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bound them down to kill him, well knowing that his family would not dare to retaliate upon a whole nation. But his day had not yet come. A trusty friend brought him intelligence of the plot; and when, at the close of day, his house was surrounded by the conspirators, their intended victim was gone, and Ali, his youthful cousin, dressed in his leader's cloak, lay slumbering on the bed. The conspirators were deceived, and resolved to defer the murder until their supposed victim should awake. Meanwhile the Prophet, was waiting in the distance till Ali should join him.
Forth from that old Arabian city, with white walls and fragrant datetree groves, had gone, in the dim twilight, the man whom she hated, but who loved her well. On the sacred house of Abraham, on the ancient well of Hagar, on the much-loved tombs of his parents, guardian, and wife, he cast perhaps some sorrowing glances, and then went swiftly on his way, These indeed he left behind him; but the memory of those dear ones followed him always, like a guardian spirit. Henceforth the world, the dwelling place of the faithful, was to be his House of Abraham ; henceforth Hope, that fountain for thirsty sorrow, was to be his well of Hagar; henceforth his waking eyes must meet no old familiar scenes, his evening prayers must hallow no accustomed spots. Yet not for these things did he grieve so much as for the men who had rejected him in scorn of his fervent zeal. Thus he went forth; and thus, as he sang afterwards in his Koran,thus did a sorrowing Noah turn from the scornful people of the old world, when he told them of the coming deluge, and they would not believe. Thus ever has the world dealt with those whose souls were not of the world. Not those alone have been martyrs whose names are written in the world's list; to all there have not been historians, but to them this matters nothing. To every man who dares always speak truth, there will come the pangs of broken friendship, the tears of wounded love, the sorrow of an exiled heart, and the recompense of the tomb.
THE DUKE OF GUISE ; OR, THE STATES OF BLOIS.* It was early in the morning of a dark and sombre winter-day that a small hunting party, consisting of two brothers of noble birth and blood, and their tutor and relative, the Abbé de Boisguerin, together with their attendants, rode forth in pursuit of the sports of the field.
“Much was the noise, great the gingling and the tramp, the whining of impatient dogs the chiding of surly foresters, the loud laugh and gay jest of their masters, in the glen of the wood within three or four hundred yards of the thicket in which the boar lay sleeping. He woke not with the sounds, however, or at all events he noticed them not while the preparations went on for putting his easy life in the forest to a close.
“ Well, Gondrin," exclaimed the elder of the two brothers, Gaspar, Marquis of Montsoreau,—“ well, Gondrin, have you made sure of our beast-is he lodged safely?"
“As safe as an ox in his stall," replied the huntsman. “ He has his lair in the chicket there, my lord; and, as near as I can guess, he is but a hundred yards in. If you go round by the back of the cottage, and station two relays, one on the hill of Duffay, and the other on a bank of the river by the bridge of Neuf bourg, you will have a glorious chase;
* The Works of G. P. R. James, Esq., revised and corrected by the author, with an Introductory Preface. Vol. VI.--Henry of Guise.
for he can take no other way but down the glen, and then, crossing the high-road by the river, must run all the way up the valley, and stand at bay amongst the rocks at the end."
“Beautifully arranged, Gondrin-beautifully arranged,” cried the younger brother, Charles of Montsoreau, Count of Logères; but his elder brother instantly interrupted him, exclaiming, “ But have you not netted the thicket, Gondrin?"
“No, my lord,” replied the huntsman, “ Count Charles said the other day he loved to give the beasts a chance; and lodged as the boar is, you would miss the run, for then he must turn at bay in the thicket and be killed immediately."
" It matters not-it matters not,” replied Gaspar de Montsoreau. “ If Charles like it, so let it be; and yet I love to see the huge beast darting from side to side, and floundering in the nets he did not think of; there is a pleasure in so circumventing him."
" It is not too late yet,” said the fine rich musical voice of the Abbé de Boisguerin; “ the nets can speedily be brought and the thicket enclosed."
“Oh no," cried both brothers at once; “ we have no such patience, as you know, good friend. Send down the relays, Gondrin, and let us begin the sport at once.”
“ I will go round to the left of the thicket with my men,” continued the younger brother, “and will keep the hill side as well as if there were all the nets in the world. You,
spar, keep this side and the little lane behind the cottage.”
“ And what shall I do ?" demanded the Abbé with a smile. “I must not show myself backwards in your sports, Charles, so I will go with Gondrin here, and some of the piquers, and force the grizzly monarch of the forest in his hold.”
The matter being thus determined, the relays were sent down, and the parties separated for their several stations, Gondrin saying to his younger lord, as they went round; “ If I sound one note on my horn, sir, the boar is making towards you; if I sound two, he is taking towards the Marquis; but if I sound three, be sure that he is going down the valley as I said, and must take to the rocks, for he has no chance any other way but by the ford, which he wont take unless hard pressed."
Charles accordingly rides to his station. Presently the horn of Gondrin gave the signal that the boar was rushing down the valley; and galloping on with all the eagerness and impetuosity of youth, his ear caught the sound of distant fire-arms. Proceeding a little further, he saw in the valley before him a carriage drawn by six horses, and driving along at a furious rate. A little further on, a small band of horsemen were contending with a larger body, as if to give time for the persons in the carriage to escape. At the distance of a mile and a half beyond, again, was seen a still larger body of cavalry; and it was evident that it would not be long before they would overtake the carriage, if such were their intention. The boar was immediately forgotten, and Charles rode to the rescue of the inmates of the carriage. An elderly lady, apparently of rank, tells him that they have been betrayed into an ambush of the King of Navarre's reiters; and Charles assures them that their only chance of escape is by driving as rapidly as possible to the Château of Montsoreau, which they accordingly do. In the meanwhile, Charles went to the help of their servants, who were still contending with the reiters, but who fled at his appearance. However, no time was to be lost. Charles sent one of his followers in pursuit of his brother and the Abbé, while he returned to the château, which was attacked by the reiters, but who were driven away just as they returned from the hunt. Finding Charles was in an apartment termed the Lady's Bower, they followed him there.
At a little distance from the fire was collected a group of persons, of whom the graceful and dignified form of Charles of Montsoreau was the first who caught the eye. He was standing with his hunting-cap in his hand, the long plume of which swept the floor, and was bending in an attitude of much grace to speak with a lady who was seated in a large arm-chair, and who, looking up in his face, was listening with apparently great attention to all he was saying. That lady, however, was not the one who had spoken to him in the carriage. She indeed sat near, while three or four female attendants, who had come with her in the vehicle, stood behind. But the lady to whom Charles of Montsoreau was speaking was altogether of a different age, and of a different appearance. She was apparently not above nineteen or twenty years of age, and certainly very beautiful, although her beauty was not altogether of that sparkling and brilliant kind which attracts attention at once. The features, it is true, were all good; the skin fair, soft, and delicate; the figure exquisitely formed, and full of grace; but there were none of those brilliant contrasts of colouring that are remarkable even at a distance. There was no flashing black ere, full of fire and light; the colour of the cheek, though that cheek was not pale, was pure and delicate; the hair was of a light glossy silken brown; and the soft liquid hazel eyes, screened by their long lashes and fine cut eyelids, required to be seen near, and to be marked well, before all the beautiful depth and fervour of their expression could be fully perceived. There was one thing, however, which was seen at once, namely, the great loveliness of the mouth and lips, every line of which spoke sweetness and gentleness, but not without firmness-tenderness, in short, gaining rather than losing from resolution. Those lips were altogether peculiar to the race and family to which she was not very remotelyrelated; and it was to their peculiar form and expression that was owing that ineffable smile which is said to have borne no slight part in the charms which rendered her nearest male relative at that moment all-powerful over the hearts of men—which made him, Henry of Guise, more a king in France than the sovereign of the land, at least as far as the affections of the people went—and which added the crowning grace to the beauty of the unfortunate Mary Stuart.
Mademoiselle de Clairvaut, the daughter of the niece of the Duke of Guise, is introduced to the Marquis and the Abbé; and it is arranged, though not without sundry misgivings on her part as to the propriety of the step, that she should remain at the château till the Duke of Guise should be informed of their situation. Both the brothers fell in love with her. The Marquis finds means more than once of sending Charles away, and thus securing for a time the lady to himself. One day, in riding forth after the falcons, her horse ran away with her; she was nearly drowned, but was rescued by Charles, to the increasing mortification of his brother. But the Abbé persuades Charles that his love is hopeless, and induces him to let his brother woo, if not win, the hand of her whom he so ardently loves. With a heavy heart he leaves the château for his own estates, taking with him Gondrin, and, in the course of his journey, adding to his company a boy called Ignati, who does him good service. In the course of his journey, he puts up at a country inn; in the room there was no one beside himself but a stranger.
He was a man of about six or seven and thirty years of age, and, as he now stood before Charles of Montsoreau at his full height, appeared, to the eyes of the young nobleman, one of the most powerful men he had ever beheld. His chest was at once broad and deep, his limbs muscular and long, the head small, the flanks thin, and the foot and hand well formed. Every indication was there of great strength and great activity, and the countenance also harmonized perfectly well with the figure, the broad high forehead giving that air of a powerful and active mind which we are all, whether we are physiognomists or not, inclined by nature to see in the expanse which covers and seems to represent the great instrument of the human intellect. The eyes were large and fine; the eyebrows strongly marked; the nose was beautifully formed, displaying the wide expansive nostril, generally reckoned a sign of generous feelings; and though there was a cut upon his brow scarcely healed, and a deep scar in his cheek of a more remote date, yet they did not at all detract from the handsomeness of his countenance, which, notwithstanding the plainness of his dress and appearance, was peculiarly striking and attractive.
“ This is a cold night, young gentleman,” he said, as he approached the fire; " and you ride ont somewhat late for a traveller in these parts of the world."
“Oh, I fear not the cold,” replied Charles of Montsoreau;" "and though I certainly prefer not the night to travel in, yet, when I must betake myself to it, I do it without much discomfort or hesitation."
“Ay, but there are other things sweep over this country besides the wind," said the stranger; “ things more cutting and more sharp, I can assure you."
“Oh, against those I go pretty well prepared also,” replied Prince Charles of Montsireau. “Every French gentleman is a soldier, you know; and we are not unwilling or unable to make use of our arms when it may be needful.”
“You have served, I suppose," said the stranger; "perhaps at Coutras with the Duke of Joyeuse, or with Henry of Navarre and his Huguenots ?"
Charles of Montsoreau looked up with a smile. “If we begin talking of where we served, and on what causes, good sir,” he said, “ we shall have our worthy host, Pierre Jean, requiring us to give up our swords into his safe keeping till we set out again, as indeed he is bound by law to do.”
« Oh, no fear, no fear,” replied the stranger, laughing, “ We shall not quarrel and cut each other's throats, depend upon it. You are here, a young lord, with it seems to me a dozen or two of attendants; and I am alone, a poor Escribano, by name Maitre Henri, as you just heard."
“And yet,” replied Charles of Montsoreau, “the poor Escribano I should judge had seen some service in his day, and that not many years ago either.”
“Oh, you judge from that cut upon my forehead; that is but the scratch of a cat.”
“ Well, then," answered Charles, “ if you will tell me sincerely whether that cat's claw was a reiter's estramaçon or the spear of a De la Mark, I will tell you whether I drew my sword at Coutras, and on what part."
The stranger gazed on him for several moments, with an inquiring, and yet half-laughing glance.
“You are as keen," he said at length, “ as a Gascon; perhaps, for aught I know, as ambitious as a Guise, as hardy and obstinate as a La Mark, and as politic and secret as a Brisson. The last at least I am sure of; and I can tell you, my good youth, if I judge right, we are not likely to part so soon as we both expected when you entered this room.”
“ Perhaps not, Maitre Henri," replied Charles of Montsoreau, “ for if I judge rightly, and you are as you say alone, I am not likely to leave you till I see you safe on the other side of Rheims. There lie a strong body of reiters on the Chalons road; and there is one man in France for whom I have much love and respect, but who is somewhat too famous for exposing himself unnecessarily. I have but few men with me; but well led, and with a great purpose, those few may do much."
The expression which the stranger's countenance assumed as he listened to this speech was strange and mingled. There was a smile came upon it, as half-amused, half-touched; and yet there was a degree of doubt hung wavering upon his brow, when he first scrutinized his companion closely, and then, casting down his eyes, fell into a deep fit of thought. After a short pause, however, he replied
“ You fought at Coutras, sir, neither for Henry of Navarre nor Anne of Joyeuse—that is clear. Am I not right?"
“ Quite, Maitre Henri,” replied the young Count, with an air of indifference and a smile. " I fought neither for the heretics, because, Heaven be praised ! I am a good Catholic; nor for the minions, because the hero of Jarnac and Montcoutour has passed away into a lover of pet puppies and a pedant in cosmetics.”
A sarcastic smile curled the lip of his companion while he spoke.
“ Two good, wise, and sufficient reasons," he said; " such as a notary may approve of. But tell me, young gentleman, have we ever met before !”
“Never," answered Charles of Montsoreau, “ unless we met before we were born. But, however, Maitre Henri, to put an end to all doubts that I see in your mind, my name is Charles of Montsoreau, Count of Logères, whom you may have heard of perhaps, though he has yet to make a name in history, and hopes to do so with his sword."
The stranger instantly extended his hand to him, exclaiming, “ Indeed, young friend, indeed! How came you here? What brought you to this part of the world ?”
Charles then gives two reasons: the one being a wish to visit his estates; and the other to visit the Duke of Guise, whom our readers will have guessed to be the stranger with whom the Count had been conversing. They travel together, and, being attacked by reiters, Charles is fortunate enough to save the life of the Duke, whom he accompanies to Rheims. The Duke, finding that Mademoiselle de Clairvaut is not altogether insensible to the Count who had so gallantly defended her, seeks an opportunity of hearing the Count confess himself on this subject, who, however, having been assured by the Abbé that Marie cared not for him, instead of declaring his love, offers his services to the Duke, and pleads for his brother. Amazed and bewildered, the Duke is left by Charles, who goes to Logères to raise a band of followers for the Duke. In marching with fifty to join the Duke at Montigny, Ignati brings him word that a band have been attacked by the Schwartz reiters, and begs him to come to their relief. This band happens to be that of his brother and the Abbé, who were conveying Marie de Clairvaut to the Duke. In the confusion she is borne away by the King's troops, and the meeting of the two brothers is any thing but friendly. Gaspar unjustly accuses Charles, and leaves him to join the King, who he believes will hold Marie as a hostage for the Duke's conduct, and will bestow her hand on whom he thinks fit. Ile meets the Duke at Montigny, who Fows that Gaspar shall never wed Marie, and would promise at once to bestow her hand on Charles, did not he himself persuade him from doing so. Commissioned by the Duke, Charles sets out for Paris, to demand Marie of Henry himself, first cautioning him against the infamous Villequier.
“One of the first of those,” said he, “whom you will see near the King--the man who governs and rules him to his own infamy and destruction—in whose hands the minions are but tools and Henry an instrument—who, more than any one else, has tended to change a gracious prince, a skilful general, and a brave man into an effeminate and vicious king-is René de Villequier, Baron of Clairvaut. He was first cousin to Marie de Clairvaut's father; and he is consequently her nearest male relation out of the house of Guise. He has sometimes indeed hinted at a right to share in the guardianship of his cousin's daughter; but such a thing Guise permits not. However, with this claim upon the disposal of her hand, Henry may perhaps hesitate to yield her unless with the consent of Villequier. With him, then, you may be called to deal; but Villequier, I think, knows the hand of a Guise too well to call down a blow from it unnecessarily. However, he is as daring as he is artful, and impunity in crime has rendered him perfectly careless of committing it. He is Governor of Paris, one of the King's Ministers, and Knight of the Holy Ghost. Now hear what he has done to merit all this. More than one assassin broken on the wheel has avowed himself the instrument of Villequier, sent to administer poison to those he did not love. Complaisant in every thing to his King, he sought to sacrifice to him the honour of his wife; but she differed from him in her tastes; and on the eighteenth of last September, in broad daylight, in the midst of an effeminate court, he murdered her with his own hand at her dressing table. Nor was this all: there was a girl-a young sweet girl—the natural daughter of a noble house, who was holding before the unhappy lady a mirror to arrange her dress when the fatal blow was struck. The fiend's taste for blood was roused: one victim was not enough; and he murdered the wretched girl by the side of her mistress. This was done in open day, was never disowned, was known to every one, and was rewarded by the Order of the Holy Ghost-an insult to God, to France, and to humanity.* However, as with this man you may have to deal, I must give you two cautions. Never drink wine with him, or eat food at his table; never go into his presence without wearing under your outer dress the bosom friend I have brought you there." And he took from the leathern skin in which it was wrapped a shirt of mail, made of rings linked together so fine that it seemed the lightest stroke would have broken it, and yet so strong that the best tempered poinard, driven by the most powerful hand, could not have pierced it. “Have also in your bosom,” continued the Duke of Guise, “a small pistol; and if the villain attempts to lay his hand upon you, kill him like a dog. This is the only way to deal with René de Villequier.”
At Paris Charles meets with but ill success. He is trifled with by the King. His brother and the Abbé are there bargaining with Villequier for Marie's hand. He has an interview with the latter, whom he discovers is playing him false. A letter from the Duke then reaches him, telling him he has reason to believe that Marie had been conveyed to Château Neuf, and begging him to proceed there at once and bring her away. He immediately started, and travelled through a country stricken with the plague. It was night when he alighted at the door of the château. He mounted the steps—he ascended the marble hall-he waited; but all was silent as the grave. At length “there were steps heard coming along towards the staircase, and a voice replied, “There is death and pestilence in the house. If you come for plunder, take it quickly; if you come by accident, fly as fast as you may, for every breath is tainted.”
* All these charges were but too true.