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of the anti-chamber and chamber locked, went into the gallery, and knocked at the door of the cabinet, where no one answered. At length, impatient of waiting, and knowing the ways of the house, he entered by the little chapel, the door of which not being locked, he walked in; at which the king was astonished, and said to the queen, in the greatest confusion and alarm, “Here he is,” thinking that he (Richelieu) would break out. The cardinal, who perceived their astonishment, said to them, "I am certain you were speaking of me.” The queen replied,
No, we were not.” “ Confess it, madam," said he. Upon which she said, “yes,” and then gave loose to the utmost bitterness against him, declaring, that she would no longer employ him, and many other things, which lasted till the king went to dinner, and the cardinal followed him."
Bassompierre relates other circumstances connected with this affair, which had so nearly overthrown the cardinal's gi. gantic power; and, again, solemnly protests, that he knew nothing of it at the time it was going on. He says, “it was kept. so secret that nobody knew, or even suspected, it.”
“On the 11th, the king went to Versailles, and I engaged to dine with the cardinal, whom I met at the Luxembourg, and who said, as we walked together to the queen's door, you will not care any longer for a man in disgrace, like me.' I thought he alluded to the coolness of Monsieur towards him, which I had witnessed. I intended to wait for him, and to go to dinner with him, but M. de Longueville seduced me to dine at M. de Crequi's, with Monsieur. On our way thither, M. de Puy-laurens said to me,"Well, this time, our people have quarrelled in good earnest, for the queen-mother told the cardinal, yesterday, that she would not see him again. I was astonished at this news, which M. de Longueville confirmed.”
The following day, Richelieu succeeded in diverting upon his enemies the storm which had so nearly burst upon his own head, and thew into prison the two brothers de Marillac, who were the leaders of the cabal, and upon whom he afterwards took terrible
vengeance. On the 14th, Bassompierre received an intimation, that he would do well to go to Versailles, to pay his court to the king and the cardinal. He went, not, as it appears, without some apprehension.
“ As soon as ļ entered," says he,“ Le Jay, who had been made Premier Président, said, loud enough for me to hear him, 'He is come a: day after the battle,' and accosted me very coldly. I put on a good face, as if nothing had been the matter. The king then told me he should be at St. Germains on Monday, and that I must order his Swiss guard thither. At the same time I heard Saint Simon, the chief écuyer, say to the Count de Soissons, “Sir, do not invite him to dinner, nor me
either; let him go as he came.' The insolence of the nasty little wreteh (petit punais) put me in a rage inwardly; but I concealed it, for the laughers were not on my side, though I knew not why. Just after, the cardinal arrived; he was very cold, and passed with an air of indifference. I was talking with the count, when d'Armaignac came from the cardinal, to ask me to dine with him; but, as I had just refused the count, I made the same excuse as I had done to him, at which, the cardinal was offended, as he expressed to the king."
About two months after this occurrence, the queen-mother was arrested, and the princess de Conti banished from Court. Bassompierre was, at the same time, warned, by the Duke d’Espernon, of the storm which was impending over him, and urged to escape while it was yet time. This advice he refused to accept, confiding in his innocence, and in thirty years of faithful service; very fair grounds of confidence in a country where there is any thing like a public administration of justice, but utterly worthless against the caprice or malice of an omnipotent minister:
“ I told him," says he, “ that, for thirty years, I had served France, and that, I would noi now, at the age of fifty, seek a new country; and that having devoted my services and my life to the king, I might as well give him my liberty also, which he would soon restore, when he recollected my services and my fidelity'; that I could not believe that I should be thrown into prison without having committed any offence, nor kept there without any charge against me; but that even if this were the case, I should endure it with great constancy and modera
It may be conjectured that, during the twelve years he passed in the Bastille, he had leisure to repent of his magnanimity.
“ On the following day, Monday, February, 24, 1631, I rose, before day-break, and burned more than six thousand love-letters, which I had formerly received from different women; apprehending that, if I was taken prisoner, my house might be searched; and these were the only papers I had which could injure any body."
To protect ourselves and our printer against the charge, which we cannot but anticipate, of converting hundreds into thousands, we most solemnly assure our readers, that plus de six mille are the very words of the original, and that the astonishment they excited in ourselves has put us upon this precautionary assertion of our own innocence. Reviewers are, however, notoriously incompetent judges of these matters, and utterly deficient in the qualities which could render lovely fingers so surprisingly industrious. We leave it, therefore, to our more gallant and happy readers, to determine the probability or possibility of the fact, according to their own experience and faith..
Bassompierre, determined to know and to meet his fate, repaired to Senlis, where Louis then was. The conscious perfidy of this prince is at once pitiable and odious.
“We found him with the queen-consort and the Princess de Guyméné. He came up to us and said, “Here is some good company.' He talked to me a considerable time, and told me that he had done what he could to reconcile the queen, his mother, to the cardinal, but had failed. Then I told him that I had been apprised that he was going to arrest me; that I had come, that he might have no trouble in finding me; and that, if I knew to what prison he intended to send me, I would go to it voluntarily. Upon which, he said these very words ; `How, Bestein, can you have the thought that I would do so? You know that I love you ;' and I truly believe that, at that moment, he spoke as he felt. After this, we all went to sup at M. de Longueville's, and from thence returned to the queen’s, where the king was. I saw, clearly, that there was something against me, for the king always held down his head, playing on the guitar, that he might not look at me, and all the evening he did not speak a word to me.”
The next day, he was arrested and conveyed to the Bastille : such was the good faith or the firmness of his sovereign ; yet, at the very
moment of his arrest, he said to the officer, who came to take him, “ I have been, all my life, submissive to the will of the king, who may dispose of me and of my liberty at his pleasure.” This sentiment, which is now become rather unusual, seems to have been common and genuine in France, at that time. In the curious narrative of the atrocious assassination of the duke and Cardinal de Guise, by Henry III., which is to be found in the lately published volume of these memoirs, nothing occurs which would lead one to think that Bassompierre looked upon this act as one exceeding the powers with which monarchs ought to be invested. Though warmly attached to the Guise family, he seems to have thought of this murder rather as a thing to be deplored than execrated. Bassompierre had need of all his resignation to the will of his sovereign. From this time, to the conclusion of the memoirs, his life was one continued scene of the most cruel mortification and suffering. If his hopes of deliverance were raised, it was only that the destruction of them might render captivity more bitter. Every thing seems to have been in league against him. Calamity, sickness, and death, fell thick among his nearest relations and friends. He was defrauded by those to whom he was compelled to sell his appointments; robbed by his servants; and his estates in Lorraine were plundered and laid waste by the troops of France and of the Empire, alternately. Richelieu seems to have graified his malignity by wantonly sporting with the hopes of his
prisoner, who was continually deluded with the most confident assurance that his liberation was at hand. In June, 1635, his castle of Bassompierre was razed to the ground, by order of the prince, who was then lieutenant-general to the king's armies in Lorraine. So entirely military were the tastes and habits of Bassompierre that, even in captivity, he continued to record the details of the war which desolated Europe, and in which Gustavus Adolphus, and Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, were, at that period, the chief actors. They are, however, mere gazette accounts, and are, of course, dull enough.
In the September of the same year, his house of Harouel, where, as our readers may remember, he was born and educated, was taken by an officer in the Duke of Lorraine's service;
“Who put a garrison in it, having first burnt Cartenai, one of my villages near the house, and taken the horses and cattle of fifteen other villages belonging to the same estate, levied contributions on my subjects, and carried off the corn to Remberoilliers, where the duke was encamped. In the January of the year 1636, I received,” says he, “ the sad intelligence of the death of my niece, and, a few days after, I learnt that the commissioners of the king's troops had carried off all the corn from
my house of Harouel, which is my chief source of income; and this not only without paying, but without even giving a certificate that they had taken it. At the beginning of February, I heard from Lorraine that a certain Sieur Vilarsceaux had received a commission from the king to raze Harouel, which I felt most cruelly, and I sent to entreat the cardinal to avert this storm from me.”
So far was Richelieu from attending to these supplications, that he added insult to injury. In the following May, having obtained an ordonnance from the king for the restitution of his corn, the Maître des Requêtes, Gobelin, who, during Bassompierre's prosperity, had been his intimate friend, formally refused
this into effect.
“ And afterwards, when it was mentioned to the Cardinal de Richelieu, he said it was very strange that I should ask money of the king for my corn; seeing that I was so rich that I was building a sumptuous house at Chaliot, that I had ordered such splendid furniture as the king had nothing like, and that, for the last six years, I had kept up such a state as it was impossible to equal."
These six years, be it observed, he had spent in miserable captivity.
“A few days afterwards, the Duke of Weimar was authorised by the king to refresh his army, in the county of Vaudemont, and in my Marquisate of Harouel, which was given up to pillage. This he executed so well, that every kind of plunder, cruelty, and atrocity, was praetised there; and my estate was entirely destroyed, except the house, which could not be taken by an army which had no artillery.”
These facts afford a tolerable notion of the state of Europe and of France at this period. If such was the degree of security possessed by the rich and powerful, one may guess, pretty nearly, what protection was afforded to the lower classes. Cardinal Richelieu did not scruple to insult Bassompierre by asking him for the loan of Chaliot, the house with the splendor of which he had so lately taunted its unhappy possessor. It is unnecessary to say, his request was granted. Bassompierre was obliged to turn out Madame de Nemours, to whom he had lent it. Not a month after this, he says,
My niece, de Beuvron, went to speak to the cardinal on the subject of my liberty; but he answered her, in mockery, that I had been only three years in the Bastille, and that Monsieur d'Angoulême had been there fourteen ; that the duke was returned very à-propos to give some good advice on the subject of my liberation, and that he would consult about it with him. On the twenty-first of the following month, I committed myself into the hands of God, since I had nothing to hope from men. I learned, nearly at the same time, that the king had ordered the Chateau of Dommartin, belonging to my nephew Bassompierre, to be razed and then burnt."
The following we insert, by the bye, as a curious indication of the public credulity.
“In the month of December, a certain quack, who said he had found the philosopher's stone, and from whom people promised themselves millions of gold, was discovered to be an impostor, and taken prisoner to the wood of Vincennes; where those who brought him forward still hold out hopes that he will succeed. He had been a Capuchin, and had apostatized and married."
We afterwards find that he was hanged.
It might be thought that, in this state of things, if Bassompierre had little to hope he had little to fear. Some notes, written in the margin of a stupid and lying history of the kings of France, and misrepresented by his enemies, or Richelieu's sycophants, seem to have threatened to complete his destruction. The instinct which prompts tyrants to crush every written expression of opinion, manifested itself against him, as it afterwards did against Bussy Rabutin, whose career, though not quite so brilliant, was very similar to his own. We entreat our readers, if there be any who are not yet impressed with their supreme happiness in living in a country where the administra