only retrieved the affairs of his impoverished country, but reimbursed all who had adventured in her service, and liquidated the debts of a king whose gifts rendered him expensive, and whose dependants were insatiable. We learn that the Countess Maret revived the passion of love in the heart of Henry, but did not therefore awaken the discontent formerly evinced by the queen towards the Marchioness de Verneuil.

Rosny now receives the title of Duke of Sully, which is bestowed in the most splendid and honourable manner ; but is most interesting where it presents another picture of this delightful monarch :

“I carried sixty persons of the highest quality home with me to the arsenal, where an entertainment of flesh and fish was prepared for them, and was most agreeably surprised to find his majesty, who went thither during the ceremony without giving me notice of his intention. “Grand master,' cried the king, as soon as I entered, “ I am come to the feast without being invited: shall I have a bad dinner?' • It is possible you may, sire,' I replied, “ since I did not expect to be honoured with your presence.' 'I assure you I shall not,' returned the king, preventing my acknowledgements, ' for while I waited

your return, I visited your kitchen, where I have seen the finest fish imaginable, and ragouts in my own taste; and because you staid too long, I have allayed my hunger with some oysters, and drank some of your wine of Arbois, which I think is the best I ever tasted.' The king's gaiety heightened the pleasure of the entertainment; and the rest of the day was passed to the entire satisfaction of the guests.”

The Memoirs next narrate the circumstance of the king and queen having a narrow escape from drowning, as they crossed the river Neuilly. The king was preserved in the first place, but he rushed back into the river to save the queen,

who was insensible ; but on coming to herself heaved a sigh, and “ eagerly inquired for the king.” We cannot resist offering another view of Henry, pained with the thought that it will be nearly the last we can take of a monarch, whom we leave it to others to censure, and therefore content ourselves with the love and admiration he is so calculated to inspire.

“ It was to make a party for the chase that Henry had risen so early that morning, and he was resolved to dine upon the partridges he should take in hawking: he used to say, that he never thought them so tender and good as when they were taken in this manner; and especially, when he could snatch them himself from the hawks. Towards the middle of the day Henry returned, extremely well satisfied with his morning's diversion, and in a gaiety of humour, which his good state of health, and the happy situation of his affairs, contributed greatly to increase: he entered the great hall, holding the partridges in his hand, and cried aloud to Coquet, (who waited there for his return, and was talking to Parfait at one end of the hall), “Coquet, Coquet, you must not complain of Roquelaure, Thermes, Frontenac, Arambure, and me, for want of a dinner, for we have brought something to treat ourselves with ; but go immediately and order them to be dressed ; let eight be reserved for my wife and me; Bonneval here shall carry

them to her from me, and shall tell her, that I am going to drink her health ; but take care and keep those birds that are a little bit by the hawks for me ; there are three very fat, which I took from them myself, and which they have scarce touched.'

“ As Henry was distributing his partridges, La-Clielle came in, and with him Parfait, bringing in a large bason, gilt with gold, and covered with a napkin; • Šire, cried he twice, embrace my knees, for I have brought you a great many, and very fine ones.' See how rejoiced Parfait is, said the king, this will make him fatter by an inch

upon the ribs; I find he has brought me some good melons; I am glad of it, for I am resolved to eat my fill of them to-day; they never hurt me when they are good, and when I eat them while I am very hungry, and before meat, as the physicians direct.' I will give each of you a melon before you have your partridges, when I have first chosen out some for my wife and myself, and for another person to whom I have promised some.' The king then going to his own apartment, gave a couple of melons to two boys who were at the door, whispering something in their ear at the same time: and as he came out of his long closet to go to his aviary, perceiving Fourcy, Beringhen, and La-Font, the latter bringing something covered up in his hand, 'La-Font,' said Henry to him, are you bringing me a ragout for my dinner? Yes, sire,' replied Beringhen, but these are raw meats, fit only to feast the eyes with. That is not what I want,' replied his majesty, ' for I am excessively hungry, and would rather have my dinner than any other thing: but, La-Font, what is it you have wrapped up so ? Sire,' says Fourcy, he has got patterns of several sorts of stuffs, carpets, and tapestry, which your best manufacturers. have undertaken to make.' • Oh !' replied Henry, they will afford us some amusement after dinner; I will show them to my wif and to another person, whose opinion and mine do not always agree, especially when we are talking of what he calls baubles and trifles: I believe, Fourcy,' added he, you guess whom I mean; I should be glad to have him present with my wife when you show us these stuffs, it will bring something to my remembrance which I want to communicate to them when they are together, that I may have their opinions : he often tells me,' pursued his majesty, still speaking of me, but without naming me, that he never thinks any thing fine or good that costs double its real value; and that I should think the same of all goods extremely dear: I know his reasons for talking in this manner, although I pretend to be ignorant of them; but we must suffer him to talk, for he is not a man of few words. Fourcy, go for him immediately; or, that he may be here the sooner, send one of my coaches for him, or your own.'

“ The coachman meeting one of my footmen, whom I had sent to the Louvre to inquire if his majesty was returned, he came to the duchess of Guise's, where I had just dined : I surprised his majesty when I came in, for he did not expect to see me so soon.

• You have made great haste,' said this prince to me when I entered the room, where he was still at table, you could not possibly have come directly from the arsenal.' When I told him where I had dined; that whole family being related to you,' said he,' and loving you so much as they do, for which I am very glad, I am persuaded

that while they follow your counsels, as they say they are determined to do, they will never do an injury either to my person or state.' «Sire,' returned I, your majesty says this in a manner so unreserved, that I see you are in a good humour, and better satisfied with me than you have been these fifteen days.' . What ! you still remember that then,' interrupted Henry, ' I assure you I do not ; you know that our little resentments ought never to last more than a day: I know that yours did not hinder you from undertaking, the very next day, something for my advantage in my finances. I have not,' continued Henry, with great gaiety, • found myself so light and so easy these three months as this day; I mounted my horse without help; I have had great pleasure in the chase this morning; my hawks have flown, and my greyhounds have run so well, that the former have taken a great number of young partridges, and the latter three large hares; one of the best of my hawks, which I thought lost, has been found and brought back to me: I have a very good appetite, have eat some excellent melons, and they have served me up some quails, the fattest and tenderest I have ever eat. By letters from Provence,' continued the king, to show me that every thing conspired to his happiness, “I am informed that the seditions in Marseilles are entirely quelled: and from several other provinces I have news, that there never has been so fruitful a season, and that my people will grow rich, if I permit them to export corn. SaintAntoine writes me word, that the prince of Wales is always talking of me, and of the friendship which he promised you he would ever preserve for me. From Italy I am informed, that affairs there are in such a situation, that I shall have the honour of reconciling the pope and the Venetians. Bongars writes me word from Germany, that the new king of Sweden is upon better terms every day with his subjects; and that the landgrave of Hesse acquires me constantly new friends and allies. Buzenval has written to Villeroi, that both the Spaniards and Flemings are brought so low, that they will soon be obliged to listen to proposals for a peace or a truce, of which I must necessarily be the mediator and protector: and thus begin to render myself the arbitrator of all the differences among the princes of Christendom. And for an increase of satisfaction,' said the prince gaily, behold me here at table, surrounded with all these you see,' (for he had with him DuLaurens, Du-Perron the younger, Gutron, Des-Yvetaux, Chaumont, and the fathers Cotton, and Gonthier), of whose affection for me I am well assured, and who, as you know, are capable of entertaining me with useful as well as agreeable conversation ; which shall not, however, hinder me from talking of business as soon as I have dined, for then I will listen to every body, and will satisfy all, if reason and justice can do it.' ”

“This conversation, which, from being gay and lively, had taken a very serious turn, was interrupted by the queen, who had left her chamber, and was going to her closet. The king, rising from table, went to meet her, saying, "Well, my dear, were not the melons, partridges, and quails I sent you very good ? if your appetite has been as keen as mine, you have dined extremely well; I never eat so much as I have done to-day, or was ever in a better humour; ask Rosny; he

will tell

you the occasion of it, and will acquaint you with the news I have received, and the conversation we have had.' Thequeen, who was likewise more than usually cheerful, replied, that to contribute, on her side, to divert his majesty, she had been making preparations for a ballet and an interlude of her own invention; the ballet was to represent the felicity of the golden age; and the interlude, the amusements of the four seasons of the year. I do not say,' added she, that I have not had a little assistance, for Duret and La-Clavelle have been with me the whole morning, while you were at the chase.' charmed am I to see you in this humour, my dear,” said Henry to her, .

I beseech you let us always live together in this manner.' was then ordered to show the patterns for the stuffs and tapestry. The king desired the queen to tell him her opinion of them; and turning to me, ' I know what yours is already,' said he ; but now let us see your abstracts of accounts ?!

• How

Fourcy

Sully is again in danger of disgrace from the freedom of his remonstrances :

"My servants were all afflicted; but many others, I believe, inwardly rejoiced at it.

Ať seven o'clock the next morning, the king came to the arsenal, with five or six persons whom he brought with him in his coach. He would not allow my people to give me notice of his arrival ; but walked up to my apartment, and tapped at my closet-door himself. Upon my asking, 'Who is there?' he replied, “ It is the king. I knew his voice, and was not a little surprised at this visit.

Well, what are you doing here ? said he, entering with Roquelaure, De Vic, Zamet, La Varenne, and Erard the engineer; for he had occasion to speak to me about the fortifications of Calais. I replied, that I was writing letters, and preparing work for my secretaries. And, indeed, my table was all overspread with letters and states of affairs, which I was to lay before the council that day. • And how long have you been thus employed ? said his majesty, 'Ever since three o'clock,' I replied. Well, Roquelaure, said the prince, turning to him, how much money

lead this life ? • Faith, sire, not for all your treasures,' replied Roquelaure. Henry made no answer; but commanding every one to retire, he began to confer with me upon matters in which it was impossible for me to be of his opinion ; which he easily perceived when I told him coldly, that I had no advice to give: that his majesty having, doubtless, taken his resolution after mature deliberation, all that remained to be done was to obey him, since he was displeased when my sentiments happened not to agree with his.

Oh, oh,' said Henry, smiling, and giving me a little tap on the cheek, ' you are upon the reserve with me, and are angry at what happened yesterday: however, I am so no longer with you; come, come, embrace me and live with me with the same freedom as usual; for I know you well, were you to act otherwise, I should think you took no farther interest in my affairs. Though I am sometimes hasty,” added he, with a candour natural to him, you should bear with it; for I

for

would you

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »