Under the red robe

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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofUndertheRedRobe,byStanleyWeyman ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.org Title:UndertheRedRobe Author:StanleyWeyman ReleaseDate:November7,2008[EBook#1896] LastUpdated:November20,2016 Language:English ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKUNDERTHEREDROBE*** ProducedbyAnAnonymousVolunteer,andDavidWidger UNDERTHEREDROBE ByStanleyJ Weyman Transcriber’sNote: InthisEtext,textinitalicshasbeenwrittenincapital letters Many French words in the text have accents, etc whichhavebeenomitted Contents UNDERTHEREDROBE CHAPTERI ATZATON’S CHAPTERII ATTHEGREENPILLAR CHAPTERIII THEHOUSEINTHEWOOD CHAPTERIV MADAMEANDMADEMOISELLE CHAPTERV REVENGE CHAPTERVI CHAPTERVII AMASTERSTROKE CHAPTERVIII AMASTERSTROKE—Continued CHAPTERIX THEQUESTION CHAPTERX CLON CHAPTERXI THEARREST CHAPTERXII THEROADTOPARIS CHAPTERXIII ATTHEFINGER-POST CHAPTERXIV STMARTIN’SEVE CHAPTERXV STMARTIN’SSUMMER UNDERTHEREDROBE CHAPTERI ATZATON’S ‘Markedcards!’ Therewereascorerounduswhenthefool,littleknowingthemanwithwhom hehadtodeal,andaslittlehowtoloselikeagentleman,flungthewordsinmy teeth Hethought,I’llbesworn,thatIshouldstormandswearandruffleitlike anycommoncockofthehackle ButthatwasneverGildeBerault’sway Fora few seconds after he had spoken I did not even look at him I passed my eye instead—smiling,BIENENTENDU—roundtheringofwaitingfaces,sawthat therewasnooneexceptDePombalIhadcausetofear;andthenatlastIrose and looked at the fool with the grim face I have known impose on older and wisermen ‘Markedcards,M l’Anglais?’Isaid,withachillingsneer ‘Theyareused,I amtold,totrapplayers—notunbirchedschoolboys.’ ‘YetIsaythattheyaremarked!’herepliedhotly,inhisqueerforeignjargon ‘InmylasthandIhadnothing Youdoubledthestakes Bah,sir,youknew!You haveswindledme!’ ‘Monsieur is easy to swindle—when he plays with a mirror behind him,’ I answeredtartly Atthattherewasagreatroaroflaughter,whichmighthavebeenheardinthe street, and which brought to the table everyone in the eating-house whom his voicehadnotalreadyattracted ButIdidnotrelaxmyface Iwaiteduntilallwas quietagain,andthenwavingasidetwoorthreewhostoodbetweenusandthe entrance,Ipointedgravelytothedoor ‘ThereisalittlespacebehindthechurchofStJacques,M l’Etranger,’Isaid, putting on my hat and taking my cloak on my arm ‘Doubtless you will accompanymethither?’ Hesnatcheduphishat,hisfaceburningwithshameandrage ‘Withpleasure!’heblurtedout ‘Tothedevil,ifyoulike!’ Ithoughtthematterarranged,whentheMarquislaidhishandontheyoung fellow’sarmandcheckedhim ‘This must not be,’ he said, turning from him to me with his grand, finegentleman’sair ‘Youknowme,M deBerault Thismatterhasgonefarenough.’ ‘Toofar!M dePombal,’Iansweredbitterly ‘Still,ifyouwishtotakeyour friend’splace,Ishallraisenoobjection.’ ‘Chut, man!’ he retorted, shrugging his shoulders negligently ‘I know you, andIdonotfightwithmenofyourstamp Norneedthisgentleman.’ ‘Undoubtedly,’Ireplied,bowinglow,‘ifhepreferstobecanedinthestreets.’ ThatstungtheMarquis ‘Haveacare!haveacare!’hecriedhotly ‘Yougotoofar,M Berault.’ ‘De Berault, if you please,’ I objected, eyeing him sternly ‘My family has bornetheDEaslongasyours,M dePombal.’ He could not deny that, and he answered, ‘As you please;’ at the same time restraining his friend by a gesture ‘But none the less,’ he continued, ‘take my advice TheCardinalhasforbiddenduelling,andthistimehemeansit!Youhave beenintroubleonceandgonefree Asecondtimeitmayfareworsewithyou Letthisgentlemango,therefore,M deBerault Besides—why,shameuponyou, man!’heexclaimedhotly;‘heisbutalad!’ Twoorthreewhostoodbehindmeapplaudedthat,ButIturnedandtheymet myeye;andtheywereasmumasmice ‘Hisageishisownconcern,’Isaidgrimly ‘Hewasoldenoughawhileagoto insultme.’ ‘And I will prove my words!’ the lad cried, exploding at last He had spirit enough,andtheMarquishadhadhardworktorestrainhimsolong ‘Youdome noservice,M dePombal,’hecontinued,pettishlyshakingoffhisfriend’shand ‘Byyourleave,thisgentlemanandIwillsettlethismatter.’ ‘Thatisbetter,’Isaid,noddingdrily,whiletheMarquisstoodaside,frowning andbaffled ‘Permitmetoleadtheway.’ Zaton’s eating-house stands scarcely a hundred paces from St Jacques la Boucherie,andhalfthecompanywentthitherwithus Theeveningwaswet,the light in the streets was waning, the streets themselves were dirty and slippery TherewerefewpassersintheRueStAntoine;andourparty,whichearlierinthe day must have attracted notice and a crowd, crossed unmarked, and entered without interruption the paved triangle which lies immediately behind the church IsawinthedistanceoneoftheCardinal’sguardloiteringinfrontofthe scaffoldingroundthenewHotelRichelieu;andthesightoftheuniformgaveme pauseforamoment Butitwastoolatetorepent The Englishman began at once to strip off his clothes I closed mine to the throat, for the air was chilly At that moment, while we stood preparing, and mostofthecompanyseemedalittleinclinedtostandofffromme,Ifeltahand on my arm, and turning, saw the dwarfish tailor at whose house, in the Rue Savonnerie,Ilodgedatthetime Thefellow’spresencewasunwelcome,tosay the least of it; and though for want of better company I had sometimes encouragedhimtobefreewithmeathome,ItookthattobenoreasonwhyI shouldbeplaguedwithhimbeforegentlemen Ishookhimoff,therefore,hoping byafrowntosilencehim Hewasnottobesoeasilyputdown,however,andperforceIhadtospeakto him ‘Afterwards,afterwards,’Isaidhurriedly ‘Iamengagednow ‘ForGod’ssake,don’t,sir!’thepoorfoolcried,clingingtomysleeve ‘Don’t doit!Youwillbringacurseonthehouse Heisbutalad,and—’ ‘You,too!’ Iexclaimed,losingpatience ‘Besilent,youscum!Whatdoyou knowaboutgentlemen’squarrels?Leaveme;doyouhear?’ ‘But the Cardinal!’ he cried in a quavering voice ‘The Cardinal, M de Berault!Thelastmanyoukilledisnotforgottenyet Thistimehewillbesureto —’ ‘Leaveme,doyouhear?’Ihissed Thefellow’simpudencepassedallbounds Itwasasbadashiscroaking ‘Begone!’Iadded ‘Isupposeyouareafraidthat hewillkillme,andyouwillloseyourmoney.’ Frison fell back at that almost as if I had struck him, and I turned to my adversary,whohadbeenawaitingmymotionswithimpatience Godknowshe didlookyoungashestoodwithhisheadbareandhisfairhairdroopingoverhis smooth woman’s forehead—a mere lad fresh from the college of Burgundy, if they have such a thing in England I felt a sudden chill as I looked at him: a qualm, a tremor, a presentiment What was it the little tailor had said? That I should—butthere,hedidnotknow Whatdidheknowofsuchthings?IfIlet thispassImustkillamanaday,orleaveParisandtheeating-house,andstarve ‘Athousandpardons,’Isaidgravely,asIdrewandtookmyplace ‘Adun I amsorrythatthepoordevilcaughtmesoinopportunely Nowhowever,Iamat yourservice.’ He saluted and we crossed swords and began But from the first I had no doubtwhattheresultwouldbe Theslipperystonesandfadinglightgavehim,it is true, some chance, some advantage, more than he deserved; but I had no sooner felt his blade than I knew that he was no swordsman Possibly he had taken half-a-dozen lessons in rapier art, and practised what he learned with an Englishmanasheavyandawkwardashimself Butthatwasall Hemadeafew wild clumsy rushes, parrying widely When I had foiled these, the danger was over,andIheldhimatmymercy Iplayedwithhimalittlewhile,watchingthesweatgatheronhisbrowandthe shadowofthechurchtowerfalldeeperanddarker,liketheshadowofdoom,on hisface Notoutofcruelty—GodknowsIhavenevererredinthatdirection!— butbecause,forthefirsttimeinmylife,Ifeltastrangereluctancetostrikethe blow Thecurlsclungtohisforehead;hisbreathcameandwentingasps;Iheard themenbehindmeandoneortwoofthemdropanoath;andthenIslipped— slipped, and was down in a moment on my right side, my elbow striking the pavementsosharplythatthearmgrewnumbtothewrist He held off I heard a dozen voices cry, ‘Now! now you have him!’ But he held off He stood back and waited with his breast heaving and his point lowered,untilIhadrisenandstoodagainonmyguard ‘Enough!enough!’aroughvoicebehindmecried ‘Don’thurtthemanafter that.’ ‘Onguard,sir!’Iansweredcoldly—forheseemedtowaver,andbeindoubt ‘Itwasanaccident Itshallnotavailyouagain.’ Several voices cried ‘Shame!’ and one, ‘You coward!’ But the Englishman steppedforward,afixedlookinhisblueeyes Hetookhisplacewithoutaword Ireadinhisdrawnwhitefacethathehadmadeuphismindtotheworst,andhis couragesowonmyadmirationthatIwouldgladlyandthankfullyhavesetone ofthelookers-on—anyofthelookers-on—inhisplace;butthatcouldnotbe So IthoughtofZaton’sclosedtome,ofPombal’sinsult,ofthesneersandslightsI had long kept at the sword’s point; and, pressing him suddenly in a heat of affectedanger,Ithruststronglyoverhisguard,whichhadgrownfeeble,andran himthroughthechest WhenIsawhimlying,laidoutonthestoneswithhiseyeshalfshut,andhis faceglimmeringwhiteinthedusk—notthatIsawhimthuslong,fortherewere adozenkneelingroundhiminatwinkling—Ifeltanunwontedpang Itpassed, however,inamoment ForIfoundmyselfconfrontedbyaringofangryfaces— ofmenwho,keepingatadistance,hissedandcursedandthreatenedme,calling meBlackDeathandthelike Theyweremostlycanaille,whohadgatheredduringthefight,andhadviewed all that passed from the farther side of the railings While some snarled and ragedatmelikewolves,callingme‘Butcher!’and‘Cut-throat!’orcriedoutthat Berault was at his trade again, others threatened me with the vengeance of the Cardinal, flung the edict in my teeth, and said with glee that the guard were coming—theywouldseemehangedyet he still stood, though tottering, waited until he fell, what of my honour then? WhatofthegrandwordsIhadsaidtoMademoiselleatAgen?Ishouldbelike therecreantintheoldromance, who,lying intheditchwhile thebattleraged, cameoutafterwardsandboastedofhiscourage Andyetthefleshwasweak Aday,twenty-fourhours,twodays,mightmake thedifferencebetweenlifeanddeath,loveanddeath;andIwavered ButatlastI settledwhatIwoulddo Atnoonthenextday,thetimeatwhichIshouldhave presentedmyselfifIhadnotheardthisnews,atthattimeIwouldstillpresent myself Notearlier;Iowedmyselfthechance Notlater;thatwasduetohim Havingsosettledit,Ithoughttorestinpeace ButwiththefirstlightIwas awake,anditwasallIcoulddotokeepmyselfquietuntilIheardFrisonstirring Icalledtohimthentoknowiftherewasanynews,andlaywaitingandlistening whilehewentdowntothestreettolearn Itseemedanendlesstimebeforehe cameback;anage,whenhecameback,beforehespoke ‘Well,hehasnotsetoff?’Iaskedatlast,unabletocontrolmyeagerness Ofcoursehehadnot;andatnineo’clockIsentFrisonoutagain;andatten andeleven—alwayswiththesameresult Iwaslikeamanwaitingandlooking and,aboveall,listeningforareprieve;andassickasanycraven Butwhenhe cameback,ateleven,Igaveuphopeanddressedmyselfcarefully IsupposeI hadanoddlookthen,however,forFrisonstoppedmeatthedoor,andaskedme, withevidentalarm,whereIwasgoing Iputthelittlemanasidegently ‘Tothetables,’Isaid,‘tomakeabigthrow,myfriend.’ Itwasafinemorning,sunny,keen,pleasant,whenIwentoutintothestreet; but I scarcely noticed it All my thoughts were where I was going, so that it seemed but a step from my threshold to the Hotel Richelieu; I was no sooner gone from the one than I found myself at the other Now, as on a memorable evening when I had crossed the street in a drizzling rain, and looked that way with foreboding, there were two or three guards, in the Cardinal’s livery, loitering in front of the great gates Coming nearer, I found the opposite pavement under the Louvre thronged with people, not moving about their business, but standing all silent, all looking across furtively, all with the air of personswhowishedtobethoughtpassingby Theirsilenceandtheirkeenlooks hadinsomewayanairofmenace LookingbackafterIhadturnedintowards thegates,Ifoundthemdevouringmewiththeireyes And certainly they had little else to look at In the courtyard, where, some mornings, when the Court was in Paris, I had seen a score of coaches waiting andthriceasmanyservants,werenowemptinessandsunshineandstillness The officeronguard,twirlinghismoustachios,lookedatmeinwonderasIpassed him; the lackeys lounging in the portico, and all too much taken up with whispering to make a pretence of being of service, grinned at my appearance ButthatwhichhappenedwhenIhadmountedthestairsandcametothedoorof theante-chamberoutdidall Themanonguardwouldhaveopenedthedoor,but whenIwenttoenter,amajor-domowhowasstandingby,mutteringwithtwoor threeofhiskind,hastenedforwardandstoppedme ‘Your business, Monsieur, if you please?’ he said inquisitively; while I wonderedwhyheandtheotherslookedatmesostrangely ‘IamM deBerault,’Iansweredsharply ‘Ihavetheentree.’ Hebowedpolitelyenough ‘Yes, M de Berault, I have the honour to know your face,’ he said ‘But— pardonme HaveyoubusinesswithhisEminence?’ ‘Ihavethecommonbusiness,’Iansweredsharply ‘Bywhichmanyofuslive, sirrah!Towaitonhim.’ ‘But—byappointment,Monsieur?’ ‘No,’Isaid,astonished ‘Itistheusualhour Forthematterofthat,however,I havebusinesswithhim.’ Themanstilllookedatmeforamomentinseemingembarrassment Thenhe stood aside and signed to the door-keeper to open the door I passed in, uncovering;withanassuredfaceandsteadfastmien,readytomeetalleyes Ina moment,onthethreshold,themysterywasexplained Theroomwasempty CHAPTERXV STMARTIN’SSUMMER Yes, at the great Cardinal’s levee I was the only client! I stared round the room, a long, narrow gallery, through which it was his custom to walk every morning,afterreceivinghismoreimportantvisitors Istared,Isay,fromsideto side, in a state of stupefaction The seats against either wall were empty, the recesses of the windows empty too The hat sculptured and painted here and there,thestaringR,theblazonedarmslookeddownonavacantfloor Onlyona little stool by the farther door, sat a quiet-faced man in black, who read, or pretendedtoread,inalittlebook,andneverlookedup Oneofthosemen,blind, deaf,secretive,whofattenintheshadowofthegreat Suddenly, while I stood confounded and full of shamed thought—for I had seen the ante-chamber of Richelieu’s old hotel so crowded that he could not walk through it—this man closed his book, rose and came noiselessly towards me ‘M deBerault?’hesaid ‘Yes,’Ianswered ‘HisEminenceawaitsyou Begoodenoughtofollowme.’ Ididso,inadeeperstuporthanbefore ForhowcouldtheCardinalknowthat Iwashere?Howcouldhehaveknownwhenhegavetheorder?ButIhadshort timetothinkofthesethings,orothers Wepassedthroughtworooms,inoneof which some secretaries were writing, we stopped at a third door Over all broodedasilencewhichcouldbefelt Theusherknocked,opened,and,withhis fingeronhislip,pushedasideacurtainandsignedtometoenter Ididsoand foundmyselfbehindascreen ‘IsthatM deBerault?’askedathin,high-pitchedvoice ‘Yes,Monseigneur,’Iansweredtrembling ‘Thencome,myfriend,andtalktome.’ I went round the screen, and I know not how it was, the watching crowd outside,thevacantante-chamberinwhichIhadstood,thestillnessandsilence all seemed to be concentrated here, and to give to the man I saw before me a dignitywhichhehadneverpossessedformewhentheworldpassedthroughhis doors,andtheproudestfawnedonhimforasmile Hesatinagreatchaironthe farthersideofthehearth,alittleredskull-caponhishead,hisfinehandslying stillinhislap Thecollaroflawnwhichfelloverhiscapewasquiteplain,but theskirtsofhisredrobewerecoveredwithrichlace,andtheorderoftheHoly Ghost, a white dove on a gold cross, shone on his breast Among the multitudinouspapersonthegreattablenearhimIsawaswordandpistols;and some tapestry that covered a little table behind him failed to hide a pair of spurred riding-boots Butas Iadvancedhelookedtowardsmewith theutmost composure;withafacemildandalmostbenign,inwhichIstroveinvaintoread the traces of last night’s passion So that it flashed across me that if this man reallystood(andafterwardsIknewthathedid)onthethinrazor-edgebetween lifeanddeath,betweenthesupremeofearthlypower,lordofFranceandarbiter of Europe, and the nothingness of the clod, he justified his fame He gave weakernaturesnoroomfortriumph Thethoughtwasnosoonerentertainedthanitwasgone ‘And so you are back at last, M de Berault,’ he said gently ‘I have been expectingtoseeyousinceninethismorning.’ ‘YourEminenceknew,then—’Imuttered ‘That you returned to Paris by the Orleans gate last evening alone?’ he answered,fittingtogethertheendsofhisfingers,andlookingatmeoverthem withinscrutableeyes ‘Yes,Iknewallthatlastnight Andnow,ofyourbusiness Youhavebeenfaithfulanddiligent,Iamsure Whereishe?’ Istaredathimandwasdumb InsomewaythestrangethingsIhadseensince Ihad leftmy lodgings,the surprisesIhadfoundawaiting mehere,haddriven myownfortunes,myownperil,outofmyhead—untilthismoment Now,atthis question, all returned with a rush, and I remembered where I stood My heart heavedsuddenlyinmybreast Istroveforasavouroftheoldhardihood,butfor themomentIcouldnotfindaword ‘Well,’hesaidlightly,afaintsmileliftinghismoustache ‘Youdonotspeak YouleftAuchwithhimonthetwenty-fourth,M deBerault SomuchIknow AndyoureachedPariswithouthimlastnight Hehasnotgivenyoutheslip?’ ‘No,Monseigneur,’Imuttered ‘Ha! that is good,’ he answered, sinking back again in his chair ‘For the moment—butIknewthatIcoulddependonyou Andnowwhereishe?What haveyoudonewithhim?Heknowsmuch,andthesoonerIknowitthebetter Areyourpeoplebringinghim,M deBerault?’ ‘No, Monseigneur,’ I stammered, with dry lips His very good-humour, his benignity,appalledme Iknewhowterriblewouldbethechange,howfearfulhis rage, when I should tell him the truth And yet that I, Gil de Berault, should tremble before any man! With that thought I spurred myself, as it were, to the task ‘No,yourEminence,’Isaid,withtheenergyofdespair ‘Ihavenotbrought him,becauseIhavesethimfree.’ ‘Becauseyouhave—WHAT?’heexclaimed Heleanedforwardashespoke, his hands on the arm of the chair; and his eyes growing each instant smaller, seemedtoreadmysoul ‘BecauseIhavelethimgo,’Irepeated ‘Andwhy?’hesaid,inavoiceliketheraspingofafile ‘BecauseItookhimunfairly,’Ianswered ‘Because, Monseigneur, I am a gentleman, and this task should have been giventoonewhowasnot Itookhim,ifyoumustknow,’Icontinuedimpatiently —thefenceoncecrossedIwasgrowingbolder—‘bydoggingawoman’ssteps andwinningherconfidenceandbetrayingit AndwhateverIhavedoneillinmy life—of which you were good enough to throw something in my teeth when I waslasthere—Ihaveneverdonethat,andIwillnot!’ ‘Andsoyousethimfree?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘AfteryouhadbroughthimtoAuch?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And, in point of fact, saved him from falling into the hands of the CommandantatAuch?’ ‘Yes,’Ianswereddesperatelytoall ‘Then, what of the trust I placed in you, sirrah?’ he rejoined, in a terrible voice;andstoopingstillfartherforwardheprobedmewithhiseyes ‘Youwho prateoftrustandconfidence,whoreceivedyourlifeonparole,andbutforyour promisetomewouldhavebeencarrionthismonthpast,answermethat?What ofthetrustIplacedinyou?’ ‘Theanswerissimple,’Isaid,shruggingmyshoulderswithatouchofmyold self ‘Iamheretopaythepenalty.’ ‘AnddoyouthinkthatIdonotknowwhy?’heretorted,strikingonehandon thearmofhischairwithaforcethatstartledme ‘Becauseyouhaveheard,sir, thatmy power is gone!Becauseyou have heardthatI, whowasyesterdaythe King’s right hand, am to-day dried up, withered and paralysed! Because you have heard—but have a care! have a care!’ he continued with extraordinary vehemence,andinavoicelikeadog’ssnarl ‘Youandthoseothers!Haveacare, Isay,oryoumayfindyourselvesmistakenyet.’ ‘As Heaven shall judge me,’ I answered solemnly, ‘that is not true Until I reachedParislastnightIknewnothingofthisreport Icameherewithasingle mind, to redeem my honour by placing again in your Eminence’s hands that whichyougavemeontrust,andhereIdoplaceit.’ Foramomentheremainedinthesameattitude,staringatmefixedly Thenhis facerelaxedsomewhat ‘Begoodenoughtoringthatbell,’hesaid Itstoodonatablenearme Irangit,andavelvet-footedmaninblackcame in, and gliding up to the Cardinal, placed a paper in his hand The Cardinal lookedatit;whilethemanstoodwithhisheadobsequiouslybent,andmyheart beatfuriously ‘Very good,’ his Eminence said, after a pause which seemed to me to be endless,‘Letthedoorsbethrownopen.’ The man bowed low, and retired behind the screen I heard a little bell ring somewhereinthesilence,andinamomenttheCardinalstoodup ‘Followme!’hesaid,withastrangeflashofhiskeeneyes Astonished,Istoodasidewhilehepassedtothescreen;thenIfollowedhim Outsidethefirstdoor,whichstoodopen,wefoundeightorninepersons—pages, amonk,themajor-domo,andseveralguardswaitinglikemutes Thesesignedto metoprecedethemandfellinbehindus,andinthatorderwepassedthrough thefirstroomandthesecond,wheretheclerksstoodwithbentheadstoreceive us The last door, the door of the ante-chamber, flew open as we approached, voicescried,‘Room!RoomforhisEminence!’wepassedthroughtwolinesof bowinglackeys,andentered—anemptychamber Theushersdidnotknowhowtolookatoneanother;thelackeystrembledin their shoes But the Cardinal walked on, apparently unmoved, until he had passed slowly half the length of the chamber Then he turned himself about, lookingfirsttoonesideandthentotheother,withalowlaughofderision ‘Father,’hesaidinhisthinvoice,‘whatdoesthePsalmistsay?“Iambecome likeapelicaninthewildernessandlikeanowlthatisinthedesert!”’ Themonkmumbledassent ‘And later in the same psalm, is it not written, “They shall perish, but thou shaltendure?”’ ‘Itisso,’thefatheranswered ‘Amen.’ ‘Doubtlessthough,thatreferstoanotherlife,’theCardinalsaid,withhisslow wintrysmile ‘Inthemeantimewewillgobacktoourbooks,andserveGodand theKinginsmallthingsifnotingreat Come,father,thisisnolongeraplacefor us VANITASVANITATUMOMNIAVANITAS!Wewillretire.’ And as solemnly as we had come we marched back through the first and second and third doors until we stood again in the silence of the Cardinal’s chamber—he and I and the velvet-footed man in black For a while Richelieu seemedtoforgetme Hestoodbroodingonthehearth,hiseyesonasmallfire, whichburnedtherethoughtheweatherwaswarm OnceIheardhimlaugh,and twiceheutteredinatoneofbittermockerythewords,— ‘Fools!Fools!Fools!’ Atlasthelookedup,sawme,andstarted ‘Ah!’ he said, ‘I had forgotten you Well, you are fortunate, M de Berault YesterdayIhadahundredclients;to-dayIhaveonlyone,andIcannotaffordto hanghim Butforyourlibertythatisanothermatter.’ Iwouldhavesaidsomething,pleadedsomething;butheturnedabruptlytothe table,andsittingdownwroteafewlinesonapieceofpaper Thenheranghis bell,whileIstoodwaitingandconfounded Themaninblackcamefrombehindthescreen ‘Take this letter and that gentleman to the upper guard-room,’ the Cardinal saidsharply ‘Icanhearnomore,’hecontinued,frowningandraisinghishandto forbidinterruption ‘Thematterisended,M deBerault Bethankful.’ In a moment I was outside the door, my head in a whirl, my heart divided between gratitude and resentment I would fain have stood to consider my position; but I had no time Obeying a gesture, I followed my guide along several passages, and everywhere found the same silence, the same monastic stillness Atlength,whileIwasdolefullyconsideringwhethertheBastilleorthe Chateletwouldbemyfate,hestoppedatadoor,thrusttheletterintomyhands, andliftingthelatch,signedtometoenter Iwentininamazement,andstoppedinconfusion Beforeme,alone,justrisen from a chair, with her face one moment pale, the next crimson with blushes, stoodMademoiselledeCocheforet Icriedouthername ‘M deBerault,’shesaid,trembling ‘Youdidnotexpecttoseeme?’ ‘I expected to see no one so little, Mademoiselle,’ I answered, striving to recovermycomposure ‘Yet you might have thought that we should not utterly desert you,’ she replied, with a reproachful humility which went to my heart ‘We should have beenbaseindeed,ifwehadnotmadesomeattempttosaveyou IthankHeaven, M deBerault,thatithassofarsucceededthatthatstrangemanhaspromisedme yourlife Youhaveseenhim?’shecontinuedeagerlyandinanothertone,while hereyesgrewonasuddenlargewithfear ‘Yes,Mademoiselle,’Isaid ‘Ihaveseenhim,anditistrue,Hehasgivenme mylife.’ ‘And—?’ ‘Andsentmeintoimprisonment.’ ‘Forhowlong?’shewhispered ‘Idonotknow,’Ianswered ‘IfearduringtheKing’spleasure.’ Sheshuddered ‘I may have done more harm than good,’ she murmured, looking at me piteously ‘ButIdiditforthebest Itoldhimall,andperhapsIdidharm.’ Buttohearheraccuseherselfthus,whenshehadmadethislongandlonely journeytosaveme,whenshehadforcedherselfintoherenemy’spresence,and had,asIwassureshehad,abasedherselfforme,wasmorethanIcouldbear ‘Hush,Mademoiselle,hush!’Isaid,almostroughly ‘Youhurtme Youhave mademehappy;andyetIwishthatyouwerenothere,where,Ifear,youhave fewfriends,butbackatCocheforet YouhavedonemoreformethanIexpected, andahundredtimesmorethanIdeserved Butitmustendhere Iwasaruined manbeforethishappened,beforeIeversawyou Iamnoworsenow,butIam still that; and I would not have your name pinned to mine on Paris lips Therefore,good-bye GodforbidIshouldsaymoretoyou,orletyoustaywhere foultongueswouldsoonmalignyou.’ Shelookedatmeinakindofwonder;then,withagrowingsmile,— ‘Itistoolate,’shesaidgently ‘Toolate?’Iexclaimed ‘How,Mademoiselle?’ ‘Because—doyouremember,M deBerault,whatyoutoldmeofyourlovestory under the guide-post by Agen? That it could have no happy ending? For thesamereasonIwasnotashamedtotellminetotheCardinal Bythistimeitis commonproperty.’ Ilookedatherasshestoodfacingme Hereyesshoneunderthelashesthat almosthidthem Herfiguredrooped,andyetasmiletrembledonherlips ‘What did you tell him, Mademoiselle?’ I whispered, my breath coming quickly ‘That I loved,’ she answered boldly, raising her clear eyes to mine ‘And thereforethatIwasnotashamedtobeg—evenonmyknees.’ Ifellonmine,andcaughtherhandbeforethelastwordpassedherlips For themomentIforgotKingandCardinal,prisonandthefuture,all;allexceptthat thiswoman,sopureandsobeautiful,sofarabove meinallthings,lovedme Forthemoment,Isay ThenIrememberedmyself Istoodup, andstoodback fromherinasuddenrevulsionoffeeling ‘Youdonotknowme!’Icried,‘YoudonotknowwhatIhavedone!’ ‘ThatiswhatIdoknow,’sheanswered,lookingatmewithawondroussmile ‘Ah! but you not!’ I cried ‘And besides, there is this—this between us.’ And I picked up the Cardinal’s letter It had fallen on the floor She turned a shadepaler Thenshecriedquickly,— ‘Openit!openit!Itisnotsealednorclosed.’ Iobeyedmechanically,dreadingwithahorribledreadwhatImightsee Even whenIhaditopenIlookedatthefinelyscrawledcharacterswitheyesaskance ButatlastImadeitout Anditranthus:— ‘THE KING’S PLEASURE IS THAT M GIL DE BERAULT, HAVING MIXED HIMSELF UP IN AFFAIRS OF STATE, RETIRE FORTHWITH TO THE DEMESNE OF COCHEFORET, AND CONFINE HIMSELF WITHIN ITSLIMITSUNTILTHEKING’SPLEASUREBEFURTHERKNOWN ‘THECARDINALDERICHELIEU.’ We were married next day, and a fortnight later were at Cocheforet, in the brownwoodsunderthesouthernmountains;whilethegreatCardinal,oncemore triumphantoverhisenemies,sawwithcold,smilingeyestheworldpassthrough hischamber Thefloodtideofhisprosperitylastedthirteenyearsfromthattime, andceasedonlywithhisdeath Fortheworldhadlearneditslesson;tothishour they call that day, which saw me stand alone for all his friends, ‘The Day of Dupes.’ EndoftheProjectGutenbergEBookofUndertheRedRobe,byStanleyWeyman 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