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you think it will be easy to capture the city, and put in a royalı garrison.
Nothing more easy, sire,' replied he, none now being at table but himself, the king, and the two young people: "give me but the word, and the town shall be ours to-night.
But how do you propose to act?' asked the king, who had ever a relish for military plans.
• The city-guard rests, and the people will soon be asleep. At midnight there will not be an owl stirring. I will enter the city with a hundred soldiers, leaving the rest as a reserve, and simply proclaiming your presence in the castle, St Malo is ours.'
Isabella turned very pale, Michel ground his teeth and started. His emotion, however, was not remarked.
Nay,' said the king; the people are goodly burghers, and would fight. We should have a scene of midnight massacre that makes my heart sick. Let us try other means. To-morrow, summon them in the king's name to yield to his authority, and then if they refuse, we can use force.'
As your majesty wishes,' replied De Fontaines, who, a rough soldier, knew no means of action save brute strength and measures of violence, unfortunately an idea but too prevalent with military men in all ages.
'If I might be permitted to speak,' said Michel respectfully, 'I would give a piece of advice.'
Speak, Master Secretary,' replied Henry IV. drily. In my humble opinion, neither course will succeed. Your majesty is not master of France till your conversion to the Catholic Church has been recognised by the pope; therefore St Malo thinks herself bound by no ties to obey you, while the stout burghers would rather bury their city in its own ruins than be ruled by one suspected of heresy.'
* Truly,' said the king still more drily. Well, as you think that my reasons may not prove convincing, what say you to the warlike proposition of Messire de Fontaines ?'
'He might succeed; but the Malouines are stubborn dogs, and I fancy the burgher-guard would perish to a man first. They know the" value of liberty. They pay no taxes now except to themselves, and they fear that your majesty, however gentle and generous a king, may not exempt them from state charges, if they once join France
And personally what think you?' asked the king with a scrutinising air.
“Sire, I should not sympathise with men who hate me because they see me here, but at bottom I think them right,' and the young man smiled at the vacant astonishment of De Fontaines. Then why are you not with them !' continued the king.
many reasons, sire, said Michel with some emotion : ' in the first place, because of my strong personal attaclıment to Monsieur de Fontaines, a man of learning and parts, in whose
He is per
society and conversation I learn much that is valuable and useful.'
The Count de Fontaines appeared much flattered, the king laughed heartily.
"I should have thought it was the count found your learning agreeable, for I believe you have studied and read, young man. But is the Lady Isabella a person of learning, and do you find her society also valuable and useful ?'
* The Lady Isabella, sire, is a person of rare modesty, talents, and with a deep desire for study. Shut up in this castle, her chief resource is books, and she has been pleased to ask my advice and assistance in fathoming the secrets of Latin and Greek poesy, replied Michel firmly.
A new Abelard and Heloise,' said the king with something of a frown; but you may retire to your studies, as I have private business with the governor, Master Secretary:
Michel bowed and retired, the Lady Isabella having preceded him by ten minutes. The king waited until he was quite out of hearing.
“Sir Count, that youth is burning local patriot. sonally attached to you, and more so to your daughter, but the moment you turn against his native city, he will abandon you, and combat you even unto the death.'
Sire!' exclaimed the astounded governor, opening eyes that would have done honour to a Mongolian idol; - you mistake Michel. The lad loves but Greek and Latin; he reads all day, and is the companion of my daughter, and my secretary and friend. He could never be a traitor.'
Count de Fontaines, there are few men who have not been traitors within the last twenty years, during these long civil wars. But I have learned to read men's countenances. This youth has served you while the ally and protector of his native city. But once turn against St Malo, and, knowing your plans, he will frustrate them. Make no noise, but see that he does not leave the castle to-night.'
Your majesty shall be obeyed,' said the count, rising with an effort.
“No haste, Sir Count; let us take a walk on the ramparts, and there consider further of what is to be done.'
And the king and the count walked forth to the battlements in earnest discourse.
The great tower of the castle of Anne of Brittany was the favourite place of resort both of Isabella and Michel. Here they often sat for hours in the day reading, watching the waves, the wide sea, and the white sails glancing in the distance on the moving
waters. In the evening, they sometimes came with the count to spend an hour or two in discourse; and on the present occasion, the two young people were seated there in the company of two waiting-maids, who conversed in a corner of their absent sweethearts; both being well-favoured girls, sought in marriage by rich young citizens of the town. It was a lovely night. The moon danced over the speckled waters with a brightness almost equal to that of day, silvering the house-tops and the ramparts, the cathedral and the rocks of St Malo, while it brought out in bold relief the towers of Solidor.
'I must leave you,' said Michel in a low tone; 'my dream of love and happiness is over. Your father has at last resolved to become the aggressor. You know my feelings, you know my hopes; but you know also that I love my native city, and am determined to see it free and independent. I have never deceived you, and in your heart you are a Malouine yourself.'
Yes, Michel, you have taught me to love all that belongs to you. Your country is my country, your home my home. I was but a French girl two years ago, now I am of St Malo. But remember your solemn promise and my vow.
You will in any struggle look after my father; and I, if anything happens to him, shall enter a convent, and we part for ever. But could I not warn him ?'
Isabella, your father never tells you his secrets; if he did, you would not betray them to me. I tell you mine; they must be sacred as your word.'
They were looking down from the battlements as they spoke to where the sea broke against the rocks a hundred and twenty feet below.
'I will keep true to my word, exclaimed Isabella; 'but be careful.'
My love, I answer for your father's life with mine,' replied Michel warmly.
And be careful of your own, continued Isabella sadly; and then she added more cheerfully, at all events, my Greek and Latin lessons are at an end.'
Why, dearest ?' asked Michel anxiously. 'Because you are now so occupied with your warlike schemes, your plots and conspiracies, that you will have no time to think of me.'
· When the time comes that I do not think of you, my heart will have ceased to beat. But adieu, Lady Isabella ; here is the king and your father.'
Whither away so hastily?' said the rather sarcastic voice of the king
'I was making place for your majesty,' replied Michel with a shudder. In the sound of that voice, he thought he detected a suspicion of his great secret.
Nay, stay near the Lady Isabella, while the count and I keep
sentry awhile. Methinks there will be rumours in the city to-night. What building is that so brilliantly lighted up in the Grand Place ?'
Michel drew a long breath, and then answered calmly, a clock meanwhile striking ten : ' It is the palace of the bishop.' A notorious Leaguer,' said the king.
Yes, sire, and hence kept a prisoner in his own palace.? 'l'faith, a goodly set of rebels, that will own neither one king nor the other, nor even their own bishop-elect,' said Henry IV. laughing, and then he turned to whisper to the governor. They leaned over the battlements towards the town, so placed that no one could descend the stairs of the tower without brushing against them; while Michel and Isabella overlooked the sea.
The town was dark and still, save where the palace of the bishop stood out in marked relief in the large place. Suddenly this was more evident as the moon disappeared, and the scene became in general dark and gloomy. At this moment, a bugle sounded from some unknown spot in the town-a grave and solemn air, that made the heart of king and governor beat: it was almost unearthly in its tone.
What means that ?' said Henry IV. in a low tone. 'I know not; but perhaps if we ask Michel, he will tell us,' replied the governor.
"He knows all the customs of the place.' Then ask him, in God's name, for methinks that horn bodes no good, sounding at this hour in the silent city.'
They turned to where Michel and Isabella had been, but Michel had disappeared, and Isabella was standing up, her back turned to them, talking with her maids.
"Where is Michel ?' said the Count de Fontaines, hurriedly advancing towards his daughter.
"He left me but a moment since, and said he would be back presently, replied Isabella.
‘Said I not so ?' muttered the king. There is something beneath all this. Count de Fontaines, go down into the castle, and keep good watch. I will mount sentry myself on this tower. I feel that the night will not pass without events. Be quick; and if you can, prevent Michel from leaving the castle. Put him in safe custody until the morning;'
The count and his daughter left the summit of the tower, and descended the stairs leading to the Place d'Armes. Henry remained alone. His mind was in that uneasy state which is said to prelude misfortune. He was anxious, because he could not tell whence the danger would come; but he determined, fatigued as he was, to watch all night, and take rest only next day. He walked up and down for some time, but he heard nothing but the wind, which had risen almost to a gale, and howled around the battlements, and once more at midnight the sound of the wild music played on the mysterious bugle. He looked down upon the dark town, but without noticing anything
remarkable, except that the palace of the archbishop remained lighted up in the same brilliant manner. He then sat down for a few minutes, musing deeply; then his eyes closed a moment: he saw again Michel and Isabella, and he heard afar off the semiwailing of a plaintive horn; and then he was in a sound sleep, from which he awoke only when startled by the din of arms, the firing of guns, and a general murmur throughout the castle. He rubbed his eyes, and started to his feet. We must, however, retrograde an hour or two.
Pepin de la Blinais occupied, in one of the most retired streets of the town, but close to the port, a large house, where also were stored the goods in which he and an elder brother dealt. There was an office where the clerks attended to their duties and received their customers, the apartments above of the young men, and an extensive warehouse. This had been just emptied of goods and cleared out for the purpose receiving the cargo of two ships recently arrived in port. About half-past nine on the same evening that saw the stirring events above described, Pepin de la Blinais, who with his brother had been to a grand dinner at the episcopal palace, entered his house, and, while Guillaume performed some prearranged duties in the warehouse, ascended to the roof, and there, precisely at ten o'clock, hidden among the chimneys, sounded the horn which had excited the surprise and alarm of King Henry IV. and his general. Then he descended, wrapped himself in a long cloak, and issued into the street. He went a little way, and then, with a long wand he carried, knocked against a door, and waited; presently the door opened.
What is it?' said a low voice, as if half aware of what was going on. • Heard you the horn ?' replied Pepin.
Ay, I heard,' was the whispered answer. To-night, at once, at Pepin’s.' 'Good, replied the other.
On went Pepin de la Blinais, knocking sometimes at windows, sometimes at doors, and always going through the form of the same conversation. He thus, in the space of little more than half an hour, visited the houses of more than fifty citizens, and then he returned home. In the warehouse he found more than 200 burghers: collected, while at every instant others arrived, Pepin having visited but chiefs of tens, whose business it was on such occasions secretly to advise their fellows. Porcon de la Barbinais was there, and he at once, by common consent, as the oldest man present, took the chair.
Pepin then rose, and addressed the assembly. He told them