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the necessary courage to act with firm- | ambition. Louis was not so foolish as to ness, and expose himself to the chance of be entirely duped by these false representan unpleasant outbreak. It is thus that ations; but flattery, even where it fails to weakness often drives the mind to more convince, raises at least a kind of doubt in violent resolutions than even passion, the mind, which is itself agreeable. which at least calms down after any ve- Some days after the disappearance of hement outbreak. Louis knew well that Marie de Medicis, the Princess Marie of the measures he meditated would excite Mantova proposed to the queen to confer the rage of his mother to the very highest the situation of Mademoiselle de Hautepitch; but in determining her exile, he fort, which had remained vacant, to Made imagined he would at least be spared the moiselle de la Fayette, to whose family embarrassment of having personally to she was much attached. The queen, quite endure face to face her invectives and re- despairing of obtaining the recall of the proaches. He was aware that public former, promised to ask the king. Louis opinion would be against him, but he flat- at once complied with her wish, delighted tered himself that it would never reach to see by this demand that the queen
had his ears; in a word, he only feared per- renounced all idea of recalling Mademoi. sonally to see and to hear what might give selle de Hautefort. annoyance. Such are the vices of weak Mademoiselle de la Fayette, the daugh. characters.
ter of an illustrious house, was the last He hastened to hide himself in one of representative in the male line of the fa. the royal residences in the country, when mous Maréchal de la Fayette, who gained the letter announcing her exile was to be so much renown in 1421 at the battle of presented to Marie de Medicis, giving her Baugé, in Anjou, and who afterwards conthe choice of remaining at Compiègne or tributed by his valor and activity in in the chateau of Angers, of Nevers, or driving the English out of the kingdom, of Moulins. The disgrace of a sovereign Mademoiselle de la Fayette, an orphan wanting in intellect and discernment is from her cradle, had been educated by the more overwhelming because generally her aunt, the Comtesse de Brégi, who unexpected. The same weakness of cha- placed her in a convent until she was racter that leads to the commission of im- fifteen, after which period her house beprudences, shuts the eyes of the under- came her future home, where Mademoistanding to the dangerous consequences selle de la Fayette was gradually accussure to be the result. Marie de Medicis tomed to do the honors before being in. was overwhelmed. Anne of Austria, on troduced by her friend into the great hearing of this event, saw only in her un-world. The comtesse was a widow, rich, fortunate mother-in-law (who had never and very old; she had no children, and ceased
persecute the young queen) an loved and adored her niece as her child, unhappy parent. She flew to her apart- looking on her as the person whom she ment, threw herself into her arms, mingled intended to make her future heiress. The her tears with those of Marie de Medicis, young lady joined to the most enchanting and promised to employ all the little in- beauty and great acquirements the utmost fluence she possessed in her favor. She propriety of conduct. She had already kept her word; but although in reality passed her twenty-third year, and every her conduct was irreproachable, her posi- one was surprised that, amongst her nu, tion was neither that of a happy nor re- merous admirers, no one had as yet sucspected wife. Her intercession appeared ceeded in winning her regard. The to Louis XIII, only a pretext for censur-Comtesse de Brégi had experienced all the ing his conduct, and he coldly desired her miseries of an ill-assorted marriage formed to be silent. Some few days after the in extreme youth ; she, therefore, left en. queen-mother, who had selected Com- tirely to her niece the decision of her fu. piègne as her residence, disappeared, and ture destiny, and far from pressing her went into another country. All the cour marriage, she continually exhorted her tiers assured Cardinal Richelieu, who re- not to decide on any one without most peated it to the king, that Marie de mature reflection. Medicis was hated by the public, who felt Mademoiselle de la Fayette had all the no interest in her fate, and that every one principles that can be imparted by a care entirely approved of her exile, as a mea- ful education, and her religious views sure rendered necessary by her unbounded were sincere and well grounded. She
was, moreover, prudent, discreet and sen- the queen's reception; he was more affa sible; her imagination lively, her soul ble than even on the former occasion, and lofty, generous and full of sensibility; her seemed entirely occupied with Mademoispirits gay, yet equable. The purity of selle de la Fayette. her mind appeared in a certain calm and The court was at this moment agitated peaceful expression that can only be im- by political events. The Spaniards were parted by internal goodness, and which making the most alarming progress in was displayed in all she did. It was easy France; they had made good a descent to see no passion had as yet ruffled the into Provence on one side, and on the calm of that gentle soul; always happy in other had taken Corbie, in Picardy. herself
, she had experienced no internal Louis had announced that very morning conflicts, and the agitations of envy, at the council that he intended at once to pride, or vanity were utterly unknown to take the command in person against the her. Every one was at ease in her com- Spaniards. Men and money were both pany; her conversation possessed those pe- wanting, and the situation of France was culiar charms of grace and tact that never so alarming, that even the genius of Richefail to attract, added to an unaffected gen- lieu was perplexed, and for a time he tleness of bearing, free from all preten- contemplated resigning his post. The sions. She possessed that gift (so rare in Cardinal of La Vallet, however, reänia woman) of charming without effect or mated his hopes and his courage, and the display, and when all around her were de- glory of France served as a specious pre lighted, envy itself could not be irritated, text for still retaining the sovereign au60 little had she tried even to attract at- thority intrusted to him. Louis, on the tention. She excused the faults of others, eve of departure, and in a situation so and indeed avoided making herself ac- critical, excited general interest and atquainted with them; it was enough for tention. Mademoiselle de la Fayette, her to suspect their existence, to turn who until this time had felt only a certain sway her mind from their consideration degree of esteem for him, now beheld in as one turns from an unpleasant picture. Louis a courageous soldier. She forgot There are many qualities that are appa- his weakness and his faults; she could rent in a first interview, and there are only remember his personal courage, his others which only become visible by de amiable qualities, and the dangers he was grees and after long acquaintance. All about to encounter. The melancholy are sensible of the brilliancy of a magnifi- though composed demeanor of the king cent day, but it is time only that can make added to the interest with which he semanifest the happy influence of pure air cretly began to inspire her, especially and a fine climate; so was it with the ad- when Louis XIII. publicly announced that mirable qualities of Mademoiselle de la he should depart as soon as the levy of Fayette. No shadow, no contrast made twenty thousand men, making at Paris by one particular qualification stand out in his order, was completed. relief more than another. It was impos
and all her ladies were playsible not to think her clever and fascina-ing at cards. The king was seated by the ting, but it required time and observation side of Mademoiselle de la Fayette, and to discover the full extent of her supe- was speaking in general terms of the melriority.
ancholy anticipations felt by all those The day that Mademoiselle de la Fa- about to leave for the war. yette was presented at court by the “Happy,” said the king, “is the man Princess Marie of Mantova she was mag- who feels that he is personally regretted nificently dressed; all admired the ex- -- he has a motive in desiring glory. treme beauty of the maid of honor, and Those who are beloved must indeed seek were charmed with an indescribable at- fame with ardor. But when no one cares traction about her. The king, evidently for one—when the mind feels that it posstruck by the naïveté and elegance of her sesses no kindred sympathy—then even whom ho then saw for the first time, ap- success is valueless, without merit, and proached Mademoiselle de la Fayette, and without reward." complimented her warmly on ber beauty These words affected the pretty maid and graceful manners. The maid of honor of honor. The king observed it. He only blushed and made no reply.
looked at her fixedly, and after a moment's The king was present on the morrow at silence again addressed her:
“I hope,” said he, in a low voice," that ties who had refused to enregister the this conversation will be resumed. I anx- edicts necessary for raising the money iniously desire
dispensable for the maintenance of the At these words he rose, without wait- army ?" ing for a reply. Mademoiselle de la Fa- “ Yes. * The money I demand, said
« yette followed him with her eyes, and all he, “is neither to be wasted in gambling the rest of the evening experienced an in- nor in idle expenses. I do not demand it voluntary absence of mind.
for myself, but for the interest of the naThe Duchesse de Chevreuse, whose tion. Those who oppose my pleasure in taste for intrigue had been increased by this injure me more than the Spaniards; considerable practical experience, had al- but I shall find means to be obeyed."" ready remarked the king's budding at- “What energy there is in that speech! tachment. She went to Mademoiselle de Oh! I am certain that he is not apprela Fayette and told her that all the world ciated.” saw that the king was in love with her. The following days the king regularly “But in his fashion,” added she; "he visited the queen, and appeared much enloves you timidly, modestly—even in his grossed with Mademoiselle de la Fayette; most secret thoughts there would not be but his timidity did not allow him to rean idea of any thing more profane. The main long at a time with her, for he could Comte de la Meilleraie assures me that not but perceive that they were both obthe king shows every sign of having con- served with curiosity. The day before ceived a violent passion for you-much his departure for the army he went in the more violent, in fact, than he ever felt for morning to see the queen, and on leaving Mademoiselle de Hautefort, to whom, in- herapartmentshe stopped in the ante-chamdeed, he never really was attached.” ber, where the maids of honor were as
“I do not know the king well enough sembled. He approached Mademoiselle yet to give an opinion about him,” replied de la Fayette, who was standing with one Mademoiselle de la Fayette, “but I con- of the other maids of honor in a large fess I have already lost many of my pre-bay-window. This lady at once retired, possessions against him. He certainly is and the king, taking her place, desired capable of friendship, and only desires to Mademoiselle de la Fayette to seat herself open his heart to a real friend; but his beside him. She, finding herself separated confidence has been abused. He seeks, in a manner from her companions, and perhaps, to hear the truth, and he may be tête-à-tête with the king, recollected with worthy of hearing it. If he asks counsel extreme agitation and emotion that it was of me I shall not dissemble any of my in this manner, during his liaison with opinions."
Mademoiselle de Hautefort, that the king “I am sure if you could only inspire had conversed with her. him with courage to reign himself, and to "I come,” said the king to her, in a low shake off the sway of the cardinal, you and trembling voice_“I come to bid you would render a vast service to France.” adieu."
“ Oh, that is quite chimerical. The At these words Mademoiselle de la Faking would never consult me. He will yette bowed, utterly unable to articulate; Dever ask me to tell him the truth; and, and Louis started at seeing tears roll down moreover, he is going away.”
her cheeks. “ Well, he will meet you again on his “I have enjoyed during the course of return."
my life,” said he, "few moments of hap“Dear duchess, we really must not talk piness, but this instant is one of the—” such nonsense; yet I do pity this prince, At these words, pronounced in a low naturally brave, good, and accomplished, voice, trembling with emotion, Mademoiwho so ill fulfills his glorious destiny. It selle de la Fayette became sensibly affected, is evident he is aware of this. He suffers and replied, that she would find every -he is wretched. If he had but one true loyal heart experienced the same emotion friend he might, perhaps, have proved a she felt, if his majesty would only conde. worthy successor to Henry IV. This scend to inform himself personally of the idea makes me quite miserable. I still sentiments of his subjects.” have hope, for he is yet young. Did you “No, mademoiselle,” said Louis, “I hear that he spoke this morning with only wish to hear yours; and it in you I great firmness to the parliamentary depu- find that friendship I have sought so long
in vain, my entire confidence shall be the marked preference shown for her by the reward. I go to-morrow, but I shall king as simple politeness. cherish this tender recollection in my heart. The duchess ridiculed both her reserve Continue to think of me, I entreat, with and her prudery, the same touching sensibility. If it
“When the king returns,” continued Heaven to preserve me, it will be my she, “we will resume this conversation. greatest consolation.”
My good advice shall be at your service; This conversation was interrupted by and if you will only follow my directions, the Duchesse de Chevreuse, who, on leav- in six months you will upset the whole ing the queen's apartment, passed through court, which, truth to say, will be all the the ante-room. The king, who had risen, better after a general regeneration. We was opening the door. He advanced live in a state of horrible apathy-nothing towards the duchess, and addressed her advances every thing is paralyzed. We in some embarrassment. The duchess in- are terribly in want of life and animation, stantly seized on this moment, when she and nothing will be more easy than for saw he was confused, to request a favor. you to accomplish all this, if you will only Such a petition at that moment entirely follow precisely the plan I will trace out removed all recollection of the scene that for you." had just taken place, and at once relieved Mademoiselle de la Fayette chose only the king from embarrassment, who, in to understand as a joke this, in fact, serigratitude for the tact shown by the duch- ous admonition of the Duchess de Cheess, at once and most graciously granted vreuse. her request. When he had left the room, As soon as Mademoiselle de la Fayette the duchess seated herself by Mademoiselle was left to herself she made a pretext for de la Fayette, laughing at what had passed, retiring, and, shutting herself up alone in who, somewhat recovered from her agita- her room, sat down to reflect calmly on tion, was stitching away with exemplary the farewell of the king. At last he had diligence at a small piece of embroidery spoken out. He wanted a friend-he had she held in her hand. Smiling at the made choice of one, and had promised, duchess, she asked her the reason of her moreover, his entire confidence. His reher mirth.
ligious principles were too well known to “I am laughing,” replied she," at the have given ground for the slightest suspiidea of the admirable presence of mind I cion during his liaison with Mademoiselle have just shown; and as you are but a de Hautefort; it would, therefore, be débutante at court, I will give you a little absurd in her to reject his proffered frienddescription of it for your especial instruc- ship. The petty maid of honor greatly tion. The king does not exactly hate me, desired to see Louis XIII. displaying but at the same time no love is lost be- rather more firmness of character than was tween us.
He afraid of my flightiness his wont; she fervently wished to emanand my inclination to turn every thing into cipate him from the dominion of Richelieu, ridicule. Certainly of all the persons who who, appropriating all the glory attached might have interrupted your conversation, to the throne, only left to his pupil the re I am the very last he would have desired sponsibility of governing, and the reproach to behold. He advanced towards me full of being governed. This weakness was a of confusion. I at once saw the advantage fault which, to be frank, by no means an. I might derive from this favorable oppor- noyed her; on the contrary, she, as well tunity. I know that when people are as other women, liked a feeble character. afraid they are always obliging, particu- To correct, to perfect, to suggest, is with larly at the first moment. Well, I at once them, to act, to domineer, to reign ; it is requested a favor that is of great import- the only legitimate province that nature ance to me; and, as I foresaw he did has granted to the sex, of which no effort not hesitate to grant it, I shall be grate- can ever deprive them. With what lofty ful, and will tell no one of this little ad- frankness, with what energy Mademoiselle venture. But do own now that it was de la Fayette proposed to address the king, capital.”
and to open her heart to him! She did * Mademoiselle de la Fayette would not doubt that in reality he possessed agree to nothing of the sort. She affected much more firmness of character than was not even to understand what the duchess generally supposed. Had he not addressed meant. She endeavored to represent the the parliament with the utmost decision ? Did he not display much vigor in continu- her, for in her mind it was unmixed with ing the war, and placing himself in person any idea of love. at the head of his troops? With his The danger to which Louis was exposed mind and sensibility guided by good ad- made her tremble; but feeling certain that vice, why might he not equal the renown the time was now arrived when he would of his gallant father? Why, indeed, himself hold the reins of government, and might he not surpass him? The influence display all the nobleness of character she of friendship would restore his activity; it attributed to him, her thoughts dwelt would inspire him with a taste for busi- principally on the loss France would susness. He already possessed courage and tain by his death. She passionately deacquirements, and he was superior to sired his return, not for the sake of the Henri IV. in his conduct and principles, frivolous pleasure of again seeing and conboth of unspotted purity. In a word, if versing with him, but to speak to him of it were desirable to possess the esteem and his duties, to elevate his soul, to inspire confidence of a hero, it was a still nobler him with generous resolves, and to adtask to form one, and to render him worthy monish him to persevere in his present of the admiration of the whole universe. line of conduct. Such at least was the
All these seductive yet vague ideas conviction, however delusive, of Madepassed through the brain of La Fayette; moiselle de la Fayette. At length the sucthey took root there, were gradually de- cessful termination of the campaign was veloped, and raised her hopes and her announced. The king had re-taken the feelings to the utmost pitch of enthusiasm. places conquered by the Spaniards, and The king took his departure next morning these latter, everywhere defeated, were at daybreak, and almost all the courtiers, obliged to re-pass the Somme. On the both young and old, followed him. After other side, the Imperialists, who had penethey had left, many ladies affected an ex- trated into Burgundy, were repulsed to aggerated display of anxiety, and many the banks of the Rhine by the Cardinal more betrayed, in spite of themselves, se- La Valette and the Duke of Weimar. cret regrets that they would fain have con- The king returned to Paris, which, not cealed. This affectation on one side, and having been considered out of danger constraint on the other, diffused a cloud of from the attacks of the enemy, received dullness and ennui over the whole court. him with transports of joy. Mademoiselle At last every one was of opinion that some de la Fayette, witness of this universal amusement must be invented, and, with enthusiasm, saw in Louis the worthy sucout in words admitting that any one could cessor of Henri the Great, and the inheritpossibly be entertained during such an or of all his glory. Intoxicated by these anxious moment, all the usual amusements delusions, she imagined that even the were re-commenced with renewed ardor. advice dictated by her friendship would
News soon arrived from the army, an- be in future needless, and that the king nouncing brilliant successes, due to the would of his own accord suppress the arvalor of the king and the bravery of the rogance of Richelieu, lower his inordinate French troops.
power, and from henceforth exercise himDuring this time of glory and of peril self the royal authority. Louis XIII. was no longer that timid, fee- The next morning Louis visited the ble prince, often almost overlooked in his queen, remained, as usual, some minutes, own court; he was metamorphosed, indeed, and only stayed in the ante-chamber for and became suddenly a brilliant monarch, a moment, during which time he apevery way worthy of the throne. He was proached Mademoiselle de la Fayette, described as ever foremost in danger, lead- and conducted her aside. ing his troops into action in person. All "I do not know," said he, "when I shall parties agreed in applauding his conduct : be able to resume those conversations that he was loved and admired - he really are so infinitely delightful, for after an abreigned.
sence of some months, I am overwhelmed Every day that his absence lasted, and with business.” every fresh intelligence that arrived, add- “Ah, so much the better !” cried Madeed to the state of excitement in which moiselle de la Fayette. “May you, sire, Mademoiselle de la Fayette found herself. ever be thus fully occupied." Her own perfect purity insured her safe- The king smiled.
Such an attachment could not alarm “ You have doubtless heard me blamed ty.