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veceur 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; aud that no. consideration, except the use of absolute force, shall compel him to desist from this resolution.'

" • 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 themgelves, are miserable, save when in saddle, and stirrup. Let the dogs be put up, and well looked to, gentle Dunois --We will hold council to-day, instead of hunting.'

666 My Liege,' answered Dunois, ' you will not thus rid yourself of Crevec@ur ; for his master's instructions are, that if he hath. not this audience which he demands, he shall nail his gauntlet to the palisades 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 eye-brows, is it even so ?—will our ancient vas. sal

prove so masterful-our dear cousin treat us thus unkindly?Nay then, Dunois, we must unfold the Oriflunme, and cry Dennis Montjoye!'

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 ar.ns. 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 connection and Louis, to carry into France, through the ever-open gate of Calais, those arms which had been triumphant in the civil wars, and to obliterate the recollection of civil dissentions 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

66 6

the saine 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 blogd, if any thing short of dishonour may avert such a calamity. We ten; der our subjects' safety dearer than the ruffle which our own dig nity 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,' 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 as sented; for even the pale cheek of Orleans kindled with shame, and Balafré suppressed his feelings so little as to let the butt-end of his partizan 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 the presence of the Sovereign. The King himself seemed unusually embarrassed at the silence around him. You are pensive, Dunois, be 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 but 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.'

6. 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 burthens upon us—But patience, cousin, and shuffle the cards, till our hand is a stronger one *.' Vol. I. p. 198.

“ 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 shewed it him, "He who would thrive at court must know the private wickets and concealed stair.' cases--ay, and the traps and pitfalls of the palace, as well as the principal entrances, folding-doors, and portals.

* “ 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 inental disorder, seem speedily to have become common among the courtiers, since they already furnished Louis XI. with a metaphor. The same proverb 'was quoted by Durandarte, in the enchanted caye of Montesinos."

“ After several turns and passages, the King entered a small vaulted room, where a table was prepared for dimer with three covers. The whole furniture and arrangements of the room were plain almost to meanness. A beauffet, or folding and moveable 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 Dur. ward; and after having ascertained, by going to different parts of the room, that he was invisible on all quarters, he gave him his last charge. Remember the word, Ecosse, 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 Crevecaur-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 guests 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 what 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 suspicions.

“ 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 Crevecaur 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 shared my board at the Castle of Genappes, I wished to shew myself, as I love best to live, old Louis of Valois, as simple and plain as any of his Parisian badauds. But I directed them to make some better cheer for you, Sir Count, for I know your Burgundian proverb, • Mieux vault bon repas que bel habit,' and 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 Auxerre ;' and he hummed 'gaily a sung then well known

Auxerre est le boisson des Rois.'

“Here, Sir Count, I drink to the health of the noble Duke of Bur. gundy, our kind and loving cousin.Oliver, replenish yon golden cup with Vin de Rheims, and give it to the Count on your kneehe 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 band,' 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 it suffers not water.-You, Sir Count, hesitate to fill your cup. I trust you have found no national bitterness at the bottom.

" "I would, Sir,' said the Count de Crevec@ur, 'that all na. tional quarrels could be as pleasantly ended as the rivalry betwist our vineyards.

" " With time, Sir Count-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 va. liant Burgundian, who well knows that in 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 actu. ally 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 apart. ment an armed soldier, with his piece loaded, in order to prevent or anticipate the deed.

“ The Count of Crevecaur gave frankly into the King's humour; while the smooth churchnian laughed at every jest, and enhanced every ludicrous idea, without expressing 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 scarce 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 his 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.

" Thy watch is not yet over,' he said to Quentin-refresh thyself for an instant-yonder dormant 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 broy with his hand, and was silent.” Vol. I. P. 265.



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