Project Gutenberg's The Pocket Bible or Christian the Printer, by Eugène Sue

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Pocket Bible or Christian the Printer
       A Tale of the Sixteenth Century

Author: Eugène Sue

Translator: Daniel De Leon

Release Date: January 25, 2011 [EBook #35067]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This book was
produced from scanned images of public domain material
from the Google Print project.)

image of the book's cover



The Mysteries of the People


History of a Proletarian Family
Across the Ages

B y   E U G E N E   S U E

Consisting of the Following Works:

THE GOLD SICKLE; or, Hena the Virgin of the Isle of Sen.
THE BRASS BELL; or, The Chariot of Death.
THE IRON COLLAR; or, Faustine and Syomara.
THE SILVER CROSS; or, The Carpenter of Nazareth.
THE CASQUE'S LARK; or, Victoria, the Mother of the Camps.
THE PONIARID'S HILT; or, Karadeucq and Ronan.
THE BRANDING NEEDLE; or, The Monastery of Charolles.
THE ABBATIAL CROSIER; or, Bonaik and Septimine.
THE CARLOVINGIAN COINS; or, The Daughters of Charlemagne.
THE IRON ARROW-HEAD; or, The Buckler Maiden.
THE INFANT'S SKULL; or, The End of the World.
THE PILGRIM'S SHELL; or, Fergan the Quarryman.
THE IRON PINCERS; or, Mylio and Karvel.
THE IRON TREVET; or Jocelyn the Champion.
THE POCKET BIBLE; or, Christian the Printer.
THE BLACKSMITH'S HAMMER; or, The Peasant Code.
THE SWORD OF HONOR; or, The Foundation of the French Republic.
THE GALLEY SLAVE'S RING; or, The Family Lebrenn.

Published Uniform With This Volume By

: :   : :  OR  : :   : :
C H R I S T I A N     T H E     P R I N T E R


A Tale of the Sixteenth Century

     B y   E U G E N E   S U E     

In Two Volumes



D A N I E L   D E   L E O N


Copyright 1910, by the


Volume 1.
XX.JANUARY 21, 1535323

Volume 2.


The epoch covered by this, the 16th story of Eugene Sue's dramatic historic series, entitled The Mysteries of the People; or, History of a Proletarian Family Across the Ages, extends over the turbulent yet formative era known in history as the Religious Reformation.

The social system that had been developing since the epoch initiated by the 8th story of the series, The Abbatial Crosier; or, Bonaik and Septimine, that is, the feudal system, and which is depicted in full bloom in the 14th story of the series, The Iron Trevet; or, Jocelyn the Champion, had been since suffering general collapse with the approach of the bourgeois, or capitalist system, which found its first open, or political, expression in the Reformation, and which was urged into life by Luther, Calvin and other leading adversaries of the Roman Catholic regime.

The history of the Reformation, or rather, of the conflict between the clerical polity which symbolized the old and the clerical polity which symbolized the new social order, is compressed within the covers of this one story with the skill at once of the historian, the scientist, the philosopher and the novelist. The various springs from which human action flows, the various types which human crises produce, the virtues and the vices which great historic conflicts heat into activity—all these features of social motion, never jointly reproduced in works of history, are here drawn in vivid colors and present a historic canvas that is prime in the domain of literature.

In view of the exceptional importance of some of the footnotes in which Sue refers the reader to the pages of original authorities in French cited by him, the pages of an accessible American edition are in those cases either substituted or added in this translation.


New York, February, 1910.




What great changes, sons of Joel, have taken place in Paris since the time when our ancestor Eidiol the Parisian skipper lived in this city, in the Ninth Century, at the time of the Northman invasion! How many changes even since 1350, when our ancestor Jocelyn the Champion fell wounded beside Etienne Marcel, who was assassinated by John Maillart and the royalists!

The population of this great city now, in the year 1534, runs up to about four hundred thousand souls; daily new houses rise in the suburbs and outside the city walls, whose boundaries have become too narrow, although they enclose from twelve to thirteen thousand houses. But now, the same as in the past, Paris remains divided into four towns, so to speak, by two thoroughfares that cross each other at right angles. St. Martin, prolonged by St. James Street, traverses the city from east to west; St. Honoré, prolonged by St. Antoine Street, traverses it from north to south. The Louvre is the quarter of the people of the court; the quarter of the Bastille, of the Arsenal, filled with arms, and of the Temple is that of the people whose profession is war; the quarter of the University is that of the men of letters; finally the quarter of Notre Dame and St. Germain, where lie the convents of the Cordeliers, of the Chartreux, of the Jacobins, of the Augustinians, of the Dominicans and of many other hives of monks and nuns besides the monasteries that are scattered throughout the city, is that of the men of the Church. The merchants, as a general thing, occupy the center of Paris towards St. Denis Street; the manufacturers are found in the eastern, the shabbiest of all the quarters, where, for one liard, workingmen can find lodging for the night. The larger number of the bourgeois houses as well as all the convents are now built of stone, and are no longer frame structures as they formerly were. These modern buildings, topped with slate or lead roofs and ornamented with sculptured facades, become every day more numerous.

Likewise with crimes of all natures; their increase is beyond measure. With nightfall, murderers and bandits take possession of the streets. Their numbers rise to twenty-five or thirty thousand, all organized into bands—the Guilleris, the Plumets, the Rougets, the Tire-Laines,[1] the latter of whom rob bourgeois, who are inhibited from carrying arms. The Tire-Soies,[2] a more daring band, fall upon the noblemen, who are always armed. The Barbets disguise themselves as artisans of several trades, or as monks of several Orders and introduce themselves into the houses for the purpose of stealing. Besides these there are the bands of Mattes or Fins-Mattois, skilled cut-purses and pick-pockets; and finally the Mauvais-Garçons,[3] the most redoubtable of all, who publicly, for a price chaffered over and finally agreed upon, offer their daggers to whomsoever wishes to rid himself of an enemy.

Nor is this the worst aspect presented by the crowded city. Paris runs over with lost women and courtesans of all degrees. Never yet did immorality, to which the royal court, the Church and the seigniory set so shocking a pace, cause such widespread ravages. A repulsive disease imported from America by the Spaniards since the conquests of Christopher Columbus poisons life at its very source.

Finally, Paris presents a nameless mixture of fanaticism, debauchery and ferocity. Above the doors of houses of ill fame, images of male and female saints are seen in their niches, before which thieves, murderers and courtesans uncover and bend the knee as they hurry by, bent on their respective pursuits. The Tire-Laines, the Guilleris and other brigands burn candles at the altars of the Virgin or pay for masses for the success of their crimes in contemplation. Superstition spreads in even step with criminality. Pious physicians are cited who regularly take the weekly communion, and who, bought by impatient heirs, poison with their pharmaceutical concoctions the rich patients, whose decease is too slow in arriving. The most horrid felonies have lost their dreadfulness, especially since the papal indulgences, sold for cash, insure absolution and impunity to the criminals. The virtues of the hearth and all good morals seem to have fled to the bosom of those families only who have discarded the paganism of Rome and, although styled heretics, practice the simplicity of evangelical morality. One of these families is that of Christian the Printer, the great-grandchild of Jocelyn the Champion's son, who, due to the rapid progress made by the printing press, which rendered manuscript books useless and unnecessarily expensive, found it ever more difficult to earn his living at his trade of copyist and illuminator of manuscripts.

Accordingly, after the death of his father, who was the son of Jocelyn the Champion and continued to live at Vaucouleurs after witnessing the martyrdom of Joan of Arc, Allan Lebrenn moved to Paris, induced thereto by John Saurin, a master-printer of this city who, having during a short sojourn at Vaucouleurs been struck by the young man's intelligence at his trade, promised to aid him in finding work in the large city. He accepted the offer and speedily succeeded in his new field. He married in 1465, died in 1474, and left a son, Melar Lebrenn, who was born in 1466 and was the father of Christian the Printer.

Melar Lebrenn followed his father's occupation, and worked long after his father's death in John Saurin's establishment, where his services were highly appreciated. But after John Saurin's death, Melar Lebrenn, who had in the meantime married and had three children, Christian and two daughters, was dismissed by Saurin's successor, a man named Noel Compaign. Compaign was a religious bigot. He was incensed at what he termed Melar Lebrenn's unbelief, hounded him with odious calumnies, and spoke of him to the other members of the guild as dishonest and otherwise unfit. Melar Lebrenn soon felt the effect of these calumnies; his trade went down; his savings were consumed; his family was breadless; he had nothing left to him but the legends and relics of his family, that were handed down from generation to generation.

Under these circumstances Melar Lebrenn made one more and desperate effort to rise to his feet. He knew by reputation Henry Estienne, the most celebrated printer of the last century. Estienne's goodness of heart as well as his knowledge were matters of common repute. Melar Lebrenn decided to turn to him, but he found Estienne strongly prejudiced against him through the calumnies that Compaign had circulated. But Melar Lebrenn was not yet discouraged. He explained to Estienne circumstantially the reason of Compaign's hatred, and offered Estienne to serve him on trial. The offer was accepted, and Melar Lebrenn soon acquitted himself so well both as a typesetter and a reader of proof, that Master Henry Estienne, judging from the falseness of the accusations concerning Melar Lebrenn's skill at his trade, concluded he was equally wronged in his private character. From that time on, Estienne took a deep interest in Melar and was soon singularly attached to him, as much by reason of his skill, as for the probity of his character and the kindness of his heart.

The two daughters of Melar Lebrenn were carried away by the pest that swept over Paris in 1512; his wife survived them only a short time; and Melar himself died in 1519. His only surviving child, Christian, married Bridget Ardouin, an embroiderer in gold and silver thread. Christian entered the printing establishment of Henry Estienne as an apprentice at his twelfth year. After the death of the venerated Henry Estienne, Christian remained under the employ of Robert Estienne, his father's heir in virtue and his superior in scientific acquirements. The editions that Robert Estienne issued of the old Greek, Hebrew or Latin authors are the admiration of the learned by the correctness of the text, the beauty of the type, and the perfection of the printing. Among other things he published a pocket edition of the New Testament, translated into French, a veritable masterpiece of typography. The bonds that united Master Robert Estienne and his workman Christian Lebrenn became of the closest.

Three children were born of the marriage of Christian Lebrenn with Bridget Ardouin—a boy, born in 1516, and at the commencement of this history eighteen years of age; a girl in 1518, and a boy in 1520. The latter is named Odelin; he is an apprentice in the establishment of Master Raimbaud, one of the most celebrated armorers of Paris. The eldest son is named Hervé, in memory of his mother's father, and he follows his father Christian's profession of printer. The girl is named Hena in remembrance of the Virgin of the Isle of Sen.



It was one evening towards the middle of the month of August of 1534. Christian Lebrenn occupied a modest house situated at about the center of the Exchange Bridge. Almost all the other bridges thrown over the two arms of the Seine are, like this one, lined with houses and constitute a street under which the river flows. The kitchen, where the meals were taken, was on the first floor, even with the street; behind this room, the door and window of which opened upon the public thoroughfare, was a smaller one, used for bed chamber by Hervé, Christian's eldest son, and the younger brother Odelin, the apprentice at Master Raimbaud's. At the time, however, when this narrative opens, Odelin was absent from Paris, traveling in Italy with his master, who had gone to Milan in order to study the process by which the Milanese armors, as celebrated as those of Toledo, were manufactured. The upper floor of Christian's house consisted of two rooms. One of these he occupied himself with his wife Bridget; his daughter Hena occupied the other. Finally, a garret that served as storeroom for winter provisions, topped the house and had a window that opened upon the river.

On this evening Christian was in an animated conversation with his wife. It was late. The children were both asleep. A lamp lighted the room of the husband and wife. Near the window, with its small lozenge-shaped panes fastened between ribs of lead, lay the embroideries at which Bridget and Hena had been at work. In the rear of this rather spacious chamber stood the conjugal bed, surmounted with its canopy and enclosed by its curtains of orange serge. A little further away was a little book-case containing in neat rows the volumes in the printing of which Christian and his father contributed at the printing establishment of Masters Henry and Robert Estienne. In the same case Christian kept under lock his family legends and relics, together with whatever else that he attached special value to. Above the case an old cross-bow and battle axe hung from the wall. It was always well to have some arms in the house in order to repel the attacks of bandits who had of late grown increasingly bold. Two flat leather covered coffers for clothes and a few stools completed the humble furnishings of the room. Christian seemed greatly troubled in mind. Bridget, looking no less concerned than her husband, dropped the work that she expected to finish by lamp-light, and stepped towards her husband. With his eyes fixed upon the ground, his elbows upon his knees and his head in his hands, the latter observed:

"There can be no doubt. The person who stole the money, here, in this room, out of that case, and without breaking the lock, must be familiar with our house."

"I can assure you, Christian, since yesterday when we discovered the theft, I have been in a continuous fever."

"None but we and our children enter this room."

"No, excepting our customers or their employees. But as I am well aware that the Barbets are bold and wily enough to put on the disguise of honest merchants, whenever occasion demands it, in order to gain access to a house and steal, and that they might play that trick upon me under the pretext of bringing an order for some embroidery, neither Hena nor I ever leave the room when a stranger is with us."

"I am ransacking my mind for the intimate acquaintance who could have entered the room," the printer proceeded as if communing with himself with painful anxiety. "Occasionally, Lefevre spends an evening with us; I have come up into this room with him several times when he requested me to read some of our family legends to him."

"But, my friend, it is a long time since we have seen Lefevre; you yourself were wondering the other day what may have become of him; moreover, it is out of all question to suspect your friend, a man of austere morals, always wrapt in science."

"God prevent my suspecting him! I was only going over the extremely small number of persons who visit us familiarly."

"Then there is my brother. The fellow is, true enough, a soldier of adventure; he has his faults, grave faults, but—"

"Ah, Bridget, Josephin has for you and our children so tender a love, so touching—I hold him capable of doing almost anything in a hostile country, as is customary with people of his vocation; but he, who almost every day sits at our hearth—he, commit a theft in our house? Such a thought never crossed my mind—and never will!"

"Oh, I thank you for these words! I thank you!"

"And did you suppose that I suspected your brother? No! A thousand times, no!"

"What shall I say? The vagabond life that he has led since his early youth—the habits of violence and rapine with which the 'Franc-Taupins,' the 'Pendards,' and the other soldiers of adventure who are my brother's habitual companions are so justly reproached, might have caused suspicion to rise in some prejudiced mind, and—but my God—Christian—what ails you, tell me what ails you?" cried Bridget, seeing her husband hide his face between his hands in utter despair, and then suddenly rise and pace the room, as if pursued by a thought from which he sought to flee. "My friend," insisted Bridget, "what sudden thought has struck and afflicts you? There are tears in your eyes. Your face is strangely distorted. Answer me, I pray you!"

"I take heaven to witness," cried the artisan, raising his hands heavenward with a face that betrayed the tortures of his heart, "the loss of the twenty gold crowns, that we gathered so laboriously, is a serious matter to me; it was our daughter's dower; but that loss is as nothing beside—"

"Beside what? Let me know!"

"No. Oh, no! It is too horrible!"

"Christian, what have you in mind?"

"Leave me! Leave me!" but immediately regretting the involuntary rudeness, the artisan took Bridget's hands in his own, and said to her in a deeply moved voice: "Excuse me, poor, dear wife. You see, when I think of this affair I lose my head. When, at the printing shop, to-day, the horrible suspicion flashed through my mind, I feared it would drive me crazy! I struggled against it all I could—but a minute ago, as I was running over with you our intimate acquaintances who might be thought guilty of the theft, the frightful suspicion recurred to me. That is the reason of my distress."

Christian threw himself down again upon his stool; again a shudder ran over his frame and he hid his face between his hands.

"Tell me, my friend, what is the suspicion that assails you and that you so violently resist? Impart it to me, I pray you."

After a painful struggle with himself that lasted several minutes, the artisan murmured in a faint voice as if every word burnt his lips:

"Like myself, you noticed, recently—since about the time of Odelin's departure for Milan—you noticed, like myself, that a marked change has been coming over the nature and the habits of Hervé."

"Our son!" cried Bridget stupefied; and she added: "Mercy! Would you suspect him of so infamous an act?"

Christian remained steeped in a gloomy silence that Bridget, distracted with grief as she was, did not at first venture to disturb. Presently she proceeded:

"Impossible! Hervé, whom we brought up in the same principles as his brother—Hervé, who never was away from us—"

"Bridget, I told you, the suspicion is horrible; I have struggled against it with all my might," and the artisan's voice was smothered with sobs. "And yet, if after all it should be so! If our son is indeed the guilty one!"

"My friend, your suspicion bereaves me of my senses. You love Hervé so dearly, and your judgment is always so sound, your mind so penetrating, that I can not conceive how so unjustifiable a thought could take possession of you. Our son is continuously at the printing shop, at your side, as Hena is at mine; better than anyone else should you know your son's heart." Bridget remained silent for a moment and then proceeded while scalding tears rolled down her cheeks: "Oh, I feel it, even if your suspicion is never justified, it will embitter the rest of my life! Oh, to think our son capable of stealing!"

"And for that very reason there is no one else in the world but you, and you alone, to whom I confide the horrid suspicion. Oh, Bridget, it is more than a suspicion. Let us not exaggerate matters; let us not be unnecessarily cast down; let us calmly look into the affair; let us carefully refresh our memories; we may arrive—may God hear my words—at the conclusion that the suspicion is unfounded. As I was just saying, a great change has lately come over Hervé. You noticed the singular manifestations as well as I."

"Yes, recently, he, who formerly was so cheerful, so open, so affectionate, has of late been cold and somber, dreamy and silent. He has grown pale and thin; he is quickly irritated. Shortly before the departure of our little Odelin, he often and without cause scolded the poor boy, for whom he always before had only kind words. And often since then, have I had occasion to reproach Hervé for his rudeness, I should almost say harshness towards his sister, whom he dearly loved. He now seems to avoid her company. At times I simply cannot understand his conduct towards her. Why, only yesterday, when you and he came home from the printing shop, after embracing you, as is her custom, Hena offered her forehead to her brother—but he rudely pushed her aside."

"I did not notice that; but I did notice the growing indifference of Hervé towards his sister. What mystery can lie below that?"

"And yet, my friend, we love all our children equally. Hervé might feel hurt if we showed any preference for Hena or Odelin. But we do not. We are equally kind to all the three."

"Yes, indeed. We shall have to look elsewhere for the cause of the change that afflicts us. Can it be that, without our knowledge, he keeps bad company? There is one circumstance in this affair that has struck me. Paternal love does not blind me. I see great aptitudes in Hervé. Not to mention the gift of an easy flowing eloquence that is exceptional at his age, he has become an excellent Latinist. Owing to his aptitude in that direction he has more than once been chosen to gather precious manuscripts at the houses of some men of letters, who are the friends of Master Robert Estienne. Usually our son attended to such work with accuracy and despatch. Of late, however, his absence from the shop on such errands is often long, unnecessarily so and also frequent, and he does not attend properly to his errands, sometimes does not attend to them at all. Master Robert Estienne has complained to me in a friendly way, saying that Hervé should be watched, that he was drawing near his eighteenth year and might contract acquaintances that would be cause of trouble for us later."

"On that very subject, my friend, only a few days ago I was reproaching Hervé for his estrangement from the friends of his boyhood, all of whom are good and honest lads. He flees their company and spurns their cordial advances. The only person with whom he seems to be intimate is Fra Girard, the Franciscan friar and son of our neighbor the mercer."

"I would prefer some other company for our son, but not that I accuse Fra Girard of being, like so many other monks, an improper person to associate with. He is said to be of austere morals, but being older than Hervé, he has, I am afraid, gained considerable influence over him, and rendered him savagely intolerant. Several of the artisans at the shop of Master Estienne are, like he himself, partisans of the religious reform; some are openly so, despite the danger that their outspokenness entails, others more privately. More than once did our son raise his voice with excessive violence against the new ideas which he calls heresies. And yet he knows that you and I share them."

"Alas! my friend, what woman, what mother would not share the reform ideas, seeing that they reject auricular confession? Did we not find ourselves compelled to stop our daughter from attending the confessional on account of the shameful questions that a priest dared to put to her and which, in the candor of her soul, she repeated to us? But to return to Hervé, even though, in some respects, I dislike his intimacy with Fra Girard and fear it may tend to render him intolerant, the influence of the monk, the austerity of whose morals is commented upon, must have had the effect of keeping far from our son's mind an act so ugly that we can not mention it without shedding tears of sorrow," added Bridget wiping her moist eyes; "Hervé's piety, my friend, becomes daily more fervent; as you know, the unhappy boy imposes upon himself, at the risk of impairing his health, ever longer fasts. Did I not discover from the traces of blood upon his shirt that on certain days he carries close to his skin a belt that is furnished within with sharp iron pricks? That is not the conduct of a hypocrite! He sought to conceal from all eyes the secret macerations that he inflicts upon himself in penitence. It was only accidentally that I discovered the fact. I deplore such fanaticism; but his fanaticism may also be a safeguard. The very exaggeration to which Hervé carries his religious principles must strengthen him against temptation. Heaven be blessed! You were right, Christian; by closely considering the circumstances, we can come at no other conclusion than that such suspicions are unfounded. Our son is innocent, do you not think so, Christian?"

Gloomy and pensive the artisan listened to his wife without interrupting her. He replied:

"No, dear wife; fanaticism is no safeguard against evil. Alas! differently from you, the more I consider the facts that you adduce—I hardly dare say so to you—my suspicions, so far from being removed, grow in weight. Yes, I believe our son guilty."

"Great God! What a horrible thought!"

"I believe our son is sincere in his devout practices, however exaggerated these may be. But I also know that one of the most frightful consequences of fanaticism is that it clouds and perverts the most elemental principles of right and wrong, of justice and injustice, with those whom it dominates. Religious faith substitutes morality."

"But theft, seeing that I must mention the word—theft—how can fanaticism excuse that? You must be mistaken upon that subject!"

"Listen, Bridget. A few days ago—and it was the recollection of the circumstance that first awoke my suspicions—a few days ago one of our fellow workmen at the shop expressed himself with indignation at the traffic of indulgences that has recently been carried on in Paris, and he said emphatically that besides the immorality of the trade that was being practiced in the Pope's name, the extortion of money by such means from ignorance and from popular credulity was nothing short of a fraud practiced upon the people. And do you know the answer that our son made? 'That is a lie! It is impious! The money that is devoted to a pious deed, even if it be the fruit of a theft, of a murder, is purified and sanctified from the moment that it is employed to the greater glory of the Lord!'"

Bridget grew pale, and murmured in a voice smothered by sobs:

"Oh! now I fear—I also fear! May God have mercy upon us!"

"Do you now understand how, if our son is indeed guilty of the shameful act which we hesitate to impugn to him, in his blind fanaticism the unhappy boy will have believed that he was doing a meritorious act if he employed the money in some such work of devotion as ordering the saying of masses?"



As Christian was saying these words, he heard, first at a distance and soon after on the Exchange Bridge itself, the loud clang of several bells and the sharp twirl of metal rattles, intercepted with a lugubrious psalmody, at the close of which the noise of bells and rattles became deafening. No less astonished than his wife, the artisan rose from his seat, opened the window, and saw a long procession filing before the house. At its head marched a detachment of archers carrying their cross-bows on their left shoulders and long thick wax candles in their right hands; behind them came several Dominican monks in their white robes and black cowls, ringing the bells and turning the rattles; after these followed a cart drawn by two horses caparisoned in black and silver network. The four sides of the cart were of considerable height and constituted a huge quadrangular transparency, lighted from within, and representing the figures of men and women of all ages, together with children, plunged up to the waist in a sea of flames, and, amid desperate contortions, raising their suppliant arms towards an image of God seated on a throne. On each of the four sides of the wagon and above the painting the following inscription was to be seen, printed in thick black and red letters:


Four monks equipped with long gilded staves, topped with glass lanthorns, on which also souls in torture were painted, marched on either side of the cart. A large number of other Dominican monks carrying a large silver crucifix at their head, followed the cart. The monks chanted in a loud voice the following lugubrious psalm of penitence:

"De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;
Domine, exaudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuæ intendentes
In vocem deprecationis meæ!"[4]

Every time, at the close of the funereal chant, the clatter of bells and rattles was struck up anew as the procession marched along. Finally, a second detachment of archers brought up the rear. A crowd of ragged men and women, all with cynic and even ruffianly faces, almost all night-strollers, if not worse, followed in the wake of the march. They held one another by the arms, sang, crossed themselves and shouted:

"Glory to the Holy Father!"

"He sends us indulgences!"

"We need them!"

"Blessings upon him!"

Interspersed between these exclamations, coarse and even obscene jokes were exchanged. The mob nevertheless bore the impress of conviction in the most deplorable of superstitions. A large number of the inhabitants of the houses built upon the bridge threw open their windows as the procession filed by; some of these reverently knelt down at their windows. After the procession had passed and the noise sounded only from a distance, Christian re-shut the window of his room, and said to his wife in voice that was even sadder than before:

"Alas, this procession seems to me to bode us only ill."

"I do not understand you, my friend."

"You saw, Bridget, the picture on the transparency of the cart that these monks surrounded. It represented the souls in purgatory, writhing in flames. The Dominican monks, whom the Pope has delegated to sell plenary indulgences, also sell the ransoming of souls in pain. All those who share that belief are convinced that, by means of money, they are able to snatch from the flames of purgatory, not only the near relatives or friends whom they imagine exposed to such torture, but also strangers to them. Could not Hervé have thought to himself: 'With the gold that I purloin from my father I shall be able to ransom twenty souls—fifty souls from purgatory'?"

"Say no more, Christian, say no more!" cried Bridget with a shudder; "say no more! My doubts, alas! almost turn into certainty;" but suddenly interrupting herself and listening in the direction of the door of the room, she added in a low voice: "Listen—listen."

Husband and wife remained silent. In the midst of the profound silence of the night they heard a noise that sounded like the intermittent strapping of a body. A thought flashed through Christian's mind; he motioned his wife not to stir; took up the lamp, and gently opened the door leading to the wooden staircase through which the lower floor was reached. Leaning over the banister with his hand shading the lamp, Christian saw Hervé, whom, no doubt, the clatter of bells and rattles of the procession had awakened, kneeling in only his shirt and trousers upon the floor and inflicting a rude discipline upon his sides and shoulders by means of a cat-o'-nine-tails, the thongs of which ended in knots. The lad flagellated himself with such intense exaltation that he did not notice the proximity of his father on the staircase, although the light shed by the lamp projected its rays into the lower hall. Bridget had followed her husband with tears in her eyes, walking on tip-toe. He felt the trembling hand of his wife upon his shoulder and in his ear the whispered words of distress that forced themselves through her sobs:

"Oh, the unhappy boy!"

"Come, my dear wife; the moment is favorable to obtain a confession from our son."

"And if he confesses, let everything be pardoned," replied the indulgent mother. "He must have succumbed to an impulse of fanatical charity."

With the lamp in his hand the artisan descended into the kitchen with his wife without seeking to conceal their approach. The sound of their steps and the creak of the wooden staircase under their feet finally attracted Hervé's attention. He suddenly turned his head, and, seeing his father and mother, rose from the floor with a start as if propelled by a spring. In his surprise the lad dropped his instrument of torture.

Christian's son was almost eighteen years of age. His once open, happy and blooming face, that breathed frankness, had become pale and somber; his unsteady, restless eyes seemed to eschew observation. The unexpected presence of his parents seemed at first to cause him a painful impression; he looked embarrassed; but doubtlessly calling himself to account for the unguarded impulse of false shame, he said resolutely without raising his eyes:

"I was administering a discipline to myself—I thought I was alone—I was fulfilling a penance—"

"My son," replied the artisan, "seeing that you are up, sit down upon that chair—your mother and I have serious matters to speak about with you; we shall be better here than upstairs, where our voice might wake up your sister."

Not a little astonished, the lad sat down, on a stool. Christian also sat down; Bridget remained standing near her husband, leaning upon his shoulder, with her eyes resting compassionately upon her son.

"My boy," said Christian, "I wish, first of all, to assure you that neither I nor your mother have ever thought of crossing you in the religious practices that you have of late been indulging in with all the impetuous ardor of a neophyte. But seeing that the occasion presents itself, I wish to make some observations to you upon the subject in all fatherly love."

"I listen, father; speak."

"You, as well as your sister and brother, have been brought up by us in the evangelical doctrine—love one another, do not unto others what you would not like to be done to, pardon those who trespass against you, pity the sinners, help the sorrowful, honor those who repent, be industrious and honest. These few words sum up the eternal morality that your mother and myself have preached and held up to you since your infancy as the example to be followed. When you reached riper years of intelligence I sought to inculcate in your mind that belief of our fathers that we are immortal, body and soul, and that after what is called death, a moment of transition between the existence that ends and that which begins, we are born again, or, rather, continue to live, spirit and matter, in other spheres, thus rising successively, at each of those stages of our eternal existence, towards infinite perfection equal to that of the Creator."

"That, father, is heresy, and flies in the face of Catholic dogma."

"Be it so. I do not force the belief upon you. Every man is free to strive in his religious aspirations after his own ideal of the relations between the Creator and the creature. The freedom to do so is the most priceless attribute of the soul, the sublimest right of human conscience."

"There is no religion in the world beside the Catholic religion, the revealed religion," put in Hervé in a sharp voice. "All other belief is false—"

"My friend," said Christian interrupting his son, "I do not wish to enter into a theological discussion with you. You have of late lost your former happy disposition, you seem to mistrust us, you grow more and more reserved and taciturn, your absences from the printing shop are becoming frequent and are prolonged beyond all measure; your nature, once so pleasant and buoyant, has become irritable and sour, even to the point of rudeness towards your brother Odelin before his departure for Milan. Besides that and since, your asperity towards your sister is ever more marked—and yet you know that she loves you dearly."

At these last words a thrill ran over Hervé's frame. At the mention of his sister, his physiognomy grew more intensely somber and assumed an undefinable expression. For a moment he remained silent, whereupon his voice, that sounded sharp and positive shortly before in his answers regarding religious matters, became unsteady as he stammered:

"At times I am subject to fits of bad humor that I pray God to free me of. If—I have been—rude—to my sister—it is without meaning to. I entertain a strong affection for her."

"We are certain of that, my child," Bridget replied; "your father only mentions the circumstance as one of the symptoms of the change that we notice in you, and that so much alarms us."

"In short," Christian proceeded, "we regret to see you give up the company of the friends of your childhood, and no longer share the innocent pleasures that become your age."

Hervé's voice, that seemed so much out of his control when his sister Hena was the topic, became again harsh and firm:

"The friends whom I formerly visited are worldly, they are running to perdition; the thoughts that to-day engage me are not theirs."

"You are free to choose your connections, my friend, provided they be honorable. I see you have become an intimate friend of Fra Girard, the Franciscan monk—"

"God sent him across my path—he is a saint! His place is marked in paradise."

"I shall not dispute the sanctity of Fra Girard; he is said to be a man of probity, and I believe it. I must admit, however, that I would have preferred to see you form some other friendship; the monk is several years your senior; you seem to have a blind faith in him; I fear lest the fervor of his zeal may render you intolerant, and lead you to share his own excessive religious exaltation. For all that, I never reproached you for your intimacy with Fra Girard—"

"Despite anything that you could have done or said, father, I would have seen to my own salvation. God before the family."

"And do you imagine, my son, that we could be opposed to your welfare?" asked Bridget in an accent of affectionate reproach. "Do you not know how much we love you? Are not all our thoughts dictated by our attachment to you? Can you doubt our affection?"

"Happiness lies in the faith, and the faith comes to us from heaven. There is no welfare outside of the bosom of the Church."

"It would have become you better to answer your mother's kind words with other terms," observed Christian, as he saw his wife hurt and saddened by the harshness of Hervé's words. "If your faith comes from heaven, filial love also is a celestial sentiment; may God forfend that it be weakened in your heart—in fine, may God forfend that Fra Girard's influence over you should tend to pervert, despite himself and despite yourself, your sense of right and wrong."

"I do not understand you, father."

The artisan cast a significant look at Bridget, who, guessing her husband's secret thoughts, felt assailed by mortal anguish.

"I shall explain myself more clearly," Christian continued. "Do you remember a few days ago at the shop when some of our fellow workmen expressed indignation at the traffic in indulgences?"

"Yes, father; and I withered the blasphemous utterances with the contempt that they deserved. Indulgences open the gates of heaven."

"One of our fellow workingmen loudly likened the commerce in indulgences to a theft," Christian proceeded, unable completely to overcome his emotion, while Bridget in vain sought to catch the eyes of her son, who, from the start of this conversation held his eyes nailed to the floor. "Upon hearing so severe an opinion expressed upon the indulgences," Christian added, "you, my son, shouted that all money, even if it proceeded from theft, became holy if devoted to pious works; you said so, did you not? You thereby justified a reprehensible action."

"It is my conviction."

After a momentary silence the artisan again resumed:

"My boy, you were surely awakened to-night, as we ourselves were, by the noise of the procession. It was the procession of indulgences."

"Yes, father—and in order to render my prayers for the deliverance of the souls in purgatory more efficacious, I macerated myself."

"The monks claim that the souls in purgatory can be ransomed by money; do they not make the claim?"

"It is the doctrine of the Catholic Church, father. The Church can not err."

"Hervé, let me suppose that you find on the street a purse full of gold; would you believe yourself justified to dispose of it in behalf of the souls in purgatory, without first inquiring after the rightful owner of the purse?"

"I would not hesitate a minute to do what you said. I would take it to the Church."

Christian and Bridget exchanged looks of distress at this answer. Their suspicions were almost confirmed. They now counted at least with Hervé's frankness. Convinced that all means were legitimate in order to compass the salvation of souls in pain, he would assuredly admit the theft. The artisan proceeded:

"My son, we never set you the example of duplicity. Particularly at this moment when we must appeal to your frankness, we shall speak without circumlocution. I have this to say to you: The fruits of your mother's laborious savings and my own have been recently purloined; the sum amounted to twenty gold crowns."

Hervé remained impassable and silent.

"The theft was committed yesterday or the day before," pursued Christian, painfully affected by his son's impassiveness. "The money was deposited in the case in our bedroom, and could have been taken away by none except a person familiar in our house."

With his hands crossed over his knees and his eyes on the floor, Hervé remained silent, impenetrable.

"Your mother and I first cudgeled our brains to ascertain who could have committed the guilty act," Christian proceeded, driving the point nearer and nearer home, and he added slowly, accentuating these last words: "It then occurred to us that, seeing the theft was justifiable by your convictions—that is to say, that it was legitimate if committed for the sake of some pious work—you might—in a moment of mental aberration—have appropriated the sum for the purpose of consecrating it to the ransoming of souls in purgatory."

The husband and wife awaited their son's answer with mortal anxiety. Christian watched him closely and observed that, despite Hervé's apparent impassiveness, a slight flush suffused his face; although the lad did not raise his eyes, he cast furtive glances at his parents. The somber and guilty glances, caught by Christian, surprised and distressed him. He no longer doubted his son's guilt, he even despaired of drawing from the lad a frank admission that might somewhat have extenuated the ugly action. Christian continued with a penetrating voice:

"My son, I have acquainted you with the painful suspicions that weigh upon our hearts—have you no answer to make?"

"Father," said Hervé firmly and tersely, "I have not touched your money."

"He lies," thought the desolate artisan to himself; "it is our own son who committed the theft."

"Hervé," cried Bridget with her face bathed in tears and throwing herself at the feet of her son, around whom she threw her arms, "my son, be frank—we shall not scold you! Good God, we believe in the sincerity of your new convictions—they are your only excuse! You certainly must have believed that with the aid of that money, which lay idle on the shelf of the book-case, you might redeem poor souls from the tortures of purgatory. The charitable purpose of such a superstition might, aye, it is bound to, carry away a young head like yours. I repeat to you; we shall look upon that as your excuse; we shall accept the excuse, in the hope of leading you back again to more wholesome ideas of good and evil. From your point of view, so far from your action being wrongful, it must have seemed meritorious to you. Why not admit it? Is it shame that restrains you, my poor boy? Fear not. The secret will remain with your father and me." And embracing the lad with maternal warmth, Bridget added: "Do not the principles in which we brought you up make us feel sure that, despite your temporary blindness, you will know better in the future? Could you possibly become confirmed in dishonesty, you, my son? You who until now gave us so much cause for happiness? Come, Hervé, make a manly effort—tell us the truth—you will thereby change our sorrow into joy; your confession will prove your frankness and your confidence in our indulgence and tenderness. You still are silent?—not a word—you have not a word for me?" cried the wretched woman, seeing her son remaining imperturbable. "What! we who should complain, are imploring you! You should be in tears, and yet it is I alone who weep! You should be at our feet, and I am at yours! And yet you remain like a piece of icy marble! Oh, unhappy child!"

"Mother," repeated Hervé with inflexible voice without raising his eyes, "I have not touched your money."

In despair at such insensibility, Bridget rose and threw herself convulsively sobbing into the arms of her husband: "I am a mother to be pitied."

"My son," now said Christian in a severe tone, "if you are guilty—and I regret but too deeply that I fear you are—learn this: Even if you should have employed the money that has been purloined from my room in what you term 'pious works,' you would not therefore be less guilty of a theft, do you understand?—a theft in all the disgraceful sense of the word! I was not mistaken! It has turned out so! By means of unworthy sophisms, your friend Fra Girard has perverted your one-time sense of right and wrong! Oh, whatever insane or impostor monks may say to the contrary, human and divine morality will always condemn theft, whatever the disguises or hypocritical pretexts may be under which it is committed. To believe that such a disgraceful action deserves no punishment—worse yet, that it is meritorious—by reason of the fruits thereof being consecrated to charitable works, is about the most monstrous mental aberration that can ever insult the conscience of an honest man!" Christian thereupon supported and led Bridget in tears back towards the staircase, took up the lamp, and walked upstairs with these parting words to his son: "May heaven open your eyes, my son and inspire you with repentance!"

Imperturbable as ever, Hervé did not seem to hear his father's last words. When the latter re-entered his own room with his wife and closed the door, the young man, who had remained in the dark, threw himself down upon his knees, picked up his instrument of discipline and began flagellating himself with savage fury. The lad smothered the cries that the pain involuntarily forced from him, and, a prey to delirious paroxysms, only murmured from time to time, with bated breath, the name of his sister Hena.



The morning after the trying night experienced by Christian and his wife, a large crowd filled the church of the Dominican Convent. It was a bizarre crowd. It consisted of people of all conditions. Thieves and mendicants, artisans, bourgeois and seigneurs, lost women and devout old dames, ladies of distinction and plebeian women and children of all ages, elbowed one another. They were all attracted by that day's religious celebration; they crowded especially near the choir. This space was shut off by an iron railing four feet in height; it was to be the theater of the most important incidents in the ceremony. Among the spectators nearest to the choir stood Hervé Lebrenn together with his friend Fra Girard. The Franciscan monk was about twenty-five years of age, and of a cadaverous, austere countenance. The mask of asceticism concealed an infernal knave gifted with superior intelligence. The monk enveloped his young companion, so to speak, with a fascinating gaze; the latter, apparently a prey to profound preoccupation, bent his head and crossed his arms over his breast.

"Hervé," said Fra Girard in a low voice, "do you remember the day when in a fit of despair and terror you came to me to confession—and confessed a thing that you hardly dared admit to yourself?"

"Yes," answered Hervé with a shudder and dropping his eyes still lower; "yes, I remember the day."

"I then told you," the Franciscan proceeded to say, "that the Catholic Church, from which you were separated from childhood by an impious education, afforded consolation to troubled hearts—even better, held out hope—still better than that, gave positive assurance even to the worst of sinners, provided they had faith. By little and little our long and frequent conversations succeeded in causing the divine light to penetrate your mind, and the scales dropped from your eyes. The faith that I then preached to you, has since filled and now overflows your soul. Fasting, maceration and ardent prayer have smoothed the way for your salvation. The hour of your reward has arrived. Blessed be the Lord!"

Fra Girard had hardly uttered these words when the deep notes of the organ filled with a melancholic harmony the lugubrious church into which the light of day broke only through narrow windows of colored glass. A procession that issued from the interior of the Dominican cloister entered the church and marched around the aisles. The cortege was headed by four footmen clad in red, the papal livery, who held aloft four standards upon which the pontifical coat-of-arms was emblazoned; they were followed by priests in surplices surrounding a cross and chanting psalms of penitence; behind these came another platoon of papal footmen, bearing a stretcher covered with gold cloth, and in the center of which, on a cushion of crimson velvet, lay a red box containing the bull of Leo X empowering the Order of St. Dominic to dispense indulgences. Several censer-bearers walked backward before the stretcher, and stopped from time to time in order to swing their copper and silver censers from which clouds of perfumed vapor issued and circled upward. A Dominican prior walked behind the stretcher clasping a large cross of red wood in his arms; this dignitary—a man in the full vigor of age, tall of stature and so corpulent that his paunch threatened to burst his frock—was the Apostolic Commissioner entrusted with the sale of indulgences; a heavy black beard framed in his high-colored face; the monk's triumphant gait and the haughty looks that he cast around him pointed him out as the hero of the approaching ceremony. He was followed by a long line of penitentiaries and sub-Apostolic Commissioners with white wands in their hands. A last squad of papal footmen, holding by leather straps a huge coffer also covered with crimson velvet and locked with three gilded clasps, closed the procession. A slit, similar to that of the poor-boxes in churches, was cut into the lid of the coffer. Through it the moneys were to be dropped by the purchasers of indulgences, or by the faithful, anxious to redeem the souls in purgatory.

When the procession, at the passage of which the crowd prostrated itself religiously, completed the circuit of the church, the papal footmen who bore the banners grouped them as trophies upon the main altar, before which the stretcher, covered with gold cloth, the bull, and the big coffer were processionally borne. The Apostolic Commissioner with the cross of red wood in his hand placed himself near the coffer; the penitentiaries ranked themselves in front of several confessionals that were set up for the occasion near the choir, and all of which bore the pontifical arms.

The excitement and curiosity awakened by the procession together with the peals of the organ and the chant of the priests excited a considerable agitation in the church. By degrees quiet was restored, the kneeling faithful rose again to their feet, and all eyes turned impatiently towards the choir. Hervé, who had been one of the first to prostrate himself, was among the last to rise; the lad was a prey to profound agony; perspiration bathed his now livid face; he was hardly able to breathe. Turning his wandering eyes towards Fra Girard, he said to the monk in broken accents:

"Oh, if I only can rely upon your promises! The moment has arrived when I must believe. I tremble!"

"Oh, man of little faith!" answered the Franciscan with severity and pointing to the papal commissioner, who was preparing to speak; "listen—and repent that you doubted. Ask God to pardon you."

The silence became profound; the dealer in indulgences deftly rolled up the sleeves of his robe, just as a juggler in the market would have done in order not to be hindered in the tumultuous motions of his performance, and pointing to the red cross which he placed beside him, he cried in a stentorian voice fit to make the glass windows of the building rattle:

"In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, Amen![5] You see this cross, my beloved brothers? Well, this cross is as efficacious as the cross of Jesus Christ! You will ask me, How so? My answer is that this is, so to speak, the symbol of the indulgences that our Holy Father has commissioned me to dispense. But what are these indulgences? you will then ask? What they are, my brothers? They are the most precious gift, the most miraculous, the most wonderful that the Lord has ever bestowed upon His faithful! Therefore, I say unto you—Come, come to me; I shall give you letters furnished with the seal of our Holy Father, and thanks to these letters, my brothers—would you believe it?—not only will the sins that you have committed be pardoned, but they will give you absolution for the sins that you desire to commit!"

"Did you hear that?" Fra Girard whispered to Hervé. "One can obtain absolution both for the sins that he has committed, and for the sins that he intends to commit!"

"But—there—are—things—crimes and outrages," stammered Hervé with secret horror, "that, may be, one can not obtain absolution for! Oh, woe is me! I feel myself sliding down a fatal slope!

"Listen," replied the Franciscan, "listen to the end; you will then understand."

The mass of people that were crowded in the church received with indescribable signs of satisfaction the words uttered by the Dominican seller of indulgences; especially did those whose purses were well lined hail with delight the prospect of their salvation if they but took the precaution of equipping themselves in advance with an absolution that embraced the past, the present and the future. The Apostolic Commissioner observed the magic effect that his words produced; in a jovial and familiar tone he proceeded to harangue the audience amidst violent contortions of both face and limbs:

"Now, let us have a heart-to-heart talk, my brothers; let us reason together. Let us suppose that you wish to undertake a voyage into some strange country that is infested with thieves; fearing that you will be rifled of all that you carry about you before you attain the end of your journey, you do not wish to take your money with you. What do you do? You take your money to a banker, do you not? You allow him a slight profit, and he furnishes you with a draft, by means of which the money that you deposited with him is paid over to you in the strange country, upon your arrival there. Do you understand me well, my beloved brothers?"

"Yes," answered several of the faithful; "we understand—proceed with your discourse."

"Miserable sinners!" replied the Dominican suddenly changing his jovial tone into a thundering voice. "Miserable sinners! You understand me, say you? and yet you hesitate to buy from me for the small price of a few crowns a draft of salvation! What! Despite all the sins that you may render yourselves guilty of during the voyage of life, infested as that road is with diabolical temptations that are infinitely more dangerous than thieves, this draft will be paid to you in paradise in the divine money of eternal salvation by the Almighty, upon whom we, the bankers of souls, have drawn in your name—and yet you hesitate to insure to yourselves at so small a cost your share of the celestial enjoyments reserved for the blissful! No! No! You will not hesitate, my brothers! You will buy my indulgences!" the Dominican now proceeded to say with a resumption of familiar and even paternal solicitude. "Nor is this all, my brothers; my indulgences do not save the living only, they redeem the dead! Aye, the dead, be they even as hardened as Lucifer himself! But, you may ask, how can your indulgences deliver the dead?" cried the merchant of salvation again shouting at the top of his voice, "How will my indulgences save the dead? Can it be that you do not hear the voices of your parents, your friends, even of strangers to you—but what does that matter, seeing that you are Christians?—can it be that you do not hear their frightful concert of maledictions, of groans, of gnashing of teeth which rises from the bottom of the abyss of fire, where those poor souls are writhing in the furnace of purgatory—where they writhe, waiting for the mercy of God or the pious works of man to deliver them from their dreadful tortures? Can it be that you do not hear those miserable sinners, the piteous meanings of those unhappy people, who from the bottom of the yawning gulf where the flames are devouring them cry out to you: 'Oh, ye stony hearts! we are enduring frightful torture! An alms would deliver us! You can give it! Will you refuse to give it?' Will you refuse, my brothers? No! I know you will give the alms. I know you will give it when you consider that the very instant your gold crowns drop into this trunk," (pointing to it) "crack—psitt—the soul pops out of purgatory and flies into heaven like a dove liberated from its cage! Amen! Empty your purses, empty your purses, my friends!"

The majority of the audience before the Dominican seemed little concerned about the deliverance of souls in pain. However blind their superstitious belief, it had a certain charitable side, but that side had no attraction whatever for the faithful ones who were attracted only by the expectation of being able, by means of indulgences, to give a loose, in perfect security of conscience, to whatever excesses or crimes they had in mind.

A man with a gallows-bird face named Pichrocholle, one of the Mauvais-Garçons who hired out their homicidal daggers to the highest bidder, said in a low voice to a Tire-Laine, another bandit, and one of the worst of his kind:

"As truly as the Franc-Taupin whom I was speaking about to you a short time ago saved my life at the battle of Marignan, I would not give six silver sous for the redemption of the souls in purgatory! Oh, if I only were rich enough to purchase a good letter of absolution—'sdeath!—I would pay for it gladly and spot-cash, too! Once the papal absolution is in your pocket, your hand is firmer at its work; it does not tremble when dispatching your man! With an absolution duly executed, you can defy the fork of Satan on the Judgment Day. But by St. Cadouin, what do I care for the souls in purgatory! I laugh at their deliverance! And you, Grippe-Minaud?"

"I confess," answered the Tire-Laine, "I bother as little about the souls in purgatory as about an empty purse. But tell me, Pichrocholle," added Grippe-Minaud with a pensive air, "letters of absolution are too dear for poor devils like ourselves—suppose we stole one of those blessed letters from the commissioner, would the theft be a sin?"

"'Sdeath! How could it be? Does it not give absolution in advance? But those jewels are kept too safely to be pilfered."

While the Mauvais-Garçon and the Tire-Laine were exchanging these observations, the Apostolic Commissioner rolled his sleeves still higher, and continued his sermon, interspersing his words with smiles or violent gestures according as the occasion demanded:

"But, my brothers, you will say to me: You puff your indulgences a good deal; nevertheless there are such frightful crimes, crimes that are so abominable, so monstrous that your indulgences could never reach them! You are mistaken, my brothers. No! A thousand times no! My indulgences are so good, they are so sure, they are so efficacious, so powerful that they absolve everything—yes, everything! Do you want an example? Let us suppose an impossible thing—let us suppose that someone were to rape the holy Mother of God—an abominable act of sacrilege!"[6]

A long murmur expressive of dreadful suspense and hope received these last words of the trafficker in indulgences; a boundless horizon was opened for all manner of the blackest and most unheard-of felonies. Among others in the crowd, Hervé remained hanging upon the lips of the Dominican; the lad was seized with dizziness; he imagined himself oppressed by a nightmare. The hollow-sounding voice of Fra Girard awoke him to reality. With a triumphant accent the Franciscan whispered to his disciple:

"An insult to the Mother of God herself would be pardoned! Even such a crime would be reached by an indulgence! Did you hear him? Did you? An indulgence would cover even that!"

A tremor ran through Hervé from head to foot; he made no answer, hid his face in his hands, and feeling himself reel like an intoxicated man and even his knees to yield under him, the lad found himself obliged to lean upon the arms of the Franciscan, who contemplated him with an expression of infernal joy.

The merchant of indulgences had paused for a moment upon uttering his abominable supposition in order the better to assure himself of its effect; he then proceeded in a stentorian voice:

"You tremble, my brothers! So much the better! That proves that you appreciate in the fulness of its horror the sacrilege which I cited as an example! Now, then, the more horrible the sacrilege, all the more sovereign is the virtue of my indulgences, seeing that they give absolution therefor! Yes, my brothers, whatever the sacrilege that you may commit, you will be pardoned—provided you pay for it—provided you pay bountifully for it! That is clearer than day! Our Lord God will have no power over you, he ceases to be God, having assigned His pardoning power to the Pope. But, you may still ask, why does our Holy Father so bountifully distribute the boon of his indulgences? Why?" repeated the Dominican in a voice of deep lament; "why? Alas! alas! alas! my brothers, it is in order to be enabled, thanks to the returns from the sales of these indulgences, to rebuild the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul in Rome with such splendor that there is none to match it in the world. Indeed, none other must be like that basilica, which contains the sacred bodies of the two apostles! And this notwithstanding—would you believe it, my brothers?—the Cathedral of Rome is in such a state of dilapidation that the holy bones, the sacrosanct bones of St. Peter and St. Paul are so constantly exposed to the peltings of rain and hail, they are so soiled and dishonored by dust and vermin that they are falling to pieces!"

A shudder of painful indignation ran over the faithful crowd assembled before the Dominican when thus informed that the relics of the apostles were exposed to the inclemencies of the weather and the soilure of vermin as a result of the dilapidated state of the Basilica of Rome, while, since then, the most marvelous monument of architecture that immortalizes the genius of Michael Angelo, was reared to the admiration of the world. Perceiving the effect made by his peroration, the Dominican proceeded in a thundering voice:

"No, my brothers! No! The sacred ashes of the apostles shall no longer remain in dirt and disgrace! No! Indulgence has set up its throne in the Church of St. Dominic!" and pointing to the large coffer and beating with his fists a tattoo upon the lid, the Apostolic Commissioner added with the roar of a bull: "Now, bring your money! Bring it, good people! Bring plenty! I shall put you the example of charity. I consecrate this gold piece to the redemption of souls in purgatory!"

And pulling out of his pocket a half ducat which he held up glistening to the eyes of the crowd, he dropped it into the coffer through the slit in the lid, upon which he continued to strike with his fists, keeping time to his words as he cried:

"Fetch your money! Fetch it, good people! Fetch your ducats!"

The front ranks of the crowd broke in response to the summons of the trafficker in indulgences and hastened to empty their purses. But the Dominican held back the surging crowd with a gesture of his hand and said:

"One more word, my dear brothers! Do you see these confessionals decorated with the armorial bearings of the Holy Father? The priests who will take your confessions represent the apostolic penitentiaries of Rome on the occasions of grand jubilees. All those who wish to participate in the three principal indulgences will proceed to these confessionals and will conscientiously notify the confessor of the amount of money that they are disposed to deprive themselves of in order to obtain the following favors:

"The first is the absolute remission of all sins—past, present and future.

"The second is freedom from participation in the works of the Holy Church, such as fasts, prayers, pilgrimages and macerations of all nature.

"The third—listen carefully, my brothers, pay particular attention to the last words, as the saying is—this indulgence exceeds all that the most faithful believers can wish for!"

"Listen," whispered Fra Girard to Hervé; "listen, and repent your having doubted the resources of the faith."

"Oh, I doubt no longer, and yet I hardly dare to hope," murmured the son of Christian with bated breath, while the Dominican proceeded to announce aloud:

"The third favor, my brothers, gives you the right to choose a confessor, who, every time that you fear you are about to die, will be bound—by virtue of the letter of absolution that you will have purchased and which you will display before him—to give you absolution not only for your ordinary sins, but also for those greater crimes the remission of which is reserved to the apostolic See, to wit, bestiality, the crime against nature, parricide and incest."

The Dominican had hardly pronounced these words when Hervé's features became frightful to behold. The lad's eyes shot fire, and a smile of the damned curled his lips as Fra Girard stooped down to him and whispered in his ear:

"Did I deceive you? The indulgence is absolute, even for incest."

"Finally, my brothers," the Apostolic Commissioner proceeded to say, "the fourth favor consists in redeeming souls from purgatory. For this favor, my brothers, it is not necessary, as for the three first ones, to be contrite of heart and to confess. No, no! It is enough if you drop your offerings in this coffer. You will thereby snatch the souls of the dead from the tortures that they are undergoing; and you will be moreover contributing towards the holy work of restoring the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul at Rome. Now, then, my brothers," he added, thumping anew upon the coffer, "come forward with your money! Come forward with your ducats! Come!"

Upon this last exhortation the railing of the choir was thrown open. The small number of the charitably disposed who wished to deliver the souls in pain began filing before the coffer into which they dropped their offerings after making the sign of the cross; the confessionals, however, in which the pontifical penitentiaries took their seats, ready to issue letters of absolution, were immediately besieged by a mob of men and women, anxious to obtain impunity in the eyes of heaven and of their own conscience for sins ranging from the most venial up to monstrous deeds that cause nature to shudder. It was a frightful sight, the spectacle presented by the mob around these confessionals crowding to the quarry of impunity for crime.

Good God! Your vicars order and exploit the traffic! Behold human conscience upturned, shaken at its very foundation, losing even the sense of discrimination between vice and virtue! The moral sense is perverted, it is smothered by sacrilegious superstition! Mankind is lashed to a vertigo of folly and evil by the assurance of impunity, feeling certain, Oh, God of justice! of having You for an accomplice! Souls, until then innocent, no longer recoil before any passion however execrable, the bare thought of which is a crime! Does not the Pope of Rome absolve for all eternity, in exchange for a few gold crowns, even parricide and incest? If only its faith is strong enough the incestuous or parricidal heart knows, feels itself absolved! Oh, in honor at least to the religious sentiment—the divine gift implanted in man's heart, whatever the dogma may be in which it is wrapped—there are Catholic priests of austere morals who, despite their intolerance, have, in these accursed times, indignantly repudiated the monstrous idolatries and savage fetichism that even ancient paganism knew nothing of! No! No! Christ, your celestial gospel is and will remain the most scathing condemnation of the horrors that are committed in your venerated name. Those papal penitentiaries in the confessionals emblazoned with the pontifical arms, those new dealers in merchandise in the Temple dare to sell for cash patents of salvation! Alas! After a few hurried words exchanged with Fra Girard, Hervé was one of the first to hurry to the confessionals and kneel down; he did not long remain there; those near him heard the papal penitentiary first utter a cry of surprise; silence ensued, broken by the intermittent sobs of the lad; the chinking of the money that was being counted out to the priest in the confessional announced the close of the absolutional conversation. Hervé issued out of the tribunal of penitence holding a parchment with a convulsive clutch, closely followed by Fra Girard; he cleaved the compact mass of people, and withdrew to one of the lateral chapels; there he knelt down before a sanctuary of the Virgin that a lamp illumined, and by its light read the letter of absolution that he had just bought with his father's money. The pontifical letter was couched in the following terms:

May our Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon you [here followed a blank space into which the name of the owner of the letter was to be inserted]; may He absolve you by the virtue of the Holy Passion. And I, in virtue of the apostolical power in me vested, do hereby absolve you from all ecclesiastical censures, judgments and punishments that you may have deserved; furthermore of all excesses, sins and crimes that you may have committed, however grave and enormous these may be, and whatever the cause thereof, even if such sins and crimes be those reserved to our Holy Father the Pope and to the apostolic See—such as bestiality, the sin against nature, parricide and incest. I hereby efface from you all traces of inability, all the marks of infamy that you may have drawn upon yourself on such occasions; I induct you anew as a participant of the sacraments of the Church; I re-incorporate you in the community of saints; I restore you to the innocence and purity that you were in at the hour of your baptism, so that, at the hour of your death, the door through which one passes to the place of torments and pain shall be closed to you, while on the contrary, the gate that leads to the Paradise of joy shall be wide open to you, and should you not die speedily, Oh, my son! this token of mercy shall remain unalterable until your ultimate end.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen!

Apostolic Commissioner, signed by his own hand.[7]

Without rising from his knees Hervé frequently interrupted the reading of the document with suppressed signs of pleased and blissful astonishment. The absolution that he was now the owner of extended to the past, it covered the present, it reached the future. As Fra Girard called the purchaser's attention to the fact, the document bore no date and thereby extended the apostolic efficacy over all the sins, all the crimes that the holder of the indulgence might commit to the end of his days. Hervé folded the parchment and inserted it into the scapulary that hung from his neck under his shirt, bowed down till his forehead touched the slab of the floor at the foot of the sanctuary and kissed it devoutly. Alas! The unfortunate lad was sincere in his frightful thankfulness towards the divine power that granted him the remission. His mind being led astray by a detestable influence, he felt himself, he believed himself, absolved of all the wrongs that his delirious imagination raved over. Fra Girard contemplated the prostrate lad with an expression of sinister triumph. The latter suddenly rose and, as if seized with a vertigo, staggered towards the railing of the chapel. The Franciscan held him back by the arm, and pointing at the image of the Virgin, arrayed in a flowing robe of silver cloth studded with pearls, and her head crowned with a golden crown that glistened in the semi-darkness of the dimly-lighted sanctuary, said in a solemn voice:

"Behold the image of the mother of our Savior, and remember the words of the Apostolic Commissioner. Even if the horrible sacrilege that he mentioned were a feasible thing, it could be absolved by the letter that you now own. If that is so, and it may not be doubted, what then becomes of the remorse and the terrors that have assailed you during the last three months? Since the day when, distracted with despair by the discovery of the frightful secret that had lain concealed in the bottom of your heart, you came to me, and yielding, despite yourself, to the irresistible instinct that whispered to you: 'Only in faith will you be healed,' you confessed your trials to me—since that day you have hourly realized that your instinct guided you rightly and that my words were true. To-day you are assured of a place in paradise. Hervé—do you hear me?"

"I hear," and after a moment of pensiveness: "Oh, celestial miracle for which, with my forehead in the dust, I rendered thanks to the mother of our Savior. Yes, since a minute ago, from the moment that I became the owner of this sacred schedule, my conscience has regained its former serenity, my mind is in peace, my heart is full of hope. I now only need to will and to dare—I shall will, I shall dare! Mine is the bliss of paradise!"

Hervé uttered these words with calm conviction. He did not lie. No, his conscience was serene, his mind at peace, his heart full of hope, even the lines on his face seemed suddenly transfigured; their savage and tormented expression made room for a sort of blissful ecstasy, a slight flush again enlivened the cheeks that frequent fasts, macerations and mental conflicts had paled. The monk smiled silently at the metamorphosis; he took Hervé by the arm, walked with him out of the church, and as the two stepped out upon the street said to him:

"You have now entered upon the path of salvation; your faith has been tried—will you still hesitate to join the ranks of the militants, who openly preach and cause this faith to triumph, the miraculous efficacy of which you have yourself experienced this day? Think of the glory of our holy mother the Church."

"Speak not now to me of such things. My thoughts are elsewhere—they are near my sister Hena."

"Very well; but, Hervé, never forget what I have often told you, and that your modesty makes you disregard. Your intelligence is exceptional; your erudition extensive; heaven has endowed you with the precious gift of a persuasive eloquence; the monastic Orders, especially the one to which I belong, I say so in all humility, recruit themselves carefully with young men whose gifts give promise of a brilliant future; this is enough to tell you of what priceless value you would be to our Order; you could make with us a rapid and brilliant career; you might even become the prior of our monastery. But I shall not pursue this subject; you are not listening to me; we shall take up the matter later. Where are you going so fast?"

"I am going back to my father, to the printing shop of Master Robert Estienne."

"Be prudent—above all, no indiscretion!"

"Girard," answered Hervé with a slightly moved voice and after a second's reflection, "I know not what may happen during the next few days; I will, and I shall dare; can I at all events count upon obtaining asylum in your cell?"

"Whatever the hour of the day or night may be, you may ring at the little gate of the convent, where the faithful repair who come to ask our assistance for the dying; ask the brother gateman for me; that will let you in and you will find an inviolable asylum within our walls; you will there be sheltered from all pursuit."

"I thank you for the promise, and I rely upon it. Adieu. Think of me in your prayers."

"Adieu, and let me see you soon again," answered the Franciscan as he followed with his eyes the rapidly retreating figure of Hervé. "Whatever may happen," added Fra Girard to himself, "he now belongs to us, body and soul. Such acquisitions are precious in these days of implacable struggle against heresy. God be praised!"



At the time of this narrative there rose at about the middle of St. John of Beauvais Street a large, new house built in the simple and graceful style recently imported from Italy. Upon a gilt sign, ornamented with the symbolical arms of the University of Paris, and placed immediately over the door, the inscription: ROBERT ESTIENNE, PRINTER was painted in bold letters. Heavy iron bars protected the windows of the ground floor against any bold attempts that might be contemplated by the bandits that the city was infested with, and the defensive precaution was completed by a heavy sheet of iron fastened with heavy nails to an already solid and massive door that was surmounted by a sculptured allegory of the Arts and Sciences, an elegant piece of work from the chisel of one of the best pupils of Primaticio, a celebrated Italian artist whom Francis I called to France. The house belonged to Master Robert Estienne, the celebrated printer, the worthy successor of his father in that learned industry, and one of the most erudite men of the century. Profoundly versed in the Latin, Greek and Hebrew languages, Master Robert Estienne raised the art of printing to a high degree of perfection. Passionately devoted to his art, he lavished so much care upon the publications that issued from his establishment, that not only did he himself correct the proofs of the Latin, Greek and Hebrew works which he printed, but he furthermore stuck the revised proofs to his office door and kept them there for a certain time with the offer of a reward to whomsoever should point out an error or blemish. Among the handsomest works published by Master Robert Estienne were a Bible and a New Testament, both translated into French. These two productions were the admiration of the learned and the source of profound uneasiness to the Sorbonne[8] and the clergy, who felt as alarmed as irritated to see the press popularize the textual knowledge of the holy books that condemned a mass of abuses, idolatrous practices and exactions which the Church of Rome had for centuries been introducing into the Catholic cult.

Robert Estienne was recently wedded to Perrine Bade, a young and handsome woman, the daughter of another learned printer, and herself well versed in the Latin. The home of Robert Estienne presented the noble example of those bourgeois families whose pure morals and virile domestic virtues so strongly contrasted with the prevalent corruption of those days. Accused of being a partisan of the religious Reformation, and both the Sorbonne and parliament, both of which were bound by personal and material interests to the Catholic cause, having expressed their anger at him, Robert Estienne would long before have been dragged to the pyre as a heretic, but for the powerful protection of Princess Marguerite of Valois, the sister of Francis I, a woman of letters, of daring spirit, a generous nature, and withal secretly inclined to the reform. The King himself, who loved the arts and letters more out of vanity and the desire to imitate the princes of Italy than out of true intellectual loftiness, extended his protection to Robert Estienne, whom he considered an illustrious man whose glory would reflect upon his prince as a Maecenas. His rare mental equipment, his talent, and, last not least, the considerable wealth that he had inherited from his father and increased by his own labor, had won for the celebrated printer numerous and bitter enemies: his fellow tradesmen were jealous of the inimitable perfection of his works: the members of the Sorbonne, of the parliament and of the court, among all of whom the King and his evil genius, the Cardinal and Chancellor Duprat, distributed the goods confiscated from the heretics, had many times and oft expected to be about to enrich themselves with the plunder of Robert Estienne's establishment. But ever, thanks to the potent influence of Princess Marguerite, the printer's adversaries had remained impotent in their machinations against him. Nevertheless, knowing but too well how capricious and precarious royal favor is, Robert Estienne was ever ready for the worst with the serenity of the wise man and the clear conscience of a man of honor, while the affection of his young wife was a source of inexhaustible support in his struggle with the evil-minded.

The workshop of Master Robert Estienne occupied the ground floor of the house. His artisans, all carefully selected by himself, and almost all of whom were the sons of workmen whom his father had employed before him, were worthy of the confidence that he reposed in them. More than once did they have to repel with arms the assaults of fanatical bandits, egged on by the monks, who pointed at the printing shop as a hot-bed of diabolical inventions that should be demolished and burned down. The populace, ignorant and credulous, rushed upon the house of Robert Estienne, and but for the courage displayed by the defenders of the establishment, the place would have been looted. Due to such possibilities many employers felt under the necessity of building around themselves a sort of bodyguard composed of their own workmen. The famous goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini, whom Francis I invited from Florence to settle in Paris, was in such constant dread of the jealousy of the French and Italian artists, that he never went out upon the street without being accompanied by several of his pupils, all armed to the teeth. And not long ago he had sustained a regular siege in the little Castle of Neste of which the King had made him a present. The fray lasted two full days; victory remained with Benvenuto and his private garrison; and Francis I was highly amused at the occurrence. Such is the order that reigns in the city, such the security enjoyed by the citizens in these sad days.

Robert Estienne's establishment resembled an arsenal as much as it did a printing shop. Pikes, arquebuses and swords hung near the presses, the composers' cases or the stone tables. Although it was night, Christian remained on this evening at the shop; he remained behind upon his master's request, and was waiting for him. The artisan's face, which had borne the marks of worry since the conversation that he had with his son Hervé on the preceding night, now looked cheerful. When Hervé returned from the Church of St. Dominic, long after the customary hour for work to be begun at Master Estienne's shop, and saw his father surprised and displeased at the renewed absence from work, he said hypocritically:

"Please do not judge me by appearances; be sure, father, that I shall again be worthy of you—you will pardon me a fatal slip. I begin to realize the danger of the influence that I was blindly yielding to."

Saying this, the lad had hastened to make good the lost time, and diligently set to work. Shortly after, the conversation among the workingmen turned accidentally upon the sale of indulgences, which they condemned with renewed energy. So far from violently taking up the cudgels for the nefarious traffic, as he had done on previous occasions, Hervé remained silent and even looked confused. Christian drew favorable conclusions from his son's embarrassment.

"Our last night's conversation must have borne good fruit," thought the artisan to himself; "the poor boy's eyes must have been opened; he must have realized that fanaticism was driving him down into an abyss. Patience! The principles in which I brought him up will win the upper hand. I may now hope for the better."

When towards the close of the day's work he was notified by Master Estienne that he wished to speak with him, and was asked to remain behind, Christian told his son to inform Bridget of the reason of his anticipated delay, in order that she be not alarmed at not seeing him home at the usual hour. When he was finally left alone at the shop, he continued the paging of a Latin book by the light of a lamp. In the midst of this work he was interrupted by one of his friends named Justin, a pressman in the shop. Some urgent presswork had kept him in a contiguous room. Surprised at finding Christian still at work, Justin said:

"I did not expect to find you here so late, dear comrade. The hour for rest has sounded."

"Master Estienne sent me word asking that I wait for him after the shop closed. He wishes to speak with me."

"That fits in with my plans. I had meant to call at your house this evening and propose a trip for to-morrow to Montmartre, in order to visit the place that you know of—the more I think of the matter, the more convinced am I that we could select no better place for our purpose."

"I am inclined to believe you after all the details that you have given me upon the matter. But are you quite certain that the place offers us all the requisite guarantees of secrecy and safety?"

"In order to convince ourselves fully upon the matter, I wished to examine the place once more with you. It is a long time since I was there. Maybe the place is no longer what it was. Well, shall we make the investigation to-morrow evening?"

"Yes; I think it is high time for us to set to work, and organize our army, Justin! I can see no other means to combat our powerful enemies; they seem almost all-powerful. From day to day they become more threatening. On their side they have force, numbers, power, audacity, the judges, the trained soldiers, the priests, the jailers and executioners, moss-grown tradition, the ferocious fanaticism of a populace whose mind is poisoned and who are misled by the monks. And we, what have we? This," added Christian pointing to a printing press that stood in the center of the shop, "that instrument, that lever of irresistible force—thought—the mind! Courage, my friend! Let us, humble soldiers of reason, know how to wait. The printing press will change the face of the earth—and all our casqued, mitred and crowned tyrants will have seen their day! The printing press will be the weapon of emancipation!"

"As well as you, Christian, I have faith in that future, whether it be near or far away. Thought, subtle as light itself, will penetrate everywhere. The midnight darkness of ignorance will be dispelled, and freedom will dart its rays upon all. Let us to work, Christian. The moment we shall have chosen our place, we will put our projects into execution. I shall be at your house to-morrow evening. The moon will be up late; her light will guide us; and—" here Justin interrupted himself saying: "Here is our master; I shall leave you. Until to-morrow! I shall be promptly on time."

"Till to-morrow," answered Christian as his friend left by a door of the shop that opened upon a deserted side street.

Master Robert Estienne, a man of about thirty years of age, was of middle size, and of a firm, kind and at once serious physiognomy. His eyes sparkled with intelligence; a few premature lines furrowed his wide forehead; study and concentration of mind had begun to thin out his hair. He wore a coat and puffed-out hose of black taffeta; a white crumpled cap sat upon his head, and seemed fastened under his chin by a light and closely cropped beard that ended in a point.

"Christian," said Robert Estienne, "I have a service to ask of you, a great service."

"Speak, Master Estienne; you know the feelings that I entertain for your house and all that concerns you; I am as devoted to you as my father was to yours. If it pleases God," added the artisan smothering a sigh, "it will be so with my son towards yours."

"These long-continued relations between our two families honor them both, Christian. It is for that reason that I do not hesitate to ask a great service from you. This is the matter: As you know, my house is a thorn in the side of my enemies; without mentioning the assault that it had to sustain against the wretched fanatics whom the monks aroused against it, the place is constantly spied upon. The persecutions redouble in number and vehemence against all those who are suspected of favoring the religious Reformation, especially since printed placards violently hostile to the Church of Rome were posted over night in the streets of Paris. John Morin, the Criminal Lieutenant and worthy instrument of Cardinal-Chancellor Duprat, who keeps himself informed by the miserable spy who goes under the name of Gainier, keeps Paris in a state of terror through his police searches. Only the other day he issued an order by which the sergeants of the gendarmes are empowered at all hours of the day or night to search from cellar to garret the residence of whomsoever is accused of heresy. I am among these. Despite the protection of Princess Marguerite, it may happen that, at any moment, my domicile is invaded by the lackeys of Duprat's lieutenant."

"That is unfortunately true; your enemies are powerful and numerous."

"Well, now, Christian, a man whom I love like my own brother, an honorable man, foe to the priests, and proscribed by them, has asked me for asylum. He is here since last evening, in hiding. I am in constant apprehension of having my house searched, and my friend's place of refuge discovered. His life is at stake."

"Great God! I can understand your uneasiness. Your friend is, indeed, in great peril."

"Driven to this extremity, I determined to turn to you. It occurred to me that your happy obscurity saves you from the espionage that pursues me. Could you extend hospitality to my friend for two or three days, and take him this very evening to your house? You would be running no risk."

"With all my heart!"

"I shall never forget this service," said Master Robert Estienne, warmly pressing the artisan's hand; "I knew I could count upon your generosity."

"All I wish to remind you of, sir, is that the asylum is as humble as it is safe."

"The proscribed man has for several months been accustomed to travel from city to city; more than once, the generous apostle has spent the night in the woods and the day in some dark cavern. Any place of refuge is good to him."

"That being so, I have this proposition to make to you. I live, as you know, on the Exchange Bridge; there is a garret under the roof of the house; it is so very low one can hardly stand in it; but it is sufficiently ventilated by a little window that opens upon the river. To-morrow morning, after my son and I shall have left the house to come to the shop, my wife—I shall have to take her into the secret, but I answer for her as for myself—"

"I know it, Bridget deserves your full confidence; you may tell her everything."

"Well, then, to-morrow morning, after we shall have left the house, my wife will send my daughter on some errand or other, and will, during her absence, transport to the garret a mattress, some bed linen and whatever else may be necessary in order to render the refuge bearable. To-night, however, our guest will have to resign himself to a simple quilt for bedding; but a night is soon over—"

"That matters little. But how is he to be taken to your house to-night without the knowledge of your family? I know your domestic habits. Your wife and children are now waiting for you to take supper in the ground floor room, the door of which opens on the bridge. They will all see you come in with the stranger. Then also, it occurs to me, does not your wife's brother, the old Franc-Taupin, join you almost every evening at meals? That is an additional difficulty to be overcome."

"That is true; and I do not intend to take him into the secret, although his faults—and these are numerous with the poor soldier of adventure—are wholly counterbalanced in my eyes by his devotion to my family; he fairly worships his sister and her children."

"How, then, shall we manage this evening?"

"I shall take the proscribed man to my house as an old friend whom I met and invited to supper. As customary, my son and daughter will withdraw to their rooms after the meal, and my wife, her brother the Franc-Taupin, if he calls this evening, and I will remain alone with my guest. I shall then request my wife's brother to go out for a pot of wine in order that we close the day pleasantly. The wine is sold at a tavern near the wharf and at some little distance from my house. I shall profit by the Franc-Taupin's absence in order to apprize my wife in a few words of the secret; my guest will go up into the garret: and when my brother-in-law returns I shall tell him that our guest feared it would grow too late, and left, requesting me to present his regards to the Franc-Taupin and bid him adieu. As you see, the matter can be safely and secretly arranged."

"Yes, very well. But, Christian, there is a matter that I must seriously call your attention to. It is not an impossible thing that, despite all your precautions, the proscribed man may be discovered in your house by the police of Duprat's lieutenant; it is my duty to remind you that, in such an event, you run the risk of imprisonment, perhaps even of a severer, more terrible punishment; remember that justice can not be relied upon in these days. The ecclesiastical tribunals are implacable; it is with them—torture or death."

"Master Estienne, do you think me accessible to fear?"

"No, I know your devotion to me. But I wish you to feel sure that were it not for the strictness of the surveillance that is kept over my house, and that renders it impossible for me to offer asylum to the friend whom I entrust to you, I would not then expose you to dangers that I would otherwise be anxious myself to brave. I first thought of hiding him in my cottage at St. Ouen; that country-seat is secluded and far enough from the village. But for several reasons that I am not yet free to communicate to you, my friend should remain hidden in the very heart of Paris. I repeat it, Christian: if, however improbable, it should betide that you are put to trouble, if harm should come to you by reason of the service that you will have rendered me, your wife and your children will find protection and support in my family."

"Master Estienne, I shall never forget that my father, laboring under the shameless calumnies of the successor of the printer John Saurin, would have himself and his family died of hunger and despair but for the generous assistance of your father. Whatever I may do, never could I pay that debt of gratitude to you and yours. My modest havings and myself are at your disposal."

"My father acted like an upright man, that was all; but if you absolutely insist upon considering yourself in our debt, your noble assistance in this instance will be to us one more proof of your gratitude. But I have not yet told you all, worthy Christian. Yielding no doubt to a feeling of delicacy, you have not asked me in behalf of whom I solicited asylum with you."

"The proscribed man is worthy of your friendship; he is an apostle, Master Estienne; need I know more?"

"Without imparting to you a secret that is not mine, I feel free to inform you that this proscribed man is the bravest of the apostles of the Reformation. I owe only to your personal attachment the service that you render to me, seeing that, in granting asylum to my friend, you are not yet aware whether you are in accord with his ideas. Your generous action is dictated by your affection towards me and mine; in my turn, I now contract a debt of gratitude towards you and yours. And once upon this subject, Christian," added Master Estienne in penetrating accents, "allow me frankly to state my thoughts to you with respect to your son. We have recently talked more than once upon the worry that he caused you; I regret the circumstance doubly; I expected great things from Hervé. He has developed a variety of aptitudes in other directions besides the mechanical part of our art in which he begins to excel. The lad's precocious knowledge, his exceptional eloquence—all these qualities ranked him in my eye among that small number of men who are destined to shine in whatever career they embrace. Finally, that which enhanced with me Hervé's intellectual powers was the goodness of his heart and the straightforwardness of his character. But his habits have latterly become irregular; his one-time affectionate, open and communicative nature has undergone a change. I have hitherto refrained from letting him perceive the grief that his conduct caused me. In the midst of all this I imagine he has preserved some love and respect for me. Would you authorize me to have a serious and paternal conversation with him? It may have a salutary effect."

"I thank you, Master Estienne, for your kind offer. I am glad to be able to say that I have reasons to think that since to-day my son has turned to better thoughts; that a sudden and happy change has come over him, because—" Christian could not finish his sentence. Madam Estienne, a handsome young woman of a sweet and grave countenance, precipitately entered the shop and handing to her husband an open letter said to him in a moved voice:

"Read, my friend; as you will see, there is not a minute to lose;" and turning aside to Christian: "Can we count with you?"

"Absolutely and in all things, madam."

"There is no longer any doubt!" cried Master Estienne after he read the letter. "Our house will be searched, this very night perhaps; they are on my friend's tracks."

"I shall run for him," said Madam Estienne; "Christian and he will go out by the side street. I think the house is watched on the St. John of Beauvais Street side."

"Master Estienne," said the artisan to his employer, "in order to make assurance doubly sure I shall go down to the end of the side alley and reconnoiter whether the passage is clear; I shall explore it thoroughly."

"Go, my friend, you will find us in the small yard with the proscribed man."

Christian left the shop, crossed the small yard, drew the bolt of a door that opened into the side alley and stepped out. He found the lane completely deserted, from end to end not a soul was in sight. Although it was night there was light enough to see a long distance ahead. Having convinced himself that the issue was safe, Christian returned to the door of the yard where he found Master Estienne pressing in his own the hand of a man of middle size and clad in plain black.

"Master Estienne," said Christian to his employer, "the alley is deserted; we can go out without being seen by anyone."

"Adieu, my friend," said Master Estienne in a trembling voice to the proscribed man. "You may rely upon your guide as upon me. Follow him and observe all that he may recommend to you for your safety. May heaven protect your precious life!"

"Adieu! Adieu!" answered the unknown who seemed to be no less moved than the printer; saying which he followed Christian. After issuing from the alley and walking for a while in the direction of the Exchange Bridge, the two men arrived at a gate which they had to pass in order to cross the Cour-Dieu. At that place their progress was delayed by a compact mass of people who were gathered near the gate, in the center of which was a turnstile intended to keep horses and wagons from entering the square. Many patrolmen were seen among the crowd.

"What is the meaning of this gathering?" inquired Christian from a man of athletic carriage, with the sleeves of his shirt turned up, a blood-bespattered apron and a long knife by his side.

"St. James!" exclaimed the butcher in a tone of pious satisfaction; "the reverend Franciscan fathers of the Cour-Dieu have been struck by a good idea."

"In what way?" again Christian asked. "What is their idea? Inform us of what is going on."

"The good monks have placed upon the square in front of the door of their convent a lighted chapel at the foot of a beautiful station of the Holy Virgin, and a mendicant monk stands on either side of the statue, with a club in one hand and a purse in the other—"

"And what is the purpose of the chapel and the mendicant monks and their clubs?"

"St. James!" and the butcher crossed himself; "thanks to that chapel the Lutheran dogs can be discovered as they pass by."

"How can they be recognized?"

"If they pass before the chapel without kneeling down at the feet of the Holy Virgin, and without dropping a piece of money into the purse of the mendicant monks, it is a proof that the painim are heretics—they are immediately set upon, they are slain, they are torn to shreds. Listen! Do you hear that?"

Indeed, at that moment, piercing shrieks half drowned by an angry roar of many voices went up from the interior of the Cour-Dieu. As the turnstile allowed a passage to only one person at a time, the approaches of the square were blocked by a crowd that swelled from moment to moment and that was swayed with the ardent desire to witness the Test of the Lutherans, as the process was called. Every time that the cries of a victim ceased, the clamor subsided, and the mob awaited the next execution. The butcher resumed:

"That painim has ceased to scream—his account is settled. May the fire of St. Anthony consume those laggards who are getting so slowly through the gate! I shall not be able to witness the killing of a single one of those accursed fellows!"

"My friend," said the mysterious companion of Christian to the butcher, "those Lutherans must be very great criminals, are they not? I ask you because I am a stranger here—"

A score of voices charitably hastened to answer the unknown man, who, together with Christian was so completely hemmed in by the crowd that they had no choice but patiently to wait for their turn at the turnstile.

"Poor man, where do you come from?" said some, addressing the unknown. "What! You ask whether the Lutherans are criminals? Why, they are infamous brigands!"

And thereupon they vied with one another in citing the felonies that the reformers were guilty of:

"They read the Bible in French!"

"They do not confess!"

"They do not sing mass!"

"They believe neither in the Pope, nor the saints, nor in the virginity of Mary, nor in holy relics!"

"Nor in the blood of our Savior!—nor in the drop of milk of his holy mother!—nor in the miraculous tooth of St. Loup!"

"And what do those demons substitute for the holy mass? Abominable incantations and orgies!"

"Yes, yes—it is so!"

"I, who now speak to you, knew the son of a tailor who was once caught in the net of those ministers of the devil. I'll tell you what he saw—he told me all about it the next day. The Lutherans assembled at night—at midnight—in a large cave, men, young girls and women to celebrate their Luthery. A rich bourgeois woman, who lived on the same street with the tailor attended the incantation with her two daughters. When all the canting hypocrites were assembled, their priest donned a robe of goatskin with a headgear of spreading oxhorns; he then took a little child, spread the poor little fellow upon a table lighted by two tall wax candles, and, while the other heretics sang their psalms in French, interspersed with magical invocations, their priest cut the child's throat!"

"The assassins! The monsters! The demons!"

"The priest of Lucifer thereupon gathered the child's blood in a vase and sprinkled the assembly with the warm gore! He then tore out the child's heart and ate it up! That closed the celebration of the Luthery."

"Holy St. James, and shall we not bleed these sons of Satan to the last man?" cried the butcher, carrying his hand to his knife, while the proscribed man exchanged significant glances with Christian and remarked to those standing near him:

"Can such monstrosities be possible? Could such things have happened?"

"Whether they are possible! Why, Brother St. Lawrence-on-the-gridiron, a reverend Carmelite who is my confessor, told me, Marotte, there never was an assembly of those heretics held without at least one or two little children being sacrificed."

"Jesus, God! Everybody knows that," pursued the first narrator; "the tailor's son that I am talking about witnessed the heretical orgy; he saw everything with his own eyes; then, after the Lutherans had been sprinkled with the child's blood as a sort of baptism, their priest spoke up and said: 'Now, take off your clothes, and pray to God in our fashion. Long live hell and the Luthery!' As soon as he said this, he put out the two wax candles, whereupon all the he and she canting hypocrites, with as much clothing on as Adam and Eve, men, women and young girls, all thrown helter-skelter in the dark—well, you understand—it is an abomination!"[9]

"What a horror! Malediction upon them!"

"Mercy! May God protect us from such heretics!"

"Confession! Such infamies portend the end of the world!"

"Brother St. Lawrence-on-the-gridiron, the reverend Carmelite friar, my confessor, told me, Marotte, that all the Lutheries closed in the same fashion. The good father felt so indignant that he gave me accurate details upon the devilish heretics; they were details that made my cheeks burn red and hot like a piece of coal."

These snatches of reports, that summed up the stupid and atrocious calumnies spread about by the monks against the reformers, were interrupted by new shrieks and vociferations that went up from the Cour-Dieu. Listening with secret disgust and silent indignation to the calumnious indignities that were huckstered about by an ignorant and credulous populace, Christian and the unknown man in his charge had followed the stream of the crowd, and presently found themselves under the vault of the gate that led to the square, whence they could take in at a glance what was happening there. A sort of altar lighted with wax candles rose in front of the main entrance to the Franciscan Convent; a life-sized statue of the Virgin wrought in wood and gorgeously attired in a robe of gold brocade and with her face painted like a picture, surmounted the altar. Several Franciscan monks, among whom Christian recognized Fra Girard were stationed near the lighted chapel. Two of them, holding large velvet purses in their hands, were posted one on either side of the statue. A large crowd of tattered men and women, of cynical, repulsive or brutal countenances, all armed with clubs and grouped near the door of the convent, stood waiting for the moment when, at a signal from the monks, they were to rush upon the ill-starred passer-by who was designated as suspected of heresy. Each passer-by had inevitably to cross the square at only a slight distance from the statue of the Virgin. If they knelt down before it and dropped their alms into the purse of the mendicant friars, no danger threatened them. But if they failed to fulfil this act of devotion, the ferocious band that stood in waiting would be let loose at the signal from the monks, and would rush upon the Lutheran, beat him with their sticks, and not infrequently leave him lying dead upon the square. All the persons who were just ahead of Christian and the unknown man proceeded straight to the altar, and either out of fear or out of piety knelt down before the image of the Virgin and then rose and deposited their offerings in the purse held out by the Franciscans. A man, still young but frail and short of stature, behind whom Christian stood, said to himself in an undertone just as he was about to thread the turnstile and emerge into the square:

"I am a Catholic, but by the blood of God! I prefer to be cut to pieces rather than submit to such extortion. May the devil take the monks!"

"You will be wrong," said Christian to him in a low voice. "I revolt as much as you at the indignity. But what is to be done against force? Submit to the ignominy."

"I shall protest at the peril of my life! Such excesses dishonor religion," the man answered Christian, and stepping out of the gate into the square with a firm step, he crossed the place without turning his head in the direction of the altar. Hardly, however, had he passed by when the tattered mob who stood near the monks, ready at the latters' beck, rushed forward in pursuit of the unhappy fellow; they overtook him, surrounded, and bawled at him: "Heretic!" "Lutheran!" "He insults the image of the mother of the Savior!" "Down on your knees!" "The canting hypocrite!" "Down on your knees!" "Death to the heretic!"

While these fanatics surrounded their victim, Christian said to his companion:

"Let us profit by the tumult to escape from these ferocious beasts; unfortunately it were idle to seek to snatch that senseless but stout-hearted man from the clutches of his assailants."

Christian and the unknown man in turn stepped out of the gate into the square and were hurriedly walking towards the opposite issue without stopping at the altar when, being caught sight of by the monks, the latter cried out:

"There go two other heretics! They are trying to escape without kneeling before the holy Virgin! Stop them! Bring them back and make them empty their purses!"

The voices of the Franciscans did not reach the ears of the demoniac pack, greedy as it was for its prey; they emitted savage yells as they beat to death, not a heretic, but a Catholic, whose sin consisted in refusing to submit to an adoration imposed upon him in a brutal manner, and which he otherwise would cheerfully have complied with. After the unhappy fellow had bravely defended himself with his cane, the only weapon that he carried, he was finally overwhelmed by numbers and fell livid, bleeding, and almost unconscious upon the pavement. A horrid-looking shrew seized him by the hair and while she dragged the almost lifeless body towards the altar other dastards from the dregs of the mob struck him in the face with their feet.

"Mercy!" cried the unhappy fellow in a faint voice. "Jesus!—My God!—Have pity upon me!—They are murdering a good Catholic!"

These were the brave fellow's last words. His voice was soon heard no more. The butcher with whom Christian had exchanged a few words ran towards and joined the assassin mob. He piously knelt down before the statue of the Virgin, then rose, drew his knife, and brandishing it in the air cried:

"St. James! Let me bleed the damned Lutheran! It will be worth an indulgence to me! You know, bleeding is my profession!"

The sanguinary sally was received with loud outbursts of laughter; room was made for the butcher near the bleeding body; he squatted upon its still palpitating chest, slashed his knife through the prostrate man's throat, cut the head from the trunk, seized it by the hair, and, holding up the shocking trophy to the gaze of the mob, he cried with wild ecstasy:

"The heretic dog would not bow down before the mother of the Savior—he shall now plant his forehead on the pavement at her feet!"

So said, so done. Followed by the demented band at his heels, the butcher ran back to the altar, holding the livid head in his hands, red and streaming with the warm blood of the victim; he knelt down himself, and slammed the head face down upon the ground at the feet of Mary, amidst the savage acclaim of his fellow assassins, all of whom piously threw themselves down upon their knees like himself.

"Oh, monsieur, this is frightful!" murmured Christian suffocating for breath as his companion and he stepped out of the square. "To think that such horrors are perpetrated in the name of the benign mother of Christ! Oh, the wretches, as stupid as they are bloodthirsty!"

"Ignorance, misery and fanaticism!—that is their excuse. Let us not blame these unhappy people; they are what the monks have made them," answered the unknown with a bitter and desolate smile. "Oh, these monks, these monks! When will society be finally purged of the infernal breed!"

Christian and his companion hastened their steps towards the artisan's house, nor dared they to turn and look behind.



"Fear not; I have a certain means of regaining the good graces of my family"—such were among the last words said by Hervé to Fra Girard as they stepped out of the Church of St. Dominic, where he purchased the letter of indulgence that absolved him in advance from all his future misdeeds. Hervé was, alas! true to his promise. Back long in advance of his father that evening under the paternal roof, he pursued his plan of infernal hypocrisy, and succeeded in awaking in his mother's breast the same hopes for the better that he awoke in the breast of Christian. Seeing Hervé pray her feelingly to suspend her judgment with regard to himself on the theft that he was suspected of; seeing him admit that, however late, he now realized the fatal effect of a dangerous influence over himself; finally, seeing her son respond with unexpected effusiveness to the affectionate greeting of his sister, Bridget said to herself, as Christian had done: "Let us hope; Hervé is returning to better sentiments; the painful conversation of last night has borne its fruit; our remonstrances have had a salutary effect upon him; the principles that we have inculcated in him, will regain their sway. Let us hope!"

With a heart, now as brimful of joy as it was of distress on the previous evening, the happy mother busied herself with preparing the evening meal. No less joyful than Bridget at the return of Hervé's tenderness, Hena was radiant with happiness, and the sentiment enhanced her beauty. Barely in her seventeenth year, lithesome and generously built, the young girl wore her golden-blonde hair braided in two strands coiled over her head and crowning her blooming cheeks. The gentleness of her features, that were of angelic beauty, would have inspired the divine Raphael Sanzio. White as a lily, she had a lily's chaste splendor; candor and kindness stood out clear in the azure of her eyes. Often did those eyes rest upon that naughty yet so dearly beloved brother, of whom the poor child had feared she was disliked. Seated beside him, and engaged at some needle-work, she now felt herself, as in former days, filled with sweet confidence in Hervé, while the latter, once more affectionate and jovial as ever before, entertained himself pleasantly with his sister. By a tacit accord, neither made any allusion to the recent and painful past, and chatted as familiarly as if their fraternal intimacy had never suffered the slightest jar. Despite his self-control and profound powers of dissimulation, Hervé was ill at ease; he felt the necessity of speaking, and sought distraction in the sound of words in order to escape the obsession of his secret thoughts. He rambled at haphazard from one subject to the other. Brother and sister were thus engaged as Bridget absented herself for a moment on the floor above in pursuit of some household duty.

"Hervé," the young girl was saying to her brother, thoughtfully, "your account interests me greatly. How old would you take that monk to be?"

"I could not tell; perhaps twenty-five."

"He had a face that was at once handsome, sad and benign, did he not? His beard is of a somewhat lighter hue than his auburn hair; his eyes are black, and he is very pale; he has a sympathetic countenance."

While thus chatting with her brother, Hena proceeded to sew and could not notice the expression of surprise that Hervé's face betrayed. His feelings notwithstanding, he answered:

"That is a very accurate description. One must have observed a person very attentively in order to preserve so life-like a picture of him. But what induces you to believe that the monk in question is the handsome auburn-haired monk, whose picture you have just sketched?"

"Why, did you not just tell me, dear brother, that you recently witnessed a touching action of which a monk was the author? Well, it struck me that probably he was the friar that I described. But proceed with the story."

"But who is that monk? Where did you see him? How did you happen to know him?" Hervé interrogated his sister in short, set words, inspired by an ill-suppressed agonizing feeling of jealousy. The naïve girl, however, mistaking the sentiment that prompted her brother's question, answered him merrily:

"Oh! Oh! Seigneur Hervé, you are very inquisitive. First finish your story; I shall tell you afterwards."

Affecting a pleasant tone, Hervé replied as he cast upon his sister a sharp and penetrating look: "Oh! Oh! Mademoiselle Hena, you twit me with being inquisitive, but, it seems to me, that you are no less so. Never mind, I shall accommodate you. Well, as I was saying, when passing this morning by the porch of St. Merry's Church, I saw a crowd gathered, and I inquired the reason. I was answered that a babe, six months old at the most, had been left over night at the portal of the church."

"Poor little creature!"

"At that moment a young monk parted the crowd, took up the child in his arms, and with tears in his eyes and his face marked with touching compassion, he warmed with his breath the numb hands of the poor little waif, wrapped the baby carefully in one of the long sleeves of his robe, and disappeared as happy as if he carried away a treasure. The crowd applauded, and I heard some people around me say that the monk belonged to the Order of the Augustinians and was called Brother St. Ernest-Martyr."

"Why 'Martyr'—and he so charitable?"

"You do not seem to know, sister, that when taking orders a monk renounces his family names and assumes the name of some saint—such as St. Peter-in-bonds, or St. Sebastian-pierced-with-arrows, or St. Lawrence-on-the-gridiron, or St. Anthony-with-the-pig—"

"Oh, what mournful names! They make one shudder. But the last one is really grotesque."

"Well," proceeded Hervé, without detaching his prying eyes from Hena, "Brother St. Ernest-Martyr was hastily walking away with his precious burden when I heard someone remark:

"'I am quite sure the good monk will take the poor little one to Mary La Catelle'—"

"I thought so!" exclaimed Hena ingenuously; "I knew it was he; it is my monk!"

"How, your monk?" asked Bridget smiling, her heart dilating with joy as she descended the stairs and saw her son and daughter engaged in cordial conversation as was their former wont. "Of what monk are you talking, Hena, with so much unction?"

"Do you not know, mother, La Catelle and her school? Do you remember that charming woman?"

"Certainly, I do. I remember the young widow Mary La Catelle. The school that she founded for poor children is a work of touching charity, which, however, also owes a good deal to John Dubourg, the linen draper of St. Denis Street, and to another rich bourgeois, Monsieur Laforge. They both generously sustain La Catelle and her sister Martha, the wife of Poille, the architect, who shares with her the maternal cares that she bestows upon poor orphans whom she takes up in her house—a place which has justly earned the name of 'the house of God'."

"Do you remember, mother," Hena proceeded with her reminiscences, "that when we went to the house of La Catelle, it happened to be school hour?"

"Yes, an Augustinian monk was instructing a group of children who stood around him or sat at his feet, and some were seated on his knees."

"Well mother, I listened to the monk as he was explaining to the children the parable of: 'Wicked are they who live on the milk of a sheep, who clothe themselves in her fleece, and yet leave the poor beast without pasture.' He uttered upon that subject words imprinted with such sweet and tender charity, and yet so easy for the intelligence of children to grasp, that tears came to my eyes."

"And I shared your sister's emotion, Hervé," replied Bridget, addressing her son, who, silent and absorbed in his own thoughts, had dropped out of the conversation. "You can not imagine with what charming benignity the young monk instructed those little ones; he measured his words to their intelligence, in order to indoctrinate them with the simple and pure evangelical morality. Mary La Catelle assured us that his knowledge was no less than his virtue."

Two raps at the street door from without interrupted the conversation.

"At last!" said Bridget to Hervé. "This is surely your father. The streets are not quite safe at night. I prefer to see him indoors. I hardly think we shall see my brother this evening. The hour for supper is long gone by," observed Bridget, stepping towards her husband, to whom Hervé had opened the house door.

Christian came in accompanied with the unknown personage, a young man of, however, a striking countenance by reason of its expression of deliberate firmness. His black eyes, instinct with intelligence and fire, were set so close that they imparted a singular character to his pale and austere visage. At the sight of the unexpected visitor Bridget made a gesture of surprise.

"Dear wife," said Christian, "I have brought Monsieur John along for supper. He is an old friend whom I accidentally met to-day."

"He is welcome to our house," answered Bridget, while the two children looked at the stranger with curiosity. As was her custom, Hena embraced her father affectionately; but Hervé, looking at him with a timid and repentant eye, seemed doubtful whether to follow his sister's example. The artisan opened his arms to his son and whispered in his ear as he pressed him to his heart:

"I have not forgotten your fair promises of this morning," and turning to his guest: "This is my family—my daughter is an embroiderer, like her mother; my eldest son is, like myself, a printer in Monsieur Robert Estienne's workshop; my second son, who is apprenticed to an armorer, is now traveling in Italy. Thanks to God our children are wise and industrious, and deserve to be loved as my worthy wife and I love them."

"May the blessing of God continue upon your family," answered Monsieur John in an affectionate voice, while Hena and her brother arranged the covers and set upon the table the dishes that had been prepared for the family meal.

"Bridget," said Christian, "where is your brother?"

"I had just been wondering at his absence, my friend; I would feel uneasy, if it were not that I rely upon his bravery, his long sword—in short, upon his general appearance, which is not exactly attractive to sneaking night thieves," added Bridget with a smile. "Neither Tire-Laines nor Guilleris will be very anxious to attack a Franc-Taupin. We need not wait for him; if he comes he will know how to make up for lost time at table, and will take double mouthfuls."

The family and their guest sat down to table, with Monsieur John placed between Christian and Bridget. Addressing her, he said:

"Such order and exquisite propriety reigns in this house, madam, that the housekeeper deserves to be complimented."

"Household duties are a pleasure to me and to my daughter, monsieur; order and cleanliness are the only luxuries that we, poor people, can indulge in."

"Sancta simplicitas!" said the stranger, and he proceeded with a smile: "It is a good and old motto—Holy simplicity. You will pardon me, madam, for having spoken in Latin. It was an oversight on my part."

"By the way of Latin," put in the artisan, addressing his wife, "did Lefevre drop in during the day?"

"No, my friend; I am as much surprised as yourself at the increasing rareness of his calls; formerly few were the days that he did not visit us; perhaps he is sick, or absent from Paris. I shall inquire after him to-morrow."

"Lefevre is a learned Latinist," said Christian, addressing Monsieur John; "he is one of my oldest friends; he teaches at the University. He is a rough and tough mountaineer from Savoy. But under his rude external appearance beats an excellent heart. We think very highly of him."

Christian was about to proceed when he was interrupted by the following ditty that came from the street, and was sung by a sonorous voice:

"A Franc-Taupin had an ash-tree bow,
All eaten with worms, and all knotted its cord;
His arrow was made out of paper, and plumed,
And tipped at the end with a capon's spur.
Derideron, vignette on vignon! Derideron!"

"It is uncle! His favorite song announces him!" said Hena joyfully, as she rose to open the house-door.



Josephin, Bridget's brother, surnamed Tocquedillon the Franc-Taupin, stepped into the room. A soldier of adventure since his fifteenth year, he had run away from the paternal home, and soon thereafter enrolled with the Franc-Taupins, a sort of irregular militia, whose duty it was to dig the trenches intended to cover the approaches of the assailants at the siege of a city. These mercenary soldiers were named "Franc-Taupins" because, like the franc archers, they were "frank" or free from taxation, and because their underground work bore great resemblance to that of the taupe—mole. Once out of their trenches, the saying was, the Franc-Taupins displayed but little courage. Whether justly or unjustly, the poltroonery of the Franc-Taupin became proverbial, as evidenced by the favorite song of Bridget's brother. This personage, however, was anything but a poltroon. Just the reverse. After he had twice or three times turned up the earth at as many sieges, he disdained to belong to a corps of such cowardly renown, and enrolled in another irregular militia, one that stood in general dread—the Adventurers or Pendards, of whom a contemporaneous writer drew the following and, unfortunately, but too truthful picture:

"What a vagabond, flagitious, murderous set are these Pendards! They are deniers of God, ravishing wolves, violators of women, devourers of the people! They drive the good man out of his house, empty his pot of wine and sleep in his bed. Their garb matches their disorderly habits. They wear shirts with long sleeves, open in front and exposing their hirsute chests; their streaked hose do not cover their flesh; their calves are left bare and they carry their socks in their belts for fear of wearing them out. Poultry trembles in the hen-coops at their approach, and so does bacon in the pantry. Brawling, roistering, audacious, ever with their mouths wide open, they love nothing better than to guzzle in company the wine that they have jointly stolen."

Despite his intrepidity in war, and without resembling at all points this picture of the Pendards, Tocquedillon the Franc-Taupin, preserved strong features of the same. For all that, however, he adored, venerated his sister, and from the moment that he sat down at her hearth he would seem metamorphosed. Nothing in either his words or his conduct would then recall the audacious adventurer. Timid, affectionate, realizing how unbecoming the slang of the tavern or of even worse places would be in the presence of Bridget's children, of whom he was as fond as of her herself, he always controlled himself and never uttered in their presence any but decorous language. For Christian he had as much love as respect. As the saying goes, he would have gone through fire for the family. The Franc-Taupin was at this time about thirty years of age; he was lean, bony and about six feet high. Scarred with innumerable wounds, and partly blinded in battle, he wore a large black patch over his left eye. He kept his hair close cropped, his beard cut into a point under his chin, and his moustache twisted upward. His nose was pimply through excessive indulgence in wine, and his thick-lipped mouth, slit from ear to ear, exposed two rows of desultory shark's teeth every time that, as a true roisterer, he gave a loose to his imperturbable mirthfulness.

The moment he stepped into the room, the Franc-Taupin deposited his old and weather-beaten sword in a corner, embraced his sister and her two children, shook hands cordially with Christian, bowed respectfully to the unknown man, and timidly took his usual place at the family table.

Christian came to the relief of his brother-in-law's embarrassment and said to him jovially:

"We would have felt uneasy at your absence, Josephin, if we did not know that you are of those who, with their swords at their side, defy the world and are able to defend themselves against all assailants."

"Oh, brother, the best sword in the world will not protect one against a surprise; the surprise that I have just experienced has knocked me down. As my surprise tastes strongly of salt, I am dying with thirst—allow me to empty a cup." After his cup was emptied the Franc-Taupin proceeded with a scared look: "By the bowels of St. Quenet, what did I see! I'm quite certain that I am not deceived; I have only one eye left, but it is good for two. By all the devils, I saw him! I saw him distinctly! A singular encounter!"

"Whom did you see, Josephin?"

"I saw, just now, just before nightfall, here, in Paris, Captain Don Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish nobleman—a devil of a fighter and an inveterate lover of amorous adventures—a terrible man."

At the mentioning of Ignatius Loyola's name the guest at Christian's table shuddered, while Christian himself asked the Franc-Taupin:

"But who is that Spanish captain the sight of whom in Paris affects you so greatly?"

"Did you really know the man?" inquired Monsieur John in an accent of deep interest. "Did you know Ignatius Loyola personally?"

"I should think I did! I was his page."

"And so, Loyola was a captain?" again inquired Monsieur John, more and more interested in what the Franc-Taupin said. "You must, then, have some information on the man's life, his character, his habits. Please tell us something about him."

"By the bowels of St. Quenet! I was continuously with him for three whole months! By all the devils, I never left his side, either day or night!"

"What were his morals?"

"Oh! Oh! friend guest, I would not like to answer that question in my sister's presence—it is too racy a story."

"Friend Christian," said Monsieur John, "I notice that you are surprised at my curiosity concerning the Spanish captain. You will some day understand that the information in question interests you as well. It will be an interesting history for you to know."

"Hena, Hervé," said the artisan, "supper is nearly ended, my children; it is growing late; you may retire."

"And I," put in Bridget, "have some embroidery to finish; I shall go upstairs and work at it with Hena; I shall come down later and put away the dishes. You can call for me, Christian, if you need anything. You and Josephin can entertain our guest."

Hervé embraced his father with an affectation of increased tenderness, and withdrew to his bedroom; Bridget and her daughter went upstairs. The unknown man and Christian remained alone with the Franc-Taupin, and the latter proceeded, laughing:

"My sister and her children being out of the way, my tongue is at freedom. Tell me, brother, did you ever hear the story of the greyhound? The handsomest bitches sighed after him; he remained insensible to all their tender growls; one day a monk's frock was thrown upon him, and he immediately became as amorous as one possessed. Well, Captain Loyola was as possessed for love adventures as the greyhound in the story, without, however, having need of a monk's frock to give him the start; and—but I was almost forgetting. Do you know, brother, in whose company I saw the fire-eater and hell-rake this evening? With your friend Lefevre."

Christian remained for an instant speechless with astonishment; and turning to Monsieur John, he said:

"I must admit that great is my astonishment. Lefevre, whose name I mentioned to you before, is an austere man, wholly absorbed in scientific pursuits and in study. What can he have in common with the Spanish libertine? I am unable to explain the mystery."

"If you are surprised, brother, no less so am I," replied the Franc-Taupin. "Captain Loyola, whom fourteen or fifteen years ago I knew as the handsomest, gayest and most dissolute of cavaliers, dressed in velvets, silks and lace, looks to-day as tattered as any tramp or starving beggar. The transformation is so radical, that I never would have thought of looking for my frisky Spanish captain under the black smock-frock of a halepopin, had it not been for Lefevre, who, stopping me near the booths of the market place, which I was then crossing, inquired after you. It was then that I looked more attentively at his seedy companion and recognized—Don Ignatius!"

"The man's relations astonish me so much, Josephin, that I am no less impatient than our guest to hear you."

"Well, it was in the year 1521, during the siege of Pampeluna," the adventurer began, "and shortly after my enrollment with the Franc-Taupins. I was digging a trench with them before the place; we were throwing up the earth like veritable moles. The Spaniards made a sortie in order to destroy our works. At the first shot of the Spanish arquebuses, all my companions threw themselves flat down, with their noses in the hole. Their cowardice angered me. I took up my pick and rushed into the melee, plying my improvised weapon upon the Spaniards. A blow with a mace over my head knocked me down half dead. When I recovered consciousness I found myself lying upon the battle field among several of our men, all prisoners like myself. A company of Spanish arquebusiers surrounded us. Their captain, with the visor of his casque raised and mounted upon a Moorish horse as black as ebony, the housings of which were of red velvet embroidered with silver, was wiping his long, blood-stained sword upon the animal's mane. The captain was Don Ignatius Loyola. Moustache turned up in Castilian style, goatee, an olive complexion, intrepid mien, haughty and martial bearing—such was his portrait. He had noticed me pounding his soldiers with my pick, and took a fancy both to my pick and my youth. When he saw that I had regained consciousness, he started to laugh and addressed me in French: 'Will you be my page? Your wideawake face denotes an intelligent scapegrace; I shall furnish you a silver-embroidered red livery and a ducat a month, and you can eat your fill at my residence.' Oh, brother, an offer to eat my fill, to me whose stomach had long been as hollow as the barrel of St. Benoit and as open as an advocate's purse! The prospect of putting on a beautiful silver-embroidered livery, when my hose had for some time been reporting to me from which corner the wind blew! The thought of pocketing every month a ducat, when all my earnings during the whole campaign had so far been a wooden bowl that I plundered somewhere, and that I used for a hat! In token of glad acceptance I seized my pick that lay near me, threw it as far away as I could, and I told Don Ignatius that I accepted, and would follow him to the very devil's residence. The long and short of the affair was that I entered Pampeluna with my new master."

"I feel more and more mystified," interjected Christian; "what service could a page, ignorant of the country's language, render to Don Ignatius?"

"The devil take it! That was the very reason why I was employed by the cunning slyboots of a Don Ignatius. No sooner did I arrive at his residence, than an old majordomo, the only one of his men who spoke French, rigged me up in new clothes, from my feet to my head,—puffed hose of red velvet, white satin jacket, short cloak with silver trimmings, ruffs and bonnet after the Spanish style. Thus behold me, brother, attired as a genuine court page. In those days I had both my eyes—two luminaries of deviltry, besides the cunning nose of a fox cub. Thus dressed up in spick and span dashing new clothes, the majordomo led me to Captain Loyola, 'Do you know,' he asked me, 'why I take you, a Frenchman, for my page? It is because, as you do not know Spanish, you can not choose but be discreet towards the people in my house and those outside.'"

"That is not badly planned," remarked Christian; "Don Ignatius had, I suppose, many amorous secrets to conceal?"

"By the bowels of St. Quenet! I knew him to have as many as three sweethearts at a time: a charming merchant's wife, a haughty marchioness, and a bedeviled gipsy girl, the most beautiful daughter of Bohemia that ever trilled a tambourine. But Captain Loyola, a veritable Franc-Taupin in matters of love, courted behind concealed trenches. He reveled in mystery. 'What is not known does not exist' was, with him, a favorite maxim that the old majordomo, his master's echo, often repeated to me."

"'What is not known does not exist,'" repeated Monsieur John pensively. "Yes, judging by the motto, the man must be just what he has been described to me to be."

"Just listen," Josephin proceeded; "I shall describe to you the experiences that I made the first evening that I served Don Ignatius as page. You will then be able to judge of the scamp's calibre. A fifteen-days' truce was agreed upon between the French and the Spaniards, as a result of the sortie at which I was taken prisoner. As a longheaded man, Captain Loyola proposed to profit by the truce in his amorous intrigues. Towards midnight he summoned me to his side. The devil! If the fellow looked martial in battle outfit, he looked frisky in his court costume! A jacket slashed with gold-embroidered velvet, puffed hose of white satin, shoes turned like a crawfish, plumed bonnet, a gold bejeweled chain on his neck! What shall I say? He shone and glittered, and besides, smelled of balsam! A veritable muskrat! He hands for me to carry a silken ladder and a guitar; takes his dagger and sword; and wraps himself up to the eyes in a taffeta mantle of light yellow. The old majordomo opens a secret door to us; we issue out of the house; after crossing a few narrow streets, we arrive at a deserted little square. My master glides under a balcony that is shut with lattices, takes the guitar from my hands, and there you have him warbling his roundelay. In response to the carol of the moustachioed nightingale, one of the shutters of the balcony opens slightly, and a bouquet of pomegranate blossoms drops at our feet. Don Ignatius picks it up, extracts from amidst the flowers a little note concealed among them, and gives me the guitar together with the bouquet to hold for him. I imagined our evening performance concluded. By the bowels of St. Quenet, it had only commenced! Don Ignatius fanned the sparks of his libidinousness with his guitarade, on the same principle that one fans the sparks of his thirst by chewing on a pork-rind dipped in mustard. But by the way of thirst, brother, let us imbibe that pot; appetite comes with eating, but thirst goes with drinking. He who drinks without being thirsty drinks for the thirst that is to come. Thirst is an animal's quality, but to crave for drink is a quality of man. By St Pansard and St. Goguelu, let's moisten, let's moisten our whistles! Our tongues will dry up soon enough! Unhappy Shrove-Tuesday, the patron of pots and sausages—and the devil take the Pope and all his friarhood!"

"Josephin," said Christian, smiling and filling the Franc-Taupin's cup, as he broke into the midst of the latter's flow of bacchic invocations, "I know you to be an expert in the matter of quaffing, but our guest and myself are more curious about the end of your story."

"God's head! As truly as the mere shadow of a Carmelite convent is enough to cure any woman of sterility, I shall not allow the end of the adventure of Don Ignatius to drown at the bottom of this cup! There, it is now empty!"

Saying this, the Franc-Taupin passed the back of his hand over his moustache, moist with wine, wiped it dry, and proceeded:

"Well, as I was saying, after his guitarade, Don Ignatius proceeded with his nocturnal adventure on the streets of Pampeluna. We moved away, and pulled up next before a pretentious dwelling. My master plants himself under a balcony at some distance from the main entrance; passes his long sword over to me to keep with the guitar, and retains no weapon other than his dagger; he then disengages himself of his mantle also, which he throws over my arm and says to me: 'You will hold the lower end of the ladder while I climb up to the balcony; you will then keep a sharp lookout near the door of this house; if you see anyone go in, you will run quickly under this window and clap your hands twice; I shall hear your signal.' This being agreed upon, Don Ignatius himself claps his hands three times. Immediately thereupon I see through the darkness of the night, a white form lean over the balustrade and drop us a cord. My master ties his ladder to it; the white form draws it up; the upper end of the ladder is fastened to the balcony; I steady it by holding the lower rung in my hands; and there you have Captain Loyola clambering up nimbly and light of heel, like a tom-cat running over a roof-pipe. As to myself, no less distressed than the dog of the cook who is turning the roast on the spit over a fire, and looks at the savory meat out of the corner of his eyes without partaking of it, I run and place myself in ambush near the door. The devil! A few minutes later, what is that I see? Several seigneurs, lighted by lackeys with torches in their hands turn into the street. One of them walks straight to the door near which I stand on the watch, and enters the house where my master is regaling himself. Obedient to the watchword, but forgetting that the flames of the torches are lighting me, I run to the balcony and clap my hands twice. By the bowels of St. Quenet, I am perceived! Two lackeys seize me at the moment when, notified by my signal, Captain Loyola is straddling the balustrade in order to descend into the street. He is recognized by the light of the torches. 'It is he!' 'There he is!' cry the seigneurs who stand in a bunch in the street. Although discovered, Don Ignatius glides bravely down the ladder, touches ground and calls: 'Halloa, there, page, my sword!' 'Don Ignatius of Loyola, I am Don Alonzo, the brother of Donna Carmen,' says one of the cavaliers. 'I am ready to give you satisfaction,' answers the captain proudly. But by the bowels of St. Quenet, it was with Don Ignatius's duels as with his amorous appointments: before the one was well finished the next commenced. Suddenly, the man whom I had seen enter the house, in short, the husband, Don Hercules Luga, appeared at the balcony; he held a bleeding sword in his hand. He leans forward into the street and cries: 'Friends, justice is done to the woman! There now remains justice to be done to her accomplice. Hold him. I am coming down!'"

"Poor woman!" said Christian. "The death that he was the cause of must have horrified the libertine."

"Him? The devil! Horrified at so little? Judge for yourself. At the moment he learned of the death of his inamorata he receives his sword from the hands of Don Alonzo, who had taken it away from me. Don Ignatius pricks its point into the tip of his shoe, and without winking bends the blade in order to satisfy himself on its temper. That shows how frightened he was at the death of his lady-love. The husband, Don Hercules, comes out of the house, steps up to my master and says to him: 'Don Ignatius of Loyola, I received you as a friend at my hearth; you have led my wife astray; you are a felon, unworthy of knighthood!' And what do you imagine, brother, is the answer that Captain Loyola made to that? If you can guess, I shall be willing to die of thirst. But no; a pox on these funereal prognostics! I prefer to drink, to drink until my soles sweat wine!"

"Proceed, Josephin; proceed with your story."

"'Don Hercules,' answers Captain Loyola loftily, 'in leading Carmen astray, it was not your woman[10] that I led astray, but a woman, as any other! You insult me by accusing me of a felony. You shall pay dearly, and on the spot, for such an insult. I shall kill you like a dog.'"

"Did you grasp that? Can you imagine a more odious subtlety?" asked Christian of Monsieur John. "What a hypocritical distinction! The libertine seduced the unfortunate woman, but not his friend's wife—only the woman, as a woman! Just God, such subtle quibbling! and that while his victim's corpse is still warm!"

"That is, indeed, the man as he has been described to me," repeated the guest, with a pensive air. "What I am learning is a revelation to me."

"The issue of the duel could not be doubtful," proceeded the Franc-Taupin. "Captain Loyola enjoyed the reputation of being the most skilful swordsman in Spain. He fully deserved his reputation. Don Hercules drops dead upon the ground. Don Alonzo endeavors to avenge his sister and brother-in-law, but the young man is readily disarmed by Don Ignatius, who, raising his sword, says: 'Your life belongs to me; you have insulted me by sharing the unworthy suspicions of Don Hercules, who accused me of having betrayed his friendship. But go in peace, young man, repent your evil thoughts—I pardon you!' After which Captain Loyola repaired to the gypsy girl and spent with her the rest of the night. I heard the two (always like the cook's dog) laugh, sing and carouse, clinking their glasses filled with Spanish wine. We returned home at dawn. Now tell me, brother Christian, what do you think of the gallant? You may judge by the experience of that night the number of pretty women whom the captain Loyolized!"

"Oh, the man's infernal hypocrisy only deepens the blackness of his debaucheries and swordsman's prowess!"

Absorbed in his private thoughts, Monsieur John remained in a brown study. Presently he said to the Franc-Taupin:

"You followed Loyola to war. Was the captain's regiment well disciplined? How did he treat his soldiers?"

"His soldiers? By the bowels of St. Quenet! Imagine, not men, but iron statues, that, with but a gesture, a wink of his eye, Don Ignatius either moved or petrified, as he chose. Broken in and harnessed to his command like so many machines, he said: 'Go!'—and they went, not only into battle but whithersoever he ordered. They were no longer themselves, but he. What the devil, Captain Loyola controlled men and women like horses—by the identical methods."

"What methods, let us hear them, Josephin."

"Well, one day a wild stallion of Cordova was brought to him; the animal was savage, a veritable demon; two strong stablemen were hardly able to hold him by the halter. Don Ignatius ordered the wild beast to be taken to a small enclosed yard, and remained there alone with him. I was outside, behind the gate. First I heard the stallion neigh with fury, then with pain, and then there was silence. Two hours later Captain Loyola issued from the yard mounted on the animal which steamed with foam and still trembled with fear, but as docile as a curate's mule."

"That is wonderful!" cried Christian. "Was the man possessed of a magic charm with which to curb wild beasts?"

"Exactly so, brother, and his talisman consisted in a set of reins so fearfully and skilfully contrived that, if the horse yielded passive obedience to the hand that guided him, he felt no pain whatever; but at the slightest show of resistance, Captain Loyola set in motion a certain steel saw contrivance supplied with sharp points and fastened in the bit. Immediately the animal would neigh with pain, remain motionless and sink down upon his haunches, whereupon Don Ignatius would pat it with his hand and give it some cream cakes. By the bowels of St. Quenet! Iron reins and cream cakes—this was the trick wherewith the captain Loyolized men, women and horses!"

"And did his soldiers love him, despite his inflexible yoke?" asked Monsieur John.

"Did they love him? The devil! Do you forget the cream cakes? Puddings, sausages, capons, fatted geese, pouches filled with Val-de-Peñas wine, gay wenches, high jinks in the barracks; in the enemy's country, free pillage, free rape, fire, blood and sack, and long live the saturnalia! These were the cream cakes of Captain Loyola. Whenever occasion required, he would treat his soldiers to these dainties out of his own pocket like a magnificent seigneur; but to allow his soldiers to reflect, to think, to reason, to will?—Never! To ask why this and why that? Never! 'Kill,' the captain would say, and the response was: 'Listen, he says kill—we kill!' But it is your friend, your brother, your father, your sister, your mother that he orders you to kill. 'Makes no difference, he said kill—we kill, and we kill;' and then come the cream cakes and more cream cakes, otherwise the reins begin to play, and they play so severely—clubbings, strappings, croppings of ears, hanging by the limbs and other devices of the devil. 'Our dear master,' often did the old majordomo say to me, 'our dear master is everything to all of us, provided all of us let him have his own will untrammeled; omnipotence is the secret joy of the dear Don Ignatius; to possess a woman, curb a mettlesome horse, manoeuvre his men of iron as one bends a reed—that is his enjoyment! He delights in absorbing souls. As to bodies, he fondles, caresses, indulges, dandles, fattens and greases them—provided they move at his will.' It is ever so, he who holds the soul holds the body."

Christian hesitated to believe the account of the Franc-Taupin; he could hardly give credence to the monstrous description. Monsieur John looked less surprised, but more alarmed. He said to Josephin, who, having wished to help himself to some more wine, sighed at finding the pot empty:

"But by what combination of circumstances could Ignatius Loyola, such as you described him to us and such as, I do believe, he was, metamorphose himself to the extent of coming here, to Paris, and seat himself on the benches of the Montaigu College among the youngest of the students?"

"What!" cried Christian, stupefied. "Is Ignatius Loyola to-day a simple student?"

"He attended the College," replied Monsieur John; "and one day he submitted to be publicly whipped in punishment for a slip of memory. There is something unexplainable, or frightful, in such humility on the part of such a man."

"Ignatius Loyola! the debauchee, the skilful swordsman! The haughty nobleman, did he do that?" cried Christian. "Can it be possible?"

"By the bowels of St. Quenet, brother," put in the Franc-Taupin in his turn, "as well tell me that the monks of Citeaux left their kegs empty after vintage! Even such a thing would sound less enormous than that Captain Loyola slipped down his hose to receive a flogging! The devil take me!" cried the Franc-Taupin vainly trying to extract a few more drops from the pot. "I am choked with surprise!"

"But you must not be allowed to choke with thirst, good Josephin," put in Christian, smiling and exchanging a look of intelligence with Monsieur John. "The pot is empty. As soon as your story is ended, and in order to feast our guest, I shall have to ask you to go to the tavern that you know of and fetch us a pot of Argenteuil wine. That is agreed, brother."

"St. Pansard, have pity upon my paunch! By my faith, brother, the pots are empty. I guess the reason why. One time I used to drink it all—now I leave nothing. Did you say a pot of wine? Amen!" said the Franc-Taupin rising from his seat. "We shall furnish our guest with a red border, like a cardinal! Yes, brother, it is agreed. And so I shall go for the pot, but not for one only—for two, or three."

"Not so fast, first finish your story; I am interested in it more than you can imagine," said Monsieur John with great earnestness. "I must again ask you: To what do you, who knew Loyola so well, attribute this incredible change?"

"May my own blood smother me; may the quartain fever settle my hash, if I understand it! A few hours ago I strained my remaining eye fit to give it a squint, in contemplating Don Ignatius. Seeing him so threadbare, so wan, so seedy and leaning upon his staff, I had not the courage to remind him of me. By the bowels of St. Quenet, I felt ashamed of having been page to the worn-out old crippled hunch-back."

"How is that! You described him as having been such a fine-looking cavalier and such a skilful swordsman—and yet he was hunch-backed?"

"He was crippled through two wounds that he received at the siege of Pampeluna. The devil! All the fathers, all the brothers, all the husbands whose daughters, sisters and wives the captain Loyolized, would have felt themselves thoroughly revenged if, like myself, they had seen him writhe like one possessed and howling like a hundred wolves from the pain of his wounds. By the bowels of the Pope, what horrible grimaces the man made!"

"But how could so intrepid a man display such weakness at pain?"

"Not at the pain itself; not that. On the contrary. As a result of his wounds he voluntarily endured positive torture, beside which his first agonies were gentle caresses."

"And why did he submit to such tortures? Can you explain that?"

"Yes. The truce between the Spaniards and the French lasted several days. At its close Captain Loyola mounted his horse, and placing himself at the head of his forces ordered a sortie. He made havoc among the enemy; but in the melee he received two shots from an arquebus. One of them fractured his right leg just below the knee, the other took him under the left hip. My gallant was carried to his house and we laid him in his bed. Do you know what were the first words that Don Ignatius uttered? They were these: 'Death and passion, I may remain deformed all my life!' And would you believe it? Captain Loyola wept like a woman! Aye, he wept, not with pain, no, by the bowels of St. Quenet, but with rage! You may imagine how crossed the handsome and roistering cavalier felt at the prospect. Imagine a limping cripple strolling under balconies and warbling his love songs! Imagine such a figure running after the señoras! What a sight it would be to have such a disjointed lover throwing himself at their feet at the risk of being unable to pick himself up again and yelling with pain: 'Oh, my leg! Oh, my knee!' Just think of such a lame duck attempting to try conclusions with jealous and irate husbands and brothers, arms in hand! Don Ignatius must have thought of all that—and wept!"

"It is almost incomprehensible that a man of his temper could be so enamoured of his physical advantages," remarked Christian.

"Not at all!" replied Monsieur John thoughtfully. "Oh, what an abyss is the human soul! I now think I understand—" but suddenly breaking off he asked the Franc-Taupin: "Accordingly, Don Ignatius was dominated by the fear of remaining crippled for life?"

"That was his only worry. But I must hurry on. I have a horror of empty wine pots. My present worry is about the wine spigot. Well, all the same, after healing, Captain Loyola's legs remained, as he feared, of unequal length. 'Oh, dogs! Jews! Pagan surgeons!' bawled Don Ignatius when he made the discovery. 'Fetch me here the robed asses! the brothers of Beelzebub! I shall have them quartered!' Summoned in great hurry, the poor wretches of surgeons hastened to Don Ignatius. They trembled; turned and turned him about; they examined and re-examined his leg; after all of which, the slashers of Christian flesh and sawers of Christian bones declared that they could render Captain Loyola as nimble of foot as ever he was. 'A hundred ducats to each of you if you keep your promise!' he cried, already seeing himself prancing on horseback, prinking in his finery, strutting about, warbling love songs under balconies, parading, and above all Loyolizing. 'Yes, señor; the lameness will disappear,' answered the bone-setters, 'but, we shall have, first of all, to break your leg over again, where it was fractured before; in the second place, señor, we shall have to cut away the flesh that has grown over the bone below your knee; in the third place, we shall have to saw off a little bone that protrudes; that all being done, no doe of the forest will be more agile than your Excellency.' 'Break, re-set, cut off, saw off, by the death of God!' cried Captain Loyola 'provided I can walk straight! Go ahead! Start to work!'"

"But that series of operations must have caused him frightful pain!"

"By the bowels of St. Quenet! When the protruding bone was being sawed off, the grinding of Captain Loyola's teeth drowned the sound of the saw's teeth. The contortions that he went through made him look like a veritable demon. His suffering was dreadful."

"And did he heal?"

"Perfectly. But there still remained the left thigh in its bandages. The fraternity of surgeons swore that that limb would be as good if not better than before the injury that it sustained. At the end of six weeks Captain Loyola rose and tried to walk. He did walk. Glory to the bone-setters! He no longer limped of the right leg; but, the devil! his left thigh had shrunk by two inches by reason of a tendon that was wounded. And there was my gallant still hobbling, worse than ever. It had all to be done over again."

"Don Ignatius's fury must have been fierce!"

"Howling tigers and roaring lions would have been as bleating lambs beside Captain Loyola in his boiling rage. 'Dear, sweet master,' his old majordomo said to him, 'the saints will help you; why despair? The surgeons performed a miracle on your right leg; why should not they be equally able to do the same thing on your left thigh?' The drowning man clings to a straw. 'Halloa, page, run to the surgeons!' yelled my master at me; 'bring them here instantly!' The surgeons came. 'Here they are, señor.' 'I suffered the pangs of death for the cure of my right leg; I am willing to suffer as much or worse for the lengthening of my left thigh. Can you do it?' said Don Ignatius to the bones-setters. Whereupon they fell to feeling, pressing, kneading and manipulating the twisted thigh of the patient; without desisting from their work at the member after a while they raised their heads and mumbled between their teeth: 'Señor, yes, we can free you from this limp—but, firstly, we shall have to strap you down upon your back, where you will have to lie, motionless, for two months; secondly, a strap will have to be passed under your arms and fastened firmly to the head of your couch; thirdly, a weight of fifty pounds will have to be adjusted to a ring and fastened to your left leg, to the end that the weight slowly, steadily, and constantly distend your thigh. The result will then be obtained, seeing you will be held firm and motionless by the two straps, the one that binds you down to your bed and the other, under your arms, that holds you to the head of your couch. With the aid of these contrivances, your thigh will be restored to its normal condition at the end of two months, and the does of the forest will then be less agile than your Excellency.' 'Do it!' was Loyola's answer. 'Strap, distend, stretch me out, blood of God, provided I can walk!'"

"That is frightful!" cried Christian. "It is the 'wooden horse' torture, prolonged beyond the point of human endurance."

"By the bowels of St. Quenet! There is nothing beyond endurance to a gallant who is determined not to hobble. Don Ignatius underwent the torture for the two months. The old majordomo and myself nursed our master. At times he screamed—Oh, such screams! They were heard a thousand feet from the house. Exhausted with pain, his eyelids would droop in sleep, but only to be suddenly reawakened with a start by his shooting pains. At such times the sounds that he emitted were screams no longer, but the howlings of the damned. At the end of two months of insomnia and continuous agony, which left nothing but the skin on his bones, but during which he was held up at least with the hope of final cure, Captain Loyola's surgeons held a consultation, and allowed him to leave his bed of torture. He rose, walked—but, the devil! not only was his left thigh not sufficiently lengthened, but his right knee, that had been previously operated upon, had become ossified from lying motionless for so long a time! Captain Loyola said not a word; he became livid as a corpse and dropped unconscious to the floor. We all thought he was dead. The next day the majordomo notified me that our master did no longer need a page. My wages were paid me; I left Spain and returned to France with other prisoners who had been set free. After all that, and after the lapse of fourteen or fifteen years, I ran a few hours ago across Don Ignatius, near a booth on the market place, in the company of your friend Lefevre. That, brother, ends my story. Jarnigoy! Is it not racy? But by the bowels of St. Quenet, my tongue is parched; it cleaves to the roof of my mouth; my whistle burns; it is on the point of breaking out into flame; help! help! wine! wine! Let the wine act as water to put out the fire! I shall now run out for the promised nectar of Argenteuil!" added the Franc-Taupin, rising from his seat. "I shall be back in a jiffy! And then we shall drinkedrille, drinkedraille, gaily clink glasses with our guest. A full pot calls for a wide throat!"

So saying, Josephin went out, singing in a sonorous voice his favorite refrain:

"A Franc-Taupin had an ash-tree bow,
All eaten with worms, and all knotted its cord;
His arrow was made out of paper, and plumed,
And tipped at the end with a capon's spur.
Derideron, vignette on vignon! Derideron!"



The moment the Franc-Taupin left the house the stranger said to Christian:

"Your brother-in-law's story is a revelation to me. The past life of Ignatius Loyola explains to me his present life."

"But who is that man? Whence the interest, curiosity and even alarm that he seems to inspire you with?"

Christian was saying these words when his wife descended from the floor above. The sight of her reminded him it was urgent that the stranger be taken to the garret before the return of Josephin. "Bridget," he accordingly said to his wife, "has Hena gone to bed?"

"Yes; both the dear children have retired for the night."

"Master Robert Estienne has confided a secret to me and asked of me a service, dear Bridget. For two or three days we are to hide Monsieur John, our guest of this evening, in this house. The garret seems to me to offer a safe retreat. I have temporarily got your brother out of the way. Take our refugee upstairs; I shall remain here to wait for Josephin."

Bridget took up again the lamp that she had deposited upon the table, and said to the stranger as she prepared to lead the way upstairs:

"Come, monsieur; your secret will remain with Christian and myself; you may rely upon our discretion."

"I am certain of that, madam," answered Monsieur John; "I shall never forget your generous hospitality;" and addressing the artisan: "Could you join me later, after your brother-in-law has gone? I should like to speak with you."

"I shall join monsieur after Josephin's departure," Christian answered the stranger, who followed Bridget to the upper loft.

The latter two had both withdrawn when suddenly an uproar was heard in the street. Peals of laughter were interspersed with the plaintive cries of a woman. Although quite familiar with these nocturnal disorders, seeing that the Guilleris, the Mauvais-Garçons, the Tire-Laines and other bandits infested the streets at night, and not infrequently disturbed the carousals of the young seigneurs bent upon their debauches, Christian's first impulse was to go out to the help of the woman whose cries resounded ever more plaintive. Considering, however, that no decent woman would venture outside of her house at such a late hour, and, above all, fearing that by interfering in the affray he might provoke an assault upon his house and thereby put the safety of his guest in jeopardy, he contented himself with partly opening the window, whereupon, by the light of the torches held by several pages dressed in rich liveries, he saw three seigneurs, evidently just come from some orgy, surrounding a woman. The seigneurs were in an advanced stage of intoxication and sought to drag the woman after them; she resisted and held her arms closely clasped around a large cross that stood in the center of the bridge. The woman cried imploringly: "Oh, leave me, seigneurs. In the name of heaven, leave me! Mercy! Have pity for a woman—mercy, seigneurs!"

"May the flames of St. Anthony consume me if you do not come with us, strumpet!" yelled one of the seigneurs, seizing the woman by the waist. "A street walker to put on such airs! Come, my belle, either walk or we shall strip you on the spot!"

"You are mistaken, seigneurs," answered the poor creature panting for breath in the unequal struggle; "I am an honest widow."

"Honest and a widow!" exclaimed one of the debauchees. "'Sdeath, what a windfall! We shall marry you over again."

Saying which the seigneurs tried anew to tear their victim from the foot of the cross to which she clung with terror and screamed aloud for help. Attracted by the cries, a young monk, who happened to be in a nearby side street, ran to the scene, saw the distressed condition of the persecuted woman, and rushed at her aggressors, saying in a deeply moved voice:

"Oh, brothers, to outrage a woman at the very foot of the cross! That is a cowardly act, condemned by God!"

"What business is that of yours, you frockist, you convent rat!" cried one of the assailants, stepping towards the monk with a menacing gesture. "Do you know whom it is that you are talking with? Do you know that I have the power, not only to kill you, but to excommunicate you, you beggar? I am the Marquis of Fleurange, the colonel of the regiment of Normandy, and over and above that, Bishop of Coutances. So, then, go your ways quickly and without further ado, you tonsured knave and mumbler of masses. If you do not, I shall use my spiritual powers and my temporal powers—I shall excommunicate you and run you through with my sword!"

"Oh, Brother St. Ernest-Martyr! Come to my help! It is I, Mary La Catelle!" cried the young widow, as she recognized the monk by the light of the torches. "For pity's sake stand by me!"

"Oh, my brothers!" cried the monk indignantly, running towards Mary. "The woman whom you are outraging is a saint! She gathers the little children that are left unprotected; she instructs them; she is blessed by all who know her; she is entitled to your respect."

"If she is a saint, I am a bishop—and between a female saint and a bishop the relations are close!" answered the Marquis of Fleurange with a winey guffaw. "She loves children! 'Sdeath, she shall be delighted! I shall swell her family!"

"You shall kill me before you reach her!" cried the monk, vigorously thrusting the marquis back. The latter, being heavily in his cups, reeled, swore and blasphemed, while Brother St. Ernest-Martyr threw himself between the widow, who clung to the cross, and her assailants. Crossing his arms over his chest, he looked defiantly at the seigneurs and said to them challengingly, as he barred their way to their victim:

"Come forward, if you will; but you will have to kill me before you touch this woman!"

"Insolent frockist! You dare threaten us and to raise your hand against me!" yelled the colonel-bishop furious and tottering on his unsteady limbs; and drawing his sword in its scabbard out of his baldric, he took it in both his hands, and struck so hard a blow with its heavy hilt upon the forehead of the monk, that the latter was dazed by the blow, staggered backward, and fell bleeding from an ugly scalp wound at the feet of Mary La Catelle.

Despite the caution that his guest's safety imposed upon him, Christian could no longer remain a passive witness of such acts of brutality; he entertained a respectful esteem for the young widow whose virtuous life he was acquainted with; moreover, he feared lest the monk, who had so generously interposed between the drunken seigneurs and their victim, be subjected to further maltreatment. Christian shut the window, armed himself with a heavy iron bar, slipped quietly out of his house, shut the door after him without making any noise, in order to prevent its being known from whence he came, and, seeing several of his neighbors, whom the disturbance had drawn to their windows, he shouted:

"To your clubs, my friends, to your clubs! Will you allow women to be assailed, and defenseless men to be killed? To your clubs, my friends, to your clubs! Let us save the victims!"

Saying this, Christian ran resolutely upon the three seigneurs and their pages. At that very moment, the Franc-Taupin returned upon the bridge with the pot of Argenteuil wine that he had gone after. Seeing the artisan by the light of the torches and hearing him summon the neighbors to their clubs, the Franc-Taupin deposited the pot of wine at the threshold of the door, drew his sword and rushed to the fray crying:

"By the bowels of St. Quenet, here I am! My fine blade has not taken the air for a long time! It itches in my hands! Death to the enemies of the good people of Paris! Death to the nobles and their pages!"

Several of Christian's neighbors answered his summons and issued from their houses, some armed with clubs, others with pikes. For a moment the three seigneurs stood their ground bravely; they drew close abreast of one another and drew their swords. Their pages, however, as much out of fear of being hurt in the broil as out of mischief, suddenly put out their torches and screamed:

"Seigneurs! There is a squad of armed constables coming this way! There, on the bridge! Look out! Run who run can!"

Upon shouting this lie the pages ran off as fast as their legs could carry them and left their masters and their assailants in utter darkness. The three seigneurs did not feel much concern on the score of the constables, who never dared to suppress the disorders of the nobility; but realizing that they had to do with eight or ten determined men, the assailants of the defenseless woman profited by the darkness in which they found themselves to slip away upon the heels of their pages, while Christian's neighbors called for lanthorns in order to raise the wounded man. The artisan ran back into his house, lighted, and came out with a taper. By the light the monk was discovered stretched out at the foot of the cross, with his head bathed in the blood that ran profusely from his scalp wound. On her knees beside him, and weeping tears of thankfulness, Mary La Catelle sought to staunch the wound of her defender. Brother St. Ernest-Martyr was carried into Christian's house with the help of the Franc-Taupin and some neighbors. The artisan offered asylum also to the widow, who was almost fainting with fright. Commissioned by her husband to conduct the stranger to the garret, the only window of which opened upon the river, Bridget remained ignorant of what was occurring upon the street. When, however, she returned downstairs, great was her surprise and alarm at the sight of Mary La Catelle, pale, her dress thrown into disorder, and leaning against a table compassionately contemplating the wounded young monk. The latter was slowly regaining consciousness, thanks to the attention that he was receiving from the artisan and the Franc-Taupin.

"Good God!" cried Bridget, hastening to approach the young widow. "Look at the poor monk covered with blood. What has happened, Mary?"

"I was delayed at a friend's longer than I had expected; her maid servant accompanied me home; we were crossing the bridge when several swaggering seigneurs approached and made insulting remarks to us. The poor servant was frightened and ran away, leaving me alone. The men sought to drag me away with them. Brother St. Ernest-Martyr happening by, came to my rescue; he received on the forehead a blow with the hilt of a sword and fell bleeding at my feet. Happily your husband and several neighbors rushed to our help; thanks to them we escaped further maltreatment from our assailants; but the poor monk is wounded."

"Dear sister, let me have some fresh water and some lint," said the Franc-Taupin to Bridget. Having often been wounded in war the soldier of adventure had some knowledge of the dressing of wounds.

"I shall go upstairs for the lint, and bring my daughter down to help you," answered Bridget as she proceeded to the storey above.

Slightly recovered from her own fright, Mary La Catelle drew nearer to the monk with deepening interest. The Franc-Taupin looked around and said to Christian:

"What has become of your guest? Did he show the white feather? I would have preferred he were a braver man."

"No, no, Josephin. Our guest left the house shortly before the disturbance on the street; he feared it was growing too late for him."

"Why did he not wait for me? I would have escorted him home safely after emptying our pot of Argenteuil. But, coming to think of it," the Franc-Taupin broke off, while he left Christian to hold up the head of the friar, "I shall pour a few drops of wine down the wounded man's throat; the devil! wine has the miraculous power of being as helpful to the sick as to the well;" and taking up the pot he approached it to his own lips. "Before administering the potion to others let me try it myself—it is the duty of all prudent pharmacists to assure themselves of the quality of their own medicine."

While the Franc-Taupin was thoroughly "trying" the beverage, Bridget came down again with her daughter. The latter had hastily put on her clothes. Her brother also, whom the noise had awakened, dressed himself and came out of his room. Hervé was on the point of inquiring from his father what was the cause of the commotion in the house when his eyes alighted upon St. Ernest-Martyr, and he recognized the man whom his sister Hena had ingenuously called "her monk." A flash of lightning shot from Hervé's eyes and for an instant his looks assumed a ferocious expression. The lad, however, controlled his sentiments and closely watched his sister and the friar, to the latter of whom the Franc-Taupin was administering a few mouthfuls of the comforting wine. Speedily recalled to himself by the strengthening elixir, Brother St. Ernest-Martyr opened his eyes. Before him he saw, like a celestial apparition, the angelic countenance of Hena, who, with eyes moist with pity, held out to her uncle with a trembling hand the lint that he was using to dress the wound of the monk whose head Christian held in his hands. When he had completely regained consciousness and collected his thoughts, the monk became aware of the solicitude with which he was surrounded by the family that had taken him in; tears of gratitude and tenderness welled up in his eyes and rolled down his face, which, pale with the loss of blood, recalled the touching beauty that painters impart to the image of Christ. The expression of ineffable gratitude on the monk's countenance gave it at the moment so sweet a charm that Hervé trembled with suppressed rage. His anger was such that it even threatened to break out when he surprised the eyes of the monk and of his sister once as they accidentally met. The lad noticed that both dropped their eyes and seemed embarrassed. These circumstances escaped all the other members of the family. Brother St. Ernest-Martyr turned his head towards Christian and said to him in a feeble voice:

"It is to you, no doubt, monsieur, that I owe my life. And yet I am a stranger to you. May heaven place it some day in my power to attest to you the gratitude with which I am penetrated. I thank you for your help."

"Brother," answered the artisan, "I would have fulfilled my duty as a Christian by assisting you even if you were a stranger to me; but often did our mutual friend Mary La Catelle speak to us of you and of the esteem that you deserve. Besides, my wife often was present when you were teaching the little ones. She has preserved cherished recollections of the evangelical morality that you preached to them."

"Oh, we could never sufficiently praise the good brother!" exclaimed Mary La Catelle. "What is known of him is like nothing beside the numerous acts of charity that he practices in secret—"

"Sister, sister," said the monk, blushing with modesty and interrupting the widow, "do not exaggerate my poor deserts; I love little ones; to instruct them is a pleasure to me and their affection more than rewards me for the little that I do for them. My duty squares with my pleasure."

"Well, brother, I shall say no more," replied Mary La Catelle; "I shall not say how highly I think of you, and how I but re-echo the sentiments of all who know you; I shall say nothing of how, a short time ago, you rushed to my defense at the risk of your life; I shall not say how, only yesterday, a man who fell into the river near the isle of Notre Dame was being carried down stream and about to sink when you threw yourself—"

"Dear sister," insisted Brother St. Ernest-Martyr with a melancholy smile, and again interrupting the widow whose praises of the monk placed Hervé upon the rack, "your style of not saying things is too transparent. Oblige me; draw a veil over the acts that you refer to; anyone else would have done as much. We all in this world owe assistance to our fellows." As the young monk spoke these words, his eyes involuntarily again encountered Hena's; he sought to flee from their influence upon him; he rose from his stool, and said to Christian: "Adieu, monsieur; I am only a poor friar of the Order of St. Augustine; I can only preserve the deepest gratitude for your timely help. Believe me, the remembrance of yourself and of your sympathetic family will always be present in my mind. May the blessing of God rest upon your house."

"What, brother," interposed the artisan, "your wound is barely dressed, and you would leave the house so soon? Rest yourself a little longer; you are still too weak to proceed on your route."

"It is late, and I feel quite strong enough to return to my convent. I went with the Superior's consent to carry some consolation to a good old priest of Notre Dame who lies dangerously ill. Night is now far advanced, allow me to withdraw. I think that the fresh air will do me good," and respectfully bowing to Hena and her mother, blushingly he said to Mary La Catelle: "To-morrow will be school day, dear sister; I hope I shall be able to go to your house as usual, and give the children their lessons."

"May it please God that you can keep your promise, dear brother," answered the young widow; "but I am less courageous than you; I would not dare to return home to-night any more; I shall request Bridget to be so kind as to afford me asylum for the night."

"Do you imagine, dear Mary, that I would have allowed you to go?" answered Christian's wife. "You shall share Hena's bed."

After the monk's wound was dressed, the Franc-Taupin had remained silent, sharing, as he did, the interest felt by the whole family, Hervé, alas, only excepted, in poor Brother St. Ernest-Martyr. The latter's modest bearing, the sweetness of his countenance, the good words that all had for him, deeply moved Josephin, who, his soldier's manners and the adventurous life he led notwithstanding, was susceptible to generous emotions. Seeing the friar, after expressing his thanks anew to Christian, move towards the door, the Franc-Taupin took up his sword, put on his hat, and said:

"My reverend man, you shall not go out alone. I shall escort you to the Augustinian Convent. It is common with blows received on the skull, to be followed after a while by dizziness. You might be seized with such a fit on your way. Let me offer you my arm."

"Thanks, Josephin," said Bridget affectionately; "thanks for your kind thoughtfulness, my friend. Do accompany the worthy monk."

"I am obliged to you for your offer," answered the monk to the Franc-Taupin; "but I can not consent to your troubling yourself by escorting me. The function with which I am clad, besides my robe, will be ample protection against marauders."

"Your robe! Were it not that I know how worthy a man is inside of it, I would let it depart alone. By the bowels of St. Quenet! I have no love for frockists. Monkeys do not watch houses like dogs, they do not draw the plow like oxen, they do not carry loads like horses. Very much like the useless monkey, monks do not till the soil like the peasant, they do not defend the country like the soldier, they do not heal the sick like the physician. By the bowels of St. Quenet! These frockists deafen their neighborhood with the clatter of their bells, on the theory that the mass that is well rung is half said. They mumble their prayers in order to earn their fat soups, not to save souls. You, however, my reverend man, you who plow the field of science, you who defend the oppressed, you who comfort the sorrowful, you who sacrifice your life for others, you who are the prop of the poor, you who indoctrinate the little ones like a good evangelical doctor—you are not one of those mumblers of prayers, of those traffickers in masses, although you wear their costume. It might, therefore, well happen that some gang of Mauvais-Garçons, or of Tire-Laines, or of the associates of these in partibus, mendicant monks, might scent the honest man under your frock, and hurt you out of sheer hatred of good. For that reason you shall take my arm, by the devil, and I shall escort you whether you want it or not."

At first alarmed at the unconventionality of the Franc-Taupin's words, the family of Christian soon felt easier, and, so far from interrupting him, took pleasure in listening to him bestowing, after his own fashion, praise upon the friar. Hena, above all, seemed with her ingenuous and delighted smile to applaud her uncle, while Hervé, on the contrary, was hardly able to repress his annoyance, and cast jealous side glances at St. Ernest-Martyr.

The monk answered the Franc-Taupin: "My dear brother, if the larger part of my brotherhood are, indeed, such as you depict them, I would request you rather to pity and pardon them; if they are different from what you take them for, if they are worthy beings, pray devoutly that they may persevere in the right path. You offer me your arm; I accept it. If I were to refuse you, you might think that I resent your satirical outburst."

"Resent! You, my reverend man! One might as well expect ferocity from the lamb. Good night, sister; good night, children," added the Franc-Taupin as he embraced Bridget, Hena and Hervé successively. "The only one wanting to my hugs is my little Odelin. But by the bowels of St. Quenet! I shall not do like the paymaster of my company, who pockets the pay of the absent men. When the darling apprentice to the armorer is back again, I shall pay him the full arrears of hugs due him."

"The dear boy!" observed Bridget tenderly, as her thoughts flew to her absent son. "May he soon again be back in our midst! It looks so long to us before his return."

"His absence grieves me as much as it does you," interjected Christian. "It seems to me so long since his place is vacant at our hearth."

"You will see him return to us grown up, but so grown that we shall hardly know him," put in Hena. "How we shall celebrate his return! What a joy it will be to us to make him forget the trials of the journey! What a delight it will be to hear him tell us all about his trip to Milan, his experiences on the road, and his excursions in Italy!"

Hervé alone had not a word on the absence of his brother.

Rising from the seat into which he had dropped for a moment, the young monk took leave of the artisan, saying:

"May the heavens continue to bless your hospitality and your happy home, the sanctuary of the domestic virtues that are so rare in these days!"

"The devil, my friend! Your words are golden!" exclaimed the Franc-Taupin, as he offered the monk the support of his arm. "Whenever I step into this poor but dear house, it seems to me I leave the big devil of hell behind me at the door; and whenever I go out again, I feel as if I am quitting paradise. Look out! Who knows but Beelzebub, the wicked one with the cloven hoofs, is waiting for me outside? But to-night, seeing me in your company, my reverend man, he will not dare to grab me. Come, let's start, reverend sir!"

So saying, the Franc-Taupin left with the monk; Bridget led La Catelle to Hena's chamber; and Christian climbed up to the garret for a chat with Monsieur John.

Left alone in the lower apartment, his fists clenched and his lips drawn tight together, Hervé murmured moodily:

"Oh, that monk—that accursed monk!" The lad relapsed into gloomy thoughts; suddenly he resumed: "What a scheme! Yes, yes—it will remove even the shadow of a suspicion. I shall follow the inspiration, whether it proceed from the devil or from God—"

Hervé did not finish his sentence. He listened in the direction of the staircase by which Mary La Catelle, Bridget and Hena and his father had just mounted to the floor above.



Cautiously climbing the ladder that led up to the garret, Christian found the stranger seated upon the sill of the narrow window that opened upon the river. The moon, then on the wane, was rising in a sky studded with stars, and shed her pale light upon the austere visage of the unknown guest. Drawn from his absorbing thoughts, he turned towards Christian:

"I thought I heard some noise toward the bridge. Has anything happened?"

"Some seigneurs, out on a carousal, attempted to do violence to a woman. Several of our neighbors rushed to her aid with me and my brother-in-law. Thanks be to God, Mary La Catelle is safe."

"What!" cried Monsieur John with deep concern, breaking in upon the artisan's report. "Was that worthy widow, who is associated with John Dubourg, the draper of St. Denis Street, with Etienne Laforge, the rich bourgeois of Tournay, and the architect Poille in the charitable work of gathering abandoned orphans, in peril? Poor woman, her charity, the purity of her principles and her devotion to the little ones entitle her to the esteem of all right-minded people."

"The task that she has imposed upon herself bristles with dangers. The monks and friars of her quarter suspect her of partaking of the ideas and hopes of the reformers. Already has she been locked up in the Chatelet, and her school been closed. Thanks, however, to the intervention of one of her relatives, who is in the service of Princess Marguerite, a protector of the reform, Mary was set at liberty and her school was re-opened. But the persecutions of the heretics are redoubling, and I apprehend fresh dangers for our friend, whose faith is unshakable."

"Yes, the persecutions are redoubling," rejoined Monsieur John thoughtfully. "Monsieur Christian Lebrenn, I know I can unbosom myself to you with all frankness. I am a stranger in Paris; you know the city. Could I find within the walls, or even without, some secluded spot where about a hundred persons could be gathered secretly and safely? I must warn you, these persons belong to the Reformation."

The artisan reflected for a moment and answered: "It would be difficult and dangerous to assemble so large a number of people within Paris. Gainier, the chief spy of the Criminal Lieutenant, expends undefatigable activity to discover and denounce all assemblages that he suspects. His agents are spread everywhere. So considerable a gathering would undoubtedly call their attention. Outside of Paris, however, we need not apprehend the same watchfulness. I may be able to indicate some safe place to you. But before proceeding farther, I should make a confidential disclosure to you. A friend of mine and myself contemplate printing secretly a few handbills intended to propagate the reform movement. We are in the hope that, scattered through Paris, or posted over night on the walls, these placards may stir public opinion. Only one obstacle has, so far, held us back—the finding of some safe and secluded place, where, without danger of being detected, we might set up our little printing establishment. I understand from my friend that he has at last found a suitable place for our purpose. It may turn out to be suitable for yours also."

"Is the house outside the walls of Paris?"

"It is not a house; it is an abandoned quarry situated on Montmartre. My friend was born in that suburb; his mother still lives there; he is familiar with every nook and corner of that rocky hill. He is of the opinion that a certain wide and deep grotto which he inspected will guarantee to us the seclusion and safety that we are in search of. If he is not mistaken, the meeting that you have mentioned to me might be held at Montmartre. To-morrow evening I am to go with my friend to look the place over. When I shall have done so, I shall acquaint you with the circumstances, and if the place is fit, you may fix the day of your gathering."

"Suppose that your excursion to Montmartre to-morrow evening satisfies you that the quarry is suitable for my meeting, that it offers perfect safety; in what manner could the people, whom I shall convoke, be furnished with the necessary directions to find the place?"

"I think that would be an easy matter, after the locality had been carefully inspected. I shall be able to furnish you to-morrow with the full particulars."

"Monsieur Christian, could you also tell me where I could find some trustworthy person whom I could commission to carry the letters of convocation to certain persons, who, in their turn, would notify their friends?"

"I shall carry those letters myself, if you will, monsieur. I realize the gravity of such a mission."

"In the name of the Cause that we both serve, Monsieur Christian, I thank you heartily for your generous offer," replied the stranger with effusion. "Oh, the times bode evil. The conversation that we had this evening with your brother-in-law was almost a revelation to me concerning the singular man, the intrepid swordsman, the former runner of gallant adventures, whose darksome dealings I was previously acquainted with."

"Ignatius Loyola? And what may be his scheme?"

"Some slight overtures made by him to a man whom I hold worthy of all credence, and whom he hoped to capture, were reported to me. I was thereby enabled to penetrate the infernal project pursued by Ignatius Loyola, and—"

Bridget's voice, sounding from the middle of the ladder that led up to the garret, and cautiously calling her husband, interrupted the unknown. Christian listened and heard his wife say:

"Come down quick; I heard Hervé come out of his room; I hear him coming upstairs; he may want to see us."

The artisan made a sign to his guest that he had nothing to fear, and quickly descended the stairs into a dark closet, the only door of which opened into the chamber occupied by himself and his wife. Christian had just time to close noiselessly the door of the closet and to sit down, when Hervé rapped gently at his father's door and called him. Bridget opened and said to her son:

"What do you want, my child?"

"Dear parents, grant me a few words with you."

"Gladly," responded Christian, "but let us go downstairs. Our poor friend Mary La Catelle is sharing your sister's bed; the woman needs rest; our conversation might disturb her sleep."



Father, mother and son proceeded downstairs to the room on the ground floor where the distressing scene of the night before was enacted. Hardly had they touched the lowermost step of the staircase when Hervé threw himself upon his knees, took his father's hands, kissed them tearfully and murmured in a smothered voice:

"I beg your pardon—for my past conduct—pardon me—my good parents!"

"God be praised! We were not deceived in the boy," was the thought that rushed to the minds of Christian and Bridget as they exchanged a look of profound satisfaction. "The unfortunate lad has been touched by repentance."

"My son," said the artisan, "rise."

"No, not before I have obtained from you and my mother forgiveness for my infamous act;" and he added, amid sobs: "It was myself, I, your son—it was I who stole your gold!"

"Hervé," replied Christian, deeply moved by the manifestations of remorse which he took to be sincere, "last night, in this same room, your mother and I said to you: 'If you forgot yourself for a moment and committed the theft, admit it—you will be forgiven.'"

"And we shall gladly keep our promise," added Bridget. "We pardon you, seeing that you repent. Rise."

"Oh, never more so than at this moment am I penetrated with the unworthiness of my conduct. Good God! So much kindness on your part, and so much baseness on mine! My whole life shall be consecrated to the atonement of my infamy!" said Hervé, rising from the floor.

"I shall not conceal it from you, my boy," proceeded Christian with paternal kindness. "I was quite prepared for this admission of your guilt. Certain happy symptoms that your mother and myself noticed to-day, led us to expect your return to the right path, to the principles of honesty in which we brought you up."

"Did I not tell you so, yesterday?" broke in Bridget. "Could our son really become unworthy of our tenderness, unworthy of the example that we set to him, as well as to his sister and brother? No; no; we will regain him; he will see the error of his ways. So you see, dear, dear boy," she added embracing him effusively, "I knew you better than you knew yourself! Blessed be God for your return to the path of righteousness!"

The consummate hypocrite threw himself upon his mother's neck, and answering her caresses with feigned affection, said in a moved voice:

"Good father, good mother, the confession of my shameful act earned your pardon for me. Later I hope your esteem for me may return, when you will have been able to judge of the sincerity of my remorse. Let me tell you the cause of my repentance, the suddenness of which may astonish you."

"A sweet astonishment, thanks be to God. Speak, speak, my son!"

"You surmised rightly, father. Yes, led astray, corrupted by the counsel of Fra Girard, I pilfered your money for the purpose of consecrating it to works that I took to be pious."

"Ah, it is with pride both for us and yourself that I say it," cried Bridget; "never once, while we suspected you, did we believe you capable of the guilty act out of love for gold, out of a craving for selfish enjoyment, or out of cupidity! No, a thousand times no!"

"Thanks! Oh, thanks, good mother, to do me at least that justice, or, rather, to do it to the bringing up that I owe you! No; the fruit of my larceny has not been dissipated in prodigality. No; I did not keep it like a miser, out of love for gold. The gold pieces were all thrown into the chest of the Apostolic Commissioner of indulgences, for the purpose of obtaining the redemption of the souls in purgatory."

"I believe you, my son. The charitable and generous side of that idolatry, that is so profitable to the cupidity of the Church of Rome, must have had its fascination for your heart. But how did you discover the fraud of that monastic traffic? Explain that to me."

"This morning, after I deposited my offering in the chest of indulgences that was set up in the Church of St. Dominic, I heard the Apostolic Commissioner preach. Oh, father, all the still lingering sentiments of honor within me revolted at his words. My eyes were suddenly opened; I fathomed the depth of the abyss that blind fanaticism leads to. Do you know what that monk, who claimed to speak in the name of the Almighty, dared to say to the mass of people gathered in the church? 'The virtue of my indulgences is so efficacious,' the monk cried out, 'so very efficacious, that, even if it were possible for any man to have raped the mother of our Savior, that crime without name would be remitted to him by the virtue of my indulgences. So, then, buy them, my brothers! Bring, bring your money! Rummage in your purses, rummage'—"

Christian and his wife listened to their son's tale in silent affright. The sacrilegious words which the lad reported to them caused them to shiver with horror and their own horror explained to them the repentance and remorse of Hervé.

"Oh, I now see it all, my child!" cried Christian. "The sacrilegious monstrosity was a revelation to you! It shocked you back to your senses! Yes, your eyes were suddenly opened to the light; you conceived a horror for those infamous priests; you recoiled with dread from the fatal slope down which superstition was driving you!"

"Yes, father, the monstrous thought was a revelation to me; the veil was torn; I regained my sight. I was to be either the dupe or the accomplice of these abominable frauds. Disgust and indignation recalled me to myself. It was to me as if I awoke from a painful dream. When I recalled that, for several months, I had been dominated by the influence of Fra Girard, I cursed the detestable charm under which the man had held me captive, and which was alienating me from a cherished, a venerated family. I cursed the devilish sophisms, which, exactly as you expressed it, father, were corrupting in my mind the most elemental principles of right and wrong, and led me to the commission of a theft, an act that was doubly infamous seeing that it was perpetrated under the trusting security of the paternal roof! Oh, mother, in the measure that I thus regained the possession of my soul, overwhelmed with shame as I was, and torn with remorse, I felt there was but one way of safety—repentance! Only one hope—your pardon! Only one refuge—your love. I have returned to you, beloved parents."

Christian and Bridget could not suspect their son's sincerity. They reposed faith in his repentance, in the return of his filial devotion, in the horror that the past inspired him with. Father and mother devoutly rendered thanks to God for having restored their son to them. When the two closed their eyes in sleep that night their last thought concerned their son Hervé—alas, a treacherous happiness.



The day after the proscribed stranger and friend of Robert Estienne had found an asylum in the home of Christian, the latter sallied forth after dark with his friend Justin for the purpose of inspecting the abandoned quarry where the two expected to be able to set up their secret press. The secluded spot was also expected speedily to serve as the trysting place for the leaders of the Reformation in Paris. The late moon was rising when the two artisans arrived in the neighborhood of the Abbey of Montmartre. They struck a road to the left of the church, leading to a hillock crowned with a cross. Arrived there they descended a steep path at the bottom of which was the entrance to the quarry.

"Unless the recollections of my childhood deceive me," said Justin to Christian, "I'm under the impression that this quarry formerly had two openings—one being this, through which we are about to enter, the other, the issue of a sort of underground gallery, located at the opposite slope of the hill, and through which the descent is steep down to the bottom of the quarry. I even recall that a portion of the gallery bore traces of some very ancient masonry."

"It probably is one of those places of refuge that, centuries ago, were dug into the bowels of the earth by the inhabitants of these regions, in the days of the invasions of the Northman pirates."[11]

"Quite probable. At the same time, seeing it is well to be prepared for all emergencies, this quarry can be rendered an all the safer meeting place for our friends of the Reformation by placing a watchman at each entrance. The alarm being given from either side, escape could then be safely made by the other. The agents of the Criminal Lieutenant have a hundred eyes and as many ears. We cannot take too many precautions."

"If your recollections are correct, that double entrance would be a priceless fact. The meeting place would be doubly guarded."

"We can easily make sure of that," said Justin. Saying this he fumbled in his pocket for his tinder and flint, while Christian drew out of his pocket the butt of a candle that he had provided himself with for the occasion.

The jagged opening of the grotto was overhung by an abutting ledge of lime rock, covered with a few inches of earth overgrown with briars and furze. A rather abrupt path led to the species of platform that lay under the beetling rock. The two artisans stepped in. They did not light their candle at first for fear it would be extinguished by the wind. But after having groped their way through the dark for a few paces, they struck a light, and presently the feeble flame of the candle threw its light into the wide though low-arched cavern. A huge boulder, about five or six feet high and from eight to ten through, that doubtlessly had been loosened and dropped from the walls of the cave, seemed to mark the further extremity of the underground walk.

"I now remember the place exactly," said Justin; "the inside opening of the gallery that I spoke of to you must be on the other side of the stone. Let's move on. We are on the right path."

Saying this, and followed by his friend, Justin stepped into a narrow space left between the natural wall and the boulder. Suddenly they heard the noise of footsteps and the voices of several persons drawing near from the side of the opening through which they had themselves shortly before entered the cavern. As much surprised as alarmed, the first motion of Justin was to extinguish the candle, and approaching his lips to the ear of Christian he whispered: "Let us not budge from this spot. We may here remain unseen, should these people come this way."

The two artisans held their breath and remained motionless in their hiding place, wondering with as much astonishment as anxiety who it might be that was resorting at so late an hour to so solitary a spot.

The personages who penetrated into the quarry had also equipped themselves with lighting materials. One of them lighted a large wax candle, the reddish glare of which illuminated the features of the new arrivals, seven in number. The one who came in last, cast around him soon as the torch was lighted, looks indicative of the retreat being familiar to him. He walked with difficulty, and he stooped low as he leaned upon a heavy staff much resembling a crutch. Yet he seemed to be a man in the maturity of life. Black, threadbare and shabby clothes outlined his tall and robust stature. A Spanish ruff of doubtful white set off his long and olive-hued visage that terminated in a pointed beard. His head was almost bare of hair. His dominating eyes, his imperious brow, the haughty carriage of his head—all imparted to his strongly marked physiognomy the impression of absolute inflexibility. That personage stepped forward. It was Ignatius Loyola.

His six companions were James Lainez, a Spaniard; Alfonso Salmeron, Inigo of Bobadilla, and Rodriguez of Azevedo, Portuguese; Francis Xavier, a French nobleman; and lastly, Peter Lefevre, a native of the mountains of Savoy, the same who, for ten years, had been the intimate friend of Christian Lebrenn.

Francis Xavier held the lighted wax candle. Lefevre carried on his shoulder a large bundle. Motionless and mute the six disciples of Loyola fixed their eyes upon their master, not in order to discover his thoughts—they were incapable of such audacity—but in order to forestall his will, whatever it might be.

Looking around in silent contemplation of the interior of the grotto, Loyola broke the silence in a solemn voice: "I greet thee, secret retreat, where, as formerly in the cavern of Manres, I have often meditated, and matured my purposes!" He then sat down upon a nearby stone, crossed his hands over his staff, leaned his chin upon his hands, let his eyes travel slowly over his disciples, who, impassive as statues stood beside him, and, after an instant of silent meditation resumed: "My children, I said to you this evening: 'Come!' You came, ignorant of whither I was leading you. Why did you follow me? Answer, Xavier. To hear one of my disciples is to hear them all—to hear one of them to-day, is to hear all those who are to follow them from age to age—all will be but the distant echoes of my thought."

"Master, you said to us: 'Come!' We came. Command, and you shall be obeyed."

"Without inquiring whither I led you; without even seeking to ascertain what I might demand of you? Answer, Lefevre."

"Master, we followed you without reflecting—without inquiring."

"Why without reflecting, without inquiring? Answer, Lainez."

"The members of the body obey the will that directs them; they do not interrogate that will; they obey."

"Xavier," resumed Loyola, "plant your candle in some interstice of that boulder. Lefevre, deposit your bundle at your feet. It contains your sacerdotal vestments and the articles necessary to celebrate the holy sacrifice of the mass."

Francis Xavier planted the lighted candle firmly between two stones. Lefevre deposited his bundle on the ground. The other disciples remained standing, their eyes lowered. Still keeping his seat, and with his chin resting on the handle of his staff, Loyola resumed:

"Francis Xavier, when I first met you on the benches of the University—what was then your nature? What were your habits?"

"Master, I was passionately given to the pleasures of life."

"And you, Inigo of Bobadilla?"

"Master, all obstacles upset me. I was weak and pusillanimous. My spirit lacked energy. My nature was cowardly and springless."

"And you, John Lainez?"

"Master, I had excessive confidence in myself. Extreme vanity—"

"And you, Rodriguez of Azevedo?"

"Master, my heart ran over with tenderness. A touching act, an affectionate word, was enough to bring the tears to my eyes. I was kind to all, was ever eager to run to the help of our fellow men. I was of a confiding and accessible nature."

"And you, Alfonso Salmeron?"

"Master, pride dominated me. I was proud of my vigor of bone and of my intelligence. I deemed myself a superior man."

"And you, John Lefevre?"

"Master, my mountaineer tenacity never looked upon any obstruction but to overcome it. I brooked no contradiction."

"Aye! Such were you. And what are you now? Answer, John Lefevre. To hear one of you is to hear all the rest."

"Master, we are no longer ourselves. Your soul has absorbed ours. We are now the instruments of your will. We are the body, you the spirit. We are submissive slaves, you the inflexible master. We are the clubs, you the hand. Without your animating breath we are but corpses."

"How did you arrive at this complete self-effacement? In what manner was the absorption of your personalities in mine effected?"

"Master, the study of your Spiritual Exercises effected the miracle."

Loyola seemed satisfied. With his chin resting upon his two hands crossed over the head of his heavy staff, he remained silent for a moment. Presently he resumed: "Yes, that you were; now you are this. And I myself, what was I, and what have I become? I shall tell you. I was a haughty Grandee of Viscaya, a handsome cavalier, a valiant captain, a daring seducer, and lucky swordsman. The hand of God suddenly smote me in war and rendered me a cripple. Great was my despair! To renounce women, dueling, horses, the battle, the command of my regiment, which I had broken in, drilled and fashioned by military discipline! Nailed to a couch of tortures, which I welcomed in the hope of removing my deformity, I was seized by Grace! I felt myself full of strength and of energy. I was possessed of an invincible craving for dominion. At that juncture the Holy Ghost said to me: 'Devote thyself to the triumph of the Catholic Church. Thy dominion shall extend in the measure of thy faith.' I then asked myself what services could I render the Catholic Church. I looked around me. What did I see? The spirit of Liberty, that pestilential emanation of a fallen humanity, everywhere at war with Authority, that sacred emanation of Divinity. I promised to myself to curb the spirit of Liberty with the inflexible curb of Authority, identically as I had formerly subjugated indomitable horses. The goal being set, what were the means to reach it? I looked for them. I wished first to experiment upon myself, to determine upon myself the extent to which, sustained by faith in the idea a man pursues, he can shake off his former self. Rich by birth, I begged my bread; a haughty Grandee, I exposed myself to outrage; a skilful swordsman, I submitted to insult; sumptuous in my habits of dress, careful of my personal appearance, I have lived in rags and in the gutter. Ignorant of letters, I took my seat at the age of thirty among children on the benches of the Montaigu College, where any slight inattention was visited upon me with the whip. Some of my purposes, being detected by orthodox priests, earned for me their persecution and I was ostracised. I stood it all without a murmur. From that time, certain that I could demand from my disciples the sacrifices I imposed upon myself, I made you that which you are required to be. You have said it. You are the members, I the spirit; you are the instrument, I the will. The hour for action has come; our work calls us. What work is that?"

"That work is the insurance of the reign of authority upon earth."

"What authority?"

"Master, there is but one. The authority of God, visibly incarnated in His vicar, the Pope, who is in Rome."

"Do you understand by that the spiritual or the temporal authority?"

"Master, he who has authority over the soul must have authority over the body also. He who dictates the Divine law must dictate the human law also."

"What must the Pope be?"

"Pontiff and Emperor of the Catholic world."

"Who, under him, is to govern the nations?"

"The clergy."

"Must temporal authority, accordingly, also belong to the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church?"

"All authority flows from God. His ministers are by divine right the masters of the nations, and must be invested with full authority."

"Is that, then, the work in hand?"

"Yes, master."

"Are there any obstacles to its accomplishment?"

"Enormous ones."

"What are they?"

"First of all, the Kings."

"Next?" queried Loyola impatiently. "Next?"

"The indocility of the bourgeois classes."


"The new heresy known by the name of the Reformation."


"The printing press, that scourge that every day and everywhere spreads its ravages."


"The too publicly scandalous habits of the ecclesiastics."

"And lastly?"

"Often the ineptness, the feebleness, the insatiable cupidity and the excesses of the papacy."

"These, then, are the obstacles to the absolute rule of the Catholic world by her Church?"

"Yes, master."

"Is it possible to overcome these obstacles?"

"We can, master, provided your spirit speaks through our mouths, and your will dictates our actions."

"All honor to the Lord—let's begin with the Kings. What are they with regard to the Popes?"

"Their rivals."

"What should they be?"

"Their first subjects."

"Would it not be preferable for the greater glory and security of the Catholic Church that royalty were abolished?"

"That would be preferable."

"How are Kings to be absolutely subordinated to the Popes? Or, rather, how is royalty to be destroyed?"

"By causing all its subjects to rise against it."

"By what process?"

"By unchaining the passions of an ignorant populace; by exploiting the old commune spirit of the bourgeoisie; by fanning the hatred of the seigneurs, once the peers of Kings in feudal days; by setting the people against one another."

"Is there a last resort for the riddance of Kings?"

"The dagger, or poison."

"Do you understand by that that a member of the Church may and has the right to stab a King; may and has the right to poison a King?"

"Master, it is not the part of a monk to kill a King, whether openly or covertly. The King should first be paternally admonished, then excommunicated, then declared forfeit of royal authority. After that his execution falls to others."[12]

"And who is it that declares Kings forfeit of royal authority, and thus places them under the ban of mankind, and outside the pale of human and divine law?"

"Either the people's voice, or an assembly of priests and theologians, or the decision of men of sense."[13]

"Suppose royal authority is overthrown by murder, or otherwise, will not the power thereby fall either into the hands of the nobility and the seigneurs, or into those of the bourgeoisie, or into the hands of the populace?"

"Yes, but only for a short interval. If the power falls into the hands of the populace, the seigneurs, that is, the nobility and the bourgeoisie, are to be turned against the populace. If the power should fall into the hands of the bourgeoisie, then the populace and the nobility are to be turned against the bourgeoisie; finally, in case the power falls into the hands of the nobility, the bourgeoisie and the populace are to be turned against the nobility."

"Civil war being over, what will be the state of things?"

"All powers being annihilated, the one destroyed by the other, only the Catholic Church will remain standing, imperishable."

"You spoke of operating upon the populace, upon the bourgeoisie, upon the nobility, to the end of using these several classes for the overthrow of royal power, and subsequently of letting them loose against one another. What lever will you operate upon them?"

"The direction of their conscience, especially that of their wives, through the confessional."

"In what manner do you expect to be able to direct their conscience?"

"By establishing maxims so sweet, so flexible, so comfortable, so complaisant to men's passions, vices and sins that the larger number of men and women will choose us for their confessors, and will thereby hand over to us the direction of their souls.[14] To direct the souls of the living is to secure the empire of the world."

"Let us consider the application of this doctrine," said Loyola. "Suppose I am a monk, you, I suppose," he added addressing his disciples successively, "are my confessor. I say to you: 'Father, it is forbidden, under penalty of excommunication, to doff, even for an instant, the garb of our Order. I accuse myself of having put on lay vestments.'"

"'My son,' I would answer," responded one of the disciples of Ignatius, "'let us distinguish. If you doffed your religious garb in order not to soil it with some disgraceful act, such as going on a pickpocket expedition, or patronizing a gambling house, or indulging in debauchery, you obeyed a sentiment of shame, and you do not then deserve excommunication.'"[15]

"Now," resumed Loyola, "I am a trustee, under obligation to pay a life annuity to someone or other, and I desire his death that I may be free of the obligation; or, say, I am the heir of a rich father, and am anxious to see his last day—I accuse myself of harboring these sentiments."

"'My son,' I would answer, 'a trustee may, without sin, desire the death of those who receive a pension from his trust, for the reason that what he really desires is, not the death of his beneficiary, but the cancellation of the debt. My son,' I would answer the penitent, 'you would be committing an abominable sin were you, out of pure wickedness, to desire the death of your father; but you commit no manner of sin if you harbor the wish, not with parricidal intent, but solely out of impatience to enjoy his inheritance.'"[16]

"I am a valet, and have come to accuse myself of acting as go-between in the amours of my master, and, besides, of having robbed him."

"'My son,' I would answer, 'to carry letters or presents to the concubine of your master, even to assist him in scaling her window by holding the ladder, are permissible and indifferent matters, because, in your quality of servant, it is not your will that you obey, but the will of another.[17] As to the thefts that you have committed, it is clear that if, driven by necessity, you have been forced to accept wages that are too small, you are justified in recouping your legitimate salary in some other way.'"[18]

"I am a swordsman. I accuse myself before the penitential tribunal of having fought a duel."

"'My son,' I would answer, 'if in fighting you yielded, not to a homicidal impulse, but to the legitimate call to avenge your honor, you have committed no sin.'"[19]

"I am a coward. I rid myself of my enemy by murdering him from ambush. I come to make the admission to you, my confessor, and to ask absolution."

"'My son,' I would answer, 'if you committed the murder, not for the sake of the murder itself, but in order to escape the dangers which your enemy might have thrown you into, in that case you have not sinned at all. In such cases it is legitimate to kill one's enemy in the absence of witnesses.'"[20]

"I am a judge. I accuse myself of having rendered a decision in favor of one of the litigants, in consideration of a present made to me by him."

"'Where is the wrong in that, my son?' I would ask. 'In consideration of a present you rendered a decision favorable to the giver of the gift. Could you not, by virtue of your own will, have favored whom you pleased? You stand in no need of absolution.'"[21]

"I am a usurer. I accuse myself of having frequently derived large profits from my money. Have I sinned according to the law of the Church?"

"'My son,' I would answer, 'this is the way you should in future conduct yourself in such affairs: Someone asks a loan of you. You will answer: "I have no money to loan, but I have some ready to be honestly invested. If you will guarantee to reimburse me my capital, and, besides that, to pay me a certain profit, I shall entrust the sum in your hands so that you may turn it to use. But I shall not loan it to you."[22] For the rest, my son, you have not sinned, if, however large the interest you may have received from your money, the same was looked upon by you simply as a token of gratitude, and not a condition for the loan.[23] Go in peace, my son.'"

"I am a bankrupt. I accuse myself of having concealed a considerable sum from the knowledge of my creditors."

"'My son,' I would answer, 'the sin is grave if you retained the sum out of base cupidity. But if your purpose was merely to insure to yourself and your family a comfortable existence, even some little luxury, you are absolved.'"[24]

"I am a woman. I accuse myself of having committed adultery, and of having in that way obtained considerable wealth from my paramour. May I enjoy that wealth with an easy conscience?"

"'My daughter,' I would answer, 'the wealth acquired through gallantry and adultery has, it is true, an illegitimate source. Nevertheless, its possession may be considered legitimate, seeing that no human or divine law pronounces against such possession.'"[25]

"I have stolen a large sum. I accuse myself of the theft, and ask for your absolution."

"'My son,' I would answer, 'it is a crime to steal, unless one is driven thereto by extreme necessity; and even less so if grave reasons prompt the act.'"[26]

"I am rich, but I give alms sparingly, if at all. I accuse myself."

"'My son,' I would answer, 'charity towards our fellows is a Christian duty. Nevertheless, if superfluity is needed by you, you commit no sin by not depriving yourself of those things which, in your eyes, are necessaries.[27] I absolve you.'"

"I coveted a certain inheritance. I accuse myself of having poisoned the man from whom I was to inherit. May I retain the property?"

"'My son,' I would answer, 'the possession of property, acquired by unworthy means, and even through manslaughter, is legitimate, so far as possession is concerned. You may retain the property.'"[28]

"I am summoned to take an oath. My conscience forbids, my interest orders me to commit perjury. You are my confessor. I wish to consult you on the matter."

"'You can, my son, reconcile your interest and your conscience. This way—I suppose you will be asked: "Do you swear you did not commit such and such an act?" You will answer aloud: "I swear before God and man that I have not committed that act," and then you add mentally: "On such and such a day." Or, you are asked: "Do you swear you will never do such or such a thing?" You will answer: "I swear," and mentally you add: "Unless I change my mind; in which case I shall do the thing."'"[29]

"I am an unmarried woman. I have yielded to a seducer. I fear the anger and reproaches of my family."

"'My daughter,' I would answer, 'take courage. A woman of your age is free to dispose of her body and herself. Have all the lovers you please. I absolve you.'"[30]

"I am a woman, passionately addicted to gambling. I accuse myself of having purloined some moneys from my husband, in order to repay my losses at the gaming table."

"'My daughter,' I would answer, 'seeing that, between man and wife, everything is, or ought to be, in common, you have not sinned by drawing from the common purse.[31] You may continue to do so. I absolve you.'"

"I am a woman. I love ornaments. I accuse myself."

"'My daughter,' I would answer, 'if you ornament yourself without impure intentions, and only in order to satisfy your natural taste for ornamentation, you do not sin.'"[32]

"I accuse myself of having seduced the wife of my best friend."

"'My son,' I would answer, 'let us distinguish: If you treacherously seduced the woman just because she was the wife of your best friend, then you have sinned. But if you seduced her, as you might have done any other woman, you have not outraged friendship.[33] It is a natural thing to desire the possession of a handsome woman. You have not sinned. There is no occasion for absolution.'"

"Well done!" exclaimed Loyola. "But I notice you grant absolution for all that human morality and the Fathers of the Church condemn."

"Master, you said: 'Absolved penitents will never complain.'"

"What is the object of the complaisance of your doctrines in all circumstances?"

"At this season an incurable corruption reigns among mankind. Rigor would estrange them from us. Our tolerance for their vices is calculated to deliver the penitents to us, body and soul. By leaving to us the direction of their souls, this corrupt generation will later relinquish to us the absolute education of their children. We will then raise those generations as may be suitable, by taking them in charge from the cradle to the grave; by molding them; by petrifying them in such manner that, their appetites being satisfied, and their minds for all time delivered from the temptation of those three infernal rebels—Reason, Dignity and Freedom—those generations will bless their sweet servitude, and will be to us, master, what we are to you—servile slaves, body and soul, mere corpses!"

"Among the obstacles that our work will, or may encounter, you mentioned the papacy."

"Yes, master, because the elections of the sacred college may call to the pontifical throne Popes that are weak, stupid or vicious."

"What is the remedy at such a juncture?"

"To organize, outside of the papacy, of the college of cardinals, of the episcopacy, of the regular clergy and of the religious Orders, a society to whose members it shall be strictly forbidden ever to be elected Pope, or to accept any Catholic office, however high or however low the office may be. Thus this society will ever preserve its independence of action for or against the Church, free to oppose or uphold its Chief."

"What shall be the organization of that redoubtable society?"

"A General, elected by its own members, shall have sovereign direction over it."

"What pledge are its members to take towards him?"

"Dumb, blind and servile obedience."

"What are they to be in his hands?"

"That which we are in yours, O, master! Instruments as docile as the cane in the hand of the man who leans upon it."

"What will be the theater of the society's work?"

"The whole world."

"Into what parts will it divide the universe?"

"Into provinces—the province of France, the province of Spain, the province of Germany, the province of England, the province of India, the province of Asia, and others. Each will be under the government of a 'provincial,' appointed by the General of the society."

"The society being organized, what name is it to assume?"

"The name of the Society of Jesus."

"In what manner is the Society of Jesus to become a counterpoise to the papacy, and, if need be, dominate the papacy itself, should the latter swerve from the route it should pursue in order to insure the absolute government of the nations of the world to the Catholic Church?"

"Independent of the established Church, from whom it neither expects nor demands aught—neither the purple, nor the cross, nor benefices—the Society of Jesus, thanks to its accommodating and tolerant doctrines, will speedily conquer the empire of the human conscience. It will be the confessor of Kings and lackeys, of the mendicant monk and the cardinal, of the courtesan and the princess, the female bourgeois and her cook, of the concubine and the empress. The concert of this immense clientage, acting as one man under the breath of the Society of Jesus, and inspired by its General, will insure to him such a power that, at a given moment, he will be able to dictate his orders to the papacy, threatening to unchain against it all the consciences and arms over which he disposes. The General will be more powerful than the Pope himself."

"Besides its action upon the conscience, will the Society of Jesus dispose over any other and secondary levers?"

"Yes, master, and very effective ones. Whosoever, whether lay or clerical, poor or rich, woman or man, great or small, will blindly surrender his soul to the direction of the Society of Jesus, will always and everywhere, and against whomsoever, be sustained, protected, favored, defended and held scathless by the Society and its adherents. The penitent of a Jesuit will see the horizon of his most ardent hopes open before him; the path to honors and wealth will be smoothed before his feet; a tutelary mantle will cover his defects, his errors and his crimes; his enemies will be the Society's enemies; it will pursue them, track them, overtake them and smite them, whoever and wherever they may be, and with all available means. Thus the penitent of a Jesuit may aspire to anything. To incur his resentment will be a dread ordeal."

"Accordingly, you have faith in the accomplishment of our work?"

"An absolute faith."

"From whom do you derive that faith?"

"From you, master; from you, Ignatius Loyola, whose breath inspires us; from you, our master, him through whom we live."

"The work is immense—to dominate the world! And yet there are only seven of us."

"Master, when you command, we are legion."

"Seven—only seven, my sons—without other power than our faith in our work."

"Master, faith removes mountains. Command."

"Oh, my brave disciples!" exclaimed Ignatius Loyola rising and supporting himself with his staff. "What joy it is to me to have thus imbued you with my substance, and nourished you with the marrow of my doctrine! Be up! Be up! The moment for action has come. That is the reason I have caused you to gather this evening here at Montmartre, where I have so often come to meditate in this hollow, this second to that cavern of Manres, where, in Spain, after long years of concentration, I at last perceived the full depth, the immensity of my work. Yes, in order to weld you together in this work, I have broken, bent and absorbed your personalities. I have turned you into instruments of my will as docile as the cane in the hand of the man who leans upon it. Yes, I have captured your souls. Yes, you are now only corpses in my hands. Oh, my dear corpses! my canes! my serfs! my slaves! glorify your servitude. It delivers to you the empire of the world! You will be the masters of all the men! You will be supreme rulers of all the women!"

Loyola's disciples listened to him in devout silence. For a moment he remained steeped in the contemplation of his portentous ambition, meditating universal domination. Presently he proceeded:

"We must prepare ourselves by means of the holy sacrifice of the mass for the last act of this great day. We must receive the body of Jesus, we who constitute his intrepid militia! We the Jesuits!" And addressing himself to Lefevre: "You have brought with you the necessaries for the celebration of mass. Yonder rock"—pointing to the boulder behind which Christian and Justin were concealed—"yonder rock will serve us for altar. Come, to work, my well-beloved disciple."

Lefevre opened the bundle which he had taken charge of. He drew from it a surplice, a chasuble, a Bible, a stole, a chalice, a little box of consecrated wafers, and two small flasks with wine and water. He clothed himself in sacerdotal garb, while one of the disciples took the wax candle, knelt down and lighted the improvised altar upon which the other Jesuits were engaged in disposing the rest of the requisites for the celebration of the divine sacrifice. It was done before Loyola and his disciples. The voice of Lefevre, as he droned the liturgy, alone disturbed the silence of the solitude upon which the wax candle cast a flickering ruddy glow. The time for communion having come, the seven founders of the Society of Jesus received the Eucharist with unction. The service over, Loyola rose again to his feet, and with an inspired mien said to his disciples:

"And now, come, come."

He walked away, limping and followed by his acolytes, leaving behind them the religious implements on the block of stone.

Soon as the Jesuits moved away, Christian and Justin cautiously emerged from their hiding place, astounded at the secret they had just had revealed to them. Christian could still hardly believe that Lefevre, one of his oldest friends, and whose sentiments inclined him to the Reformation, had become a priest, and was one of the most ardent sectarians of Loyola.

"They are gone," Justin whispered to his companion; "I have not a drop of blood left in my veins. Let's flee!"

"What imprudence! We might run against those fanatics. I doubt not they will come back. Let us wait till they have departed."

"No, no! I will not stay here another minute. I am overcome with fear."

"Then let us try to escape by the other issue, which, as you were telling me, runs behind this rock. Come, be brave!"

"I am not sure whether that passage is not now obstructed. It would be dangerous to enter it without a light. A light would betray us. Let's return upon our steps."

More and more frightened, Justin walked rapidly towards the entrance of the quarry. Christian followed, unwilling to leave him alone. The moment they were about to emerge from the subterranean cavern, their ears were struck by the sound of human voices coming from above. The moon was now high in the sky, and lighted the only path that led to the abbey.

"We can not leave this place without being seen," observed Justin in a low and anxious voice. "Those men have gathered upon the platform above the entrance of the cave."

"Listen," said Christian, yielding to an irresistible impulse of curiosity; "listen, they are talking."

The artisans remained motionless and mute. For a moment a solemn silence reigned. Presently the voice of Ignatius Loyola reached them as if it descended from heaven.

"Do you swear?" came from the founder of the Society of Jesus. "Do you swear in the name of the living God?"

"In the name of God," responded the Jesuits. "We swear! We shall obey our master!"

"My sons," Loyola's voice resumed solemnly, "from this place you can see the four cardinal points of that world whose empire I parcel out among you, valiant soldiers of the Society of Jesus. Down yonder, towards the north, lie the land of the Muscovite, Germany, England. To you, Germany, England and the land of the Muscovite—John Lainez."

"Master, your will be done!"

"Yonder, to the east, Turkey, Asia, the Holy Land. To you, Turkey, Asia and the Holy Land—Rodriguez of Acevedo."

"Master, your will be done!"

"Yonder, towards the west, the new America and the Indies. To you, the new America and the Indies—Alfonso Salmeron."

"Master, your will be done!"

"Yonder, to the south, Africa, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, and the Balearic Isles. To you, Africa, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the islands of Corsica and Sardinia and the Balearic Isles—Inigo of Bobadilla. Behold your empire."

"Master, your will be done!"

"Finally, here at our feet, Paris, the capital of France, a world in itself. To you, Paris, to you, France—John Lefevre."

"Master, your will be done!"

"Beginning with to-morrow, gird up your loins. Depart, staff in hand, alone, unknown. To work, soldiers of Jesus! To work, Jesuits! The kingdom of earth is ours! To-morrow I depart for Rome, to offer or force upon the Pope our invincible support."

Loyola's voice died away. Hearing the sectarians descending from the platform, Christian and Justin hurried back to their hiding place, behind the huge rock upon which were the implements that Lefevre had used in the celebration of the mass. The latter soon came back, followed by his companions. He doffed his sacerdotal vestments, and approached the improvised altar to gather the sacred vessels. So busied, his hand struck against the chalice, which rolled down and fell behind the rock at the place where the two artisans were crowding themselves from sight. John Lefevre walked back of the rock after the chalice which had fallen close to Christian's feet. The latter saw the Jesuit approach; stoop down and pick up the vase, without seeming, in the demi-gloom, to notice his old friend, whom his hand almost touched, and rejoin the other disciples.

"Lefevre has seen us!" thought Christian to himself. "It is impossible he should not have noticed us. And yet, not a word, not a gesture betrayed upon his countenance the astonishment and uneasiness into which he must have been plunged by our presence at this place, and the knowledge that we are in possession of the secret of his society."

While Christian was absorbed by these thoughts, Lefevre, ever imperturbable, returned to his bag the objects which he used in celebrating the mass, walked out of the cavern with his companions, and whispered a few words into the ear of Loyola. A slight tremor ran through the frame of the latter, who, however, immediately recovered his composure, and whispered back his answer to Lefevre. The latter lowered his head in token of acquiescence. Thereupon the founder of the Society of Jesus and his disciples disappeared in the windings of the road and reached Paris.

Such was the origin of that infernal society.



As soon as Christian returned home, late towards midnight, he hastened to communicate to his guest the occurrences at Montmartre. Monsieur John concluded it was urgent to assemble the chiefs of the Reformation in the abandoned quarry, where there was no danger of apprehending the return of the Jesuits, seeing that Ignatius Loyola was to depart immediately for Rome, while his disciples were to scatter to the distant countries parceled out to them. Finally, if, as Christian persisted with good reason in believing, Lefevre had noticed the presence of the two artisans at the Jesuit conventicle, it would be an additional reason to keep them from returning to the spot. Accordingly, Monsieur John decided to convoke the chiefs of the Reformation in Paris for six o'clock in the afternoon of the following day at Montmartre. To this effect he prepared a letter giving the directions to the trysting place. Justin was to proceed in time to make certain that the second issue was practicable. Furthermore, it was agreed between Bridget and her husband that she would absent herself together with her daughter before sunset, in order to allow the stranger to leave the house unnoticed by Hena. On his part, Christian was to pretend an invitation to supper with a friend, in order to engage his son's company in a walk, and was to dismiss him when he thought that Monsieur John had departed. The program was carried out as agreed. When Bridget and Hena returned home after a short walk along the banks of the Seine, the proscribed man had quitted his hospitable refuge, and betaken him to the Montmartre Gate, where Christian was to await him, and conduct him to the place of meeting.

The artisan's wife and daughter busied themselves at their trade of embroidery. They worked in silence by the light of a lamp—Bridget musing over Hervé's repentance, while Hena, lost in revery, frequently allowed her needle to drop inactive on her lap. The young girl was absorbed in her own thoughts, a stranger to what went on around her. The hour of nine struck from the distant clock in the tower of St. James-of-the-Slaughter-House.

"Nine o'clock," observed Bridget to herself. "My son can not be long in coming back. With what joy shall I not embrace him this evening! What a heavy load did not his repentance roll off my heart! The dear child!"

And addressing Hena without removing her eyes from her needlework:

"God be blessed! Dear child, you will no longer have cause to complain of Hervé's indifference. No, no! And when my little Odelin comes back from Italy we shall then all live together again, happy as of old. I am awaiting with impatience the return of Master Raimbaud, the armorer, who will bring us back our gentle Odelin."

Not receiving any answer from her daughter, Bridget looked up and said to her:

"I have been speaking to you some time, dear daughter. You do not seem to hear me. Why are you so absentminded?"

Hena remained silent for an instant, then she smiled and answered naïvely:

"Singular as it may be, why should I not tell you, mother? It would be the first time in my life that I kept a secret from you."

"Well, my child, what is the reason of your absent-mindedness?"

"It is—well, it is Brother St. Ernest-Martyr, mother."

Dropping her embroidery, Bridget contemplated her daughter with extreme astonishment. Hena, however, proceeded with a candid smile:

"Does that astonish you, mother? I am, myself, a good deal more astonished."

Hena uttered these words with such ingenuousness, her handsome face, clear as her soul, turned to her mother with such trustfulness, that Bridget, at once uneasy and confident—uneasy, by reason of the revelation; confident, by reason of Hena's innocent assurance—said to her after a short pause:

"Indeed, dear daughter, I am astonished at what I learn from you. You saw, it seems to me, Brother St. Ernest-Martyr only two or three times at our friend Mary La Catelle's, before that unhappy affair of the other evening on the bridge."

"Yes, mother. And that is just the extraordinary thing about it. Since day before yesterday I constantly think of Brother St. Ernest-Martyr. And that is not all. Last night I dreamt of him!"

"Dreamt of him!" exclaimed Bridget.

So far from evading her mother's gaze, Hena's only answer was two affirmative nods of the head, which she gave, opening wide her beautiful blue eyes, in which the childlike and charming astonishment, that her own sentiments caused her, was depicted.

"Yes, mother; I dreamt of him. I saw him picking up at the door of a church a poor child that shook with cold. I saw him pick up the child, hold it in his arms, warm it with his breath, and contemplate it with so pitying and tender an air, that the tears forced themselves to my eyes. I was so moved that I woke up with a start—and I really wept!"

"That dream is singular, my daughter!"

"Singular? No! The dream is explainable enough. Day before yesterday Hervé was telling me of the charitable nature of Brother St. Ernest-Martyr. That same evening we saw the poor monk carried into our house with his face bleeding. That I should have been deeply impressed, and should have dreamt of him, I understand. But what I do not understand is that when I am awake, wide awake, I should still think of him. Look, even now, when I shut my eyes"—and, smiling, Hena suited the action to the words—"I still see him as if he stood there, with that kind face of his that he turns upon the little children."

"But, my dear daughter, when you think of Brother St. Ernest-Martyr, what is the nature of your thoughts?"

Hena pondered for an instant, and then answered:

"I would not know how to explain it to you, mother. When I think of him I say to myself: 'How good, how generous, how brave is Brother St. Ernest-Martyr! Day before yesterday he braved the sword to defend Mary La Catelle; another day, on the Notre Dame Bridge, he leaped into the water to save an unhappy man who was drowning; he picks up little deserted children, or gives them instruction with so much interest and affection that their own father could not display more solicitude in them.'"

"Thinking over it, dear child, there is nothing in all that but what is perfectly natural. The brother is an upright man. Your thoughts turn upon his good deeds. That's quite simple."

"No, mother, it is not quite so simple as you put it! Are not you all that is best in this world? Is not my father as upright a man as Brother St. Ernest-Martyr? Are not you two my beloved and venerated parents? And yet—that is what puzzles me, how comes it that I oftener think of him than of either of you?"

And after a pause the young maid added in an accent of adorable candor:

"I tell you, mother, it is truly extraordinary!"

Several impatient raps, given at the street door interrupted the conversation. Bridget said to her daughter:

"Open the window, and see who it is that knocks. Probably it is your brother."

"Yes, mother; it is he; it is Hervé," said Hena, opening the window.

She descended to the floor below.

"My God!" thought Bridget to herself in no slight agitation. "How am I to interpret the confidence of Hena? Her soul is incapable of dissimulation. She has told me the whole truth, without being aware of the sentiments the young monk awakens in her. I can hardly wait to inform Christian of this strange discovery!"

The sound of Hervé's steps hurriedly ascending the stairs drew Bridget from her brown study. She saw her son rush in, followed by his sister. As he stepped into the room he cried with a troubled countenance:

"Oh, mother! mother!" and embracing her tenderly he added: "Oh, mother! What sad news I bring you!"

"Dear child, what is it?"

"Our poor Mary La Catelle—"

"What has happened to her?"

"This evening, as I was about to leave the printing shop, father asked me to accompany him part of the way. He was going to a friend's, with whom he was to take supper this evening. Father said: 'La Catelle's house is on our way, we shall drop in and inquire whether she is still suffering from her painful experience of the other evening'—"

"Yesterday morning," Bridget broke in, "after I took her home with your sister, we left Mary calm and at ease. She is a brave woman."

"Notwithstanding her firm nature and her self-control, she succumbed to the reaction of that night's excitement. Last night she was seized with a high fever. She was bled twice to-day. A minute ago we found her in a desperate state. A fatal end is apprehended."

"Poor Mary!" exclaimed Hena, clasping her hands in despair, and her eyes filling with tears. "What a misfortune! This news overwhelms me with sorrow!"

"Unhappily her sister-in-law left yesterday for Meaux with her husband," remarked Hervé. "La Catelle, at death's door, is left at this moment to the care of a servant."

"Hena, quick, my cloak!" said Bridget rising precipitately from her seat. "I can not leave that worthy friend to the care of mercenary hands. I shall run to her help."

"Good, dear mother, you but forestall father's wishes," observed Hervé, as his sister hurried to take Bridget's cloak out of a trunk. "Father told me to hurry and notify you of this misfortune. He said he knew how attached you were to our friend, and that you would wish to spend the night at her bed, and render her the care she stands in need of."

Wrapping herself in her cloak, Bridget was about to leave the house.

"Mother," said Hena, "will you not take me with you?"

"How can you think of such a thing, child, at this hour of night!"

"Sister, it is for me to escort mother," put in Hervé; and, with a tender voice, accompanied with the offer of his forehead for Bridget to kiss, the hypocrite added:

"Is it not the sweetest of my duties to watch over you, good mother?"

"Oh," said Bridget, moved, and kissing her son's forehead, "I recognize you again, my son!" With this passing allusion to the painful incidents of the last few days, which she had already forgiven, the unsuspecting mother proceeded: "A woman of my age runs no risk on the street, my son; besides, I do not wish your sister to remain alone in the house."

"I am not afraid, mother," Hena responded. "I shall bolt the door from within. I shall feel easier that way than to have you go out without company at this hour of night. Why, mother, remember what happened to La Catelle night before last! Let Hervé go with you."

"Mother," put in Hervé, "you hear what my dear sister says."

"Children, we are losing precious time. Let us not forget that, at this hour, our friend may be expiring in the hands of a stranger. Good-bye!"

"How unlucky that just to-day our uncle should have gone to St. Denis!" put in Hervé with a sigh. But seeming to be struck with an idea he added: "Mother, why could not both Hena and I accompany you?"

"Oh, darling brother, you deserve an embrace, twenty embraces, for that bright thought," said the young girl, throwing her arms around Hervé's neck. "It is agreed, mother, we shall all three go together."

"Impossible. The house can not be left alone, children. Who will open the door to your father when he comes home? Besides, did not Master Simon send us yesterday a little bag of pearls to embroider on the velvet gown for the Duchess of Etampes? The pearls are of considerable value. I would feel very uneasy if these valuable articles remained without anybody to watch them. Knowing you are here, Hervé, I shall feel easy on that score," remarked Bridget with a look of affectionate confidence that seemed to say to her son: "Yesterday you committed larceny; but you are now again an honorable boy; to-day I can entrust you with the guardianship of my treasure."

Hervé divined his mother's thoughts. He raised her hand to his lips and said:

"Your trust in me shall be justified."

"Still, this very evening, shortly before nightfall, we left the house all alone for a walk along the river," objected Hena. "Why should we run any greater risk now, if we go out all three of us?"

"Dear daughter, it was then still light; the shops of our neighbors were still open; burglars would not have dared to make a descent upon us at such a time. At this hour, on the contrary, all the shops being closed, and the streets almost deserted, thieves are in season."

"And it is just at such an hour that you are going to expose yourself, mother."

"I have nothing about me to tempt the cupidity of thieves. Good-bye! Good-bye, my children!" Bridget said hastily, and embracing Hena and her brother: "To-morrow morning, my dear girl, your father will take you to La Catelle's, where you will find me. We shall return home together. Hervé, light me downstairs."

Preceded by her son, who carried the lamp, Bridget quickly descended the stairs and left the house.



No sooner had Hervé closed the street door upon his mother than he slowly re-ascended the stairs to the upper chamber, saying to himself:

"It will take my mother an hour to reach La Catelle's house; at least as long to return; father will not be home until midnight; I have two full hours to myself. They shall be turned to profit."

Pressing with a convulsive hand against his heart the scapulary containing Tezel's letter of absolution, Hervé entered the room in which Hena was left alone.

From the threshold Hervé saw his sister on her knees. Astonished at her posture, he stepped towards her and asked:

"Hena, what are you doing?"

"I was praying to God that He may guard mother, and restore our friend to health," answered the young girl, rising; and she proceeded with a sigh: "My heart feels heavy. May no misfortune threaten us."

Saying this, the confiding girl sat down to her embroidery. Her brother took a seat beside her on a stool. After a few seconds he broke the silence:

"Hena, do you remember that about three months ago I suddenly changed towards you?"

Not a little surprised at these opening words, the young girl answered:

"Why recall those evil days, brother? Thank heaven, they are over; they will not return."

"Do you remember," Hervé proceeded without noticing his sister's words, "do you remember that, so far from returning, I repelled your caresses?"

"I do not wish to remember that, Hervé; I do not think of it now."

"Hena, the reason was I had made a strange discovery in my heart—I loved you!"

The young girl dropped her needle, turned suddenly towards her brother, and, fixing upon him her astonished eyes, looked at him for a moment in silence. Thereupon, smiling, and in accents of tender reproach, she said:

"How! Were you so long making the discovery that you loved me? And did the discovery seem to you—strange?"

"Yes," answered Hervé, ignoring the childlike reproach implied in his sister's words; "yes, the discovery was slow—yes, it seemed to me strange. Long did I struggle against that sentiment; my nights were passed sleepless."

"You slept no more because you loved me? That's odd!"

"Because I loved you—"

"Come, Hervé, it is not handsome to joke about so painful a subject. Do you forget the sorrow that fell on us all when, all of a sudden, we saw you become so somber, so silent, and almost to seem indifferent to us? Our dear little Odelin, who departed since then to Milan with Master Raimbaud, was probably less saddened by the thought of leaving us, than by your coolness for us all."

"Remorse gave me neither peace, nor rest. Alas, I say correctly, remorse."

"Remorse?" repeated the young girl stupefied. "I do not understand you."

"The tortures of my soul, coupled with a vague instinct of hope, drove me to the feet of a holy man. He listened to me at the confessional. He unrolled before my eyes the inexhaustible resources of the faith. Well, my remorse vanished; peace re-entered my heart. Now, Hena, I love you without remorse and without internal struggles. I love you in security."

"Well, if that is the game, I shall proceed with my embroidery," said the young girl; and picking up her needle, she resumed her work, adding in a playful tone: "Seeing that the Seigneur Hervé loves me without remorse and in security, all is said—although, for my part, I do not fathom those big words 'struggles' and 'tortures' with regard to the return of the affection of the Seigneur Hervé for a sister who loves him as much as she is beloved." But speedily dropping the spirit of banter and sadly raising her eyes to her brother's, she continued: "Here, my friend, I must quit jesting. You have long suffered. You seemed whelmed with a secret sorrow. Come, what was the cause? I am still in the dark thereon. Acquaint me with it."

"The cause was love for you, Hena!"

"Still at it? Come, Hervé, I am but a very ignorant girl, beside you who know Latin. But when you say that the cause of your secret sorrow was your attachment for me—"

"I said love, Hena—"

"Love, attachment, tenderness—is it not all one?"

"You spoke to me day before yesterday of Brother St. Ernest-Martyr."

"I did. And only a short time ago I was talking about him with mother—" Suddenly breaking off, Hena exclaimed: "Good God! Dear, good mother! When I think of her being all alone at this hour on the street, without anyone to protect her!"

"Be not alarmed. Our mother runs no danger whatever."

"May heaven hear you, Hervé!"

"Let us return to Brother St. Ernest-Martyr, of whom you were just before speaking with mother. Do you love the monk in the same manner that you love me?"

"Can the two things be compared? I have spent my life beside you; you are my brother—on the other hand, I have seen that poor monk but five or six times, and then for a minute only."

"You love him—do not lie!"

"My God! In what a tone you speak, Hervé. I have nothing to conceal."

"Do you love that monk?"

"Certainly—just as one loves all that is good and just. I know the generous actions of Brother St. Ernest-Martyr. You, yourself, only a few days ago, told me a very touching deed done by him."

"Do you constantly think of the monk?"

"Constantly, no. But this very evening I was saying to mother that I was astonished I thought so frequently of him."

"Hena, suppose our parents thought of marrying you, and that the young monk, instead of being a clergyman, was free, could become your husband and loved you—would you wed him?"

"What a crazy supposition!"

"Let us suppose all I have said—that he is not a monk and loves you; if our parents gave their consent to the marriage, would you accept that man for your husband?"

"Dear brother, you are putting questions to me—"

"You would wed him with joy," Hervé broke in with hollow voice, fixing upon his sister a jealous and enraged eye that escaped her, seeing the embroidery on which she was engaged helped her conceal the embarrassment that the singular interrogatory to which she was being subjected threw her into. Nevertheless, the girl's natural frankness regained the upper hand, and without raising her eyes to her brother, Hena answered:

"Why should I not consent to wed an honorable man, if our parents approved the marriage?"

"Accordingly, you love the monk! Yes, you love him passionately! The thought of him obsesses you. Your grief and the sorrow that day before yesterday you felt when he was carried wounded into the house, the tears I surprised in your eyes—all these are so many symptoms of your love for him!"

"Hervé, I know not why, but your words alarm me, they disconcert me, they freeze my heart, they make me feel like weeping. I did not feel that way this evening when I conversed with mother about Brother St. Ernest-Martyr. Besides, your face looks gloomy, almost enraged."

"I hate that monk to death!"

"My God! What has he done to you?"

"What has he done to me?" repeated Hervé. "You love him! That is his crime!"

"Brother!" cried Hena, rising from her work to throw herself on the neck of her brother and holding him in a tight embrace. "Utter not such words! You make me wretched!"

Convulsed with despair, Hervé pressed his sister passionately to his breast and covered her forehead and hair with kisses, while Hena, innocently responding to his caresses, whispered with gentle emotion:

"Good brother, you are no longer angry, are you? If you only knew my alarm at seeing you look so wicked!"

A heavy knock resounded at the street door, followed immediately by the sonorous and merry voice of the Franc-Taupin singing his favorite song:

"A Franc-Taupin had an ash-tree bow,
All eaten with worms, and all knotted its cord;
Derideron, vignette on vignon!! Derideron!"

A tremor ran through Hervé. Quickly recalling himself, he ran to the casement, opened it, and leaning forward, cried out: "Good evening, uncle!"

"Dear nephew, I am back from St. Denis. I did not wish to return to Paris without telling you all good-day!"

"Oh, dear uncle, a great misfortune has happened! La Catelle is dying. She sent for mother, who left at once. I could not accompany her, being obliged to remain here with Hena in father's absence. We feel uneasy at the thought that mother may have to come back all alone on this dark night."

"All alone! By the bowels of St. Quenet, of what earthly use am I, if not to protect my sister!" replied Josephin. "I shall start on a run to La Catelle's, and see your mother home. Be not uneasy, my lad. When I return I shall embrace you and your sister, if you are not yet in bed."

The Franc-Taupin hastened away. Hervé shut the window, and returned in a state of great excitement to Hena, who inquired:

"Why did you induce uncle to go to-night after mother? She is to stay all night at La Catelle's. Why do you not answer me? Why is your face so lowering? My God! What ails you? Brother, brother, do not look upon me with such eyes! I am trembling all over."

"Hena, I love you—I love you carnally!"

"I—do not comprehend—what—you say. I do not understand your words. You now frighten me. Your eyes are bloodshot."

"The kind of love you feel for that monk—that love I feel for you! I love you with a passionate desire."

"Hervé, you are out of your mind. You do not know what you say!"

"I must possess you!"

"Good God, am I also going crazy? Do my eyes—do my ears deceive me?"

"Hena—you are beautiful! Sister, I adore you—"

"Do not touch me! Mercy! Hervé, brother, you are demented! Recognize me—it is I—Hena—your own sister—it is I who am here before you—on my knees."

"Come, come into my arms!"

"Help! Help! Mother! Father!"

"Mother is far away—father also. We are alone—in the dark—and I have received absolution! You shall be mine, will ye nil ye!"

The monster, intent upon accomplishing his felony in obscurity, knocked down the lamp with his fist, threw himself upon Hena, and gripped her in his arms. The girl slipped away from him, reached the staircase that led to the lower floor, and bounded down. Hervé rushed after her, and seized her as she was about to clear the lowest steps. The distracted child called for help. Holding her with one hand, her brother tried to gag her with the other, lest her cries be heard by the neighbors. Suddenly the street door was thrown open, flooding the room with moonlight, and disclosing Bridget on the threshold. Thunderstruck, the mother perceived her daughter struggling in the arms of her brother, and still, though in a smothered voice, crying: "Help! Help!" The wretch, now rendered furious at the danger of his victim's escaping him, and dizzy with the vertigo of crime, did not at first recognize Bridget. He flung Hena behind him, and seizing a heavy iron coal-rake from the fireplace, was about to use it for a club, not even recoiling before murder in order to free himself from an importunate witness. Already the dangerous weapon was raised when, by the light of the moon, the incestuous lad discovered the features of his mother.

"Save yourself, mother," cried Hena between her sobs; "he is gone crazy; he will kill you. Only your timely help saved me from his violent assault."

"Infamous boy!" cried the mother. "That, then, was your purpose in removing me from the house. God willed that half way to La Catelle's I met her brother-in-law—"

"Be gone!" thundered back Hervé, a prey to uncontrollable delirium; and raising the iron coal-rake which he had lowered under the first impulse of surprise at the sight of his mother, he staggered towards Bridget yelling: "Be gone!"

"Matricide! Dare you raise that iron bar against me—your mother?"

"All my crimes are absolved in advance! Incest—parricide—all are absolved! Be gone, or I kill you!"

Hardly were these appalling words uttered, when the sound of numerous and rapidly approaching steps penetrated into the apartment through the door that Bridget had left open. Almost immediately a troop of patrolling archers, under the command of a sergeant-at-arms, and led by a man in a black frock with the cowl drawn over his head, halted and drew themselves up before the house of Christian. The Franc-Taupin had met them a short distance from the Exchange Bridge. A few words, exchanged among the soldiers, notified him of the errand they were on. Alarmed at what he overheard, he had quickly retraced his steps and followed them at a distance. The sergeant in command stepped in at the very moment that Hervé uttered the last menace to his mother.

"Does Christian Lebrenn dwell here?" asked the soldier. "Answer quickly."

Ready to sink distracted, Bridget was not at first able to articulate a word. Hena gathered strength to rise from the floor where Hervé had flung her, and ran to Bridget, into whose arms she threw herself. Hervé dropped at his feet the iron implement he had armed himself with, and remained motionless, savage of mien, his arms crossed over his breast. The man whose face was hidden by the cowl of his black frock—that man was John Lefevre, the disciple of Ignatius Loyola—whispered a few words in the ear of the sergeant. The latter again addressed Bridget, now in still more peremptory tones:

"Is this the dwelling of Christian Lebrenn, a typesetter by trade?"

"Yes," answered Bridget, and greatly alarmed by the visit of the soldiers, she added: "My husband is not at home. He will not be back until late."

"You are the wife of Christian Lebrenn?" resumed the sergeant, and pointing to Hena and then to Hervé: "That young girl and that young man are your children, are they not? By order of Monsieur John Morin, the Criminal Lieutenant, I am commissioned to arrest Christian Lebrenn, a printer, his wife, his son and his daughter as being charged with heresy, and to take them to a safe place."

"My husband is not at home!" cried Bridget, her first thought being to the safety of Christian, although herself stupefied with fear at the threatened arrest. That instant, and standing a few steps behind the archers, the Franc-Taupin, taller by a head than the armed troop before him, caught the eyes of Bridget. With a sign he warned her to keep silent. He then bent his long body in two, and vanished.

"Do you want to make us believe your husband is not at home?" resumed the sergeant. "We shall search the house." Then turning to his men: "Bind the hands of that young man, of the young girl and of the woman, and keep guard over the prisoners."

John Lefevre, his face still concealed under the cowl of his frock, could not be recognized by Bridget. He knew the inmates of the house, at whose hearth he had often sat as a friend. He motioned to the sergeant to follow him, and taking a lanthorn from the hand of one of the archers, mounted the stairs, entered the chamber of the married couple, and pointing with his finger to a cabinet in which Christian kept his valuables, said to him:

"The papers in question must be in there, in a little casket of black wood."

The key stood in the lock of the cabinet. The sergeant opened the two doors. From one of the shelves he took down a casket of considerable proportions.

"That is the one," said John Lefevre. "Give it to me. I shall place it in the hands of Monsieur the Criminal Lieutenant."

"That Christian must be hiding somewhere," remarked the sergeant, looking under the bed, and behind the curtains.

"It is almost certain," answered John Lefevre. "He rarely goes out at night. There is all the greater reason to expect to find him in at this hour, seeing he spent part of last night out of the house."

"Why did they not try to arrest him during the day at the printing office of Monsieur Estienne?" the sergeant inquired while keeping up his search. "He could not have been missed there."

"As to that, my friend, I shall say, in the first place, that, due to the untoward absence of Monsieur the Criminal Lieutenant, who was summoned early this morning to Cardinal Duprat's palace, our order of arrest could not be delivered until too late in the evening. In the second place, you know as well as I that the artisans of Monsieur Estienne are infected with heresy; they are armed; and might have attempted to resist the arrest of their companion. No doubt the archers would have prevailed in the end. But Christian might have made his escape during the struggle, whereas the chances were a thousand to one he could be taken by surprise at his house, in the dark, along with his family."

"And yet he still escapes us," observed the sergeant, after some fresh searches. Noticing the door of Hena's chamber, he entered and rummaged that room also, with no better results, and said: "Nothing in this direction either."

"Come, let us investigate the garret. Give me the lanthorn, and follow me. If he is not there either, then we must renounce his capture for to-night. Fortunately we got the woman and the children—besides this," added the Jesuit, tapping upon the casket under his arm. "We shall find Christian, sure enough."

Saying this, John Lefevre opened the panel leading to the nook where stood the ladder to the attic; he climbed it, followed by the sergeant, arrived in the garret which had served as refuge to the unknown, noticed the mattress, some crumbs of bread and the remains of some fruit, pens and an inkhorn on a stool, and, scattered over the floor, fragments of paper covered with a fine and close handwriting.

"Somebody was hiding here, and spent some time, too!" exclaimed the sergeant excitedly. "This mattress, these pens, indicate the presence of a stranger of studious habits;" and running to the dormer window that opened upon the river, he mused: "Can Christian have made his escape by this issue?"

While the archer renewed his search, vainly rummaging every nook and corner of the garret, John Lefevre carefully collected the bits of paper that were strewn over the floor, assorted them, and kneeling down beside the stool, on which he placed the lanthorn, examined the manuscript intently. Suddenly a tremor ran over his frame, and turning to the sergeant he said:

"There is every reason to believe that Christian Lebrenn is not in the house. I think I can guess the reason of his absence. Nevertheless, before quitting the place we must search the bedroom of his two sons. It is in the rear of the ground floor room. Let us hurry. Your expedition is not yet ended. We shall probably have to leave Paris to-night, and carry our investigation further."

"Leave Paris, reverend Father?"

"Yes, perhaps. But I shall first have to notify the Criminal Lieutenant. What a discovery! To be able at one blow to crush the nest of vipers!—ad majorem Dei gloriam!"[34]

John Lefevre and the sergeant re-descended to the ground floor. After a few whispered words to the soldier, the Jesuit departed, carrying with him the casket in which the chronicles of the Lebrenn family were locked.

The chamber occupied by Hervé was ransacked as vainly as had been the other apartments of the house. During these operations Bridget had striven to allay the fright of her daughter. Hervé, somber and sullen, his hands bound like his mother's and sister's, remained oblivious to what was happening around him. Giving up the capture of Christian, the sergeant returned to his prisoners and announced to Bridget that he was to carry both her and her children away with him. The poor woman implored him to take pity on her daughter who was hardly able to keep her feet. The sergeant answered harshly, that if the young heretic was unable to walk she would be stripped and dragged naked over the streets. Finally, addressing his archers, he concluded:

"Three of you are to remain in this house. When Christian raps to be let in you will open the door, and seize his person."

Bridget could not repress a moan of anguish at hearing the order. Christian, she reflected, was fatedly bound to fall into the trap, as he would return home unsuspecting. The three archers locked themselves up on the ground floor. The others, led by their chief, left the house, and, taking Bridget and her two children with them, marched away to lead them to prison.

"For mercy's sake," said the unhappy mother to the sergeant, "untie my hands that I may give my daughter the support of my arm. She is so feeble that it will be impossible for her to follow us."

"That's unnecessary," answered the sergeant. "On the other side of the bridge you will be separated. You are not to go to the same prison as your daughter."

"Good God! Where do you mean to take her to?"

"To the Augustinian Convent. You are to go to the Chatelet. Come, move on, move quickly."

Hervé, who had until then remained sullenly impassive, said impatiently to the sergeant:

"If I am to be taken to a convent, I demand to go to the Cordeliers."

"The Criminal Lieutenant is to decide upon that," replied the sergeant.

After a short wait, the archers took up their march. Alas! How shall the pain and desolation of Hena and her mother be described at learning they were not to be allowed even the consolation of suffering this latest trial in each other's company? Nevertheless, a ray of hope lighted Bridget's heart. Her last words with the sergeant had been exchanged near the cross that stood in the middle of the bridge, and close to which the archers were passing at the time. Christian's wife saw the Franc-Taupin on his knees at the foot of the crucifix, gesticulating wildly, raising his head and crying out like a frantic devotee:

"Lord! Lord! Thy eye has seen everything. Thy ear has heard everything; there is nothing hidden from Thee. Have pity upon me, miserable sinner, that I am! Thanks to Thee he will be saved. I hope so! In the name of the most Holy Trinity."

"There is a good Catholic who will not fail to be saved," said the sergeant, making the sign of the cross and looking at the kneeling figure of the Franc-Taupin, who furiously smote his chest without intermission, while the archers redoubled their pace and marched away, dragging their prisoners behind them.

"God be blessed!" said Bridget to herself, understanding the information that Josephin meant to convey. "My brother has seen everything and heard everything. He will remain in the neighborhood of the house. He expects to save Christian from the danger that threatens him. He will inform Christian that his daughter has been taken to the Augustinian Convent and I to the Chatelet prison."

Such indeed was the purpose of the Franc-Taupin. When the archers had disappeared he drew near to Christian's house and contemplated it sadly and silently by the light of the moon. Accidentally his eyes fell upon a scapulary that had dropped near the threshold. He recognized it, having more than once seen it hanging on the breast of Hervé. The strings of the relic had snapped during the struggle of Hena with her brother, and the bag being thus detached from Hervé's neck it had slipped down between his shirt and his jacket, and dropped to the ground. The Franc-Taupin picked up the relic, and opened it mechanically. Finding therein the letter of absolution, he ran his eye hurriedly over the latter, and at once replaced it in the scapulary.



While the events narrated in the previous chapter were occurring at his house, Christian Lebrenn was climbing in the company of his mysterious guest the slope of Montmartre, along the path that led to the abbey.

"Monsieur Lebrenn," said Monsieur John, who had been in deep silence, "I should feel guilty of an act of ingratitude and of mistrust were I any longer to withhold from you my name. Perhaps it is not unknown to you. I am John Calvin."

"I feel happy, monsieur, in having given asylum to the chief of the Reformation, to the valiant apostle who has declared war to Catholicism, and who propagates the new ideas in France."

"Alas, our cause already counts its martyrs by the thousands. Who knows but I may soon be added to their number? My life is in the hands of the Lord."

"Our enemies are powerful."

"Among these, the most redoubtable ones will be the Jesuits, the sectarians whose secret you surprised. Their purposes were not so well concealed but that I already had intimation of the endeavors of their chief to gather around himself active, devoted and resolute men. Hence the lively interest I felt in the narrative of your relative, the one-time page of Ignatius Loyola, when the latter was still a military chieftain. That revelation, coupled with yours, has given me the key to the character of the founder of the Society of Jesus, his craving after power, and the means that he uses in order to satisfy his ambition. The military discipline, that turns the soldier into a passive instrument of his captain, is to be applied to the domination of souls, which are to be rendered no less passive, no less servile. His project is to center in himself, to direct and to subjugate human conscience, thanks to a doctrine that extenuates and encourages the most detestable passions. Ignatius Loyola said the word: 'The penitent of a Jesuit will see the horizon of his most ardent hopes open before him; all paths will be smoothed before his feet; a tutelary mantle will cover his defects, his errors and his crimes; to incur his resentment will be a dreaded ordeal.'"

"I shuddered as I heard that man distribute the empire of the world among his disciples in the name of such an impious doctrine. It cannot choose—the painful admission must be made—but impart to the Jesuits a formidable power until man be regenerated. Thanks, however, to God, the Reformation also now counts fervent adepts."

"The disciples of the Reformation are still few in number, but their influence upon the masses of the people is no less extensive, due to the moral force of our doctrine. All straightforward, pure and generous souls are with us. Men of learning, poets, merchants, enlightened artisans like yourself, Monsieur Lebrenn; rich men, bourgeois, artists, professors; even military men will gather this evening at our meeting to confess the true Evangelium."

"Civil war is a fearful extremity. All the same, the day may come when the men of arms will be needed by the Reformation."

"May that untoward day never arrive! My opinion is that patience, resignation and respect for the laws and the Crown should be carried to the utmost limit possible. Nevertheless, should the sword have to be drawn, not for the purpose of imposing the Evangelical church through violence, but for the purpose of defending our lives, and the lives of our brothers, I should not, then, hesitate to call upon the men of arms who are partisans of the Reformation. Among these, it is my belief, we shall number a young man who has barely emerged from adolescence, and who gives promise of becoming a great captain at maturer age. He is called Gaspard of Coligny. His father bore himself bravely in the late wars of Italy and Germany. He died leaving his sons still in their childhood. Madam Coligny raised them in the Evangelical faith. About a year ago I found a place of refuge under her roof, at her castle of Chatillon-on-the-Loing, in Burgundy. I there met her eldest son, Gaspard. The precocious intellectual maturity of the lad, his devotion to our cause, awakened in me the best of hopes. He will be one of the pillars of the new temple—besides a terrible enemy raised against the Pope and Satan."

"Monsieur," put in Christian, interrupting John Calvin in a low voice, "we are shadowed. I have noticed for some little while three men not far behind us, who seem to be timing their steps to ours."

"Let us stop, let us allow them to pass. We shall ascertain whether they are bent upon following us. They may be friends, like ourselves bound to our assembly."

Christian and John Calvin halted. Shortly they were passed by three men clad in dark colors, and all three carrying swords. One of these seemed, as he passed closely by John Calvin, to scan his face intently in the moonlight. A moment later, after having proceeded a little distance with his friends, he left them, retraced his steps, and walking towards Christian and his companion, said, courteously touching his cap with his hand:

"Monsieur Calvin, I am happy to meet you."

"Monsieur Coligny!" exclaimed the reformer gladly. "You did come—as I hoped you would."

"It was natural I should respond to the summons of him whose doctrines I share, and for whom my mother entertains so much esteem and affection."

"Are the two gentlemen you are with of our people, Monsieur Coligny?"

"Yes. One is French, the other a foreigner, both devoted to our cause. I have felt safe to bring them to our assembly. I vouch for them, as for myself. The foreigner is a German Prince, Charles of Gerolstein, a cousin of the Prince of Deux-Ponts, and, like him, one of the boldest followers of Luther. My other friend, a younger son of Count Neroweg of Plouernel, one of the great seigneurs of Brittany and Auvergne, is as zealous in favor of the Reformation as his elder brother for the maintenance of the privileges and dominion of the Church of Rome."

"Sad divisions of the domestic hearth!" observed John Calvin with a sigh. "It is to be hoped the truth of the Evangelium may penetrate and enlighten all the hearts of the great family of Christ!"

"May that era of peace and harmony soon arrive, Monsieur Calvin," replied Gaspard of Coligny. "The arrival of that great day is anxiously desired by my friend Gaston, the Viscount of Plouernel and captain of the regiment of Brittany. With all his power has he propagated the Reformation in his province. To draw you his picture with one stroke, I shall add that my mother has often said to me I could not choose a wiser and more worthy friend than Gaston Neroweg, the Viscount of Plouernel."

"The judgment of a mother, and such a mother as Madam Coligny, is not likely to go astray regarding her son's choice of his friends," answered John Calvin. "Our cause is the cause of all honorable people. I would like to express to your friends my great gratification at the support they bring to us."

Gaspard of Coligny stepped ahead to inform his friends of John Calvin's wish that they be introduced to him.

Upon hearing the name of the Viscount of Plouernel, Christian had started with surprise. Accident was bringing him in friendly contact with one of the descendants of the Nerowegs, that stock of Frankish seigneurs which the sons of Joel the Gaul had, in the course of generations, so often encountered, to their sorrow. He felt a sort of instinctive repulsion for the Viscount of Plouernel, and cast upon him uneasy and distrustful looks as, accompanied by Gaspard of Coligny and Prince Charles of Gerolstein, he stepped towards John Calvin. While the latter was exchanging a few words with his new friends, Christian examined the descendant of Neroweg with curiosity. His features reproduced the typical impress of his race—bright-blonde hair, aquiline nose, round and piercing eyes. Nevertheless, the artisan was struck by the expression of frankness and kindness that rendered the young man's physiognomy attractive.

"Gentlemen," said John Calvin, whose voice interrupted the meditations of Christian, "I am happy, in my turn, to introduce you to one of ours, Monsieur Lebrenn, a worthy coadjutor in the printing office of our friend Robert Estienne. Monsieur Lebrenn has incurred no little danger in affording hospitality to me. Moreover, it is to him we are indebted for the discovery of the locality where we are to meet to-night."

"Monsieur," replied Gaspard of Coligny addressing Christian with emotion, "my friends and I share the sentiments of gratitude that Monsieur John Calvin entertains for you."

"Besides that, Monsieur Lebrenn," added Neroweg, the Viscount of Plouernel, "I am delighted to meet one of the assistants of the illustrious Robert Estienne. All that we, men of arms and war, have to place at the service of the cause of religious liberty is our sword; but you and your companions in your pursuit, you operate a marvelous talisman—the press! Glory to that invention! Light follows upon darkness. No longer is Holy Writ, in whose name the Church of Rome imposed so many secular idolatries upon the people, an impenetrable mystery. Its truth owes to the press its second revelation. Finally, thanks to the effect of the press, the hope is justified that Evangelical fraternity will one day reign on earth!"

"You speak truly, Monsieur Plouernel. Yes, the invention of the press bears the mark of God's hand," observed John Calvin. "But the night advances. Our friends are surely waiting for us. Let us move on, and join them."

With Gaspard of Coligny on one side, and the Viscount of Plouernel on the other, John Calvin, the great promoter of the new doctrines, proceeded to climb the slope of the hill of Montmartre.

Much to his regret, the extreme astonishment that the affable words of the descendant of the Plouernels threw him into, deprived Christian of the power to formulate an answer. He followed John Calvin in silence, without noticing that, for some time, Prince Charles of Gerolstein was examining him with increasing attention. This seigneur, a man in the full vigor of life, tall of stature, of a strong but open countenance, fell a little behind his friends and joined Christian, whom he thus addressed after walking a few steps beside him:

"Believe me, monsieur, if, a minute ago, I failed to render just praise, as my friends did, to the courageous hospitality you accorded John Calvin, I do not, therefore, appreciate any the less the generosity of your conduct. It was that your name fell strangely upon my senses. It awoke within me numerous recollections—family remembrances."

"My name, Prince?"

"Spare me that princely title. Christ said: 'All men are equal before God.' We are all brothers. Your name is Lebrenn? Is Armorican Brittany the cradle of your family?"

"Yes, monsieur. It is."

"Did your family live near the sacred stones of Karnak, before the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar?"

Christian looked at Charles of Gerolstein without attempting to conceal his astonishment at meeting a stranger acquainted with incidents that ran back so many centuries in his family's history. The Prince pursued his interrogatory:

"Towards the middle of the Eighth Century, one of your ancestors, Ewrag by name, and son of Vortigern, one of the most intrepid defenders of the independence of Brittany, and grandson of Amael, who knew Charlemagne, left his native land to take up his home in the lands of the far North."

"Yes, after the great Armorican insurrection. During that uprising the Bretons appealed for aid to the Northman pirates, who had established themselves at the mouth of the Loire. Ewrag afterwards embarked for the North with those sea-faring peoples."

"Did he not leave behind two brothers?"

"Rosneven and Gomer."

"Ewrag, who first settled down in Denmark, had a grandson named Gaëlo. In the year 912 he was one of the pirate chiefs who came down and besieged Paris under the command of old Rolf, later Duke of Normandy. Gaëlo was recognized as a member of your family by Eidiol, at that time dean of the Parisian skippers."

"Yes, indeed. Gaëlo was taken wounded into the house of my ancestor Eidiol. While dressing the wound of the Northman pirate, the words 'Brenn—Karnak' were discovered, traced with indelible letters on his arm. It was a custom, often followed in those disastrous days, when ware or slavery frequently scattered a family to the four winds. They hoped, thanks to the indelible marks, to recognize one another should fresh upheavals happen to throw them again in one another's way."

"After wedding the Beautiful Shigne, one of the Buckler Maidens who joined the expedition of Rolf, Gaëlo returned to the North. Since then there have been no tidings of him."

"Yes. For all these past centuries we have remained in ignorance concerning that branch of our family. But, monsieur, I cannot understand how you, a German Prince, can possess such exact information of my humble family, which, besides, is of Gallic race. I wish you would explain yourself."

Christian was interrupted by John Calvin, who, turning back, said to him:

"Here we are at the top of the hill. Which path are we to follow now out of the many in sight? Be so good as to lead us out of this maze."

"I shall walk ahead, and show you the path to follow," answered Christian.

As Christian hastened his steps to take the lead of the group, the Prince of Gerolstein said to him:

"I can not at this moment carry on the conversation that for a thousand reasons I am anxious to hold with you. Where could I meet you again?"

"I live on the Exchange Bridge, facing the right side of the cross as you come from the Louvre."

"I shall call upon you to-morrow evening, Monsieur Lebrenn;" and extending his hand to the artisan, Prince Charles of Gerolstein added: "Give me your hand, Christian Lebrenn, we are of the same blood. The cradle of my own stock is old Armorican Gaul. The course of the centuries, and the accidents of conquest have raised my house to sovereign rank, but it is of plebeian origin."

After cordially clasping the hand of the amazed Christian, the Prince rejoined John Calvin and his friends. At that moment, Justin, who had been stationed on the lookout at the head of the rocky path that led to the quarry, walked rapidly up to his fellow workman, saying:

"I had begun to feel uneasy. All the persons who have been convoked to the meeting have arrived long ago. I counted sixty-two. I am here on the lookout. Master Robert Estienne requested one of our friends to plant himself near the mouth of the excavation leading to the underground issue of the cavern. You know that gallery, cut behind the large rock, which recently sheltered us from the eyes of Loyola and his disciples. I inspected the passage this morning. It is open."

"In case of danger you will run and notify the assembly. I understand."

"From his side also Master Robert Estienne's friend will give the alarm in case of need. It is not likely the quarry will be invaded by both passages at once. One will always remain free. Our friends can deliberate in perfect safety."

"If the gathering is not disturbed by some accident, friend Justin, I shall return by this path and we shall reenter Paris together."

"Agreed. Our arrangements are made."

A moment later, Christian, John Calvin and his friends entered the quarry. There they found assembled the leading partisans of the Reformation in Paris—lawyers, literary men, rich merchants, seigneurs, courtiers and men of arms and of science. Thus, besides Gaspard of Coligny, Prince Charles of Gerolstein and the Viscount of Plouernel, there were present the following personages of distinction: John Dubourg, a Parisian draper of St. Denis Street; Etienne Laforge, a rich bourgeois; Anthony Poille, an architect, and brother-in-law of Mary La Catelle, who, herself, had been invited as one of the most useful promoters of the Reformation; Clement Marot, one of the most renowned poets of those days; a young and learned surgeon named Ambroise Paré, the hope of his art and science, a charitable man who opened his purse even to the sufferers whom he attended; and Bernard Palissy, a potter, whose work will be imperishable, and who is as well versed in alchemy as he is celebrated in sculpture. A small number of chiefs of guilds were also present. The guilds, being plunged in ignorance, were still under the influence of the monks, and entertained a blind hatred for the Reformation. A few wax candles, brought along by several of the persons present, lighted the bowels of the cavern and threw a flickering glamor upon those grave and thoughtful faces. When John Calvin entered the cavern he was recognized by some of the reformers. His name immediately flew from mouth to mouth. Those who had not yet seen him drew nearer to contemplate him. The resolute stamp of his character was reflected upon his pensive countenance. A profound silence ensued. The reformers ranked themselves in a circle around their apostle. He stepped upon a block of stone in order to be better heard, and proceeded to address them:

"My dear brothers, I have just traversed the larger portion of France. I have conferred with most of our pastors and friends in order to determine in concert with them the articles of faith of the Evangelical religion, the basis of which was laid by the immortal Luther. If the formula of our common belief is adopted by you, such as it has been adopted by most of our friends, the unity of the reformed church will be an established thing. This is our Credo:[35]

"'We believe and confess that there is one only God, a sole, spiritual, eternal, invisible, infinite, incomprehensible, immutable essence, who is all-powerful, all-wise, all-good, all-just and all-merciful.'"

"That we believe; that we confess," answered the reformers.

"'We believe and confess,'" continued Calvin, "'that God manifests Himself as such to man by creation, and by the preservation and guidance of creation; furthermore, by the revelation of His Word, gathered by Moses, and which constitutes what we call Holy Writ, contained in the canonical books of the Old and the New Testament.'"

"That is the Book; the only Book; the Code of good and evil; the instructor of men and of children alike; the divine source of all goodness, all power, all consolation, all hope!" responded the reformers.

"Moses was a disciple of the priests of Memphis. I can well see how he gave out this or that Egyptian dogma, as emanating from divine revelation—but that remains, however, a hypothesis. I do not accept the pretended sacredness of the texts," said Christian Lebrenn, apart; while Calvin continued:

"'We believe and confess that the Word contained in the sacred books, which proceed from God to man, is the norm of all truth; that it is not allowable for man to change the same in aught; that custom, judgments, edicts, councils and miracles must in no manner be opposed to Holy Writ, but, on the contrary, must be reformed by it.'"

"We want the Word of God pure and simple. We want it disengaged of all the Romish impostures, that, for centuries, have falsified and perverted it," the reformers replied.

"Here," said Christian, again to himself, "here starts the freedom of inquiry. That is the reason for my adherence to the Reformation." Calvin resumed:

"'We believe and confess that Holy Writ teaches us that the divine essence consists of three persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and that this Trinity is the source of all visible and invisible things. That is our belief.'"

"It is an article of faith with us; it is the foundation of our religion," chorused the reformers, while Christian Lebrenn added, to himself:

"This also belongs to the domain of hypothesis—and of religious absurdities. One more article of faith to be rejected."

"'We believe and confess,'" continued Calvin, "'that man, having been born pure and clean in the image of God, is, through his own sin, fallen from the grace he had received, and that all the descendants of Adam are tainted with original sin, down to the little children in their mothers' wombs. That is our belief on these subjects.'"

"We are bound to accept all that is found in the sacred books. The will of the Lord is impenetrable—let it be done in all things. Our reason must humble itself before that which seems incomprehensible," was the response of the reformers.

"Oh, God of Love and Mercy!" exclaimed Christian Lebrenn, apart. "To proclaim in Thy name that Thy will smites the unborn child even in its mother's womb! Just God! Thou who knowest all things—past, present and to come—Thou knewest Thy creature, man, who is not but because Thou hast said, Be! was bound to fall into sin. Thou knewest it. Generations upon generations, all guiltless of the sin of the first man, were to undergo the terrible chastisement that it has pleased Thee to inflict upon them. Thou knewest it. And yet, Thou art supposed to have said: 'Man, you will fall into sin. The original stain shall mark your children even in their mothers' wombs'! Merciful God! Pardon the infirmity of my intellect. I cannot believe a father will devote his own children to eternal misery. I cannot believe a father can take pleasure in allowing his children's mind to waver between justice and injustice, especially when he knows beforehand they are fatedly certain to elect iniquity, and when he knows the consequence of their choice will be fearful to themselves and to all their posterity. Just God! What is the constant aim of the thoughts and efforts of every honorable man, within the limits of his faculties? To give his children such an education as will keep them from the path of vice; an education that may justify him to say: 'My children will be upright men!' And yet, Thou, almighty God, Thou art supposed to have said: 'I will that the evil inclinations of my children carry the day over the good ones; I will that they become criminals, and that they be forever damned!' Never shall I accept such a doctrine."

John Calvin continued his Credo:

"'We believe and confess that, as a consequence of original sin, man, corrupt of body, blind of mind, and depraved of heart, has lost all virtue, and, although he has still preserved some discernment of right and wrong, falls into darkness when he aspires to understand God with the aid of his own intelligence and human reason. Finally, although he should have the will to choose between right and wrong, his will being the captive of sin, he is fatedly devoted to wrong, is destined to malediction, and is not free to choose the right but by the grace of God.'"

"Such," responded the reformers, "is the will of the Lord. We fall into darkness if we strive to understand God with the aid of our own reason."

"No! No!" Christian said to himself, "God never said: 'My creatures, instead of loving Me and adoring Me in all the splendor of My glory, shall adore Me in the darkness of their intelligence, dimmed by My will.' No! God has not said: 'Man, you shall be fatedly devoted to wrong! You shall be for all time a captive of sin! I enclose you within an iron circle from which there is no escape but by My grace!' If God's omnipotence made man sinful or good, why punish or reward him? Another article of faith to be rejected."

"'We believe and confess,'" Calvin proceeded, "'that Jesus Christ, being God's wisdom and His eternal Son, clad himself in our flesh to the end of being both God and man in one person. We worship Him so entirely in His divinity, that we strip Him of His humanity. We believe and confess that God, by sending us His Son, wished to show His ineffable goodness toward us, and by delivering Him to death and raising Him from the dead, wished that justice be done and heavenly life be gained for us.'"

"Glory to God!" cried the reformers. "He has sent us His Son to redeem us with His blood! God has been crucified for the salvation of man!"

Communing with himself, Christian Lebrenn only said: "Another absurdity laid by Calvin at the door of the Godhead. Can God condemn man for the pleasure of afterwards redeeming him? O, Christ! Poor carpenter of Nazareth, the friend of the afflicted, the penitent and the disinherited, you do not wrap yourself in an impenetrable cloud. I see your pale and sweet smile encircled by a bloody aureola, and bearing a stamp that is truly human. Your divine words are accessible even to the intelligence of children. Your Evangelical morality should and will be the code of all humankind. The chains of the slave will be broken, said you now more than fifteen hundred years ago; and yet, the Pharisees, who call themselves your priests, have, during all these centuries, owned slaves, later serfs, and to-day they count their vassals by the thousands. Love ye one another, said you; and yet, the Pharisees, who call themselves your priests, caused, and to this hour continue to cause, torrents of Christian blood to flow. I do not share the belief of the reformers, but I remain with them body and soul so long as they combat the cruelties, the iniquities and the idolatries of the Roman Church! I remain body and soul with them so long as they devote their lives to the triumph of your doctrine, O, Christ! in the name of equality and human fraternity! In that does the real strength lie, the real power of the Reformation. Of what concern to us are those Mosaic dogmas concerning original sin, the fatedness of evil, the inherent wickedness of man? The Reformation acts valiantly, it acts generously, it acts in a Christian spirit in seeking to restore your Church, O, Christ! to its simplicity and pristine purity by combating the Pope of Rome."

Calvin continued: "'We believe and confess that, thanks to the sacrifice our Lord Jesus Christ offered on the cross, we are reconciled to God and fit to be held and looked upon as just before Him. Accordingly, we believe that we owe to Jesus Christ our full and perfect deliverance. We believe and confess that, without disparagement of virtues and deserving qualities, we depend upon them for the remission of our sins only through our faith, and the law of Jesus Christ.'"

"The law and faith in Jesus Christ is embraced in that" responded the reformers. "It is our code. The law and faith in Jesus Christ—that means love towards our fellow men; it means equality; it means fraternity; it means revolt against the idolatries, in whose name the greatest malefactors are and believe themselves absolved of their crimes by the purchase of indulgences! Only through faith and the practice of the Evangelical law will our sins be remitted."

"'We believe and confess,'" proceeded Calvin, "'that whereas Jesus Christ has been given us as the only intermediary between us and God, and since He recommends to us that we withdraw into seclusion in order to address, in private and in His name, our prayers to His Father, all the inventions of men concerning the intercession of martyred saints is but fraud and deception, schemed in order to lead mankind aside from the straight and narrow path. Furthermore, we hold purgatory to be an illusion of the same nature, likewise monastic vows, pilgrimages, the ordinance of celibacy to clergymen, auricular confession, and the ceremonial observance of certain days when a meat diet is forbidden. Finally we consider illusions the indulgences and other idolatrous practices through which grace and salvation are expected, and we regard them as human inventions calculated to shackle human conscience.'"

"That is the essence of the Reformation," said Christian Lebrenn, apart. "The reform of action, the militant reform. Hence it is that my dignity as a man, my mind and my heart are with it. It is a long step towards the reign of pure reason, planted upon the freedom of inquiry. The road is cleared. Man is in direct communion and communication with God through prayer, without the intervention of any church. No more Popes—the incarnation of divine and human autocracy, as Ignatius Loyola understands it! No more dissolute and savage pontiffs, claiming to be Your vicars, O, God of mercy! No more saints, no more purgatory! Down goes the traffic in indulgences! No more monastic vows—the idle monks shall become honest and industrious citizens! No more priestly celibacy—the pastors shall themselves become heads of families! No more auricular confession—a bar to Ignatius Loyola, whose aim is to take possession of the conscience of mankind by means of the tribunal of penitence; through the conscience of mankind, the soul of man; through the soul, the body; and thus to rear the most frightful theocratic tyranny! O, sweet carpenter of Nazareth! May the Reformation triumph! May your Evangelical law in all its pristine purity become the law of the world! The power of the casqued, the mitred or the crowned oppressors will then have ceased to be! No more Kings, no more priests, no more masters!"

"No more Popes! No more cardinals, or bishops! No more idolatry! No more celibacy! No more adoration of images! No more confession! No more intermediaries between God and man! Such is our confession, such our belief," cried the reformers in answer to Calvin, who continued:

"'We believe and confess those Romish inventions to be pure idolatries. We reject them. Sustained by the authority of the sacred books, by the words and acts of the apostles—I Timothy 2; John 16; Matthew 6 and 10; Luke 11, 12 and 15; the Epistle to the Romans 14, and other Evangelical texts—we believe and confess that where the word of God is not received there is no Church. Therefore we reject the assemblages of the papacy, whence divine truth is banished, where the sacraments are corrupted, adulterated and falsified, while superstitious and idolatrous practices flourish and thrive in their midst.'"

"Yes," answered the assembled reformers, "let us draw away from the usurping Roman Church—that impure Babylon; that sink of all vices; that notorious harlot; that poisoned well, whence flow all the ills that afflict humanity! No more Popes, bishops, priests or monks!"

"'We believe and confess,'" Calvin continued, "'that all men are true pastors wherever they may be, provided they are pure of heart, and that they recognize for sole sovereign and universal bishop our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we repudiate the papacy; we protest that no church, even if it call itself "Catholic," can lay claim to any authority or dominion over any other church.'"

"Therefore we do repudiate the Church of Rome! Christ is our Pope, our bishop! There should be no intermediary between him and us!" responded the reformers.

"'We believe and confess,'" Calvin went on, "'that the offices of pastors, deans and deacons must proceed from the election of their own people, whose confidence they will thus show they have earned. We believe that, in order to exercise their functions, they should concentrate within them the general rules of the church, without attempting to decree, under the shadow of the service of God, any rules to bind human conscience.'"

"Freedom of conscience—that means human emancipation!" Christian exclaimed to himself. "All honor to the Reformation for proclaiming that great principle! May it remain faithful thereto!"

The reformers meanwhile answered: "Yes, we wish to elect our own pastors, as they were elected in the primitive church;" and John Calvin continued:

"'We believe and confess that there are but two sacraments—baptism, that cleanses us of the soilure of original sin; and communion, which nourishes us, vivifies us spiritually by the substance of Jesus Christ, a celestial mystery accessible only through faith.

"'Finally, we believe and confess that God has willed that the peoples on earth be governed; that He has established elective or hereditary kingdoms, principalities, republics and other forms of government. We therefore hold as unquestionable that their laws and statutes must be obeyed, their tributes and imposts paid, and all the duties that belong to citizens and subjects must be fulfilled with a frank and good will, even if such governments be iniquitous, provided the sovereign empire of God remains untouched. Therefore we repudiate those who would reject government and authority, and who would throw society into confusion through the introduction of community of goods among men, and thereby upset the order of justice.'"

"No! No!" was Christian's muttered comment at these words. "Man must not submit to an iniquitous authority! No! No! John Calvin himself realizes the offensiveness to human dignity of such a resignation, and its contradiction to the very spirit of the Reformation. Is not the Reformation itself a legitimate revolt against the iniquity of the pontifical authority, and, if need be, against whatever temporal power might seek to impose the Roman cult upon the reformers? Indeed, after having set up the principle, 'The peoples must submit to their governments, even if these be iniquitous,' Calvin adds, 'provided the sovereign empire of God remains untouched.' No obedience is due an authority that would raise its hand against the sacred rights of man, or aught that flows therefrom."

"Such, dear brothers," concluded John Calvin, "is our confession of faith. Do you accept it?"

"Yes, yes!" cried the reformers. "We accept it. We shall practice it. We shall uphold it, at the risk of our property, our freedom and our life! We swear!"

"This, then, is the confession of faith of those 'heretics' whom the Catholic clergy represents to ignorant and duped people as monsters steeped in all manner of crimes, and vomited upon earth out of hell, as inveterate foes of God and man," said Calvin. "What do these 'heretics' confess? They confess the fundamental dogmas of the Christian Church, as revealed by the Divinity itself. But these 'heretics' reject the inventions, the abuses, the idolatries and the scandals of the Church of the Popes. In that lies our crime, an unpardonable crime! We attack the cupidity, the pride and the despotism of the priesthood!

"Here, on this very spot where we are now gathered in council in order to confess the most sacred of rights, the freedom of conscience, seven priests have pledged themselves with a terrible oath to secure the absolute omnipotence of Rome over the souls of men, and to found the reign of theocratic government over the whole earth! The new organization is named the Society of Jesus. It is intended to and will become a formidable instrument in the hands of our enemies. The circumstance is a symptom of the dangers that threaten us. Let us prepare to combat that new militia everywhere it may show itself.

"Our Credo, our confession of faith is fixed. This confession will be that of all the Evangelical churches of France. And, now, what attitude must we assume in the face of the redoubled persecutions that we are threatened with? Shall we submit to them with resignation, or shall we repel force with force? I request our friend Robert Estienne to express his views upon this head."

"It is my opinion," replied Robert Estienne, "that we should address fresh petitions to King Francis I, praying that it may please him to allow us to exercise our religion in peace, while conforming ourselves to the laws of the kingdom. Should our petition be denied, then we should draw from the strength of our convictions the necessary fortitude to sustain persecution to the extreme limit possible. Beyond that we shall have to take council again."

"I share the opinion of Robert Estienne," said John Dubourg. "Let us resign ourselves. An upright man should drain the cup of bitterness and pain sooner than let loose upon his country the horrors of a fratricidal conflict."

"Monsieur Coligny, what is your opinion?"

"Monsieur," replied the young noble, "I am, I think, the youngest man in this assemblage; I shall accept the opinion that may prevail."

"Speak. You are a man of arms. We should know your opinion," returned Calvin.

"Since you insist, monsieur," Coligny began, "I should here declare that my family owes a good deal to the kindness of the King. It has pleased him to entrust me—me who am barely passed the age of youth—with a company of his army. I am, accordingly, bound to him by bonds of gratitude. But there is to me a sentiment superior to that of gratitude for royal favors—that sentiment is the duty that faith imposes. While deploring the cruel extremities of civil war, which I hold in horror; while deeply regretting ever to have to draw my sword against the King, or, rather, against his ill-omened advisers, I should feel constrained to resort to that fatal extremity if, persecution having reached the limits of endurance, it became necessary to defend the lives of our brothers, driven face to face with the alternative, 'Die, or abjure your faith!' As to pronouncing myself with regard to the opportune moment for the conflict, in case, which God forfend, the conflict must break out, I leave the decision to more experienced heads than my own. At the moment of action, my property, my sword, my life—all shall be at the service of our cause. I shall do my duty—all my duty."

Ambroise Paré, the surgeon, was the next to speak. "Both Christ and my professional duties," he said, "command me to bestow my care upon friend and enemy alike. I could not, accordingly, brothers, bring hither any but words of peace. Let us be inflexible in our belief. But let us force our persecutors themselves to acknowledge our moderation. Let us tire their acts of violence with our patience and resignation. Let us leave the swords sheathed."

"Patience, nevertheless, has bounds!" objected the Viscount of Plouernel. "Has not our resignation lasted long enough? Does it not embolden the audacity of our enemies? Would you resort yet again to humble petitions? Very well. Let us pray, let us implore, once more. But if we are answered with a denial of justice, let us, then, resolutely stand up against our persecutors. We are the majority, in several mercantile cities, and several provinces. Let us, then, repel force with force. Our enemies will recoil before our attitude, and will then do justice to our legitimate wishes. I hold that to carry our forbearance any further would be to expose our party to be decimated day by day. Then, when the hour of battle shall have come—it is fatedly bound to come—we shall find ourselves stripped of our best forces. In short, let us make one more peaceful effort to secure the free exercise of our religion. Should our appeal be denied—to arms!"

"Brothers," advised Prince Charles of Gerolstein, "I am a foreigner among you. I come from Germany. I there assisted at the struggles and the triumph of the Reformation preached by the great Luther. In our old Germany we did not appeal and request. We affirmed the right of man to worship his Creator according to his own conscience. Workingmen, seigneurs, bourgeois—all proclaimed in chorus: 'We refuse to bend under the yoke of Rome; whosoever should seek to impose it upon us by the sword will be resisted with the sword.' To-day, the Reformation in Germany defies its enemies. Germany is not France; but men are men everywhere. Everywhere resolution has the name of resolution, nor are its consequences anywhere different. We are bound to uphold our rights by our arms."

"Monsieur Christian Lebrenn, what is your opinion on the grave subject before us?" asked Calvin. The printer replied:

"History teaches us that to request from Popes and Kings a reform of superstition and tyranny is absolutely idle. Never will the Church of Rome voluntarily renounce the idolatries and abuses that are the sources of its wealth and power. Never will a Catholic King—consecrated by the Church and leaning upon it for support, as it leans upon him—voluntarily recognize the Reformation. The Reformation denies the authority of the Pope. To attack the Pope is to attack royal authority. To overthrow the altar is to shatter the throne. All authority is interdependent. What is it that we demand? The peaceful exercise of our creed, while conforming to the laws of the kingdom. But the laws of the kingdom expressly forbid the exercise of all creeds, except that of the Catholic Church. Either we must confess our faith and then expose ourselves to the rigors of the law, or escape them by abjuration; or, yet, resist them, arms in hand. Are we to obtain edicts of tolerance? We should entertain no such hope. But, even granted we obtained them, our security would be under no better safeguard. An edict is revocable. The end of it all is fatedly one of three conclusions—abjuration, martyrdom, or revolt. The blood of martyrs is fruitful, but the blood of soldiers, battling for the most sacred of rights, is also fruitful. We neither should, nor can we, I hold, hope for either the authorization, or tolerance, of our cult. Sooner or later, driven to extremities by persecution, we shall find ourselves compelled to repel violence with violence. Let us boldly face the terrible fact. But, suppose, for the sake of our peace of conscience, we said: 'It still depends upon the Church of Rome and the King of France to put an end to the torture of our brothers, and to prevent the evils of a civil and religious war.' To that end a decree conceived in these terms will suffice: 'Everyone may freely and publicly exercise his religion under the obligation to respect the religion of others.' Such a decree, so just and simple, consecrating, as it does, the most inviolable of rights, is the only equitable and peaceful solution of the religious question. Do you imagine that such a decree would be vouchsafed to our humble petition?"

"Neither King nor Pope, neither bishops, priests nor monks would accept such a decree," was the unanimous answer. Christian continued:

"Nevertheless, in order to place the right on our side, let us draw up one last petition. If it is rejected, let us then run to arms, and exterminate our oppressors. It is ever by insurrection that liberty is won."

"Will Brother Bernard Palissy let us know his views?" asked Calvin when Christian had finished.

With a candor that breathed refinement, the potter replied: "I am but a poor fashioner of earthen pots. Seeing the issue is to shatter them resolutely—according to the opinion of our friend the printer—I shall tell you what happened to me the other day. I was wondering how it came about that the Evangelical religion—benign, charitable, peaceful, full of resignation, asking for naught but for a modest place in the sun of the good God in behalf of its little flock—should have so many inveterate enemies. Being a little versed in alchemy, 'Let's see,' said I to myself, 'when, mixing the varnish, colors and enamel with which I decorate my pottery, I encounter some refractory substance, what do I do? I submit it to the alembic. I decompose it. In that way I ascertain the different substances of which it consists. Well now, let me submit the enemies of the Reformation to the alembic in order to ascertain what there is in their composition to render them so very refractory.' First of all, I submit to my philosophic alembic the brains of a canon. I ask him: 'Why are you such a violent enemy of the Evangelical faith?' 'Why!' the canon makes answer, 'because, your clergymen being men of science as well as preachers, our flocks will also want to hear us preach as men of knowledge. Now, then, I know nothing about preaching, and still less about reading or writing. Since my novitiate I have been accustomed to taking my comfort, to ignorance, to idleness. That's the reason I sustain the Church of Rome, which sustains my ignorance, my delightful comfort and my idleness.' Through with that monk, I experimented with the head of an abbot. It resisted the alembic. It shook itself away, bit, roared with vindictive choler, resisting strenuously to have that which it contained within seen by me. Nevertheless, I succeeded in separating its several parts, to wit: the black and vicious choler, on one side; ambition and pride, on the other; lastly, the silent thoughts of murder that our abbot nourished towards his enemies. That done, I discovered that it was his arrogance, his greed and his vindictiveness that kept him in a refractory temper toward the humility of the Evangelical church. I afterwards experimented upon a counsellor of parliament, the finest Gautier one ever laid eyes upon. Having distilled my gallant in my alembic I found that his bowels contained large chunks of church benefices, which had fattened him so much that he almost burst in his hose. Seeing which I said to him: 'Come, now, be candid, is it not in order to preserve your large chunks of church benefices that you would institute proceedings against the reformers? Isn't it damnable?' 'What is there damnable in that?' he asked me. 'If it were damnable there must be a terrible lot of damned people, seeing that in our sovereign court of parliament, and in all the courts of France, there are very few counsellors or presidents without some slice of an ecclesiastical benefice which helps them to keep up the gilding, the trappings, the banquets and the smaller delights of the household, as well as the grease in the kitchen. Now, then, you devil's limb of a potter' (he was talking to me) 'if the Reformation were to triumph, would not all our benefices run to water, and, along with them, all our small and large pleasures? That's why we burn you up, you pagans!' At hearing which I cried: 'Oh, poor Christians, where are you at? You have against you the courts of parliament and the great seigneurs, all of whom profit from ecclesiastical benefices. So long as they will be fed upon such a soup they will remain your capital enemies.' That is my reason, brothers, for believing we shall be persecuted all our lives. Let us therefore take refuge with our captain and protector Jesus Christ, who one day will wipe out the infliction of the wicked and the wrong that will have been done us.[36] Therefore, let us suffer; let us be resigned, even unto martyrdom; and, according to the judgment of a poor potter, let us not break the pots. Of what use are broken pots?"

"Will our celebrated poet Clement Marot acquaint us with his views?" asked Calvin.

"Brothers," said the man thus called upon, "our friend Bernard Palissy, one of the great artists of these days—and of all future days—spoke to you in his capacity of a potter. I, a poet, shall address you on the profit that can be drawn from my trade for our cause. Why not make one more endeavor to use the methods of persuasion before resorting to the frightful extremity of civil war? Why not endeavor to draw the world over to our side by the charm of the Evangelical word? Listen, the other day a thought flashed through my mind. The women are better than we. This acknowledgment is easily made in the presence of our sister, Mary La Catelle, whom I see here. She is the living illustration of the truth of what I say. None among us, even the foremost, excels her in tenderness or pity for the afflicted, in delicate and touching care for deserted children. I therefore say the women are better than we, are more accessible than we to pure, lofty and celestial sentiments. Furthermore, to them life is summed up in one word—love. From terrestrial love to divine love it is but one aspiration higher. Let us endeavor to elevate the women to that sublime sphere. The common but just saying, Little causes often produce great results, has inspired me with the following thought. I asked myself: 'What do the women usually sing, whether they be bourgeois or workingmen's wives?' Love songs. The impure customs of our times have given these songs generally a coarse, if not obscene turn. As a rule, the mind and the heart become the echo of what the mouth says, of what the ear hears, of what engages our thoughts. Would it not be a useful thing to substitute those licentious songs with chaste ones that attract through love? Hence I have considered the advisability of putting in verse and to music the sacred canticles of the Bible which are so frequently perfumed with an adorable poetic flavor. My hope is that little by little, penetrated by the ineffable influence of those celestial songs, the women who sing them will soon be uttering their sentiments, not with the lips only but from the depth of their hearts. Our aspirations will then be realized."

Clement Marot was about to recite some of the charming verses composed by himself, when Justin suddenly broke in upon the assemblage crying:

"Danger! Danger! A troop of archers and mounted patrolmen are coming up the road to the abbey. I have seen the glitter of their casques. Flee by the opposite issue of the quarry!"

A great tumult ensued upon the artisan's words. Justin took up one of the candles, ran to the gallery that was masked by the huge boulder, and entered the narrow passage, ordering all the others to follow him.

"Brothers!" cried out the Viscount of Plouernel, "let all those of us who are men of arms remain here and draw our swords. The patrol will not dare to lay hands upon any of us. The court must reckon with our families. As to you, Calvin, and the rest of our friends whom no privilege shelters from the pursuit of our enemies, let them flee!"

"You can leave the place in all safety," added Gaspard of Coligny; "the armed patrol, finding us ready to cross irons with them, will not push their search any further."

"Should they push forward so far as to discover this other issue," put in Prince Charles of Gerolstein, "we shall charge upon them vigorously, and shall force them back far enough to leave the passage free for our retreat."

John Calvin, whose life was so precious to the Evangelical church, was the first to follow upon the heels of the torch-bearer Justin. The other reformers pressed close behind. The gallery, narrow at the entrance, widened by degrees, until it opened into an excavation surrounded by bluffs, up one of which a narrow path wound itself to the very top of the ravine, with the tierred fields and woods stretching beyond on the further slope of the hill of Montmartre. Robert Estienne, Clement Marot, Bernard Palissy and Ambroise Paré remained close to Calvin. Christian Lebrenn assisted Mary La Catelle to cross the rocky ground. When the fugitives were all again assembled in the hollow of the excavation, John Calvin addressed them, saying:

"Before separating, brothers, I renew to you the express recommendation not to attempt a rebellion, which, especially at this season, would only subserve the cause of our enemies. Resignation, courage, perseverance, hope—such must be our watchwords for the present. Our hour will come. Assured, after this night's council, of the adhesion of the reformers of Paris to the Credo of the Evangelical church, I shall continue my journey through France to engage our brothers in the provinces to imitate the example of Paris by opposing the violence of our enemies with patience." And turning to Christian: "Monsieur Lebrenn, you uttered a sentiment the profoundness of which has impressed me strongly. A simple decree to the effect that all are free to profess publicly their own creed while respecting the creed of others, you said, would prevent frightful disasters. Let the blood, that may some day flow, fall upon those who, by denying justice, will have kindled the flames of civil war! Anathema upon them! For the very reason that equity and right are on our side we are in duty bound to redouble our moderation."

After touching adieus, exchanged by Calvin and his co-religionists, it was agreed to return to Paris in separate groups of threes and fours, to the end of not awakening the suspicion of the guards at the Montmartre and St. Honoré Gates, who were no doubt apprized of the expedition of the patrol against a nocturnal assembly of heretics held on Montmartre. Day was about to dawn. John Calvin, Robert Estienne, Clement Marot, Ambroise Paré, Bernard Palissy and a few others ascended the path that led out of the ravine, and took their way across-fields in the direction of the St. Honoré Gate. Other little groups formed themselves, each striking in a different direction. Christian, Justin, John Dubourg, Laforge, who was another rich bourgeois, Mary La Catelle and her brother-in-law the architect Poille, took the road to the Montmartre Gate, where they arrived at sunrise. Although their group consisted of only six persons, they decided, out of excessive caution, not to enter Paris but by twos—first John Dubourg and Laforge; then Mary La Catelle and her brother-in-law; lastly Justin and Christian. Their entrance, thought they, would awaken no suspicion, seeing that already the peasants, carrying vegetables and fruit for the market, crowded in the neighborhood of the gate with their carts. Soon separated from their friends in the midst of the medley of market carts, Justin and Christian were but a few steps from the arched entrance of the gate when suddenly they heard a loud clamor, and these words, repeated by a mob of voices: "Lutherans! Lutherans! Death to the heretics!" A pang of apprehension shot through the hearts of Christian and his companion. Some of their companions who preceded them must have been recognized at the gate. To rush to their assistance would have been but to share their fate.

"Let us not attempt to enter Paris at this hour," suggested Justin to Christian, "we are workmen in the printing shop of Robert Estienne. That would be enough to cause us to be suspected of heresy. Gainier, the spy of the Criminal Lieutenant, has surely given the mob our description. Let us go around the rampart and enter by the Bastille of St. Antoine. That gate is so far from Montmartre that it is possible the alarm has not been given from that side."

"My wife and children would be in mortal agony not to see me home this morning," answered Christian. "I shall make the attempt to go through, under shelter of the tumult which, unhappily for our friends, seems to be on the increase. Do you hear those ferocious cries?"

"I do not care to run the danger. Adieu, Christian. I have neither wife nor children. My prolonged absence will cause uneasiness to no one. I prefer to go to the Bastille of St. Antoine. We shall meet shortly, I hope, at the printing shop. May God guard you!"

The two friends separated. Christian, whose anxiety increased every minute, thinking of Mary La Catelle and those with her, decided to enter Paris at all risks. Nevertheless, noticing not far from where he stood a peasant driving a cart filled with vegetables and overspread with a cloth held up by hoops, he said to the rustic, drawing a coin from his pocket:

"Friend, I am exhausted with fatigue. I need a little rest. Would you be so good as to take me in your cart only as far as the center of the city?"

"Gladly, climb in and go to sleep, if you can," answered the peasant as he pocketed the coin.

Christian climbed in, ensconced himself in a corner of the wagon and raised a little fold of the cloth in order to catch a glimpse of what was going on outside, seeing the tumult waxed louder and more threatening. Alas! Hardly had the wagon passed through the gate and entered the city when Christian saw at a little distance Mary La Catelle, her brother-in-law Poille, John Dubourg and Laforge—all four manacled. A troop of archers held back with difficulty the furious mob that loudly clamored for the lives of the "heretics," those "heathens," those "Lutheran stranglers of little children"! Pale, yet calm, the four victims looked serenely upon the surging mass of fanatics. With her eyes raised to heaven and her arms crossed over her bosom, Mary La Catelle seemed resigned to martyrdom. The imprecations redoubled. Already the most infuriate of the populace were picking up stones to stone the victims to death. The wagon in which Christian was concealed slowly pursued its way and saved the artisan the harrowing spectacle of the mob's murderous preparations. Later he learned the details of the arrest of his friends. La Catelle and her brother-in-law, who had long ago been reported by the spy Gainier as hardened heretics, had been recognized and seized by the agents of the Criminal Lieutenant, who had been posted since midnight at the Montmartre Gate. John Dubourg and Laforge, who came a few steps behind La Catelle, having yielded to a generous impulse and run to her assistance, were, in punishment for the very nobility of their act, likewise suspected, arrested and manacled. Christian also learned later that Lefevre was the informer against the meeting of the reformers at Montmartre. The bits of paper Lefevre had picked up while directing the search of the sergeant in the garret of Christian's house, proved to be bits of Calvin's draft convoking the assembly, and on one of these the word Montmartre was to be read. Armed with this evidence, Lefevre had hastened to impart his suspicions to the Criminal Lieutenant, and caused the patrol to be ordered afield; but these, finding themselves confronted with the seigneurs at the entrance of the quarry, and seeing these determined to resist them, had not dared to effect an arrest.

Christian jumped out of the wagon in the center of Paris and hastened his steps towards his house. Hardly had he stepped upon the Exchange Bridge when he saw the Franc-Taupin running towards him. Josephin had watched all night for the artisan's return. He informed him of the arrest of his wife and children, of the danger that awaited him if he entered his house, and induced him to take refuge in a place of safety.



After being separated from her mother, Hena Lebrenn was taken to the Augustinian Convent and locked up. One day during her confinement she narrated the incidents of her incarceration in a letter destined for Bridget, but which never reached the ill-starred mother, due to a series of distressful circumstances. Hena wrote:

"December, 1534. At the Convent of the Augustinians.

"Joy of heaven! I am given the assurance, dear mother, that you will receive this letter. My thoughts run wild in my head. I wish I could tell you, all at once, all that has happened to me since our separation until this moment. Alas! I have so many things to communicate to you. You all—yourself and my good father, and my uncle Josephin—will be so astonished, and perhaps so chagrined, to know that this very day—

"But I must go back with my narrative, and begin with that unhappy day when we were led away, you to the Chatelet prison, I to this place. I am ignorant of what may have happened to you and to father. All my questions on those topics have ever remained unanswered. They assure me you are in good health—that is all. I hope so; I believe it. What interest could they have in deceiving me regarding your lives?

"Well, I was brought to this place in the dark of night, and locked up in a little cell, without having seen a soul except the turning-box attendant. What would it avail to tell you how I wept? In the morning the attendant informed me that I would be visited at noon by the Madam Superior. I asked leave to write to my family in order to inform them of my whereabouts. I was answered that the Mother Abbess would have to decide about that. She called upon me at noon. At first, I thought I had before me a lady of the court, so superbly ornamented she was. There was nothing in her dress to recall the religious garb. She is young and handsome. Methought I could read kindness on her face. I threw myself at her feet, imploring her to have pity upon me, and to have me taken to my parents. This was her answer:

"'My dear daughter, you have been brought up in impiety. You are here in order to labor at your salvation. When you are sufficiently instructed in our holy Roman Catholic and apostolic religion, you shall take the eternal vows to enter our Order of the Augustinians. You will then be allowed to see your parents again. You are not to leave this cell before taking the veil. You will be allowed out every day only to take a little walk under the archway of the cloister, in the company of one of our sisters. It depends upon yourself how promptly you will have gained the religious instruction necessary to enter our Order, after which you will be allowed to receive your family once a week in the convent parlor.'

"'But, madam,' I answered the Abbess, 'I have not the religious vocation. Even if I had, I would not take vows without the sanction of my father.'

"'Your father is in heaven; He is our Lord God. Your mother also is in heaven; she is the holy Virgin Mary. Your obedience is due to those divine parents, not to your carnal and heretical parents. These have infected you with a pestilential heresy. The Lord, in His mercy, has willed, for the salvation of your soul, that you be removed from that school of perdition. The pale of our holy mother the Church is open to you. Come back to it. Be docile and you shall be happy. Otherwise, greatly to my regret, I shall employ rigor, and constrain you to your own welfare. Beginning with to-morrow, one of our brothers of the Order of St. Augustine will come to impart religious instruction to you. You are to have no intercourse with your parents before you have taken the vows. It depends, then, upon yourself how soon you will see your parents again. Think it over well.'

"Without wishing to hear me any further, the Mother Superior left me alone.

"The choice left to me was to embrace the monastic life, or give up the hope of ever seeing you again, dear father! dear mother! The bare thought made me shudder. I thought of resisting the orders of the Abbess. I thought that, if they were made to know my determination, they would set me free. Great was my error!

"Towards evening one of the sisters came and proposed to take a walk with me under the archway of the cloister. I declared to her that no human power could compel me to take vows that would forever separate me from my beloved parents. The nun, a woman with a sharp and wicked face, recommended to me to think before speaking, adding that, if I obstinately refused salvation, they would know how to lead me to obedience by severe treatment. Our promenade ended, I returned to my cell. My supper was brought to me. I went to bed steeped in sadness.

"At midnight I was rudely waked up. The old turning-box attendant came in, accompanied by four others, large and strong women. One of them carried a lanthorn. I was afraid. I sat up on my couch, and asked what they wanted of me.

"'Rise and follow us,' answered the old nun. I hesitated to obey. She then added: 'No resistance, otherwise these sisters will take you by force.'

"I resigned myself. I started to put on my dress, but the nun threw upon my couch a sort of horsehair sack which she had brought with her.

"'That is the only dress you are henceforth to use!' she said.

"I robed myself in the haircloth, and was about to put on my shoes when the nun again put in:

"'You are to walk barefoot. Your rebellious flesh must be mortified.'

"The expression on the faces of that woman and of her companions looked to me pitiless. I realized the uselessness of resistance or of prayer. Barefoot and clad in the haircloth I followed the nuns. One of them lighted our way with her lanthorn. We crossed the cloister and several long passages. A solitary low window, shaded from within by a red curtain through which a bright light shone, opened upon one of these passages. While passing the place I heard a man's voice singing, accompanying himself on an arch-lute. The song was received with peals of laughter that proceeded from several men and women, gathered in the apartment. Their words reached our ears distinctly. They seemed to me to be such as no honorable woman should hear.

"The nun hastened her steps, and we entered a little court. One of the turning-box attendants opened a door; by the light of the lanthorn I noticed a staircase that descended under ground. Seized with fear I drew back, but pushing me forward by the shoulders the nun said:

"'Go on! Go on! We are taking you to a place where you will meditate at leisure over your obstinacy.'

"I followed the turning-box attendant with the lanthorn. I descended the steps of the stone staircase. The moisture froze my naked feet. At the bottom of the staircase was a vaulted gallery upon which several doors opened. One of them was opened, and I was made to step into a vault where I saw a box shaped like a coffin and filled with ashes, a wooden prie-dieu surmounted by a cross, and near the bed of ashes an earthen pitcher and a piece of bread on the floor.

"'This is to be your dwelling place until you shall have recovered from your stubbornness,' said the nun to me. 'If solitude and mortification do not subdue your rebellious spirit, recourse shall be had to other chastisements.'

"I was left alone in the vault without a light. When the door was closed and locked upon me, I threw myself upon my couch of ashes. I was shivering with cold. The haircloth smarted me insupportably. The darkness frightened me. I recalled, poor dear mother, my own little chamber near yours, my bed that was so neat and white, and the kiss that every evening you came into my room and gave me before I fell asleep. I sobbed aloud. Little by little my tears ceased to flow. Numb with cold I slumbered till morning, the light of day reaching me through the airhole of my dungeon. I admit it, dear mother, and you will forgive my weakness, dejected by the sufferings of that first night, fearing I would be condemned to remain a long time in that dungeon, I resigned myself to agree to all that might be demanded of me. I wished above all to quit that gloomy place. I awaited impatiently the return of the nun, in order to make my submission to her. No one came, neither that day nor for about a week. I thought I would lose my senses. Every minute I shivered with fear. The very silence of that species of tomb inspired me with wild terrors. I moaned and called out to you, dear father and mother, as if you could hear me. I then fell down upon my couch of ashes, worn out. How sad was my soul!

"By little and little, however, I became accustomed to my prison, to my haircloth robe, to my bread, black and hard. Calmness returned to me. I said to myself: 'I am the victim of a wicked scheme. My parents have taught me it was our duty to sustain courageously the trials of life, and never to bow down before cowardice or slander. I shall perish in this convent, or leave it to return to my family.' I now waited for the nun, no longer in order to make my submission to her, but to announce to her my firm determination to resist her wishes. Vain expectations! For about another week no one came near. Instead of weakening, my determination grew more exalted in my solitude. I spent my days thinking of you. Often did the tension of my mind become so strong that I imagined I saw, I heard you. I then was no longer in that subterraneous dungeon; I was by your side, at our house. Every morning at awakening, I invoked heaven's blessing upon you. Then I would say to myself: 'Good morning, father, good morning, mother.' I would tell you all about my affliction and my sufferings; you encouraged me not to succumb in my cruel trial. Your wise and tender words comforted me. Then also my thoughts would wander to—

"I have hesitated to tell you the truth. But you taught me to abhor untruth and dissimulation. I shall continue. Only, dear mother, I know not whether, when you receive this letter, you will still be a prisoner and separated from father. If, on the contrary, you are again together, perhaps you should not let him know the passage you are about to read. Perhaps, and it is my ardent hope, father is ignorant of the circumstance that he whom I called brother—did—in a fit of insanity—

"My hand trembles at the bore recollection of that incident.

"During that horrible evening, before your unexpected return home, before I could understand the meaning of Hervé's words, he had himself enlightened me concerning the nature of the feelings that I entertained for Brother St. Ernest-Martyr. I have no doubt of it, at this hour. It was love I entertained for him. In the depth of my prison, during my nights of affliction, I could not prevent myself from thinking of you, without my thoughts running to him.

"That is the admission that a minute ago I hesitated to make. If that attachment is a guilty one, good mother, forgive me, it is involuntary.

"My thoughts wandered in my prison, beloved parents, no less to Brother St. Ernest-Martyr than to yourselves, resolved, as I was, to die here or rejoin you. Suddenly a cruel thought, that had not before occurred to me, flashed through my mind. To live by your side would be to live under the same roof with Hervé! I attributed—I still attribute the occurrences of that fatal night to a temporary derangement of his reason. You, no doubt, withheld the incident from father's knowledge. Hervé, once again returned to sanity, must have cursed his temporary aberration. His repentence must have moved you. One is indulgent towards crazy people! Nevertheless the mere thought of seeing him again caused me to shudder. The only hope that had hitherto sustained me, the hope of spending my life near you, as of yore, drooped its wings. It seemed to me impossible ever after to support the sight of Hervé. As I was a prey to these new and painful thoughts, one morning the door of my cell was opened and the turning-box attendant entered, followed by the other nuns.

"'Are you now more docile?' she asked. 'Do you now consent to receive the religious instruction necessary to take the vows of the Order of the Augustinians?'

"'No!' I screamed. 'You will gain nothing from me, either by persuasion, or force. I shall remain faithful to my belief!'

"At a sign from the nun two of the turning-box attendants fell upon me. Despite all my struggles, my tears, and my cries, they stripped me of my haircloth robe, the only clothing I had on; they held me fast; and their two other companions flagellated me mercilessly. Shame and pain—my shoulders and bosom ran blood under the lacerating lashing—wrung from me a cowardly entreaty. I promised absolute submission. My obedience appeased my torturers. I was taken back to my nun's cell. For a first proof of my submission I was to consent that very day to confess to one of the Augustinian monks under whose direction the convent stood, and one of whom was to be charged with imparting religious instruction to me. Towards noon I was conducted to the chapel. Oh, mother, what a surprise was in store for me! At the very first words that the monk, who occupied the confessional, addressed to me, I recognized the voice of St. Ernest-Martyr. I took myself for saved. I gave him my name; I informed him of our arrest; I conjured him to hunt up my father and my dear uncle Josephin, who surely must have remained at large, and notify them where you and I were held in confinement. Alas, my hopes were but short-lived! Brother St. Ernest-Martyr, himself an object of suspicion to the other monks and especially to the Abbot of the convent, was not allowed to go out. For several days he had been a prisoner in his own cell, which he left only to fulfil his ministry in the Augustinian Convent, which he reached through an underground passage that joined the two monasteries. I asked him whether it would be possible for him to have a letter reach my family. He doubted whether I would be allowed to write; furthermore, he did not, on his part, see any means by which my missive could reach its destination, such was the surveillance under which he himself was held. I narrated to him the recent ordeals and the trials that I underwent since my entrance in the convent. I heard him cry in the dark. I then entreated him to counsel me. He answered:

"'Sister, even if you experienced a decided religious vocation, and your parents gave their consent, even then I would urge you to reflect before pronouncing those eternal vows. But you have not that vocation, you are kept here against your will and without your parents' knowledge. What is to be done under such trying circumstances? To refuse to receive the veil, as you have hitherto done, is to expose yourself to fresh ill-treatment and severities, under which you would perish; to enter a religious Order, even if forced thereto, is to renounce forever all tender family joys. Before deciding, sister, endeavor to gain time. I shall help you by urging upon our Abbess the necessity of delay in order to complete your religious education. Your father and uncle have undoubtedly set on foot inquiries concerning your whereabouts. Keep up the hope that their efforts will be successful. Your father will move Robert Estienne, and he the Princess Marguerite to obtain your liberation. Rely upon my ardent wish to be useful to you. It is my duty to console you, and to sustain you in your cruel plight. I shall not fall short in my duty.'

"This, dear mother, was the advice of Brother St. Ernest-Martyr. I followed it. In the meantime it remained impossible for him either to leave the convent, or write to you. He dared not trust such a secret to any of the other monks. They would in all likelihood have betrayed him to the Abbot.

"Alas, dear mother, yet another misfortune was to befall me; Brother St. Ernest-Martyr ceased to be my religious instructor. A few days after our first conference he was replaced by another Augustinian monk.

"So many afflictions threw me upon a sick bed. I became seriously ill. By the grief that the absence of St. Ernest-Martyr caused me I realized how much I loved him. Of this love he is ignorant; he does not even suspect it; he shall never know it. My heart breaks at the mere thought of what remains for me to tell you.

"The new Augustinian monk, who was charged to catechise me, inspired me with such instinctive repulsion that I could not conceal its manifestations. He complained to the Mother Superior of my ill will towards him. The Abbess summoned me before her, and notified me that, whether instructed or not, I was to take the vow the day after the next, adding that I would then be allowed to see my family.

"I entreated the Superior to grant me one more day to reflect upon so grave a step. My entreaty was granted. I then reasoned as follows: To refuse to become a nun is to expose myself to renewed acts of violence and flagellations the very recollection of which render me purple with shame; it is also to renounce the only hope of seeing from time to time my beloved parents. On the other hand I feel that my love for Brother St. Ernest-Martyr will end but with my life; seeing I can not be his, to renounce him is to renounce the world, and all family joys. Why, then, not take the veil?

"I was alone, without an adviser, weakened with suffering, beset by nuns who alternately resorted to persuasion and threats. I despaired of ever finding the means of informing you of my fate, good mother. I resigned myself to take the vow—

"This morning the ceremony was celebrated. I was christened in religion with a sad name. I am called St. Frances-in-the-Tomb. To-night I am to spend in prayers in the chapel of the Virgin, according to the custom for maids who have taken the veil.

"My vows being pronounced, the Abbess caused me to be supplied with writing material—paper, pen and ink—promising me that this letter would be forwarded to my family.

"I am wrong for having taken so grave a step without your consent, good mother, and without the consent of father.

"I break off at this place. The convent clock strikes nine. I am to be taken to the chapel, where I am to watch all night. May God have mercy upon me.

"To-morrow, good mother, I shall finish this letter which I shall carry concealed in my corsage. I shall tell you then what were my thoughts.

"Until to-morrow, mother. I shall then close my confidences."

The sequel of this chronicle will instruct you, sons of Joel, concerning the events that led to Christian's coming into possession of the letter of the ill-starred Hena, as also of the following fragments of the diary written by Ernest Rennepont, in religion St. Ernest-Martyr, during the time that he also was held a prisoner under surveillance in the Augustinian Convent.



"Lord God! Have mercy upon me! I have just seen the young girl. I have confessed her in the convent of our Augustinian sisters. She is imprisoned there. They wish to compel her to take the vows. Poor victim!

"When I recognized her voice; when, in the shadow of the confessional, I perceived her angelic face, my heart thrilled with an insensate joy. I then trembled, and wept. Oh, Thou who seest to the bottom of the heart of man, Thou knowest, my God! my first thought was to leave the tribunal of penitence. I did not deem myself worthy of sitting in that place. But in her distress, the child had only me for her support. She thanked Thee, oh, my God! with such fervor for having sent me across her path, that my first impulse weakened, and I remained."

*   *   *

"To Thee, my divine Master, I make my confession. Yes; the first time I saw that young girl at the house of Mary La Catelle, as I was engaged in teaching the children at her school, I was struck by the beauty of Hena Lebrenn, her modesty, her candor, her grace! Without knowing it, Mary La Catelle rendered still more profound the deep impression her friend had made upon me, by recounting to me her virtues, her goodness, the truthfulness of her character. Yes; I confess it; since that day, and despite my reason that said to me: 'Such a love is insane;' despite my faith that whispered to me: 'Such a love is guilty;' despite all, the mad passion, the criminal passion gained every day a more powerful sway over my being. Our meeting to-day, by unveiling to me without reserve that ingenuous and charming soul, has forever riveted my chains. I love her passionately. I shall carry that love with me to the grave—"

*   *   *

"Impossible to leave my convent! I am the object of constant surveillance. Suspicion and hatred mount guard around me. How is Hena's family to be apprized of the constraint she is placed under? The days are passing away. I shudder at the thought of the Mother Superior compelling her to pronounce the vows, regardless of the observations I made to her that Hena's religious instruction is not yet sufficiently advanced. Were I sufficient of a wretch to listen to the voice of an execrable selfishness, I would rejoice at the thought that Hena, not being granted to me, would be none else's after her ordination as a nun. No! Were it in my power, I would restore the unfortunate girl to her family. I would open the gates of the convent—"

*   *   *

"A family!—a wife!—children!—the tenderest of sentiments, the dearest, the most sacred that can elevate the soul to the height of Thy providential purposes, O, heavenly Father!—a family—that ineffable sanctuary of domestic virtues—is forever barred to me! A curse upon those who founded the first convents!

"And who is it that bars me from that sanctuary? Is it Thy will, O, God of justice—Thou who gavest a companion to man? No! No! Neither the Word revealed by the prophets, nor the Word of Thy Son, our Redeemer, ever said to Thy priests: 'You shall remain without the pale of mankind; you are above, or below, the duties imposed by the sacred mission of assuring the happiness of a wife, raising children in the love and practice of right, and giving them the bread of the soul and the bread of the body!'

"The reformers, those heretics, they have remained faithful to Thy divine precepts. Their pastors are husbands and fathers."

*   *   *

"At this moment the noise and the songs of orgy penetrate to the very recesses of my cell. Mysteries of corruption and debauchery! The poor, ignorant people believe in the celibacy of the monks and the chastity of the nuns! Monks and nuns give themselves over to all manner of abominations!"

*   *   *

"Before ever I met Hena at the home of Mary La Catelle, Thou knowest, Oh, my God! I was seized with the justice of the reforms that were proclaimed in Thy name by the Lutherans. I was in communion with them, if not in the communion of lips, at least in that of the soul. The adoration of images and saints, the arrogance of the clergy, auricular confession which places infamous priests in possession of the secrets of the domestic hearth, the redemption of sins and souls for a money price, the traffic in indulgences—so many iniquities, so many outrages against morality, rendered me indignant. My soul opened to the light."

*   *   *

"I have had a strange dream!

"Having become a pastor of the reformed religion, I had married Hena. We lived in a village, located in a smiling valley. I gave lessons to the lads. Hena gathered the girls around her. God blessed our union. Two beautiful children drew closer the bonds of our mutual tenderness. Oh, sacred family joys! Hena, my beloved wife!"

*   *   *

"Fool that I am! Instead of allowing my thoughts to dwell upon that dream, could I but tear it out of my memory. Until now I had, at least, found some bitter comfort in the word—Impossible. I am a monk. An insurmountable obstacle separates me from Hena. My grief fed upon the most mournful of thoughts. Astray in a labyrinth from which there was no exit, no ray of hope penetrated to the depth of my despair.

"But now, after that tempting dream, I find myself saying:

"'And yet I could be happy. I could embrace the Evangelical religion, become one of its pastors, remain guiltless of faithlessness to my vow of devoting myself to the service of God, and yet wed Hena. The reform ministers are not held to celibacy.'"

*   *   *

"Mercy, Oh, my God! However intense the hope, it has evaporated. I have fallen back into the very depth of despair. In order to wed Hena, she must love me! Can her heart ever have beaten for a man clad in a monk's frock?"

*   *   *

"Who made me a monk? Could I, at the age of thirteen, be endowed with judgment enough to decide upon my vocation, and understand the significance of monastic vows? Was it not in mere obedience to my father that I entered as a novice the Order of the Augustinian monks? That was my first step in religious life. Subsequently, partly through lassitude, partly through habit, partly through submission, I proceeded to consecrate myself to this gloomy and sterile life. I bowed before the paternal will. Thus goes the world! To my elder brother freedom to choose his career and a wife; to him the hereditary patrimony; to him family joys; to me the cloister; to me the vows that shackle me to celibacy and poverty! Such are the iniquities of the Catholics."

*   *   *

"A slow fever undermines and consumes me. I am only the shadow of my former self.

"The religious education that every day I impart to Hena in the shadow of the confessional is torture to me. I have become so nervously sensitive that the sweet sound of my penitent's voice makes every fiber of my brain to twitch. Her breath, that occasionally reaches my face through the grating of the confessional, makes my forehead to be bathed in perspiration that burns, and then freezes my temples. I have not the courage to endure this torture any longer. I shall go crazy. To see, to feel near me the young girl the thought of whom fills my soul, and to be forever on guard, in order to restrain myself, to watch every single word I utter, its inflection, my hardly repressed sighs, the tears that her sorrows and my own draw from my eyes in order to conceal my secret from her! I am at the end of my strength. Fever and sleeplessness have used up my life. I can hardly drag myself from my cell to the church of the Augustinian monks. Call me to Your bosom, O Lord God! Have pity upon me. Mercy! Shorten my torments!"

*   *   *

"There is no longer any doubt. Hena will be forced to take the vows. Yesterday I went to the convent of the Augustinian sisters to inform the Mother Superior that my weakened health commanded me absolute rest, and I could not continue the religious education of the young novice.

"'Is Hena Lebrenn at last in a condition to take the veil?' she asked me.

"'Not yet,' I answered.

"'In that case,' replied the Mother Superior, 'the Lord will enlighten her with His grace when it shall please Him. It is His concern. Obedient to the orders I have from my ecclesiastical superiors, the girl must take the veil within a week. Some other of our Augustinian brothers will take charge of completing the education of the novice, somehow or other. It is the reverend Father Lefevre who sent her here. She has a brother who also was snatched from perdition. The task was easy with him. So far from refusing to take the vows, he requested to be allowed to enter the Order of the Cordeliers, and has been taken to their convent and placed near Fra Girard. The father and mother are devil-possessed heretics. A curse upon them.'

"And thus, in violation of all law and equity the two children have been wrested from their family, and will evermore be separated from it. I would give my life to inform Christian Lebrenn and his wife of the fate that is reserved for his daughter. Alas, there is no means of seeing them."

*   *   *

"To-morrow Hena takes the vows at the convent of the Augustinian sisters. I was informed of it by the monk who replaced me as her catechiser. My God! The poor girl is lost forever to her family.

"And yet a glimmer of hope remains. The surveillance at first exercised over me becomes less rigorous, now that my life is ebbing away, and I hardly leave my couch. If this evening, to-night, I can leave the convent, I shall notify Monsieur Lebrenn of the imminent danger that threatens his daughter. Perchance, thanks to the influence of Robert Estienne, the Princess Marguerite may yet be able to obtain the freedom of Hena before she has taken the veil.

"My God! Vouchsafe my prayer and deliver me speedily of life. I shall ask to be buried in my frock, where I keep hidden these leaves, the only confidants of my love."



"The Black Grape" was the device roughly painted on the escutcheon of a tavern that served for rendezvous to all sorts of bandits, who at that season infested the city of Paris. Even the archers of the patrol held in awe the semi-underground cut-throats' resort. They never ventured into the tortuous and dark alley at about the middle of which the old sign of the Black Grape, well known by all the thieves, creaked and swung to the wind. Three men, seated at a table in one of the nooks of that haunt, were discussing some important project, judging from the mystery in which they wrapped their conversation. Pichrocholle, the Mauvais-Garçon, and his pal Grippe-Minaud, the Tire-Laine, who, several months before, had attended the sale of indulgences in St. Dominic's Church, were two of the interlocutors in the consultation they were for some time holding with Josephin, the Franc-Taupin. Strange transformation! The adventurer, once a man of imperturbable good nature, was unrecognizable. His now somber and even savage physiognomy revealed a rooted grief. He left his pot of wine untouched. What stronger evidence of his grief!

"St. Cadouin!" said Pichrocholle with a tone and gesture of devout invocation. "We are here alone. You can now tell us what you want of us, Josephin."

"Pichrocholle, I met you in the war—"

"Yes, I was an arquebusier in the company of Monsieur Monluc. I got tired of killing in battle, and without profit to myself, Italians, Spaniards, Swiss and Flemings, whom I did not know, and decided to kill for cash Frenchmen whom I did know. I became a Mauvais-Garçon. I now place my dagger and my sword at the service of whoever pays me. Tit for tat."

"’Tis but to be a soldier, only in another manner," explained Grippe-Minaud. "But this trade requires a certain courage that I do not possess. I prefer to tackle honest bourgeois on their way home at night without any other weapon than—their lanthorns."

"Pichrocholle," proceeded the Franc-Taupin, "I saved your life at the battle of Marignan. I extricated you from two lansquenets, who, but for my help, would have put you through a disagreeable quarter of an hour. I believe I bore myself as a true comrade."

"St. Cadouin! Do you take me for an ingrate? If you have any service to ask of me, speak freely without fear of a refusal."

"When I ran across you a few minutes ago, it occurred to me you were the man I needed—"

"Is it some enemy you wish to rid yourself of? All you have to do is to place me before him."

Josephin shook his head negatively, and pointed with his finger at his own long sword, that lay across the table before him. It would have been quite enough for such a contingency.

"You are yourself able to rid yourself of an enemy," replied the Mauvais-Garçon. "I know it. What, then, is the job?"

The Franc-Taupin proceeded with a tremulous voice while a tear rolled down from his eye:

"Pichrocholle, I had a sister—"

"How your voice trembles! You could not look any sadder. Pichrocholle, the pots are empty, and no money to fill them with!" said Grippe-Minaud.

"'Sdeath, my sister!" cried the Franc-Taupin in despair. "There is a void in my heart that nothing can fill!" and he hid his face in his hands.

"A void is useful when it is made in the purse of a bourgeois," commented Grippe-Minaud, while his companion remarked:

"Come, now, Josephin, you had a sister. Is it that you have lost her? Proceed with your story."

"She is dead!" murmured the Franc-Taupin, gulping down a sob; but recovering, he added: "I still have a niece—"

"A niece?" asked the Mauvais-Garçon. "Is it she we must help? Is she young and handsome—?"

The bandit stopped short at the fierce look that the Franc-Taupin shot at him. Presently he resumed:

"I knew you one time for a jollier fellow."

"I laugh no more," rejoined the Franc-Taupin with a sinister smile. "My cheerfulness is gone! But let us come to the point. My sister died in prison. I succeeded at least in being allowed to see her before she closed her eyes, and to receive her last wishes. She leaves behind three children—a girl and two boys, but the elder does not count."

"How's that? Explain the mystery."

"I am coming to that. My sister's daughter was seized and taken to the convent of the Augustinian sisters, where she is now detained."

"St. Cadouin! What is there to complain about? To have a niece in a convent, is almost like having an angel on your side in paradise!" Saying which the Mauvais-Garçon crossed himself devoutly by carrying his thumb from his nose to his chin, and then across from one corner to the other of his mouth.

"Oh!" exclaimed Grippe-Minaud, "And I have neither sister, daughter nor niece in a convent! They would pray for the remission of my sins. I could then be unconcerned for the hereafter, like a fish in the water!"

"And their prayers would not cost you a denier!" added Pichrocholle with a sigh.

"Oh, if only my daughter Mariotte had not run away at the age of fourteen with a jail-bird, she would now be in a convent, praying for her good father, the Tire-Laine! By the confession! That was the dream of my life," whereupon the thief crossed himself as the Mauvais-Garçon had done.

The words of the two bandits suited the Franc-Taupin. They were fresh proofs of the mixture of superstition and crime that marked the bandits' lives. Their fanaticism squared with his own projects. He proceeded with his story, to which his two comrades listened attentively:

"My niece has no religious vocation. She was taken to the convent, and is held there by force. She must come out. Will you help me to carry her off?'

"St. Cadouin!" cried the Mauvais-Garçon, terror stricken, and crossing himself anew. "That would be sacrilege!"

"To violate a holy place!" came from Grippe-Minaud, who grew pale and crossed himself like Pichrocholle. "By the confession! My hair stands on end at the bare thought of such a thing!"

Dumb and stupefied, the two brigands looked at each other with dilated eyes. The Franc-Taupin seemed in no wise disconcerted by their scruples. After a moment of silence he proceeded:

"Mauvais-Garçons and Tire-Laines are good Catholics, I know. Therefore, be easy, my devout friends, I have the power to absolve you."

"Are you going to make us believe you are an Apostolic Commissioner?"

"What does it matter, provided I guarantee to you a plenary indulgence? Eh, comrades!"

"You—you—Josephin? You are mocking us! And yet you claim you have lost your taste for mirth!"

Separated from the two thieves by the full length of the table, the Franc-Taupin placed his sword between his legs, planted his bare dagger close before him, and then drew a parchment out of the pocket of his spacious hose. It was Hervé's letter of absolution, which the Franc-Taupin had picked up from the threshold of his sister's house when the Lebrenn family was arrested. He unfolded the apostolic schedule; and holding it open in plain view of both the brigands, he said to them:

"Look and read—you can read."

"A letter of absolution!" exclaimed the Mauvais-Garçon and the Tire-Laine, with eyes that glistened with greed as they carefully ran over the parchment. "It bears the seals, the signatures—there is nothing lacking!"

"I saw day before yesterday a schedule like that in the hands of the Count of St. Mexin, who paid me two ducats to dispatch a certain fat advocate, a husband who stands in the way of the love affairs of the advocatess with the young seigneur," said the Mauvais-Garçon.

"By the confession!" cried Grippe-Minaud, re-crossing himself. "The letter is complete! It gives remission even for reserved cases. Thanks to this absolution, one can do anything! Anything, without danger to his soul!"

After reading and contemplating with ecstasies the apostolic schedule, the two bandits exchanged a rapid and meaning look, which, however, did not escape the Franc-Taupin, thoroughly on his guard as he was. He drew back quickly, rose from his seat, dashed the precious parchment back into his pocket, took a few steps away from the table, and standing erect, his right foot forward, his sword in one hand, his dagger in the other, thus addressed the two desperadoes:

"By the bowels of St. Quenet, my lads! I knew you for too good a brace of Catholics not to wish to stab me to death in order to get possession of this absolving schedule, which remits all past, present and future crimes. Come on, my dare-devils, I have only one eye left, but it is a good one!"

"You are crazy! It is not right to mistrust an old friend that way," expostulated Pichrocholle. "You misunderstood our intentions."

"We only wanted to examine more closely that blessed and priceless letter," added the Tire-Laine. "By the confession! Happy man that you are to possess such a treasure!" and he crossed himself. "Saints of paradise, but grant me such a windfall, and I shall burn twenty wax candles come Candlemas!"

"It depends upon you whether you shall own this treasure or not," proceeded the adventurer. "I shall give you this letter of absolution, if you help me, to-night, to carry off my niece from the convent of the Augustinian sisters. By virtue of this apostolic schedule, you will be absolved of all your sins—past, present and future, and of this night's sacrilege for good measure. Thenceforth, you will be privileged fairly to swim in crime, without concern for your souls, as Pichrocholle just said. Paradise will then be guaranteed to you!"

"But," remarked the Mauvais-Garçon, shaking his head, "this letter absolves only one Christian—we are two."

"The job being done, you will cast dice for the schedule," Josephin answered readily. "There will be one to lose and one to gain. The chances are equal for you both."

The two bandits consulted each other with their eyes. Pichrocholle spoke up:

"But how do you come into possession of that letter? Those absolutions are the most expensive. St. Cadouin! The least that they cost, I hear, is twenty-five gold crowns."

"It is none of your business from whom I hold the schedule. 'Sdeath, my sister! All the gold in the world will not pay for the tears that piece of parchment has caused to flow!" answered the Franc-Taupin, whose visage expressed a profound grief as he thought of the revelations Bridget made to him about Hervé.

Recovering his composure the adventurer added:

"Will you, yes or no, both of you, lend me a strong hand to-night, in order to carry off my niece from the convent of the Augustinian sisters, and for another expedition? It is a double game we have to play."

"St. Cadouin! We are to make two strokes. You never told us about that—"

"The second expedition is but child's play. To seize a little casket."

"What does the casket contain?" queried the Tire-Laine, all interest.

"Only papers," answered the Franc-Taupin, "besides a few trinkets of no value. Moreover, seeing you are scrupulous Catholics, I shall add, for the sake of the peace of your souls, that the casket which I wish to recover, was stolen from my brother-in-law. You will be aiding a restitution."

"Josephin, you are trying to deceive us!" remarked the Mauvais-Garçon. "People do not attach so much importance to a bunch of papers and worthless trinkets."

"When the casket is in our possession you may open it—if there be any valuables in it, they shall be yours."

"There is nothing to say to that," rejoined Pichrocholle, looking at the Tire-Laine. "That's fair, eh? We shall accept the proposition."

"Quite fair," returned the latter. "But let us proceed in order. The abduction of the nun—by the navel of the Pope! I shiver at the bare thought. Should the cast of the dice not give me the letter of absolution, I remain guilty of a sacrilege!"

"That is your risk," answered the Franc-Taupin; "but if you gain the indulgence—there you are, my Catholic brother, safe for all eternity, whatever crimes you may commit."

"By the limbs of Satan! I know that well enough! It is that very thing that lures me."

"And me too," put in the other brigand. "But how are we to manage things in order to enter the convent?"

"I shall explain my plan to you. My brother-in-law is in hiding for fear of being arrested. My niece, who was taken to the Augustinian Convent, was compelled to take the vows to-day."

"How do you know that?"

"I had gone, as latterly I often get into the humor of doing, and planted myself before my sister's house—and dreamed."

"To what end?"

"In order to contemplate that poor house, deserted to-day, and where, every time I returned from the country, Bridget, her husband and her children gave me a pleasant reception. You devout fellows talk of paradise. That house was a paradise to me. So that, even to-day, I roamed into the neighborhood as an erring soul, my eyes fastened upon that closed window where I had so often seen the dear faces of my sister and her daughter smiling upon me when I knocked at their door—"

The expression on the face, the tone of the voice of the Franc-Taupin, touched even the two bandits, hardened men though they were. Josephin smothered a sob and proceeded:

"As I was saying a short while ago, I was roaming around the house when I saw a monk approaching me. Oh, a good monk! So pale, so worn that I had trouble to recognize him. But he, although he had met me only once, recognized me by my port and by the plaster on my eye. He asked me whether he could have a speedy word with my sister, or my brother-in-law. 'My sister is dead, and my brother-in-law is in hiding,' I answered the monk. He thereupon informed me that my niece was locked up in the convent of the Augustinian sisters, where he, an Augustinian monk, was her confessor; that, himself subjected several months to a rigorous sequestration, he had only just succeeded in coming out, seeing that the surveillance under which he was held had somewhat begun to relax. Poor monk, he looked so wan, so emaciated, so feeble that he could hardly keep himself on his feet. Uninformed concerning the misfortunes of our family, his errand was to impart to the parents of my niece what he knew about her. He ran the risk, in the event of his outing being discovered, of being pursued and punished. I took him to the place where my brother-in-law has found a safe retreat. On the way thither I learned the following from the monk: My niece took the veil to-day. According to the custom in such cases, she is to pass the night alone in prayer in the oratory of the Virgin, which is separated from the church of the convent by an enclosure of the cloister. Now, attention, my lads, to the directions that the monk gave me. The walls of the court-yard of the chapel run along St. Benoit's Alley. Just before sunset, I went over the place and examined the walls. They are not very high. We can easily scale them, while one of us will keep watch on the outside."

"That shall be I!" broke in Grippe-Minaud nervously. "That post for me! I have the eye of a lynx and the ear of a mole!"

"You shall be the watcher. Pichrocholle and I shall scale the wall. The monk will be waiting for me near the chapel, ready to aid us should anyone attempt to oppose my niece's abduction. I shall find her in the oratory; she will follow me; we shall force open one of the garden gates; and before dawn I shall have the daughter with her father, who is in perfect safety. Immediately after, it will then be just early dawn, we shall undertake the second expedition."

"The casket that we are to take?"

"Nothing easier. We shall go, all three, to Montaigu College, and shall ask the porter for the number of Abbot Lefevre's chamber. He is the thief of the casket."

"Horns of Moses!" cried Grippe-Minaud crossing himself. "An Abbot! To raise our hands against another anointed of the Lord!"

"Two sacrileges in one day!" added the Mauvais-Garçon shaking his head thoughtfully. "That weighs heavy on one's conscience."

"What about the letter of absolution!" interjected the Franc-Taupin impatiently. "By the devil, whose frying pan you are afraid of, my precious Catholics! Have you faith—yes or no?"

"That's so," responded Pichrocholle, "there is the schedule of absolution. It covers us! Thanks to its beneficent virtue, one of us shall be white as the inside of a snowball."

"Accordingly," the Franc-Taupin proceeded, "we shall ask for Abbot Lefevre, under the pretext of some urgent matter that we must communicate to him; we go up to his room; we knock at the door. Our man will still be in bed. We throw ourselves upon him. You two bind and gag him. I shall look for the casket in question—and shall find it. I am certain of that. We then tie our Abbot to the bed, keeping him gagged all the while, lest he scream and give the alarm. We close the door after us—and we make tracks for the nearest place of safety."

"Oh, that would be the merest child's play, provided no priest were concerned," broke in the Tire-Laine; "besides the abduction of your niece, the violation of a sanctuary!"

"Yesterday I despatched my seventh man," put in the Mauvais-Garçon. "Accordingly, my conscience is not very well at ease, because, to obtain absolution for a murder, I would have to pay more than the murder fetches me. But a lay murder is but a peccadillo beside a sacrilege!—And then, if after the expedition that you propose to us, the dice should fail to give me the apostolic schedule? What then! St. Cadouin! I would dream only of the eternal flames ever after."

"That is your risk," again replied Josephin imperturbably. "The hour approaches. Have you decided? Is it yes? Is it no? Must I look for assistance elsewhere?"

"When will you deliver the letter to us?"

"Just as soon as my niece is safely with her father, and the casket is in my hands. Agreed?"

"And if you deceive us? If after the expeditions have been successfully carried out, you refuse to deliver the letter to us?"

"By the bowels of St. Quenet! And if, taking advantage of a moment when I may not be on my guard, you should stab me to-night, that you may seize the letter before rendering me the services which I expect of you? The risks are equal, and compensate each other. Enough of words!"

"Oh, Josephin, such a suspicion against me—me your old comrade in arms!"

"By the confession! To take us—us who have drunk out of the same pot, for capable of so unworthy an action!"

"God's blood! Night draws near. We shall need some time to prepare for the escalade," ejaculated the Franc-Taupin. "For the last time—yes or no?"

The two bandits consulted each other for a moment with their eyes. At the end of the consultation Pichrocholle reached out his hand to the Franc-Taupin, saying:

"Upon the word of a Mauvais-Garçon, and by the salvation of my soul—'tis done! You can count with me to the death."

"Upon the word of a Tire-Laine, and by the salvation of my soul—'tis done! You may dispose of me."

"To work!" ordered the Franc-Taupin.

Josephin left the tavern of the Black Grape accompanied by the two bandits.



The cottage or country-house, that Robert Estienne owned near St. Ouen, on the St. Denis road, was located in a secluded spot, and at a considerable distance from the village. The byroad which led to the entrance of the residence ran upon a gate of grated iron near a little lodge occupied by the gardener and his wife. The principal dwelling rose in the center of a garden enclosed by a wall. The day after that on which the Franc-Taupin, the Mauvais-Garçon and the Tire-Laine held their conference at the tavern of the Black Grape, Michael, Robert Estienne's gardener, having returned from the field late in the afternoon, and being not a little out of sorts at not finding his wife Alison at their home, the key of which she had carried away with her, was grumbling, storming and blowing upon his fingers numb with the December chill. Finally his wife, no doubt returning from the village, hove in sight, and wended her way towards the gate.

"Where the devil did you go to?" Michael called out to Alison as he saw her from a distance. "Could you not at least have left the key in the door? The devil take those forgetful women!"

"I went—to confession," answered the gardener's wife avoiding her husband's eyes, and pushing open the gate. "I took the key with me because you were afield."

"To confession!—To confession!" replied Michael with a growl. "And I was freezing to death."

"All the same I must see to my salvation. You sent me this morning with a letter to our master. The curate was good enough to wait for me at the confessional after dinner. I availed myself of his kindness."

"Very well. But, may the devil take it! I wish you would try to gain paradise without exposing me to be frozen to death."

The couple had barely stepped into the lodge when Michael stopped to listen in the direction of the gate and said, surprisedly:

"I hear the gallop of a horse!"

The brave Michael stepped out again, looked through the grating of the gate, recognized Robert Estienne, and called out:

"Alison, come quick; it is our master!"

Saying this the gardener threw open the gate to Robert Estienne. The latter alighted from his horse, and giving the reins to his servant said:

"Good evening, Michael. Any news?"

"Oh, monsieur, many things—"

"Does my guest run any danger? Has any indiscretion been committed?"

"No, thanks to God, monsieur. You may be easy on that score. You can rely upon my wife as upon myself. No one suspects at the village that there is anyone hiding at the house."

"What, then, has happened, since my last call? Alison brought me this morning a note from the friend to whom I am giving asylum. But although the note urged my coming here, it indicated nothing serious."

"No doubt the person who is here, monsieur, reserves for his own telling the news that he is no longer alone at the house."

"How is that?"

"Day before yesterday, the tall one-eyed fellow who comes here from time to time, and always at night, called in broad daylight, mounted upon a little cart, drawn by a donkey and filled with straw. He told me to watch the cart, and he went in search of your guest. The two came out together, and out of the straw in the cart they pulled—a monk!"

"A monk, say you!—A monk!"

"Yes, monsieur, a young monk of the Order of Saint Augustine, who looked as if he had not another hour to live, so pale and weak was he."

"And what has become of him?"

"He remained here, and your guest said to me: 'Michael, I beg you to keep the arrival of the monk an absolute secret. I shall inform Monsieur Estienne of the occurrence. Your master will approve the measures I have taken.'"

"Did you follow his recommendation?"

"Yes, monsieur, but that is not all. Last night the big one-eyed fellow came back just before dawn. He was on horseback, and behind him, wrapped in a cloak on the crupper of his mount, he brought—a nun! I went immediately to notify your guest. He came out running, and almost fainted away at the sight of the nun. Bathed in tears he returned with her into the house, while the big one-eyed man rode off at a gallop. It was daylight by that time. Finally, towards noon to-day, the big one-eyed man returned once more, but this time clad in a peasant's blouse and cap. He brought a little casket to your guest, and then went off—"

Astounded at what the gardener was telling him, Robert Estienne walked up to the house, where he rapped in the nature of a signal—two short raps and then, after a short pause, a third. Instantly Christian opened the door.

"My friend, what is the matter? What has happened?" cried Robert Estienne, struck by the profound change in the appearance of the artisan, who threw himself into the arms of his patron, murmuring between half-smothered sobs:

"My daughter!—My daughter!"

Robert Estienne returned Christian's convulsive embrace, and under the impression that some irreparable misfortune had happened, he said in sympathetic accents:

"Courage, my friend! Courage!"

"She has been found!" cried Christian. The light of unspeakable joy shone in his eyes. "My child has been restored to me! She is here! She is with me!"

"True?" asked Robert Estienne, and recalling the gardener's words he added: "Was she the nun?"

"It is Hena herself! But come, come, monsieur; my heart overflows with joy. My head swims. Oh, never have I needed your wise counsel as much as now! What am I now to do?"

Christian and his patron had all this while remained at the entrance of the vestibule. They walked into a contiguous apartment.

"For heaven's sake, my dear Christian, be calm," remarked Robert Estienne. "Let me know what has happened. Needless to add that my advice and friendship are at your service."

Recovering his composure, and wiping with the back of his hand the tears that inundated his face, the artisan proceeded to explain:

"You are aware of the arrest of my wife, my daughter and my eldest son at our house. I would also have been arrested had I been found at home. My brother-in-law, who lingered in the neighborhood of my house, notified me of the danger I ran, and made me retrace my steps. Thanks to Josephin and yourself I found a safe refuge, first in Paris itself, and then here, in this retreat which seemed to you to offer greater security."

"Did I not by all that but repay a debt of gratitude? Your hospitality to John Calvin is probably the principal cause of the persecution that you and your family have been the victims of. Despite my pressing solicitations, Princess Marguerite, whose influence alone has hitherto protected me against my enemies, declined to attempt aught in your behalf. Cardinal Duprat said to her: 'Madam, the man in whom you are interesting yourself is one of the bitterest enemies of the King and the Church. If we succeed in laying hands upon that Christian Lebrenn he shall not escape the gallows, which he has long deserved!' Such set animosity towards you, a workingman and obscure artisan, passes my comprehension."

"I now know the cause of that bitter animosity, Monsieur Estienne. Before proceeding with my narrative, the revelation is due to you. It may have its bearings upon the advice that I expect from you."

Christian opened the casket that contained the chronicles of his family, brought to him that very noon by the Franc-Taupin. He took from the casket a scroll of paper and placed it in Robert Estienne's hand, saying:

"Kindly read this, monsieur. The manuscripts to which this note refers are the family chronicles that I have occasionally spoken of to you."

Robert Estienne took the note and read:

"A. M. D. G.
"(Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)

"Despite the incorrectness of their style and other defects of form, the within manuscripts may, especially since the invention of the printing press, become a weapon of great mischief.

"This narrative, transmitted from century to century at the domestic hearth to obscure generations of common people could not, before the invention of the printing press, have any evil effect further than to perpetuate execrable traditions within a single family. It is so no longer. These rhapsodies are stamped with the race hatred borne by the Gauls towards the Franks, the conquered towards the conquerors, the serf towards the seigneur, the subject towards the Crown and the Church. To-day these rhapsodies could be multiplied indefinitely through the printing press, and thus diffused among the evil-minded people, ever but too prone to rebellion against the pontifical and royal authorities. Enlightened by these narratives upon historical events that should forever be a closed book to them, if they are to entertain a feeling of blind submission, a sense of respect, and a wholesome dread for the throne and the altar, the evil-minded common people would in the future engage with ever greater audacity in those revolts that not a single century has hitherto been wholly free from,—a state of things that the Society of Jesus, with the aid of God, will reduce to order.

"Therefore, it is urgent that these manuscripts be destroyed without delay, as proposed by our beloved son Lefevre, and that the traditions of the Lebrenn family be shattered by the following means:

"To cause the father and mother to be sentenced as heretics. The proofs of their heresy are plentiful. The torture and the pyre for the infamous wretches.

"To lock up in a convent the son and the daughter (Hena and Hervé) now in Paris, and compel them to take the vows.

"As to the youngest son, Odelin, fifteen years of age, and at present traveling in Italy with Master Raimbaud, an armorer, who is also reported to be a heretic, the return of the lad to Paris must be awaited, and then the identical course pursued towards him—capture him, lock him up in a convent, and compel him to take the vows. He is fifteen years old. Despite the taint of his early bringing-up, it will be easy to operate upon a child of that age. If, contrary to all likelihood, he can not be reduced to reason, he shall be kept in the convent until eighteen. Then he shall be pronounced guilty of heresy, and burned alive.

"I insist—it is important, not only to destroy the said manuscripts, but also to shatter the traditions of the Lebrenn family, and extinguish the same, either by delivering it to the secular arm on crimes of heresy, or by burying its last scions forever in the shadow of the cloister.

"The fact must be kept well in mind—there is no such thing as small enemies. The slightest of causes often produces great effects. At a given moment, on the occasion of a rebellion, one resolute man may be enough to carry the populace with him. Due to its secular traditions, the Lebrenn family might produce such a man. Such an eventuality must be prevented; the family must be uprooted.

"If, supposing the impossible, the measures herein indicated should fail of success, if this dangerous stock should perpetuate itself, then, it is necessary that our ORDER, equally perpetual, always keep its eye upon these Lebrenns, who are certain to generate infamous scoundrels.

"The instance of this family is one instance among the thousand that go to prove the necessity of the register I have often mentioned. I order that one be kept in each division by the provincial of our Society. I order that the names of the families upon whom the attention of our Society should be particularly directed, be inscribed in these registers. These records, preserved and transmitted from century to century, will furnish our Society the means of surveillance and of action upon future generations. Such is my will.

"Our beloved son Lefevre will therefore start the register for the province of France by entering in it the name of the Lebrenn family. There shall also be entered the names of Robert Estienne, of Gaspard of Coligny, of the Prince of Gerolstein, of Ambroise Paré, of Clement Marot, of Bernard Palissy, of the Viscount of Plouernel and of others, too numerous to recite at this place, but who will be found on the heretics' lists furnished by Gainier to the Criminal Lieutenant, who shall furnish the said documents without delay to our beloved son Lefevre, whom may God guard.

"I. L."

"Ignatius Loyola!" explained Christian translating the initials I and L pronounced by Robert Estienne, who gazed upon the artisan dumbfounded. The latter proceeded with a mournful and bitter tone: "The orders of Ignatius Loyola were followed. My wife—" and he choked a sob, "my wife was arrested and imprisoned for a heretic. Blessed be Thou, Oh, God! she died in prison. Her death saved her, no doubt, from the stake! My daughter was taken to the convent of the Augustinian sisters, where the poor child was yesterday compelled to pronounce eternal vows. My son Hervé—Oh, the monster no longer deserves to be called a son—"

"What is there against him?"

"A letter of my daughter, written to her mother, whose death she was not aware of, put me on the scent of a horrible secret. This morning I questioned my brother-in-law, who, happier than I, had the opportunity of seeing Bridget in her prison. He unveiled to me a distressful mystery—"

"Proceed with your tale, my friend."

Wiping away the cold perspiration that bathed his forehead, the artisan went on to say: "Hervé entered the Convent of the Cordeliers, not against his will, but joyfully! He will not part from Fra Girard, the demon who led him astray. They are now waiting for my son Odelin to return from Italy. Alas, the boy is on his way to Paris and I have not been able to notify Master Raimbaud of what has happened, not knowing where to address a letter to him. They will fall into the hands of our enemies."

"Just heavens!" exclaimed Robert Estienne, struck by a sudden thought and breaking in upon Christian. "There can be no doubt about it. A minute ago, as I listened to your account of how the orders of Ignatius Loyola were followed, I wondered how—even in these sad days when the freedom and lives of our citizens are at the mercy of the good or ill will of Cardinal Duprat and his agent, the Criminal Lieutenant, John Morin—I wondered how the plot concocted against your whole family could be executed with such rapidity. I now wonder no longer. Ignatius Loyola exercises a powerful influence over the Cardinal, who has joined the Society of Jesus."

"Is, then, the Society of Jesus already so highly connected?"

"No doubt about it! When I went to entreat the intercession of Princess Marguerite in behalf of Mary La Catelle, John Dubourg, Laforge and others of our friends, my protectress inquired from me whether I knew a certain nobleman, still young of years and lame of foot, who almost every day held protracted conferences with the Cardinal, over whom he wielded an absolute sway. Thanks to the information I had from you, I was able to enlighten the Princess concerning the chief of the new Order of Jesuits. It is evident that it was with the connivance of the Cardinal that Ignatius Loyola was enabled to smite your family. But what I could not yet understand was the reason that drove that man to pursue you with such inveteracy and to aim at your very life."

"Ignatius Loyola undoubtedly does not pardon my having surprised the secret of his Order. Lefevre, one of his disciples and a former friend of mine, saw me on the occasion of that fatal night concealed behind a big boulder at the bottom of the quarry. He affected not to notice me, in order not to awaken my suspicions, and the very next day he led the archers of the patrol to my house, seized my family papers, with which I had made him acquainted, and climbed to the garret, where, finding some scraps of letters left behind him by John Calvin, he must by those means have been put upon the track of the council of the reformers held at Montmartre. Only an hour or two after the arrival of our co-religionists the quarry was invaded by the archers."

"But how did your family chronicles and the note about them fall back into your hands?"

"Also through the efforts of my wife's brother, the soldier of adventure I have often spoken of to you. Josephin, that is my brother-in-law's name, was going to our house when Bridget and my children were arrested. He saw them taken away. He also saw a man, clad in a black frock, with the cowl over his head, carry off the casket that contained our legends. That man was my friend Lefevre. Once out of my house, and no longer deeming it necessary to conceal his face, he raised his cowl and Josephin recognized him. The discovery was a revelation to me. That night my brother-in-law could not attempt to free my wife and children from the hands of the archers. He remained in the neighborhood on the watch for me. It was by him I was apprized of the arrest of my family. At length, yesterday, having encountered near my house an Augustinian monk, who left the convent surreptitiously, he learned from him that my daughter had been made to take the veil. Once posted upon where Hena was to be found, the Franc-Taupin decided to abduct her from the cloister, helped therein by two other resolute fellows. He succeeded in the perilous undertaking. Finally, having no doubt that the casket containing my family chronicles was in Lefevre's possession, he repaired early in the morning to Montaigu College with his two trusty companions, and took away from the Jesuit the casket in which, jointly with our family chronicles, was the note of Ignatius Loyola. These he brought to me at noon to-day."

"What devotion! Thanks to the brave adventurer, your daughter is restored to you! The monk to whom you have extended hospitality is, I suppose, the same who escaped from the convent, and placed the Franc-Taupin in position to deliver your daughter. The situation begins to look less dangerous."

"Yes, Monsieur Estienne. And now I implore you, lighten my path with your advice. My head swims. I am a prey to cruel perplexities."

"Are you afraid your daughter may be traced to this house?"

"That fear is terrible enough, but is not what troubles me most."

"What is it that troubles you?"

Christian sobbed aloud: "You do not yet know all. The monk is Brother St. Ernest-Martyr."

"He is a true disciple of Christ! Often did Mary La Catelle tell me he inclined towards the Reformation."

"Listen, Monsieur Estienne. The monk was hardly in the house, where he arrived worn to a skeleton by a slow fever, when he lost consciousness. I gave him all the care I could. I divested him of his frock, laid him in my bed, and watched over him. A few leaves of paper dropped out of his clothes. I picked them up. As I ran my eyes over them I read the name of my daughter. I admit that I yielded to an impulse of curiosity, blameworthy, perhaps, but irresistible. I opened the leaves. What a discovery!"

"The leaves of paper—"

"Contained fragments of a sort of diary, to which the thoughts of the young monk were confided. From them I learned that he was chosen for the confessor and instructor of my daughter at the convent of the Augustinian sisters—and he became enamored of her. He loves Hena to distraction!"

"Does he know you to be aware of his secret?"

"Yes. When he recovered consciousness he saw the fragments of his journal in my hands. He uttered a cry of fear. 'Be calm,' I said to him; 'it is the soul of an honest man that stands reflected in these revelations. I can only pity you.'"

"Is your daughter here in the house with him?"

"My daughter," answered Christian, turning to Robert Estienne a face bathed in tears, "my daughter is not aware of the young monk's passion—and, in her turn, she loves him."

"Unhappy child!"

"Her love is killing her. It was one of the reasons that decided her to take the veil. She has told me all, with her natural candor."

"Have Hena and the young monk met since they are here?"

"No. The poor young man—his name was Ernest Rennepont before he took orders—the moment he learned from me of my daughter's presence in the house, wanted to deliver himself forthwith to the Superior of his Order, lest we be all taken for accomplices in his flight. I firmly objected to his determination, seeing it meant the loss of his life."

"Then these young folks are unaware that their love is reciprocated?"

"It will be her death, Monsieur Estienne, it will be her death! I lose my head endeavoring to find a way out of this tangle of ills. What am I to do? What shall I decide? I asked you to come to me without saying why, because I rely upon your great wisdom. You may, perhaps, be able to light the chaos of these afflictions which cause me to stagger with despair. I see only pitfalls and perils around us."

Christian paused.

Robert Estienne remained a few minutes steeped in silent reflection.

"My friend," said the latter, "you know the life of Luther as well as I. That great reformer, a monk like Ernest Rennepont, and, like him, one time full of faith in the Roman Church, withdrew from her fold on account of the scandals that he witnessed. Do you think Ernest Rennepont is ready to embrace the Reformation?"

"I do not know his intentions in that regard. But when he saw I was informed of his love for Hena, he exclaimed: 'Miserable monk that I am, by loving Hena I have committed a crime in the eyes of the Church. And yet, God is my witness, the purity of my love would do honor to any upright man, not condemned to celibacy.'"

"Let us return to Luther. That reformer always took the stand with irresistible logic against the celibacy of clergymen—"

"Great God!" cried Christian breaking in upon Robert Estienne. "What recollections your words awaken in my memory! The fragments of the diary written by the unfortunate monk mention a dream in which he saw himself a pastor of the Evangelical religion, and husband of Hena, giving, like herself, instruction to little children."

"Why should not Ernest Rennepont conform his conduct with the precepts of Luther?"

"Oh, monsieur!" murmured Christian, carrying both his hands to his burning temples. "Hope and doubt disturb my reason. I dare not give myself over to such a thought, out of fear that I be miserably disillusioned. And yet, your words bear the stamp of wisdom and good will."

"My friend, let us reason calmly. Control your anxiety for a moment. The young monk is a man of heart; we may not doubt that. Has not his conduct during these recent circumstances increased your affection for him?"

"It is true. I esteem him greatly."

"Does not, as he expressed it, his pure and noble love for Hena do honor to any upright man?"

"I firmly believe so after reading the pages which Ernest Rennepont believed he wrote for none but his own eyes."

"Now, my friend, let us suppose he embraces the reformed religion. His knowledge, his good habits and his liking for teaching little children—all that would render him worthy of being a minister of the new church. I feel almost certain our friend would present his name with joy to our brothers for election, and these will acclaim him their pastor. Never could the Evangelical word have a worthier interpreter."

"Oh, Monsieur Estienne, have mercy! Do not cheer my heart with such supreme hopes, destined, perhaps, to be dashed."

"Alas, you have suffered so much, that I can well understand your hesitation to foster a consoling hope. But reflect an instant, and you will admit that the hope is in no wise an exaggerated one. Let us sum up—Ernest Rennepont renounces his Order, embraces the Reformation, is chosen a pastor, and he can then contract marriage. Granting all this, do you not believe your daughter will consent to the union, if you approve of it?"

"She is dying of that fatal love, believing herself separated from Ernest Rennepont by an unbridgeable chasm of impossibilities. She surely would not refuse to wed the man she loves."

"Well, then, my friend, what other obstacles do you see? Do not these expectations, so far from being deceptive, become certainties? Does not the grief of the unfortunate couple change into ineffable bliss? You remain worried, dejected."

"Monsieur Estienne, the project is too beautiful!"

"Christian! How can you, a man of sense and firmness, succumb to such weakness of spirit!"

"The death of my wife, the lamentable position in which my beloved daughter finds herself, the crime of the wretch whom I can no longer call my son—so many sorrows, heaped one upon the other, have cracked the springs of my soul. I feel myself overwhelmed and nerveless."

"And yet, at no time have you been in greater need of energy. You say, my friend, that the plan is too beautiful? But, should it be realized, do you not still run grave dangers? Do you forget that your freedom and life are both threatened? Do you forget that, at this very hour, they are seeking to track Ernest Rennepont and your daughter? Regain courage with the hope of triumphing over your enemies. We must carry on the struggle without truce or let."

"Thanks, Monsieur Estienne; thanks! Your words comfort me. Yes; nevertheless, the plan you propose and which would snatch my daughter from the despair that is killing her—that plan is yet far from being accomplished."

"This is what I shall do. Should the errand embarrass you, I shall myself see Ernest Rennepont, shall propose to him to embrace the Reformation and become a pastor of the new church in order to verify his dream—provided Hena accepts the union. When we shall have made sure of Ernest Rennepont's consent, you shall see your daughter. I do not believe there is any doubt about her answer. The marriage being agreed upon, we must make haste. The disappearance of Hena and the forceful restitution of your family archives will redouble the zeal of your persecutors. Neither you, your daughter, nor her husband would any longer be safe in the neighborhood of Paris. I have already considered the emergency when this retreat would cease to offer security to you. I have a friend who is a printer in La Rochelle, a fortified town, rich, industrious, well armed, wholly devoted to the Reformation, and so full of reliance on the power of her municipal franchise, her ramparts and the bravery of her numerous inhabitants, as confidently to defy our enemies. You and yours will be there in perfect safety. You can live there on the fruit of your labor. Better than anyone else, I know how skilled a mechanic you are. Finally, if you should have to leave Paris before the return of Odelin—"

"Oh, Monsieur Estienne, I tremble at the thought of that Lefevre on the watch for the lad's return in order to kidnap him! What a blow that would be to me! What a fate have our enemies in store for my poor Odelin!"

"I shall take charge of that. To-morrow I shall see Madam Raimbaud. Her husband has probably notified her when she may expect him home from Italy. If so, and even otherwise, your brother-in-law, the Franc-Taupin, who already has given you so many proofs of his devotion, will be able to aid us in preventing your son from being kidnapped. I greatly rely upon his assistance."

"May heaven hear you!"

"Travelers from Italy usually enter Paris by the Bastille Gate."

"Yes. Besides, seeing that Master Raimbaud, like most all armorers, resides in the neighborhood of that fortress, it is almost certain he will come by the suburb of St. Antoine. That point is settled."

"If Madam Raimbaud is informed upon the date of her husband's arrival, the Franc-Taupin must be placed on watch along the road from Italy, or near the Bastille. He will then warn your son not to enter the city, and deliver to him a letter from you directing him to meet you in La Rochelle. I shall take charge of supplying Odelin with the necessary funds for the journey. When in La Rochelle, near you, he will continue his armorer's trade. And now, Christian, I share your prevision. The times are approaching when, more than ever, there will be work for those whose occupation is the forging of implements of war. Come, courage! Let us reserve ourselves for the struggle."

"How can I express my gratitude to you. You think of everything."

"My friend, for the space of two generations your family and mine have mutually rendered each other so many services that it is impossible to say on which side the debt lies heavier. Let us not lose an instant's time. Take me to Ernest Rennepont. So soon as I shall know his mind, I shall inform you. You will then propose the marriage to your daughter with the caution that the occasion requires. In her present delicate condition, after all the sufferings she has undergone, care must be taken not to shock her even with joy. Joy may kill, as well as despair."

Christian led Robert Estienne to the apartment of the young monk, and leaving the two alone, impatiently awaited the issue of their interview, whereupon he was to see Hena.



Sister St. Frances-in-the-Tomb, as Hena Lebrenn was christened in religion, occupied in the cottage a chamber contiguous to that of her father. The young girl still wore the nun's garb. The pallor of her visage, framed in the folds of her coif and her long white veil, was hardly distinguishable from the dull whiteness of the linen. Pain and resignation were traced on her features, that emaciation rendered almost transparent. Seated near a window, her hands clasped over her knees, and her large blue eyes raised to heaven, she seemed to contemplate without seeing them the somber clouds which the north wind drove before it with weird moanings. Hena's thoughts turned upon the events of the last three days. Despite her decision to devote herself to a nun's life, as the only means of again seeing her family, to live never again under the same roof with her brother whose passion for her inspired the maid with invincible horror, and to bury forever in the chilly shadows of the cloister her fatal love for St. Ernest-Martyr—despite these sentiments, on the night that, her vows being pronounced, she was praying in the solitude of the Virgin's chapel, she welcomed her uncle Josephin as a liberator, and never hesitated an instant to flee with him from the convent of the Augustinian sisters. She was ignorant of her mother's fate. The hope of soon, after so cruel a separation, being again in the embrace of the parents she loved so dearly, occupied all her thoughts. When, upon seeing Christian again, the young girl learned of her mother's death, the persecutions that he himself was the object of, and the presence of Brother St. Ernest-Martyr in the same retreat, her head reeled. Weakened by suffering and bewildered by so many unexpected events, the girl's mind threatened for a moment to go astray. Her native vigor carried, however, the day. She said to herself:

"My duty is clear. I shall stay near my father. I shall endeavor with my tenderness to soften his sorrow for the loss of my mother. He must flee this place. I shall accompany him in his exile. I shall also take my mother's place to my brother Odelin. I shall not endeavor to forget Brother St. Ernest-Martyr. But, while preserving this love sacred in the recesses of my heart, to you, O, my God, I pray—grant through Your infinite mercy that this love do not kill me—grant to preserve my life for the sake of my father, who stands in need of my care and my affection!"

Such were the reflections of the young girl, when, some hours after his interview with Robert Estienne, she saw Christian enter her chamber. The printer's face reflected suppressed happiness. Tears, sweet tears they now were, flowed from his eyes. Despite his desire not to betray his joy before his daughter, lest he cause her too deep an emotion, he could not withhold pressing her repeatedly to his heart, and covering her face with kisses. Touched by such tender effusion, and struck by the change in her father's appearance, Hena cried:

"God be praised, father, you bring me good news! Are you no longer pursued? You will no longer have to keep in hiding?"

Christian shook his head, and still holding his daughter in his arms, contemplated her, enraptured. He sat down; placed her on his knees, as a little child is placed; and in a voice that trembled with emotion, said:

"Yes, my dear Hena; yes, my beloved child, I have good news for you—but not what you thought. We are soon to leave this retreat, where our persecutors might discover us, and we shall go far away from here, in order to escape all pursuit."

"And yet, father, your voice trembles with joy. I read happiness on your face."

"The good, the unexpected tidings that I bring—concern you—you alone—"

"Me alone, father?"

"No; not you alone—what is good to you, is it not good to me also?"

Hena looked at her father, surprised. The latter hesitated to say more, fearing the consequences of too sudden a revelation. He paused for a moment and proceeded:

"Do you know, my child, what the pastor of the reformed religion is?"

"I believe he is a minister of the Evangelium; is it not?"

"Yes, the pastors spread the Evangelical word. But, contrary to the Catholic priests, who are condemned to celibacy by the Church, the ministers of the reformed cult are free to contract matrimony, and to fulfil its obligations."

A smile of sadness flitted over Hena's lips. Her father followed her closely with his eyes. He fathomed her secret thoughts.

"The right of its ministers to be husbands and fathers, recognized by the Evangelical church, has induced several Catholic priests to break with Rome and embrace the Reformation."

Dropping her head upon her father's shoulder, Hena wept. Christian drew himself slightly back in order to raise the tear-bedewed visage of his daughter, whom he still kept upon his knees, his arms around her, and his heart beating with hope.

"Hena, no doubt you have been thinking to yourself: 'Alas, Brother St. Ernest-Martyr is a Catholic priest!'"

"You have guessed my thoughts, dear father. I thought to myself there was nothing for me but to bow before so fatal a state of things. But let us talk about that good news which you seem so anxious to impart to me."

"Very well, dear child—but in order not to have to return again to a matter painful to you, I shall begin by saying that Brother St. Ernest-Martyr, or rather Ernest Rennepont, which is his real name, withdraws himself from the Catholic Church and embraces the Reformation."

Christian felt Hena trembling convulsively upon his knees. The poor child carried both her hands to her face, whence fresh drops of tears flowed down upon her robe.

"My dear child," resumed the artisan, hardly able to repress his gladness, "there is still another confession which I expect from your frankness. You are saying to yourself, are you not: 'Ernest Rennepont abjured his vows—he is free—he can now choose a wife—if he would only love me!'"

"Father, good father, let us drop such thoughts!"

"Oh, my beloved child!" cried the artisan radiant with joy. "Oh, my only support, my only consolation! Courage! Courage! Not now any more in order to resist sorrow—but to defend you—from the transports that an unexpected happiness often causes us—"

"An unexpected happiness, father?"

"Yes, the gladsome tidings that I bring to you are—first, Ernest Rennepont's resolution to become a pastor of the Evangelical church. Thus he is free to marry, without discontinuing his services to God. Yes, and do you know, Hena, that if the most cherished wish of his heart is verified, do you know, Hena, who would be the wife of his choice? It would be—it would be you—you, my treasure! Ernest Rennepont loves you to distraction since the day he first saw you at Mary La Catelle's."

Despite the precautions taken by her father, Hena could not resist the shock of the revelation. Still holding his daughter upon his knees, Christian saw her lose color, her head dropped upon his shoulder, she lost consciousness. He rose, carried the girl to her bed, at the head of which he knelt down, and awaited the end of the crisis that the excess of joy had brought on. A moment later he heard a rap at the door. He asked:

"Is it you, Monsieur Estienne?"

"Yes—and I am not alone."

"Do not come in now," answered Christian. "Hena is in a swoon. I fear that in recovering consciousness the sight of her betrothed might cause an immediate relapse."

Certain motions of Hena, and the light flush that by degrees returned to her cheeks, announced the girl's gradual recovery. Her eyes remained half shut. She turned her haggard face towards her father. Presently, fixing upon him her still partly veiled eyes, she seemed to interrogate her confused recollections.

"No, my dear child," said the artisan; "it is not a dream. You are not the sport of an illusion. Ernest Rennepont renounces the monastic life; he embraces the Evangelical creed, of which he will be a pastor. He has long loved you with the purest and noblest love. I surprised the secret of his soul. Never did father wish for his daughter a husband more worthy of esteem and affection." And pointing with his finger to the door: "He is there, accompanied by our friend, Monsieur Estienne. Do you feel yourself strong enough to receive them, my poor, dear child? Would you like to have them come in?"

"He loves me!" cried Hena, taking her father's hands and kissing them. "He loves me, also! Since when?"

"Yes, yes—he will tell you all that himself," answered Christian with a smile of ineffable happiness. "He is there. He awaits but your consent to come to you, my dear child."

Hena sat up on her couch, placed one of her hands on her heart to restrain its throbs and still too much moved to speak, made to her father an affirmative sign. The artisan thereupon introduced Robert Estienne, supporting on his arm Ernest Rennepont. At that moment the sound of a horse's hoofs was heard from the yard. Yielding to an involuntary sense of uneasiness, Christian ran to the window, and was at once put at ease at seeing his brother-in-law the Franc-Taupin alighting from his mount. Hena and Ernest Rennepont, strangers to what went on around them, saw but each other. When the young man was near enough to the couch on which Hena was seated, he dropped on his knees before her, clasped his hands, and raised up to her his pale visage, now radiant with celestial bliss. Unable to utter a word, the two contemplated each other, absorbed. Robert Estienne could not hold back the tears that gathered in his eyes. The artisan stepped towards the two lovers, took Hena's hand, placed it in Ernest Rennepont's, who had remained on his knees, and said in a voice broken with emotion:

"Be betrothed—never have nobler hearts been worthier of each other."

Christian was pronouncing these solemn words when the Franc-Taupin entered. Already informed by his brother-in-law of the mutual love of the two young folks, the soldier of adventure thrilled with joy at seeing them united.

"Know the rest, my friend," said the artisan to Josephin. "My daughter and he who from this day is my son owe their liberty to you. You are entitled to know all that concerns them. Ernest Rennepont renounces his monastic vows; he abjures Catholicism and embraces the Reformation, of which he is to be a pastor. As you know, the Evangelical pastors can marry."

"It is my advice that the marriage be promptly concluded," answered the Franc-Taupin in a low voice as he led Christian and Robert Estienne to the window, while the betrothed couple remained under the spell of a profound ecstasy, hearing nothing, seeing nothing of what happened around them. The Franc-Taupin proceeded in a low voice: "I have come from Paris in a hurry. I heard an announcement made to the sound of trumps, to the effect that Sister St. Frances-in-the-Tomb and Brother St. Ernest-Martyr are adjudged relapsed, and subject to the punishment visited upon such a sin—the stake!"

"The stake!" muttered Robert Estienne, shivering with horror, while making an instant sign intended to check an exclamation of terror that Christian was on the point of giving vent to.

"Time presses," proceeded the Franc-Taupin. "My brother-in-law, his daughter and the young monk must leave this house this very night. It will not be safe to-morrow."

"I am of your opinion," answered Robert Estienne. "This is the way we shall proceed: You, Josephin, will return to Paris on the spot with a letter from me to one of our pastors, urging him to come here this very evening in order to take the abjuration of Ernest Rennepont, and give his nuptial benediction to the betrothed couple. Immediately after, Hena and her husband will set out, with you, and Christian, who will take my horse. His daughter will ride on the crupper."

"The young monk shall ride behind me on my nag," said the Franc-Taupin. "I shall escort the fugitives to a distance of five or six leagues from Paris."

"When you come back here bring with you lay clothes for the young couple," said Robert Estienne, handing his purse to the Franc-Taupin. "You will also pay the price of your nag to the stableman from whom you have the animal. Ernest Rennepont shall keep it, and ride on it with Christian and his daughter to La Rochelle. Only there will they all three be safe. There is not an instant to lose. Quick, to horse, Josephin, to horse! The lives of us all are at stake."

The Franc-Taupin left hurriedly, casting a tender look upon Hena and Ernest Rennepont. The two, their hearts in heaven, remained ignorant of the new dangers that threatened them. The eyes of the Society of Jesus were open.

Midnight soon arrived. Robert Estienne, Christian, his daughter, Ernest Rennepont and the Franc-Taupin assembled in the parlor of the country house, the unsafe refuge that they were soon to quit. An old man, with long white hair, the pastor of the Evangelical church, responded to the call of Robert Estienne, in order to receive the abjuration of the betrothed couple and bestow upon them his nuptial benediction. A table with a few wax candles stood at the rear of the apartment. On the table were also an ink-horn, pens, paper, and a little pocket Bible with silver clasps. Hena and Ernest Rennepont were in front of the table. Behind it stood the pastor. Robert Estienne, Christian and the Franc-Taupin assisted the betrothed couple. The agitation caused by so many unexpected events, and the intoxication of repressed happiness animated the recently pallid countenances of the bride and bridegroom. Wrapped in meditation, and their thoughts turning to the past, they raised their souls to God in a transport of speechless gratitude. They implored the mercy of their Creator. There was nothing terrestrial in their love. They saw in the consecration of their marriage only the right to devote themselves to each other, to vie in mutual sacrifices and abnegation, and to serve the holy cause of progress. They knew the perils that the apostles of the new doctrine must confront.

Taking from the table a sheet of paper, the pastor read in a solemn voice the following act of abjuration:

"'On this 19th day of December, 1534, appeared before us Ernest Rennepont, called in his religion Brother St. Ernest-Martyr, and Louise Hena Lebrenn, called in her religion Sister St. Frances-in-the-Tomb, who declare they desire to renounce the Roman idolatry, and swear to confess the Evangelical religion, to live and die in the faith, and to participate in the holy sacrament of communion. Upon these conditions Louise Hena Lebrenn and Ernest Rennepont have been informed that they will be admitted to the Evangelical church'[37]—Be pleased to sign the act of abjuration."

Hena and Ernest signed the act with steady hands. Thereupon they knelt down upon two seats brought in by Christian and the Franc-Taupin. The pastor resumed, and addressed the couple with a moved voice:

"You, Hena Lebrenn, and you, Ernest Rennepont, will you live together in the marriage state that God himself has instituted, and which St. Paul represents as among the most honorable of conditions? If that is your intention, Hena Lebrenn and Ernest Rennepont, make your will known. Are you willing to be united to each other?"

"Yes," answered Ernest, raising his eyes as if to take heaven for his witness.

"Yes," answered Hena in her turn.

"Then," resumed the pastor, "may the Lord deign to bless your wishes. You, Ernest Rennepont, do you declare, here before God, that you have taken and do hereby take Hena Lebrenn, here present, for your wife? Do you promise to live holily with her, to be true to her, as is the duty of a good and faithful husband, and God commands you by His word?"

"Yes!" answered Ernest Rennepont.

"And you, Hena Lebrenn, do you declare here before God, that you have taken and do hereby take Ernest Rennepont, here present, for your husband? Do you promise to love him, to live holily with him, and to keep your troth to him as is the duty of a faithful wife, and as God commands you by His word?"

"Yes," answered Hena, with her eyes modestly cast down.

"Keep your promises to each other," said the pastor in conclusion. "Seeing God has united you in the sacred bonds of matrimony, live together in peace, in unity, in purity, helpful to each other, and faithful to your pledge, obedient to the divine command. Oh, Lord God! Lord of wisdom and of goodness!" added the Evangelical pastor, joining his venerable hands in prayer, "since it has pleased Thee to call this man and this woman to the holy state of matrimony—should it be Thy will that children be born to them, cause them, as worthy husband and wife, to raise their offspring in piety and to train them to virtue."[38]

The touching solemnity of the ceremony was suddenly interrupted by the precipitate entrance of Michael, the gardener. Pale and distracted he rushed to the house and threw the door open, crying:

"Monsieur Estienne—malediction upon me! You are betrayed!"

A moment of silent stupor ensued upon these words. Hena threw herself instinctively into her father's arms. Ernest Rennepont approached her. The Franc-Taupin dashed to the window and listened in the direction of the yard, while the pastor raised his eyes heavenward, saying:

"Oh, Lord, if Thou reservest me for martyrdom, the victim is ready, may Thy will be done!"

"We are betrayed, Michael?" cried Robert Estienne. "Who could have betrayed us?"

"My wife—Oh, that accursed confession! Alison revealed to our curate that a monk and a nun were here in hiding. My wife has just admitted it to me amid tears. The curate departed post haste to Paris, immediately after confessing and extracting the secret from her. Death and a curse upon the infamous wretch!"

And throwing himself at the feet of Robert Estienne, Michael cried with clasped hands:

"My good and worthy master! Do not take me for a wicked or dishonorable man. I am not guilty of the treason!"

"To horse!" bellowed the Franc-Taupin. "We must depart at once! The curate will have notified his bishop, the bishop will have notified Cardinal Duprat, and he will have issued orders to the Criminal Lieutenant. By this time the archers must be on the road to St. Ouen. Let us lose not an instant—to horse! Mine is saddled—have yours saddled, Monsieur Estienne. Christian will take his daughter on the crupper of his horse. I shall take Ernest Rennepont on my nag—and, away at a gallop! We shall soon be out of reach."

Putting the word to the deed, the Franc-Taupin dashed out of the parlor, dragging Ernest Rennepont with him almost against his will. Realizing the wisdom of the Franc-Taupin's orders, Christian put one arm around Hena, sustained and led her in the steps of the Franc-Taupin. Robert Estienne and the pastor hastened to follow them, while the despairing gardener lamented his fate, repeating:

"That accursed confession! The infamous curate!"

The Franc-Taupin was hurrying his horse out of the stable and Robert Estienne was precipitately saddling his own with the help of Michael, when Alison, running in all in a flurry from the bypath that led to the outer gate of the cottage, cried:

"Oh, my poor man, all is lost! The mounted archers are here! I heard the tramp of their horses down the avenue. I saw their muskets glistening through the hedges along the road."

"Is the iron gate locked?" asked the Franc-Taupin, the only one to preserve coolness in the presence of the imminent danger. "Is the gate strong?"

"It is strong and locked—double locked," answered the gardener. "The key is in my house."

"It will take them some time to force the gate," observed the Franc-Taupin; and addressing Robert Estienne: "Is there any issue, besides the gate, to leave the place?"

"None other—the garden is enclosed by a wall."

"Is the wall high?"

"About ten feet."

"Then," replied the Franc-Taupin, "we need not despair."

At that moment the clank of sabres and muskets was heard down the principal avenue, and a voice called out:

"Open! In the name of the King, open!"

"There are the archers!" cried Hena stricken with terror. "It is done for us!"

"I shall deliver myself up!" cried Ernest Rennepont, rushing out towards the alley. "The archers may thereby be induced not to push their search any further. May the all-powerful God protect you!"

The Franc-Taupin seized Hena's bridegroom by the sleeve of his coat, and prevented him from taking another step. Turning to the gardener, he asked:

"Have you a ladder?"

"Yes, sir."

"Fetch it quick."

Michael obeyed, while the archers redoubled their clamor and threatened to force the gate if it was not opened.

"Monsieur Estienne," said the Franc-Taupin, "go forward quickly and speak with the archers. Ask them what brings them here, at this hour. Engage them in conversation all you can. Keep them outside. Gain time. I take charge of the rest. If you can succeed in keeping the soldiers off for about ten minutes, we shall have won. They will find no one else at the house."

Robert Estienne turned to Christian, who still held Hena in his arms:

"Come, Christian! Courage! Coolness! The situation is hedged in with dangers; but it is not forlorn." Saying this he walked to the iron gate, at the moment when the gardener reappeared carrying a long ladder on his shoulder.

"What is there outside of the garden," asked the Franc-Taupin, "a highroad or fields?"

"Fields, sir; they are separated from the walls by a path and hedges. Beyond are meadows, as far as the eye extends."

Josephin listened a moment, and noticing that the clamor of the archers at the gate had subsided, he said:

"Courage! All's well! Monsieur Estienne is parleying with the soldiers. We shall have time to flee." And addressing the gardener: "Lead us quickly to the furthest end of the garden."

Michael led the fugitives along a narrow path. After having walked about three hundred paces, he stepped before a wall, against which he placed the ladder.

"Quick!" ordered the Franc-Taupin, again stopping to listen. "The archers are becoming impatient. They are about to force the gate."

Christian was the first to ascend the ladder; he climbed to the top of the wall, straddled it, and, stooping down, reached his hand out to Hena. He took firm hold of her, raised her, and seated her, still holding her in his arms, in front of him on the top of the wall, where he was successively joined by Ernest Rennepont and the Franc-Taupin. The latter drew the ladder up, with the help of the gardener, tipped it over to the other side, and quickly planted it outside the wall. One by one the fugitives descended and alighted upon a path bordered by thick and high hedges.

"We are saved!" cried Christian, passionately clasping Hena to his heart. "We are saved, my dear child!"

"Not yet!" came thundering upon their ears.

An archer rose from behind the hedge where he had been lying in ambush. Immediately he sounded the alarm at the top of his voice:

"Here, comrades! Here! This way!"

To leap over the hedge at a bound; to seize the archer by the throat with one hand, while with the other he drew his sword—these were the rapid moves of the Franc-Taupin. It was too late. The alarm given by the soldier was heard. Several other foot soldiers, who came on the cruppers of the mounted archers, and were posted around the walls, hurried to the spot, preceded by a sergeant, and all cried in chorus:

"Kill all who resist! Keep only the monk and the nun alive!"

A melee ensued in the semi-darkness of the night. After superhuman efforts to tear his daughter from the soldiers, Christian was hewed down with a sword. Ernest Rennepont and Hena remained in the hands of the armed men. After almost strangling the soldier who had given the alarm, the Franc-Taupin profited by the darkness to creep on hands and feet to a hedge under which he blotted himself from sight. From his hiding place he heard Christian drop to the ground and call out in a fainting voice: "I am killed—help! help!"

The artisan was left for dead by the archers. Obedient to the orders from their chief, their main object was the capture of the monk and the nun, whom they now carried safely away. Little by little silence returned to the sequestered region. Soon the sound of a retreating troop of horsemen announced the departure of the archers for Paris. The Franc-Taupin emerged from his place of concealment, ran to Christian, knelt beside him, opened his coat and shirt soaked in blood, and placed his hand upon his heart. He felt it beat.

"There is but one chance of safety for Christian," said the Franc-Taupin to himself. "If the gardener has not been arrested, he will consent to grant asylum to the wounded man. Let me endeavor to snatch my brother-in-law from death—after that, I swear, you shall be avenged, Oh, my sister! Avenged shall be also your daughter, whose horrid fate I well foresee!"

Michael and his wife consented to take in the wounded man, and nurse him in Robert Estienne's house. The latter and the pastor were taken prisoners to Paris by the archers.



On the 21st of January, 1535, a few weeks after the seizure of Hena Lebrenn and Ernest Rennepont at the cottage of Master Robert Estienne, two riders crossed the Charenton bridge on their way to Paris. Master Raimbaud, the armorer, one of the riders, was a man in robust middle age, and of an open and resolute countenance. His headgear consisted of a broad-brimmed felt hat; he wore a coat of mail over his jacket, and large traveling boots on his sturdy legs. A cutlass hung from his side, his holsters were furnished with pistols, and his wide brown coat flowed down over the crupper of his horse. The other rider, Odelin Lebrenn, was then just fifteen. His candid and pleasant features, slightly browned by the sun of Italy, recalled those of his sister Hena. A black bonnet, ornamented with a little red feather and placed slightly aslant over the lad's blonde hair, left wholly exposed the smiling face that radiated with increasing joy in the measure that he approached the end of his journey. The apprentice and his master were at that moment ascending a steep hill, at a steady pace. Despite the steepness of the hill, however, Odelin's mount frequently broke out into a trot, surreptitiously urged thereto by the spurs of the boy. Master Raimbaud smiled under his brown beard, as he guessed the cause of Odelin's impatience, while he himself kept his own horse well in hand. He had just once more baffled the innocent manoeuvre of his apprentice, who had run ahead:

"Well, Odelin," he called after him, "there is your horse again breaking out into a trot. One would think he'd got the devil at his heels."

"Master Raimbaud, it is not my fault," answered the youngster, somewhat abashed, and reining in, to his regret. "My horse forces my hand. It must be the flies that torment him. That's why he runs ahead."

"God's head! Flies in the month of January, my boy!" replied the armorer jovially, as he came abreast of his apprentice. "You must be thinking yourself still in summer on the roads of Milan."

"Well, I shall not insist on my fib, Master Raimbaud. I must admit to you that the nearer we approach Paris, where my mother, and father, and sister, and brother, and my good uncle Josephin are expecting me, I feel such a thrill of joy, that without my knowledge my spurs approach the flanks of my horse—and then the beast starts trotting."

"I can understand your impatience, my lad. It does credit to your heart. But endeavor to control yourself a little. We have ridden a long stretch to-day. We should not wind our horses. Certain of the joy in wait for you, what is the use of running after it?"

"That's true, Master Raimbaud," replied Odelin, red with emotion and his eyes dimmed with moisture. "Within two hours I shall see again all those whom I love; I shall embrace them—"

"And I shall add to their happiness at seeing you back again, by telling them how well pleased I have been with you during our trip."

"How could I otherwise than endeavor to please you, Master Raimbaud? If I were your own son you could not treat me with greater tenderness, or more attention."

"For the simple reason that a worthy son would not behave differently toward me than yourself, my little Odelin. Such are the fruits of the bringing up you have received from your worthy father and your excellent mother."

"Oh, Master Raimbaud, when I think of the caresses that await me!"

"Look to your spurs, my lad! Look to your spurs. We shall now soon be at the top of the hill. Stop your horse a moment. One of the straps of your valise is loose. Fasten it."

"Oh, heaven! If I had lost my valise!" cried the apprentice, reddening at the thought. Stopping his horse, he turned in his saddle, and hastened to fasten the strap, enumerating with childish glee as he did so the treasures contained in the bag: "Had I lost you, my dear valise, it would then have been adieu to my little presents—the brooch of chiseled silver for my mother, the Quintus Curtius printed in Bologna for my good and learned father, a vermillion pin for my handsome sister Hena, a bronze writing case, with all its accessories, for the studious Hervé—"

"And that famous flask of Imola wine for your uncle, the Franc-Taupin, who will be delighted to taste the Italian nectar."

"That's not all, Master Raimbaud; I also have for my uncle a fine steel Milanese dagger, which I forged myself at the workshop of Master Gaspard during my idle moments. Oh, dear uncle, I would fear to offend him if I brought him a wine flask only."

"Come, the strap is now fast. Let us resume our way. Once we reach the top of the hill we shall start on a trot, my impatient fellow. I said a trot, did you understand? No galloping! We must husband the strength of our mounts."

Master Raimbaud and his apprentice resumed their route at a rapid pace. Already they descried in the distant horizon the numerous spires and belfries of the churches of Paris. As they were passing before an isolated house on the road, the battered sign of which announced it as a roadside tavern, they heard someone loudly call out to them:

"Master Raimbaud! Odelin! Halloa! Halloa, there!"

"It is my uncle!" cried the lad, startled, and quickly making his horse rear on its haunches. "I recognize my uncle's voice!"

"He must have come out to meet us, apprized by my wife of the day of our arrival," explained the armorer, also reining in. But looking to the right, and to the left, and all around him, he added, not a little surprised: "Where the devil may the Franc-Taupin be niched? He is not in heaven, I suppose, although the voice seemed to come from above."

No less astonished than his patron, Odelin also looked in all directions, when he saw, emerging from the tavern which they had ridden by, a tall Capuchin friar with his face almost wholly concealed in the cowl of his frock, and a chaplet of large beads girdling his waist. The monk moved with long strides towards the travelers.

"Good God!" cried Odelin as the cowl of the monk who ran towards them was blown back by the wind. "My uncle Josephin has become a Capuchin friar!"

"God's head!" exclaimed the armorer, sharing the astonishment of his apprentice. "May the fire of my forge consume me if I ever expected to see such a metamorphosis! The Franc-Taupin a Capuchin friar!"

Seeing that his nephew, upon whom he kept his eyes fixed, was about to jump down to the ground, the soldier of fortune checked him with a wave of his hand, saying:

"Remain on horseback, my boy!"

And addressing the armorer:

"Master Raimbaud, let us go into the tavern. It is a safe place, and there is a stable for your horses. We have matters to talk over."

"Halt here? No, indeed! I am in too great a hurry to embrace my wife. A few hours later, if you should feel so disposed, we may empty a pot of wine at my own house, my gay friend!" answered the armorer, misunderstanding the Franc-Taupin's invitation. "Everything in its season. Business before pleasure. I wish to be back in Paris before night. So, then, good-bye!"

"Master Raimbaud, you can not enter Paris before dark and without great precautions," said the Franc-Taupin in a low voice. "Follow me into the tavern. You can stable your horses there, and I shall impart to you grave tidings, the saddest that you can imagine—but not a word of that to Odelin."

"Be it so! Let us go in," answered Master Raimbaud, turning his horse's head, while evil presentiments assailed him. Ignorant of the secret information whispered by his uncle to the armorer, the apprentice followed the two into the tavern, asking himself with increasing wonderment how the Franc-Taupin could have become a friar.

Josephin pulled down over his face the cowl of his frock and led the two travelers to the yard of the tavern, from which access was had to the stable.

"Unsaddle the horses, my friend," said Master Raimbaud to Odelin, "and give them feed. Join us in the tavern when that is attended to."

"What, Master Raimbaud, are we to stay here when we are barely two hours from Paris!"

"Mind the horses, my boy. I shall tell you afterwards why we must stop here."

Obedient to his master's orders, Odelin unwillingly alighted and threw himself upon his uncle's neck, saying with a voice broken with affectionate remembrances: "My dear uncle! How are mother, father, sister and brother? All well at home?"

Without answering his nephew, Josephin held him in a close embrace. The boy felt upon his cheeks the tears that flowed from his uncle's eyes.

"Uncle, you weep!"

"With joy, my boy!" answered Josephin in a broken voice. "It is out of joy to see you after such a long absence." And disengaging himself from his nephew's arms, he proceeded: "You will join us presently. Ask the tavern-keeper the way to the room in the attic facing the road." Then turning to the armorer: "Come, Master Raimbaud, come!"

Overjoyed at having met his uncle, and consoling himself with the thought that, after all, the hour of seeing his family, so impatiently awaited, might not be greatly delayed, Odelin busied himself with unsaddling the horses and furnishing them with provender. The goodhearted boy, thereupon, in his hurry to offer the Franc-Taupin the little presents he brought him from Italy, rummaged in his valise for the flask of Imola wine and the dagger that he himself forged for him. The boy was anxious to show his affection to Josephin even before he was back home in Paris.

The Franc-Taupin led Master Raimbaud to a room on the top floor of the tavern, facing the highroad. There he informed the armorer of the death of Bridget and of the capture of Hena and Ernest Rennepont, who were since held imprisoned as relapsed sinners; and, finally, of Christian's departure for La Rochelle. The Franc-Taupin's hopes had been verified. The presence of his brother-in-law at Robert Estienne's country house was not suspected. The last ineffectual searches, undertaken by the archers at the house, sheltered him against any further visitations. The influence of Princess Marguerite, and the luster shed upon the reign of Francis I by the marvelous productions of Robert Estienne's printing establishment, combined to save the printing master once more—alas, it was to be the last time!—from the hatred of his enemies. Although a relapsed monk and nun were found on his premises, he was set free and left unmolested. Accordingly, Christian awaited in safety the time when, healed of his wound by the skill of the surgeon Ambroise Paré, who visited him secretly, he could take his departure for La Rochelle. The casket containing the narratives of the Lebrenn family had been concealed by the Franc-Taupin with admirable foresight among the brush of the garden, on the very night after the archers seized Hena. As soon as Christian was able to undertake the journey, he assumed the disguise of a traveling seller of chaplets and relics. The religious traffic was essential to his safety along the road. Carrying on his back his pack of religious trumpery, among which his family legends were secreted, he tramped to La Rochelle, where he arrived safe and sound.

Dumbfounded by these revelations, seeing the deep interest he harbored for Christian and his family, Master Raimbaud exclaimed in distraction:

"Poor Odelin! What an unexpected blow for the unhappy boy! Only a short time ago the mere thought of seeing his family threw him into transports of joy—and now he is to learn—Oh, it is horrible!"

"Horrible!" echoed the Franc-Taupin in sinister accents. "But blood calls for blood! A soldier of adventure since my fifteenth year, already I had become a wolf—now I shall be a tiger! The reformers will draw the sword to avenge their martyrs—no quarter for the assassin priests! By my sister's death!" proceeded the Franc-Taupin, livid with rage and raising his clenched fist heavenward, "call me a wooden-bowled cripple and a lame poltroon if I do not tear up the papists with my very teeth! But," restraining himself, he resumed: "Let us consider what now most presses. Master Raimbaud, here is a letter from your wife. I know its contents. She conjures you not to go back to your establishment, and to take shelter in the place of safety that she mentions. She will join you there in order to consider with you what is to be done. She is a cautious and resolute woman."

"My good Martha alarms herself unnecessarily," observed the armorer after reading his wife's letter. "However violent the persecution of the reformers may be, and although a heretic myself, I have nothing to fear. I work for several seigneurs of the court; I have fashioned their finest arms; they will not refuse me their protection."

"Master Raimbaud, do the papist court jays, with the feathers of peacocks and the talons of vultures, owe you any money?"

"Indeed, they owe me large sums."

"They will burn you to cancel their debts. Make no doubt of that."

"God's head! You may be telling the truth, Josephin! I must consider that."

"Well, then, return secretly to Paris; remain in hiding a few days, gather all your valuables—and flee to La Rochelle. Place yourself beyond the reach of the tigers' claws. It is the best thing you can do."

"But what of the poor lad—Odelin?"

"My nephew and myself will accompany you to La Rochelle. I scent battle and carnage in that quarter. When I say 'battle' I see things red. Here is to the red! I love wine—I shall drink blood! Oh, blood! You shall flow streaming and warm from the breast of the papists, like wine from the bung-hole of a cask. By my sister's death! Oh, for the day when I shall avenge Bridget—Hena—my two poor martyrs!"

After a moment's silent reflection the armorer blurted out: "My head reels under so many afflictions. I forgot to ask you where is Christian's daughter, Hena?"

"She is a prisoner at the Chatelet. Her trial is on," and burying his face in his hands the soldier of adventure added in heartrending tones: "She will be pronounced guilty, sentenced, and brought to the stake—burned alive as a relapsed nun."

"Great God, is such barbarity possible?"

"Hena!" Josephin proceeded without answering Master Raimbaud, "you sweet and dear creature! Image of my sister! Poor child whom, when a baby, I rocked upon my knees—you shall be avenged—"

The Franc-Taupin could not utter another word; he broke down into sobs.

"Unhappy Christian!" exclaimed Master Raimbaud pitifully. "What must not have been his agony!"

"We had to fabricate a tale before we could induce him to depart," answered the Franc-Taupin, wiping his burning eye with the back of his hand. "Monsieur Estienne assured Christian that the Princess had obtained grace for Hena's life, but under the condition that she was to spend her existence in some convent far away from Paris. Christian then decided to flee and preserve himself for his only remaining child, Odelin. He is now safe at La Rochelle."

"And Hervé? You have not mentioned him."

"By my sister's death! Do not mention the name of that monster. I could strangle him with my own hands, child of Bridget's though he be. He has joined the Cordelier monks. He has already preached in their church upon the necessity of exterminating the heretics. The Queen was present on the occasion. They extol the eloquence of the young monk. Death and damnation!" Shivering with horror and disgust, the Franc-Taupin proceeded after a pause: "Never again mention the monster's name in my hearing! May hell swallow him up!"

Uninformed upon the events that led to Hervé's taking orders, the armorer was no less stupefied at the news of the young man's having become a monk than at hearing Josephin give vent to his execration of his sister's son. Nevertheless, unwilling to aggravate the sorrow of the Franc-Taupin, he refrained from dwelling upon a subject that so greatly inflamed him.

"The tidings you have brought me have so upset me that it did not yet occur to me to ask you the reason for your assuming the garb you wear—"

"The reason is quite simple," Josephin broke in; "I was described to the spies of the Criminal Lieutenant; and probably informed against by the two bandits who helped me in the abduction of my niece from the convent. My size and the plaster over my eye make me an easy mark for capture. I took the robe of a Capuchin mendicant because it best enables me to conceal my face. These friars have no convent of their own in the city. A few of them straggle into Paris from time to time from their hives at Chartres or Bourges, to pick up crumbs. If any one of them, coming from Chartres, addresses me, I would say: 'I am from Bourges.' To those from Bourges I shall say: 'I am from Chartres.' I have been established in this tavern for the last three days. I told the inn-keeper that I expected a stranger upon business of my Order. I pay for my lodging regularly every morning. The inn-keeper has not manifested any curiosity about me. Thus, in short, runs the explanation of my disguise. For your own guidance, Master Raimbaud, I shall add that the exasperation of the Catholics against the reformers is just now at white heat. They even talk of slaughtering the Huguenots in mass."

"What are these threats, this increased hatred, attributed to?"

"To certain printed placards clandestinely posted on the walls of Paris by the activity of Christian's friend Justin. The placards scourge the priests, the monks and all other papists. A large number of heretics have already been arrested and sentenced to the stake; others have been massacred by the brutified populace—that huge she-greyhound, with bloody craw, as the monks say when they refer to the poor and ignorant masses. You may judge from that what dangers you would run in Paris, were you to attempt to enter the city openly, you who are pointed at as a heretic. My nephew Odelin runs the same danger. They are ready to seize him the moment he steps into your house."

"What! They want to arrest a child?"

"Children become men with time—and they fear men. I should have stabbed you to death, Ignatius Loyola, when I was your page! It is you who order the father and mother to be burned as heretics, and the three children to be clapped into cloisters to the end of uprooting a stock that you pronounce accursed! But the father has escaped death, and I shall know how to thwart your search after his last child! After that—battle and carnage! By my sister's death—I shall cause the blood of papists to run like water. Time presses—let us make haste. You can not return home, Master Raimbaud, any more than my nephew could safely step into your house. This is the plan I submitted to Monsieur Robert Estienne, and which he approves: I have provided myself with a second Capuchin frock for Odelin. He and I will go to Paris, our bags on our backs, without awakening suspicion. We shall turn in at a friend's on St. Honoré Street, where Monsieur Estienne will call to see us. It is a safe place. Monsieur Estienne has taken upon himself the painful task of informing Odelin concerning the misfortunes that have smitten his family. To-morrow evening we leave Paris again in our disguise, and I shall take my nephew to his father at La Rochelle. Should you also decide to change your residence, and to move to La Rochelle with your wife, we may agree upon some town near Paris in which Odelin and myself could join you. This is for you to consider and decide."

"Your plan seems wise to me, Josephin; I shall probably decide to follow it. From what is happening in Paris, I perceive I would not be safe there."

"Well, then, Master Raimbaud, leave the horses behind in the tavern. One of your employees may come to-morrow for them. Do not enter Paris until after dark and keep your head well hooded. Proceed straight to the house that your wife mentions to you—"

The Franc-Taupin was interrupted in the directions he was issuing by the entrance of his nephew, holding in one hand a flask wrapped in fine paper, and in the other a steel dagger. He held out the two objects with a radiant face to Josephin, saying with exquisite kindness:

"Dear uncle, I forged this dagger for you out of the best steel there was in Milan; I bring you this flask of old Imola wine for you to celebrate this happy day and to drink to the speedy reunion of our family."

So poignant was the contrast between the lad's words and the sad reality of which he still remained in ignorance, that Master Raimbaud and the Franc-Taupin exchanged sad glances and remained silent. Josephin's cowl, now resting wholly upon his shoulders, left his face entirely exposed. So visible were the traces of sorrow and mental suffering that face revealed, that Odelin, now seeing his uncle for the first time wholly uncovered, drew back a step. Immediately he also noticed the profound sadness of Master Raimbaud. Alarmed at the silence of the two, Odelin felt oppressed. He felt a vague presentiment of some great misfortune. Touched by the token of his nephew's affection, the Franc-Taupin took the flask and the dagger, examined the weapon, placed it in his belt under his frock, and muttered to himself:

"Ah, a good blade. You are given to me by the son—you shall wreak vengeance for the mother, the father—and their daughter!" He then placed the flask down beside him, and embracing Odelin, added aloud: "Thank you, my dear boy. The dagger will be useful to me. As to the flask—tastes change—I drink wine no more. Now to business. I have a note for you from your father. Post yourself upon its contents."

"But am I not to see father shortly, at home?"

Not a little astonished, Odelin read:

My dearly beloved Odelin.—Do everything your uncle Josephin may tell you, without asking any questions. Do not feel alarmed. I shall soon embrace you. I love you as ever, from the bottom of my heart.

Your father,

Despite his vague and increasing uneasiness, Odelin felt quieted by those words of his father's: "I shall soon embrace you." He said to the Franc-Taupin:

"What must I do, uncle?"

The soldier of fortune took a bundle from his bed, drew out of it a Capuchin's robe, and said to his nephew:

"The first thing to do, my boy, is to put this robe over your clothes, and when we are out of doors you will take care to keep the cowl over your face, as I am doing now."

"I?" asked Odelin, startled. "Am I to put on such a costume?" But recalling the instructions of his father, he added: "I forgot that father wrote me to obey you, uncle, without asking any reasons for your orders. I shall put on the robe, immediately."

"Fine," said Master Raimbaud, forcing a smile on his lips in order to quiet Odelin. "There you are, from an armorer's apprentice transformed into a Capuchin's apprentice! The change does not seem to be to your taste, my little friend."

"It is my father's will, Master Raimbaud. I but obey. Truth to say, however, I do not fancy a monk's garb."

"I am a better papist than yourself, little Odelin," put in the Franc-Taupin ironically, as he helped his nephew to don his disguise; "I love the monks so well that I hope soon to start bestowing upon every one of them whom I may meet—the red skullcap of a Cardinal! Now, shoulder that wallet and bend your back; and then with a dragging leg, and neck stuck out, we shall imitate as well as we can the gait of that Roman Catholic and Apostolic vermin."

"How comical I shall look to mother and to my sister Hena when they see me arrive thus accoutred!" observed Odelin with a smile. "Dear uncle, if father is the only one informed of my disguise, I shall knock at the door of our house, and beg for an alms with a nasal twang. Just think of their surprise when I throw up my cowl! Corpo di Bacco! as the Italians say, we shall laugh till the tears run down our cheeks."

"Your idea is not bad," answered the Franc-Taupin, embarrassed. "But it is getting late. Bid Master Raimbaud good-bye, and let us depart."

"Is Master Raimbaud to stay here?"

"Yes, my boy—"

"Who is to see to the horses?"

"Do not trouble yourself about that; they will have their provender."

The armorer embraced his apprentice, whom he loved almost as an own son and bade him be of good cheer.

"Your adieu sounds sad, Master Raimbaud, and as if our separation were to be a long one," observed Odelin with moistening eyes. "Uncle! Oh, uncle! My alarm returns, it grows upon me. I can not account for the sadness of Master Raimbaud, and I do not understand the mystery of this disguise to enter Paris—"

"My dear boy, remember your father's instructions," said Josephin. "Put me no questions to which I can not now make an answer."

The boy resigned himself with a sigh. Shouldering his wallet, he descended after his uncle. As the latter heard the clink of Odelin's spurs on the stairs, he turned to him:

"I forgot to make you take off your spurs. Remove them while I go and pay the inn-keeper. Wait for me outside at the cross road."

"Uncle, may I put into my wallet a few little presents that I bring from Italy for the family?"

"Do about that as you please," answered the Franc-Taupin.

While Odelin walked into the stable to remove his spurs and take out of his valise the articles which he wished to take with him, Josephin went to settle his score with the inn-keeper. The latter, who hugged his taproom, did not see young Odelin come down in his Capuchin vestments. To the Franc-Taupin he said: "You leave us early, my reverend. I hoped you would pay us a longer visit. But I can understand that you are in a hurry to reach Paris to witness the great ceremony."

"What ceremony have you in mind, my good man?"

"A traveler informed us that the bells and the chimes have been ringing in Paris with might and main since morning. All the houses along the road that the superb procession is to traverse were decorated with tapestry by orders of the Criminal Lieutenant, who also ordered that a lighted wax candle be held at every window. He also told us that the King, the Queen and all the Princes, as well as a crowd of great seigneurs and high dignitaries were to assist at the ceremony—the most magnificent that will yet have been seen—"

"Good evening, my host," said Josephin, anxious to put an end to the conversation and join his nephew who waited for him outside. To himself he was saying:

"What can the ceremony be that the inn-keeper has been informed about? After all, the event can only be favorable to us. The crowds that the streets will be filled with will facilitate our passage, and help us to reach unperceived the retreat designated by Monsieur Estienne."

The Franc-Taupin and his nephew walked rapidly towards Paris where they arrived as the sun was dipping the western horizon.


JANUARY 21, 1535.

January 21, 1535! Alas, that date must remain inscribed in characters of blood in our plebeian annals, O, sons of Joel! If there is justice on earth or in heaven—and I, Christian Lebrenn, who trace these lines, believe in an avenging, an expiatory justice—some day, on that distant day predicted by Victoria the Great, the 21st of January may be also a day fatal to the race of crowned executioners, the princes, the nobles, and the infamous Romish priests.

You are about to contemplate, O, sons of Joel—you are about to contemplate the pious work of that King Francis I, that chivalrous King, that Very Christian King, as the court popinjays love to style him. A chivalrous King—he is false to his troth! A knightly King—he sells under the auctioneer's hammer the seats on the courts of justice and in the tribunals of religion! A very Christian King—he wallows in the filthiest of debauches! In order to impart a flavor of incest to adultery, he shares with one of his own sons, the husband of Catherine De Medici, the bed of the Duchess of Etampes. Finally, he expires tainted with a loathsome disease after ten years of frightful sufferings! At this season, however, the miscreant is still in full health, and is engaged in honoring God, his saints and his Church with a human holocaust. Hypocrisy and ferocity!

A magnificent solemnity was that day to be the object of edification to all the good Catholics of Paris, as the inn-keeper announced to the Franc-Taupin. Read, O sons of Joel, the ordinance posted in Paris by order of the Very Christian King Francis I:

On Thursday the 21st day of January, 1535, a solemn procession will take place in the honor of God our Creater, of the glorious Virgin Mary, and of all the blessed Saints in Paradise. Our Seigneur, King Francis I, has been informed of the errors that are rife in these days, and of the placards and heretical books that are posted or scattered around the streets and thoroughfares of Paris by the vicious sectarians of Luther, and other blasphemers of the sacred Sacrament of the altar, the which accursed scum of society aims at the destruction of our Catholic faith and of the constitutions of our mother, the Holy Church of God.

Therefore, our said Seigneur Francis I has held a Council, and, in order to repair the injury done to God, has decided to order a general procession, the same to close with the torture and execution of several heretics. At the head of the procession shall be carried the sacred Eucharist and the most precious relics of the city of Paris.

First, on the 17th day of the said month of January, proclamation shall be made to the sound of trumpets, throughout the thoroughfares of Paris, ordering that the streets through which the said procession is to pass shall be swept clean, and all the houses ornamented with beautiful tapestry. The owners of the said houses shall stand before their doors, bare-headed and holding a lighted taper in their hands.—Item, on the Wednesday following, the 20th of the said month, the principals of all the Universities of Paris shall meet and orders shall be issued to them to cause the students of the said Colleges to be locked up, with the express injunction that the same shall not be allowed outside until the procession shall have passed, in order to obviate confusion and tumult. Furthermore the students shall fast on the eve and the day of the procession.—Item, provosts of the merchant guilds and the aldermen of the city of Paris shall cause barriers to be raised at the crossing of the streets through which the said procession is to pass, in order to prevent the people from crossing the lines of the marchers. Two soldiers and two archers shall be placed in charge of each one of the said barriers.—Item. halting places shall be erected in the middle of St. Denis and St. Honoré Streets, at the Cross-of-Trahoir, and at the further end of the Notre Dame Bridge, the latter of which shall be decorated with a gilded lanthorn, historical paintings of the holy Sacrament, and a dais of evergreen from which shall hang a number of crowns, and bannerets bearing the following sacred device: Ipsi peribunt, tu autem permanebis (They shall perish, but you, Holy Mother Church, shall remain forever).

The same device shall be inscribed on the cards attached to the swarm of little birds that are to be set free along the passage of the said procession.[39]

The program of the ceremony was followed out point by point. The Franc-Taupin and Odelin entered Paris by the Gate of the Bastille of St. Antoine. They were wrapped in their Capuchin hoods, and took the route of St. Honoré Street. That thoroughfare was lighted by the tapers which, obedient to the royal decree, the householders held at the doors of their dwellings. Lavish tapestries, hangings and rich cloths ornamented with greens carpeted the walls of the houses from top to bottom. Men, women and children crowded the windows. A lively stream of people moved about gaily, loudly admiring the splendors of the feast. Arrived near the Arcade of Eschappes, which ran into St. Honoré Street, the Franc-Taupin and Odelin were forced to halt until the procession had passed before they could cross the street. All the crossings were closed with barriers and guarded by soldiers and archers.

Thanks to the respect that their monastic garb inspired, Josephin and his nephew were allowed to clear the barrier which separated them from the first ranks of the procession, and finally to fall in line with the same.

Romish idolatry and royal pride exhibited themselves in the midst of the pomp and circumstance of the occasion. King, Queen, Princes, Princesses, Cardinals, Archbishops, Marshals, courtiers, ladies in waiting, high dignitaries of the courts of justice, magistrates, consuls, bourgeois, guilds of artisans—all were about to batten upon the torture and death of the heretics, whose only crime consisted in the practice of the Evangelical doctrine in its pristine purity.

Read, O, sons of Joel, the narrative of this execrable ceremony, transmitted by a spectator, an ardent Catholic and fervent royalist, Dom Felibien. Preserve the pages in our family annals, they are the irrefutable witnesses of the religious fanaticism of those days of ignorance, under clerical domination and monarchic despotism. Dom Felibien says:

"At the head of the procession marched the Swiss of the King's guard. They preceded the Queen, who was richly attired in a robe of black velvet lined with lynx skin. She rode a white palfrey with housings of frizzled gold cloth, and was accompanied by mesdames the King's daughters, likewise richly accoutred in robes of crimson satin embroidered with gold thread, and riding beautiful and splendidly caparisoned palfreys. Many other dames and princesses, besides a troop of knights, seneschals and palace dignitaries on horseback, pages, lackeys and Swiss Guards on foot marched beside the Queen.

"After her came the Cordelier monks in large numbers, carrying many relics, each holding a little lighted taper with profound devotion.

"After these came the preaching Jacobin friars, also carrying many relics. Each bore a chaplet of Notre Dame, and all were devoutly engaged in prayer to God.

"After these, the Augustinian monks, marching in similar order, and also carrying many relics.

"After these, the Carmelites, in the same order, and, in their wake all the parish priests of the city of Paris, each with his cross, robed in their capes, and carrying relics surrounded with numerous tapers.

"After these, the collegiates of the churches, carrying many relics and holy bodies, the latter surrounded by many tapers.

"After these, the Mathurins, dressed all in white. They marched devoutly wrapped in prayer and holding tapers.

"After these, the friars of St. Magloire carrying the shrine of Monsieur St. Magloire.

"After these, the friars of St. Germain-des-Prez, carrying the shrine of Monsieur St. Germain-le-Vieil, who, as far back as man's memory went, had never before been known to leave the precincts of St. Germain. To the right of the holy body, the said friars, each with a lighted white wax candle; to the left, the friars of St. Martin-of-the-Fields, carrying the shrine of St. Paxant, a martyr. The two shrines abreast and beside each other.

"After these the relics of Monsieur St. Eloi in the shrine of the said Saint, carried by locksmiths, each wearing a hat of flowers.

"After these, Monsieur St. Benoit, with other shrines containing the bodies of Saints belonging to the said city.

"After that, a huge relic of solid gold and inestimable value, studded with precious stones and enclosing the bones of several Saints, the whole carried on the shoulders of sixteen bourgeois of the city of Paris. Beside this relic was to be seen that of the great St. Philip, an exquisite coffer from Notre Dame of Paris.

"After these, came in beautiful order the shrines of Madam St. Genevieve, carried by eighteen men, naked (except for their shirts), with hats of flowers on their heads, and by four monks, also in their shirts, with bare legs and feet. Then the shrine of Monsieur St. Martel, reverently carried by the goldsmiths, dressed in dress of state. That shrine also had not in the memory of man been carried beyond the bridge of Notre Dame. In order to secure the safe and orderly carriage of these shrines through the large concourse of people, all of whom were curious to see and draw near them, a number of archers and other officers were detailed to escort the same.

"After these, the monks of St. Genevieve and St. Victor, barefooted, each holding a lighted taper and praying to God with great devotion.

"After these, the canons and priests of St. Germain-of-Auxerre, chanting canticles of praise put to music.

"After these, the secular doctors and regulars of the four faculties of the University of Paris. The rector and his beadles, the latter carrying before him their maces of gold and silver.

"After these, the doctors of theology and medicine in large numbers dressed in their sacerdotal and other garbs, each holding a lighted wax candle.

"After these came, marching in beautiful order on both sides of the street, the Swiss Guards of the King, dressed in the velvet of his livery, each armed with his halberd. The fifers and war drummers marched two by two at the head of the said Swiss Guards, beating upon their drums and blowing their fifes in funeral notes.

"After these, the hautboys, trumpets, cornet and clarion players, all in the King's livery, and melodiously intoning the beautiful hymn Pange, lingua, gloriosi corporis mysterium, etc., which is the hymn of the holy Sacrament, and which moved all the bystanders to tears, such was its power.

"After these, Monsieur Savigny, one of the captains of the King's guards, establishing order and preventing tumult during the procession.

"After him, came the King's heralds-at-arms, clad in their jackets of silver cloth.

"After them, the choristers of the same Seigneur, those attached to the domestic service as well as those attached to the holy chapel of the palace. They marched together, singing: O salutaris Hostia, and other beautiful anthems.

"After these, ten priests robed in chasubles, their heads bare, and carrying the relic of Monsieur St. Louis, once King of France, encased and studded with quantities of precious stones of inestimable value.

"After these, the holy and precious relic of the holy CROWN OF THORNS of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, an inestimable relic which, as far back as the memory of man runs, was never before carried in any procession whatever, and caused the hair to stand on end of all those who saw it, and rendered them charmed with God, as they considered His blessed passion.

"After this, the true cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. It was taken from the Holy Chapel, besides another piece of the said true cross from Notre Dame of Paris.

"After that the rod of Aaron, an old relic; the holy iron of the lance wherewith Longus pierced the precious side of our Savior Jesus Christ; one of the HOLY NAILS with which He was nailed to the cross; the SPONGE, the CARCAN, the CHAIN with which our Lord was fastened to the pillar; His IMMACULATE ROBE; the SHEET in which He was wrapped in the tomb as in a winding-cloth; the NAPKINS of His babyhood; the REED stuck into His hand when He was crowned with thorns; the TABLE OF STONE which the children of Israel hewed in the desert; a DROP OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD of our Lord Jesus; finally a DROP OF MILK of the glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God. The which beautiful relics, all taken from the treasury of the Holy Chapel, were accompanied and carried by ten archbishops and bishops dressed in their pontifical vestments, and marching two by two.

"After these, the ambassadors from the Emperor, from the King of England, from Venice, and other potentates and seigneurs.

"After these, and marching abreast, the Cardinals of Tournon, Veneur and Givry; the Bishop of Soissons; and Monsieur Gabriel of Saluces, carrying a beautiful relic of a cross studded with several precious stones.

"After these, Knights with their battle-axes escorting the precious and sacred body of our Lord Jesus Christ at the sacrament of the altar, which was carried by Monsieur the Bishop of Paris on a cross under a canopy of crimson velvet spangled with gold fleur-de-lis, the canopy being borne aloft by our Seigneurs, the King's sons, to wit, Monsieur the Dauphin, Monsieur of Orleans, Monsieur of Angoulème, and Monsieur of Vendosme, all the said Princes bareheaded, and clad in robes of black velvet with heavy gold borders and lined with white satin, and near them several counts and barons to relieve them.

"After these, came the King our Sire, bareheaded, in great reverence. He was clad in a robe of black velvet lined with black silk, girded with a girdle of taffeta, and in his hand a large white wax candle furnished with a holder of crimson velvet. Beside him, the Cardinal of Lorraine, to whom, every time the holy sacrament rested at the halting places, the said Seigneur our King passed the wax candle, while he himself made his prayers with his hands joined. Seeing the which, there was none among the spectators, whether grown or little, who did not weep warm tears, and who did not pray to God for the King whom the said people saw in such great devotion, and performing so devout an act and so worthy of remembrance for all time. And it may well be presumed that neither Jew nor infidel present, seeing the example of the King and his good people, failed of being converted to the Catholic faith.

"After these, the parliaments, with the ushers walking before, each with a staff in his hands; the four notaries; the clerks of the criminal courts, dressed in scarlet gowns and wearing their furred hats; messieurs the presidents with their mantles over their shoulders and their mortars on their heads; the chiefs of departments, and the counsellors, in red robes.

"After these, the Chief Justices, and heads of the treasury and the mint; the comptrollers of the city of Paris, each with a lighted white wax candle in his hand, and clad in their parti-colored robes of red and blue, the city colors.

"Finally, the archers, the cross-bowmen, and the arquebusiers of Paris, dressed in their uniforms, and each holding a wax candle."[40]

Such was that great Catholic procession!

The procession wound its way through St. Honoré, St. Denis and St. James-of-the-Slaughterhouse Streets, and then crossed the Notre Dame Bridge.

Cages full of birds were opened, and the little feathered brood flew from their prisons with open wings. The procession deployed on the square before the parvise of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. All the surrounding houses, tapestried from top to bottom, were lined with spectators at the windows, on the cornices, the shafts of pillars and the roofs. As they stood waiting for the procession to go by near the Arcade of Eschappes, the Franc-Taupin and his nephew caught sight of Hervé among the Cordelier monks, whose garb he wore.

"My brother!" cried Odelin, making to rush forward towards Hervé and embrace him. "There is my brother!"

But Josephin seized his nephew by the arm, and whispered to him:

"My boy, if a single move made by you draws attention upon us, we shall be discovered and arrested."

Odelin's exclamation, being drowned by the psalmody of the Cordeliers, did not reach the ears of Hervé. The latter did not even notice his brother, whose face was partially covered by his cowl. The Cordeliers passed by, then the Augustinians, the Carmelites, the Dominicans, the Genevievians, the Jacobins, and many other monks of differently shaped and colored garbs. Josephin sought to place the greatest distance possible between himself and Hervé. He fell in line with the Mathurins, who brought up the rear of the division of monks.

Odelin began to feel disturbed in mind. The events in which he had already that day participated, his apprehensions regarding his family, the sight of his brother in the habits of a Cordelier monk, the preparations for the torture and death of the heretics, a spectacle that he now saw himself forced to witness—everything combined to harass his mind with perplexities. At times Odelin imagined himself under the obsession of a nightmare. His uncertain and almost stumbling step was noticed by the Superior of the Mathurins, who expressed his surprise thereat to Josephin. The Franc-Taupin merely answered that this was the first time the novice attended an execution of heretics.

The procession having arrived before the parvise of Notre Dame, each division of which it was composed took the place assigned to it. A stage, covered with rich tent-cloth was prepared for King Francis I, the Queen, the Princes and Princesses of the royal family, the court ladies, the Cardinals, the Archbishops, the Marshals, the presidents of the parliaments, and the principal courtiers. The pyre faced the royal platform at a convenient distance, in order that the noble assemblage be annoyed neither by the heat nor smoke of the fire, and yet could follow closely the cruel details of the tragedy. The pyre consisted of a heap of fagots from fifteen to twenty feet long, and about six or seven feet high. Close to the pyre rose six machines. Each consisted of a perpendicular beam, the bottom driven into the earth and the top furnished with an iron clamp in the socket of which a cross-beam was attached. This beam could be made to tip forward over the fagots. At the forward extremity of the cross-beam, and hanging from chains, was an iron chair provided with a back and foot-board after the fashion of a swing. To the rear extremity of the cross-beam ropes and pulleys were attached, holding it down to the ground.

The Franc-Taupin contemplated with horror those implements of torture, while he gave his support to poor Odelin, who shook convulsively. The Superior of the Mathurins, who happened to stand near Josephin, addressed him with a smile:

"Perhaps you do not understand the value of those machines which we shall shortly see put into operation?"

"No, dear brother, you are right. I have no idea of what those machines are for in this affair."

"They are an invention due to the genius of our Sire the King, to whom the men put to the torture for coining false money already owe the rack on which they are executed.[41] To-day the application of these new machines, which you are contemplating with so much interest, is inaugurated in our good city of Paris. The process is very simple, besides ingenious. When the pyre is well aflame, the patient is chained fast to the chair which you see there, dangling from the end of that cross-beam; then, the beam acting as a lever, he is, by slacking and pulling in the ropes at the other end, alternately sunk down into the flames and pulled out again, to be re-plunged, and so on, until, after being plunged and re-plunged, death ensues. Do you now understand the process?"

"Clearly, my reverend. Death by fire, as formerly practiced, put too speedy an end to the patient's torture."

"Altogether too speedy. A few minutes of torture and all was over, and the heretic breathed his last breath—"

"And now," broke in the Franc-Taupin, "thanks to this royal invention by our Sire Francis I, whom may God guard, the patient is afforded leisure to burn slowly—he can relish the fagot and inhale the flame! How superb and meritorious an invention!"

"It is that, my dear brother! Your expressions are correct—quite so—relish the fagot—inhale the flame. It is calculated that the agony of the patients will now last from twenty to thirty minutes.

"There are to-night three such pyres raised in Paris," the Superior of the Mathurins proceeded to explain. "The one before us, a second at the market place, and the third at the Cross-of-Trahoir. After our good Sire shall have assisted at the executions in this place, he will be able to visit the two others on his way back to the Louvre."[42]

The colloquy with the monk was interrupted by a great noise. From mouth to mouth ran the word: "Silence! Silence! The King wishes to speak!"

During the Franc-Taupin's conversation with the Mathurin, the King, his family, the court, the high dignitaries of the Church and of the kingdom had taken their seats on the platform. Anne of Pisseleu, Duchess of Etampes, who shared her favors between Francis I and his eldest son, drew the eyes of the multitude upon herself with the costliness of her apparel, which was as dazzling as her beauty, then at its prime. The royal courtesan cast from time to time a look of superb triumph upon her two rivals—the Queen of France, and Catherine De Medici, the wife of Henry, the King's son. The young Princess, at that season barely sixteen years of age, born in Florence, the daughter of Laurent De Medici and niece of Pope Clement VII, presented a perfect type of Italian beauty. Pale with chestnut hair, and white of skin, her black, passionate and crafty eyes frequently lingered surreptitiously with an expression of suppressed hatred upon the Duchess of Etampes. Whenever their eyes met accidentally, Catherine De Medici had for her a charming smile. Conspicuous among the great seigneurs seated on the platform were the Constable of Montmorency, Duke Claude of Guise and his brother Cardinal John of Lorraine, the crapulous, dissolute Prince immortalized by Rabelais under the name of "Panurge." These Guises—Princes of Lorraine, ambitious, greedy, haughty and turbulent—whom Francis I at once flattered and curbed, inspired him with so much apprehension that he was wont to allude to them in his conversations with the Dauphin in these words: "Be on your guard; I shall leave you clothed in a coat, they will leave you in your shirt." In close proximity to the Guises stood John Lefevre, the disciple of Ignatius Loyola, chatting with great familiarity with Cardinal Duprat. Already the Jesuits had gained a footing at the court of Francis I; they dominated the Chancellor, the evil genius of that King. And what was that sovereign, physically and morally? Here is his picture, as left by the writers of his time: "Six feet high; broad-shouldered, wide of girth, round faced, fat, ruddy of complexion, with short cropped hair, long beard, and a prominent nose"—features that betray sensual appetites. The Sire walked towards his throne, swaying to right and left. The heavy colossus affected the gait and postures of a gladiator. He sat down, or rather dropped into his seat. All present on the platform rose to their feet with heads uncovered, the women excepted. He addressed himself to the Princes, the Princesses of his family, and the dignitaries of the Church and the kingdom:

"It will not seem strange to you, messieurs, if you do not find in me the mien, the countenance and the words, which I have been in the habit of being seen in and of using on previous occasions when I called you together. To-day, I do not address you as a King and Master addresses his subjects and servitors. I speak as being myself the subject and servitor of the King of Kings, of the Master of Masters—the All-powerful God.

"Some wicked blasphemers, people of little note and of less doctrine, have, contrary to the honor of the holy Sacrament, machinated, said, proffered and written many great blasphemies. On account thereof I have willed that this solemn procession be held, in order to invoke the grace of our Redeemer. I order that rigorous punishment be inflicted upon the heretics, as a warning to all others not to fall into the said damnable opinions, while admonishing the faithful to persevere in their doctrines, the wavering to become firm, and those who have strayed away to return to the path of the holy Catholic faith, in which they see me persevere, together with the spiritual prelates.

"Therefore, messieurs, I entreat and admonish you—let all my subjects keep watch and guard, not only over themselves, but also over their families, and especially over their children, and cause these to be so properly instructed that they may not fall into evil doctrines. I also order that each and all shall denounce whomsoever they may happen to know, or to suspect, of being adherents to the heresy, without regard to any bonds, whether of family or of friendship. As to myself," added Francis I in a thundering voice, "on the same principle that, had I an arm infected with putrefaction, I would cause it to be separated from my body, so if ever, should it unhappily so befall, any child of mine relapse into the said damnable heresies, I shall be ready to immolate, and to deliver him as a sacrifice to God."[43]

The discourse of Francis I was listened to amid religious silence, and applauded enthusiastically.

The prostituted pack of clergymen, courtiers and warriors who surrounded the Very Christian King knew the trick how to inherit the property of heretics. To burn or massacre the reformers was to coin money for the royal pack, the sovereign having the right to transmit to the good Catholics the wealth confiscated from condemned heretics. But, to kill the heretics, to torture them, to burn them alive, that did not satisfy the pious monarch. Human thought was to be shackled. The sovereign proceeded with his allocution:

"It is notorious that the pestilence of heresy spreads in all directions with the aid of the printing press. My Chancellor shall now read a decree issued by me abolishing the printing press in my estates under pain of death."

The Chancellor, Cardinal Duprat, read in a loud voice the decree of that Father of Letters, as the court popinjays styled Francis I with egregious adulation:

"We, Francis I, by the grace of God, King of France.—It is our will, and we so order, and it pleases us to prohibit and forbid all printers in general, and of whatever rank and condition they may be, TO PRINT ANYTHING, UNDER PAIN OF HANGING.

"Such is our good pleasure.


Come! One more effort; listen to the end of this tale, O, sons of Joel. My hand trembles as I trace these lines, my eyes are veiled in tears, my heart bleeds. But I must proceed with my story.

After the reading of the edict which prohibited the printing press in France under pain of death, the Criminal Lieutenant stepped forward to receive the orders of the Chancellor. He turned to the King, and the King commanded that the heretics be put to the torture and death without further delay. The gallant chat among the courtiers was hushed, and the eyes of the royal assembly turned towards the pyre.

The Franc-Taupin and Odelin stood in the midst of the Mathurins, close to the spot of execution. Not far from them were ranked the Cordeliers. Standing between Fra Girard and the Superior General of his Order, Hervé seemed to be the object of the dignitary's special solicitude. Both the sons of Christian Lebrenn were about to witness the execution. Their sister Hena, sentenced together with Ernest Rennepont to the flames as a relapsed and sacrilegious heretic, was to figure, along with her bridegroom, among the victims. The frightful spectacle passed before the eyes of Odelin like a vision of death. Without making a single motion, without experiencing a shiver, without dropping a tear, petrified with terror, the lad gazed—like him, who, a prey to some stupefying dream, remains motionless, stretched upon his bed. It was a horrible nightmare!

The order to proceed having gone from Francis I and been transmitted to the Mathurin monks, several of these proceeded to the portico of the Basilica of Notre Dame, whither the culprits had first been taken to make the amende honorable on their knees before the church. One of the patients had his tongue cut out for preferring charges against the Catholic clergy on his way from prison to the parvise.[45] The Mathurins led the victims in procession to the pyre. As they approached, all the religious Orders intoned in a sonorous voice the funeral psalmody—

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine!

The heretics, to the number of six, marched two by two, bareheaded and barefooted, holding lighted tapers in their hands. John Dubourg and his friend Etienne Laforge led; behind them came St. Ernest-Martyr supporting the architect Poille. The wretched man had his tongue cut out. Blood streamed from his mouth, and dyed his long white shirt red. Mary La Catelle and Hena, called in religion Sister St. Frances-in-the-Tomb, came next. Their feet were bare, their hair hung down loose upon their shoulders. They were clad in long white shifts held at the waist with a cord. Hena pressed against her heart a little pocket Bible which Christian had printed in the establishment of Robert Estienne, and which she was allowed to keep. It was a cherished volume from which the Lebrenn family often read together of an evening, and which recalled to Hena a whole world of sweet remembrances.

Hervé recognized his sister among the condemned heretics. A thrill ran through his frame, a deadly pallor overcast his countenance, and, turning his face away, he leaned for support on the arm of Fra Girard. The executioners had set fire to the fagots, which soon presented the sight of a sheet of roaring flames. As the prisoners arrived at the place of their torture and death, and caught sight of the seats swaying over the lambent flames, they readily surmised the cruel torments to which they were destined. In her terror, poor Hena began to emit heartrending cries, and she clung to the arm of Mary La Catelle. The taper and the little pocket Bible which she held rolled to the ground. The holy book fell upon a burning ember and began to blaze. One of the executioners stamped out the fire with his heels and threw the book aside. It fell near the Franc-Taupin. Josephin stooped down quickly, picked up the precious token and dropped it into the pocket of his wide frock. Petrified with terror, Odelin only gazed into space. The frightful cries of his sister were hardly heard by him, drowned as they were by the buzz and throb of the arteries in his own temples. The executioners were at work. Hena and the other five martyrs were seized, placed in their respective seats, and chained fast. All the six levers were then set in motion at once, and dipped over the fire. It was a spectacle, an atrocious spectacle—well worthy of a King! The victims were plunged into the furnace, then raised up high in the air with clothes and hair ablaze, to be again swallowed up in the flaming abyss, again to be raised out of it, in order once more to be precipitated into its fiery embrace![46]

Odelin still gazed, motionless, his arms crossed over his breast, and rigid as if in a state of catalepsy. The Franc-Taupin looked at his unhappy niece Hena every time the lever raised her in the air, and also every time it hurled her down into the abyss of flames. He counted the plungings, as the Superior of the Mathurins humorously called them. He counted twenty-five of them. At the first few descents poor Hena twisted and writhed in her seat while emitting piercing cries; in the course of a few subsequent descents the cries subsided into moans; when she disappeared in the burning crater for the sixteenth time she was heard to moan no more. She was either expiring or dead. The machine continued to dip twenty-five times—it was only a blackened, half naked corpse, the head of which hung loose and beat against the back of the seat. The Franc-Taupin followed also with his eyes Ernest Rennepont, who was placed face to face with Hena. The unhappy youth did not emit a single cry during his torment, he did not even utter a wail. His eyes remained fixed upon his bride. Etienne Laforge, John Dubourg and Mary La Catelle gave proof of the sublimest courage. They were heard singing psalms amidst the flames that devoured them. Of these latter, only Anthony Poille, whose tongue had been cut out, was silent. The death rattle finally silenced the voice of the heretics. It was but charred corpses that the executioners were raising and dropping.

When the frightful vision ceased, Odelin dropped to the ground, a prey to violent convulsions. Two monks helped the Franc-Taupin carry the young novice into a neighboring house. But before leaving the spot of Hena's torture and death, Josephin stopped an instant before the brazier which was finishing the work of consuming the corpses. There the Franc-Taupin pronounced the following silent imprecation:

"Hate and execration for the papist executioners, Kings, priests and monks! War, implacable war upon this infamous religion that tortures and burns to death those who are refractory to its creed! Reprisals and vengeance! By my sister's death; by the agony of her daughter, plunged twenty-five times into the fiery furnace—I swear to put twenty-five papist priests to death!"

After Odelin recovered consciousness, uncle and nephew resumed their way to the place of refuge on St. Honoré Street, where Robert Estienne was found waiting for them. The generous friend was proscribed. The next day he was to wander into exile to Geneva. It was with great difficulty that Princess Marguerite had obtained grace for his life. He informed Odelin of his father's flight to La Rochelle and of Bridget's death. He pressed upon Josephin the necessity of leaving Paris with Odelin and proceeding on the spot to La Rochelle, lest he fall into the clutches of the police spies who were on the search for them. At the same time he placed in Josephin's hands the necessary funds for the journey, and took charge of notifying Master Raimbaud should he also be willing to take refuge in La Rochelle.

It was agreed between the three that the Franc-Taupin and his nephew would wait two days for Master Raimbaud at Etampes. The directions of Robert Estienne were instantly put into execution. That same night Odelin and Josephin left Paris, and reached Etampes without difficulty, thanks to the monastic garb which cleared the way for them. At Etampes Master Raimbaud and his wife joined them before the expiration of the second day, and the four immediately took the road to La Rochelle, where they arrived on February 17, 1535. The four fugitives inquired for the dwelling of Christian Lebrenn. His family, alas! was now reduced to three members—father, son and the brave Josephin. The Franc-Taupin delivered to his brother-in-law the pocket Bible which he picked up near the pyre, the tomb of Hena—that Bible is now added to the relics of the Lebrenn family.





Thirty-four years have elapsed since the martyrdom of Hena Lebrenn, Ernest Rennepont and the other heretics who were burned alive before the parvise of Notre Dame, in the presence of King Francis I and his court on January 21, 1535. To-day, I, Antonicq Lebrenn, son of Odelin and grandson of Christian the printer, proceed with the narrative broken off above.

Safely established at La Rochelle, Christian was joined in that city by his son Odelin and Josephin, the Franc-Taupin. Already shattered in body on account of the profound sorrow caused by the death of his wife Bridget and the revelation concerning the incestuous attempt made by his son Hervé, the news of the frightful death of his daughter Hena overwhelmed my grandfather. He did not long survive that last blow. He languished about a year longer, wrote the narrative of which the following one is the sequel, and died on December 17 of the same year at La Rochelle, where he exercised his printer's trade at the establishment of Master Auger, a friend of Robert Estienne. The latter himself ended his days in exile at Geneva.

Odelin Lebrenn, my father, devoted himself, as in his youth, to the armorer's trade. He worked in the establishment of Master Raimbaud, who also settled down in La Rochelle in 1535. The old armorer drove a lucrative trade in his beautiful arms, with England. Thanks to their energy and their municipal franchises, the Rochelois, partisans of the Reformation by an overwhelming majority, and protected by the well-nigh impregnable position of their city, experienced but slightly the persecutions that dyed red the other provinces of Gaul until the day when the Protestants took up arms against their oppressors. The hour of revolt having sounded, the Rochelois were bound to be the first to take the field. Having married in 1545 Marcienne, the sister of Captain Mirant, one of the ablest and most daring sailors of La Rochelle, my father had three children from this marriage—Theresa, born in 1546; me, Antonicq, born in 1549; and Marguerite, born in 1551. I embraced the profession of my father, who, upon the death of Master Raimbaud, deceased without heirs, succeeded to the latter's business.

About four years ago, the hardship of the times brought to La Rochelle, where, together with other Protestants he sought refuge, Louis Rennepont, a nephew of Brother St. Ernest-Martyr, the bridegroom of Hena, who was burned together with her. Informed by his father of the tragic death of the Augustinian monk, Louis Rennepont conceived a horror for the creed of Rome, in whose name such atrocities were committed, and after his father's death he entered the Evangelical church. An advocate in the parliament of Paris, and indicted for heresy, he escaped the stake by his flight to La Rochelle. One day, as he strolled along the quay before our house, my father's sign—Odelin Lebrenn, Armorer—caught his eye. He stepped in to inquire into our relationship with Hena Lebrenn. From us he gathered the information that Hena was his uncle's wife, married to him by a Reformed pastor. Louis Rennepont, from that time almost a relative of ours, continued to visit the house. He soon seemed smitten with the grace and virtues of my sister Theresa. His love was reciprocated. He was a young man of noble heart, and of a modest and industrious disposition. Stripped of his patrimony by the sentence of heresy, he earned his living at La Rochelle with his profession of advocate. My father appreciated the merits of Louis Rennepont, and granted him my sister Theresa. They were married in 1568. Their happiness justifies my father's hopes.

My youngest sister Marguerite disappeared from the paternal home at the age of eight, under rather mysterious circumstances which I shall here state.

Since his establishment at La Rochelle, my father was animated by a lively desire to take us all—mother, sisters and myself—to Brittany, on a kind of pious pilgrimage to the scene of our family's origin, near the sacred stones of Karnak. The journey by land was short, but the religious war included in those days Brittany also in its ravages. My father feared to risk himself and family among the warring factions. His brother-in-law Mirant, the sailor, having to cross from La Rochelle to Dover, proposed that my father take ship with him on his brigantine. The vessel was to touch at Vannes, the port nearest Karnak. Our pilgrimage accomplished, we were to set sail for Dover, whither my father frequently consigned arms, and where he would have the opportunity of a personal interview with his correspondent in that place. After that, my uncle Mirant was to return to France with a cargo of merchandise. Our absence would not exceed three weeks. My father accepted the proposition with joy. Shortly before the day of our departure my sister Marguerite was taken sick. The distemper was not dangerous, but it prevented her from joining in the trip, the day for which was set and could not be postponed. My parents left her behind in the charge of her god-mother, an excellent woman, the wife of John Barbot, a master copper-smith. We departed for Vannes on board the brigantine of Captain Mirant. My sister Marguerite recovered soon after. Her god-mother frequently took her out for a walk beyond the ramparts. One day the child was playing with other little girls near a clump of trees, and strayed away from Dame Barbot. When her god-mother looked for her to take her home, the child was nowhere to be found. The most diligent searches, instituted for weeks and months after the occurrence, were all in vain. The child had been abducted; the kidnappers remained undiscovered. Marguerite was wept and her loss grieved over by us all.

Our pilgrimage to Karnak, the cradle of the family of Joel, left a profound, an indelible impression upon me. I shall later return to some of the consequences of that trip. Captain Mirant, my mother's brother, a widower after only a few years' marriage, had a daughter named Cornelia. I loved her from early infancy as a sister. As we grew up our affection for each other waxed warmer. Our parents expected to see us man and wife. Cornelia gave promise by her virtue and bravery of resembling one of those women belonging to the heroic age of Gaul, and of approving herself worthy of her ancestry. Having lost her mother when still a child, my cousin occasionally accompanied her father on his rough sea voyages. The character of the young girl, like her beauty, presented a mixture of virility, grace and strength. At the time when this narrative commences, Cornelia was sixteen years of age, myself twenty. We were betrothed, and our families had decided that we were to be united in wedlock three or four years later.

My grand-uncle the Franc-Taupin yielded, shortly after his arrival at La Rochelle, to the solicitations of my grandfather Christian, who, feeling his approaching dissolution, entreated the brave soldier of adventure not to separate himself from his nephew, soon surely to be an orphan. The Franc-Taupin adjourned the execution of his resolution to avenge the death of Bridget and Hena. He remained near my father Odelin and enrolled himself with the archers of the city. As a consequence of our family sorrows, he gave up his former disorderly life. The guardianship of his nephew, then still a lad, brought him new duties. He earned by his merit the post of sergeant of the city militia. But when the massacre of Vassy caused the Protestants to rise from one end of Gaul to the other, and these finally ran to arms, the Franc-Taupin departed to join the insurgents. He was elected the chief of his band, and proved himself pitiless in his acts of reprisal. He had sworn to revenge the papist atrocities committed upon his sister and niece. The provinces of Anjou and Saintonge took a large part in the religious ware that broke out. My father, although married several years before, left his establishment to enlist himself among the volunteers of the Protestant army, and deported himself bravely under the orders of Coligny, Condé, Lanoüe and Dandelot. He was twice wounded. I accompanied him in the second armed uprising of 1568, when, alas! I had the misfortune of losing him. I took the field at his side as a volunteer, leaving in La Rochelle my mother, my sister Theresa, then the wife of Louis Rennepont, and my cousin Cornelia, who desired to join her father, Captain Mirant, on a cruise against the royal ships, while I was to combat on land in the army of Coligny.



The Abbey of St. Severin, situated on the Limoges road not far from the town of Malraye, belonged to the Order of St. Bernard. Before the beginning of the religious wars, the abbey was a splendid monument, built by the hands of Jacques Bonhomme,[47] like so many other monasteries that dot the soil of France. As a church vassal, Jacques Bonhomme transported either upon his own back, or, to the still greater injury of field agriculture, with the help of oxen, the stones, the lumber, the sand and the lime requisite for the erection of these pretentious monastic residences. He thereupon carried to the idling monks the tithes on his corn, on his cattle, on his poultry, on his eggs, on his butter, on his wine, on his oil, on the fleece of his sheep, on his honey, on his linen, in short, the prime of all that he produced with the sweat of his brow. Then came the corvee[48]—to till the convent lands, to sow, weed and gather the crops thereon; to keep the convent roads in repair; to irrigate its meadows; to dredge its ponds; to serve as watchman; and finally to lay down his life in its defense against the roving bands of vagabonds and robbers. In return for all these services—when either old, or sick, or exhausted with toil, Jacques Bonhomme could work no more—he was allowed to hold out his bowl at the gate of the monastery, when the monks would occasionally deign to fill it with greasy water from their kitchen. When the church vassal was at his last breath, stretched upon the straw in his hut, the good Fathers came to assist and solace him with their Oremus.[49] "God created man for sorrow and poverty," they would say to him; "you have suffered—God is pleased; you shall enjoy a famous seat in Paradise. Yours will be the delights of the celestial mansion."

When the spirit of the Reformation penetrated some of the provinces, Jacques Bonhomme began to lend an ear to a new theory. "Poor, ignorant people, poor duped and defrauded people," said the pastors of the new church; "offerings to saints, masses, and purgatory are idolatries, tricks, frauds, sacrilegious inventions with the aid of which the priests and monks appropriate to themselves the silver laid by fools upon the altars and at the feet of wooden and stone images. Good men! Read the sacred Book. You will discover that God forbids the traffic on which thousands of frocked and tonsured idlers grow fat." In sight of such a revelation, based as it was upon the texts of Holy Writ, Jacques Bonhomme said to himself in his own rustic common sense: "’Tis so! I have been cheated, duped and robbed all these centuries by the Church of Rome!" Thereupon Jacques Bonhomme turned himself loose upon the convents and churches; he overthrew, broke and profaned the altars, the relics and the statues of saints that had so long been the objects of his veneration.

On the other hand, in the provinces where the population remained under the mental domination of the clergy, Jacques Bonhomme turned himself loose upon the houses of Huguenots, set them on fire, slaughtered the men, violated the women, and dashed the brains of old men and children against the walls.

Occupied before the religious wars by the Bernardine monks, the Abbey of St. Severin had been repeatedly sacked, like so many other monastic resorts in the districts of Poitou, Berri and Limousin. Reared on an admirable site—the slope of a hill shaded by a thick forest—the convent clearly revealed the traces of a sack, freshly undergone: shattered windows, doors broken open or torn from their hinges, portions of the walls blackened by fire, and the capitals of the columns mutilated by the discharge of arquebuses and the fury of the devastators.

One day, towards the middle of the month of June, 1569, as the sun drew near the western horizon, the silence around the ruins of the Abbey of St. Severin was disturbed by the arrival of two squadrons of light cavalry belonging to the Catholic army. The cavalcade escorted a long convoy of pack-mules, the men in charge of whom wore the colors and arms of the royal house of France and of the house of Lorraine. The convoy entered the yard of the cloister. The lackeys unloaded the mules and took possession of the deserted abbey. True to their name, the horsemen were armed in the lightest manner, with Burgundian helmets and breastplates, together with armlets and gauntlets, besides thigh-pieces partly covered by their boots; small arquebuses, only three feet long and well polished, hung from their saddle pommels, and short swords and iron maces completed their outfit.

The armed corps had for its commandant Count Neroweg of Plouernel, a man beyond sixty years of age, of rough, haughty and martial mien. From head to foot he was covered with armor damascened in gold. His Turkish silver-grey horse was cased at the neck, chest and crupper in light flexible sheets of chiseled and richly gilt steel. Its orange-colored velvet housings and saddle were ornamented with green and silver lace, the heraldic colors of the house of Plouernel. The jacket or floating coat that the Count wore above his armor was also of orange-colored velvet, and likewise embroidered with green and silver thread. The commandant of the detachment alighted from his horse; ordered the monastery to be searched; set up watches and sent out pickets over the principal roads that led to the place. He then remounted and rode away in the direction of Limoges, escorted by only one of the two squadrons.

Immediately after the departure of the Count, the quartermasters of Queen Catherine De Medici, assisted by her serving-men and those of Charles of Guise, Cardinal of Lorraine, fell to work on the task of imparting to the devastated halls of the abbey the most presentable appearance possible, with the view of lodging the Queen and the prelate whose arrival they expected. The mules, to the number of more than sixty, carried a complete traveling equipment on their pack-saddles, or in large trunks strapped to their backs—tent cloths, lambrequins, tapestry, easels, dismantled beds, curtains, mattresses, silver vessels, besides an abundance of eatables and wines with the necessary kitchen utensils, and even ice, in leather bags. The valets set to work with a will, and with a promptitude truly marvelous they tapestried the apartments destined for the Queen and for the Cardinal by hanging rich cloths, provided in advance with gilt hooks, from nails that they deftly drove along the upper edges of the walls. They then fitted out the two rooms with the necessary furniture brought by the mules. A chamber, separated from that of the Queen by a small passage was likewise prepared for the reception of the sovereign's four maids of honor. The pages, the knights, the chamberlains, the officers and the equerries were all quartered, as in time of war, in the outhouses of the abbey, the vast kitchen of which was invaded by the master cook and his aides, who prepared supper, while the stewards spread the royal table in the refectory of the monastery. Shortly before sunset forerunners announced the approach of the Queen. Upon the heels of the forerunners came a vanguard, and immediately after, several armed squadrons, in the center of which was the royal litter, enclosed with hangings of gold-embroidered violet velvet and carried by two mules, likewise in trappings of violet velvet. A second litter, not so richly decorated and empty at the time, was reserved for those maids of honor who might tire of riding. These maids, however, together with their governess, had preferred to cover the distance on the backs of their richly caparisoned palfreys, the necks, flanks and cruppers of which were decked in embroidered velvet emblazoned with the arms of the royal house of France. Pages and equerries followed the maids of honor. The rear was brought up by the litter of the Cardinal of Lorraine, wrapped in purple taffeta hangings and surrounded by several leading dignitaries and Princes of the Church.

Before entering the yard of the abbey the prelate put his head out of his litter, and ordered one of his gentlemen-in-waiting to summon before him the commandant of the escort. Charles of Guise, Cardinal of Lorraine, was at that time forty-six years of age. His otherwise handsome features, now marred by debauchery, reflected shrewdness, craft, and above all haughtiness, these being the dominant traits of his character. Count Neroweg of Plouernel, who was summoned by the prelate, approached the litter.

"Monsieur," said the Cardinal in an imperious tone, "do you answer for the safety of the Queen and myself?"

"Yes, Monsieur Cardinal."

"Have you taken sufficient precautions against any surprise on the part of the Huguenot band known by the name of the 'Avengers of Israel' and captained by a felon nicknamed the 'One-Eyed'?"

"Monsieur Cardinal, I answer with my life for the safety of the Queen. The Huguenot forces need not alarm us. His Majesty's army covers our escort. Marshal Tavannes is notified of the Queen's arrival; he has undoubtedly kept clear the route followed by her Majesty. I told your Eminence before that it would have been better to push straight ahead until we joined the army of Marshal Tavannes, instead of spending the night at this abbey."

"Do you imagine the Queen and I can travel like a couple of troopers, without alighting for rest?"

"Monsieur Cardinal," replied Count Neroweg of Plouernel haughtily, "it is not for others to remind me of the respect I owe her Majesty."

"Monsieur!" exclaimed the Cardinal angrily, "you seem to forget that you are addressing a Prince of the house of Lorraine. Be more respectful!"

"Monsieur Cardinal, if you know the history of your house, I know the history of mine. Pepin of Heristal, the grandfather of Charlemagne, from whom you pretend to descend, was but a rather insignificant specimen when the house of Neroweg, illustrious in Germany long before the Frankish conquest, was already established in Gaul for two centuries on its Salic domains of Auvergne, which it held from the sword of one of its own ancestors, a leude of Clovis—"

"Lower your tone, monsieur! Do not oblige me to remind you that Colonel Plouernel, your brother, is one of the military chiefs of the rebels who have risen in arms against the Church and the Crown."

The colloquy was interrupted at this point by the arrival of a page who hurried to announce to the Cardinal the entry of the Queen into the cloister.

Leaving Count Neroweg under the stigma of insinuated treason, the prelate stepped down from his litter in order to hasten to the Queen's side and render her his homage. Catherine De Medici was then in her fiftieth year. Not now was she, as on that fateful January 21, 1535, merely a Princess, and the young butt of the arrows of the Duchess of Etampes. Since then, Francis I had died and had been succeeded to the throne by her husband as Henry II, who, dying later from the consequences of an accident at a tourney, left her Queen Regent—absolute monarch. In point of appearance also Catherine De Medici was now her complete self. She preserved the traces of her youthful beauty. A slight corpulence impaired in nothing the majesty of her stature. Her shoulders, arms and hands—all of a dazzling whiteness—would, thanks to the perfection of their lines, have presented a noble model for a sculptor. Her hair preserved its pristine blackness, and was on this evening covered by the hood of a damask mantle, violet like her trailing robe, which exposed a front of brass. Cunning, perfidy, cruelty, were stamped upon her striking countenance. Catherine De Medici leaned upon the arm of her lover, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and entered the abbey, followed by her maids of honor, a bevy of ravishing young girls.

The maids of honor of Catherine De Medici indulged in these days, and by express orders of their mistress, in the strangest of doings. The ironical title was given them of the "Queen's Flying Squadron." Indeed, according as her policy might require, Catherine De Medici commanded her maids of honor to prostitute themselves and take for their lovers the young seigneurs whom she wished to attract to her party, or whose secrets she wished to fathom. Occasionally the Queen even pointed out to her nymphs such court folks as she wished to be rid of. In such instances, René, the court perfumer, prepared the most subtle poisons and the surest to boot, wherewith the young maids impregnated the gloves of their lovers, or the petals of a flower, or smelling boxes, or the sugar plums which they offered to the victims designated to them. It was a customary saying of Catherine De Medici to her new female recruits: "My little one, you are free to worship at the shrine of Diana, or at that of Venus, but if you sacrifice to the little god Cupid, have an eye to the breadth of your waist."[50]

After supper the Cardinal of Lorraine remained alone with the Queen. The maids of honor entertained themselves in a chamber adjoining the royal apartment. There were four of them, each of a different type of beauty. The youngest was eighteen years of age. A veneer of grace and elegance concealed the precocious degradation of the four beauties. They were superbly dressed. Catherine De Medici loved luxury; on their travels the members of her suite took with them, laden in trunks strapped to the backs of mules, complete outfits of splendid apparel. One of the maids of honor, Blanche of Verceil, was temporarily absent. Diana of Sauveterre, the senior of the Queen's squadron, was a white and pink beauty of the blonde type. She wore a blue waist ornamented with open gold lace-work; her coif, made of white taffeta and surmounted with little curled feathers of blue and silver, marked with its point the middle of her forehead, whence, widening in two rounded wings to either side over her temples, it exposed an opulent growth of blonde hair combed back from the roots. Clorinde of Vaucernay, a dainty little creature with black hair and blue eyes, was clad in a waist and skirt of pale yellow damask threaded with silver; her bonnet, made of the same material, was embroidered with pearls. Finally, Anna Bell, the youngest and most beautiful of all, seemed to unite in her single person the different charms of the other maids of honor. Elegant of stature and with a skin of dazzling white, her thick light-brown hair contrasted marvelously with her eye-brows, jet-black like the long eyelashes which partly veiled her large, soft, brown eyes. The maid's rose-colored satin coat fell in graceful folds upon her robe of white satin. Her pink bonnet was surmounted by little white frizzled feathers. Anna Bell seemed to be in a mood of profound melancholy. Seated slightly apart from her companions, with her elbows leaning on a window that opened upon the enclosure of the abbey, she dreamily contemplated the starry sky, lending but an absentminded attention to the conversation of her sister maids of honor.

"Did I understand you to say there were philters that could make men amorous?" asked Clorinde of Vaucernay.

"Yes, indeed," replied Diana of Sauveterre. "The effectiveness of certain philters is indisputable. In support of what I say I shall quote Madam Noirmoutier. She succeeded in pouring a few drops of a certain liquid into Monsieur Langeais's glass. Before the repast was over, the young seigneur was crazy in love with her."

"And yet there are people who remain incredulous concerning the efficacy of love potions," returned the first speaker. "What about you, Anna Bell, are you among the unbelievers?"

"Sincere love is the only philter that can effect prodigies," Anna Bell sighed as she answered.

At that moment Blanche of Verceil joined her companions. Hers was a masculine, brown-complexioned and tall type of beauty. The maid's abundant black hair and thick eyebrows would have imparted the stamp of harshness to her face were it not for the smile of merry raillery that habitually flitted over her cherry-red lips, which were accentuated by a light-brown down. She held in her hand several sheets of paper, and said gaily to her companions:

"I have come to share with you, my darlings, a bit of good luck that has befallen me."

"Good! Distribute your good things," cried Diana of Sauveterre.

"This morning, just as we were mounting our horses," began Blanche of Verceil, "a page arrived from Paris, sent to me by my dear Brissac. The page brought me sugar plums, fresh flowers wonderfully preserved, and a letter full of love. But that is not all. The letter, which I could not read until a few minutes ago, contained a treasure—an inestimable treasure—the newest pasquils, the most daring and most biting that have yet appeared! They are a true intellectual treat."

"What a windfall! And against whom are they directed?" asked Diana of Sauveterre.

"Innocent creature that you are!" Blanche of Verceil returned. "Against whom can they be written if not against the Queen, against the Cardinal, against the court, and against the maids of honor of the Queen's 'Flying Squadron'? It is all of us who are the butts of the satirists."

"Those vicious people treat us with scant courtesy," exclaimed the black-haired Clorinde of Vaucernay. "But, at any rate, we are sung in superb and royal company. By Venus and Cupid, we should feel proud."

"Come, Blanche, read us the verses," Diana of Sauveterre suggested. "The Queen may send for us any moment before she retires."

Instead of complying at once with Diana's request, Blanche of Verceil pointed to Anna Bell, who remained in silent abstraction, and in a low voice said to her companions: "Decidedly, the little one is in love. Her ears do not prick up at the sound of that tickling word pasquil—a divine tid-bit of wit and wickedness the salt of which is worth a hundred fold, a thousand fold more than all the sugar of the candies."

"I wager she is dreaming awake of the German Prince of whom she speaks in her slumbers. How indiscreet sleep is! Poor thing, she thinks her secret is well kept," rejoined Clorinde of Vaucernay.

"Blanche, the pasquils," again cried Diana, impatiently. "I burn with curiosity to hear them."

"Honor to whom honor is due. We shall commence with our good dame the Queen;" and with these words Blanche read:

"People ask, What's the resemblance
’Tween Catherine and Jesebel:
One, the latter, ruined Israel,
And the former ruins France;
Extreme malice marked the latter,
Malice's self the former is;
Finally, the judgment fell
Of a Providence divine
Caused the dogs to eat up Jesebel,
While the carcass rank of Catherine
In this point doth differ much:
It not even the dogs will munch."[51]

The maids of honor broke out into peals of laughter. Anna Bell, still pensively seated apart at the open casement, let her eyes wander over space, a stranger to the hilarity of her companions. She paid no attention to the reading of the verses.

"You will yet see, in the event of our good Dame Catherine's being taken unawares and swallowing some of the sugar plums destined for her victims, that the rascally dogs may fear the remains of our venerable sovereign are poisoned—and will run away from her carcass," said Clorinde of Vaucernay.

"That pasquil should be read to the Queen. If she is in a good humor she will have a good laugh over it," put in Diana of Sauveterre.

"Indeed, few things amuse her more than bold and witty verses," acquiesced Blanche. "Do you remember how, when she read the 'Marvelous Discourses' from the satirical pen of the famous printer Robert Estienne, the good dame laughed heartily and said: 'There is some truth in that! But they do not know it all—how would it be if they were more fully posted!'[52] Now, listen. After the Queen, Monsieur the Cardinal, that is a matter of course. He is supposed to be dead—they wish he were—that also is natural. Here is his epitaph written in advance:

"The Cardinal, who, in his hours of life
Kept heaven, sea and earth all seething o'er,
In hell now carries on his furious strife,
And 'mong the damned, as erst 'mong us makes war.
"Why is it that upon his tomb is showered
The holy water in such rare profusion?
It is that there the torch of war lies lowered,
And all fear lest it flare to new confusion."[53]

"Poor Monsieur Cardinal!" exclaimed Diana of Sauveterre. "What a villainous calumny! He, such a poltroon as he, for a Guise—he is the most craven of all cravens—to compare him with a bolt of war!"

"No, not a bolt, but a torch," Blanche corrected. "He rests satisfied with holding the torch of war, like Madam Gondi, the governess of the royal Princes and Princesses, held the torch of Venus to light the amours of the late King Henry II, whose worthy go-between, or, to speak more plainly, whose Cyprian, she was."

"As for me," said Clorinde of Vaucernay, "I highly commend the Queen for having placed, as governess over her children, her own husband's go-between. It is a sort of hereditary office which can not be entrusted to hands too worthy, and should be perpetuated in titled families."

"Accordingly," said Blanche, "Gondi, faithful to the duties of her Cyprian employment, took charge of carrying the first love letter from Mademoiselle Margot[54] to young Henry of Guise, whom we are about to meet in the army of Marshal Tavannes. Hence evil tongues are saying: 'In these days, it is not the men who fall on their knees before the women, but the women who fall on their knees before the men and entreat them for amorous mercy.'"[55]

"Nothing wonderful in that!" replied Clorinde. "Is it not for a Queen to take the first step towards her subjects? What are we? Queens. What are the men? Our subjects. Besides that, Henry of Guise is so handsome, so brave, so amorous! Although he is barely eighteen years old, all the women are crazy over him—I first of all. My arms are open to him."

"Oh, Clorinde! If Biron were to hear you!" cried Diana of Sauveterre.

"He has heard me," answered Clorinde. "He knows that in pledging constancy, exception is always implied for an encounter with Henry of Guise. But let us hear the other pasquils, Blanche!"

"The next one," announced Blanche, "is piquant. It alludes to the new custom that the Queen has borrowed from Spain. It alludes to the title of Majesty that she wishes to be addressed by, as well as her children:

"The Kingdom of France, to perdition while lagging,
Has seized from the Spaniard his heathenish bragging:
It rigs up a mortal in godhead's travesty,
And when his estate with hypocrisy's smelling,
I plainly can see, and without any telling,
Our Majesty's booked—to be stript of majesty."[56]

"That last line is humorous," laughed Clorinde. "'Our Majesty's booked—to be stript of majesty.'"

"For want of the thing we take the name—that is enough to impose upon the fools," said Diana of Sauveterre.

Blanche pointed to their companion who was still seated by the window, now with her forehead resting on her hands, and said: "Look at Anna Bell. In what black melancholy is she plunged?"

"To the devil with melancholy!" answered Diana. "One has to fall in love with some German Prince in order to look so pitiful!"

"Who may the Prince Charming be?" Blanche inquired. "We know nothing of the secrets of that languishing maid, except a few words uttered by her in her sleep—'Prince—Germany!—Germany!—My heart is all yours. Alas, my love can not be shared.'"

"Can Anna Bell be German?" asked Clorinde.

"Ask our good Dame Catherine about that. She is no doubt acquainted with the mystery of Anna Bell's birth, and may enlighten you on what you want to know. As for me, I know nothing about it."

"The German Prince has turned her head and made her forget poor Solange altogether," said Clorinde.

"The most famous preachers, among them Burning-Fire and Fra Hervé the Cordelier, failed to draw the Marquis of Solange back to the fold of the Church. Anna Bell undertook his conversion, and, by grace from above—or from below—by virtue of her blue eyes or of her charming hips, the Huguenot became an ardent Catholic."

"But to whom does he render his devotions?" asked Clorinde, meaningly. "To the Church, or to the chapel of our little friend?" The maids of honor laughed uproariously and Clorinde continued: "But let us return to our pasquils."

"This one," resumed Blanche of Verceil, "is odd on account of its form—and the climax is droll. Judge for yourselves:

"The poor people endure everything;
The men-at-arms ravage everything;
The Holy Church pensions everything;
The favorites demand everything;
The Cardinal grants everything;
The Parliament registers everything;
The Chancellor seals everything;
The Queen-Mother runs everything;
And only the Devil laughs at everything;
Because the Devil will take everything."[57]

The loud hilarity of the maids of honor, whom the wind-up of the last pasquil amused intensely, finally attracted the attention of Anna Bell. Her face bore the impress of profound sadness; her eyes were moist. Fearing that she was the object of her companions' jests, the maid furtively wiped away her tears, stepped slowly towards the other young women, and let herself down beside Blanche of Verceil.

"We are somewhat after the fashion of the devil—we laugh about everything," said Clorinde to her. "You alone, Anna Bell, among us all, are as sad as a wife who sees her husband return from a long voyage, or beholds her gallant depart for the wars. What is the reason of your despondency?"

Anna Bell forced a smile, and answered: "Forget me, as the wife forgets her husband. To-day I feel in a sad humor."

"The remembrance, perhaps, of a bad dream?" suggested Blanche of Verceil, ironically. "Or perhaps bad news from a handsome and absent friend?"

"No, dear Blanche," replied Anna Bell, blushing, "I am affected only by a vague sorrow—without cause or object. Besides, as you are aware, I am not of a gay disposition."

"Oh, God!" broke in Diana of Sauveterre, excitedly. "By the way of dreams, I must tell you I had a most frightful one last night. I saw our escort attacked by the Huguenot bandits called the Avengers of Israel."

"Their chief is said to be a devilish one-eyed man, who attacks monks and priests by choice," said Blanche, "and, when he takes them prisoner, flays their skulls. He calls that raising them to the cardinalate, coifing them with the red cap!"

"It is enough to make one shiver with terror. One hears nothing but reports of such atrocities," exclaimed Clorinde.

"We need not fear that we shall fall into the hands of that reprobate," said Diana reassuringly. "We have attended a special mass for the success of our journey."

"I place but slight reliance upon the mass, my dear Diana, but a very strong one upon Count Neroweg of Plouernel, who commands our escort," replied Blanche. "The Huguenot bandits will not dare to approach our armed squadrons and light cavalry. The saber is a better protection to us than the priest's cowl."

"May God preserve us!" laughed Diana. "All the same, I would not regret undergoing a scare, or even running a certain degree of risk of being carried off, together with the accessory consequences—anything to see the frightened face of the Cardinal, who is as lily-livered as a hare."

"To tell the truth, I do not understand these charges of cowardice that you fling at the Cardinal, after so many proofs of valor given by him," said Blanche.

Diana of Sauveterre burst out laughing again. "You must be joking," she said, "when you speak of the 'bravery' of the Cardinal, and of the 'proofs of valor' given by him."

"No, indeed, my dear Diana," replied Blanche. "I am talking seriously. First of all, did he not carry bravery to the point of charging old Diana of Poitiers, as he would have done a citadel? Did he not accomplish another exploit in passing from the arms of Diana into those of our good Queen Catherine, though she be loaded with years and corpulence? Besides, we know," she added with a sinister smile, "that to play the gallant with Catherine is at times to court death. These are the reasons why I look upon the Cardinal as a Caesar."

"You would be talking to the point, my dear, if, instead of braving the one-eyed man, who has such a reputation for ferocity, the Cardinal were now to turn to the assault of some one-eyed woman," said Clorinde of Vaucernay.

"If heaven is just," said Diana, "it will yet place the Huguenot bandit face to face with the Cordelier Hervé. Then would we see terrible things. The monk commands a company of Catholics, all desperate men. For arms he has a chaplet, the beads of which are arquebus balls, and a heavy iron crucifix which he uses for a mace. All heretics who fall into the hands of the troop of Fra Hervé are put to death with all manner of refined tortures, whether they be men or women, old men or children. But do let us return to our pasquils."

"The best are still to come. They are the cleverest and drollest, but they are in prose;" and Blanche continued reading:

"New Works Belonging to the Court Library.

"The Pot-pourri of the Affairs of France, translated from the Italian into French by the Queen of France.

"The General Goslings' Record, by the Cardinal of Bourbon. A collection of racy stories.

"The History of Ganymede, by the Duke of Anjou, the Queen's favorite son."

"The dear Prince surely did not write that book without a collaborator," cried Diana of Sauveterre, laughing. "I wager the lovely Odet, the son of Count Neroweg of Plouernel, his aide-de-camp, must have helped the Duke of Anjou in his work. The two youngsters have become inseparable, day—and night!"

"O, Italiam! Italiam! O, Italy, the rival of Gomorrah and of Lesbos!" exclaimed Clorinde, laughing boisterously.

"You speak Latin, my dear?" asked Diana, amused.

"Simply out of shame," replied Clorinde, "in order not to frighten the modesty of the maids of honor, my pretty chickens."

"I have a horror of the little hermaphrodites," agreed Blanche. "They are decked out like women—gaudy ruffles, jewelry in their ears, fans in their hands! May Venus protect us from the reign of those favorites! May the fires of hell consume the popinjays! But to proceed with the pasquil. Attention, my dears:

"Singular Treatise on Incest, by Monsignor the Archbishop of Lyons, recently published and dedicated to Mademoiselle Grisolles, his sister. A pretty couple!

"Monsignor Archbishop studies reserved cases—in the confessional, in order to put them into practice.

"Sermons, by the reverend Father Burning-Fire, faithfully compiled by the street-porters of Paris.

"The Perfect Pig, by Monsieur Villequier, revised, corrected and considerably enlarged by Madam Villequier. Boar and sow!"

The maids of honor roared out aloud as they heard the burlesque title, and they repeated in chorus—"The Perfect Pig!"[58]

"Now comes the last and best," proceeded Blanche. "We are again the theme, together with our good Dame Catherine. Ours the honors, as ever. Meditate upon these dainties:

"Manifesto of the Court Ladies.

"Be it known to all by these presents that the Court Ladies have no less repentance than sins, as appears from the following lamentations.

"Catherine De Medici, the King's Mother.

"My God, my heart, feeling the approach of death, apprehends Thy wrath and my eternal damnation when I consider how many sins I have committed, as well with my body as through the violent death of others, even of near relatives—all in order to reign. How I have raised my children in vice, blasphemy and perfidy, and my daughters in unchaste licence, to the point of tolerating and even authorizing a brothel at my Court. France made me what I am. I unmake her all I can. With the good King David I say—Tibi soli peccavi."[59]

"That is carrying fiction to great lengths," laughed Diana of Sauveterre. "I do not believe our good Dame Catherine is capable of repenting any of the things laid to her door by the malignant pasquil—neither her debaucheries nor any of her other evil deeds—unchastities or assassinations."

"The word 'brothel' is rather impertinent when applied to us!" Clorinde exclaimed. "They should have said, like our dear Rabelais, 'an Abbey of Thalamia,' or 'a Monastery of Cyprus, of which the Queen is the Mother Abbess.' That would have been elegant—without doing violence to the truth. A 'brothel'—fie! fie! Nasty word! We are the priestesses of Venus—only that!"

"I was not aware, dearest, that you had become a model of prudishness!" returned Blanche of Verceil with exquisite mockery. "When you ply a trade you must be willing to accept its name, and be indifferent to the word with which it is designated;" and she proceeded to read:

"Manifesto of the Maids of Honor.

"Oh! Oh! Oh! My God! What is to become of us, Lord! Oh, what will be of us, if Thou dost not extend to us Thy vast, very vast mercy! We cry out to Thee in a loud voice that it may please Thee to forgive us the many carnal sins we have committed with Kings, Cardinals, Princes, knights, abbots, preachers, poets, musicians and all manner of other folks of all conditions, trades and quality, down to muleteers, pages and lackeys, and even further down—people corroded with disease and soaked in preservatives! Therefore do we say with the good Madam Villequier: 'Oh, Lord, mercy! Grant us mercy! And if we can not find a husband, let us join the Order of the Magdalens!'

"Done at Chercheau, voyage to Nerac.

"Signed, CUCUFIN.

"(With the permission of Monsignor the Archbishop of Lyons.)"[60]

Such was the cynicism and moral turpitude of the wretched girls, corrupted and gangrened to the core as they were since early childhood by the perversions of an infamous court and the example as well as the advice of Catherine De Medici, that this scorching satire, more than any of the other pasquils, provoked the boundless hilarity of the "Flying Squadron." All sense of decorum was blotted out. Anna Bell alone blushed and dropped her eyes.

The gay guffaws of the beautiful sinners were interrupted by the solemn entrance of their governess.

"Silence!" she commanded. "Silence, young ladies! Her Majesty is close by, in conference with Monseigneur the Cardinal."

"Oh, dear Countess!" answered Blanche of Verceil, endeavoring to smother the outbursts of her laughter. "If you only knew what a wicked pasquil we have just read! According to the author it would seem that we emerge from our dormitory like the goddess Truth out of her fountain, or with as scant clothing on our limbs as Madam Eve in her paradise."

"Less noise, you crazy lasses! Less noise!" ordered the governess; and addressing Anna Bell: "Come, dearest, the Queen wishes to have a talk with you after her conference with his Excellency the Cardinal. You are to wait for her summons in a cabinet, which is separated from the Queen's apartment by the little corridor. When you hear her bell ring three times, the usual summons, you are to go in."

Anna Bell went out with the governess, leaving her lightheaded and lighthearted companions in the room laughing and exchanging witticisms upon the pasquils.



Catherine De Medici and Cardinal Charles of Lorraine were in the midst of a conversation that started immediately after supper. The prelate, complaisant, sly and attentive to the slightest word of the Italian woman, showed himself alternately reserved and familiar, according to the turn that the conversation took. The Queen, on the other hand, intent, not so much upon what the retainer of the Guises said, as upon fathoming what he suppressed, at once hated and feared him, and sought to surprise upon his face the hidden secrets of his thoughts. Both the one and the other stood on their guard, the two accomplices in intrigue and crime vying with each other in dissimulation and perfidy, the Italian woman crafty, the prelate cautious.

"Monsignor Cardinal," remarked Catherine De Medici with a touch of irony in her tone, "you remind me at this moment—you must excuse the comparison, I am a huntress you know—"

"Your Majesty unites all the deities—Juno on her throne, Diana in the woods, Venus in her temple of Cytheria—"

"Mercy, Monsignor Cardinal, let us drop those mythological queens. They are old, they have lived their time—Diana, with the rest of them; they now inhabit the empyrean."

The pointed allusion to his amours with old Diana of Poitiers, Duchess of Valentinois, stung the haughty prelate to the quick. He meant to give tit for tat, and, in his turn hinting at his present amours with the Queen herself, he replied:

"I perceive, madam, that the death of the Duchess of Valentinois has not yet disarmed your jealousy. And yet, I feel hope re-rising in my heart—"

Catherine De Medici had yielded herself to the prelate out of political calculation, the same as he himself had laid siege to her out of political ambition. The Italian woman affected not to have understood the Cardinal's hint at their intimate relations, and darting upon him her viper's glance, proceeded:

"As I was saying, monsignor, when I begged you to excuse a comparison which I borrow from falconry, your oratorical circumlocutions remind me of a falcon's evolutions when he rises in the air to swoop down upon his prey. I have been searching through the mists of your discourse for the prey you are in pursuit of, and am unable to discover it. You induced me to join my son of Anjou in the army with the view of reviving the spirits of the Catholic chiefs. Meseems my faithful subjects should be sufficiently encouraged by the deaths of the Duke of Deux-Ponts, of Monsieur Condé, and of Dandelot, the brother of Coligny,—three of the most prominent chiefs of the Huguenot party, and all three carried off within a month. These are all fortunate events."[61]

"We see God's hand in that, madam," observed the Cardinal. "These three sudden deaths are providential. They are utterances from God."

"'Providential,' as you say Monsignor Cardinal," pursued the Queen. "Nevertheless, the Huguenots are pushing the campaign with great vigor, while the Catholic chiefs are flagging. You thought my presence at the camp of Roche-la-Belle would exert a favorable influence upon the fate of the campaign. Accordingly, I am on the way to join our army. Now, however, you indicate to me that this journey might lead to unexpected discoveries. You even dropped the word 'treason.' Once more I must say to you, Monsignor Cardinal, I see in all this the evolutions of the falcon, but not yet the prey that it threatens. In short, if there is treason, tell me where it lies. If there is a traitor, name him. Speak out plainly."

"Very well, madam. There is a plot concocted by Marshal Tavannes. The revelation seems to cause your Majesty to start. I beg your leave to go into the details of the affair. You will then be instructed upon its purpose."

"Monsignor Cardinal, no act of treason can surprise me. All I care to understand is the cause that brings the treason about. Please continue your revelations."

"I have it from good authority that Marshal Tavannes is negotiating with Monsieur Coligny. In present circumstances, negotiations smack of treason."

"And what do you presume, Monsignor Cardinal, is the purpose of the negotiations between Tavannes and Coligny?"

"To induce your Majesty's son, the Duke of Anjou, to embrace the Reformation and join the Huguenots."

"Is my son of Anjou supposed to be implicated in the plot? That, indeed, would mightily surprise me."

"Yes, madam. The Emperor of Germany and Monsieur Coligny have promised to the Duke of Anjou, in case he consents to go over to the reformers, the sovereignty of the Low Countries, of Saintonge and of Poitou. They hope to drive the young Prince into open revolt against his reigning brother, his Majesty Charles IX."

"Monsignor Cardinal, your insinuations, affecting as they do a son of the royal house of France, are of so grave a nature that I am bound to presume you have, ready at hand, the proofs of the plot which you are revealing to me. I demand that you produce the proofs instantly."

"I am at the orders of my Queen. I now hasten to spread before your Majesty's eyes the correspondence relating to the plot. Here is a letter from his Majesty Philip II of Spain, who was the first to get wind of the scheme, through one of his agents in the Low Countries. Furthermore, here are the written propositions from his Catholic Majesty and the Holy Father for common action with your Majesty against the Huguenot rebellion and heresy."

"What are the propositions of his Catholic Majesty and venerated Pontiff?"

"King Philip II and our Holy Father Pius V offer to your Majesty, besides the five thousand Walloon and Italian soldiers that now reinforce our army, a new corps of six thousand men—under the condition that your Majesty remove Marshal Tavannes and place the supreme command of the troops in the hands of the Duke of Alva."

"Accordingly," replied Catherine De Medici, fixing her eyes upon the Cardinal, "our two allies, His Holiness and King Philip II demand that the Duke of Alva, a Spanish general, be the commandant in chief of the French forces?"

"That is their condition, madam. But it is also agreed that the Duke of Alva is to exercise a nominal command only, and that the military operations shall be conducted by my brother of Aumale and my nephew Henry of Guise, who are to be his immediate subalterns."

Catherine De Medici remained impassive, betraying neither astonishment nor anger at the proposition to deliver the command of the French royal troops to the Duke of Alva, the pestiferous menial of Philip II, and to strengthen the Duke's hand with the support of the brother and the nephew of the prelate. The Queen seemed to reflect. After a short pause she said to the Cardinal:

"The proposition is not inacceptable. It may serve as the basis for some combination that we may offer later."

Despite his self-control, the Cardinal's face betrayed his secret joy. The Queen seemed not to notice it, and proceeded:

"The first thing to do would then be to withdraw my son of Anjou from the command of the army."

"The principal thing to do, madam, would be to remonstrate with the young Prince, and to separate him from his present evil advisers."

"That, indeed, would be the wisest course to pursue, if that plot exists, as I very much fear it can not be doubted in sight of the proofs you have presented to me. And yet, I must be frank to confess, I feel some repugnance against placing the Duke of Alva at the head of our army. I would be afraid, above all, of displeasing the other military chiefs and high dignitaries of our court. The measure will seem an outrage to them."

"I have the honor of reminding your Majesty that, in that case, my brother and my nephew will be joined to the Duke of Alva."

"You may feel certain, Monsignor Cardinal, that, without the express condition of Messieurs of Aumale and Guise being joined to the Spanish generalissimo, I would not for a moment have lent an ear to the scheme."

Thrown off the scent by the Queen, the prelate answered enthusiastically:

"Oh, madam, I swear to God the throne has not a more faithful supporter than the house of Guise."

"The fraud! The scamp!" said the Italian woman to herself. "I have probed his thoughts! I scent his treason! But I am compelled to conceal my feelings and to humor his family, however heartily I abhor it."

One of the Queen's pages, posted outside the door of the apartment and authorized at certain emergencies of the service to enter the Queen's cabinet without being called, parted the portieres, and bowing respectfully, said:

"Madam, the Count of La Riviere, captain of the guards of the Duke of Anjou, has just arrived from camp, and requests to be introduced to your Majesty immediately."

"Bring him in," answered Catherine De Medici. And as the page was about to withdraw, she added: "Should Monsieur Gondi arrive this evening, or even later in the night, let me be notified without delay."

The page bowed a second time, and withdrew. The Queen's last words seemed to cause the Cardinal some uneasiness. He asked with surprise:

"Does madam expect Monsieur Gondi?"

"Gondi must have received a letter from me at Poitiers, in which I ordered him to meet me at the camp of my son, instead of pursuing his route to Paris."

The Guisard had not quite recovered from his surprise when the Count of La Riviere, captain of the guards of the Duke of Anjou, was ushered in by the page. Catherine De Medici said to the prelate with a sweet smile:

"We shall see each other again to-night, Monsignor Cardinal. I shall need the advice of my friends in these sad complications. I shall want yours."

Charles of Lorraine understood that he was expected to withdraw; he bowed respectfully to the Queen and left the apartment, a prey to racking apprehensions.

The captain of the guards of the Duke of Anjou stepped forward, and presenting a letter to Catherine De Medici, said:

"Madam, my master ordered me to place this letter in your Majesty's own hands."

"Is my son's health good?" inquired the Queen, taking the missive. "What is the news in the army?"

"My master is in admirable health, madam. Yesterday there was a skirmish of vanguards between us and the Huguenots. The affair was of little importance—only a few men killed on either side."

Catherine broke the seal on the letter. As her eyes ran over its contents, her face, which at first was rigid with apprehension, gradually relaxed, and reflected gladness and profound satisfaction.

"The Guisard," she muttered to herself, "dared accuse my son of negotiating with Admiral Coligny. The infamous calumniator!" And turning to her son's ambassador: "My son informs me of your plan, monsieur. You wish to serve God, the King and France. Your arm and your heart are at our disposal?"

"Madam, I am anxious to emulate Monsieur Montesquiou—and to rid the King of one of his most dangerous enemies."

"You will surpass Monsieur Montesquiou if you succeed! One Coligny is worth ten Condés. But are you sure of the man whom my son mentions?"

"The man swore by his soul that he would not falter. He received six thousand livres on account of the fifty thousand promised to him. The rest is not to be paid until the thing is done. That is our guarantee."

"Provided he is not assailed with some silly qualms of conscience. But how did you become acquainted with the fellow?"

"Yesterday, as I just had the honor of advising your Majesty, there was a skirmish at our outposts. Admiral Coligny charged in person, and Dominic, that is the name of the man in question, led one of his master's relay horses by the reins—"

"He is, then, in the service of Monsieur Coligny?"

"Yes, madam; since infancy he has been attached to the Admiral's house. During the engagement he was separated from him. Two of our armed men were on the point of despatching Dominic, as we despatch all Huguenots, when, seeing me, he cried out 'Quarter!' 'Who are you?' I asked him. 'I am a servant of Monsieur the Admiral,' he answered. It suddenly flashed through my mind what profit we could draw from the man. Relying upon attaching him to me by the bonds of gratitude, I granted him his life. Later the proposition was made to him of causing the Admiral to drink a potion that we would furnish him with, and of a rich reward for himself."

"If your prisoner agreed readily to all," said the Queen, raising her head, "there is reason to suspect him."

"On the contrary, madam, he hesitated long. It was the magnitude of the promised sum that silenced his scruples. My master placed a certain powder in his hands and instucted him how to use it. The thing may be considered done."

"How is our man to explain his return to the heretic camp?"

"Very easily, madam. He will say that he was made a prisoner by us and escaped. The Admiral will not suspect a servant who was raised in his house."

"I hardly dare hope for success! In one month we have been rid of three enemies—the Duke of Deux-Ponts, Condé and Dandelot. Now it will be Coligny's turn! When is the man to leave our camp and rejoin the Huguenots?"

"This very night."


"If it shall please God, madam, our holy Church and the kingdom will have triumphed over a redoubtable enemy."

"How I wish it were to-morrow!" exclaimed Catherine De Medici in a hollow voice, as the page, reappearing at the portiere, announced:

"Madam, Monsieur Gondi and another rider are alighting from their horses. Obedient to your Majesty's orders I have hastened to give you the news, and await your orders."

"Summon Gondi to me," said the Italian woman; and addressing the Count of La Riviere: "Go and take rest, monsieur; you may depart early in the morning; you shall have a letter from me for my son. Whether the scheme succeed or not, we shall reward your zeal for the triumph of the Catholic faith and the service of the King—two sacred interests."

"Will your Majesty allow me to remind her that Maurevert has just received the necklace of the Order of St. Michael for having put the Huguenot captain, Monsieur Mouy to death, after having penetrated into the camp of the reformers under the pretext that he renounced the Catholic faith and embraced the Reformation? I would wish to be the object of a like distinction."

"Monsieur La Riviere, you shall be as satisfied with us as we are with you. Assassination, committed in the service of the King, deserves to be rewarded. You shall be decorated Knight of the Order of St. Michael."

The captain of the guards of the Duke of Anjou saluted the Queen and withdrew as Monsieur Gondi entered in traveling costume. This Italian shared with his countryman Birago the confidence of Catherine De Medici. Delighted, the Queen took two steps towards Gondi, saying with impatient curiosity:

"What tidings from Bayonne?"

"Madam, I do not come alone. I bring with me the reverend Father Lefevre, one of the luminaries of the faith, a pupil and disciple of the celebrated Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Order of Jesuits."

"But what is the result of your particular mission?"

"At the very first words with which I broached the matter to the Duke of Alva, he stopped me, saying: 'Monsieur Gondi, the reverend Father Lefevre is just about to proceed to the Queen for the purpose of considering with her the matter that brings you here. He has received the instructions of my master and of the Holy Father. He will disclose those instructions to the Queen.' It was impossible for me to draw anything further from the Duke of Alva. Accordingly, I had no choice but to return, madam, and to bring Father Lefevre to you."

"This is strange. What sort of a man is the Jesuit?"

"An impenetrable man. You can neither divine his thoughts, nor pick the lock of his secrets. You may judge for yourself when you shall have him before you. He requests an audience this very evening."

"And my daughter? What news from my poor Elizabeth?"

"The health of the Queen of Spain declines steadily, madam. She no longer leaves her bed."

"Alas, Gondi, we one of these days shall hear that Philip II has poisoned my daughter, as we learned last year that he caused his own son, Don Carlos, to be put to death. Oh, Philip! Thou crowned monk! Thou vampire that feedst on human blood!" And after a short pause: "Fetch me the Jesuit."

Gondi left and returned almost immediately, accompanied by the one-time friend of Christian the printer. The Queen made a sign to Gondi to be left alone with the Jesuit.

"You are Father Lefevre, and belong to the Society of Jesus? I understand that our Holy Father and the King of Spain have charged you with a mission to me. Speak, I am listening."

"Madam, the Holy Father and his Majesty Philip II are very much displeased—with you. Deign to acquaint yourself with this letter from his Holiness."

The Jesuit extracted from a silk wallet a schedule sealed with the pontifical seal, carried it respectfully to his lips, and handed it over to Catherine De Medici. The Queen broke the seal and read:

Madam and dearly beloved daughter:

In no way and for no reason whatever should you spare the enemies of God. I have issued orders to the commander of my troops, the Count of Santa Fiore, that he cause all the Huguenots that may fall into the hands of his soldiers to be KILLED ON THE SPOT. Accordingly, no human considerations for persons or things should induce you to spare the enemies of God, they never having spared either God or yourself. Only through the complete extermination of the heretics will the King be able to restore his noble kingdom to the old religion. The felons must be put to just torture and death.

Receive, madam, our apostolic benediction.


After reading the apostolic schedule, Catherine De Medici placed it upon a table and proceeded:

"I see, reverend Father, that both at Rome and Madrid I am charged with tolerance towards the Huguenots. I am blamed with prolonging the war. The two courts see in all this a political calculation on my part, whence it follows that if I continue to displease Rome and Madrid measures will be taken—"

"The Holy Father, the vicar of God on earth, has the power to release subjects from obedience to their sovereign, if he falls into heresy, deals with the same, or tolerates it."

"Proceed, reverend Father."

"The confirmatory bull of his Holiness Paul IV is formal—the Pope of Rome, by virtue of his divine right, is vested with power to excommunicate, suspend and depose all Kings guilty of divine lese majesté, or tolerant toward that irremissible crime. After which, the throne being declared vacant, it devolves upon the first good Catholic—who make take possession."

"That sounds like a threat, directed at my son Charles IX and at myself."

"It is a paternal warning, madam."

"In plain words, my son runs the risk of seeing himself deposed by the Pope."

"A disagreeable possibility, madam."

"Reverend Father, assuming the throne is declared vacant—by whom will our Holy Father have it filled? Surely not by a Bourbon, seeing the house of Bourbon is heretical. Consequently, the good Catholic Rome and Spain have in view probably is young Henry of Guise, the descendant of Charlemagne, according to the theory of the house of Lorraine."

"That is a temporal question which does not concern me, madam. It is, however, a notable fact that young Henry of Guise, son of the martyr of Orleans, carries a name that is dear to all Catholics."

"Accordingly, the purpose of your mission, reverend Father, is to convey a threat to me? But why blame me, a woman, with the slowness of the military operations against the Huguenots?"

"It is believed, madam, that you would look with too much disfavor upon a chief who would insure speedy triumph to the Catholic armies, and that you deliberately hamper the military operations by inciting rivalry among the several captains and setting them at odds. The strategic mistake of allowing the Duke of Deux-Ponts to penetrate into the very heart of France and carry a reinforcement of troops to the Huguenots is laid to your door. The junction of the two army corps is now an accomplished fact."

"The Duke of Deux-Ponts!" exclaimed Catherine De Medici with a sinister smile. "You do not seem to know what has befallen that heretic chief. But, before speaking of the miscreant, I wish to put you in condition to appreciate the facts concerning myself. I shall be frank—my interests command it."

"Madam, I am ready to hear."

"In order that you may have the key to my falsely interpreted conduct, I shall begin by making the following declaration to you—I have no religion! Does such an introduction, perchance, astonish or shock you?"

"By no means."

"Then, my reverend Father, we shall be able to understand each other. You justify—according to what is reported of your Order—tolerance for vice, provided appearances are saved. Now, then, I have no religion. It follows that I concern myself only with promoting my own ambition."

"Frankness can not be carried further."

"With the same outspokenness I shall add that I love power—to rule is life to me. I have been compared to Queen Brunhild. It is said I wink at precocious debauchery among my children with the view of unnerving and stupefying them. It is claimed I sow the seed of jealousy, intrigue and lechery among them."

"Those things are said—and many more, and more grave, madam."

"Some credence must be accorded to hear say, reverend Father. At least, in what concerns myself, people are rarely wide of the mark. But let me proceed. The religious wars have furnished me with the means of alternately cropping the crests, now with the aid of the ones, then with the aid of the others, of both the Catholic and the Protestant seigneurs, who, during my husband's reign, conceived the design of restoring their old feudal sovereignties. I still have the house of Guise to contend with, as Brunhild of old had the stewards of the palace on her hands. Thus I combated the Reformation, or gave comfort to the Huguenots against the Catholics, according as political exigencies dictated. At present I am well acquainted with the purposes of the Protestants, and I know how to conduct myself in order to annihilate them—when the moment shall have come to strike the decisive blow."

"You have unfolded to me your theories, madam, but you have recited not a single act in support of your predilection for our holy Church. We require proofs."

"Now let us pass to acts, reverend Father. A few minutes ago you mentioned the name of the Duke of Deux-Ponts, who hurried from Germany in aid of the Huguenots Condé, Coligny and his brother Dandelot."

"The hydra-heads of the heresy, madam."

"Well, reverend Father, already the hydra has three heads less. The Duke of Deux-Ponts is dead; Monsieur Dandelot is dead; the Prince of Condé is dead!"

The Jesuit, though stupefied, contemplated Catherine De Medici challengingly.

"Perhaps you would like to have some details concerning these great events," the imperturbable Queen pursued. "I shall satisfy your curiosity. The day following his junction with the Protestant army, the Duke of Deux-Ponts was poisoned. That is the word which is current. But you, reverend Father, and myself, look to facts, not words. The Duke of Deux-Ponts was poisoned with a cup of Spanish wine, that was poured out to him by a young beauty. Two days later, Dandelot, who suffered of a slow fever, was coaxed by another young beauty to swallow a pharmaceutical potion that quickly carried away both the disease and the patient. At the battle of Jarnac, the Prince of Condé, who had surrendered his sword to D'Argence under promise that his life would be safe, was shot down dead with a pistol by Montesquiou, a captain of my son of Anjou's guards. The occurrence came near turning my son crazy, such was his joy! When notified of what had happened, he hastened to the spot to see the corpse with his own eyes. He kicked it, and danced over and around it. It was a delirium! Finally, for fun, the thought struck him of placing the corpse across a she-ass, with the head dangling down on one side, the legs on the other. On that distinguished mount he returned the defunct general to the Protestant army, amid the hootings and cat-calls of our own soldiers.[63] That is the way my children treat their heretical relatives. Will his Holiness still insist that we deal with the Huguenots, or that we have any consideration for the enemies of the Church?"

"Oh, madam!" cried the Jesuit, almost choking with glee. "I lack words to express to you my admiration."

"And yet you claimed," proceeded Catherine De Medici with a hyena-like smirk, "that I favored the Huguenots! Would the Guisards, the Holy Father or Philip II do better than I? Hardly has the campaign opened when Condé, the soul of the French Protestant party, has ceased to breathe; the Duke of Deux-Ponts, the soul of the German party, has ceased to live; and Dandelot, one of the ablest Protestant generals, is also dead. Nor is that all!" added the Italian woman, taking from the table the letter of the Duke of Anjou, freshly brought to her by the captain of her son's guards, and passing it over to Lefevre, "Read this!"

The Jesuit took the letter, and, after informing himself of its contents, cried, contemplating the Queen with ecstasy:

"So that we may expect, to-morrow, to see Coligny effect a junction with his brother Dandelot!"

"Well, now, do you not think I have done a good deal of work?"

"Oh, you have accomplished and even exceeded all that the Holy Father and the King of Spain could have asked!"

"And yet, I still have information for you." Saying this, the Queen rang twice the bell near her. A page appeared. "Bring me," ordered Catherine, "the ebony casket that you will find in my chamber, on the table near my bed."

The page went out and Catherine turned again to the Jesuit:

"You surely know Prince Franz of Gerolstein by name and reputation?"

"I know, madam, that the principality of that heretical family is a hot-bed of pestilence. We keep our eyes open upon that nest of miscreants."

"The Duke of Deux-Ponts appointed as commander of his troops the aged general Wolfgang of Mansfeld, but did so with the recommendation that the active direction of operations be entrusted to the Prince of Gerolstein, a young, but one of the ablest German generals. This very night one of my maids of honor is to depart—"

The re-entrance of the page broke off the Queen's sentence. He deposited the casket beside Catherine and withdrew.

"You were saying, madam," observed Father Lefevre, "that one of your maids of honor was to depart this very night—"

"You seem to relish deeply my communications, reverend Father, and yet it was only a few minutes ago that you almost treated me like a Huguenot woman."

"Mercy, madam, a truce of raillery. The unexpected and happy tidings you have imparted to me were not known by the Holy Father and the King of Spain when I left them. I declare to you, madam, that these events modify profoundly my mission to your court."

"Well, reverend Father, I am constantly saying to the Spanish ambassador and the papal legate in France: 'Wait—let me do—have patience.' But all to no avail. The Holy Father yields to the inspirations of the agents of the Cardinal of Lorraine, while Philip II dreams of the dismemberment of France and desires to place Henry of Guise on the throne. In that Philip II plays a risky game, reverend Father! To overthrow the reigning dynasty of France would be to set a bad example to the people, and to deal a mortal blow to monarchy itself. We are living in frightful times. Everything conspires against royalty. The Huguenots, at least some of them who style themselves the most advanced in politics, proclaim the people's right to federate in a republic after the fashion of the Swiss cantons. And even you, my reverend Fathers, you also attack royal authority by preaching the doctrine of regicide."

"That is true, madam; we maintain that the Kings who do not labor for the greater glory of the Church must be smitten from the throne."

"Neither my sons nor I refuse to labor for the greater glory of the Church. It must be a matter of indifference to the Holy Father whether the Huguenots are exterminated by us or by the Guises, or by Spain. What advantage could the court of Rome derive from suppressing the dynasty of Valois?"

"His Holiness sees clearly through the game of the King of Spain. He will never favor Philip's ambitious designs to the injury of your dynasty—unless obliged thereto by your resistance to the court of Rome. We aim at the extirpation of heresy by the extermination of the Huguenots; and I have been commissioned, madam, to urge you to prosecute the war with vigor—"

"The war!" broke in the Queen impatiently, and with marked contempt and irony. "How come you, a Jesuit, a man of keenness and science, to make yourself the echo of the Pope and of Philip II, two nearsighted intellects? Let us reason together, my reverend Father. Would you, if you want to kill your enemy, choose the time when he is on his guard and armed? Would you not wait for when he sheathed his sword and was peacefully asleep in his house? And in order to lead him to that state of apparent security, would you not approach him with a smile on your lips, your hand outstretched, and with the words: 'Let us forget our enmity'?"

"But for the success of such tactics our enemy must have confidence in us."

"Protestations of friendship are supported by oaths."

"Oh! Oh! Vain hope! Your Majesty errs if you believe you can lull the suspicions of the Huguenots with oaths."

"I am of the school of Machiavelli, reverend Father; as such I have faith in the efficacy of oaths. Listen to this passage from the volume entitled The Prince. I learned it by heart; it deals upon this very subject: 'The animals whose appearance a Prince must know how to assume are the fox and the lion. The former defends himself but poorly against the wolf, while the latter readily falls into the snares laid for him. From the fox a Prince will learn how to be adroit, from the lion how to be strong. Whoever disdains the method of the fox knows nothing of governing men. In other words, a Prince neither can nor should keep his word, except when he can do so without injury to himself. The thing is to play his part well, and to know when to feign and dissimulate. To cite but one instance: Pope Alexander VI made deception his life-work. This notwithstanding, despite his well known faithlessness, he succeeded in all his artifices, protestations and oaths.' Did you hear, reverend Father," added the Italian woman interrupting her recitation and laying stress upon the word oaths, and she proceeded: "'Never before did any Prince break his word more frequently, or respect his pledges less, because he was master of the art of governing.'[64] Alexander VI was an incestuous Pope; he committed murder and sacrilege, yet there were those who believed they could rely upon his oath. I am said to be an incestuous mother; I am said to have caused blood to flow in streams; I am said to have caused my enemies to be poisoned; all these and many more misdeeds are imputed to me. Very well! Now, all this notwithstanding, they will place faith in my oaths. Judge the future by the past. Remember that after the revocation of the Edict of Amboise, the Huguenot party allowed itself to be trepanned by the Edict of Longjumeau, confirmed by our royal word. But let us now pass to another line of argument, my reverend Father. Please hand me yonder casket—not the one the page just brought in, the other."

The Jesuit placed on the table before the Queen the casket that she pointed out. She opened it with a little key suspended from her waist, and took out of it a scroll of paper which she handed to Father Lefevre.

"Inform yourself on this document, reverend Father," she said.

Father Lefevre read as follows:

"Summary of the matters primarily agreed upon between the Duke of Montmorency, Constable; the Duke of Guise, Grand Master and Peer of France; and Marshal St. André, for the conspiracy of the triumvirate, and subsequently discussed at the entrance of the sacred and holy Council of Trent, and agreed upon by the parties herein concerned at their private council held against the heretics and the King of Navarre, because of his maladministration of the affairs of Charles IX, minor King of France, the which King of Navarre is a partisan of the new sect which now infests France."

The Jesuit looked surprised. Deeply interested, he asked: "How is your Majesty in possession of this secret pact?"

"It matters not how."

The Jesuit proceeded to read:

"In order that the affair be conducted under the highest authority, it is agreed to vest the superintendence of the whole plan in the Very Catholic King of all the Spains, Philip II, who shall conduct the enterprise. He is to remonstrate with the King of Navarre on the score of the support that he affords to the new religion; and if the said Navarrais proves intractable, the said King Philip II is to endeavor to draw him over to him with the promise of the restitution of Navarre, or some other gift of great profit or emolument. By these means the said King Philip II is to soften him, to the end of inducing him to conspire against the heretical sect. If he still resists, King Philip II shall raise the necessary forces in Spain, and fall unexpectedly upon the territory of Navarre, which he will be easily able to be overrun, while the Duke of Guise, declaring himself at the same time chief of the Catholic confession, shall from his side gather armed men, and, thus pressed from two sides, the territory of Navarre can be easily seized."

"So you see, reverend Father, the pact dates back to 1651—eight years ago—and already then did Francis of Guise declare himself chief of the Catholic confession, under the protection of the King of Spain. Neither myself, the Regent, nor my son, the King of France, although then a minor, is at all taken into consideration."

The Jesuit proceeded to read aloud:

"The Emperor of Germany and other Princes who have remained Catholic shall block the passages to France during the war in that country, in order to prevent the Protestant Princes from coming to the aid of the Navarrais, and they will also see to it that the Swiss cantons remain quiet. To that end it will be necessary that the Catholic cantons declare war upon the Protestant ones, and that the Pope give all the assistance in his power to the said Catholic cantons, and that he subsidize them with money and other necessaries for the war.

"While war is thus keeping France and Switzerland busy, the Duke of Savoy shall fall unexpectedly upon Geneva and Lausanne, shall seize the two cities, and shall put all the inhabitants who resist to the sword, and all the others shall be thrown into the lake, WITHOUT DISTINCTION OF AGE OR SEX, to the end that all may be made to feel that divine Providence has compensated for the postponement of punishment with its grandeur, and wills that the children suffer for the heresy of their parents, obedient to the Biblical text."

"Oh, we must all admit, madam," exclaimed the Jesuit, interrupting his reading, "Duke Francis of Guise is nourished with the marrow of Catholicism—"

"We of the house of Valois will suck the identical bone, and we will verify the dream of the Guisard, who was assassinated the very day after he signed this pact—"

Again the Jesuit proceeded to read:

"The same in France. For good and just reasons all the heretics, without distinction, must be massacred at one blow. The peace shall be put to that use. And this mission of exterminating all the members of the new religion shall be entrusted to the Duke of Guise, who shall, moreover, be charged with entirely effacing the name and stock of the lineage of the Navarrian Bourbons, lest from them there may arise some one to undertake the revenge of these acts, or the restoration of the new religion. All these matters are to be kept in mind.

"Matters being thus disposed of in France, it will be well to invade Protestant Germany with the aid of the Emperor and the bishops, and to restore that country to the holy apostolic See. To this end, the Duke of Guise shall lend the Emperor and other Catholic Princes all the moneys proceeding from the confiscations and spoils of so many nobles and rich bourgeois, KILLED in France as HERETICS. The Duke of Guise shall be later reimbursed from the spoils of the Lutherans, who, by reason of the same taint of heresy shall have been killed in Germany.

"The Cardinals of the Sacred College have no doubt that, in the same manner, all the other kingdoms can be turned into the flocks of the apostolic shepherd. But, first of all, may it please God to help and favor these purposes, they being HOLY AND FULL OF PIETY."[65]

"Holy and full of piety were these Catholic purposes!" exclaimed the reverend Father Lefevre laying the pact of the triumvirate upon the table. "Alas, death palsied the hand of the Duke of Guise at the very beginning of his great work!"

"The Lord evidently wished, my reverend Father, to reserve for us, the Valois, the execution of the project that the Guisard organized with a motive of purely personal ambition. I shall hatch the bloody egg that the Lorrainian laid. But the chick can not break the egg except during peace. Then the Huguenots will have ceased to be on their guard; then they will be dozing in false security. The work of extermination will be accomplished with the help of a peace that we shall have brought about. All will be killed—men and women, children and the aged. Not one heretic will escape the avenging sword. Let Rome and Madrid give me time to move! Let Pius V and Philip II give over harassing me continually with their threats on the ground that the war is dragging along! Are hostilities to be suddenly stopped? No, indeed! I must profit, as I have already profited, by all opportunities to destroy as many Huguenots as possible, especially their leaders. The Duke of Alva is right: 'One salmon is worth more than a thousand minnows.' At the first favorable juncture I shall negotiate peace with the Protestants, and grant them all they may demand. The more favorable the treaty shall be to the Huguenots, all the smoother will the rope run that is to strangle them. When the edict is promulgated it shall be scrupulously carried out, in order to induce our adversaries to disarm. At the right moment we shall organize the general massacre, for one day, all over France."

"The Holy Father and the King of Spain shall be posted on your Majesty's project. They will be notified that it is thanks to you, the Duke of Deux-Ponts, Dandelot and the Prince of Condé have been dismissed to appear before their natural Judge."

"People of your cloth, my reverend Father," replied the Queen, "know how to impart an ingenious and peculiar turn to the description of events."

"Madam, seeing we are considering those people in whose behalf we simply advance the hour of final judgment, I wish above all to recommend to the attention of your Majesty that most dangerous German Prince—Franz of Gerolstein."

"The young Prince came last year to my court shortly before the reformers took up arms. He is brilliant, daring and gifted with great military talent. It was due to his influence that the Duke of Deux-Ponts decided to bring to the Protestant army the reinforcement it received of German troops. To-day Franz of Gerolstein is the real head of the forces over which Wolfgang of Mansfeld exercises but titular authority."

"Do you expect to deliver the Church of that pestilential Gerolstein?"

"One of my maids of honor is to take charge of that delicate mission, my reverend Father—" and stopping suddenly short and listening in the direction of a little door that communicated with the apartment, Catherine De Medici asked: "Did you not hear a sound, something like a suppressed cry outside there?"

"No, madam."

"It seems to me I heard a voice behind that door. Throw it open," whispered Catherine to Father Lefevre; "see, I beg you, if there is someone listening!"

The Jesuit rose, pushed open the door, looked out, and returned: "Madam, I can see nobody; the corridor is dark."

"I must have deceived myself. It must have been the moaning of the wind that I heard."

"Madam," said Father Lefevre as he resumed his seat, "once we are considering dangerous persons, I request you to mention to your generals two heretics in particular—Odelin Lebrenn and his son, armorers by trade, who serve in the Admiral's army as volunteers. I would urge you to recommend to your generals that they spare the lives of both heretics if they are ever taken prisoners."

"Did I understand you correctly, my reverend Father? The lives of the two miscreants are to be spared?"

"The grace extended to them will be but a short respite, which we would put to profit by wresting from them certain valuable secrets with the aid of the rack—before dismissing them to their supreme Judge."

"Those are details, my reverend Father, with which I can not burden myself. Upon such matters you must treat with Count Neroweg of Plouernel, the chief of my escort."

At the name of Neroweg of Plouernel the Jesuit gave a slight start. With a face expressive of gratification he remarked: "Madam, Providence seconds my wishes. There is none fitter than the Count of Plouernel for me to address myself to in this affair."

"Let us return to more weighty questions, my reverend Father. I have still two words to say to you concerning the Cardinal of Lorraine. This evening the Guisard strove to make me believe that Marshal Tavannes, the commandant of the army of my son of Anjou, was treating secretly with Coligny. According to the Cardinal, the plot is to offer my son the sovereignty of the Low Countries, besides Guyenne and other provinces, upon condition that he embrace the Reformed religion. Have you received any inkling of these projects through your spies? Unless your own interests render it necessary for you to deceive me on this head, answer me truthfully. I know how to hear and bear the full truth on all matters."

The Jesuit reflected for a moment; he then made answer: "Yes, madam; we are informed on those negotiations—indeed, it is due to that very information that it was decided to send me upon the present mission to your Majesty."

"And, with the view of thwarting the plot, did the Cardinal of Lorraine induce Philip II to propose the Duke of Alva to me for general-in-chief of the Catholic army, with young Henry of Guise, the Cardinal's nephew, and his brother, the Duke of Aumale, as Alva's lieutenants?"

"The proposition was made to the King of Spain. It is true."

"Who, no doubt, received it favorably?"

"Yes, madam. But his Catholic Majesty was not then aware of the latest happenings which you communicated to me, the same as he is still ignorant of your resolution to put an end to the heresy when the moment shall have come to strike the decisive blow, as you explained it."

"You are now informed on the contents of the letter which I showed you from my son of Anjou, regarding the project against Coligny. The Cardinal lied knowingly when he accused my son of dealing with the Admiral. Of course he knows the Marshal and my son will stoutly deny the charge. He merely seeks to arouse doubts and suspicions in my mind, hoping I may be frightened into transferring the command of the French army into the hands of the Duke of Alva and his nephew."

"The Cardinal's falsehood, madam, did not lack skill. It was an adroit diplomatic move."

"Now, my reverend Father, let me sum up our interview—war upon the Huguenots, merciless war, while it lasts; thereupon the offer or acceptance of a peace, which is to be utilized by us in preparing their extermination. That is my line of conduct."

"My mission to you is ended, madam. To-morrow I shall take my departure and return to inform the King of Spain and the Holy Father of the happy deeds done, and those in contemplation, all of which guarantee the execution of your promises for the future."

"My reverend Father, is it in my power to bestow any favor upon you, to grant you a present? It is a right enjoyed by all negotiators."

"Madam, we care but little for the goods and honors of this world. All I shall ask of you is to cause your son, King Charles IX, to change his confessor, and take one from our Society, the reverend Father Auger. He is an able and accommodating man, skilful in understanding everything, permitting everything—and advising everything."

"I promise you I shall induce my son Charles to take Father Auger for his confessor. Good night, my reverend Father, go and rest. I shall see you to-morrow before your departure and deliver to you a letter for the Holy Father."

The Queen rang twice the little bell that lay at her elbow. A page entered: "Conduct the reverend Father to Count Neroweg of Plouernel."

She then rang again, not twice, but three times. After bowing to Catherine De Medici the Jesuit withdrew upon the steps of the page. Almost immediately Anna Bell stepped into the apartment through the door that opened upon the corridor.

Catherine De Medici was struck by the pallor and the troubled, almost frightened, looks of her maid of honor as she presented herself upon the summons of the bell. Fastening a penetrating look upon Anna Bell, the Queen said:

"You look very pale, dearest; your hands tremble; you seem unable to repress some violent emotion."

"May your Majesty deign to excuse me—"

"What is the cause of your great agitation?"

"Fear, madam. I was hurrying to answer your summons, and—as I crossed the dark corridor—whether it was an illusion or reality, I know not, madam, I thought I saw a white figure float before me—"

"It must be the ghost of some deceased belle, who, expecting still to find here the sturdy abbot of the monastery, came to pay him a nocturnal visit. But let us leave the dead to themselves, and turn our thoughts to the living. I love you, my pet, above all your companions."

"Your Majesty has taken pity upon a poor girl."

"Yes; it is now about eight or nine years ago, that, as Paula, one of my women, was crossing the Chatelet Square, she saw an old Bohemian wench holding a little girl by the hand. Struck by the beauty and comeliness of the little one, Paula offered to buy her. The gypsy quickly closed the bargain. Paula told me the story. I desired to see her protegé. It turned out to be yourself. The Bohemian woman must have kidnapped you from some Huguenot family, I fear, judging from a little lead medal that hung from your neck and bore the legend—A Pastor calling the sheep of the Church out of the desert—a common expression in the cabalistic cant of those depraved people."

"Alas! madam, I preserve no other memento of my family—you will pardon me for having kept the medal."

"Well, from the instant that Paula brought you before me I was charmed with your childish gracefulness. I had you carefully trained in the art of pleasing, and placed you among my maids of honor."

"Your Majesty enjoys my unbounded gratitude. Whenever you commanded I obeyed, even when you exacted a sacrifice—whatever it may have cost me—"

"You are alluding, my pet, to the conversion of the Marquis of Solange! I said to you: 'Solange is a Huguenot; he is influential in his province; should war break out again, he may become a dangerous enemy to me; he contemplates leaving the court;—make him love you, and be not cruel to him; a handsome lass like you is well worth a mass.' The bargain was struck. We now have one Catholic more, and one virgin less."

Anna Bell hid her face, purple with shame.

Without seeming to notice the young girl's confusion, Catherine De Medici proceeded: "By the virtue of your beautiful eyes Solange has become a fervent Catholic and one of my most faithful servitors. You gave me in that instance proof of your complete devotion. For the rest, it was a sweet sacrifice on your part, my pet; Solange is an accomplished nobleman, young, handsome, brave and witty. It is not now about that lover that we have business on hand. I have other plans for you. I am thinking of marrying you. I wish to make a Princess of you, and verify the most cherished of your secret wishes—which I have guessed. Anna Bell, you do not love Solange; you never loved him; and you nourish in the recesses of your heart a desperate passion for the young Prince Franz of Gerolstein."

"Good God! Madam. Have pity upon me! Mercy!"

"There is nothing pitiful in the matter. The Prince is made to be loved. His reputation for bravery, magnificence and gallantry ran ahead of him to my court, where you saw him last year. He often conversed with you tête-a-tête. When other women sought to provoke him with their allurements your face grew somber. Oh, nothing escapes me! Affairs of state do not absorb me to the point that I can not follow, with the corner of my eye, the cooings of my maids of honor. It is my mental relaxation. I love to see beauty in its youth devote itself to the cult of Venus, and put in practice the saying of Rabelais' Thalamite—'Do what you please!' How often did I not seat myself among you, my dear girls, to chat about your gallants, your appointments, your infidelities! What delightful tales did we not tell! How you all led the poor youngsters by the nose! Truth to say, they returned you tit for tat, and with usury, to the greater glory of the goddess Aphrodite! And yet, my pet, although I had trained you a true professional of the Abbey of Thalamia, with Cupid for your god and Voluptuousness for your patron saint, you ever remained out of your element among your companions. Serious and melancholy, you are a sort of nun among my other maids. What you need is devoted and faithful love; a husband whom you can adore without remorse; a brood of children to love. That is the reason, my pet, why I wish to marry you to Franz of Gerolstein."

"It pleases your Majesty to mock me—take pity upon poor Anna."

"No joke! You admit you love the young and handsome German Prince. I can read in your soul better than you could yourself. I shall tell you what your thoughts are at this moment: 'Yes, I love Franz of Gerolstein! But a deep abyss separates us two, and will always separate me from him. He is in the camp opposed to that of the Queen, my benefactress; he is the head of a sovereign house; he is ignorant of my passion, and if he did know, he never could think of wedding me! What am I? A poor girl picked up from the street. I already have had one gallant. Besides, Catherine De Medici's maids of honor enjoy a bad, a deservedly bad, reputation. The satires and the pasquils designate us with the appellation of the Queen's Flying Squadron. I should be crazy to think of marriage with Franz of Gerolstein—'"

"Madam, take pity upon me!" broke in Anna Bell, no longer able to restrain her tears. "Even if what you say is true, even if you read to the very core of my thoughts—please do not sport with my secret sorrows."

"My pet, hand me the little casket of sandal wood, ribbed in gold, that lies upon yonder table. It contains wonderful things."

Anna Bell obeyed. The Queen selected one of the little keys attached to her girdle and opened the casket. Nothing could be more fascinating to the eyes than the contents of the chest—embroidered and perfumed gloves, smelling apples, dainty-looking vermillion confectionery boxes, filled with sugar plums of all colors, and several vials of gold and crystal. Catherine De Medici picked out one of these, reclosed the casket carefully and returned it to Anna Bell. The maid of honor replaced it upon the table and returned to the Queen. Smiling benignly and holding up the golden, glistening vial before her victim, the Queen said: "Do you see this, my pet? This little vial encloses the love of Franz of Gerolstein."

"What a suspicion!" was the thought that flashed through Anna Bell's mind and froze her to the floor. But the terror-stricken girl quickly regained her self-control at that critical moment. "I must not," was the second thought that flashed through her mind close upon the first, "I must not allow the Queen to notice that I know her purpose."

"Do you believe, my pet, in the potency of love-philters?"

"This evening," answered the young girl with an effort to control her emotions, "this very evening Clorinde of Vaucernay was telling us, madam, that a lady of the court succeeded by means of one of those enchanted potions in captivating a man who, before then, had a strong dislike for her."

"You, then, believe in the potency of philters?"

"Certainly, madam," answered Anna Bell anxious not to awaken the Queen's suspicions; "I must have full confidence in their efficacy, seeing it is proved by such incontestable facts."

"The merest doubt on the subject is unallowable, my pet; to doubt would be to shut one's eyes and deny the light of day. Now, my little beauty, the philter contained in this vial, is put together by Ruggieri, my alchemist, under the conjunction of marvelously favorable planets. It is of such virtue that only a few drops, if poured out by a woman who wishes to be loved by a man, would suffice to turn him permanently amorous of her. Take this philter, my pet—go and find your Prince Charming. Let him drink the contents of this vial—and grant him the gift of an amorous mercy."

Anna Bell no longer suspected, she comprehended the Queen's intentions. For a moment she was seized with terror and remained silent, mechanically holding the vial in her hand. The Queen, on her part, attributing the stupor and silence of Anna Bell to an excess of joy, or, perhaps, to the apprehension caused her by the thought of the many and great dangers to overcome in order to approach her Prince, proceeded to allay her fears:

"Poor dear girl, you are as speechless as if, awakened with a start from a dream, you find it a reality. You are surely asking yourself what to do in order to reach Franz? Nothing easier—provided your courage is abreast of your love."

Controlling her troubled mind, Anna Bell answered with composure: "I hope, madam, I do not lack courage."

"Listen to me carefully. We are only a few leagues from the enemy's army. I shall issue orders to Count Neroweg of Plouernel to furnish you with a safe conduct up to the Huguenot outposts. You shall be carried in one of my own litters, drawn by two mules. By dawn to-morrow morning you can not fail to run against some scout or other making the rounds of the Protestant camp—"

"Great God! madam. I tremble at the bare thought of falling into the hands of the Huguenots!"

"If your courage fail you, all will run to water. But you may be quite certain that you run no risk whatever. The Huguenots do not kill women—especially not such handsome ones as yourself. You will be merely the prisoner of the miscreants."

"And what am I to do then, madam?"

"You will say to those who will arrest you: 'Messieurs, I am one of the Queen's maids of honor; I was on my way to join her Majesty; the leader of my litter struck a wrong road; please take me to Prince Franz of Gerolstein.' The rest will go of itself. The Huguenots will take you to the Prince. Like the nobleman that he is, my little beauty, he will keep you at his lodgings or in his tent, he will yield you the place of honor at his table—and—in his bed. You will have more than one opportunity to improve Franz's wine with a few drops of the philter."

The Queen's instructions were interrupted at this point by the entrance of a page who came to announce that Count Neroweg of Plouernel prayed for admission to the Queen's presence upon pressing and important matters. Catherine ordered the page to introduce the Count, and she bade Anna Bell godspeed, kissing her on the forehead and adding these last instructions:

"Prepare immediately for your journey, my pet. The Count of Plouernel will appoint the guide who is to accompany you. One of my equerries will get a litter ready. I expect to see you again before your departure."

The maid of honor followed the Queen's instructions. Seeing that the interview with the Count of Plouernel lasted longer than she had anticipated, Catherine De Medici was prevented from seeing Anna Bell again, and sent her a note to depart without delay.

Towards one o'clock in the morning the maid of honor mounted in one of the Queen's litters, left the Abbey of St. Severin.



The sun was rising. Its early rays gilded the crest of a forest about a league distant from St. Yrieix, a large burg that served as the center of the Protestant encampment. A chapel, formerly dedicated to St. Hubert by an inveterate hunter, raised its dilapidated walls on the edge of the wood, the skirts of which were now guarded by mounted scouts, posted at long intervals. The chapel had been devastated during the religious wars. Its belfries, the capitals and the friezes of its portico were broken; its windows were smashed in; the statue of St. Hubert, the patron of hunters, lay decapitated in the midst of other debris, along with that of the seigneur who founded the holy shrine, chosen by him for his sepulcher. The fragments of his marble image, representing him lying prone, with hands joined in prayer, hunting horn slung over his shoulder, his favorite greyhound stretched at his feet—all lay strewn around the mortuary vault, now gaping wide open and cumbered with ruins. The interior of the chapel now served as a stable, and also as guardhouse to a picket squad of the Huguenot army, posted at the spot. The pickets' horses, ready saddled and bridled, stood drawn up in double row in one of the low-roofed aisles and on either side of a door that communicated with the old vestry. For want of forage the beasts were eating the green leaves of large bunches of branches thrown at their feet. The riders, either standing, or seated, or stretched out at full length, wrapped in their cloaks, were not dressed in uniform. Their offensive and defensive arms, however, dissimilar and worn, were in usable condition.

This band of Huguenot volunteers took the name of the Avengers of Israel. Josephin, the Franc-Taupin, named by the Catholics "The One-Eyed," was their commander. On all occasions the Avengers of Israel approved themselves animated by an intrepidity that was matchless, always claiming for themselves the post of greatest danger, and always found first in battle. The indomitable courage of the Franc-Taupin, his exceptional skill in guerilla warfare, his pitiless hatred for the papists, upon whom he swore to avenge the fate of his sister Bridget and his niece Hena, earned for him the leadership of these resolute men.

On this day, at sunrise, the commander presided at a species of tribunal consisting of several of his companions in arms, all seated in the midst of the ruins of the chapel of St. Hubert. The years had whitened the hair and beard of the Franc-Taupin, without impairing the fiber of his energy. An old rust-covered steel breastplate over his chest answered the purpose of corselet; his wide hose of red cloth were half covered by a pair of high leather boots heavy with dust; at his belt, which also contained his cartridges, hung a short stick suspended from a piece of pack-thread, and indented with sixteen notches—each tallying the death of a priest or monk. The dagger of fine Milan steel, a present from Odelin, hung on the Franc-Taupin's right side, while at his left he wore a long sword with an iron hilt. The Franc-Taupin's bronzed and haggard features, rendered all the more sinister by the large black patch which covered one eye, were at this moment expressive of sardonic cruelty. He was sitting in judgment upon a Cordelier, a man of tall and robust build, who was captured in the early morning prowling in the forest. Some letters found about his person proved that the tonsured gentleman was a spy of the royalist army, and one of the Avengers of Israel recognized him as one of the monks who took part in the carnage of Mirebeau, where nearly twelve hundred Huguenot prisoners were put to death with frightful refinements of cruelty. Surrounded by several of his companions, who, like himself, were seated upon the ruins of the altar, the Franc-Taupin drew his dagger and was engaged in leisurely sharpening it upon a stone that he held between his knees, without looking at the monk who, livid with rage and terror, and standing a few steps aside with his arms tied behind his back, was uttering maledictions at the top of his voice:

"Accursed and sacrilegious wretches! You abuse your strength! The hand of the Lord will fall heavy upon you! Heretical dogs!"

The Franc-Taupin calmly sharpened his dagger. "Good!" he exclaimed. "Be brave, my reverend! Disgorge your monastic bile! Crack your apostolic hide! It will not make your fate any worse. Be prepared for the worst, and you will still be far behind what I have in store for you. We care nothing for your threats."

"Neither can anything render your fate worse than it will be, reprobates," howled the Cordelier, "when the whole pack of you, to the very last one, will be hurled into the pit of everlasting flames!"

"By my sister's death!" the Franc-Taupin answered. "You make a mistake to mention 'flames.' You remind me of what I never forget—the fate of my niece, who, poor innocent creature, was plunged twenty-five times into the burning pyre. Brothers, instruct the tonsured fellow upon our reasons for enrolling ourselves in the corps of the Avengers of Israel, and why we are pitiless."

Accordingly, while the Franc-Taupin continued to whet his dagger, one of the Huguenot soldiers thus addressed the monk:

"Monk, listen! In full peace, after the Edict of Orleans, my house was invaded during my absence by a band of fanatics. The vicar of the parish led them. My old and blind father, who remained at home in my house, was strangled to death. It is to avenge my father that I enrolled myself with the militia of the Avengers of Israel. Therefore, death to the papist Church! Death to all the tonsured felons!"

"Marshal Montluc held command in Guyenne," continued a second Huguenot. "Six soldiers, attached to his ordnance company, lodged at our farm-house. One day they forced the cellar door, drank themselves drunk, and violated my brother's wife. Wounded with cutlass cuts in his endeavor to defend her, he dragged himself bleeding to the headquarters of Marshal Montluc to demand justice. Montluc ordered him to be hanged! Monk, I have sworn to avenge my brother! Death to the papists!"

"I also am from Guyenne, like my companion," came from another Huguenot. "One Sunday, relying upon the Edict of Longjumeau, I attended services with my mother and sister. A company of Marshal Montluc's swashbucklers, led by a chaplain, invaded the temple, chased out the women, locked up the men in the building, and set it on fire. There were sixty-five of us inside, all without arms. Nine succeeded in making their escape from the flames. The rest, burned, smothered by the smoke, or crushed under the falling roof, all perished. The women and young girls were dragged to a nearby enclosure; they were stripped to the skin; they were then compelled at the point of pikes to dance naked before the papist soldiers; and were finally forced to submit to the lechery of their persecutors. My mother was killed in her endeavor to save my sister from that crowning outrage; nine months later my sister died in childbed of the fruit of her rape. Monk, I swore to avenge my sister! I swore to avenge my mother! Death to the papist seigneurs and nobles!"

"I come from Montaland, near Limoges," a fourth Huguenot proceeded. "Three months after the new edict, I attended services with my young son. A band of peasants, led by two Carmelites and one Dominican, rushed into the temple. My poor boy's head—he was not yet fifteen—was cut off with a scythe, and stuck upon a pole. Monk, I swore to avenge my son! Death to the whole monastic vermin!"

"Was it I, perchance, who committed the acts that you are seeking to avenge?" howled the Cordelier. "Cowardly felons!"

At this the Franc-Taupin interrupted the sharpening of his dagger, cast a sardonic look at the monk, and cried: "Oh! Oh! This is the seventeenth time I hear that identical remark—you being the seventeenth tonsured gentleman whom I sentence. Do you see this little stick? I cut a notch in it at each reprisal. When I shall have reached twenty-five the bill will be settled—my sister's daughter was plunged twenty-five times into the furnace, at the order of the Catholic priests, the agents of the Pope.

"Monk, it stands written in the Bible: 'Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.'[66] Well, now, instead of burning you, as should be done, I purpose to make you a Cardinal."

Saying this the soldier of fortune described with the point of his dagger a circle around his head. The monk understood the meaning of the frightful pantomime. The Avengers of Israel threw him down and held him fast at the foot of the altar. The Franc-Taupin passed his thumb along the edge of his weapon, and sat down upon his haunches beside the patient. At that moment one of the riders rushed precipitately into the chapel, shouting:

"A good prize! A good prize! A maid of honor of Jezebel!"

The arrival of the captive girl suspended the torture of the monk who remained pinioned at the feet of Josephin. The Franc-Taupin rose, and cast a look upon the female captive, who was none other than Anna Bell. The features of the hardened soldier relaxed, a tremor ran over his frame, he hid his face in his hands and wept. It seemed to him as if he saw in the young captive Hena, the poor martyr he so deeply mourned! The otherwise inexorable man remained for a moment steeped in desolate thoughts, in the midst of the profound silence of the Avengers of Israel. The maid of honor stood cold with fright. She realized she was in the power of the terrible One-Eyed man, the ferocity of whom spread terror among the Catholics.

The Franc-Taupin passed the back of his hand over his burning and hollow eye, the fierce fire of which seemed kindled into fiercer flame by the tear that had just bathed it. Turning with severity to Anna Bell he ordered her to step nearer:

"You are a maid of honor to the Queen?"

With a trembling voice Anna Bell replied: "Yes, monsieur, I belong to her Majesty the Queen."

"Where do you come from?"

"From Meilleret. Tired with travel, I stopped for rest at the village. From there I proceeded on my journey to join the Queen.—My guide lost his way. Your riders stopped my litter.—Have pity upon me and order that I be taken to Monsieur the Prince of Gerolstein. I think I may rely upon his courtesy."

"At what hour did you leave Meilleret?"

"About one this morning."

"You lie! It is hardly five o'clock now—you traveled in a litter—it takes more than eight hours to come from Meilleret to this place on horseback and riding fast."

"Monsieur, I conjure you, have me taken to the Prince of Gerolstein—it is the only favor I entreat of your kindness," cried Anna Bell, trembling and stammering.

Struck by the insistence with which the maid of honor requested to be taken to Prince Franz of Gerolstein, the Franc-Taupin contemplated her with mistrust. Suddenly he ordered:

"Search the woman!"

Two Huguenots executed the order, and extracted from Anna Bell's pockets a purse, a letter and the gold vial. The Franc-Taupin opened the letter, the seal of which was broken; read it; looked puzzled over a passage in the missive and remained for a moment thoughtful. But immediately struck by a sudden inspiration, he darted a fierce glance at the maid of honor, examined the gold vial in silence, and holding it up to Anna Bell, said:

"Woman, what does that vial contain?"

With a great effort, Anna Bell replied, "I—I—know not."

"Oh, you know not!" cried the Franc-Taupin, breaking out in a sardonic guffaw. "Miserable creature. You seem to have the audacity of a criminal."

He stepped slowly towards the young girl, seized her by the arm, and holding the vial to her lips, cried:

"Drink it on the spot, or I stab you to death!"

Anna Bell, terror-stricken and fainting, dropped upon her knees, crying: "Mercy! Mercy! I beg of you, mercy! Pity! Mercy!"

"Poisoner!" exclaimed the Franc-Taupin.

The maid of honor crouched still lower upon her knees, hid her face in her hands, and sobbed aloud. The Huguenots looked at one another stupefied. Again silence reigned.

"Brothers," said the Franc-Taupin, breaking the silence, "listen to the letter that you have just taken from this woman's pocket:

"A courier from my son Charles has arrived from Paris, my pet, compelling me to have an immediate conference with the Cardinal. I can not see you before your departure. Adieu, and courage. You will reach your Prince. I forgot one important recommendation to you. The philter must be emptied quickly after the stopper is removed from the vial.

"The letter is signed 'C. M.'—Catherine De Medici! Here we have it! The Queen sends one of her strumpets to poison Franz of Gerolstein!"

Still under the shock of the cowardly assassination of Condé, and of the recent deaths by poison of the Duke of Deux-Ponts and the Admiral's brother, the Huguenots broke out into imprecations. The youth and beauty of the maid of honor only rendered her criminal designs all the more execrable in their eyes. The moment was critical. Anna Bell made a superhuman effort—a last endeavor to escape the fate that threatened her. She rose on her knees and with clasped hands cried:

"Mercy! Listen to me! I shall confess everything!"

"O, Hena," cried the Franc-Taupin with savage exaltation. "Poor martyr! I shall avenge your death upon this infamous creature—beautiful like yourself—young like yourself! Throw together outside of the chapel the branches that our horses have bared of their leaves. The wood is green—it will burn slowly. We'll tie the poisoner and the monk back to back upon the pyre the instant I have ordained him a Cardinal."

In chorus the Huguenots shouted: "To the pyre with the monk and the poisoner!"

Anna Bell's mind began to wander. Livid and shivering she crouched in a heap upon the ground, her voice choked in her throat, already rigid with terror, and escaped only in convulsive sobs. The Avengers of Israel hurried to heap up the bare branches around a tall oak-tree planted before the portico of the chapel. The Franc-Taupin stepped towards the Cordelier, who muttered in an agonizing voice, "Miserere mei, Domine—miserere!"

Again the solemnity of ordaining the monk a Cardinal was suddenly interrupted. The sound of an approaching and numerous cavalcade reached the Avengers of Israel. A moment later Prince Franz of Gerolstein appeared at the head of a mounted troop.

The personage who now stepped upon the scene was the grandson of Charles of Gerolstein, who in 1534 assisted at the council of the Calvinists in the quarry of Montmartre, together with Christian the printer. The young Prince was twenty-five years of age. The short visor of his helmet exposed his features. Their regularity and symmetry were perfect; they expressed at once benevolence and resolution. Of tall and wiry build, the young man's heavy black cuirass, worn German fashion, and his thick armlets, seemed not to weigh upon him. His wide hose, made of scarlet cloth, were almost overlapped by his long boots of buff leather armed with silver spurs. A wide belt of white taffeta—the Protestants' rallying sign—was fastened with a knot on one side.

Immediately upon entering the chapel the Prince addressed the Franc-Taupin:

"Comrades, I have just learned that your scouts have arrested one of the Queen's maids of honor—"

Before the Franc-Taupin had time to answer the Prince, Anna Bell jumped up, ran to Franz, and threw herself at his feet, crying: "For mercy's sake, monsieur, deign to hear me!"

Franz of Gerolstein recognized the young girl at once. He reached out his hand to her and made her rise, saying: "I remember to have met you, mademoiselle, at the French court, last year. Be comforted. There must be some untoward misunderstanding in regard to you."

Anna Bell in turn seized the Prince's hands and covered them with kisses and tears. "I am innocent of the horrible crime that they charge me with!" she cried.

"Prince," broke in the Franc-Taupin, "the woman must die! The wretch is a poisoner; she is an emissary of Catherine De Medici; and you were singled out for her victim. We are about to do justice to the case."

"No pity for the prostitutes of the Italian woman! None for her messengers of death!" cried several Huguenots.

But Franz of Gerolstein interposed, saying: "My friends, I can not believe in the crime that you charge this young girl with. I knew her at the court of France. I often spoke with her. Whatever the deplorable reputation of her companions, she is a happy exception among them."

"Oh! thank you, monsieur," exclaimed Anna Bell in accents of ineffable gratitude. "Thank you, for testifying so warmly in my favor—"

"Prince, the hypocrite had her mask on when she conversed with you!" insisted the inexorable Franc-Taupin. "Read this letter from the Queen. You will learn from it the reason why her maid of honor threw herself intentionally into the hands of our outposts, and immediately requested to be taken to your tent. As to this vial," he turned to Anna Bell, "does it contain poison, yes or no?"

"Monsieur, do not allow appearances to deceive you—if you only knew!" cried Anna Bell, in distress.

Franz of Gerolstein cast upon the maid of honor a frigid look; then, turning away his head, he stepped towards the door of the chapel. Anna Bell rushed after the Prince, fell again at his feet, clasped his knees and cried: "Monsieur, do not forsake me! In the name of your mother, deign to listen to me! It is not death I fear—what I fear is your contempt—I am innocent!"

The accent of truthfulness often touches the most prejudiced of hearts. Moved, despite himself, Franz of Gerolstein stopped, and looking down upon the maid of honor with pain and pity, said:

"I grant your prayer—I wish still to doubt the crime that you are accused of—explain the mystery of your movements." He looked around, and noticing the vestry door that led from one of the aisles of the chapel, he added, "Come, mademoiselle, I shall listen to you without witnesses in yonder private place."

With an effort Anna Bell arose, and with staggering steps she followed Franz of Gerolstein into the vestry. Arrived there, the maid of honor collected her thoughts for a moment, and then addressed the young Huguenot Prince with a trembling voice in these words:

"Monsieur, before God who hears me—here is the truth: Last evening, shortly before midnight, at the Abbey of St. Severin where the Queen halted for rest, she summoned me to her, and after reminding me of all that I owed to her generosity, because," and Anna Bell broke down weeping, "I am a waif, picked up from the street—out of charity—one of the Queen's serving-women bought me about ten years ago, as she informed me, from a Bohemian woman who made me beg before the parvise of Notre Dame in Paris—"

"How came you to become a maid of honor to Catherine De Medici?"

"The woman who took me in showed me to the Queen, and, to my misfortune!—to my disgrace!—the Queen interested herself in me!"

"To your misfortune? To your disgrace?"

"Monsieur," answered Anna Bell as if the words were wrung from her heart, "Alas! although barely beyond girlhood, two years ago, thanks to the principles and the instructions that I received, and the examples set to me, my education was perfect and complete, I was found worthy of forming part of the Queen's 'Flying Squadron'!"

"I understand you! Poor girl!"

"That is not all, monsieur. The day came when I was to prove my gratitude to the Queen. It happened during the truce in the religious wars. The Marquis of Solange, although a Protestant, often came to court. He was to be detached from his cause, monsieur. He had manifested some inclination towards me. The Queen called me apart. 'The Marquis of Solange loves you,' she said; 'he will sacrifice his faith to you—provided you are not cruel towards him.' I yielded to the pressure from the Queen. I had no consciousness of the indignity of my conduct until the day when—"

Anna Bell could proceed no further; she seemed to strangle with confusion, and was purple with shame. Suddenly frightful cries, proceeding from the interior of the chapel, startled the oppressive silence in the vestry. The cries were speedily smothered, but again, ever and anon, and despite the gag that suppressed them, they escaped in muffled roars of pain. Frightened at these ominous sounds, the maid of honor precipitately took refuge by the Prince's side, seeming to implore his protection and muttering amid sobs:

"Monsieur—do you hear those cries—do you hear the man's moans?"

"Oh!" answered Franz of Gerolstein, visibly depressed with grief. "Forever accursed be they, who, through their ferocity, were the first to provoke these acts of cruel reprisal!"

The moans that reached the vestry gradually changed into muffled and convulsive rattles that grew fainter and fainter. Silence prevailed once more. The expiring monk was ordained Cardinal by the Franc-Taupin.

"I arrived in time, mademoiselle, to rescue you from the vengeance of those pitiless men," resumed the Prince. "The candor of your words would denote the falseness of the accusations raised against you. And yet, this letter from the Queen, this vial, would seem to furnish convincing testimony against you."

"Last evening," Anna Bell proceeded, "notified by our governess that the Queen wished to speak to me, I awaited her orders in a dark corridor that separated my chamber from the Queen's apartments. At the very moment I was about to open the door I heard your name mentioned, monsieur. The Queen was speaking about you with Father Lefevre, a priest of the Society of Jesus, one of the counselors of the King of Spain."

"To what purpose was my name mentioned by the Queen and the Jesuit?"

"It seems that, in their opinion, monsieur, you are a redoubtable enemy, and the Queen promised Father Lefevre to rid herself of you. One of her maids of honor was to be commissioned to execute the murder through poison. The maid of honor chosen was myself. Madam Catherine selected me for this horrible deed. Frightened at what I had overheard, an involuntary cry of horror escaped me. Almost immediately I heard footsteps approach the door of the Queen's apartment. Luckily I had time to regain my own chamber without being heard or even suspected of having overheard the Queen's words. Presently she rang for me. The Queen began by reminding me of her acts of kindness to me, and added she decided to fulfil the dearest and most secret wishes of my heart. 'Anna Bell,' she said, 'you no longer love the Marquis of Solange; you have transferred your affections to the Prince of Gerolstein, whom you saw at court last year.' Take this vial. It contains a philter that makes one beloved. A guide will take you to the outposts of the Huguenots; you will fall into their hands; you will then ask to be taken to the Prince of Gerolstein. He is a nobleman, he will take pity upon you, he will lodge you in his tent. Love will inspire you. You will find the opportunity to pour a few drops of this philter into Franz of Gerolstein's cup—thus you will reach your Prince'—and these are the words which the Queen repeated to me in her letter."

"And guessing that the philter was poison, and fearing to awaken the Queen's suspicions, you feigned readiness to accept the mission of death? That, I suppose, is the complement of your story?"

"Yes, monsieur. I hoped to warn you to be on guard against the dangers that threaten you!"

Exhausted by so many emotions, and crushed with shame, the poor girl dropped down upon one of the benches in the vestry, hid her face in her hands, and wept convulsively.

The revelation, bearing as it did the stamp of irresistible candor, awakened in the heart of Franz of Gerolstein a deep interest for the ill-starred young woman.

"Mademoiselle," he said to her in a firm yet kind tone, "I believe in your sincerity—I believe your account of your misfortunes."

"Now, monsieur, I can die."

"Dismiss such mournful thoughts—perhaps an unexpected consolation awaits you. Owing to certain details that you mentioned concerning your early years, I am almost certain I know your parents. You must have been born at La Rochelle, and was not your father an armorer?"

"Yes!" cried Anna Bell. "Yes! I remember how the sight of glistening arms delighted my eyes in my childhood."

"Did you not, at the time you were kidnapped from your family, wear any collar or other trinket that you may have preserved?"

"I wore around my neck, and have preserved ever since, a little lead medal. I have it here attached to this chain."

Franz of Gerolstein ran to the door of the vestry and called for Josephin. The Franc-Taupin approached, stepping slowly, and engaged in imparting the latest notch to the stick that hung from his cartridge belt: "Seventeen! There are still eight wanting before we reach twenty-five! Oh! My bill shall be paid, by my sister's death! My bill shall be paid!"

Franz of Gerolstein inquired from the Franc-Taupin: "What was the age of Odelin's child when she was kidnapped!"

With a look of surprise the Franc-Taupin answered: "The poor child was eight years old. It is now ten years since the dear little girl disappeared."

"Did she wear anything by which she might be identified?" pursued Franz.

"She wore from her neck," said the Franc-Taupin with a sigh, "a medal of the Church of the Desert, like all other Protestant children. It was a medal that I presented to her mother the day of the little creature's birth."

Franz of Gerolstein held before the Franc-Taupin the medal that Anna Bell had just given him, and said: "Do you recognize this medal? Josephin, this young girl was kidnapped from her family ten years ago—she carried this medal from her neck—"

"Oh!" cried the Franc-Taupin, looking at Anna Bell with renewed confusion. "She is Odelin's daughter! That accounts for my having been from the first struck with her resemblance to Hena."

"Do you, monsieur, know my parents?" it was now Anna Bell's turn to ask. "Pray tell me where I can find them."

But overcome with emotion, the Franc-Taupin said: "But Oh! what a shame for the family! What a disgrace! A maid of honor to the Queen!"

The Franc-Taupin was quickly drawn from his mixed emotions of sorrow and joy. More important work was soon to be done. An officer entered the vestry, bringing orders from Admiral Coligny for the vanguards and outposts to fall back without delay toward St. Yrieix. Franz of Gerolstein immediately conveyed the Admiral's orders to the Avengers of Israel, who crowded behind the officer, and then turned to Anna Bell, saying:

"Mademoiselle, come; remount your litter. We shall escort you to St. Yrieix. I shall impart to you on the road tidings concerning your family—of which I am a member."

"What a revelation to Odelin—and to Antonicq!" the Franc-Taupin thought to himself, "when they learn within shortly, at St. Yrieix, that this unfortunate creature—the disgraced and dishonored maid of honor to the Queen is the daughter of the one and the sister of the other!"

The Avengers of Israel and the squadron of German horsemen, with Franz of Gerolstein at their head, completed their reconnoisance about the forest and fell back upon St. Yrieix. The chapel of St. Hubert remained deserted and wrapped in silence. The morning breeze swung the body of the monk as it hung limp from a branch of the oak-tree in front of the portico of the holy place. Horrible to look at were the features of the corpse. They preserved the impress of the Cordelier's last agonies. The skin was ripped from the head. It had the appearance of being covered with a red skull cap.

Abominable reprisals, without a doubt; and yet less abominable than the crimes of which they record the expiatory vengeance.



The burg of St. Yrieix stood in the center of the staked-in camp occupied by the army of Admiral Coligny. An inflexible disciplinarian, Admiral Coligny maintained rigorous order among his troops. Never was pillage allowed; never marauding. His soldiers always paid for all that they demanded from city folks or peasants. He went even further. Whenever it happened that, scared at the approach of armed forces, the peasants fled from their villages, the officers, executing the express orders of Admiral Coligny, left in the houses the price of the vegetables and forage with which the soldiers provisioned themselves and their beasts in the absence of the masters of the place. Finally, as a necessary and terrible example—thieves caught redhanded were inexorably hanged, and the stolen objects tied to their feet. Finally there never were seen at the Huguenot camps the swarms of women of ill fame that ordinarily encumbered the baggage of the Catholic army, and that, according to the ancient practice, were placed under the supervision of the "King of the Ribalds."

The habits of the Protestants in the army of Admiral Coligny were pious, austere and upright. This notwithstanding, the Admiral found it impossible to impose rigid discipline upon the numerous bands that from time to time attached themselves to his main forces, usually conducted a guerilla warfare, and emulated the royalists in rapine and cruelty.

The Admiral, the Princes of Orange, of Nassau and of Gerolstein, the sons of the Prince of Condé who was assassinated upon orders from the Duke of Anjou, young Henry of Bearn, besides many other Protestant chiefs, occupied several houses at St. Yrieix. The ancient priory served as the Admiral's quarters. Early in the morning, as was his wont, Admiral Coligny left his lodgings accompanied by his servants, to attend the prayers held in the Huguenot camp and called the "Prayer of the Guard." The officers and soldiers of the Admiral's post, together with those of some neighboring ones, filled on these occasions the courtyard of the priory, and standing erect, bareheaded, silent, they awaited in meditation the hour of raising their souls to God. Old soldiers grey of beard and seamed with scars; young recruits, barely beyond adolescence; rich noblemen, raised in the spacious halls of castles; field laborers, as well as artisans from the cities, who rallied to the defense of the "Church of the Desert"—all animated with an ardent faith, would there unite upon the level of Evangelical equality. The seigneur, battling side by side with his vassal for the holy cause of freedom of conscience, saw in him only a brother. Thus germinated among the Protestants the tendencies toward fraternity that were later to cause the distinctions of castes and races, so much prized by royalists, to vanish. A slight murmur, betokening the affection and respect that he inspired, greeted the Admiral's arrival. The rude fatigues of many wars had bent his tall and one-time straight figure. His white hair and beard, together with the pallor of his noble visage, now profoundly changed since the death of his brother, who was treacherously poisoned, imparted to the aspect of the supreme chieftain of the Protestant armies a venerable and touching expression. Encased from his neck down in armor of burnished iron, without any ornament whatever, and half concealed under a flowing cloak of white cloth—the Huguenot color—the Admiral was bareheaded. Beside him stood the brave Francis of Lanoüe, a young Breton nobleman. Courage, honor, kindness, were stamped upon his manly and loyal countenance. A sort of steel arm, artistically forged by Odelin Lebrenn, with the aid of which Monsieur Lanoüe could guide his horse, replaced the arm that the daring captain had lost in battle. When the murmur that greeted the Admiral's arrival subsided, one of the pastors, Feron by name, who attended the army, uttered in a benign voice the following short prayer:

"Our trust lies in God, who made the heavens and the earth.

"Our Father and Savior, since it has pleased You, in the midst of the dangers of war, to preserve us last night and until this day, may it please You to cause us to employ it wholly in Your service. Oh, heavenly Father! Our brothers rely upon our vigilance. They rely upon us, their defenders. Deign by Your grace to help us in faithfully fulfilling our charge, without negligence, or cowardice. Finally, may it please You, O Lord of Hosts, to change these calamitous times into happy times where justice and religion shall reign! Not then shall we any longer be reduced to the necessity of defending ourselves; then will Your holy name be glorified more and more the world over! All these things, O Lord, our Father! O, good God! we beg of You in the name and by the grace of our Savior Jesus Christ. We pray to You to increase our faith which we now confess, saying: I believe in God the omnipotent Father, and in his Son the Redeemer.

"May the blessing of God the Father, the grace and the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ remain and dwell forevermore among us in the communion of the Holy Ghost.


"Amen!" responded Admiral Coligny devoutly and in a grave voice.

"Amen!" answered the soldiers.

The morning prayer had been said.

While the Admiral was religiously attending morning service in the courtyard at his headquarters, Dominic, the servant of his household who was captured shortly before by the royalists, was engaged in executing the crime plotted by the Duke of Anjou jointly with the captain of his guards.

Dominic stepped into the chamber of Coligny; he moved about cautiously, with eyes and ears alert, watching from all sides whether he was either seen or heard; he approached a table on which, standing beside several scrolls of paper, was an earthen bowl containing a refreshing drink that Coligny was in the habit of taking every morning, and which his faithful equerry Nicholas Mouche always prepared for him. Mouche was at the moment at prayers with the Admiral, together with the rest of the household servants. Dominic purposely did not join his comrades that morning; he figured upon their absence to carry out his nefarious deed. The poisoner took up the earthen bowl to drop the poison in. For an instant he hesitated. Brought up in the house of Coligny and ever treated by his master with paternal kindness, the thoughts of the wretch for an instant conjured up the past before him. Then cupidity stifled pity in the assassin's breast. He took out of his pocket a scent-bag containing some grey powder, shook the contents into the bowl, and stirred it, in order to mix the poison well with the liquid. Dominic was placing the bowl back from where he took it when he heard steps approaching. Quickly and tremblingly he slid away from the table. It was Odelin Lebrenn, bringing back the Admiral's casque, which was sent to him to repair, it having been bent in the day before by a ball from a large arquebus while the Admiral was on a reconnoitering expedition. Although serving as a volunteer with his son Antonicq in the Protestant army, Odelin exercised his trade with the help of a portable forge. Thirty-three years had elapsed since the day when he returned to Paris with Master Raimbaud. He was now bordering on his forty-eighth year. His beard and hair were grizzled with grey. His features betokened frankness and resolution. Odelin had not seen Dominic since his capture by the Catholics. He now congratulated him heartily upon his escape from the enemy, but remarking the wretch's pallor, he added:

"What is the matter, my dear Dominic? You look ashy pale."

"I do not know—what—you mean—" stammered Dominic, saying which the poisoner rushed out precipitately.

The hurry of the man's departure, his pallor and flutter, awakened the armorer's suspicion; but these thoughts were quickly crowded out of his mind by the sudden appearance of his son Antonicq, who ran in with flustered face and tears in his eyes, crying:

"Oh, father! Come quick! In heaven's name come to the Prince of Gerolstein who is just back to camp with uncle Josephin, the Franc-Taupin."

At this moment, Nicholas Mouche, the Admiral's confidential equerry entered his master's room. Not seeing the face of either Odelin or his son, both having their backs turned to the door, he cried out in surprise and alarm:

"Who are you? What are you doing here?" But instantly recognizing the armorer and his son, for whom he entertained warm esteem, he added: "Excuse me, my dear Lebrenn, I did not recognize you at first. Excuse me. You and your son are really members of the household. Your presence here need not alarm me for my master's safety."

"I brought back Monsieur Coligny's casque," Odelin explained, "and my son came after me. I do not yet know the cause of his excitement. See how flustered his face is! What extraordinary thing has happened, my boy?"

"My sister—Marguerite—whom we thought lost forever—has been found—"

"Great God!"

"Come, father—the Prince—and my uncle—will tell you all about it—they will narrate to you the extraordinary affair—"

"What!" exclaimed Nicholas Mouche, looking at Odelin. "Is the poor child who disappeared so long ago found again! Heaven be praised!"

"Oh, I can not yet believe such a happy thing possible!" said Odelin, his heart beating between doubt and hope.

"Come, father, you will know all!"

"Adieu!" said the armorer to Nicholas, as he followed his son, no less wrought up than the young man.

"Poor father!" mused the old equerry as he followed Odelin with his eyes. "Provided only he is not running after some cruel disappointment!" Approaching his master's writing table to assure himself that the Admiral was supplied with ink, Nicholas's eyes fell upon the earthen bowl. He noticed that it was full to the brim—untouched.

"Monsieur the Admiral has not taken a single mouthful of his chicory water! Truth to say, in point of taking care of himself, the dear old hero is as thoughtless as a child! But here he is! He shall not escape a lecture;" and addressing Coligny, who now returned to his room after prayers, the equerry said in a tone of familiar reproach that his long years of service justified: "Well, Monsieur Admiral; what about your chicory water! The bowl is as full as when I brought it in early this morning—"

"That is so," answered Coligny with a smile. "The trouble lies with you. You make the drink so frightfully bitter that I postpone all I can the hour of gulping it down."

"That is an odd reason, Monsieur Admiral! Is not the bitterness of the drink the very thing that gives it virtue? Monsieur, you are going to drink it now—on the spot—and before me!"

"Come, let us compromise—I promise you that the bowl shall be empty within the next hour. Are the horses saddled and bridled?"

"Yes, monsieur. If we ride out this morning I shall bring along Julien the Basque and Dominic to take charge of your relay horses. The poor fellow Dominic, despite the mishap of the day before yesterday, which might have cost him dear, begged me this morning to choose him as one of the footmen to accompany you to-day, if there is to be any engagement."

"Dominic is a worthy servant."

"What else should he be? Was he not brought up in your house, monsieur, and the son of one of your oldest servants, the worthy forester of the woods of Chatillon?"

"Oh, my dear house of Chatillon, my meadows, my woods, my vines, my grain fields, my thrifty laborers—am I ever to see you again?" remarked Coligny with a melancholic sigh. "Oh, the country life! The family life!" The Admiral remained in silent meditation for a moment, then he added:

"Leave me alone. I have some writing to do."

The equerry left the room. Monsieur Coligny stepped slowly towards the table, drew a campstool near, and sat down upon it. With his forehead resting on his hand he remained long lost in revery, musing to himself:

"Why should this thought have come to me to-day, more than any other day? I know not. God inspires me. Let us listen to His warnings. At any rate, it is well to have our accounts clear with heaven. Besides, it is my duty to answer before God and men the accusations that are preferred against me. It is my duty to answer the capital and defaming sentence that has been hurled against me and mine."

Taking a scroll from the table, the Admiral read:

"As the principal author of and leader in the conspiracy and rebellion gotten up against the King and his State, the said Sieur of Coligny is sentenced to be hanged and strangled upon the Greve Square, and subsequently to be exposed from the gibbet of Montfaucon. His goods revert to and are confiscate by the King. His children are declared forfeit of their noble rank, infamous, and disqualified from holding office or owning any property in the kingdom. Fifty thousand gold ecus are promised to whomsoever will deliver the said Sieur of Coligny, dead or alive. The children of his brother Dandelot are likewise declared infamous."

Coligny flung back upon the table the scroll containing the extract of the royal decree, registered in the Parliament of Paris on May 27, 1569, and raising his tearful eyes heavenward, exclaimed in accents of profound grief:

"My poor and good brother! They killed you treacherously by poison! Your children are orphans, with none but myself for their support—and now a price is set upon my own life! To-day, to-morrow, in battle, or otherwise, God may call me to Him! Oh, let me at least carry with me the consolation that my own and my brother's orphans will remain entrusted to worthy hands!"

Coligny remained long absorbed in meditation. He then took a sheet of paper, a pen, and again concentrating his thoughts, proceeded to write his testament:[68]

Of all His creatures, God has created man the most worthy. Accordingly, it is man's duty, during his life, to do all he can to glorify the Lord, render evidence of his faith, set a good example to his fellows, and, to the extent of his powers, leave his children in comfort, if it has pleased God to afford him any.

Although our days are numbered before God, nothing is more uncertain than the hour when it will please Him to call us away. We must keep ourselves so well prepared that we may not be taken by surprise. For this reason I have decided to draw up the present writing, in order that those who may remain behind me, may hear my intentions and know my wishes.

In the first place, after invoking the name of God, I make to Him a summary confession of my faith, imploring Him that the same may serve me at the hour when it shall please Him to call me away, because He knows that I make this confession with my heart and affection, and in the full sincerity of my soul.

I believe in what is contained in the Old and the New Testament, as being the true word of God, to which and from which nothing may be added or taken away, as it orders us. Lastly, I seek in Jesus Christ and through Him alone my salvation and the remission of my sins, according as He has promised. I subscribe to the confession of faith of the Reformed Church in this kingdom. I wish to live and die in this faith, judging myself happy, indeed, if I must suffer on that account.

I know I am accused of having attempted against the life of the King, of the Queen, and of messeigneurs the King's brothers; I protest before God that I never had the wish or the intention of doing so. I am also accused of ambition, on account of my having taken up arms with the Reformers; I protest that only the interest of religion, and the necessity of defending my own life and the lives of my family made me take up arms. Upon this head I confess that my greatest guilt lies in not having resented the injustices and the murders perpetrated upon my brothers. I had to be driven to take up arms by the dangers and the plots of which I myself was the object. But I also say it before God, I have endeavored by all means available to pacify, fearing nothing so much as civil war, and foreseeing that the same would carry in its wake the ruin of this kingdom, whose preservation I have ever desired. I write this because, ignorant of the hour when it will please God to call me away, I do not wish to leave my children with the brand of infamy and rebellion.

I have taken up arms, not against the King, but against those whose tyranny compelled the Reformers to defend their lives. I knew in my heart that they often acted against the wishes of the King, according to several letters and instructions that prove the fact. I know I must appear before the throne of God and there receive judgment. May He condemn me if I lie when I say that my warmest desire is to see the King served in all purity, obedient to his orders, and that the kingdom of France be preserved. On these conditions I would gladly forget all that concerns me personally—injuries, insults, outrages, confiscation of my estates—provided the glory of God and public tranquility are assured. To that end I am determined to occupy myself to my last breath. I wish this to be known, in order not to leave a wrong impression concerning myself after my death.

I request and order that my children be always brought up to the love and fear of God; that they continue their studies up to the age of fifteen, without interruption. I hold those years to be better employed in that manner than if they are sent to a court, or placed in the suite of some seigneur. Above all do I request their tutors never to allow them to keep bad or vicious company. We are all too much inclined to evil, by our own nature. I request that my children be frequently reminded of this, in order that they may know that such is my desire, as I have often expressed it to them myself.

I request that my children be brought up with those of my brother Dandelot, as he himself expressed in his testament the wish that they should be. That the ones and the others take for their example the warm and fraternal friendship that always existed between my brother and myself.

Loving all my children equally, I expect that each will receive as my successors that which is accorded to them by the usages of the country where my estates are situated (if the confiscation with which they are attainted cease). I request that the jewelry belonging to my deceased wife be equally divided between my two daughters.

I desire that my eldest son take the name of Chatillon; Gaspard, my second son, the name of Dandelot; and Charles, the third, that of La Breteche.

I request Madam Dandelot, my sister-in-law, to keep near her my two daughters, so long as she may remain in widowhood. Should she marry again, I request Madam La Rochefoucauld, my niece, to take charge of them.

Having learned that they burned down the college founded by me at Chatillon, I desire and expect that it be re-built, because it is a public good with the aid of which God may be honored and glorified.

I order that my servants and pensioners be paid all that may be due to them on the day of my decease, and do grant them, besides, a year's wages. In recognition of my great satisfaction with Lagrele, the preceptor of my children, for the care he has bestowed upon them, I bequeath to him one thousand francs. To Nicholas Mouche and his wife Joan, in reward of their good offices to me and my deceased wife, I bequeath five hundred francs, and an annual stipend of seventeen measures of wheat during their lives, because they have so many children.

When it shall please God to call me away, I desire, if it be possible, that my body be taken to my Chatillon home, to be there interred beside my wife, without any funeral pomp or other ceremony than that of the Reformed religion.

And in order that the above provisions be carried out, I request Monsieur the Count of Chatillon, my brother; Monsieur La Rochefoucauld, my nephew; and Messieurs Lanoüe and Saragosse, to be the executors of these my last wishes. Above all do I recommend to them the education and instruction of my children. I consecrate them to the service of God, entreating them to cause my children always to deport and guide themselves by His holy spirit, and to so behave that their actions contribute to His glory, to the public welfare, and to the pacification of the kingdom. I pray to God to be pleased with the benediction that I bestow upon my children, to the end of attracting upon them the blessing of heaven.

As to myself, offering to the Lord the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the redemption of my sins, I pray to Him that He may receive my soul and grant to it the blessed and eternal life that awaits the resurrection of the body.

Finally, I request Messieurs La Rochefoucauld, Saragosse and Lanoüe, to be the tutors and guardians of my children.

Coligny was just finishing this testament, every line of which breathed sincerity, straightforwardness, wisdom, modesty, the tenderest of domestic virtues, faith in the holiness of his cause, love for France, and horror of civil war, when Monsieur Lanoüe entered the room with indignation stamped upon his features. He held an open letter in his hand, and was about to address Coligny, when the Admiral forestalled him, saying:

"My friend, I have just written your name at the foot of my testament, requesting you and Monsieur La Rochefoucauld kindly to accept the office of guardians to my children, and those of my brother;" and extending his hand to Lanoüe: "You accept, do you not, this mark of my friendship and confidence? Brought up under your eyes, my nephews and my children, if it please God, will be honorable men and women."

"Monsieur," answered Lanoüe with profound emotion, "in heart, at least, I shall be worthy of the sacred mission that you honor me with."

"May people some day be able to say of my children and nephews: 'They have the virtues of Lanoüe!' God will then have granted my last prayer. I entrust this testament to your hands, my friend. Keep it safe."

"It is not sealed, monsieur."

"Both my friends and my enemies are free to read it. What a man says to God men may hear," replied the Admiral with ancient loftiness. "Here I am now, settled with myself," the noble soldier proceeded to say; "now let us consider the military preparations for the day."

"Oh, what a war!" cried Lanoüe. "No, it is war no longer; it is treachery; it is assassination! I have a letter from Paris. They send me a copy of a missive to the Duke of Alençon from his brother, in the Maurevert affair."

"The cowardly assassin of Mouy?"

"Yes, the cowardly assassin Maurevert, who came to our camp with the mask of friendship, and who, profiting by the darkness of night and the defenselessness of Mouy asleep, stabbed him to death, and immediately took flight. Listen, Admiral, listen now to this! This is what Charles IX, the present King of France, writes to his brother:

"To my brother the Duke of Alençon.

"My brother, in reward for the signal service rendered to me by Charles of Louvier, Sieur of Maurevert, the bearer of these presents, it being he who killed Mouy, in the way that he will narrate to you, I request you, my brother, to bestow upon him the collar of my Order, he being chosen and elected by the brothers of the said Order a member of the same; and furthermore to see to it that he, the said Maurevert, be gratified by the denizens and residents of my good city of Paris with some worthy present IN KEEPING WITH HIS DESERTS, while I pray God, my brother, that He keep you under His holy and worthy protection.

"Done at Plessis-les-Tours, the 1st day of June, 1569.

"Your good brother    

The Admiral listened stupefied.

"Never," observed Lanoüe after reading the royal schedule, "never yet was the glorification of assassination carried further than this! Oh, Monsieur Admiral, you often made the remark—'You, as well as I and so many others, are attached by heart and principle, if not to the King, still to the Crown.' But this house of Valois will yet cover itself with so many crimes that it will inspire hatred for monarchy. Do we not already see springing up the desire for a federal republic, like the federated Swiss cantons? The desire already has spread among many men of honorable purposes, and it gains new supporters every day."

Nicholas Mouche appeared at this moment at the threshold of the door. "I wager," he said to himself, "that the wholesome drink of chicory water still lies forgotten." And approaching his master, he added: "Well, Monsieur Admiral, the hour has elapsed!"

"What hour?" asked Coligny, whose thoughts were absorbed in the painful reminiscences awakened by Lanoüe's words, "what do you mean?"

"Your morning drink!" answered the trusty equerry; and turning from his master: "Monsieur Lanoüe, I entreat you; join me in making the Admiral listen to reason. He knows that his surgeon, Monsieur Ambroise Paré, strongly recommended to him chicory water when in the field, because the Admiral often is twelve and fifteen hours at a stretch on horseback, without once taking off his boots. Well, he refuses to follow the orders of his physician."

"You hear the complaint of your worthy servant, Monsieur Admiral," remarked Lanoüe smiling. "I agree with him; he is right. You should follow the orders of Master Ambroise Paré."

"Come, come—it shall be as Monsieur Nicholas wishes," said Coligny, taking the bowl from the table. He looked at the greenish color of the decoction with visible repugnance, and carried the bowl to his lips.

At that very instant Odelin Lebrenn rushed into the chamber, dashed the earthen vessel from Coligny's hands and crushed it under his feet, crying:

"Thank God! I arrived in time!"

Lanoüe, Nicholas Mouche and Coligny were stupefied. Breathless with excitement and winded from a long and rapid run, Odelin Lebrenn leaned with one hand against the table. He made a sign that he wished to speak but could not yet. Finally he stammered out:

"A second later—and Monsieur Coligny would have been poisoned—by the potion—he was about—to drink!"

"Great God!" cried Lanoüe, growing pale, while Nicholas Mouche trembled like an aspen leaf as he looked at his master.

"Explain yourself, Monsieur Lebrenn!" commanded the Admiral.

"This morning, when you were away from the room with your servants at prayer, I came in to bring back your casque. I found Dominic here."

"That is so," said Nicholas Mouche; "he did not go to prayer with the rest."

"Without being surprised at finding Dominic in his master's room," Odelin proceeded, "I noticed, notwithstanding, that he was pale and confused. Later, God be blessed, I recalled the circumstance that, as I came in, I saw him quickly step away from the table on which stood the vessel which, as Nicholas afterwards told me, held the drink you take every morning, Monsieur Admiral. Into that drink, into that chicory water, Dominic dropped the poison."

"He!" exclaimed Coligny, horrified. "Impossible! A servant raised under my own roof since his early childhood!"

"Oh, the wretch!" cried Nicholas Mouche. "This morning, seeing me prepare the potion, Dominic asked me to let him attend to the matter. I saw in that only a warning to be careful."

"My God!" put in Lanoüe, who had remained dumb with horror and indignation. "Providence can allow such crimes, only to inspire the world with execration for their perpetrators. Can such wickedness be, Monsieur Lebrenn?"

"Dominic has confessed all. The instigators of the murder are the Duke of Anjou and the Count of La Riviere, a captain of the Duke's guards. The temptation of a vast sum decided the assassin to undertake the deed."

"Oh, Catherine De Medici, your children approve themselves worthy of you! They emulate the example you have set them!" exclaimed Lanoüe.

"But how did you discover the crime, Monsieur Lebrenn? Tell us."

"What I noticed this morning would have awakened my suspicions on the spot, were it not for the hurried arrival of my son and the tidings he brought me. I followed him in a great hurry. As we were passing by the inn that lies not far from my place and where the horses of Monsieur Coligny are stabled, I saw Dominic come out, riding bareback. His nag bore evidence of having been bridled in great haste. Dominic departed at a gallop. The man's frightened looks and his hurry to get off revived my first suspicions. I ran after him calling out: 'Hold him!' 'Hold him!' My uncle, the Franc-Taupin, together with some others of his men, happened to be in the wretch's way. They jumped at the bridle of his horse, and held him fast. As I caught up with them I shouted to him point-blank: 'You poisoned the Admiral!' Surprise, fear and remorse immediately drew from him a full confession of his crime. 'It is true,' he answered. 'I repent it. The Duke of Anjou offered me a large sum to poison my master—I yielded—the poison was handed to me—and I returned to camp in order to commit the murder.' The instant I heard this, I ran hither, leaving Dominic in the care of my son."

"Monsieur Lebrenn," said Coligny, grasping Odelin's hands with warmth, "It is thirty and odd years ago that I met your worthy father at one of the first councils of the reformers on Montmartre. I was then quite young, while your father, an artisan employed at the printing establishment of Robert Estienne already had rendered valiant services to the cause. It is sweet to me to owe my life to you—to you, his worthy son."

"The cannon!" suddenly called out Lanoüe, listening to a muffled and rumbling sound that came from afar, carried into the room by the early morning breeze, "It is the rumbling sound of approaching cannon wheels. The detonations succeed each other rapidly."

"Nicholas," said Coligny, without indicating any surprise, "look at my pocket-watch. It must now be nearly ten o'clock."

"Yes, monsieur," answered the equerry after consulting the watch; "it is nearly ten."

"La Rochefoucauld has executed my orders punctually. It shall not be long before we shall see one of his officers arrive. Lanoüe, let us be ready to jump on horseback." And turning to his equerry: "Order the horses brought to the door of the priory. Monsieur Lebrenn, I count upon having your son at my side, as usual in action, to carry my orders."

"Here he is, monsieur," answered Odelin as Antonicq entered. "Where is the wretch, my son?"

"Father, he repeated his confession, again accusing the Duke of Anjou and the captain of the Duke's guards with having driven him to the commission of the crime, which he seemed deeply to repent. The exasperated soldiers executed instant justice upon the poisoner. They hanged him. His corpse is now swinging from the branch of an oak."[70]

At this moment a Huguenot officer covered with dust appeared at the threshold of the door. Monsieur Coligny said to him:

"I was waiting for you. Is the skirmish opened? Are all doing their duty well?"

"Yes, monsieur. A few companies of the royal army answered our attack, and have crossed the stream that covered their front."

"Monsieur La Rochefoucauld must have feigned a retreat towards the hill of Haut Moulin, behind which are massed the twenty cavalry squadrons of the Prince of Gerolstein. Have all my orders been executed?"

"Yes, monsieur. At the very moment that he despatched me to you, Monsieur La Rochefoucauld was executing the retreat. The Prince was in command of his cavalry. All the forces are in line of battle."

"All goes well," observed Coligny to Lanoüe; "I ordered the Prince's squadrons not to dismask and charge until the royal troops, drawn into disorder by their pursuit of our men, shall have arrived at the foot of the hill. We may expect a good result."

"Monsieur La Rochefoucauld also ordered me to make an important communication to you. From some royalist prisoners we learned this morning that the Queen and the Cardinal arrived in the camp of the Duke of Anjou."

Upon hearing of Catherine De Medici's arrival, the Admiral reflected for an instant, then drew near the table, dashed a few words down on a sheet of paper and handed it to the officer, saying:

"Monsieur, return at your fastest, and deliver this order to Monsieur La Rochefoucauld." And addressing Lanoüe as the officer left on the wings of the wind on his errand: "The presence of the Queen in the royal camp may suggest to Marshal Tavannes the idea of engaging in a decisive action. Come, my friend," he added, leaving the chamber, "I wish to consult with the Princes of Orange and Nassau before taking horse."



Almost immediately upon the arrival of Monsieur La Rochefoucauld's aide at the Admiral's quarters, Odelin Lebrenn and Antonicq hastened to reach their lodgings, where Anna Bell awaited them. The meeting between father and daughter was delayed through the discovery of the crime that Coligny was to be the victim of.

Odelin Lebrenn had set up his armorer's establishment on the ground floor of a house in St. Yrieix which the inhabitants had abandoned. Franz of Gerolstein, together with several noblemen of his suite and their pages, occupied a set of rooms on the floor above, below them being also the quarters of Odelin, his son and the Franc-Taupin. A straw couch, large enough to accommodate the three, stood at the rear of the apartment. Near a wide, open fireplace lay the hammers, the anvil and the portable forge requisite for the armorer's work. Day was now far advanced. Since morning Anna Bell had not left the lodging. Seated on a wooden bench, and her head reclined upon her hands, she expectantly turned her ears from time to time toward the street. The recent agonizing bustle of the camp was now followed by solitude and silence. All the troops, a few companies excepted that were left in charge of the baggage, had marched out beyond the burg and its entrenchments, in order to form in battle array about one league from the Admiral's headquarters, he having prepared for a possible general engagement.

Odelin Lebrenn's first interview with Anna Bell was both tender and painful. The father found again his daughter, once dearly beloved and long wept as lost. But he found her soiled with the title of maid of honor of Catherine De Medici! With distressing frankness the wretched girl confessed to her father the disorders of her past life. Anna Bell was just finishing her narrative when the general call to arms resounded. Antonicq went to his post beside Monsieur Coligny, after listening to the revelations of his sister; a few minutes later Odelin also, yielding to the imperious voice of duty, left his weeping daughter, to join the cavalry squadron in which he served as volunteer.

Left alone, Anna Bell fell a prey to cruel anxieties. Her father, her brother and Franz of Gerolstein were about to run the dangers of a battle. The confession wrung from her lips by a terrific necessity seemed to render all the more profound, all the more grievous the love of the young girl for the Prince. Now less than ever did she expect her affection to be returned. Still she experienced a sort of bitter consolation in the thought that Franz of Gerolstein was no longer ignorant of her passionate devotion, and that, in order to save him from poison, she risked her own life. The chaos of distressing thoughts, now rendered all the more painful by her uneasiness for those whom she loved, plunged Anna Bell into inexpressible agony. She counted the hours with increasing anxiety. Toward night the roll of drums and blare of trumpets resounded from afar. The young girl trembled and listened. Presently she could distinguish the approaching tramp of horses' hoofs, and not long thereafter she heard them stop before the lodging. Running to the door, she opened it in the hope of seeing her brother and father. Instead, she saw a page in the livery of the Prince of Gerolstein holding a second horse by the reins.

"Monsieur," asked Anna Bell anxiously of the lad, "what news of the battle?"

"There was no battle, mademoiselle, only a lively engagement of outposts. The royalists were worsted," and swallowing a sigh, while tears appeared in his eyes, he added, "but unfortunately my poor comrade Wilhelm, one of the Prince of Gerolstein's pages, was killed in the skirmish. I am leading back his horse."

"And the Prince?" inquired Anna Bell, nervously. "He has not been wounded?"

"No, mademoiselle. I am riding ahead of monsieur; he is returning with his squadrons," answered the page, alighting from his horse, and his sighs and sobs redoubled, while the tears rolled down his cheeks.

At ease on the score of Franz of Gerolstein's life, Anna Bell had some words of consolation for the afflicted page. "I am sorry for you," she said; "to lose a friend at your age."

"Oh, mademoiselle. I loved him so dearly—he died so valiantly! An arquebusier was taking aim at the Prince. Wilhelm threw himself in front and received the ball in his chest. He dropped, never to rise again."

"Generous lad!" exclaimed Anna Bell, and silently she thought: "To die for Franz! Under his own eyes. That is a death to be envied!"

"Poor Wilhelm!" continued the page sadly, "his last words were for his mother. He asked me, if ever I return home again, to carry to her a sash that she embroidered for him, and which he left at our lodging together with his gala suit."

The lad's words seemed to have suggested an unexpected line of thought to Anna Bell, when she suddenly saw Odelin from a distance, returning at full gallop in the company of other horsemen. She cried: "There is father! Thank God, he is not wounded. But where is brother?"

Not daring, out of a sense of modesty, to be seen by the strangers who accompanied her father, Anna Bell stepped back into the room. Odelin led his horse to a stable where also the horses of Franz of Gerolstein were kept, and hastened back to join his daughter in the house. The girl ran to him, kissed his hands respectfully several times, and said:

"Thank heaven, father, you are safe and sound—but brother, dear Antonicq, did he also come off scathless?"

"You may feel at ease," answered Odelin, embracing his daughter, "Antonicq is not wounded. Together with other volunteers he is escorting a number of prisoners to places of safety in the camp. Poor child, great must have been your anxiety since I left you. Come to your father's arms!"

"Oh, I counted the hours—the minutes—"

"Let me embrace you again—and yet again," said Odelin with tears in his eyes, and fondly holding her in his arms. "Oh, divine power of happiness! It brings with it the balm of forgetfulness of the past! I have found you again—dear child! In one day, years of sorrow are blotted out!"

Hardly able to repress her tears, Anna Bell responded unrestrainedly to Odelin's caresses. His ineffable clemency was not belied.

"Father," she said, "would you have me disarm you while we wait for Antonicq? Your cuirass must tire you. Let me unbuckle it."

"Thank you, child," the armorer answered, as he stepped to a lanthorn that hung from the wall, and lighted the same to dispel the shadows that began to invade the apartment. He then took off his casque, loosened his belt, and returned to his daughter: "But I shall remain armed. The Admiral issued orders that the troops rest a few hours, take supper, and hold themselves ready to march at a minute's notice."

"My God—is there another battle pending?"

"I do not know the projects of Admiral Coligny; all I know—and that is all that is of importance to me—I know we have a few hours to ourselves. Sit down there, dear child, so that the light of the lanthorn may fall upon your face—I wish to behold you at my leisure. This morning tears darkened my eyes almost continuously."

And after contemplating Anna Bell for a while with tender and silent curiosity, Odelin resumed:

"Yes, your sweet beauty is such as your charming little girl's face gave promise of. Oh! how often did I not leave my anvil and drop my hammer to fondle your blonde head! Your hair has grown darker. In your infancy you were as blonde as my sister Hena. Many a line in your face recalls hers. She and I resembled each other. But your beautiful brown and velvety eyes have remained the same—neither in color nor shape have they changed. I find the dimple still on your chin, and the two little ones on your cheeks each time you laughed, they also are still there—and you were always laughing—my dear, dear child!"

"Oh! how happy those days must have been to me!" murmured the young girl, as she recalled with bitter sorrow the hours of her innocent childhood. "I then was near you, father, and near mother—and besides—"

Anna Bell could not finish the sentence. The distressed girl broke down sobbing.

"Heaven and earth!" cried up the armorer, whose features, shortly before illumined with happiness, now were overcast with grief. "To think that you had to beg your bread! My poor child—perhaps beaten by the gypsy woman who kidnapped you from the loving paternal roof!"

"Father," replied the poor girl with a look of profound grief, "those days of misery were not my worst days. Oh, that I had always remained a beggar!"

"I understand your thoughts, unhappy child! Let us drop those sad recollections!" And stamping the floor furiously Odelin added: "Oh, infamous Queen! Thou art the monster who debauched my child! A curse upon thee and thy execrable brood!" After a painful silence, Odelin proceeded abruptly: "Do! I conjure you! Let us never again return to the past. Let us endeavor to bury it in everlasting oblivion!"

"Alas, father, even if your clemency were to forget, my conscience will ever remember. It will every day remind me that I am a disgrace to my family. Oh, God! My cheeks tingle with shame at the bare thought of meeting my sister—and mother!"

"Your mother! You know not the depths of a mother's love, indulgence and compassion. You return to her soiled, but repentant, and your mother will forgive. Besides, you are not guilty—you are the victim of, not the accomplice in, your past life. Your heart has remained pure, your instincts honest and lofty; your tears, your remorse, your apprehensions prove it to me. No, no! Be not afraid. Your mother and sister will receive you with joy, with confidence. I am certain henceforth your life will be ours, pure, modest, industrious! Oh, I know it—it is only that that causes my heart to bleed, and my pity for you to redouble; you are never to experience the austere yet sweet joys of a wife—and a mother!"

Odelin remained for a moment steeped in silent rumination. After a pause he proceeded:

"It is the severe punishment for a sin that it is allowed to none but your own family to absolve you of. But your sister's children will be your own. Your brother also is to marry. Cornelia, his sweetheart, is worthy of our affection. You will silence the cravings of your own heart in loving their children as you would have done your own. They will also love you. You will spend your life near them and us. Come, take a father's word for it—the domestic hearth is an inexhaustible source of consolation for the sorrowful—an inexhaustible source of sweet joys and healthy pleasures."

These warm and affectionate words moved Anna Bell so profoundly that, dropping down upon her knees before her father, she covered his hands and face with kisses and tears; and raising her eyes up to him, and contemplating him with a kind of respectful admiration, "Oh, father!" she exclaimed, "living image of God! Your goodness and compassion are like only unto His!"

"Because you suffer, my poor child," replied Odelin, his eyes moist with tears. And raising his daughter from the floor and placing her beside him, he put his arm around her and covered her with renewed caresses.

"It is because you are to suffer still more—it is because you love—it is because you are bound to love—and without hope!" the armorer proceeded with solemnity. "Only this once, and never again shall I mention this painful love. If I, your father, touch upon such a subject with you, the reason is that it is impossible for me to blame the choice of your heart. Franz of Gerolstein, by the strength of his character, the generosity of his sentiments, the loftiness of his whole life, deserves to be loved passionately. Alas, but for that unhappy past, your love needed not be hopeless. Only a few hours ago, speaking about you at a halt made by our troops, Franz of Gerolstein remarked to me: 'Oh, that honor, the only barrier I may never leap, should separate me forever from your daughter!' It was not a hollow consolation the Prince was offering me. I know Franz's contempt for distinctions of rank. Moreover we are of the same blood, our family comes from one stock; but that fatal past—that is the unbridgeable abyss that separates us forever from the Prince. That is why you inspire me with so much pity. Yes, you are all the more endeared to me because you suffer, and by reason of your future sufferings, poor dear child, so guiltless of the sins you have committed!" added Odelin with renewed tenderness. "But be brave, be brave, my child! Your hopeless love is at least honorable and pure; you can nourish it without shame, in the secret recesses of your heart. I shall say not another word upon that ill-starred passion. When you are back among us and, although surrounded by our affection, I shall see you at times lost in revery, sad, and moist of eye, believe me, poor distressed soul, your father will sympathize with your grief; each tear you drop will fall upon my heart."

Odelin was uttering these last words when his son hurried into the apartment, looking sad and even bewildered. Anna Bell jumped up to meet the young man, saying: "Thank God, brother, I see you back safe and sound!"

Such was the preoccupation of Antonicq that, without answering his sister, without taking notice of her, and even gently pushing her aside, he approached his father, and taking him apart to the other end of the room, spoke to him in a low and excited voice. Painfully affected at seeing herself pushed out of the way by her brother, who seemed to have neither a word nor a look for her in response to the gladness that she expressed at his safe return from battle, the young girl imagined herself despised by him.

"Alas!" thought the maid of honor, "my brother will not forgive my past life; only a father's heart is capable of indulgence. Great God! If my sister, my mother, were also to receive me with such disdain—perchance aversion! I would rather die than expose myself to such treatment!"

Antonicq continued to speak with his father in a low voice. Suddenly Odelin seemed to shudder, and hid his face in his hands. Profound silence ensued. Anna Bell, more and more the prey of the shyness and mistrust that conscious guilt inspires in a repentant soul, imagined herself the subject of the mysterious conversation between her father and brother. Odelin's features, lowering and angry, betokened disgust and indignation. The words escaped him: "And yet, despite such revolting horrors, I am bound to him by a sacred bond! Oh, a curse upon the day that brought us together again! A curse upon the fatal discovery! But once I shall have fulfilled that last duty, may heaven ever after deliver me of his hated presence! Listen," added the armorer, and again lowering his voice, he spoke to his son with intense earnestness, closing with the statement: "Such is my plan!"

The conversation was again renewed in undertones between father and son. Anna Bell had caught only fragments of her father's remarks. She was convinced they spoke of her—and yet, only a minute before, Odelin was so lovingly indulgent towards his erring daughter. In vain did the young girl seek to fathom the cause of so sudden a change. What could the fatal discovery be that Antonicq had just imparted to his father, and seemed suddenly to incite his indignation and anger? Did she not lay her past life bare to her father in all sincerity of heart? What could she be accused of that she had not voluntarily confessed? A prey to profound anxiety, the young girl's heart sank within her; her limbs trembled as she saw her father hurriedly take up his sword and casque, and make ready to leave with Antonicq.

The young man stepped to the couch of straw and pulled out of it a long, wide cloak of a brown material with a scarlet hood attached, such as was common among the Rochelois,[71] and helped his father to wrap himself in it over his armor; Odelin then put on his casque, threw the hood over it, and, without either look or word to his daughter, who, trembling and with frightened eyes followed his movements, went out, followed by his son.

Long did Anna Bell weep. When her tears ran dry, the young girl turned her face to the future with sinister resolution. She considered herself an object of disgust and aversion to her brother and father. Forsaken by them, an unbridgeable abyss—honor—separated her forever from Franz of Gerolstein. Nothing was left but to die. Suddenly a flash of joy lightened her eyes, red with recent tears. She rose, stood erect, and looking about said: "Yes, to die. But to die under Franz's eyes—to die for him, like the young page killed this very day by throwing himself in the path of the bullet that was to fell his master. The army is to return to battle. The clothes, the horse of the page who was killed to-day are all here!"

As these thoughts seethed in her mind, Anna Bell's eyes fell upon some sheets of paper, a pen and ink in a broken cup lying on the mantlepiece. The girl took them down with a sigh:

"Oh, father! Oh, brother! Despite your contempt and aversion, my last thoughts will be of you!"

Hervé Lebrenn, the incestuous wretch who raised a matricidal hand against his mother, Fra Hervé, the Cordelier, as he was called in the royal army, deserved but too well the reputation for a fiery preacher and leader of implacable sectarians. His sermons, lighted by a savage style of eloquence, and coupled to acts of ferocity in battle, inspired the Catholics with fanatic admiration. Wounded and made a prisoner in the course of the engagement of that day, he was taken pinioned to St. Yrieix and locked up in a dark cellar. The cellar door opened. The light of a lanthorn partially dispelled the gloom of the subterranean cell. Seated on the ground with his shoulders against the wall, Fra Hervé saw a man enter, wrapped in a brown mantle, the scarlet hood of which, being wholly thrown over his head, concealed the face of the nocturnal visitor. The visitor was Odelin Lebrenn. He closed the door behind him, placed the lanthorn on the floor, and almost convulsed with wracking emotions, silently contemplated his brother, who had not yet recognized him. Odelin saw him now for the first time since the day when, still a lad returning from Italy with Master Raimbaud, the armorer, he involuntarily witnessed the torture and death of his sister Hena and Brother St. Ernest-Martyr. Hervé also attended the solemnity of his sister's execution, in the company of Fra Girard, his evil genius.

Odelin Lebrenn looked with mute horror upon his imprisoned brother. The lanthorn, placed upon the floor, threw upward a bright light streaked with hard, black shadows upon the cadaverous, ascetic and haggard features of Hervé. His large, bald forehead, yellow and dirty, was tied in a blood-stained bandage. The blood had flowed down from his wound, dried up on one of his protruding cheek bones, and coagulated in the hairs of his thick and matted beard. His brown and threadbare coat, patched up in a score of places, was held around his waist by a cord from which hung a chaplet of arquebus balls with a small crucifix of lead. Rusty iron spurs were fastened with leather straps to his muddy feet, shod in sandals. Fra Hervé, unable to distinguish his brother's face, shadowed as it was by the hood of the mantle, turned his head slowly towards the visitor, and kneeling down with an expression of gloomy disdain, said in a hollow voice:

"Is it death? I am ready!"

The Cordelier thereupon bowed down his large bald head, and raising his fettered hands towards the roof of the cellar muttered in a low voice the funeral invocation of the dying. Odelin threw back his hood, took up the lanthorn, and held it so as to throw a clear light upon his face.

"Brother!" he called out to the monk in a voice that betrayed his profound emotion. "I am Odelin Lebrenn!"

Without rising from his knees, Fra Hervé threw himself back, and examined for a moment the face of Odelin. At length he recognized him, and, a sudden flash of hatred illumining his hollow eyes and an infernal smile curling his livid lips, he cried:

"God has sent you! I shall spit out the truth into the face of the apostate! Oh, that your father were also here!"

"Respect his memory—our father is dead!"

"Did he die impenitent?"

"He died in his faith!"

"He died damned!" replied Fra Hervé with a savage guffaw. "Everlastingly damned! The corruptor of my youth! The heretical leper! The sink of pestilence! Damned along with his wife! It was Thy will, Oh, God! In Thy wrath Thou didst so decree it. The flames of hell will be doubly hot to them! Forever and ever will they be face to face with the spectacle of their daughter, damned through their acts, and damned like themselves, writhing in the midst of everlasting fires!"

"Do not take upon your lips the names of our sister, the poor martyr, or of our mother, you wretched fanatic, author of all their sufferings!"

"'Our' mother! 'Our' father! 'Our' sister!" echoed back the monk, with an outburst of sardonic laughter. "Look at the renegate! He dares invoke bonds that are snapped, and are abhorred! Man—I have no father but the vicar of Christ! No mother but the Church! No brothers but faithful Catholics. Outside of that holy family—holy, thrice holy!—I see only savage beasts, bent in their demoniacal rage upon tearing into shreds the sacred body of my holy mother! And I kill them! I throttle them! I immolate them to God, the avenger! Oh, how I grieve to think that you did not fall, like the likes of you, under my heavy iron crucifix, which the Holy Father blessed! What more beautiful holocaust could I offer to the implacable anger of the Lord, than to say to Him as Abraham did on the mountain: 'Lord! May the vapor of this blood rise to your nostrils. This blood is twofold expiatory! It is my blood, it is the blood of my family!'"

"Blood! Always blood!" echoed Odelin, shivering with disgust and horror. "Hervé, blood has intoxicated you. Like so many other priests, you are the prey of a savage frenzy. A bloodthirsty dementia has dethroned your reason. I have for you the pity that a furious madman inspires. After a desperate resistance you fell into the power of a corps of Protestant horsemen. My son was among them; he identified you by the mournful celebrity that surrounds your name. His companions were of a mind to kill you on the spot. He obtained from them a postponement of your execution under the pretext that your death would be more exemplary before the assembled ranks of our soldiers. My son's views prevailed. You were taken to this place, to this cellar belonging to the priory occupied by Admiral Coligny, who, thanks to God, escaped this day being poisoned, escaped the latest abominable crime planned against him. You were taken to this cell. My son just notified me of your capture and of his desire to save you. I share his wishes—seeing that, unfortunately, we are both children of one father. But for that I would have left you to your fate. Your religion commands you to kill me; mine commands me to save you. I shall untie your hands; you shall throw this mantle over your shoulders and lower the hood over your head. My son is the only watchman. He offered to the sentinel placed on guard over you to take his place. The offer was accepted. We shall leave this cell together. The Rochelois mantle will conceal your frock and remove suspicion. You will follow me. I am known to all the people and soldiers whom we may meet in crossing the courtyard of the Admiral's house. I hope to secure your flight with the aid of this disguise. That duty, a sacred one to me, I fulfil in the name of our parents who are no more—in the name of those cherished beings who loved us so dearly."

"Oh, God, the Avenger!" exclaimed Hervé with savage exaltation. "Ever does Thy anger strike Thy enemies with blindness! Themselves they break the chains of their immolators! Themselves they deliver themselves defenseless into the hands of their implacable enemies!"

And stretching out his fettered hands to his brother, the monk added:

"Oh, thou vile instrument of the King of Kings! Free these hands from their bonds! There is still work for them to do in cropping the bloody field of heresy! There are still supporters of Satan for these hands to exterminate!"

Calm and sad, Odelin loosed the fetters from Fra Hervé's hands. Hardly did the monk regain the free use of his arms than, darting a tiger's look at his brother, he took two steps back, seized the heavy string of leaden balls that hung from his girdle, swung it like a sling, and, before his liberator, who stood stupefied at the brusque assault, had time to protect himself, smote him several times on the head with the heavy chaplet. Although considerably deadened by Odelin's casque, the violent blows staggered the armorer. For a moment he seemed to reel on his feet, but instantly recovering himself, he drew his sword at the very moment that Fra Hervé returned to the charge. Odelin parried the blows, and, cutting with a back-stroke the string that held the balls, caused them to slip off and roll down at the feet of the monk. Odelin immediately threw his sword aside, but carried away with rage and indignation, he dashed upon his brother, seized him by the throat, threw him to the ground and pinned him down with his knees upon his chest. In this struggle, Fra Hervé, weakened by his wound, had the disadvantage. He furiously bit Odelin's hand. The pain drew a piercing cry from Odelin. The noise was heard by Antonicq, who stood on guard at the outside of the door. The young man rushed in and saw his father at close quarters with the monk, who, in his rage, kept his teeth in Odelin's flesh and sought, after having penetrated to the bone, to crush his brother's thumb between his teeth. Exasperated at the sight, Antonicq picked up his father's sword and dealing with the handle of the weapon a crushing blow upon Fra Hervé's cheek, knocked in several of his teeth and compelled him to release his prey. Odelin rose. Panting with fury and exhausted by the violence of the struggle, the Cordelier sank upon his knees; tore off the bandage from his head, thereby leaving a deep, gaping wound exposed; and trembling with silent, savage rage, sought to staunch the blood that poured in streams out of his mouth.

"My son, look at that monk," observed Odelin to Antonicq with a broken voice. "There was a time when that man was full of tenderness and respect for my father and mother. He cherished my sister and me. Brought up like myself in the practice of justice, and gifted with exceptional intelligence, he was the joy, the pride, the hope of our family. Look at him now; shudder; there you see him the handiwork of the infamous clergy of the papacy!"

"Oh, it is horrible!" exclaimed Antonicq, hiding his face in his hands. And, suddenly startled by the sound of a distant tumult that reached the depth of the cell across the profound silence of the night, the young man listened for a moment and said: "Father, do you hear that noise? The troops are on the march. The cavalry is moving."

"Yes," answered Odelin, listening in turn. "The Admiral must have decided to surprise the royalist army before daybreak. The forces will be shortly on the march. You remain on guard at the door of the cellar. This prisoner is the object of so much hatred that they are likely to come for him any moment, to put him to death before we deliver battle. His cell will be found empty. You will answer that the man was my brother and that I wished him to escape punishment. Before mounting your horse, come for me at my lodging. We left your poor sister there. Our sudden departure must have seemed strange to her, and may have caused her anxiety. In my confusion I never thought of giving her a word of comfort. Let us make haste."

And throwing his Rochelois cloak to Fra Hervé, Odelin continued:

"If you care to escape death, put that cloak on and come. Towards you, and despite yourself, I shall act as a brother."

"And I will pursue you with revengeful hatred, apostate!" answered the monk with implacable resentment, rising to his feet and donning the cloak. "The Lord delivers me through your hand. He has His purpose. I shall be the exterminator of your heretical kin! March—lead my way out—save me! God orders it—obey!"

Thanks to the disguise of Fra Hervé, who was wrapped in a Rochelois cloak like a large number of Protestant volunteers, Odelin succeeded in aiding him to escape from the grounds of the priory where he was a prisoner. The two thereupon crossed the streets of St. Yrieix, these being crowded with soldiers hastening in silence to their several posts. Intending to surprise the enemy in the morning by a forced night march, the Admiral ordered the assembly of the forces to be done without beat of drum. Odelin and Fra Hervé saw not far from them the Franc-Taupin and the Avengers of Israel as they crossed the road on their way to the prison of the Cordelier whom they were to execute. A few minutes later, led by his brother to the furthest end of the camp, Fra Hervé vanished in the dark, taking long strides, and hurling threats of vengeance and anathema at his liberator.

Odelin hastened to return to his own lodging in order to comfort his daughter and embrace her before going to battle. Anna Bell had vanished. The room was empty. There was a letter left by her upon the armorer's anvil.



The Protestant army, about twenty-five thousand strong, marched out of St. Yrieix in profound silence at about one o'clock in the morning. The black and sinuous line of battalions and squadrons was hardly distinguishable from the surrounding darkness of the night, lighted only by the scintillations of the stars. The column followed the winding of the whitish road which was lost to sight in the distant horizon in the direction towards Roche-la-Belle, the royalist encampment. The measured step of the foot soldiers, the sonorous tramp of the cavalry, the clinking of the armors, the jolting and rumbling of artillery wheels—all these noises merged into one muffled and solemn sound. Scouts, alert with eye and ear, and pistol in hand, preceded the vanguard. At the head of the vanguard rode Admiral Coligny, with two young men, one on either side—Henry of Bearn, the son of the brave Joan of Albert, Queen of Navarre, and Condé, a son of the Prince of Condé, whom Montesquiou assassinated. Other Protestant leaders, among them Lanoüe and Saragosse, followed in the Admiral's suite. On that morning the Admiral rode a superb silver-grey Turkish horse that was wounded under him at Jarnac, and which he preferred to all other mounts. A light iron mail covered the neck, chest and crupper of the spirited steed. Coligny himself wore his habitual armor of polished iron devoid of ornament. His strong high boots reached up as far as his cuisses. His floating white and wire-sleeved cloak allowed his cuirass to be seen. His old battle sword hung from his belt. The butts of his long pistols peeped from under his saddle-bow. He rode bowed down by years, sorrows and the trials of so many campaigns. His venerable head seemed to bend under the weight of his casque. He guided his horse with his left hand. His right, gloved, reclined upon his cuisse. Suddenly he straightened up in the saddle, reined in his horse, and said in a grave voice:

"Halt, messieurs!"

The order was repeated from rank to rank back to the rearmost of the rear guard. One of the volunteers, who served as aide-de-camp to the Admiral, rode forward at a gallop to carry to the scouts the order to stop. An almost imperceptible shimmer began to whiten the horizon and announced the approach of dawn. A tepid breeze rose from the west, and became strong enough to chase the few clouds before it. These grew denser; at first they veiled the stars; soon they seemed to invade the whole firmament. Coligny attentively examined the aspect of the skies, communicated his opinion to his escort, and said to his lieutenants:

"A west wind, rising at dawn, generally presages a rainy day. Messieurs, we shall have to push the attack in lively style before the rain comes down upon us, otherwise the fire of our infantry will be almost useless."

And addressing Lanoüe:

"My friend, the chiefs of divisions have my orders; let them be drawn up for battle."

Lanoüe and several other officers rode off to execute the instructions of the Admiral. At this spot the road crossed a vast plateau more than a league wide, upon which the Protestant army deployed its lines and took up its positions. Coligny had Lanoüe and John of Soubise for his lieutenants. Prince Louis of Nassau commanded the right wing; La Rochefoucauld the center, with Henry of Bearn, Condé, the Prince of Orange, Wolfgang of Mansfeld and the Prince of Gerolstein under his orders; finally, the left was in charge of Saragosse. Colonels Piles and Baudine covered the right wing with their regiments; Colonels Rouvray and Pouilly the left. The lancers and the artillery were distributed along the two wings, while a strong cavalry force, consisting of twenty squadrons, held itself in reserve, ready to ride into action supported by several regiments of infantry.

In the measure that the light of dawn rendered the distant horizon more distinct, the belfry of the church of Roche-la-Belle, the fortified town occupied by the royalists, and lying about half a league away, could be discerned from the highest point of the plateau where the Protestant forces were deploying their lines. A black line along the dawn that dimly lighted the horizon marked the royalist entrenchments.

Soon as the army was drawn up in battle formation, Coligny said to Antonicq, one of the volunteers who served as aide-de-camp:

"Monsieur Lebrenn, convey to Colonel Plouernel my orders to push forward with his regiment and six companies of auxiliaries. Recommend to him above all to execute his march in the profoundest silence possible, without either beat of drums or blare of trumpets. The enemy must be taken by surprise. The colonel is to seize the lake road, which is strongly defended. When that post is carried, return and notify me."

Antonicq left at a gallop for the extreme right wing, the post of Colonel Plouernel, the younger brother of Count Neroweg of Plouernel, who commanded the escort of Queen Catherine De Medici the day of her arrival at the Abbey of St. Severin. The religious feuds threw the two brothers into opposite camps—a not infrequent occurrence in those unhappy days. In the course of the civil wars, the colonel, like so many other Protestants, sought refuge in the city of La Rochelle. Odelin thanks to the family archives left to him by his father Christian, knew that the printer had met and was greatly gratified by the courtesy of Colonel Plouernel on the occasion of one of the first councils held by the reformers in the quarry of Montmartre, when he was known as the Knight of Plouernel. One day, at La Rochelle, Odelin saw the knight, who had become a colonel in the Huguenot army, enter his smithy. He came to purchase arms, and noticing on the shield of the shop the name of Lebrenn, inquired from the armorer whether any relationship existed between him and the artisan once employed in the printing establishment of Robert Estienne. Odelin answered that he was a son of the artisan, and, agreeably impressed by the cordiality with which the colonel spoke of his father, entered into friendly relations with the nobleman, finding a singular charm in an acquaintance with one of the descendants of that old Frankish family whose path the sons of Joel had so often crossed, arms in hand, across the ages. In short, prizing more and more the noble character, the generous heart and the artless manners of Colonel Plouernel, a man free from all taint of family haughtiness and imbued, as much as any, with the democratic principles of the Reformation, Odelin informed the scion of the ancient house of Plouernel of the accidental circumstance concerning the hereditary feud between the two families both before and since the conquest of Clovis, and communicated to him the passages of the domestic chronicles touching upon those historic facts. By little and little an intimate friendship sprang up between Odelin and Colonel Plouernel. The latter, having married during one of the truces of the civil war a young lady of Vannes, from whom he had two little boys, was forced to seek refuge in La Rochelle with them and his wife when at last war broke out anew. He hired a few vacant rooms from Odelin, being anxious to leave Madam Plouernel with a family the virtues of which he appreciated. For Antonicq, Odelin's son, he felt an almost paternal affection, there being many years' difference between their ages. Being, thanks to his bravery, his reputation, his military talents, and his experience in the field, greatly esteemed among the Protestants, Colonel Plouernel commanded in this campaign a regiment composed almost exclusively of Bretons. His soldiers, however, although brave and zealous, were, like all other volunteers, unfortunately prone to disregard discipline; being, moreover, but ill broken to the pursuit of arms, they often failed to appreciate the authority of skilful and prudent tactics, preferring to listen to their own blind intrepidity. The Breton regiment, together with the company of auxiliaries, numbered about three thousand men. They stood drawn up for battle at the furthest extremity of the right wing, when Antonicq, the carrier of the Admiral's orders, arrived at a gallop before their front ranks. Some, being field laborers, wore the ancient loose Gallic blouse, with hose fastened around the waist by a belt, and woolen bonnets on their heads; others, being either artisans or bourgeois from the cities, wore wide hose, jackets laced in front in the Burgundian style, or brigandines, or coats of mail or other defensive equipments, according to their several tastes. The men's headgear also offered a varied aspect: casques, morions, bassinets, slouch hats, bonnets ribbed with two iron hoops. Neither were the offensive arms more uniform—lances, pikes, halberds, antique swords, cross-bows, iron maces, cutlasses, hunting arquebuses, field arquebuses, and pistols all being visible. Several wood-cutters and their helpers were armed with hatchets, and some had scythes with the edge turned out. The only uniform, or article common to all, was a belt or shoulder sash of white material. These men, although presenting a rather unmilitary appearance, displayed spirit and ardor. More than once did it happen that the fury of their onslaught overthrew the best royal troops, both infantry and cavalry, despite the latter's long military training and discipline.

Armed like a German rider, with black casque, black cuirass and white cloak, Colonel Plouernel bestrode a powerful Breton bay mare, caparisoned in scarlet. When Antonicq approached him he was in conversation with several officers of his regiment. Among these was the Pastor Feron, a man gifted with exceptional energy, and of austere and resolute mien. Often did he, like so many other ministers of the Reformed religion, march to battle at the head of a troop, singing psalms like the old bards of Gaul who marched in advance of the warriors singing their heroic chants. More than once wounded, the clergyman Feron inspired the Protestants with as much confidence as veneration. Antonicq transmitted the orders of Admiral Coligny to Colonel Plouernel. The latter immediately faced his troops and said to the captains who surrounded him:

"The Admiral does us the honor of entrusting to us the lead in the attack. We shall prove ourselves worthy of the distinction. We are to take the royal army by surprise. It will soon be day, but the slope of this hill, along the foot of which runs the road that we are to follow, will hide us from the enemy's pickets. We shall be able to reach the edge of the lake without being seen. Foreseeing the attack with which we are charged, I have just commissioned the Franc-Taupin to proceed with a picked body of determined men of his own corps and sound for a ford across the lake. Return to your companies. Order the drummers and trumpeters to remain quiet, and all your men to observe scrupulous silence."

"Brothers," remonstrated Pastor Feron with elation, "why conceal our approach from the Philistines? Does not the Lord lead the children of Israel? Let us place our reliance on Him only, and the proud towers of Zion will crumble before the breath of the Eternal. Let us march to the attack, not like timid and slinking thieves, but openly, bravely, like true soldiers of God! It was under the open sky that David vanquished Goliath!"

"Yes, yes. No underhanded tactics!" cried several officers. "Let us march straight upon the enemy, singing praises to the Lord. He is with us. We shall vanquish."

"My friends," said Colonel Plouernel, "follow my advice. Let us proceed with caution. The royal army is much our superior in numbers. We must make up with tactics for our inferiority. Let us arrive noiselessly before the vanguard of the enemy, you will not then lack for opportunity to prove your valor. Place yourselves at the head of your companies, and forward at the double quick, only in the profoundest silence."

The authority enjoyed by Colonel Plouernel, the wisdom of his orders, the confidence of the volunteers in his bravery and military skill once more carried the day over the seething impatience of his captains, although Pastor Feron looked displeased with a manoeuvre in which he imagined he saw a weakness and dissimulation unworthy of the children of Israel. The officers took their posts, and the column advanced in silence, with its right covered by the ridge of a long hill that completely masked it on the side of the enemy's entrenchment. The road that the column followed crossed a wide field covered with wild roses, their petals heavy with the dew of night, and spreading an aromatic odor far and wide. Colonel Plouernel inhaled with delight the early morning fragrance, and addressing Antonicq, who rode beside him, said:

"Oh, my boy! This sweet perfume, these wild smells, remind me of the moors of Brittany. I draw them in with full lungs."

"Brittany! It is the dream of my life! When I was still a boy my father took us to Vannes, on a pilgrimage to the sacred stones of Karnak. They rise not far from the spot where stood the cradle of our family at the time of Julius Caesar. I being then too young to understand it, my father only gave me a short account of our family history. Since then I have read it from beginning to end. I now have but one uppermost desire, and my father shares it. It is, should God put an end to these disastrous wars, to leave La Rochelle and settle down in Vannes. We may be able to purchase a patch of land on the seashore, near the stones of Karnak."

"Those sacred stones, the surviving witnesses of the voluntary sacrifice of your ancestress Hena, the virgin of the isle of Sen—that old Armorica, the independence of which your ancestor Vortigern defended so valiantly against the son of Charlemagne!"

"You may judge, colonel, what memories are awakened within us by that single word—Brittany."

"Well, my boy, it occurred to me quite recently that your and your father's wishes may easily be realized."


"By virtue of his primogeniture, my brother is the sole owner of the vast hereditary domains belonging to our family in Auvergne and in Brittany. But the father of my dear wife Jocelyne, a good and honest Breton who resides in Brittany, owns an estate that lies not far from Karnak, along the seashore. Judging from what your father has told me of your family traditions, the estate is bound to consist, partly at least, of the fields once owned by your ancestor Joel the brenn of the tribe of Karnak. Now, then, if God should grant us peace again, nothing would be easier for me than to obtain from my wife's father either the sale or lease of a portion of those fields, and you could then settle down there with your family."

"Oh, colonel! I should be pleased to owe to you the happiness of living in Brittany, near the cradle of my family, together with father and mother, and my sisters, and Cornelia my sweetheart, who will then be my wife!"

"And yet, strange to say, my boy, your ancestors and mine have hated and fought each other across the ages. I must admit the fact—the law of nature justified the terrible reprisals of the conquered upon their conquerors, in those days of frightful oppression. It required the rude school of the religious wars to join in one common belief the children of Joel the Gaul and of Neroweg the Frank, as your father puts it. That first step in Evangelical fraternity marks an immense progress. Thus will traditional hatreds cool down little by little, and race antagonisms will be wiped out, as they have been wiped out between our two families, once such bitter enemies—"

"And now," Antonicq completed the sentence, "united by the bonds of firm friendship. May the same be kept ever green among our descendants."

"It is my fervent hope, my dear Antonicq. I am bringing up my children in that feeling. More than once have I cited to them incidents from your family legends, to the end that their young minds may be penetrated with the sense that the rights, the privileges, the titles of which the nobility boasts so loudly, and which it guards so jealously, have for their principle or origin the abominable acts of violence that conquest brings in its train."

During the conversation between Colonel Plouernel and Antonicq the regiment pursued its march under shelter of the ridge that it skirted. The further end of the ridge sloped gradually down to the level of the field, watered by the lake and the stream which protected the front of the royal camp. The attacking column, which, obedient to the orders of the Admiral, marched in silence, was expected to reach the open before sunrise, and thus be able to open the assault unexpectedly upon the strongly entrenched outposts, that were planted on the lake road. The execution of the plan was frustrated by the martial impatience of the volunteers, whom Pastor Feron in his exaltation drove to a fever heat of excitement with his blind faith in the irresistible power of the arm of Israel. The Huguenots were still half an hour's march from the enemy when the pastor, who marched ahead of the silent drummers, suddenly intoned in a ringing voice the psalm well known to the Protestants:

"The Eternal looks down from above,
Night and day from out the skies,
On all men bestowing love,
And nothing escapes His eyes.
"From His throne august,
The holy King and just
Sees below distinctly,
Of man the distant race,
Through th' abyss of space
Sees it all distinctly.
"Nor camps nor yet gendarmes,
Nor all the strong alarms
Can ever save a king!
Nor iron nor courage
Are of a good usage,
Oh, Lord, without Thy aid.
"Yes, God His wings doth spread,
On us His grace doth shed.
And ever mounteth guard
O'er those who Him esteem.
None other worthy deem
But only Him regard."

No sooner had the pastor struck up the psalm with its biblical poetry, than each couplet was repeated in chorus by the Huguenots. Nothing could be more solemn than that choir of three thousand male and sonorous voices, rising from the silent plain, and seeming to salute with a martial hymn the first rays of that day of battle. Nevertheless, sadly inopportune, the canticle announced to the enemy the approach of the Protestants. Driven to despair by the infraction of the Admiral's orders, Colonel Plouernel sought at first to restore silence by addressing himself to the foremost companies. Vain hope; vain entreaties. The soldiers wrought themselves up with their own voice.

"Oh, this lack of discipline will ever be fatal to us!" observed Colonel Plouernel to Antonicq. "Thus have we almost always either endangered the success of a battle, or even lost the day that otherwise would positively have been ours! But the error is committed. The enemy is informed of our proximity. Let it at least be announced resolutely!"

And addressing the drummers:

"Boys, beat the double-quick!"

The drums immediately resounded without however drowning the voices of the Protestants—an imposing military orchestra. The column hastened its steps. After half an hour's rapid march its front ranks debouched into the open field. Piercing a heavy bank of clouds, the first rays of the sun crimsoned the face of a wide lake into which emptied a stream that itself was fed by a number of streamlets which descended from an elevated plateau, dominated by the burg of Roche-la-Belle. The lake and main stream were hemmed in on the side of the royal entrenchments, and constituted the enemy's first line of defense. A thick chestnut forest rose to the left of the lake. The lake road ran at right angles, and was fortified by an earthwork, furnished with embrasures, and these armed with falconets. This light artillery could sweep the whole length of the water-courses, which had to be crossed in order to attack a palisaded ground, which, crenelated with loop-holes for the use of arquebusiers, completed the defenses of the Catholic army. Finally, a number of heavy guns, mounted upon a high embankment, could also play upon the water-course. A cross-fire thus rendered the crossing doubly dangerous. This particular peril would have been almost wholly escaped had the Admiral's orders been obeyed. Had the attacking column arrived noiselessly at break of day and taken the royalists by surprise when still rolled in slumbers, and before they could hurry to their light and heavy guns and form their ranks, the Huguenots could have crossed the stream and, soon supported by their whole army corps, could have led a powerful attack upon the enemy's position. It happened otherwise. The reverberations of the hymn sung by the Huguenots sounded the reveille to the enemy, and frustrated the Admiral's plans. From all sides the drums of the Catholics were sounding the call to arms when the first company of the Protestants debouched upon the plain. Colonel Plouernel ordered a halt, alighted from his horse, gathered his captains around him and, in order to avoid further mishaps said to them:

"We can no longer hope to take the enemy by surprise. I shall now communicate to you my new plan of attack."

Hardly had Colonel Plouernel uttered these words when they heard a lively rattle of arquebus fire from the lake road. He turned his eyes in that direction, unable at first to conjecture against whom the fire could be directed, seeing that he and his forces were beyond the reach of the shot. Immediately, however, the ricochetting of the balls over the surface of the lake attracted the colonel's attention, and he soon perceived here and there, at a considerable distance from one another, several casqued heads just above the surface of the water, and ever and anon diving below with the view of escaping the fire of the arquebusiers.

"It is the Franc-Taupin and his Avengers of Israel. They have been sounding for a ford across the lake and the stream!" exclaimed the colonel in high glee. "Their information will be of great use to us." But immediately he cried out: "Oh! one of the brave men has been struck!"

Indeed, one of the Avengers of Israel, who, following the example of the Franc-Taupin, and in order not to offer his full body to the aim of the enemy, crouched lower and lower in the measure that, as he drew nearer to the reed-covered edge of the lake, the water grew shallower—one of the Avengers of Israel was struck by a bullet full in the head. He straightened up with a convulsive movement, threw his arms in the air, reeled, and then dropped, immediately disappearing under the water, whose surface at the spot reddened with his blood. The Franc-Taupin, together with his other companions, continued to drag themselves up through the reeds as far as the shore of the lake. Once there, the balls could not reach them. They picked up their arms and munitions, which they had left close to the bank, put on their cross-belts, and walked towards the group of officers whom they saw at a distance, standing near the last undulation of the ridge that still masked their column. Antonicq, who had alighted from his horse together with Colonel Plouernel, ran to meet the Franc-Taupin and threw his arms around the brave old soldier, saying: "Heaven be thanked, you have had a narrow escape from death!"

"Good morning, my boy!" answered Josephin. "But quit your embracings—you will get wet; I am streaming water. In my young days I played the mole, now in my old age I play the crawfish—so cease embracing me. Besides, I am angry with you and your father—it was due to you two that the scoundrel Hervé escaped death. We found his prison empty last night. Who but you winked at the demon's escape? I did not know that you were placed on guard over him."

"Uncle, the bonds of blood—"

"By my sister's death! Did he respect the bonds of blood!"

And stepping towards Colonel Plouernel, he said:

"Colonel, this is the result of our explorations: We arrived here before dawn; we left our horses at the ruined farm-house that you see yonder; we then took to the water. The royalists were not on the watch. The lake is fordable by cavalry from the point where the reeds run obliquely into the water. The stream is fordable in all parts by infantry. The water is not more than four feet deep at its deepest, and the bottom is hard. If you wish to flank the entrenchment on the lake road, you will have to ride up about three thousand feet on the side of the chestnut wood. There you will find, running into the marsh, a long and wide jetty. Ten men can walk abreast on it. It abutts on a palisaded earthwork that can be easily taken. It is the weak side of the enemy's defenses. You may rely upon the accuracy of these facts, colonel. I made the reconnoissance myself."

"I know you are reliable, Josephin," answered Colonel Plouernel. "The information you bring me confirms me in the plan of attack that I have projected."

And stepping back to the group of officers whom Pastor Feron had just joined, the colonel said:

"Gentlemen, the following is my plan—we would incur a useless loss of men were we to make a front attack upon the lake road fortifications, and the palisaded fort. The enemy is up. The stream that we would have to wade is swept from right and left by a cross artillery fire. We will divide our forces into three corps. The first, which I shall command, will attempt to cross the stream, however perilous the feat, to the end of attracting the enemy's fire upon us, while our second corps, masked by the chestnut grove, shall march up to the jetty of the swamp in order to take the road fortifications on the flank. Finally, our third corps will move upon that other entrenchment which you see yonder where the stream crosses. The attack being thus made upon three points at once, the bulk of the army that comes close behind us will support our action. The engagement will be hot. Let us spare the blood of our men all we can. Courage and prudence."

"Still prudence! Still hesitation! notwithstanding the Lord fights for our rights!" exclaimed Pastor Feron with burning enthusiasm. "We but puff up the pride of the Philistines by not daring to attack them in front! Pusillanimity! Lack of faith in God!"

"To divide our forces instead of overwhelming the enemy by concentrating them upon one point?" put in one of the principal officers. "Did you consider that, Colonel Plouernel?"

The exasperated colonel cried: "Rely upon my mature experience—to make a front attack, and in mass, upon the enemy's position is as foolhardy an enterprise as it is fraught with danger."

"Intrepidity is the strength of the children of Israel!" cried the pastor in a louder voice. "United the children of Israel are invincible! Let us all march! Side by side! Like brothers, forward! High our heads and without fear! The finger of God points us the way!"

"Yes, yes! Let us attack in mass and with fury!" echoed most of the officers. "Forward all! Holding close together, nothing can resist us! God is with us!"

Alas, once again, as happened so often before in our wars, and to the greater misfortune of our arms, blind foolhardiness, inexperience, lack of discipline, and an exaggerated faith in the triumph of the cause, prevailed over the wise counsels of an officer who had grown grey in harness, and whose military science matched his bravery. First the captains, soon the soldiers also, successively informed from rank to rank upon the subject of the deliberation, and wrought up by the burning words of the pastor, objected to a division of the forces, deeming that such a move would weaken them; and, above all, fearing to seem to waver in sight of the foe, they demanded aloud to be led in mass against the enemy. Colonel Plouernel, who had a long experience with Breton volunteers, and was too well acquainted with their proverbial stubbornness, abandoned all thought of winning them over to his views. Seeing the men elated to the point of delirious heroism, he calmly said to the officers:

"Is it your wish? Well, let us march! Drummers, beat to the charge! Forward, at the enemy! Battle, all along the line!"

Colonel Plouernel then drew his sword, clasped Antonicq's hand, and said:

"My friend, we are marching to slaughter. If you escape the carnage that I foresee, take my last adieus to my wife and little boys, and also to your worthy father."

"These brave fellows are crazy! We shall be mowed down," observed the Franc-Taupin in turn to Antonicq. "I would die without first having done my twenty-five Catholic priests to death! The devil still owes me seven of them. Be firm, my boy. Let us not be separated from each other. We shall then at least both have the same stream for our tomb. To think of it! I who in my young days loved wine so well, now to die in water!"

The column set itself in motion in a compact mass, at a quick pace, and with drums beating at its head. Before the drummers marched Pastor Feron, who again intoned a psalm that was speedily taken up in chorus by the Protestants in the midst of a veritable hailstorm of balls and bullets:

"God ever was both my life and my light!0
Death, I defy thee! What have I to fear?
God's my support with His infinite might!
Have I not from Him my title quite clear?
"When the malignants did fire on me,
When they expected to tear out my heart,
Have I not seen them all thrown down by Thee,
Scattered, and smitten, and struck by Thy dart?
"Come, let a whole camp surround me on all sides,
Never my heart will be shaken with fright!
Close by my side, Oh! the Lord ever strides,
Need I to fear of a foe any blight?"

The battle raged with fury. Colonel Plouernel's apprehensions were realized. Despite prodigies of intrepidity, his column, as it waded through the stream in serried and compact ranks, was received in front and from the two flanks by a terrific cross-fire of arquebuses and artillery. Three-fourths of the volunteers fell under the torrent of lead, even before reaching the middle of the stream. Wondering at the length of this vanguard attack, the successful execution of which he considered certain by entrusting it to Colonel Plouernel. Admiral Coligny suddenly saw Antonicq Lebrenn riding back at top speed with his thigh pierced by a bullet. Informed by Antonicq of the reason of the disastrous result of the encounter, the Admiral promptly ordered Colonels Bueil and Piles to proceed at their swiftest with their respective regiments to the jetty, and take the road entrenchment from the flank. Soubise, La Rochefoucauld and Saragosse received and, with their wonted skill, executed another set of orders. Within shortly battle was engaged all along the line, changing the aspect of the conflict. The Huguenots' artillery responded to and silenced the fire from the opposite side. Attacked in front, from the right and the left, the royalists were dislodged from their entrenchments near the lake. They retired behind the palisaded ground, from which they kept up a murderous fire. But the palisade was broken through. First the infantry, then the cavalry of the Protestants rushed through the breaches. A stubborn melee ensued, and was at its height when the muffled rumbling of distant thunder, immediately followed by heavy rain-drops from the blackening sky overhead, announced the approach of the storm that Coligny had that morning predicted.[72]

I, Antonicq Lebrenn, who write this account, am overcome with grief in completing it. Its close revives sad memories.

After I informed Admiral Coligny of the check sustained by the column of Colonel Plouernel, the kindhearted old man insisted that his own surgeon dress my wound. Though painful, the wound did not prevent me from keeping in the saddle. After being attended by the surgeon, I hastened back to the thick of the battle. A large body of cavalry, commanded by Marshal Tavannes, with the Duke of Anjou, brother of Charles IX, and young Henry of Guise at his side, covered the right wing of the royalist camp. Against that armed body of heavy and light troopers Admiral Coligny hurled twenty squadrons of horsemen under the command of Prince Franz of Gerolstein. It was at that moment that I rejoined the battle. The thunder claps, now succeeding one another with increasing frequency and vehemence, drowned the roar of the artillery. The storm was soon to break out in all its fury. The Protestant cavalry was advancing at a gallop three ranks deep upon the Catholic horsemen. Sword in hand, Franz of Gerolstein led, a few paces in advance of his troopers. The Prince was accompanied by his knights and pages. Among the latter was Anna Bell. The dashing sight soon disappeared from before my eyes in the cloud of pistol smoke, and the dust raised by the horses, as the two opposing masses of riders met each other, pistol in hand and exchanged fire. Suddenly I heard my father's voice calling to me:

"God sends you, my son! Come and fight by my side."

"Father," I said to him drawing up my horse beside his own, he being on the right wing of our army and at the end of a line composed of Rochelois volunteer horsemen who followed upon the heels of the charging contingent of the Prince of Gerolstein, "did you have time to see my sister again after you left me last night?"

"Alas, no; but I found a letter that she left behind, and—"

My father could proceed no further. Two regiments of mounted arquebusiers under the command of Count Neroweg of Plouernel, the colonel's brother, made a charge upon us with the object of isolating us from the German troopers. The manoeuvre succeeded. The impetuosity of the charge threw our ranks into disorder. The enemy broke through them. We could no longer fight in line. A general melee ensued. It was a combat of man to man. Despite the disorder I managed to remain at my father's side. Fate drove us, him and me, face to face with Count Neroweg of Plouernel, at whose side rode his son Odet, a lad of sixteen years, and a great favorite with the Duke of Anjou. I heard the Count cry to him:

"Courage, my boy! Strike hard, and kill as many of the enemy as you can! Prove yourself worthy of the house of Neroweg!"

Almost immediately thereupon I saw the Count rise in his stirrups. His sword was on the point of striking my father when the latter crushed the shoulder of Neroweg with a pistol shot fired at close range. The Count dropped his sword and uttered a piercing cry. His son raised his light arquebus and took aim at my father, just then engaged in replacing his pistol in its holster. Instantly, driven by two digs of my spurs, my horse bounded forward, striking the steed of Odet of Plouernel breast against breast; at the very moment that Odet discharged his arquebus upon my father, I struck the lad so furious a blow with my saber that his casque and skull were cleaved in two. Odet stretched out his arms, and dropped backward bleeding upon the crupper of his horse. In the meantime, my own steed, wounded in the loins by a severe cut, collapsed. In falling, the heavy animal rolled over me, pressing with its full weight upon my wounded thigh. Pain deprived me of the strength to extricate myself. Several combatants trampled me under foot. My corselet was torn open under the iron hoofs of the horses. My morion was knocked in and flattened; pressed by its walls my skull felt as if cramped by a vise. My eyes began to swim; I was about to faint, but a frightful vision so stirred my soul at that moment that I seemed to revive. The melee left in its wake upon the field of carnage the dead, the dying, and the wounded among whom I lay. The spectacle I saw took place not far from my right. A few paces from me, my father, unhorsed by the arquebus of young Odet of Plouernel, raised himself livid, and sank again in a sitting posture, carrying his hands to his cuirass which a bullet had perforated. That same instant the diabolical cry smote my ears:

"Kill all! Kill all!"

And then, in the midst of the roll of thunder overhead, and across the surrounding sheen of lightning flashes, there appeared before my eyes—Fra Hervé, mounted upon a small black horse with long flowing mane, clad in his brown frock rolled up to his knees, and exposing his fleshless legs, naked like his feet which were strapped in spurred sandals wherewith he kicked his horse's flank and urged it onward. A fresh bandage covered his recent wound and girded his hairless skull. His hollow eyes sparkled with savage fury. Armed with a long cutlass that dripped blood he continued to cry:

"Kill all! Kill all!"

The monk led to carnage a band of gallows-birds, the scum and refuse of the Catholic army, whose duty it was to despatch the wounded with iron maces, axes and knives. Hervé recognized his brother Odelin, who, with one hand upon his wound and the other on the ground, was essaying to rise to his feet. An expression of satanic hatred lighted the face of the Cordelier. He jumped down from his horse, and emitted a roar of ferocious triumph. My father gave himself up for lost. Nevertheless he made an attempt to soften the heart of his executioner, saying:

"Hervé, brother! I have a wife and children. Last night I saved your life!"

"Lord!" cried the priest, gasping for breath and raising his fiery eyes and blood-stained cutlass to the thundering and lightning-lighted heaven above. "God of Vengeance! God of the Catholics! Receive as a holocaust the blood of Cain!"

And Fra Hervé precipitated himself upon his brother, threw him down, squatted upon his chest, seized his hair with one hand and with the other brandished the cutlass. Odelin uttered a cry of horror, closed his eyes and offered his throat. The fratricide was accomplished. Fra Hervé rose bespattered with his brother's blood, kicked the corpse with his foot, and jumped back upon his horse yelling:

"Kill all! Slaughter all the wounded!"

My senses, until then held in suspense by the very terror of the frightful spectacle, now abandoned me. I completely lost consciousness. The carnage continued.

When I recovered from my swoon, I was lying on the straw in our smithy and lodging at St. Yrieix. The Franc-Taupin and Colonel Plouernel sat beside my couch. From them I learned the issue of the battle of Roche-la-Belle. It was disastrous to the royalists; they were roundly routed. The violent thunder storm, followed by a deluge of rain, did not allow Admiral Coligny to pursue the retreating Catholic army. The victorious Protestants re-entered St. Yrieix. The Franc-Taupin and his Avengers of Israel, happening to pass by the spot where I lay motionless under my horse, not far from my father's corpse, with his throat cut by Fra Hervé, recognized me and laid me upon a wagon used for transporting the munitions of the artillery. The field of battle was ours. With the help of his companions, the Franc-Taupin piously dug a grave in which they buried my father.

Later I learned from the Prince of Gerolstein the sad fate that overtook my sister, and I also found the letter which she wrote to my father. The unfortunate girl, imagining herself despised and forsaken by us, decided, she wrote, to die, and bade us her heartrending adieus. Desirous that my father and his co-religionists be apprized of the dark and bloody schemes of Catherine De Medici, Anna Bell reported in her letter the secret conversation which the Queen had with Father Lefevre on the subject of the reformers—a conversation that she overheard at the Abbey of St. Severin. After having thus attested her attachment to us to the very end, she obtained the consent of the Prince's page she had spoken with, to don the clothes and ride the horse of the lad who was killed at the skirmish of that morning. She looked forward to meeting death beside Franz of Gerolstein. Alas! Her wish was realized. She joined the Prince. As much surprised as alarmed at the girl's purpose, he vainly entreated her to withdraw until after the shock between the two mounted forces. Neither Anna Bell nor Franz of Gerolstein was wounded at the first encounter. But shortly after, as the German horsemen were re-crossing the stream in pursuit of the enemy's cavalry, my sister was struck in the breast by a stray bullet from the fleeing enemy, and fell from her horse into the river, where she was drowned, without Franz, who was carried along by the impetus of his troopers' charge, being able to return in time to save her.

Finally, informed by my account concerning the double encounter of his brother, Count Neroweg, and Odet his son, with my father and myself, Colonel Plouernel learned later that both had perished in the fight, leaving him the head of the house, and sole heir of its vast domains.

Victorious at Roche-la-Belle, the Protestants were destined to suffer a serious defeat in September of the same year. The royal and Protestant armies met in Poitou, near the town of Montcontour. Coligny, much the inferior in numbers, manoeuvred his forces with his customary skill, and entrenched himself behind the River Dive. Sheltered by that almost impregnable position, he wished to wait for the reinforcements promised by Montgomery, who was in almost complete possession of Gascony. But, as had happened so many times before, to the misfortune of the cause, and despite all his firmness, Coligny saw himself constrained to yield to the headlong impatience of his army, the greater part of which consisted of volunteers. The campaign had lasted a long time. Captains and soldiers had left their families, their property, their farms, their fields and their homes to fly to the defense of their religion. They were anxious to return to their hearths. Accordingly, hoping by means of a victory to be able once more to impose peace upon Charles IX and reconquer the free exercise of their religion, they were loud in their demand for battle. Coligny yielded. On September 3, 1569, he delivered battle to an army almost twice the size of his own. Despite the prodigies of bravery displayed by the Huguenots, and although the royalists sustained heavy losses, victory remained with the Catholics. Nevertheless, after Montcontour, as after Jarnac, so far from allowing himself to be disheartened by a reverse that he had foreseen and that he had vainly sought to avoid, Coligny executed so threatening a retreat that the Catholic army dared not pursue him. On the very night after the defeat, the Protestant chieftains, assembled at Parthenay, despatched couriers to Scotland, Germany and Switzerland appealing to their co-religionists for support; collected the shattered fragments of their armies; threw strong garrisons into Niort, St. Jean-d'Angely, Saintes and La Rochelle; crossed the Charente; marched into Gascony to join Montgomery, who was the master of that province; and Coligny renewed hostilities with success, choosing as the basis of his operations the Rivers Tarn and Garonne. Armed bands of intrepid Protestants harassed and tired out the royal forces. Charles IX and his mother took the Huguenots for annihilated after the defeats of Jarnac and Montcontour. It was otherwise. The defeated men reappeared more determined, more numerous, more zealous in the defense of their rights. Catherine De Medici, more and more convinced that peace, and not war, offered the sole means to put an end to the Huguenots, turned her thoughts more resolutely than ever before to the execution of the infernal project that Francis of Guise conceived at the time of the triumvirate, and which she confided to the Jesuit Lefevre. She caused overtures to be made to Coligny looking to a new treaty of peace. The royal advances were met. The Admiral, together with several other Protestant chiefs, deputed as the plenipotentiaries of the Huguenots, held long conferences with the envoys of Charles IX, and finally, on August 10, 1570, a new edict, the most favorable yet granted to the Protestants, was signed at St. Germain.

The document provided in substance:

The memory of all past events is blotted out by both parties. Freedom of conscience is implicitly granted throughout the kingdom. None is henceforth to be constrained to commit any act forbidden by his conscience in religious matters. No distinction exists between Catholics and Protestants in the matter of admission to the colleges, Universities, hospitals, asylums, or any other institution of learning or of public charity. None shall be prosecuted for past actions. Coligny and all other Protestant chiefs are declared good and loyal subjects. Protestants are qualified to hold all royal, seigniorial or municipal offices. All decrees rendered against the Huguenots shall be stricken from the judicial records. Finally, and in order to guarantee the execution of the said edict, Charles IX places, as pledges for the term of two years, the cities of La Rochelle, Cognac, Montauban, and La Charite, in the hands of the Princes of Navarre, of Condé and of twenty other Protestant Princes, the said towns to be places of refuge for all those who might not yet venture to return to their own homes.[73]

Alas! those who, in the language of the edict, might not yet venture to return to their own homes, despite the peace being signed, promulgated and sworn to, justly suspected some new trap concealed under the lying peace. Antonicq Lebrenn did not take his leave of Admiral Coligny and Monsieur Lanoüe until after the close of the war. They were informed by him of the revelations contained in Anna Bell's letter to her father Odelin, the letter wherein the maid of honor of Catherine De Medici reported the conversation which she overheard between the infamous Queen and the Jesuit Lefevre, in the course of which the Queen disclosed to the Jesuit her project of lulling the suspicions of the Huguenots with the false appearance of a peace, to the end of taking them by surprise, unarmed and confiding, and exterminating them on one day throughout the kingdom. The project seemed so monstrous to Coligny that he looked upon it as only a chimera of delirious wickedness, and held it for impracticable, if only on the ground of there not being murderers enough to execute the butchery.

The Admiral deceived himself. There never is a lack of murderers in the Catholic party. These rise by the thousand at the voice of the Roman priests. All priests are potential murderers with a patent from their faith.



Towards the end of the month of August in the year 1572, the Lebrenn family was gathered one evening in the large hall that served for storeroom to the arms turned out by the establishment of Antonicq Lebrenn, who continued his father's trade at La Rochelle. The room had the appearance of an arsenal. On the shelves along the walls lay arms of all sorts in profusion—swords, daggers, sabers, cutlasses, pikes, halberds, battle maces and axes; further off, long and short-barreled arquebuses, pistols and some firearms of a novel fashion. These were light and easy to handle, an invention of the celebrated Gaspard of Milan, who gave them the name of "muskets;" finally, there was a large display of casques, morions, cuirasses, corselets, brigandines, armlets, shields and bucklers, some of the latter made of iron, others of wood inlaid with sheets of steel. The workshop, with its furnaces, anvils and other utensils, was situated behind the storeroom, where, on this day the Lebrenn family, six in number, were congregated—Marcienne, Odelin's widow; Antonicq, her son; Theresa, his sister, married three years before to Louis Rennepont, the nephew of Brother St. Ernest-Martyr; Josephin, the Franc-Taupin; Captain Mirant, Marcienne's brother; his daughter Cornelia, the betrothed of Antonicq; and finally John Barbot, a boilermaker, the widower of Jacqueline Barbot, who was the god-mother of Anna Bell, and who died two years previously. In the assemblage were also the two artisans of the establishment, Bois-Guillaume and Roland, besides a fifteen-year-old apprentice whom they nicknamed "Serpentin."

Although it was the hour for rest, these different personages were not idle. Marcienne, Odelin's widow, spun at her wheel. Clad in black, she had made up her mind to remain in mourning for the rest of her life in memory of the tragic deaths of her husband and her daughter, Anna Bell. The widow's pronounced features, the cast of her face at once serious, firm and kind, preserved the primitive type of the women of the Santones, a race which, according to what historians tell us, preserved itself pure from times immemorial, almost without admixture with foreign strains since the olden days of Gaul. Theresa, Marcienne's eldest daughter, was busy sewing, and from time to time cast a glance of maternal solicitude upon her child, who lay asleep in a cradle that off and on she rocked with her foot. Theresa expected with increasing anxiety the return of her husband, Louis Rennepont, who, several weeks before, left for Paris, whither he was deputed by the Rochelois, owing to the vague yet increasing apprehensions entertained by the Protestants, due to the circumstance that Coligny, together with almost all the Protestant leaders, was drawn to Paris on the occasion of the marriage of Henry of Bearn to the King's sister Marguerite. Theresa's headgear was the time-honored and common one of the women of the region—a high, white and pointed coif, adjusted to the coil of her tresses. Her robe, made of grey bolting-cloth, was slashed with a red front-piece, that partly covered her white and starched chemisette. From the belt of her apron hung two long silver chains, at the lower end of which were attached her penknife, scissors, a pin-cushion, some keys, and other utensils inseparable from a good housekeeper. Near Theresa Rennepont and behind her, Cornelia Mirant, her cousin, the betrothed of Antonicq, was ironing some household linen. The face of Cornelia also preserved in all their purity the characteristics of a Santone woman of the heroic days of Gaul. A luxurious head of light chestnut hair with a golden glint, twisted into strands and wound into a thick-topknot on her head; a white and ruddy skin; a small forehead; light eyebrows of a shade less brilliant than her hair and penciled in an almost straight line above her orange-brown, flashing and resolute eyes; a straight nose, prolonged in almost a straight line from the forehead, as seen in the lofty statues of antiquity; a pair of fleshy and cherry-red lips; a pronounced chin;—these features imparted to Cornelia's face a strikingly lofty stamp. The girl's tall stature, her flexible neck, her well rounded shoulders, her white and strong arms, the gentle contour of her bosom, recalled the noble proportions of the Greek Pallas Athene. With this virile appearance, Cornelia united the sportiveness, and the sweet and coy charms of a maid. Dressed Rochelois fashion like her cousin, Theresa, she had, in order to be at greater ease, rolled up the sleeves of her robe, and the strong muscles of her arms, which were white as marble, rose and fell with every impression of the hot iron upon the linen that she was smoothing. Ever and anon, however, the iron remained inactive for a moment. At such moments Cornelia raised her head to listen more attentively to the reading with which Antonicq was entertaining the assembled family; and her eyes would then bend upon him, not with any furtive tenderness, but, on the contrary, endeavoring to meet his own gaze with the serene confidence of a betrothed bride. Cornelia's father, Captain Mirant, one of the most intrepid seamen of La Rochelle, a man still in the full strength of his years, was engaged at sketching some defenses that he deemed requisite to the safety of the port. Near the captain sat his chum, John Barbot, the boilermaker of the isle of Rhe. His wife, Anna Bell's god-mother, had died of grief. She never could pardon herself for the loss of her god-child; after long years of weeping over what she deemed her own negligence, the poor woman sank into her grave. Not wishing to sit idly by, John Barbot was furbishing a steel corselet with as much care as he would have done one of the magnificent copper basins with artistic relievos, or one of his tinplated iron sheets, which, set up in his boilermaker's shop, shone with the glitter of gold or silver. A man of exceptional courage, above all of great self-possession in the hour of danger, Barbot had taken part in the late religious wars. Among other scars he wore one inflicted by a saber cut, dealt so furiously that, after cropping the boilermaker's left ear, it plowed through his cheek and carried away the tip of his nose. Despite the mutilation, John Barbot's face preserved an expression of unalterable good nature. The Franc-Taupin polished the barrel of an arquebus just taken, tarnished and defaced, from the forge. The old leader of the Avengers of Israel, the man to whom circumstances had imparted an implacable ferocity towards papists, still always carried, hanging from a string fastened to the buttonhole of his coat, the little piece of wood on which, by means of notches, he kept tally of the Catholic priests whom he killed in reprisal for the death of his sister and the torture of Hena. The notches had now reached the number of twenty-four. The implacable avenger was seated on the other side of the cradle of Theresa's child, and shared the mother's duties of lightly rocking it. Whenever the child woke up, the Franc-Taupin would drop the barrel of the arquebus on his knees and smile to the baby—at least as hard as the Franc-Taupin could smile. He lived on a small pension granted to him by the municipality of La Rochelle, in reward for the long years of service that he rendered in the capacity of sergeant of the city archers. Josephin transferred to Antonicq, to Antonicq's sister and to their mother the devoted attachment of which he gave so many signal proofs to Christian Lebrenn and his wife Bridget, to their daughter Hena and their son Odelin. Finally, the two artisans employed in the shop, Bois-Guillaume and Roland, as well as Serpentin the apprentice, occupied themselves with something or other connected with their trade, more for the sake of keeping their hands busy than for actual work, while they listened to Antonicq, who was reading aloud.

Antonicq read the Contre-Un, a work written by Estienne of La Boetie,[75] who died about nine years before. Never yet did reason, human dignity, the sense of justice, the holy love for freedom, the whole-souled horror for tyranny, speak a language more eloquent and more warm from the heart than the language spoken in that immortal book. It was a cry of execration, an anathema against oppression. The avenging cry, leaping from the indignant soul of a great citizen, caused all noble hearts to vibrate responsively. Those pages, every word of which breathes ardent conviction, steeled the faith of all the honorable people, who finally at the end of their patience with the monstrous crimes that royalty, the accomplice or tool of the Church of Rome, was still soiled with in this century, were seriously considering, the same as the Low Countries were doing, the advisability of following the example of the Swiss cantons, which federated themselves in a Republic. The work of Estienne of La Boetie, by calling upon all the oppressed to resistance Against-One who oppresses them, laid bare to them, with terse and pitiless logic, the despicable causes of their Voluntary Servitude, the original title of that admirable work.

Antonicq Lebrenn continued to read the Contre-Un amid the profound silence maintained by the assembled family:

"There are three species of tyrants, I speak of wicked princes: The first have the kingdom by popular election; the second by force of arms; the third by inheritance. Those who acquired it by the right of war deport themselves as on conquered territory; those who are born kings are usually no better; nourished in the blood of tyranny, they take in the tyrant's nature with their milk, and look upon their people as hereditary serfs. He, to whom the people conferred the State, should (it would seem) be more endurable, and so would he be, I hold, if, seeing himself raised above all others and flattered by the undefinable thing called grandeur, he did not generally bend his energies to preserve the power that the people loaned him, and to transmit the same to his own children.

"Accordingly, to speak truthfully, I do perceive that there is some difference between these different tyrants. But if one is to choose, the difference ceases. The act of reigning remains virtually the same—the elective ones govern as if they had bulls to tame; the conquering ones look upon their people as their prey; hereditary kings see in their subjects natural slaves.

"Speaking intelligently, it is a great misfortune to be subject to a master of whom one can never be certain that he will be good, seeing he ever has it in his power to be bad whenever it should so please him. I do not mean at this point to debate the question, to wit, Whether Republics are better than monarchy? If I wished to consider that question, I should first wish to know, What rank monarchy is to take among Republics, or if monarchy can at all rank with Republics, considering the difficulty of believing that there could be anything public in a government where all belongs to one?

"I wish I could understand how it happens that so many citizens, so many men, so many cities, so many nations often endure only a tyrant, who has no power except that given to him; who has no power to harm them but because of their own power to endure him! What! A million men, miserably held in subjection, their necks under the yoke, not compelled by force, but enchanted and charmed by the word ONE, neither the power of whom they need fear, seeing he stands alone; nor the qualities of whom they should love, seeing that, as to them, he is inhuman and savage! Such is the weakness among us, men!

"Oh, good God! What can that be? What name shall we call the thing by? What peculiar calamity is it? or what vice? or, rather, what calamitous vice? To see a vast number, not obey, but serve! Not governed, but tyrannized! With neither property, nor parents, nor children, nor yet their own lives that they may call their own! Suffer plunderings, pillagings, cruelties, not at the hands of an army, not at the hands of a camp of barbarians, against which one would shed his blood and risk his life—but endure all that from ONLY ONE! Not from a Hercules, or a Sampson, but from a single mannikin, generally the most cowardly, the most effeminate of the nation, at that! Not accustomed to the powder of battles, but even hardly to the dust of tourneys! Can we give to that the name of cowardice? Are we to say that those who remain in subjection are poltroons? That two, that three, that four should fail to defend themselves against ONE, that would be singular enough, yet possible; in which case we could justly say it is faint-heartedness. But when a hundred, when a thousand endure everything from ONLY ONE, can it then be said that they do not want, that they dare not lay hands upon him, and that it is not a case of cowardice, but rather of disdain and contempt? If so, what monstrous vice is this that deserves not the title of cowardice, that finds no name villainous enough to designate it by, that nature disowns having brought forth, and that the tongue of men refuses to name?"

The eloquent malediction of the blindness of subjugated peoples drew a unanimous cry of admiration from the Lebrenn family. Antonicq interrupted his reading for a moment.

"Oh, the book is right!" gravely observed Odelin's widow. "What monstrous vice can that be that bends under the yoke of ONLY ONE? It is not cowardice! The most cowardly, when they see they are a thousand against one, will not be afraid to attack him. That book is right. What may be the name of the nameless vice?"

Antonicq proceeded:

"It is the people who subjugate themselves; who cut their own throats; who, having the choice between being subject or free, leave their freedom for a yoke; who give their consent to their own ruin, or rather purchase the same. If the recovery of their freedom would have to cost something, it is not I who would press them to the act, although that which man should hold dearest is the recovery of his natural rights, or, to be accurate, from beast to return to man's estate.

"But no! I do not demand such boldness from the people. What! If, in order to have its liberty, the people need but to will it, can there be a nation on earth to consider the price too dear, being able to regain the boon by wishing? Who would hesitate to recover a boon that should be redeemed with the price of his blood, a boon, which if lost, all honorable men must esteem life a burden and death a relief?

"But no! The more do tyrants pillage, the more do they exact, the more do they ruin, the more do they destroy,—all the more are they paid to do it, all the more are they served, and all the more do they fortify themselves.

"And yet, if nothing were to be allowed to them, if no obedience were to be yielded to them, and that without combat, without striking a blow, they would remain naked, undone, and would cease to be anything—like roots, that, lacking nourishment, become a dry, dead branch."

"Right!" put in the Franc-Taupin. "Again that book is right. There are donkey-men and lion-men. Say to a donkey: 'Roar, jump, bite your enemy!' He will not listen. Say to the brute: 'Donkey you are, donkey you will be, remain donkey. One does not even expect of you that you rise to the Caesarian heroism of a kick! No, you peaceful beast! All that we ask is that you remain quiet, motionless, stubborn, and do not go to the mill! Aye, my donkey friends, what could the millers do, and their helpers, if, despite all their cudgels, the millions of donkeys, having passed the word along the line, refused point blank to march? Will the millers and their helpers shower blows upon you? Perhaps, but are you spared any blows when you do march? Beaten whether you march or stand still, you might as well stand still and ruin the miller.' Yes," added the Franc-Taupin, his face assuming a sad expression; "but how was this unhappy people even to conceive the bare thought of such an inert resistance? Have the monks not monked their brains from the cradle to the grave: 'Go, thou beast of burden, lick the hand that smites you—bless the burden that crushes your limbs, and galls your spine to the quick—thy salvation hereafter is to be bought by the torments you endure on earth—to the monks belong thy broad back—they straddle it in order to lead you to paradise!' And," proceeded the Franc-Taupin, more and more incensed, "should anyone attempt to wrest the besotted wretches from the grip of the monkery, why, then, quick, and quicker than quick!—the jail, the cutlass, the pyre, and torture! Thus came my sister Bridget to die in prison, and her daughter to be burned alive, and Christian to die of grief, and Odelin, his son, to have his throat cut by his own brother, Fra Hervé, the Cordelier! That is the long and short of it!"

These words, which recalled so many painful losses to the memory of the Lebrenn family, were followed by a mournful silence. Tears rolled down the cheeks of Marcienne, Odelin's widow; her wheel stopped whirring; her head dropped upon her breast and she muttered:

"My mourning will be like my sorrow, eternal! Oh, my children, there are two places that will ever remain vacant at our hearth—your father's and your sister's. The poor girl doubted our indulgence and our love for her!"

"Oh, Catherine De Medici! Infamous Queen! Mother of execrable sons! Will the hour of vengeance ever sound!" exclaimed Captain Mirant. "Even the perversest of people shudder at the crimes of the crowned monsters! Their acts are endured, and yet a breath could throw them down! Oh, well may we ask in the language of La Boetie's book: 'What is the nameless vice that causes millions of people to submit voluntarily to a power that is abhorred?'"

"We Huguenots, at least, showed our teeth to the monsters," put in Barbot the boilermaker. "Nevertheless, to talk shop, I must confess our mistake. It was our duty to throw into the furnace and melt once for all that old royal boiler in which for a thousand and odd years the Kings have been boiling Jacques Bonhomme, and serving him up in all manner of sauces for their repasts. Once that boiler is melted, the devil's kitchen would be done for!"

"Yes, indeed, comrade," replied Captain Mirant, "we made that mistake, and yet we were the most daring among the oppressed! And we made the mistake notwithstanding we were repeatedly imposed upon and betrayed by treacherous edicts. May it please God that this last edict do not fare like the previous ones, and that Louis Rennepont may speedily bring us tidings from Paris to dispel our apprehensions!"

"Brother," observed Marcienne, "I can not but mistrust the pledges of Charles IX and his mother. Alas, I can not forget the revelations made in the letter to her father by my poor daughter before she leaped voluntarily to death at the battle of Roche-la-Belle. Catherine and her sons are well capable of scheming the massacre that she confided to the Jesuit Lefevre. At the same time we must not forget that Admiral Coligny, so prudent, so wise, so experienced a man, in short, better qualified than anyone else to appreciate the situation, seeing he is in close touch with the court, reposes full confidence in the peace. Did he not give us positive proof of his sense of security by inducing the Protestants to restore to the King, before the date fixed by the edict, the fortified towns of asylum that were placed in their power?"

"Oh, sister, sister!" interjected Captain Mirant. "I shall ever congratulate myself upon having been on the Board of Aldermen among those who most decidedly opposed the relinquishing of La Rochelle! Thank God, this fortified place remains to us. Here at least we may feel safe. I very much fear the loyalty of the Admiral may not be a match for the duplicity of the Italian woman."

"I must say that I am increasingly impatient for my husband's return home," observed Theresa. "He will have had an interview with Admiral Coligny; he will have expressed to him the fears and misgivings of the Rochelois. At least we shall know for certain whether we are to feel safe or not."

"Do you call that living?" cried Captain Mirant. "Why should we, honorable people, be kept ever in suspense as though we were criminals! Mistrust ever sits in our hearts! Our ears ever are on the watch, our hands on our swords! Whence come these mortal alarms? The reason is that, despite our old municipal franchises, despite the ramparts of our town, we are, after all, the subjects of the King, instead of belonging to ourselves, like the Swiss cantons, that are freely federated in a Republic! Oh, liberty! liberty! Shall our eyes ever see your reign among us?"

"Yes!" answered Antonicq. "Yes! We would see that beautiful reign if the admirable sentiments of La Boetie could be made to penetrate the souls of our people! But listen, I shall read on:

"Oh, liberty! So great, so sweet a boon, that, once lost misfortune follows inevitably, and even the enjoyments that may remain behind wholly lose their taste and flavor, being tainted with servitude! Liberty is not desired by men for no other reason, it seems to me, than that, if they were to desire it, they would have it! One would think they refuse the priceless conquest only because it is so easily won! The beasts (may God help me!) where men are too deaf to hear, scream in their ears—Long live Freedom! Many animals die the moment they are captured. Fishes lose their lives with their element: they die unable to survive their natural franchise! If animals recognized rank in their midst they would turn liberty into—nobility! From the largest to the smallest, when caught, they offer so emphatic a resistance with nails, horns, feet, or beaks that they sufficiently declare how highly they prize what they are losing. When caught, they give us so many manifest tokens of how thoroughly they realize their misfortune that, if they continue to live, it is rather to mourn over their lost freedom than to accommodate themselves to servitude.

"Poor, miserable people! Poor senseless beings! Oh, ye nations stubbornly addicted to your own evil! Blind to your weal! You allow yourselves to be carried away, to be ravished of the best that you have, of the prime of your revenue; your fields to be pillaged; your homes to be robbed; your paternal furniture and heirlooms to be taken for spoils! Your life is such that you may say nothing is your own. Would it be that wise unless you are tolerant of the thief who plunders you, and the accomplice of the murderer who slays you? Are you not traitors to yourselves? You sow your fields for him to gorge himself! You furnish your houses in order to furnish matter for his burglaries! You bring up your daughters that there may be food for his debauches! You bring up your sons that he may lead them to slaughter and turn them into the instruments of his greed and the executors of his revenges. You stint your bodies that he may revel in the delights you are deprived of, and wallow in lecherous and vile pursuits!

"True enough, physicians advise not to lay hands upon wounds that are incurable. Perhaps I act not wisely in seeking to give advice to the people in this matter. They have long lost consciousness; they are no longer aware of their ailment; the disease is mortal!"

"The reproach is severe, and, I think, unmerited," objected Odelin's widow. "Did not Estienne of La Boetie himself, who died only nine years ago, see the Protestants thrice run to arms in the defense of their faith?"

"Sister," asked Captain Mirant, "did the whole people run to arms? Alas, no! The majority, the masses—blind, ignorant, wretched, and dominated by the monks—have they not ever risen at the command of their clerical misleaders, and fallen with fanatical rage upon what they call the 'heretics'? Even among ourselves, is it not a small majority that realizes the truth of what Christian your husband's father used to say, when he warned the Protestants that neither religious nor any other freedom could ever be permanently secured so long as royalty, the hereditary accomplice of the Church, was left standing? Do not the majority of Protestants, even Admiral Coligny himself, entertain respect and love, if not for Kings, at least for the monarchy? Do they not seek to place that institution beyond the reach of the religious wars? Sister, Boetie's book tells the truth: The masses of the people, degraded, brutified, besotted and kept in ignorance by hereditary serfdom no longer feel the gall of servitude. Does it, therefore, follow the disease is incurable, and fatal? No! No! In that respect I look to better things than does La Boetie. History, in accord therein with the chronicles of your husband's family, proves that a slow and mysterious progress is taking its course across the ages. Serfs replaced slaves; vassals replaced serfs; some day, vassalage also will disappear as did slavery and serfdom! The religious wars of our century are another step toward ultimate freedom. The revolt against the throne will closely follow the revolt against the Church. But, alas! how many years are yet to elapse before the arrival of the day foretold by Victoria the Great—as narrated in your family history!"[76]

"Oh, the genius of tyranny is so resourceful in infernal plans to protect its empire!" exclaimed Antonicq. "Do you remember, uncle, how surprised you and I were at the account, given us by some travelers who returned from Paris, of the infinite number of public festivities—tourneys, tilts, processions—gotten up to keep the people amused?"

"Yes, and we listened to their report as to a fairy tale," interjected Cornelia. "We wondered how the people could feel so giddyheaded in Paris; how they could crowd to festivities given upon places that were still dyed red with the blood of martyrs, and still warm with the ashes of pyres!"

"Cornelia," replied Antonicq, proud of the noble words of his bride, "tyrants rule less, perhaps, through force that terrorizes than through corruption that depraves. Listen to these profound and awful words of La Boetie upon this very subject:

"No better insight can be got into the craftiness of tyrants to brutify their subjects than from the measure that Cyrus adopted towards the Lydians after he took possession of Sardis, the principal city of Lydia, and reduced to his mercy Croesus, the rich King, and carried him off a prisoner of war. Cyrus was notified that the people of Sardis rose in rebellion. He speedily reduced them to order, but unwilling to put so beautiful a place to the sack, and also to be himself put to the trouble of garrisoning the city with a large force in order to keep it safe, he hit upon a master scheme to make sure of his conquest. He set up in Sardis a large number of public houses for debauchery, and issued a decree commanding the people to frequent these brothels. That garrison answered his purpose so well that never after did he have to draw the sword against the Lydians.

"Indeed, no bird is more easily caught with bird-lime, no fish is more securely hooked with an appetizing bait, than the masses of the people are lured to servitude by the tickle of the smallest feather, which, as the saying goes, is passed over their lips. Theaters, games, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures and other trifles were, to the peoples of antiquity, the charms of servitude, the price of their freedom, the instruments of tyranny.

"These lures kept the people under the yoke. Thus, mentally unnerved, they found the pastimes pleasant, they were amused by the idle spectacles that were paraded before their eyes, and they were habituated to obedience as fully, but not as usefully to themselves, as little children, who, in order to gladden their eyes with the brilliant pictures of illuminated books insensibly learn to read.

"The tyrant Romans furthermore resorted to the plan of feasting the populace, which can be led by nothing so readily as by the pleasures of the mouth. The cleverest of them all would not have dropped his bowl of soup to recover the liberty of the Republic of Plato. The tyrants made bountiful donations of wheat, of wine and corn. Whereupon the cry went up lustily—Long live the King! The dullards did not realize they were receiving but a small portion of what belonged to them, and that even the portion which they received the tyrant would not have it to give, but for his first having taken it away from themselves."

"The cleverest of them all would not have dropped his bowl of soup to recover the Republic," repeated Captain Mirant. "The fact is shockingly, distressfully true! Men become animals when they sacrifice everything to perverse instincts and vulgar appetites. Nevertheless, a curse upon all tyrants! It is they who incite these very appetites, in order to rule the heart through the stomach, and the mind through the eyes, by attracting the peoples to tourneys, tilts and such other pageants, amusements that are but disgraceful badges of servitude, and must be paid for by the fruit of the labor of the slaves themselves!"

"Go to, poor Jacques Bonhomme!" added the Franc-Taupin. "Fill up your paunch, but bend your back! Pay for the gala! Gnaw at the bones cast to you, and cry 'Thanks!' Oh, if only you knew! If only you wanted to! With one shake of your shoulders, both the tyrants and their cohorts would be thrown to the ground!"

"No! No!" interjected Antonicq. "Do not imagine that our tyrants Catherine De Medici and Charles IX are defended mainly by the arquebusiers of their bodyguards, their light mounted horse and their footmen in arms! Not at all! Just listen to this passage from La Boetie's book:

"I shall now touch upon a point that is the secret spring of the sway, the support and the foundation of tyranny. He who imagines that the halberdiers of the guard constitute the safety and the bulwark of tyrants is, I hold, greatly in error. No; it is not arms that defend a tyrant. At first blush the point may not be granted, nevertheless it is true. It is only four or five men among his accomplices who uphold a tyrant and who keep the country in servitude to him. It has ever been only five or six who have a tyrant's ear, and are invited by him to be the accomplices of his cruelties, the sharers in his amusements, the go-betweens in his debaucheries, the co-partners in his plunder, these five or six hundred have, in turn, under them five or six who are to them what they themselves are to the tyrant—and these five or six hundred have, in turn, under them five or six thousand thieves among whom they have caused the government of the provinces and the administration of the funds to be distributed, in order that they may cater to the avarice and the cruelty of the tyrant, in order that they may promptly execute his orders, and be ready to do so much mischief that they can hold their places only under the shadow of his authority, nor be able to escape the just punishment of their offences but through him. Wide and long is the train that follows these latter ones. Whoever cares to amuse himself in tracing the threads of this woof will see that, not the six thousand only, but hundreds of thousands, aye millions depend through that cord upon the tyrant, who, with the aid of the same, can (as Jupiter boasts in Homer) pull over to himself all the gods by pulling at the chain."

"Well put! Never before has the centralized power of royalty, that fearful engine of tyranny, been more lucidly laid bare!" cried Captain Mirant. "I am more and more convinced—the federation of the provinces, each independent as to itself, but mutually united by the common bond of their common interests, like the Republic of the Swiss cantons, is the sole guarantee of freedom. Commune and Federation!"

"Now," said Antonicq, "do not fail to admire the penetration with which Estienne of La Boetie traces back the secret punishment that is visited upon tyrants, and the awful consequences of tyranny itself. He says:

"From the moment a King has declared himself a tyrant, then, not merely a swarm of thieves and skip-jacks, but all those who are moved by ardent ambition, or overpowering greed, gather around him, and assist him in order to have a share in the booty, and to be, under the great tyrant, petty tyrants themselves. Thus it happens with highwaymen and pirates. One set holds the roads, the other rifles the travelers; one set lies in ambush, the other is on the watch; one set massacres, the other plunders.

"Hence it comes that the tyrant is never loved, and never loves. Friendship is a sacred gift, a holy boon! It never exists but among honorable people, it never arises but through mutual esteem. It is preserved, not so much through gifts as by upright conduct. That which makes one friend feel sure of another is the knowledge he has of the other's integrity. The security he holds from his friend is the latter's good character, his faith, his constancy. No friendship can exist where cruelty, disloyalty and injustice hold sway. When malignant people meet, they meet to plot, not for companionship! They do not mutually aid if they mutually fear one another. They are not friends, they are accomplices in crime and felony.

"This is the reason why, as the saying goes, there is honor among thieves at the distribution of the booty. They supplement one another, and they are unwilling, by falling out, to reduce their strength.

"In that begins the punishment of tyrants. When they die, their execrated name is blackened by the ink of a thousand pens, their reputation is torn to shreds; even their bones, pilloried by posterity, chastise them for their wicked lives. Let us then learn to be upright; let us raise our eyes to heaven; let us implore it to bestow upon us the love of virtue. As to me, meseems nothing is so contrary to God as tyranny, and that He reserves for tyrants some special chastisement."

"Oh, my children!" exclaimed Odelin's widow, "that book which breathes such hatred for tyranny and such generous indignation towards cowards that one must doubt divine justice if he can lightly submit to iniquity;—that book, every page of which bears the imprint of the love of virtue and the execration of evil;—that book should be placed in the hands of every lad about to enter manhood. It would be a wholesome and strong nourishment to their souls. From it they would gather a horror for that cowardly and blind voluntary servitude, and then all, in the name of justice, of human dignity, of right, and of honesty, would rise Against-One, the title of those sublime pages, and they would proclaim everywhere—Commune and Federation!"

"But, aunt," timidly suggested Cornelia, "should not that book be also for girls who reach maturity? They become wives and mothers. Should not they also be nourished in the love of justice and in the abhorrence of tyranny, to the end that they may bring up their children to virile principles, regain for woman equal rights with man, and share both the self-denial and the dangers of their husbands when the hour of battle and of sacrifice shall have come?"

Cornelia looked so beautiful as she gave utterance to these patriotic sentiments that all the members of the Lebrenn family turned their eyes admiringly toward the young girl.

"Oh, my brave one!" exclaimed Antonicq, rising and taking Cornelia's hands in his own with a transport of love. "How proud I am of your love! What generous duties does it not impose upon me! Well, it is to be to-morrow—the happy day for you and me—the day when we are to be joined in wedlock!"

Hardly had Antonicq finished his sentence when the tramp of a horse's hoofs was heard in the street. It stopped at the armorer's door. Theresa Rennepont rose with a start, and ran to the door crying: "My husband!"



The presentiment of the young wife did not deceive her. The door opened and Theresa fell into the arms of Louis Rennepont.

The joy of the Lebrenn family over the return of one of its members from a distant journey dominated at first all other feelings and thoughts. Immediately after the first outpourings of affection the same question escaped at once from all lips:

"What tidings from Paris, and about Admiral Coligny?"

Alas! it was only then that the members of the Lebrenn family noticed the profound alteration of Louis Rennepont's appearance, and his wife, who had been scrutinizing the young man's face with eager and uneasy curiosity, suddenly cried:

"Great God! Louis, your hair has turned grey!"

Indeed, when Louis Rennepont left La Rochelle towards the end of the previous month, not a thread of silver whitened his raven locks. Now they were streaked with broad bands of grey! He seemed to have aged ten years. Such a change must have been produced by some terrible and sudden emotion. Theresa's exclamation was followed by a mournful silence. All eyes were fixed upon Louis Rennepont with increasing anxiety. He answered his wife with a trembling voice:

"Yes, Theresa; yes, my friends; my hair turned grey in one night—the night before St. Bartholomew's day—the night of the 23d of this month of August, of this year, 1572!"

And still shuddering with terror, his chest convulsed with repressed sobs, the young man hid his face in his hands and muttered: "My God! My God!"

Presently the young man recovered sufficient composure to proceed.

"Do you all remember," he said, solemnly addressing the stupefied members of his family, "the infernal scheme of Catherine De Medici that our poor Anna Bell overheard during the Queen's conversation with Loyola's disciple Lefevre at the Abbey of St. Severin?"

"Great God!" cried Antonicq. "The scheme of massacring all the Protestants, disarmed by the peace?"

"The massacre, begun in Paris under my own eyes, during the night before St. Bartholomew," answered Louis Rennepont with an effort, "that massacre is proceeding at this very hour in almost all the large cities of France!"

"Oh!" exclaimed Captain Mirant. "In sight of such a stupendous crime one's head is seized with vertigo—one is not certain of himself—one asks himself whether he is awake, or dreams."

"By my sister's death! We are not dreaming!" ejaculated the Franc-Taupin. "Friends, if we look down at a stream running under our feet, it often happens that, for a moment, our head turns. That is what we are now experiencing. We see at our feet a torrent flowing, a torrent of blood—the blood of our brothers!"

"A curse upon my head," thundered the boilermaker Barbot, raising his clenched fist to the ceiling, "if the blood of the Catholics does not run, if not in torrents, at least drop by drop, before La Rochelle! Let them come and attack us!"

"They will come," put in Captain Mirant. "They are surely on the march now! Our ramparts shall be our grave! God be thanked, we shall not be slaughtered like cattle in the shambles! We shall die like men!"

Cornelia, pale and motionless like a statue of sorrow, her arms crossed over her palpitating bosom, and her face bathed in tears, remained in mute consternation until this moment. The girl now took two steps towards her betrothed and said to him in a trembling voice:

"Antonicq, to-morrow we were to be married—people in mourning do not marry. From this instant I wear mourning for our brothers, massacred on St. Bartholomew's night! A woman owes obedience to her husband, according to our laws—iniquitous, degrading laws! I wish to remain free until after the war."

"Cornelia, the hour of sacrifices has sounded," answered Antonicq with a trembling voice; "my courage shall vie with yours."

"We have paid our tribute to human weakness," observed Odelin's widow, smothering a sob; "let us now bravely face the magnitude of the disaster that has smitten our cause. Louis, we listen to your account of St. Bartholomew's night."

"When a few weeks ago I left for Paris, I concluded I would, in passing through Poitiers, Angers and Orleans, visit several of our pastors in order to ascertain whether they also shared our apprehensions. Some I found completely set at ease by the loyal execution of the last edict, above all by the certainty of the marriage of Henry of Bearn with the sister of Charles IX. They looked upon this as a pledge of the good intentions of the King, and of the end of the religious conflicts. Other pastors, on the contrary, felt vaguely uneasy. Being convinced that Joan of Albert was poisoned by Catherine De Medici, they saw with no little apprehension what they considered the heedless confidence that Admiral Coligny placed in the court. But in short, the vast majority of our brothers felt perfectly at ease.

"Immediately upon my arrival at Paris I proceeded to Bethisy Street, the residence of Admiral Coligny. I expressed to him the fears that agitated the Rochelois concerning his life, so precious to our cause, and their mistrust of Charles IX and his mother. The Admiral's answer was: 'The only thing that keeps me back at court is the almost positive prospect of Flanders and the Low Countries rising against the bloodthirsty tyranny of Philip II. Only the support of France could insure the success of the revolt. If those rich industrial provinces secede from Spain, they will be the promised land to our brothers. These will find there a refuge, not as to-day, behind the ramparts of a very few cities of safety, but either in the Walloon provinces, which will have become French territory under solid guarantees for their freedom, or in the Low Countries, which will be federated upon a republican plan, in imitation of the Swiss cantons, under the protectorate of the Prince of Nassau. By family tradition, and on principle, I am attached to the monarchic form of government. But I am well aware that many of our brothers, you of La Rochelle among them, shocked at the crimes of the reigning house, are strongly inclined towards a republic. To these, the federation of the Low Countries, should the same be established, will offer a form of government to their taste.' 'But, Admiral,' I replied, 'suppose our suspicions prove true, and the help that the King and his mother have so long been holding out the prospect of proves to be but a lure to hide some new trap?' 'I do not think so,' rejoined Admiral Coligny, 'although it may be. One must be ready for anything from Catherine De Medici and her son.' 'But,' I cried, 'Admiral, how can you, despite such doubts entertained by yourself, remain here at court, among your mortal enemies! Do you take no precautions to protect yourself against a possible, if not probable, act of treachery?' 'My friend,' was the Admiral's reply given in a grave and melancholy tone, 'for long years I have conducted that sort of war which, above all others, is the most frightful and atrocious—civil war. It inspires me with insurmountable horror. An uprising in Flanders and the Low Countries offers me the means of putting an end to the shedding of French blood and of securing a new and safe country to our brothers. It will be one way or the other—either the King's promises are sincere, or they are not. If they are I would consider it a crime to wreck through impatience or mistrust the success of a plan that promises so favorable a future to the Protestants.' 'And if the King should not be sincere,' I inquired, 'if his promises have no object other than to gain time to the end of insuring the success of some new and frightful treachery?' 'In that event, my friend, I shall be the victim of the treachery,' calmly answered Coligny. 'Is it my life they are after? I have long since offered it up as a sacrifice to God. Moreover, only day before yesterday, I declared to the King that, after the suppression of the revolt at Mons, as a consequence of which Lanoüe, my best friend, fell a prisoner into the hands of the Spaniards, France should no longer hesitate to give her support to the insurrection of the Low Countries against Philip II.' 'And what did the King say to that? Did he give you any guarantee of his honest intentions?' 'The King,' Coligny answered me, 'said this to me: "My good father, here are the nuptials of my sister Margot approaching; grant me only a week longer of pleasures and enjoyment, after which, I swear to you, by the word of a King, you and your friends will all be satisfied with me."'"

At this passage Louis Rennepont interrupted his narrative and cried with a shudder:

"Would you believe it, my friends, Charles IX addressed these ambiguous and perfidious words to Coligny on the 13th of August—and on the night of the 23rd the massacre of our brothers took place!"

"Oh, these Kings!" exclaimed Marcienne, raising her eyes to heaven. "These Kings! The sweat of our brows no longer suffices to slake their thirst. They are glutted with that—they now joke preparatorily to murder!"

"By my sister's death!" shouted the Franc-Taupin, furiously. "The Admiral must have been smitten with blindness. Acquainted as he was from a long and bitter experience with that tyrant whelp, that tiger cub, how is it he did not take warning from the double sense that the King's words carried! What imprudence!"

"Alas, far from it!" said Louis Rennepont. "In answer to the remarks I made to him, calling his attention to the suspiciousness of the King's words, a suspiciousness rendered all the more glaring by reason of the tyrant's character, the Admiral merely replied: 'If they are after my life, would they not long ago have killed me, in the course of these six months that I have been at court?' 'But monsieur,' I observed, 'it is not your life only that is threatened; they probably aim also at the lives of all our Protestant leaders. Our enemies rely upon your example, upon your presence at court, and upon the festivities of the marriage of Henry of Bearn, to attract our principal men to Paris—then to strike them all down at the giving of a signal, and to massacre the rest of our brothers all over France. Do you forget the scheme that Catherine De Medici talked over with the Jesuit Lefevre?' 'No, no, my friend,' he replied serenely, 'my heart and my judgment refuse to believe such a monstrous plan possible; it exceeds the bounds of human wickedness. The most reckless tyrants, whose names have caused the earth to grow pale, never dreamed of anything even remotely approaching such a horrible crime—it would be nameless!"

"That crime now has a name—it is called 'St. Bartholomew's Night'!" said Cornelia with a shudder. "What will be the name of the vengeance?"

"Mayhap the vengeance will be called the 'Siege of La Rochelle'!" answered Captain Mirant, the girl's father. "Our walls are strong, and resolute are our hearts."

"The war will be a bloody one!" interjected Master Barbot the boilermaker.

Louis Rennepont proceeded with his narrative: "I left Admiral Coligny, unable to awaken his suspicions. He went to his Chatillon home, spent two days in that retreat so beloved of him, and returned to Paris on the 17th of August, the eve of the marriage of Henry of Bearn and Princess Marguerite. The union of a Protestant Prince with a Catholic Princess, in which so many of us saw the end of the religious struggles, drew to Paris almost all the Protestant leaders. I shall mention, among those whom I visited, Monsieur La Rochefoucauld, Monsieur La Force, and brave Colonel Piles. Apprehending no treason, they all shared the expectations of Coligny with respect to the revolt in the Low Countries. The feeling of safety that prevailed among my brothers gained upon me also. The marriage of Henry of Bearn and Princess Marguerite took place on the 18th of this month. From that day to the 21st there was a perpetual round of splendid festivities and general merrymaking at court and in the city. I took up my lodgings at the sign of the Swan, on St. Thomas-of-the-Louvre Street, not far from the residence of Monsieur Coligny. The inn-keeper was of our people. On the 22d he came to my room at about nine in the morning and said to me with surprise not unmixed with alarm: 'Something strange is going on. I just learned that the provosts of each quarter of the city are going from house to house inquiring about the religion of the tenants, and noting down the Huguenots. The reason given is that a general census of the population is wanted. Subsequently,' the inn-keeper proceeded to say, 'the regiment of the Arquebusiers of the Guard entered Paris. Finally, I learn that last night a large number of arms, especially cutlasses and daggers, were transported to the City Hall. I received this information from my niece. She is a Catholic and a chamber maid of the Duchess of Nevers. The taking of a list of the Huguenots in town, the arrival of a whole regiment of Arquebusiers of the Guard, and finally the conveying of such large stores of arms to the City Hall, seem to me to foreshadow some plot against the Protestants. I wish you would notify the Admiral of these occurrences.' The inn-keeper's advice seemed wise to me. I hastened to Bethisy Street and knocked at the Admiral's house. He was not home. As was his habit, he had departed early in the morning to the Louvre. His old equerry Nicholas Mouche, to whom I imparted some of my information, seemed not a little startled. We agreed to proceed to the entrance of the palace and wait for the Admiral. We were passing by the cloister of St. Germain-L'Auxerois, where several houses were in the course of construction, when we caught sight of Coligny returning on foot and followed by two of his serving men. He was reading a letter, and walked slowly. We hastened our steps to meet him. Suddenly we were blinded by the flash of a firearm, fired from the ground floor window of one of the houses contiguous to the cloister. Nicholas Mouche rushed to his master, screaming: 'Help! The Admiral is assassinated! Help! Help!'"

A cry of horror leaped from the lips of all the members of the Lebrenn family, who followed breathlessly the report of Louis Rennepont. Captain Mirant exclaimed:

"Murder and treason! To kill that great man in such a way! Vengeance! Vengeance!"

"No," put in Louis Rennepont with a painful effort. "Monsieur Coligny, killed by a bullet, would at least have met a soldier's death. I followed close upon the heels of Nicholas Mouche and reached him at the moment when Coligny, pale but calm, pointed to the window from which the shot was fired, and said: 'The shot came from there.' The arquebus was loaded with two balls. One carried off the Admiral's left thumb, while the other lodged in his arm near the elbow. Weakened by the loss of blood, that ran profusely, Coligny said to Nicholas Mouche: 'If I leaned upon your arm I could walk to my house—proceed!' In fact, he walked home. Several Protestant officers happened to be not far behind. Upon learning of the crime that was committed, they forced their way into the house where the would-be assassin had lain in ambush. They were informed that he fled through a rear door, where a saddled horse, held by a page in the Guise livery, stood waiting for him. Their searches proved vain. No trace of the assassin could they find."

"The Guises! Always the Guisards, either directly guilty, or the accomplices of assassins!" exclaimed Odelin's widow with a shudder. "With how much blood have not those Lorrainian Princes reddened their hands since the butcheries of Vassy! But did Monsieur Coligny's wound prove fatal?"

"No, unfortunately for the Admiral—because the very next day—" Louis Rennepont broke off suddenly. "Do you want to know, mother, whether the Guises were accomplices in the attempted murder upon the Admiral? Yes, they had their hands in that fresh misdeed, at the instigation of the Queen-mother. And here a plot begins to unroll itself, the deep villainy of which would seem incredible if Catherine De Medici and her son were not known. Presently I shall tell you from whom I have my information; it is reliable. In line with the conversation which she had with the Jesuit Lefevre, and which Anna Bell overheard, Catherine De Medici hated and feared the Guises no less than she did the Admiral. Her scheme was to cause the Admiral to be assassinated by the Guises; then to rid herself of them through the Protestants; and finally to rid herself of the Protestants by the King's soldiers. Does such an infernal combination seem impracticable to you? Well, it came near succeeding. This was the plot: The Guises continued to slander the Admiral by accusing him of having suborned Poltrot who killed Francis of Guise at the siege of Orleans; the old family hatred burned as implacable as ever. On the day after the marriage of Henry of Bearn, the Queen and her son Charles IX said with much unction to Henry of Guise that, in order to preserve the confidence of the Huguenots and the Admiral, it was necessary to seem to give him a pledge of reconciliation, to request of him that the flames of hatred, so long burning in the breasts of the two families, be extinguished, and to offer him the hand of friendship. All the more reassured by the cordial advance, the Admiral was expected to be thrown still more off his guard, and his assassination was considered all the more certain! The Queen offered for the deed a man after her own and the King's heart—Maurevert, surnamed the 'King's Killer,' since his assassination of brave Mouy, a crime for which the felon received the collar of the Order of St. Michael. The Queen's advice was relished. Young Guise gave his hand to the old Admiral, and two days later Monsieur Coligny, on his return from the Louvre, received a load of arquebus shot from—Maurevert!"

Louis Rennepont stopped for a moment, and then proceeded amid the profound silence of the family:

"By wounding, instead of killing Coligny, the 'King's Killer' ruined the project of the Queen and her son. They had counted upon the murder of the Admiral to incite a great tumult in Paris; their agents were to scatter among the mob the information that the heinous murder was the work of the Guisards; the exasperated Huguenots were expected to run to arms and avenge Coligny's death with the massacre of the whole Guise family and their partisans; that done, the royal troops were in turn to overwhelm the Protestants, on the pretext of being guilty of a flagrant breach of the edict of pacification. The last massacre was to extend from Paris all over France, under the guise of a vindication of the outraged edict of pacification. Machiavelli could not have plotted better. The arquebus shot of Maurevert would have rid Charles IX at once of Coligny, the Guises and the Protestants. The 'King's Killer' having missed fire, another course had to be pursued, and, above all, the reformers had to be convinced that Maurevert's attempt was merely an act of individual vengeance. Accordingly Charles IX hastened to the Admiral's residence. The tiger-cub wept. He called the old Admiral his 'good father.' He promised, 'upon the word of a King, however high the station of the would-be murderers, they should not escape just punishment.' I was an eye-witness of those tears and royal protestations; many of our brothers, myself among them, remained near the bed where Coligny lay while awaiting the surgeon. We were present at that interview with Charles IX—"

"Then you saw him, Louis, that tiger with the face of a man?" asked Cornelia with a curiosity born of disgust and horror. "How does the monster look?"

"Pale and atrabilious of face, with dull, glassy eyes, and a sleepy look, as if the fervent Catholic and crowned murderer were ever dreaming of crime," answered Louis Rennepont. "Now watch the sanguinary craftiness of that pupil of Machiavelli's, to whom neither pledge nor oath is aught but a more effective form of perfidy. Would you believe it, that after having expressed sympathy for the wounds of his 'good father,' and after having pledged his royal word to secure justice, the first words of Charles IX were: 'I shall forthwith issue orders to close the gates of Paris, so that none shall leave the city; the murderer will not be able to flee. Moreover, I authorize, or rather I strongly urge the Protestant seigneurs, to whom I have offered the hospitality of the Louvre during the nuptial festivals of my sister Margot, to summon their friends near them for safeguard.'"

"I perceive the trick of the tiger," broke in Captain Mirant. "By closing the gates of Paris he prevented the escape of the Huguenots whom he had consigned to death!"

"No doubt," added Master Barbot the boilermaker, "the same as by inducing the Protestant seigneurs, who were lodged at the Louvre, to summon their friends to them, Charles IX only aimed at having them more ready at hand for his butchers!"

"The issue proved that such were the secret designs of the King," replied Louis Rennepont. "But haste was urgent. If tidings of the attempted murder of the Admiral reached the provinces, the Huguenots would be put on their guard. The Queen assembled her council that very night, and presided at its meeting. These were the members at the council: The King Charles IX; his brother, the Duke of Anjou; the Bastard of Angouleme; the Duke of Nevers; Birago and Gondi, the Queen's messengers of evil. It was decided that the butchery should start at early dawn. The provosts of the merchants, all exemplary Catholics, had, under pretext of taking a general census, drawn up full lists of all the Huguenots in the city. Their places of residence being thus accurately indicated, the assassins would know exactly where to go. The next question that came up was whether Henry of Bearn also was to be killed. Catherine De Medici and her son, the King, were strongly in favor, and urged the necessity of the murder. The other councillors, however, more scrupulous than their monarchs, objected that the whole world would be shocked at the assassination of a Prince whose throat was cut, so to say, under the very eyes of the mother and brother of his wife. Moreover, the young Prince was lightheaded, unsteady of purpose, they thought, and without any rooted religious belief. It would be easy, they concluded, either by means of promises or threats to cause him to abjure the Reformed religion. The death of the Prince of Condé was also long discussed. Twice the decision was in favor. But his brother-in-law, the Duke of Nevers, saved him by guaranteeing the Prince's abjuration. For the rest, the lad, only the rallying ground of the Huguenots and without personal valor, inspired but little fear, especially if compared with Coligny. Towards one o'clock in the morning, the young Duke of Guise was summoned to the Louvre and introduced to the council. The principal leadership of the carnage was offered to and accepted by him. A strange thing happened. At the last moment, Charles IX was assailed by some slight qualms of conscience at the thought of the murder of the Admiral, the old man whom that very morning he had addressed with the title of 'my good father.' But the King's hesitance was short-lived. His last words were: 'By the death of God! Seeing you think the Admiral should be killed, I will it, too; but I demand that all the Huguenots be killed, all, to the last one, that there may not be one left alive to reproach me with the Admiral's death'!"

"Oh, just God!" exclaimed Odelin's widow, raising her hands to heaven. "Since you consented to the unheard-of deed, Oh, God of Vengeance, You must have reserved some frightful punishment for him! Oh, You gave Your consent to that palace plot! to that nocturnal council! There Charles IX, armed with sovereign power, and certain of the ferocious obedience of his soldiers and his minions, like an assassin in ambush in the edge of a forest, laid in the dark the infamous, bloody and cowardly trap into which, when they awoke, so many of our brothers, who went to sleep confiding in the law, in their right and in the oath of that Prince, fell to their death! How many times did he not swear in the presence of God and man to respect the edict of peace! Yes, You allowed those horrors, O, God of Vengeance, to the end that this Frankish royalty and the Roman Church, its eternal accomplice, soon may fall under the general execration that the massacre of St. Bartholomew will arouse! Death to Kings! Death to their infamous accomplices, the nobles and priests!"

The Lebrenn family joined with hearts and lips in the widow's imprecations. When the excitement again subsided Louis Rennepont proceeded:

"Before retiring that night to my inn, I walked through a large number of streets. At least in appearance they were quiet. I met many of our brothers. Alarmed at the attempted murder of the Admiral, several had tried to leave Paris. They found the gates rigorously closed by orders of Charles IX. Back at night in my inn, I did not find the keeper, upon whom I relied for further information. Broken with fatigue and agitated by vague fears, I threw myself in my clothes upon my bed and fell asleep. At about three in the morning I was awakened by my inn-keeper. He was trembling with terror. 'The death of all the Protestants of Paris is decreed,' he whispered to me; 'the massacre is to begin at daybreak. My niece, the chambermaid of the Duchess of Nevers, overheard some words about the plot; she hastened to warn me. I have notified all our brothers who are lodged here. They have all fled. Your only chance to escape the carnage is to join the first gang of the cut-throats whom you may run across; you must pretend to be of them; you may in that way be able to reach some place of safety. For a sign among themselves they have a white paper cross attached to their hats, and a white shirt sleeve slipped like an armlet over the sleeve of their coats. Their password is: "God and the King!" Flee! Flee! May the Lord protect you! Thanks to my niece I have a safe retreat in the palace of Nevers.' While the inn-keeper was giving me these last directions, there came through my window, which I had left open on that hot and sultry night of August, the measured tintinnabulation of the large bell in the tower of the palace. The sound seemed to leap strangely from the depths of the silence in which the city was shrouded. 'It is the signal for the massacre!' cried my inn-keeper, leaving the room precipitately and whispering his last warnings to me: 'Flee! You have not a minute to spare; my house is marked! It will be instantly assaulted by the butchers!'"

"Great God!" cried Theresa, Louis Rennepont's young wife, pressing her child distractedly to her breast, and unable to hold back her tears. And addressing her husband: "You are here, near us, safe and sound, poor friend! and yet I shiver. I weep at the thought of the cruel agonies that you must have undergone. Did you follow the inn-keeper's advice, and assume the signs of the Catholics?"

"It was my only safety. I cut a cross of white paper and stuck it in my hat; I cut off a shirt sleeve and thrust my right arm through it; I then sallied out into the street. It was still silent and deserted. But the funeral knell from all the Paris churches had by that time joined the clangor of the tower bell, which then was ringing at its loudest. Windows were thrown open. Little by little lights appeared in them."

"Malediction upon the people of Paris!" cried Odelin's widow. "It seems most of them were accomplices in the butchery!"

"Alas, yes, mother! To their eternal shame, the fact must be admitted; the people of Paris were the accomplices of Charles IX, and our butchers! The people and a considerable portion of the bourgeoisie, being drugged by the fanaticism of the monks, did take part in the massacre. Some, yielding to the fear of being suspected, obeyed the orders of the provosts, and placed lights at their windows at the sound of the first strokes of the bells that they heard. My first thought was to run to the residence of the Admiral and notify him of the projected butchery. As I entered Bethisy Street I saw men emerging from several houses; all carried white crosses in their hats and their arms in shirt sleeves. They brandished pikes, swords and cutlasses, and cried: 'God and the King! Kill! Kill all the Huguenots!' They then gathered into groups, drew themselves up before certain doors that bore the mark of a cross in white chalk, beat upon and broke them down, and rushed in yelling: 'Kill! Kill the Huguenots!'

"I was rushing towards the residence of the Admiral when I saw a battalion of Arquebusiers of the Guard turn into Bethisy Street. The troop was headed by the young Duke Henry of Guise, accompanied by his uncle Aumale and the Bastard of Angouleme, brother of Charles IX. All three were clad in war armor. Pages carrying lighted torches preceded them. Among the soldiers were interspersed a large number of Catholic cut-throats, recognizable by the signs which I also wore. I mixed with them. The crowd arrived before Coligny's residence. The soldiers knocked at the main door with the butts of their arquebuses. It was instantly opened. Despite the prompt obedience shown, all the serving-men of Coligny found in the corridor and the yard were promptly done to death. The Guises and the Bastard of Angouleme, surrounded by their pages, remained outside in front of the facade of the house at the foot of the porch, the stairs of which led to the vestibule. Duke Henry of Guise made a sign; instantly his equerry Besmes, followed by Captains Cosseins, Cardillac, Altain and Petrucci, rushed forward with a detachment of soldiers and dashed up the stairs to the first floor, on which the Admiral's room was. I realized the Admiral was lost, and remained unobserved below among the Catholics, where the details of the murder were soon reported. Awakened by the outcry of his servants, and the tumult on the street, the Admiral guessed the fate that awaited him. His faithful Nicholas Mouche and Pastor Merlin were with him. They had watched all night at his bedside. 'Our hour has come; let us commend our souls to God!' said Coligny, with which words he rose from his bed, threw a morning gown over his shoulders and knelt down. The minister and his old servant knelt down beside him. The three began to pray. The door was broken in. Besmes, the equerry of Henry of Guise, was the first to enter, sword in hand, leading in his captains. He walked straight to Coligny, who, having finished his prayer was rising from the floor serene and dignified. 'Is it you who are the Admiral?' shouted Besmes; 'Well, you shall die!' 'The will of God be done! Young man, you shorten my life only a few days,' answered Coligny. These were that great man's last words. Besmes seized him by the throat with one hand, and with the other thrust his sword through him. The old man sank on his knees. Captain Cardillac threw him down, and opened his throat with one slash of his dagger. The other officers despatched Merlin and Nicholas Mouche.

"I had remained below. There I witnessed an even more execrable scene. Only a minute or two after the murderers had rushed upstairs, the Duke of Guise stepped closer to the facade of the house and called out impatiently in a ringing voice: 'Well, Besmes! Is it done?' Thereupon a casement was thrown open on the first floor; the equerry appeared at the window holding his bloody sword in his hand, and answered: 'Yes, monseigneur! It is done! He is dead!' 'Then throw the corpse down to us that we may see it!' commanded Henry of Guise. Besmes vanished, and reappeared dragging, with the aid of Captain Cosseins, the corpse of Admiral Coligny; the two raised it—meseems I still behold the grey head of the venerable old man, pale and limp, as the body was pushed out of the window, with his lifeless arms swinging in space. Besmes and the captain made a final effort; the corpse was precipitated upon the pavement, where it rolled down at the feet of the Duke of Guise. Coligny was clad only in the morning gown that he had hurriedly put on. Thus half-naked and still warm he was hurled out of the window. The venerable head rebounded upon the cobblestones and reddened them with blood. The victim had fallen on his face. The Duke of Guise stooped down, and, aided by the Bastard of Angouleme, turned the corpse over on its back, wiped with his sash the blood that covered the Admiral's august visage, contemplated it for a moment with ferocious glee, and then kicked the white head with the tip of his boot, crying: 'At last! Dead at last—thoroughly dead!' The Duke then turned to his henchmen: 'Comrades, let us proceed with our work! The Pope wills it! the King so orders it!' Almost fainting with sickening horror and unable to move, I witnessed this cannibal scene—it was only the prelude for another and still more horrifying one. The Dukes of Guise and of Aumale and the Bastard of Angouleme departed with their soldiers from Monsieur Coligny's courtyard. Almost immediately the same was invaded by a band of men, women and children in rags. They were a troop hideous to look upon, as they brandished their sticks, butcher knives and iron bars, under the leadership of a Cordelier monk who held a jagged cutlass in one hand and a crucifix in the other, yelling at the top of his voice: 'God and the King!' The howlings of the mob kept time to the monk's yells. Two men with hang-dog looks carried torches before the monk. The moment that he recognized the corpse of our martyr, the Cordelier emitted a screech of infernal glee, threw himself upon the lifeless body of the Admiral, squatted down upon its chest, sawed at the neck with his cutlass, severed the head from the trunk, seized it by its grey locks, and held it up to the mob, crying in a resonant, though cracked voice: 'This is the share of the Holy Father! I shall send him Coligny's head to Rome!'[77]—That monk," added Louis Rennepont in a tremulous voice, and answering a cry of execration that leaped from the hearts of his listeners, "that monk, O shame and O misfortune!—that monk was the assassin of Odelin! Oh, may God have pity upon us!"

"Fra Hervé!" exclaimed all the members of the Lebrenn family in chorus. A silence of terror and horror reigned in the armorer's hall.

"I wish to come quickly to an end with these monstrosities," proceeded Louis Rennepont, catching his voice. "After the tiger come the jackals, after the ferocious beasts the unclean ones. Hardly had Fra Hervé severed the Admiral's head from his trunk, amid the hideous acclamations of the ragged crew, when they fell upon the corpse. Its feet and hands were cut off. The entrails were torn out of the abdomen and were struggled for by the human jackals. The sacrilegious mutilations seemed to go beyond the boundaries of the horrible, and yet the limit was not reached. Women, veritable furies, pounced upon the bleeding limbs, and—but I dare say no more before mother, or before Cornelia, nor before you, my wife. The stentorian voice of Fra Hervé finally silenced the tumult and quelled the anthropophagous orgie. 'Brothers!' he cried, 'to the Pope I shall send the head of this Huguenot carrion, but let us carry the stripped carcass to the gibbet of Montfaucon! It is there that should be exposed the remains of the villain who has infested France with his heresy, and lacerated the bosom of our holy mother the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church!' 'To Montfaucon with the Huguenot carrion!' howled the ferocious band. A procession was improvised. Fra Hervé sheathed his cutlass, planted the Admiral's head on the point of a pike, and raised the trophy in one hand. In the other he waved aloft his crucifix, and, lighted by his two torch-bearers, headed the procession. The now shapeless remnants of the corpse were tied to a rope, a team of cut-throats harnessed to it, and the bloody lump was dragged through the gutters. The procession marched to the cry of 'To Montfaucon with the Huguenot carrion! God and the King!' At that moment, and despite the terror that held me rooted to the ground, my inn-keeper's last suggestions occurred to me. Montfaucon was situated outside of the walls of Paris. No doubt some city gate would be opened to the Cordelier's band. I joined it, in the hope of escaping from Paris. We left the courtyard of Monsieur Coligny's house. It was now broad day. Before proceeding to Montfaucon, Fra Hervé wished to exhibit his bloody trophy to the eyes of Charles IX and his mother. We directed our course to the Louvre. Other scenes of carnage were taking place there. The Protestant seigneurs and officers who came in the suite of the Princes of Bearn and Condé to participate in the wedding festivities of the King's sister, were lodged at the palace. Relying upon the royal hospitality, they were taken by surprise while asleep, dragged half naked to the courtyard, and there either brained or stabbed to death. Among others whom I recognized at a distance were Morge, Pardillan, St. Martin, besides the brave veterans Piles, Baudine and Puy-Vaud. They struggled in their shirts against the soldiers who beat them down with their halberds, and then stripped the corpses of their last shreds of clothing. The moanings, the imprecations of the victims, the streams of steaming blood through which we tramped, and that often reached our ankles, made my head reel. The butchers laid the corpses out in rows in front of the facade of the Louvre. The bodies were yet warm; many a bloody limb still seemed to palpitate; the corpses lay stripped naked, upon their backs. I counted over four hundred. Suddenly there appeared Catherine De Medici accompanied by her maids of honor and other ladies of the court. She mounted a terrace from which a full sight of the carnage could be had. They came—"

Louis Rennepont stopped short. He hid his face in his hands. "Alas! I have to inform you of something still more horrible than anything I have yet said! The furies who profaned the corpse of Coligny were beings, who, depraved by misery and ignorance, and besotted by a brutish paganism, yielded obedience to fanatic promptings. But Catherine De Medici and the women of her suite were brought up in the splendors of court life, and yet they came to mock and insult the bodies of the dead. And would you believe it—" but again Louis Rennepont found it impossible to proceed. "No!" he cried; "I shall not soil your ears with the nameless infamies of those worse than harpies.[78] While Catherine De Medici, her maids of honor and a bevy of court ladies were amusing themselves on the terrace, Fra Hervé, still carrying Coligny's head on the point of the pike, addressed to the Queen a few words that I did not hear, my attention being at that moment diverted by the appearance of Charles IX at the balcony of one of the windows of the Louvre. The King held a long arquebus in his hand; a page carried another of identical shape and stood behind his master ready to pass it over to him. Suddenly I saw the King lower the arm, take aim, blow upon the fuse on the cock, approach it to the pan—and the shot departed. Charles IX raised his arquebus, looked into the distance, and started to laugh—pleased as a hunter who has brought down his game. The monster with a human face was firing upon the Huguenots who were fleeing from the butchery in the St. Germain quarter, and were attempting to escape death by swimming across the Seine.

"After haranguing Catherine De Medici, Fra Hervé resumed his march to Montfaucon at the head of his band, dragging behind them the now shapeless remains of the Admiral. I had to cross Paris almost from one end to the other in the wake of Fra Hervé's procession. In the course of the march my eyes encountered fresh horrors. We ran across Marshal Tavannes, the commander of the royal army at the battle of Roche-la-Belle. At the head of a regiment of the guards he was urging his men and the mobs to massacre, shouting to them: 'Kill! Bleed them! Bleed them! A bleeding is good in August as well as in May!' And his men did the bleeding. They bled so well that the gutters ran no longer water but blood. The smoldering hatreds of neighbors against neighbors were now given a loose to, under the pretext of religious fervor. Among a thousand atrocities that I witnessed on that frightful day, I shall mention but one, because it exceeds any other that I have yet mentioned. When I first arrived in Paris, and despite the apprehensions that were uppermost on my mind, I often went to the lectures of the illustrious scientist Remus. The man's renown, he being one of the most celebrated professors at the University, besides enjoying the reputation of a foremost philanthropist of these days, attracted me. I found students, grown-up men and even greyheads crowding around his chair. Well, holding close to Fra Hervé's band, I passed by the house of Remus, which the cut-throats had invaded. A large concourse of people blocked our way, and interrupted our march for awhile. The mob clamored aloud for the life of the celebrated scientist. The most frantic in their cries for the murder were a bunch of pupils, between fourteen and fifteen years of age, whom two monks—a Carmelite and a Dominican—had in lead. The assassins finally pushed Remus, half naked, out of his house. The unhappy man, already wounded in many places, and blinded by the blood that streamed down his face, staggered like a drunken man, and held his hands before him. I see him yet—he falls to the ground, they despatch him, and thereupon the pupils, boys yet, throw themselves upon the corpse of the scientist, rip his bowels open, tear out the steaming entrails, turn the body around, raise the bloody shirt that barely covered it, and thrash the corpse with its own intestines amid roars of laughter, while they shout: 'Remus has whipped enough of us, it is now our turn to whip him.'

"Fra Hervé's band again resumed its march. It arrived at one of the city gates that leads to the gibbet of Montfaucon. As I had hoped, the gate was thrown open before the Cordelier. I slackened my pace, fell to the rear of the procession, and, at the first practicable turn on the road, I jumped aside and blotted myself out of sight in a wheat field. The tall stalks concealed me completely. I waited till Fra Hervé's band was a safe distance away. I crept to the road that encircles the ramparts and towards sunset I arrived, worn out with fatigue, at an inn where I spent the night, giving myself out for a good Catholic. Early in the morning I started for Etampes. They had just finished the carnage when I arrived! It was still going on in Orleans when I passed that city. At Blois, at Angers, at Poitiers—the same massacres of our brothers. Thus, after long years of hypocrisy and craftiness, the pact of the triumvirate inspired by Francis of Guise, the butcher of Vassy, was finally carried out. Oh, my friends! Not for nothing did Catherine De Medici say to the Jesuit Lefevre: 'Induce the Holy Father and Philip II to be patient; let us lull the reformers with a false sense of safety; I shall hatch the bloody egg that the Guise laid—on one day, at the same hour, the Huguenots will be exterminated in France.' The Italian woman kept her promise. The shell of the egg, nursed in her bosom, has broken, and the extermination has leaped out full armed."

Odelin's widow rose to her feet pale and stately. She raised one of her venerable hands to heaven, and with a gesture of malediction she uttered these words, solemnly, amidst the profound silence of her family:

"Be they eternally accursed of God and man, who, from this day or in the centuries to come, do not repudiate the Church of Rome, that infamous Church, the only Church that has ever given birth to such misdeeds!"

"By my sister's death!" cried the Franc-Taupin. "Shall the voice of Estienne of La Boetie be hearkened to at last? Shall we at last see all leagued against one? the oppressed, the artisans, the plebs, finally annihilate the oppressor and crush royalty?"

Hardly had the Franc-Taupin finished speaking when James Henry, the Mayor of La Rochelle, entered precipitately, and addressing Louis Rennepont, said: "My friend, the few words dropped by you to some of the people whom you met on your arrival, have flown from mouth to mouth and thrown the city into a state of alarm! Is it true that Monsieur Coligny has been assassinated?"

"Monsieur Coligny has been assassinated! All the Protestant leaders are murdered!" answered Louis Rennepont. "All the Protestants of Paris were massacred on St. Bartholomew's night! At Etampes, at Orleans, at Blois, at Tours, at Poitiers, the work of extermination is still in progress. It was expected to steep in blood the rest of France as well. It is a fact!"

"To arms! And may the Lord protect us!" shouted James Henry vigorously. "Let us make ready for a desperate defense. La Rochelle is now the only safe city left to the Huguenots. Charles IX will not be long in laying siege to us. I shall order the belfry to ring. The City Council shall be in session within an hour. It shall proclaim La Rochelle in a state of danger. To arms! War to the knife against the King and his Catholics, against the assassins of our brothers! To arms!"



For the first time in their lives did Charles IX, his mother and her priests discover that there was a limit to endurance. The crime so long elaborated, so skilfully planned, and carried out with incredible audacity, so far from annihilating the Reformation gave it fresh life, steeled its nerves, and rendered it unconquerable. Hardly had two months elapsed since the massacres of St. Bartholomew, when, not Huguenots only, but a considerable portion of the Catholic party itself, in open revolt at the cruel excesses of the court, the fanaticism of the papacy and the subjection of France to the exactions of Philip II, took up arms, and made common cause with the Huguenots in order to bring about the triumph not only of the religious but of a political reformation also. The new adversaries of Charles IX and his mother took the name of the "Politicals." Alarmed at the renewed and more threatening attitude of the now so unexpectedly reinforced Huguenots, the King endeavored once more to beguile them with false promises. He doubled and twisted, sought to deal and compromise. It was too late. A fourth religious war broke out. Several provinces federated together upon a republican plan. La Rochelle became the fortified center of the Protestants. Against that city Charles IX concentrated and directed all his forces in the course of the last month of the year 1572—less than six months after St. Bartholomew's night.

La Rochelle, situated at the further extremity of a wide and safe bay, presented the aspect of an elongated trapezium, the wide side of which was about three thousand feet in length, while the narrow one was only twelve hundred feet, and faced the sea. The city extended from north-east to southwest, and stretched between the salt marshes of Rompsai, Maubec and Tasdon, on the east, and those of the New Gate, on the west. These marshes, then partly dried or turned into meadows, were intersected by a large number of canals the locks of which enabled the land to be readily inundated, and presented an impassable barrier to any hostile force. The entrance of the port was at the Center of the sea frontage, and at the further end of the bay. It was defended by the two large towers of Chaine and St. Nicholas, both built of brick, equipped with cannon, and also used for powder magazines. To the right and left of the two towers, and leaving between them the narrow port entrance, extended a wall made of cut stone which at high tide was washed by the waves. The wall reached, to the east, the St. Nicholas Gate, and, to the west, the Lantern Gate, at the summit of which was a beacon to guide the sailors by night. From that side the city was unapproachable by an armed force except along a narrow tongue of land which joined the suburb of Tasdon with the St. Nicholas Gate. Furthermore, besides the water-filled fosse, Scipio Vergano, a skilful Italian engineer, employed by us, the Rochelois, had raised an additional protection to this gate by a sort of double counter-guard made of earth, and flanking the entrance of the port. The eastern front which extended from the St. Nicholas Gate to the Congues Gate, was along its whole extent but a poor wall, flanked by two round towers. It was one of the weak sides of our city. The western front ran in a straight line from the Lantern Tower to the bastion that we called the Bastion of the Evangelium. This portion of the fortifications consisted of a wall flanked by a large number of small and closely built towers, with occasional terraces. In the middle of this long line of defenses, which the large number of canals rendered almost unapproachable, Scipio Vergano cut the New Gate, flanked with a solid bastion. Finally the north front extended from the Bastion of the Evangelium to the Congues Gate, a distance of nearly two thousand five hundred feet. The left extremity of that vast and very vulnerable front was defended by the Bastion of the Evangelium, which was itself protected by a terrace of earth. In the center and the highest spot of the line rose the demi-bastion of the Old Fountain. True enough, it commanded the whole plain, but both the slightness of its projection and the insufficiency of its flanks unfitted it for real purposes of defense. This bastion covered the ramparts but imperfectly.

Such, Oh, sons of Joel, was the aspect of the fortifications of La Rochelle, the bulwark of the Reformation and of freedom, the holy city against which Charles IX was about to hurl his Catholic hordes and the most powerful army ever commanded by his generals.

I, Antonicq Lebrenn, kept a sort of diary of the siege of La Rochelle, and of the defense made by its inhabitants, among whom our own family combated gloriously.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1572.—Informed of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and foreseeing that the Huguenots would once more take up arms, the Rochelois placed their city in a state of defense. James Henry, the Mayor, took an accurate census of the inhabitants. The serviceable part was divided into eight companies, exclusive of the Colonel, the name given to the ninth, in which the Mayor and aldermen, all anxious to share the perils of the other citizens, are enrolled. The respective captains elected over these bodies are: James David, Louis Gargouillaud, Peter Portier, John Colin, Charles Chalemont, Marie Mari, Mathurin the elder, and Bonneaud. These are all made members of the Council of the Commune. The aldermen and other Councilmen who command no company, are charged with inspecting the posts, and shall be on guard, day and night, in the ranks of the Colonel. Besides these, six other companies are formed of volunteer foot-soldiers, each a hundred and twenty men strong. The chiefs of these are: Dessarts, Montalembert, La Riviere, De Lys, Bretin, called the Norman, and Virolet. All these captains, men well known for their bravery, took a glorious part in the last civil wars. The magistrates are engaged in increasing the food supply of the city, so long as the sea is still open to them. Captain Mirant, the father of Cornelia, my betrothed, is charged with the command of a foraging flotilla. He is to go for wheat to the coast of Brittany, and for ammunitions to England. The daring sailor will know how to elude the royalist corsairs, or to give them battle. Cornelia is to accompany her father on the voyage, and will combat like a true Gallic woman. We bade each other good-bye this morning.

SEPTEMBER 5, 1572.—Yesterday there arrived at La Rochelle Colonel Plouernel, who is now head and heir of that powerful house by the death of Count Neroweg of Plouernel and his son Viscount Odet, both killed at the battle of Roche-la-Belle in the encounter with my father and myself. The colonel left his wife and children with his father-in-law at the manor of Mezlean, situated near the sacred stones of Karnak—a fief which includes among its dependencies a house, a large garden and several fields that once belonged to our ancestor Joel before the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar.

SEPTEMBER 9, 1572.—During the last few days a large number of fugitives who escaped the massacre of St. Bartholomew arrived at La Rochelle. There are to-day in our city fifty noblemen of the neighborhood, together with their families, besides sixty ministers of the Reformed religion. Over fifteen hundred soldiers, who deserted the royal army with arms and baggage, have come over to us.

OCTOBER 30, 1572.—Mayor James Henry and the City Council, who are charged with watching over the safety of the city, display marvelous activity. A military council has been established with Colonel Plouernel and my uncle the Franc-Taupin as members. My uncle is an expert in matters appertaining to siege work, and especially in mining and counter-mining. The military council is strengthening the fortifications, and throwing up fresh ones. New batteries have been set up at all the weak points that might invite an attack between the Congues Gate and the Bastion of the Evangelium. A redoubt is being raised on Notre Dame Church, and upon one of its remaining towers two large cannons, capable of sweeping the surrounding fields far and wide, are being raised and mounted. Other engines of bombardment are mounted upon the platforms of all the belfries that are strong enough to support the weight and shock of artillery. The towers of Aix, of St. Catherine, of Verdiere and of Crique are all armed in this way. Noticing that certain portions of the moat between the Congues Gate and the Evangelium Bastion are poorly flanked, the Franc-Taupin proposed the construction of what he calls taupinieres, that is, casemates, the protected embrasures of which are on a level with the ground, and can open an almost subterranean, and therefore destructive fire upon the enemy. The casemates are being constructed. Men, women and children labor at the fortifications with inexpressible enthusiasm.

NOVEMBER 3, 1572.—A heroic decision was taken yesterday. It recalls the decision that our ancestors Albinik the sailor and his wife Meroë saw put into execution when the Bretons, to the end of famishing the army of Julius Caesar, reduced to ashes their rich and fertile fields, turning the same into a desert that extended from Nantes to Vannes![79] Yesterday, by order of the Mayor of La Rochelle, all the houses of the suburb of St. Eloi, and of the quarters of Salines, Volliers and Patere, were torn down or burned by their owners. No place is to be left to the enemy under shelter of which they can approach the city, and render the investment more dangerous to us.

NOVEMBER 8, 1572.—Monsieur Biron has received considerable reinforcements and advance supplies of siege material with which to invest our city. He set up his camp before the city with headquarters at St. André. Colonel Strozzi, one of the ablest officers of the Catholic army, occupies Puy-Liboreau; Colonel St. Martin occupies Gord with twelve hundred men under him; Colonel Goas is encamped at Rompsai with six companies of artillery; and Monsieur Du Guast, a minion of the Duke of Anjou, the brother of King Charles IX, is at Aytre with two regiments of veterans. We prepared for these dispositions of the enemy. The inhabitants of Aytre left only ruins for Du Guast to house in.

DECEMBER 8, 1572.—The enemy's army is steadily receiving reinforcements, and extending its lines. The land blockade is tightening. Every day there are bloody skirmishes between us and the royalists. They lose heavily at this game. Relying upon their numbers, they venture far into the network of our defenses. These are cut up by moats and protected by walls, where, amid the labyrinth of hardly distinguishable paths across the salt marshes, we find many available places to hide in ambush, and our arquebusiers easily decimate the Catholics. When, surprised, they seek to pursue us, they are swallowed up in the depths of the turf-pits the surface of which is covered by a greenish weed that they have not learned to distinguish from the grass of the prairie. It has so far been a war of ambuscades, similar to the patriotic resistance that the Armoricans offered on their moors, their marshes and their forests, against the soldiers of the son of Charlemagne, in the days of our ancestor Vortigern.[80]

DECEMBER 13, 1572.—Yesterday was fought a stubborn encounter at the Font suburb where, led from rich springs, there pours into a reservoir the water that an aqueduct takes into the city. The Catholics took possession of the place for the purpose of turning off the water and depriving La Rochelle of it. They succeeded. My uncle, the Franc-Taupin, and his friend Barbot, the boilermaker of the isle of Rhe, proposed to enter the aqueduct, which had been allowed to run dry, and in that way to arrive under the camp of the enemy's troops at Font, and then blow them up with a mine. Unfortunately their proposition was not favored. An open attack was preferred. It cost us many men, and Font remained in the hands of the Catholics. The canals have been cut. But the village fountains and wells furnish us with enough water.

JANUARY 7, 1573.—In order still more to tighten the land blockade, the enemy has erected two forts at the entrance of the bay, on the roadstead in front of the inside port, thereby compelling our vessels to run the gauntlet of those batteries in order to reach the city.

JANUARY 12, 1573.—Our friend Master Barbot, the boilermaker, achieved day before yesterday a deed, unmatched, I think, in the annals of military exploits. Not far from the counterscarp of the Evangelium Bastion, stands a mill which we call Brande, and where Captain Normand placed a small advanced day guard. At night they returned to the city, leaving at the mill their arms and only one sentinel. Evening before last, Colonel Strozzi, profiting by the moonlight, marched at the head of a strong detachment, supported by two light pieces of artillery, to the attack of the mill, where Master Barbot was alone on guard. Barbot decided to remain firmly at his post, which he did, discharging one after the other upon the assailants the arquebuses which were left loaded on the gunrack of the post. Our friend made simultaneously a great noise, counterfeiting a variety of voices, with the view of causing the enemy to believe that the mill was strongly defended. On hearing the rattle of the arquebus shots, Captain Normand ran to the parapet of the bastion, and shouted to Master Barbot to hold out and that reinforcements were hurrying to his support! The road was circuitous and therefore rather long. As a consequence, before our men could reach the bastion of the mill, which lay on the other side of the moat, and despite all his intrepidity, Master Barbot found himself on the point of yielding. His ammunition had run out. He parleyed, and demanded quarter for himself and his pretended garrison. Colonel Strozzi granted quarter to our friend, who, stepping out, revealed the fact that his garrison consisted of himself alone. Furious at the discovery, Strozzi was about to hang Master Barbot, when Captain Normand's men arrived at the double quick, routed the royalists and snatched our intrepid boilermaker from their clutches.

JANUARY 15, 1573.—God be blessed! My mother, my sister Theresa Rennepont, Cornelia, my betrothed, and several other brave Rochelois women had a narrow escape last night. The brigantines of Captain Mirant, charged with the duty of provisioning La Rochelle with munitions of war and grain, frequently set sail for the shores of Brittany or for Dover, and re-entered our port with their cargoes of supplies. To the end of blocking these excursions, or rendering them too perilous to be frequently attempted, the royalists brought from the port of Brouage the hull of a large dismantled vessel. They filled the same with sand, and sank it at the entrance of the bay that leads to our port. The water in that spot being shallow, the sunken hull was thus turned into a species of half-submerged pontoon, and was mounted with a number of artillery pieces which, jointly with those on the redoubts raised by the enemy on the opposite sides of the bay, could cross their fires upon any of our ships that either left or entered the roadstead. Yesterday the City Council decided that during the night, at low tide, the vessel, left dry upon the sand banks by the outflowing sea, was to be set on fire. The audacious stroke—audacious because those who were commissioned to execute it had to leave the city by the Two Mills Gate, and were forced to heap up the combustibles around the hull under the fire of the soldiers on guard—the audacious expedition did not otherwise require military skill. It only required stout hearts; it devolved upon the Rochelois women, at their unanimous and pressing demand. "The blood and lives of the men, already numerically inferior to the besiegers, should," said they, "be preserved for battle." The brave women assembled, about three hundred strong, together with a goodly number of children of about twelve years who insisted upon accompanying their mothers. The troop consisted of bourgeois women, noble ladies, female servants, and wives of artisans, fishermen and merchants. Among these, and foremost among them—I mention it proudly—were my mother, my sister Theresa, and Cornelia Mirant, recently returned from one of her father's foraging expeditions to Brittany. At about three in the morning they started from the city, carrying bundles of dry kindling wood and packages of hay. A strong wind was blowing. Deep darkness favored their march under the guidance of a fisherman's wife who bore the nickname of the Bombarde, by reason of her having extinguished one of the enemy's projectiles. Due to her often dragging for oysters and clams, which abounded on our coasts, the Bombarde was acquainted with the safe passages between the rocks and the quicksands that strewed the bay. She led the Rochelois women through the darkness. The following is Cornelia's own and thrilling account of the affair:

"Thanks to the darkness, the whistling wind, and our silent footsteps, we approached within an arquebus shot of the vessel's hull without being noticed by the royalists. Your mother, marching among the front ranks between Theresa and myself, and often, like ourselves, sinking up to her knees in water or mud, steadfastly refused to be relieved of the weight of the bundle of kindlings that she carried. We were a short distance from the vessel, the lights of which guided us from afar through the mist, when the soldier on watch took alarm, and called out: 'Who goes there!' 'Fire! Fire' answered your mother. It was the signal agreed upon. We covered on a run the short distance that separated us from the hull, and rapidly heaped up along its flanks the kindling wood and straw that we brought with us. The soldier fired upon us at haphazard in the dark, and called his companions to arms. They hastened upon the bridge with the cannoniers, but unable to take aim upon us at so short a distance, and from above down, they left the cannons alone and sent us through the darkness a shower of arquebus shots that struck several of us. The bullets whistled. One of them carried off my bonnet. Your mother, sister and myself were close together, but we could not see one another on account of the darkness. 'Cornelia, are you wounded?' they asked. 'No! and you?' 'We neither!' answered your mother; and again she called out: 'Firm, my daughters! Fire!' Thereupon she and the Bombarde, who had just lighted a link dipped in sulphur set fire to the first bundles of wood and straw. Their example was followed simultaneously at a score of different places, despite fresh arquebus discharges from the royalists. In a minute thick clouds of smoke enveloped the hull. The flaming combustibles cast their reflection upon the puddles of water on the sandbanks, and beyond them upon the two towers of the port. We could see as clearly as by day. The royalists, however, blinded with the smoke which the wind blew upon them, together with wide sheets of flame, could no longer see to fire upon us. Thus protected, we threw three relays of combustibles upon the flames along the flanks of the accursed hull, which was so saturated with salt water and coated with ooze that, despite the heat, it could only be made to sweat by the flames. When our combustibles were exhausted, we were compelled, in order to effect a safe retreat, to profit by the last clouds of smoke that, concealing us from the enemy's eyes, prevented them from aiming upon us. We returned to the city carrying the dead bodies of five of our troop. Among these was Marie Caron, the worthy wife of our neighbor the mercer. She was shot stone dead by a bullet in the left temple. Her son, a lad of thirteen, had his arm broken. We also helped back a number of women and girls of our band who were more or less seriously wounded. There were fifteen of these. Our only sorrow was to have failed in carrying our enterprise to a successful end."[81]

Such, sons of Joel, was the intrepidity and courage of the Rochelois women during the siege of the city. Do they not approve themselves worthy daughters of the Gallic women of the old heroic times?

FEBRUARY 12, 1573.—The brother of Charles IX, the Duke of Anjou, arrived yesterday at the royal camp to assume the supreme command of the army. He is accompanied by his two cousins, Henry of Bearn and Condé. The two apostates, after seeing their co-religionists and best friends slaughtered under their very eyes on St. Bartholomew's night, gave the kiss of peace and forgetfulness to Charles IX, and now follow his army to the siege of La Rochelle. These degenerate sons of Joan of Albert, and of Condé have come to battle beside the butchers of their families. Among the other seigneurs and captains in the suite of the Duke of Anjou are the Duke of Montpensier, the Dauphin Prince of Auvergne, the Dukes of Guise and Aumale, the Dukes of Longueville and Bouillon, the Marquis of Mayenne, the Duke of Nevers, Anthony and Claude of Bauffremont, René of Voyer, Viscount of Paulmy, the Duke of Uzes, the Bastard of Angouleme, Marshal Cossé, the Count of Retz, and many other illustrious seigneurs. Among the most noted captains is old Marshal Montluc, a tiger with a human face. The presence of the experienced general, with whom age has not softened his proverbial ferocity, sufficiently announces that, if La Rochelle should fall into the power of the enemy, we shall be put to the sword, to the very last one of us.

FEBRUARY 14, 1573.—The brave Francis of Lanoüe joined us at La Rochelle, thanks to a curious agreement with Charles IX. The revolt of the Low Countries, so ardently wished for by Coligny, miscarried through the treachery of the French court, whose anxiety to please the Pope and Philip II was so thoroughly attested by the massacres of St. Bartholomew's night, that all expectation of seeing it give serious support to a republican insurrection in one of the provinces of the Spanish monarchy had to be abandoned. Lanoüe, deceived by the same hopes that deceived the Admiral, whom the lying promises of Catherine De Medici and her son had kept in Paris, went to Mons in order to concert measures with the chiefs of the proposed uprising; made an unsuccessful effort to call the people to arms; was taken prisoner, and thus escaped St. Bartholomew's night by the merest accident. Every day more alarmed at the indomitable attitude of the Huguenots, and aware of the influence Lanoüe enjoyed among them, Charles IX demanded his liberation at the hands of Philip II, obtained it, summoned the Huguenot leader to the Louvre, and said to him: "I place confidence in your word. Go to La Rochelle. Induce the Protestants to surrender and submit. Should they refuse, I want you to promise me that you will return, and surrender yourself to me at discretion." "I consent," was Lanoüe's answer; "I shall go to La Rochelle. Should it appear to me, in all conscience, that the resistance of the Huguenots is hopeless, I shall do all in my power to induce them to capitulate. But should it appear to me that the chances are favorable to them, I shall induce them to persevere, shall tender them my services. If they decline my offer I shall return and surrender myself to you." Such is the confidence that an upright man inspires even in hardened criminals, that Charles IX accepted Lanoüe's word. Lanoüe sent ahead a courier to the Mayor of La Rochelle to inform him of his compact with the King and request admittance to the city. The City Council assembled. Some of the members severely condemned Lanoüe for lowering himself to the point of dealing with Charles IX; others, a considerable majority, realized the value of Lanoüe's assistance, and favored the acceptance of his services. He was introduced into the city. His patriotic words brought all dissidents over to his side. He inspected the defensive works of the place, and being convinced that it could repel the royalist attack, was invested with the supreme command of the troops, under the surveillance of the aldermen.

FEBRUARY 23, 1573.—The presence of Lanoüe among us already bears magnificent fruit. He introduces discipline among our troops. No longer are the murderous skirmishes tolerated in which so many of our men ran foolhardily to death. He curbs the ardor of the hotheads; drills the volunteers in the handling of their arms and in the precision of military evolutions, and he substitutes the tactics of prudence for the rashness of blind bravery and unthinking enthusiasm that have been the bane of the Protestant arms.

MARCH 27, 1573.—Faithful to his word, Lanoüe yesterday left La Rochelle and returned to the camp of Charles IX where he surrendered himself a prisoner. From the moment that he took command, our sallies caused great damage to the enemy, but also cost us dearly. We were not able to repair our losses, seeing that our communications by land are cut off, while the enemy is constantly receiving strong reinforcements. We now number only 4,500 men able to carry arms. The enemy, on the other hand, has to-day 28,000 men in line, and sixty cannon. The siege is conducted with consummate skill by Scipio Vergano, the identical engineer who fortified La Rochelle. The traitor knows the strong and the weak points of the place. Accordingly he has concentrated all the attacking forces of the Catholics upon the Bastion of the Evangelium. Their batteries keep up an incessant fire upon that side of our city. Finally we begin to lack for munitions of war. The works raised by the enemy at the mouth of the bay render difficult the entrance of the ships upon which we depend for provisions. Both powder and grain are running low. Captain Mirant's flotilla sailed to England for munitions of war, and to Brittany for food. The vessels are daily expected. If unfavorable winds should delay their return, or if they fail to run the gauntlet of the enemy's outer harbor fortifications, a fearful dirth will soon set in. Having considered the grave difficulties of our situation, Lanoüe was of the opinion that we could not long resist the pressure of forces five or six times stronger than our own. He endeavored to induce the City Council to parliamentarize with the Duke of Anjou, with the end in view of obtaining an honorable capitulation and favorable terms of peace, adding that he, Lanoüe had pledged his word as a man to encourage and aid the Rochelois to resistance so long as he believed resistance to be effective; but that, so soon as he considered resistance futile, he would urge the besieged to capitulate, promising, should his advice not be accepted, to surrender himself a prisoner to the King. After a solemn session, under the presidency of Mayor James Henry, who, worn out and almost dying with fatigue and in consequence of his wounds, but steeled by his republican energy, administered his office, the City Council declared by a large majority that the Rochelois would resist the Catholics to the death. Lanoüe thereupon left the city.

Oh, sons of Joel! Fail not to admire the resolute posture of the Mayor, aldermen and heads of the civic military forces of La Rochelle! Those generous citizens did not take up arms out of ambition, or cupidity, as was the case with the majority of the captains in the army of Charles IX—faithless mercenaries; swordsmen, who sell their skins and kill as a trade by which to live; fighters by profession; men to whom war, for whatever cause, whether just or otherwise, holy or unhallowed, is a lucrative pursuit. No; the Rochelois fought in defense of their freedom, their rights, their hearths. Only the consciousness that the struggle is in behalf of the most sacred of causes can beget prodigies of heroism. All honor to those brave men! Shame and execration upon professional men of war.

The above fragments on the siege of La Rochelle, written by me, Antonicq Lebrenn, take us down to the middle of the month of May, 1573, when the following events occurred.



The City Hall of La Rochelle, an edifice that was almost wholly re-built nearly a century ago, in the year 1486, is one of the most beautiful monuments that patriotism and the love for one's city can boast. Catholic faith has raised up as high as the clouds the spired cathedrals where the priests, Oh, Christ! exalt the assassination of the Huguenots, and preach the extermination of heretics. The cult of the communal franchises has reared City Halls, the cradles of our liberties, the civic sanctuaries, where, upon the banner of the commune, oath is taken to die for freedom—as did the communiers, at whose side our ancestor Fergan the Quarryman fought in the days of Louis the Lusty.[82] The municipal monument that we, Rochelois, are so justly proud of, consists of a vast central building, flanked by two pavilions with pointed roofs. Its principal facade—ornamented with twenty-seven lofty arches, the triple entablature of which disappears under garlands of leaves and fruits chiseled in the stone—is surmounted by a crenelated terrace festooned with thick wreaths of acanthus leaves. From the top of each of the two pavilions a belfry of marvelous architectural beauty pierces the air. The one to the left presents to the wondering eye the sight of a gilt iron cage, that is no less admirably constructed than its dome, carved on the outside as delicately as a piece of lace-work, and held up by three stone figures of colossal stature. One must renounce the task of describing the profusion of crockets that jut out from the walls, and represent sphinxes and chimeras executed with boldness and grace. One must renounce the task of describing the stone festoons that embellish the edifice from its base to its pinnacles, or the infinite wreaths of fruit or flowers that clamber up the ogive moldings, doors and windows, that weave their lintels together, wind themselves around the pillars and columns, and finally crown the capitals. The aspect is that of a mass of verdure—flowers and leaves in bud and full bloom—suddenly petrified by some magic power. This imperfect description can only impart a partial idea of the material beauty of the City Hall of La Rochelle. But the edifice had, if the word may be used, a soul, a breath, a voice! It was the daring soul, the powerful breath, the patriotic voice of the Commune that seemed to animate the mass of stone of which the antique edifice was built. There, especially since the war, and as life centers in the heart, centered the pulsations of the city. All energy started there and rushed back thither. It was there that the sovereign power of the urban republic, represented by the Mayor and aldermen whom the citizens elected, had its seat.[83] Assembled night and day at the City Hall in sufficient number to meet all emergencies, the valiant ediles never left the hall of the council but to mount the ramparts, or join in sallies against the enemy's redoubts. Not infrequently theirs was also the task of calming, controlling or even suppressing popular tumults, engendered by the sufferings of these days. Such was the complex and arduous task reserved for Morrisson, the successor of James Henry, who died in consequence of his wounds and overexertion. Glorify the Commune, sons of Joel, and its heroic defenders.

Well, on that day, towards the middle of May, 1573, a tumultuous mob, made up exclusively of women and children—the able-bodied men were on the ramparts, or taking a few hours' rest—invaded the square of the City Hall of La Rochelle, crying with the heartrending fury that hunger inspires: "Bread!" "Bread!" No less haggard, no less pinched with hunger than their children, a considerable number of these women, having combatted beside the men of La Rochelle in repelling the royalist attacks, had heads bandaged in blood-stained handkerchiefs, or carried their arms in slings. Several children, of ten or twelve years of age, also bore the marks of wounds received in battle whither they accompanied their mothers. The mob, embittered and exhausted by the trials and all manner of privations that resulted from the long siege, saw with terror the approach of famine. Since the day before the baker shops had been closed for want of flour. The supply of food was nearly exhausted. The wretched crowd clamored aloud for bread; they also clamored for Morrisson, the new Mayor, and head of the commune.

Morrisson appeared at the portico of the City Hall and stepped towards the mob. He was at once beloved, feared and respected. Still at the age of vigorous manhood, he wore an iron corselet and arm-pieces, while a heavy sword hung from his side. He jumped upon one of the stone balustrades placed at either side of the door, motioned for silence, and addressed the crowd in a sonorous, firm and yet paternal voice:

"My children! The Council is in session. I have no time to lose in speechmaking. Delegate to me one from among you. Let her inform me what it is that you want. I shall answer."

The Bombarde, acclaimed with one voice as the delegate of her companions, pushed her way forward and approached the Mayor: "Mayor, we are hungry, and want bread! The bakers have neither corn nor flour. The butchers' stalls are closed. Two days ago only a few handfuls of beans and peas were distributed. Since then nothing more has come. Before the siege most of us lived off our fisheries, and we asked help from nobody. To-day every fisherman's boat that ventures out of port is sunk under the cannon balls of the royalist redoubts. What are we to do? We cannot remain without food; we are hungry; we want bread for our children and ourselves!"

"Yes!" echoed the Rochelois women with loud cries. "Bread! Bread! Morrisson, we must have bread!"

After this explosion of outcries and complaints, silence was restored, and the Mayor resumed in a moved voice:

"Poor dear women! You want bread, and how do you expect me to give you any? There is not a single grain of wheat in the city granary. But we are hourly expecting Captain Mirant's brigantines. They bring from England a cargo of powder, and from Brittany a cargo of wheat. They are anchored only eight leagues from here, near the coast, at the port of Redon. They cannot, in the absence of a favorable wind, run into La Rochelle. The chances are a hundred to one that the adverse wind, which has been blowing all these days, will change. It may change almost at any moment. It may be changing now. If it does, the city will again be supplied for several months. For the present, there is left to us a precious resource, so far neglected—the clams and oysters. We must turn our hands to that. You understand me?"

"Mayor! Do you know that it is now as dangerous to go out for clams as to march upon a battery?" answered the Bombarde. "To go out for clams is to run into the jaws of death!"

"I know it—and if the brigantines of Captain Mirant do not run into port to-day, my wife and two daughters will go out with you to-night, at one in the morning, when the tide will be low, and dig for clams," was Morrisson's stoic reply.

"It will be done! Count upon us, Mayor!" replied the Bombarde. "If the brigantines of Captain Mirant do not arrive before night, we shall put up with hunger until night—and then we shall go out and dig for clams. Those of us who will be killed on the banks will no longer need anything. That is agreed upon, in God's name!"

As the Bombarde was uttering these last words, the detonations of several discharges of artillery that shattered the window panes in the City Hall announced the enemy was about to renew the cannonade which it had suspended in the morning. Almost at the same instant the sonorous sound of clarion blasts was heard drawing nearer and nearer, and presently a large number of women of all conditions, marching at the heels of a pastor on a white horse, ahead of which marched the clarion-blower, turned into Caille Square.

"To the ramparts, my sisters! To the ramparts!" shouted the pastor with martial exaltation. "The Lord of Hosts will steel your arms! Your husbands, your fathers, your brothers and your sons are battling for the triumph of liberty. Come to their help! To the ramparts! To the ramparts! The enemy is about to storm the Bastion of the Evangelium! Long live the Commune!"

"To the ramparts, my brave women! And to-night, after clams on the banks, as perilous an expedition as battle itself!" cried Morrisson, while the Bombarde and her companions, joining the other crowd of Rochelois women, repeated in chorus the following psalm, led by the pastor:

"O, Lord do guide these feeble women,
With souls ablaze, inflamed as strong men!
Break our foes like Oreb!
Break them like proud Zeeb!
Throw down those wicked kings and princes,
Who in their fury, and their ire,
Laugh at our tears and distress dire,
Who devastate our glad provinces!
Who are as a torrent wildly boiling,
A tempest, wildly rushing, rolling,
A hurricane, impetuous driven,
The tops of haughty mountains lashes,
A hellish flame that turns to ashes,
The rooks by lightning struck and riven!
"May, Oh, Lord! the storm of Thy wrath
Strew Thy foes away from our path!
May, Oh, Lord! Thy thunders and fire,
Smite Thy foes! Oh, smite with Thy ire!"

The Bastion of the Evangelium, upon which the enemy had long been concentrating all their forces, formed a sharply protruding angle. Its flanks were not sufficiently protected by other works of defense. Accordingly, by directing against the left flank of the bastion the fire of their principal batteries, the enemy had opened a breach in the rampart by the repeated pounding of their shots. At the place where the breach was effected, the upper part of the earthworks, to a width of about fifty feet, crumbled down into the moat, filling it up so fully as to render an assault practicable. Thanks to this mass of debris which answered the purpose of a bridge, the assailants could cross the fosse on a run, could scale the last steps of the last wall already laid in ruins, and could enter the city, provided they could bear down the defenders who stood in the breach. From the top of the bastion the eye swept the plain far and wide. A cannon-shot off, the long line of the enemy's trenches could be seen, stretching from the suburb of St. Eloi on the edge of the salt marshes, to the suburb of Colombier. That line bounded the field from end to end; it intercepted the roads to Limoges and Nantes at the crossings of which the batteries were erected which broke a breach through the bastion. The whole stretch between the trenches of the besiegers and the fortifications of the city—one time covered with trees and houses—now lay bare, exposed, devastated, and deeply furrowed by the projectiles. Beyond the desert waste, lay the enemy's entrenchments—earthworks strengthened with gabions and trunks of trees, and here and there crenelated with the embrasures for their batteries. Behind that line of earthworks, the tops of the officers' tents, surmounted with bannerets and floating pennants, could be seen. Finally, on the extreme horizon rose the undulating and woody hills. The breach once made, the Catholics suspended their fire in order to open it again shortly before marching to the assault. It was in answer to the thunder of the cannonade, which announced an imminent and decisive attack, that the old pastor crossed the square of the City Hall at the head of his bevy of Rochelois women, recruited the Bombarde and her companions, and wended his course to the Bastion of the Evangelium. At that place about one-half of the defenders of La Rochelle were gathered, ready for a stubborn conflict. The other troops, distributed in other places, were to be on the alert to repel other attacks. The Council of defense foresaw that the enemy, while hurling one column against the breach, would undoubtedly attempt a simultaneous assault upon other places; consequently women were commissioned to close up the breach as best they might with logs of wood and other material. Colonel Plouernel, upon whom the defense of the bastion that day devolved, and Captain Gargouillaud, in charge of the artillery, gave their last orders. The bourgeois cannoniers were pointing their pieces in advance upon the open and absolutely exposed ground which the royalists had to cross when they sallied from their trenches in order to reach the opposite side of the fosse where the breach was effected. The breach was wide; nevertheless, before they could reach the parapet, the besiegers would have to clamber over a heap of debris ten or eleven feet high, on the top of which a redoubtable engine of defense was mounted, and placed in charge of the women of La Rochelle. This engine of war, an invention of Master Barbot the boilermaker, received the name of the censer. It consisted of a huge copper basin, holding a ton, suspended from iron chains at the end of a long beam that revolved upon an axis, and was so adjusted to a post firmly set in the ground, that by means of a slight motion imparted to the beam, the huge caldron would empty upon the heads of the assailants the deadly fluid that it was filled with, to wit, a mixture of boiling tar, sulphur and oil. A number of Rochelois women, Theresa Rennepont and Cornelia my betrothed among them, were busy either keeping up the fire under the copper basin, or pouring into it the oil, tar and sulphur from little kegs that lay near at hand. With her sleeves rolled back above her elbows, and leaving her strong white arms exposed, Cornelia stirred the steaming mixture with an iron rod supplied with a wooden handle. Master Barbot—his head covered with an iron morion, his chest protected with a brigandine, and his cutlass and dagger by his side—leaned upon the barrel of his arquebus and smiled complacently upon his invention. From time to time he would address the women and girls at work.

"Courage, my brave girl!" he said to Cornelia. "Mix up the oil well with the tar and sulphur. Make the mixture thick, soft, and toothsome, like those omelettes made of eggs, flour and cheese that you are so skilled in dishing up, and which your good father and myself relish so much! But the devil take those dainty thoughts! In these days of dearth one may deem himself happy if he but have a handful of beans. By the way of famine and of your father—the heavy clouds that are rising yonder in the south almost always announce a change of wind. Mayhap we shall see this very day the brigantines of Captain Mirant, loaded with wheat and powder, sailing before the wind into port, every inch of sail spread to the breeze, and successfully running the gauntlet of the royalist guns. Long live the Commune!"

"May God hear you, Master Barbot! I would then embrace my father this very day, and the threatened famine would be at end," answered Cornelia without interrupting her work of stirring the mixture, into which Theresa Rennepont just emptied a bucketful of sulphur—on account of which Master Barbot called out to her:

"No more sulphur, my dear Theresa. The tar and oil must predominate in the infernal broth. The sulphur is thrown in only to improve the taste by pleasing the eye with the pretty bluish flame, that gambols on the surface of the incandescent fluid. Now, my little girls, turn the beam just a little to one side in order to remove the basin from the fire without cooling off the broth. We shall swing it back over the fire the instant the Catholics run to the assault—then we shall dish up the broth to them, hot and nice."

While these Rochelois women were thus engaged in preparing the censer, others rolled enormous blocks of stone—the debris of the bastion that was shattered by the enemy's cannonade—and placed them in such positions over the breach that a child's finger could hurl them down upon the assaulting column. Others rolled barrels of sand, which after having served for protection to the arquebusiers on the ramparts, were likewise to be rolled down the steep declivity which the enemy had to climb. Finally, a large number of women were busy preparing stretchers for the wounded. These women worked under the direction of Marcienne, Odelin's widow. Theresa and Cornelia, left for a moment at leisure from their work on the censer, came over to the widow, and were presently joined by Louis Rennepont and Antonicq.

"Mother," said Antonicq, tenderly addressing Marcienne, "when I left the house this morning at dawn you were asleep; I could not tell you good-bye—embrace me!"

Marcienne understood what her son meant. A murderous assault was about to be engaged. Perhaps they were not to meet again alive. She took Antonicq in her arms, and pressing him to her breast she said in a moved yet firm voice: "Blessings upon you, my son, who never caused me any grief! If, like your father, you should die in battle against the papists, you will have acted like an upright man to the very end. Should I succumb, you will carry with you my last blessing. And you also, Cornelia," added Marcienne, "I bless you, my child. I shall die happy in the knowledge that Antonicq found in you a heart worthy of his own in virtue and bravery. You have been the best of daughters to your parents—you will likewise be a tender wife to your husband."

Odelin's widow was giving expression to these sentiments when Louis Rennepont, after exchanging in a low voice a few words with his wife Theresa, words such as the solemnity of the occasion prompted, cried out aloud: "Look yonder! there, under us—among the debris of the breach—is not that the Franc-Taupin? Your uncle seems to be emerging from underground. He must be preparing some trick of his trade."

"It is he, indeed!" exclaimed Antonicq, no less surprised than his brother-in-law. "And there is my apprentice Serpentin also—who is following the Franc-Taupin out of the hole."

These words drew the attention of Cornelia, Theresa and Odelin's widow. They looked down the steep slope formed by the ruins of that portion of the bastion that the enemy had demolished. The Franc-Taupin had emerged from a narrow and deep excavation, dug under the ruins. A lad of thirteen or fourteen years followed him. They covered up the opening that had given them egress. After doing so, Serpentin, the apprentice of the armorer Antonicq, went down upon his knees, and moving backward on all fours, uncoiled, under the directions of the Franc-Taupin, a long thin fuse, the other end of which was deep down the excavation which they had just covered. Still moving towards the parapet, Serpentin continued to uncoil the fuse, and, upon orders from the Franc-Taupin, stopped at about twenty paces from the wall and sat down on a stone.

"Halloa, uncle!" cried Antonicq, leaning over the edge of one of the embrasures. "Here we are; come and join us."

Hearing his nephew's voice, the Franc-Taupin raised his head, made him a sign to wait, and after giving Serpentin some further directions, the aged soldier clambered over the ruins with remarkable agility for a man of his years, and walked over to where Antonicq stood waiting for him.

"Where do you come from, uncle?"

"Well, my boy, what do you expect of me? A taupin I was in my young days, and now in my old days I relapse into my old trade. I come from underground, through a shaft that I dug through the ruins with the aid of Serpentin, about a hundred paces from here. There I laid a mine, right in the middle of the breach where the good Catholics will soon be running to the assault. The moment I see them there I shall lovingly set the fuse on fire—and, triple petard! the St. Bartholomew lambkins will leap up in the air yelling and spitting fire like five hundred devils, their heads down, their legs skyward. The dance will end with a shower of shattered limbs."

"Well schemed, my old mole!" said Master Barbot. "Fire below, fire above, like the beautiful sheets that I hammer on the anvil. The burning lava of my censer will blaze over the skulls of the royalists, your fuse will blaze under the soles of their feet, and hurl the miscreants into the air capering, turning somersaults, whirling, cavorting, and—" but suddenly breaking off, Master Barbot let himself down upon the ground, and joining the word to the deed, called out:

"Down upon your faces, everybody! Look out for the bullets!"

Master Barbot's advice was quickly followed. Everybody near him threw himself down flat at the very moment that a volley of bullets whistled overhead or struck the parapet, some ricocheting and upturning gabions and logs of wood, others plowing their way through the debris where the imperturbable Serpentin was seated near the fuse that led down to the mine. Despite the danger, the brave lad did not budge from his post. A lucky accident willed it that none of the besieged was wounded by this first salvo of artillery. Master Barbot, the first one to rise to his feet, cast his eyes upon the enemy's batteries, which were still partly wrapped in the clouds of smoke from the first discharge, perceived the first ranks of the assaulting column sallying from its trenches, and instantly gave the signal:

"Everyone to his post! The enemy is advancing!"

"To arms! Rochelois, to arms!"

Master Barbot's call, was answered by a long roll of drums, ordered by Colonel Plouernel. His strong and penetrating voice rose above the din, and his words were heard:

"Soldiers, to the ramparts! Cannoniers, to your pieces! Fire, all along the line!"

"May God guard you, mother, sister, Cornelia!" said Antonicq.

"May God guard you, my wife!" said Louis Rennepont.

"So long, comrade Barbot!" cried the Franc-Taupin, pulling a tinder box from his pocket and sliding down the slope of the breach to rejoin Serpentin. "I shall get myself ready to make the limbs of those St. Bartholomew lambkins scamper through the air."

"And you, my brave girls, to the censer!" cried Master Barbot to the Rochelois women. "Replace the caldron over the fire, and, when you hear me give the order: 'Serve it hot!' turn it and empty it over the heads of the assailants. You others, hold your levers ready near those stones and hogsheads of sand. When you hear me say: 'Roll!' push hard and let it all come down upon them."

Suddenly, fresh but more distant and redoubling detonations of artillery in the direction of the Congues Gate announced the enemy's intention of making a diversion by attempting two simultaneous attacks upon the city. The pastor arrived at that moment upon the ramparts at the head of his troop of women whom the Bombarde and her companions had joined. Some reinforced the women charged with rolling the stones upon the assailants; others organized themselves to transport the wounded; finally a third set, armed with cutlasses, pikes and axes, made ready to resist the assailants at close quarters. At the head of these the Bombarde brandished a harpoon.

His best marksmen had been placed by Colonel Plouernel in the underground casemates, thereby forming, on the other side of the circumvallation, a second line of defense, the loop-holes of which, bearing a strong resemblance to the airholes of a cavern, allowed a murderous fire to be directed upon the enemy. Finally, the companies of arquebusiers were massed upon the breach, which was defended by heaped-up beams and gabions that the Rochelois women assisted in bringing together. A solemn silence reigned among the besieged during the short interval of time that the royalists occupied in rushing through the distance that separated them from the outer edge of our moat. All of us felt that the fate of La Rochelle depended upon the issue of the assault.

Old Marshal Montluc was in chief command of the Catholics. Monsieur Du Guast, at the head of six battalions of veteran Swiss troops, led the column, with Marshal Montluc in the center, and in the rear Colonel Strozzi, one of the best officers of the Catholic army. His task was to reinforce and sustain the attack in case the first companies wavered, or were repulsed. These troops advanced in good order, drums beating, trumpets blaring, colors flying, and captained by the flower of the nobility—the Dukes of Guise and Aumale, the Bastard of Angouleme, Henry of Bearn, who was now the King's brother-in-law, and Henry of Condé. The two renegates now were in arms against our cause. Finally, there were also Mayenne, Biron, Cosseins, D'O, Chateau-Vieux, and innumerable other noble captains, all crowding near the King's brother, the Duke of Anjou, who marched in the center at the side of Marshal Montluc. The moment that the front ranks of the vanguard reached the thither side of the fosse, Alderman Gargouillaud considered the enemy to be within reach of his cannoniers, and gave the order for a plunging and ricocheting fire. The effect of the salvo was deadly. The thunder-struck vanguard wavered and recoiled. The Rochelois gained time to reload their pieces. A second discharge, fully as deadly as the first, mowed down as many as before, and increased the indecision of the assailants. Old Marshal Montluc, Biron and Cosseins revived the shaken courage of their troops, held them, and forced them back. The dash was made. Leaving the dead and wounded behind, the column crossed the moat; it answered with its arquebuses those of the besieged as it pushed up the slope of the breach, receiving the cross fire from the casemates upon both its flanks, while, from the companies ranged upon the ramparts, its front was met with a hailstorm of bullets. Despite severe losses, the royalists steadily climbed up the slope of the breach. The Franc-Taupin and his aide, who until that instant lay flat upon their faces behind a heap of debris, suddenly rose and ran towards the circumvallation as fast as their legs could carry them. They had fired the fuse. Hardly were they at a safe distance, when the mine took fire under the feet of the enemy. A frightful explosion threw up a spout of earth, dust and rocks, interspersed with jets of fire, fulgent like lightning through thick clouds of smoke. The smoke slowly dissipated. The slope of the breach reappeared to view. It was torn up and cut through by a deep and wide cleft, the sides of which were strewn with the dismembered bodies of the dead and dying. The soldiers of the vanguard who escaped the disaster were seized with terror, turned upon their heels, rushed back upon their center, trampled it down, threw it into a panic, and spread consternation, crying that the passage of the breach was mined under the feet of the besiegers. The ranks were broken; confusion reigned, the rout commenced. The Rochelois cannoniers now worked their pieces in quick succession, and plowed wide gaps into the compact mass of the fleeing invaders, while the Franc-Taupin, standing beside one of the embrasures and calmly crossing his hands behind his back, remarked to Master Barbot:

"Well, comrade, there they are—heads, arms, trunks, legs. They have danced the saraband to the tune of my mine. I have given a ball to the Catholics, to the defenders of the throne and the altar!"

"Ha! Ha!" replied the boilermaker. "The St. Bartholomew lambkins are going back faster than they came. Should they come back again I shall dish up to them my steaming basin in order to comfort the lacerated feelings of those cut-throats whom the Pope has blessed."

The royalist soldiers could not be rallied by their officers until they were beyond the reach of our guns. They were then re-formed into a new column. The most daring of their captains placed themselves resolutely at their head in order to lead them back to the assault. Preceding this phalanx of intrepid men by several paces, a Cordelier monk, holding a crucifix in one hand and a cutlass in the other, rushed forward to be the first to storm the breach, shouting in a piercing voice the ominous slogan of St. Bartholomew's night: "God and the King!" The monk's example and the enthusiasm of the captains carried the assailants away. They forgot their recent panic, and turned about face to renew the struggle, shouting in chorus "God and the King!" In vain did the fire of the besieged make havoc among them. They closed ranks; they rushed forward at the double quick; they ran up the slope of the breach; they even passed beyond the chasm produced by the late mine explosion. At that moment Master Barbot called out to the Rochelois women in charge of the censer: "Quick! Quick! my daughters! Pour it down hot upon the Catholic vermin! Anoint the devout papists with our holy and consecrated oil!"

And immediately turning to the other set of women charged with rolling stones down upon the enemy's heads, "To work, my brave women!" shouted the boilermaker. "Crush the infamous pack to dust! Exterminate the brood of Satan!"

Instantly a flood of incandescent oil, bitumen and sulphur poured down like a wide sheet of flame upon the front ranks of the besiegers. They recoiled, trampled down the ranks behind them, and emitted hideous cries of anguish. Every drop of the molten liquid bored a hole through the flesh to the bone. At the same moment enormous blocks of stone and masses of sand rolled, rapid and irresistible, down the slope of the breach, overthrowing, breaking, crushing, smashing whatever stood in their way. Joined to this murderous defense was the frightfully effective fire of our arquebusiers, who shot unerringly, at close range, themselves safe, upon a foe in disorder. And yet, however decimated and broken, the royalists stuck to the assault until they finally reached the circumvallation. The exchange of arquebus shots then ceased and a furious hand-to-hand struggle ensued with swords, cutlasses and pikes. No quarter was given. The conflict was pitiless. The Rochelois women, among them Cornelia, armed with the iron rod of the censer, and the Bombarde, brandishing her harpoon, vied with the men in deeds of daring. These Rochelois women were everywhere among the male combatants, and cut a wide swath with their weapons, wielded by their white yet nervy arms, after the fashion of the Gallic women who made a front to the legions of Caesar. Twice did Colonel Plouernel, Captain Normand, Alderman Gargouillaud, Master Barbot, Antonicq Lebrenn, Louis Rennepont and their fellow defenders drive the Catholics back beyond the breach; twice did the Catholics, superior in numbers, drive the Rochelois back to the terrace of the rampart. Thus did the battle fluctuate, when Mayor Morrisson came to the aid of the Protestants with a fresh troop of citizens. The timely reinforcement changed the face of the struggle. For a third time rolled back beyond the breach, the assailants were precipitated into the pits or whipped down the slope. Their rout then became complete, wild, disordered. Our arquebusiers, whose fire had stopped during the hand-to-hand conflict, now took aim again, and decimated the fleeing, while our artillery mowed them down. This time the royalist rout was complete—final. Those of them who escaped the carnage, made haste to place themselves behind the shelter of their own lines.

Victory to the Rochelois! Oh, sons of Joel, victory! Long live the Commune!



The victory of the Rochelois was a bloody one, and dearly did we pay for it. We numbered over eleven hundred of our people killed or disabled, men and women. Cornelia Mirant received a wound upon the neck; the Bombarde perished in the breach. Marcienne, Odelin's widow, was struck by a bullet and killed near the rampart as she was bringing aid to a wounded soldier; Antonicq's arm was run through by a pike; Colonel Plouernel was carried to his house in a nearly dying condition with two arquebus shots in his chest. Louis Rennepont, his wife Theresa, Master Barbot, the Franc-Taupin and Serpentin, his assistant in mining, came safe and sound out of the engagement. The Rochelois gathered in the dead and wounded. The Lebrenn family carried to their house the corpse of Odelin's widow. A sad funeral march! But, alas, in these distressful times the exigencies of the public weal have precedence over the holiest of sorrows. One enjoys leisure to weep over his dead only after having avenged them. The triumph of a day does not remove the apprehensions for the morrow. The royalist assault, so valiantly repelled by the people of La Rochelle, might be renewed the very next day, due to the large reserve forces of the Catholic army, only a small portion of which took part in the attack upon the Bastion of the Evangelium. The City Council urged all the remaining able-bodied citizens to proceed without delay to repair the breach, seeing that the moon, then at her full, would light them at their work during the whole night. Fresh defenses were to be immediately raised upon the side of the assaulted bastion. Then, also, famine was staring the city in the face. Precautions were needed against that emergency. Captain Mirant's ships, which were to revictual the city and replenish its magazines of war, still failed to be descried at sea, notwithstanding a strong wind rose from the southwest towards sunset. The last bags of beans were distributed among the combatants, whose exhaustion demanded immediate attention after the day's conflict. The supply barely sufficed to allay the pangs of hunger. Consequently, in order to insure food for the next day, the women and children were summoned by the aldermen to be at the Two Mills Gate by one o'clock in the morning, the hour of low tide, and favorable for the digging of clams. The gathering of these mollusks offered a precious resource to the besieged, but it was as perilous as battle itself. The Bayhead redoubt, raised by the royalists at the extremity of the tongue of land that ran deep into the offing, could sweep with its cannon the beach on which the clams were to be dug. Towards one in the morning the City Hall bell rang the summons. Upon hearing the agreed-upon signal, the Rochelois women of all conditions issued forth with those of their children who were considered strong enough to join the expedition. Each was equipped with a basket. They met at the Two Mills Gate where they found the wife and two daughters of Morrisson the Mayor. They set the example of public spirit. Accordingly, while the male population of La Rochelle was busily engaged in repairing the breach, the women and children sallied forth from the city in search of provisions for all. Although smarting from her wound, and despite the protests of Antonicq, Cornelia Mirant determined to share with Theresa Rennepont the risks of the nocturnal expedition after clams. She joined the troop of women and children.

About four or five hundred Rochelois women issued forth from the Two Mills Gate, situated near the Lantern Tower, in search of clams to feed the population. They were soon upon the beach. Bounded on the right by a ledge of rocks, the beach extended to the left as far as the roadstead in front of the inner port of La Rochelle, a roadstead narrowed towards its entrance by two tongues of land, each of which was armed with a hostile redoubt. The Bayhead redoubt could at once cover with its fire the narrow entrance of the bay, and sweep the full length and breadth of the beach upon which the Rochelois women now scattered and were actively engaged in picking up at the foot of the rocks, aided by the light of the moon, the mollusks that they came in search of. At the start the Bayhead redoubt gave them no trouble, although the enemy's attention must undoubtedly have been attracted by the large number of white head-covers and scarlet skirts, the time-honored costume of the Rochelois women. Already the baskets were handsomely filling with clams—the "celestial manna" as Mayor Morrisson called them—when suddenly a bright flash of light threw its reflection upon the small puddles of water on the beach, a detonation was heard, and a light cloud of smoke rose above the redoubt. A shiver ran over the clam-digging Rochelois women, and profound silence took the place of their previous chatter.

"The royalists have seen us!" said Theresa Rennepont to Cornelia. "They have begun firing upon us."

"No!" cried Cornelia with mixed joy and alarm as she looked in the direction of the battery. "The enemy is firing upon my father's brigantines! There they are! There they are, at last! God be praised! If they enter port, La Rochelle is saved from famine! Do you see them, Theresa? Do you see, yonder, their white sails glistening in the moonlight? The ships are drawing near. They come laden with victory to us!"

And the young maid, moved with a joy that overcame her alarm, raised her beautiful face to heaven, and in a voice quivering with enthusiasm exclaimed: "Oh, Lord! Guard my father's life! Grant victory to the sacred cause of freedom!"

All thought of the clams was instantly dropped. The women pressed close to the water's edge; with eyes fixed upon the ships, they awaited anxiously the issue of the combat upon which depended the victualing of their city. It was a solemn moment; an imposing spectacle. The further extremities of the two tongues of land that enclosed the outer bay and left but a narrow entrance to the port, threw their black profiles upon the waves, silvered by the moon. The four brigantines were sailing in single file before the wind with a full spread of canvas, towards the dangerous passage which they had to enter under the cross fire of the enemy's redoubts. A rapid and frightful cannonade followed upon the first shot which had startled the women. Already the first one of the four vessels had entered the passage, when, despite the firmness of her nature, Cornelia emitted a cry of distress and said in consternation to Theresa:

"Look, the mast of the forward brigantine is down! It must have been struck by a ball! Good God, my father is lost if he should be on that vessel—dismantled—unable to move—exposed to the fire of the enemy!"

"All is lost! Alas, all is lost!"

"The brigantines are returning to the open sea!"

"Captain Mirant flees without giving battle! without answering the enemy's fire! without giving back a single shot!"

"Come, let us return to our clams—henceforth the only resource of La Rochelle! Let us continue picking up clams!"

"No! My father is not fleeing from battle," answered Cornelia. "By sailing back he means to tow the dismantled ship out of harm's way. No, Captain Mirant is not fleeing from battle! Do you not see that his vessels are now lying to? They are not sailing away!"

The words of Cornelia, who was long familiar with nautical manoeuvres, thanks to the many voyages she made on board her father's vessels, revived the hopes of the Rochelois women. Their eyes returned with renewed anxiety to the entrance of the port. But, alas, as they did so, none perceived that soldiers of the royal army were coming out of the Bayhead redoubt, and, screened by the shadows cast by the rocks that were strewn to the right of the beach, were silently creeping nearer behind the massive blocks.

"What did I tell you?" Cornelia proceeded to explain. "The brigantines are sailing back again into the passage. The forward one, with the dismantled vessel in tow, is opening fire upon the royalist redoubt. No! Captain Mirant's cannons have not lost their speech!"

And so it was. The brigantine that had the dismantled vessel in tow sailed intrepidly into the passage, returning the enemy's fire from both broadsides. The enemy's redoubts, especially the Bayhead, being the better equipped, replied to the brigantine. Suddenly, however, a cry of terror escaped from all breasts. The brigantine that led was enveloped in a thick smoke which here and there was reddened by the ruddy glow of flames.

The agony of the women of La Rochelle redoubled. Their attention, held captive by the spectacle in the bay, prevented their noticing the Catholic soldiers, who, in increasing numbers, were approaching, hidden behind the last rocks of the ledge. Suddenly the echoes around the rocks repeated, like the reverberations of thunder, the roar of a tremendous explosion. The dismantled vessel, which carried a full load of powder, was blown into the air after being set on fire, not by the enemy, but by Captain Mirant himself; and, as it blew up, it partly dismantled the Bayhead redoubt. The manoeuvre was successful. Not only was the redoubt crippled, but a large number of the soldiers and cannoniers who manned it perished under the ruins of their own batteries. So soon as the intrepid mariner saw one of his vessels disabled from proceeding on its voyage, he had taken her in tow; veered about with the end in view of withdrawing his flotilla from the enemy's fire long enough to enable him to perfect his newly conceived strategy; heaped inflammable materials upon the disabled ship; left the powder in her hold; transferred the sailors to his own bottom; veered again; sailed under full canvas before the wind straight into the passage; and leading in tow the floating incendiary machine which he had just improvised, set it on fire, and cut the cable just before arriving in front of the redoubt, convinced, by his intimate acquaintance with the currents along the coast, that they would drive ashore and against the redoubt the floating firebrand loaded with powder, which, when exploding, would shake the royalist battery to pieces. It happened as Captain Mirant calculated. Once the redoubt was in ruins, Captain Mirant had nothing to fear except from the inferior battery raised on the opposite tongue of land. The bold mariner now proceeded on his course followed by his remaining vessels, deliberately answering the inoffensive shots from the opposite side. Finally, with only the perforation of some of their sails, and a few bullets lodged in their sides, the three vessels steered straight towards the entrance of the interior port of La Rochelle, which they were to save from famine, and re-supply with munitions of war.

"God be praised! The city is saved! May my father have come off safe and sound from the combat!" cried Cornelia, while the other Rochelois women loudly acclaimed with shouts of joy and hope the brilliant triumph of the captain.

The last of the three brigantines had just entered the port when the rattle of arquebus shots resounded from behind the rocks which bordered the beach to the right of where the Rochelois women were assembled. It rained bullets. Women and children, mortally wounded, dropped dead around Theresa and Cornelia. The unexpected attack of the royalist soldiers in ambush threw the unfortunate women into a panic. They had come wholly unarmed, bent upon gathering clams along the beach, and not looking for danger except from the batteries of Bayhead. It happened that a part of that garrison consisted of troops of the guard of the Duke of Anjou, under the command of the Marquis of Montbar, one of the Prince's favorites, and the most noted debauchee of the whole royalist army. So soon as he perceived the Rochelois women spread along the beach, the Marquis set his soldiers in motion, ordered them to slide out of the redoubt, and to creep noiselessly, under cover of the rocks and of the shadows that they projected, with the object in view of massacring a large number of the heroic women, whose intrepidity the royalists had more than once tasted to their sorrow, and of seizing several of them for the orgies of the Duke of Anjou's tent. Accordingly, after unmasking his ambuscade by the first round of arquebus shots, the Marquis of Montbar rushed with his soldiers upon the startled and panic-stricken women, crying: "Kill all the old ones! Take the handsomest and youngest prisoners! God's blood! You can easily distinguish the pretty girls from the old and ugly! The moon is bright!"

The scene that followed was frightful to behold. Many of the "old" ones were ruthlessly butchered, as ordered by the Catholic captain. Others, having escaped the fire of the arquebuses and the ensuing carnage, finding themselves unarmed, and unable to resist the soldiers, sought safety in flight in the direction of the Two Mills Gate. Still others stood their ground and defended themselves with the energy of despair against the guards who sought to seize them. Among the latter was Cornelia, who, in the turmoil, was separated from Theresa Rennepont as both sought to reach the city. The Marquis of Montbar, happening to be near where Cornelia was struggling in the hands of several soldiers, and struck by the beauty of the girl, called out to his men: "Take care you do not hurt her—keep her alive! God's blood, she is a royal morsel! I reserve her for Monseigneur the Duke of Anjou."

Cornelia, whose wound was re-opened in her struggle with the soldiers, felt herself losing strength and consciousness through loss of blood. She fell in a faint at the feet of Montbar. By his orders two of his guards raised her by her feet and shoulders, and carried her away like a corpse. Several other Rochelois women, who were likewise carried off captive to the Bayhead redoubt, now lying in ruins through Captain Mirant's manoeuvre, were that night victims of the brutality of both captains and soldiers. Finally many others succeeded in reaching the Two Mills Gate at the moment that a company of Protestants, attracted by the sound of arquebus shots, sallied from the city and were hastening to the beach. Alas, it was too late! Already the inrushing tide was submerging the dead and the dying victims of the royalist ambush. Already the water reached the foot of the rocks and intercepted the progress of the Rochelois. They could not pursue the enemy who, among other prisoners, carried away the inanimate body of Captain Mirant's daughter at the very hour that the daring mariner weighed anchor in the port of La Rochelle amidst the acclamations of the inhabitants.



The headquarters of the royal army were at the suburb of Font, now in ruins. The Duke of Anjou, brother of King Charles IX, occupied at Font, in the center of the royal encampment, a house that went by the name of the "Reservoir," since within its yard lay the reservoir into which the waters were gathered that the now destroyed aqueduct conducted into La Rochelle. The Prince's headquarters, although wrecked by the war, were repaired, and made fit for the royal guest, thanks to the industry of his valets, who upholstered and equipped the ruins with a mass of tapestries and furniture which the pack-mules carried in the wake of the army. The Prince's oratory, where, either in sacrilegious derision, or perhaps yielding to a mixture of fanaticism and lewdness, he both performed his orisons and indulged his debaucheries, was tapestried in violet velvet, garlanded with fringes that were gathered up by gold and silver tassels. Daylight never penetrated the voluptuous retreat, which only a vermillion chandelier illumined with its candles of perfumed wax. On one side of the apartment stood a prayer-stool surmounted with an ivory crucifix; on the opposite side was a thickly cushioned lounge. A Turkish carpet covered the floor. A velvet portiere, closed at this moment, communicated with an inside room.

It was about eight in the evening. Cornelia Mirant, captured on the beach of La Rochelle the night before by the Marquis of Montbar, had just been introduced by him into the oratory of the Duke of Anjou. A feverish agitation imparted an unwonted glow to the countenance of the young girl. Her eyes glistened; her beauty was particularly radiant; a certain coquetish touch was noticeable in the arrangement of her hair; her Rochelois clothing, torn to shreds during the previous night's encounter, had been changed for a robe of poppy-red brocade. A broad embroidered scarf supported and concealed her right hand. The wound she received the day before on the neck had been dressed with care by one of the Duke's own surgeons. Monsieur Montbar—a youth barely twenty years of age, but whose delicate features were prematurely blighted by incontinence—had exchanged his war armor for the apparel of the court. His hair was artistically curled. From his ears hung a pair of earrings encrusted with precious stones; jet black frills hung down from his wrists and encased his hands; a short mantle was thrown over his shoulders; tight-fitting hose and a toque garnished with a brooch of rubies completed his dainty outfit. The Marquis had just brought Cornelia into the oratory, and was saying to her: "My pretty saucebox, you are now in the oratory of the Prince of Anjou, brother of our well-beloved King Charles IX."

"One feels as if in a palace of fairies!" answered Cornelia looking around with feigned and childish wonderment. "Oh, what splendid tapestries! What gorgeous ornaments! It seems I must be dreaming, monseigneur! Can it be possible that the Prince, so great a Prince, deigns to cast his eyes upon so poor a girl as I?"

"Come, my pretty lassy, do not cast down your eyes. Be sincere—you shall ever after feel the glory of having been, if but for one day, the mistress of the King of France's brother. But what are you thinking about?"

"Monseigneur, all this that is happening to me seems a dream. No! You are making sport of a poor girl. Monseigneur the Duke of Anjou does not think of me."

"You will see him in a minute, I assure you; he is just now in conference with Fra Hervé, his confessor." And turning towards the still closed portiere, he proceeded: "I hear the curtains drawn back, and steps in the neighboring room—it is monseigneur."

Hardly had the Marquis pronounced these last words when the drapery was raised, giving passage to the Duke of Anjou. The Prince was then twenty-eight years of age; overindulgence had weakened his gait, and imparted to his effeminate physiognomy a wily aspect, and a suggestion of cruelty and hypocrisy to his smile; added to this, excessive ornamentation rendered his appearance trivial and even sinister. Monsieur Montbar took a few steps towards the Duke, whispered in his ear and pointed to Cornelia. The girl thrilled with suppressed emotion; her right hand, hidden in the wide folds of her scarf, seemed to twitch convulsively and involuntarily to rise to her bosom. She contemplated the Prince with mixed horror and curiosity. Her eyes glistened, but she quickly lowered them before the libidinous glance of the Prince, who, while speaking with the Marquis, regarded her covetously. He said to his favorite: "You are right, my pet; her beauty gives promise of great delight; leave us alone; I may call you in again."

The Marquis of Montbar withdrew. Left alone with Cornelia, the Duke of Anjou stepped to the lounge, stretched himself out upon it nonchalantly with his head resting on the cushion, pulled a gold comfit-holder from his pocket, took a pastille out of it, masticated it, and after a few minutes of silent revery said to the Rochelois:

"Approach, my pretty girl!"

Cornelia raised her eyes heavenward. Her countenance became inspired. A slight pallor overcast it. Her glistening eyes grew moist. Distress was stamped on her features as she muttered to herself: "Adieu, father! Adieu, Antonicq! The hour of self-sacrifice has sounded for me!"

Surprised at the immobility of Cornelia, whose face he could not see distinctly, the Duke of Anjou sat up and repeated impatiently: "Approach! You seem to be deaf, as well as mute. I told you to approach. By God's death, hurry up! Come and lie down beside me!"

Cornelia, without the Prince's noticing her motions, disengaged her arm from the folds of the scarf, and stepped deliberately towards the lounge on which he had again stretched himself out. Again he motioned her to approach, saying: "Come here, I tell you. I would fear to damn myself forever by contact with such a satanic heretic as you, but for Fra Hervé's promise to give me absolution after our amorous encounter."

And rising from his soft lounge, the Prince opened his arms to Cornelia. The girl approached; she bowed down; then, quick as thought she seized the Duke by the hair with her left hand, at the same time drawing out of the folds of her scarf her right hand armed with a short sharp steel dagger with which she struck the Prince several blows in the region of the heart, crying: "Die, butcher of my brothers! Die, cowardly assassin of women and children!"

The Duke of Anjou wore under his jacket a coat of mail of steel so close meshed and well tempered that Cornelia's dagger broke under the blows that she dealt, while the frightened Prince called out for help, gasping: "Murder! She assassinates me! Murder!"

At the Prince's cries and the noise of the struggle between them the Marquis of Montbar, together with several domestics of the royal household, hurried into the oratory, from the contiguous room where they always stood in waiting; they flung themselves upon Cornelia and seized her by the wrists, while the Prince, freed from the grasp of the brave maid, ran livid and demented to his prayer-stool, where he threw himself down upon his knees, and, with lips white with terror, shivering in every part of his body, and with his teeth clattering in his head, he stammered: "Almighty God, thanks be to Thee! Thou hast protected Thy unworthy servitor!" And bending low, till his forehead touched the ground, the terrified libertine smote his chest exclaiming: "Mea culpa! mea culpa! mea maxima culpa!"[84]

While the Duke of Anjou was thus giving thanks to his God for having escaped the dagger of the young Protestant girl, she, held firmly by the seigneurs and retainers who heaped upon her insults and threats of death, stood erect with proud front, defied them with steady eyes, and preserved a disdainful silence. Holding himself responsible for the conduct of the Huguenot girl, whom he had taken to his master's bed, the Marquis of Montbar drew his sword and was about to run her through, when the Prince, rising from his prayer-stool cried out: "Do not kill her, my pet! Oh, no, she must not die so soon!"

The favorite re-sheathed his sword. The Duke of Anjou, now pale with rage, staggered to his lounge and sat down. He wiped the perspiration from his forehead, cast a look of implacable hatred upon Cornelia, and after regarding her in silence for a moment, said: "Well, my pretty lass—so you meant to assassinate me!"

"Yes—because you are the worthy son of Catherine De Medici, the worthy brother of Charles IX; because you suborned an assassin to poison Coligny!"

The Duke of Anjou remained unmoved, and remarked with a cruel smile: "You are a resolute girl, resolute in word and deed. I came near learning as much at my cost! What is your name?"

"Cornelia Mirant."

"What! You are the daughter of the mariner who last night almost threw into utter ruins our Bayhead redoubt? You are the daughter of the devilish Huguenot who has just revictualed La Rochelle?"

The Cordelier Fra Hervé had just raised the portiere and was about to step into the oratory, when he heard the young girl declare her name to be Cornelia Mirant. The monk immediately stopped. Half-hidden by the tapestry, he remained on the threshold of the room and listened to the rest of the dialogue between the Huguenot girl and the Prince.

"You must be a girl of honorable habits. How came you to yield so readily to the propositions of the Marquis?"

"In the hope of being able to strike you dead with the dagger that I found in the tent of your officer," boldly answered Cornelia.

"A new Judith, you seem to see in me a modern Holofernes! Everything about you breathes courage, honor, chastity. By God! I am becoming interested in you. You have wished my death—well, I wish that you live. So brave a girl should not die."

"What, monseigneur! Shall this wretch escape punishment!" cried the Marquis of Montbar, while Cornelia thought to herself with a shudder: "I dread the clemency of the son of Catherine De Medici more than I do his ire."

"Yes, my pet," answered the Duke of Anjou to his minion; "to-day I am in a merciful mood. I shall practice the evangelical morality of Jesus our Savior; I shall return good for evil! I wish well to this haughty republican girl, worthy of the days of Sparta and Rome! I wish the brave girl so well that—here is my sentence: Pinion the virgin's arms firmly; have her watched carefully in order that she may not do away with herself; and then throw her to the common soldiers of the camp. By God's death! The gay fellows will have a dainty repast! Take away from my sight the immaculate virgin, who will not be a virgin much longer!"

"Oh! Mercy! Mercy! Death sooner! The most horrible death! Mercy!" stammered Cornelia, aroused from her stupor; and dropping upon her knees at the feet of the Duke of Anjou, she raised to him her hands in supplication, and implored in heartrending accents: "Martyrdom! For mercy's sake, martyrdom!"

The Prince turned to his favorites: "Let the pretty heretic be taken to the garrison on the spot—on the spot, my pets. We shall follow and witness the sport of our soldiers."

Already was Cornelia being dragged away when Fra Hervé suddenly interposed. The courtiers bowed low before the confessor of the Duke of Anjou.

"My son," said the Cordelier, stepping straight towards the Prince, "revoke the order you have given. The heretic should not be thrown to the soldiers."

"Father," broke in the Duke of Anjou with exasperation, "are you aware the girl tried to assassinate me?"

"I know it all—both the attempted crime and its failure. You shall revoke your order."

"God's blood! Reverend Father, seeing you know it all, I declare, notwithstanding my profound respect for you, that I insist upon my revenge. My orders shall be executed."

"My son, you are but a child," answered Fra Hervé in a tone of disdainful superiority; and leaning towards the Prince the monk whispered in his ear, while Cornelia, now recognizing Fra Hervé, shuddered from head to foot.

"I dreaded the clemency of the Prince—the monk's mercy terrifies me. Oh, Lord God, my only hope lies in You!"

"As God lives, my reverend Father, you are right! I am but a child!" cried the Duke of Anjou, beaming with infernal joy after listening to the confidential remarks whispered to him by the monk. He then again addressed his favorites: "Take the heretic girl to the reverend Father's cell. But, good Father, keep a watchful eye upon her. Her life is now as precious to you as to me."

Cornelia was led away upon the steps of the fratricidal monk.



Fra Hervé lived in the house of the Reservoir of the Font suburb in a sort of cellar that was vaulted, somber and damp as a cave, and which one time served as the direct communication to the aqueduct by means of a stone staircase, closed from above by a trap door. The monk's gloomy lodging was reached through a corridor that opened into one of the rooms situated on the ground floor, and, since the siege, transformed into a hall reserved for the officers of the Duke of Anjou.

The interior of Fra Hervé's retreat revealed the austerity of the man's cenobitic habits. A wooden box, filled with ashes and resembling a coffin, served him for bed. A stool stood before a rough hewn table on which were an hour-glass, a breviary, a skull and an iron lamp. The latter cast a pale light over the cave, in a corner of which a heavy trap door masked the now disused stone staircase, the entrance to which had been walled from within by the royalists, in order to prevent a surprise from that quarter, seeing the water was turned off.

Taken to the gloomy cell, Cornelia found herself alone with the monk. She was aware there was no hope of escape or of mercy for her. The cell had no issue other than the corridor that connected with the hall of the Prince's officers of the guard, which was constantly crowded with the Prince's retinue. Fra Hervé's face was emaciated. His forehead, over which a few locks of grey hair tumbled in disorder, was bony and lustrous as the skull upon his table. Except for the somber luster of his hollow eyes, one would at first sight take the scarred and fleshless head of the monk for that of a corpse. He was seated on the stool. Cornelia, standing before him, shuddered with horror. She found herself alone with the monster who, at the battle of Roche-la-Belle, cut the throat of Odelin, the father of Antonicq, her betrothed. Fra Hervé remained meditative for a moment, and then addressed the young girl in a hollow voice:

"You are aware of the fate that Monseigneur the Duke of Anjou reserved for you in punishment for your attempted murder? You were to be thrown to the soldiers of the garrison—"

"I am in your power—what do you want of me?" interrupted Cornelia.

"The salvation of your soul."

"My soul belongs to God. I have lived and I shall die in my faith, and in execration for the Catholic church."

"This is but another evidence of the impiousness of the Lebrenn family, a family of reprobates, of accursed people, to whom this poor creature was soon to be joined by even closer bonds than those that already join her to them!"

"What! You know—?"

"A Rochelois prisoner informed me that you were the betrothed of Antonicq, the son of him who was my brother."

"Monk, I shall not invoke to you the bonds of family—you have reddened your hands with your brother's blood. I shall not invoke your pity—you are pitiless. But, seeing that no heretics have been burnt for quite a while, I hope you will consent to cause me to be condemned to the pyre for a hardened heretic. I abhor the Pope, his Church and his priests! I abhor them as I do Kings. I execrate all monks, and the whole tonsured fraternity."

Cornelia calculated upon exasperating the Cordelier to fury, and thus to wrest from him the order to be taken to immediate execution—her only refuge from the threats of the Duke of Anjou. But the unfortunate girl deceived herself. Fra Hervé listened to her impassively, and resumed:

"You are cunning. You aspire to martyrdom because death will protect you from the outrage that you fear. I am not your dupe. There will be no pyre for you!"

"Woe is me!" murmured the young girl, seeing her last hope dashed. "Woe is me! I am lost!"

"You are saved—if you will!" Fra Hervé proceeded to say.

"What do I hear?" cried Cornelia perceiving a new glimmer of hope. "What must I do? Speak!"

"Publicly abjure your heresy! Renounce Satan and your father! Humbly implore our holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church to receive you into her bosom at her mercy and discretion. The soilure, now upon you, being washed off, you shall take the eternal vows and shall bury in the shadow of the cloister the criminal life you have led in the past. Choose: either immediate abjuration, or—to the soldiers. These pious Catholics will slake their amorousness upon you."

"Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord!" exclaimed Cornelia, seized with terror, and her head reeling. "Am I awake? Am I dreaming? Can a man, a priest, outrage a woman's modesty to such an extent? A curse upon you, wretch!"

"What audacity! 'Outrage' a 'woman'!" put in Fra Hervé with a wild and diabolical guffaw. "Is there such a thing as a heretic being a 'woman'? No! A heretic is a female, like the she-wolf in the jungle. Is there such a thing as outrage with a she-wolf?"

"Mercy!" stammered Cornelia in despair. "Have mercy upon me!"

"No mercy!" answered Fra Hervé sententiously. "You shall enter a cloister, or—you shall be given over to the lust of the soldiers. It shall be so! And now, keep your eyes upon this hour-glass," added the monk, pointing to the instrument for marking time that stood near the dead man's skull. "Should you, when the water is run down, not have decided instantly to abjure and to depart this very night to a convent, you shall be delivered to the Catholic soldiers!"

And the monk, resting his elbow on the table and his chin on his hand, remained silent as he looked with fixed eyes at the running of the water from the upper into the lower bulb of the clepsydra, while fondling his heavy chaplet with the hand that remained free.

"What am I to do?" the Protestant girl asked herself. "What am I to do in this extremity? Almighty God, have mercy upon me!"

"One-half of the water has run down!" observed Fra Hervé in his sepulchral voice. "Decide! There is still time!"

At the lugubrious announcement Cornelia's mind began to wander; still, one lucid thought rose clear above the growing vertigo that obsessed the young girl's thoughts—the thought of putting an end to her life. Her bewildered eyes sought to penetrate here and there the dark recesses of the cell, which the dim light of the lamp threw heavily into the shade. They sought mechanically for some article that she might use as a weapon with which to inflict death upon herself. Suddenly Cornelia's eyes bulged out in amazement. She held her breath and remained petrified, thinking herself the sport of a vision. Fra Hervé, because of his eyes being fixed upon the hour-glass and his back turned to the trap door that masked the stone stairs leading to the aqueduct, could not take in what was happening. But Cornelia saw the trap door rise noiselessly, inexplicably; presently, in the measure that it rose, the two hands and then the two arms that raised it heaved in sight; simultaneously there appeared the top of an iron casque, and an instant later the face under the casque—and Cornelia recognized Antonicq—her betrothed, Antonicq Lebrenn!

"The water will run out before you have time to say an Ave," warned the Cordelier in a hollow voice, without removing his eyes from the clepsydra, and he added: "Heretic! Heretic! Make haste! Abjure your idolatry! If not you shall be thrown to the soldiers, you shall be given to the good Catholics of the whole army!"

The imminence of the danger and the prospect of safety restored the young girl's presence of mind. The instant her eyes discovered her betrothed she became silent, motionless, watchful. The last threats of the monk reached Antonicq's ears at the moment when he had completely raised the trap door, and wrung from him despite himself an exclamation of fury. Fra Hervé turned sharply around and bounded from his seat in bewilderment at the sight of the young man leaping into the room from underground. Cornelia, in full control of herself, and remembering that the monk's cell was separated from the hall of the officers of the guard by a short corridor of only about twenty paces, ran back to the door that opened on the corridor intending to close it, and bolt it from within. Fra Hervé divined the young girl's purpose, and, meaning to prevent it, precipitated himself upon her. That instant Antonicq reached his betrothed, disengaged her from the clutches of the monk, seized him by the shoulders and flung him back violently. Free once more, Cornelia quickly carried out her purpose. She closed the door gently, and bolted and barred it from within, thus shielding herself and Antonicq behind a barrier that the officers of the Duke of Anjou would consume considerable time before they could succeed in breaking down. At the very moment that Cornelia closed the door Fra Hervé sounded the alarm in a sufficiently penetrating voice to be heard in the hall of the guards:

"Help! Treason! To arms! Help! The Huguenots!"

But instantly the Cordelier's voice expired upon his lips. A vigorous hand seized him by the throat, the blade of a dagger shone in the air and twice plunged into the fratricide's breast. He fell over backward, bathed in his own blood, straightened himself for an instant, foamed at the mouth, and breathed his last;—and a muffled voice cried "Twenty-five—the bill is paid. Now I can die in peace. My sister and her daughter are avenged! The ransom of the crime is paid in full."

The Franc-Taupin had emerged from under ground after Antonicq, and preceded Captain Mirant, who rushed to his daughter's embrace while the Franc-Taupin stabbed the fratricidal monk to death.

"Let us flee!" said Cornelia to her father and her betrothed, after responding to their demonstrations of tenderness. "The monk's cries reached the hall of the guards at the head of the corridor. I hear them coming. Do you hear those steps? The sound of those approaching voices?"

"We have nothing to fear. Your presence of mind, my dear girl, has insured our safe retreat. They will find it no easy task to enter the cell. The door is thick, the bolt solid," remarked the Franc-Taupin, examining and fastening more tightly the bolt with imperturbable calmness. "Cornelia, Antonicq, and you, Captain Mirant, descend to the aqueduct quickly, and wait for me just this side of the mine that I planted in the underground passage, and near which Master Barbot and the sailors are waiting for our signal."

Turning to Serpentin, the apprentice, who also came in after Captain Mirant the Franc-Taupin said:

"Come here, my gay fellow—bring me the little machine and implements. We shall serve up a peppery broth to the royalists."

Cornelia, her father and Antonicq hastened to descend the stairs of the underground passage that the trap door masked. Hardly had they disappeared, leaving the Franc-Taupin and the apprentice behind in Fra Hervé's cell, when they heard violent knocks given at the door, and a confused noise of voices calling out:

"Fra Hervé! Fra Hervé!"

The Marquis of Montbar was heard saying: "A minute ago he cried: 'Help! Treason!' He now makes no answer. The witch may have strangled the reverend Father!"

And the voices outside continued to cry tumultuously: "Fra Hervé! Fra Hervé! We can not get in! The door is bolted from within. The devil take it! Open to us, Fra Hervé! We come to help you!"

"Quick! Bring levers and an axe—or, better yet, let us break in the door!" the voice of the Marquis of Montbar was again heard to say. "Run for a company of my soldiers! We shall wait here. Hurry up!"

"Oh! Oh!" observed the Franc-Taupin, after silently listening to the observations from the other side of the door, to which he had glued his ears. "The royalists are inviting themselves in large numbers to the banquet that I am preparing for them! And why not? When there is broth for five guests, there is enough for ten, if the housekeeper is economical. Just wait, my friends! My broth is cooking! It is so toothsome that a single spoonful will do the work for twenty or thirty persons."

"Master Josephin, here are the implements and the little machine," said Serpentin in a low voice, as he drew out of a bag that he brought suspended from his shoulders and handed over to the Franc-Taupin a heavy iron box about one foot long and six inches high and wide. The box, filled full with powder, was pierced in the center by a narrow slit through which a sulphured fuse was inserted. The Franc-Taupin took in his hands the redoubtable petard, examined the structure of the door minutely, and after a moment's reflection inserted the iron box with no little difficulty under the lower hinge. The Franc-Taupin then rose, and patting the apprentice upon the cheek said to him in a low voice:

"Tell me, my lad, why do I place the little machine so tightly between the floor and the hinge?"

Serpentin reflected for a moment, scratched his ear, and then reeled off his answer after the fashion of a boy who recites his lesson:

"Master, you place the little machine in that way in order that, when it blows up, it may tear up the door along with the hinge; the torn up hinge will tear up the masonry in which it is fastened; the torn up masonry will tear up a part of the wall; and the torn up wall will bring down the ceiling. As a result of all this the debris will roll down upon the St. Bartholomew lambkins, whose flesh will have been scratched by the flying fragments of the little machine which will have been hurled in all directions, and will have whistled and ricocheted like artillery balls."

"Wise—wise answer, my lad," observed the Franc-Taupin pinching the apprentice's ear with a satisfied look. "Continue to profit by my lessons in this manner, and you will become an accomplished miner, and you then will be able to contribute handsomely towards the scattering into fragments of a goodly number of papists and royalists. Now, off with you, hurry down the stone steps, and wait for me at the bottom."

Serpentin obeyed. The Franc-Taupin knelt down at the threshold of the door, took from his belt a horn of powder and spilt along the floor a sufficient quantity to quite cover up the fuse. Thereupon, retreating on his knees, he laid down a long train of powder. The train skirted Fra Hervé's corpse and ended at the opening of the trap door, down which he descended. Josephin stopped on the stair so that only his head appeared above the level of the flooring. Listening in the direction of the door, behind which he could hear a confused noise of voices, he said to himself: "The Catholic vermin is swarming behind the door, but I still have time to cut my twenty-fifth notch."

He took the little stick which he habitually carried hung on a string from a buttonhole of his jacket, pulled out his dagger, and cutting into the wood, the aged soldier said:

"Hena, my sister's daughter, was plunged twenty-five times into the flames by the priests of the Church of Rome. I have just put to death my twenty-fifth Roman Catholic and Apostolic priest!"

As he murmured these words to himself, Josephin contemplated the corpse of Fra Hervé, stretched out upon his back in a pool of blood, with stiffened arms, clenched fists and half bent knees. The light from the lamp shed its pale luster upon the monk's face upon which the agony of death was still stamped. The jaws were close set; foam oozed out at the lips; the corpse's glassy and fixed eyes still seemed to preserve their threatening aspect from the depth of their cavities.

"Oh!" exclaimed the Franc-Taupin with a terrible sigh, "How many times, alas! how very many times, seated at the hearth of my poor sister, when the unfortunate being who lies there dead and still foaming at his mouth with rage was a little boy, how often I took him and his younger brother Odelin upon my knees! caressed their little blonde heads! kissed their plump cheeks! Joining in their infantine amusements, I entertained them, I gladdened them with my Franc-Taupin songs! In those days Hervé equalled his brother in the gentleness of his character and the kindness of his heart. The two were the joy, the pride, the hope of my sister and of Christian! But one day a monk, a demon, Fra Girard, took possession of the mind of unhappy Hervé, dominated it, led it astray, corrupted it, and debased it forever! Oh! priests of Rome! priests of Rome! A curse upon you! Alas! out of the sweet boy, whom I loved so dearly, you made a bloodthirsty fanatic, a wrathful madman, a fratricide—and it became my duty to smite him with my dagger—him—him—my own sister's child!"

The Franc-Taupin was drawn from his revery by the ringing sound of blows struck with maces and the butts of arquebuses against the door from without, and splintering its woodwork, while, rising above the tumult, the voice of the Marquis of Montbar was heard crying: "To work! Strike hard! Harder still! Break in the door!"

"Well! The hour has come for the St. Bartholomew lambkins to dance in the air!" said the Franc-Taupin. Without hurrying, without losing his calmness, he pulled from his pocket a tinder box, a wick and a flint and steel. Striking upon the flint with the iron, he hummed between his teeth the old song that the memories of Odelin's and Hervé's infancy had recalled to his mind:

"A Franc-Taupin had an ash-tree bow,
All eaten with worms, and all knotted its cord;
His arrow was made out of paper, and plumed,
And tipped at the end with a capon's spur.
Derideron, vignette on vignon! Derideron!"

During the song of the old soldier, who calmly continued to strike at the flint, the blows aimed at the door redoubled in violence. Presently it was heard to crack, yield, break, and one of its fragments fell inside the apartment. Immediately thereupon Josephin applied the lighted wick to the train of powder and vanished underground letting down the heavy trap door over his head. The train of powder took fire, shot along its course as rapid as a flash of lightning, and reached the fuse of the petard, which exploded with a great crash at the very moment when the door, finally broken through, offered a passage to the Marquis of Montbar, closely followed by his henchmen. Like himself, they were blown up, mutilated or killed by the fragments of the iron box which flew into pieces. The masonry of the door, being torn down by the explosion, ripped the rest of the wall after it, bringing down the ceiling which fell in a heap upon the heads of the royalists.

Cornelia, Antonicq, Master Barbot, Captain Mirant and six resolute mariners who accompanied him but whose help was not needed, were soon joined at the bottom of the aqueduct by the apprentice and the Franc-Taupin. Josephin forthwith blew up the mine that he had laid at that place in order completely to obstruct the passage of the royalists in case they attempted to pursue the fugitives. The whole party soon arrived safe and sound at La Rochelle, where they met Louis Rennepont and his wife, a prey to mortal anxiety upon the issue of the enterprise, which had that morning been planned, upon Theresa's bringing back from the beach the news of Cornelia's capture and reservation for the Duke of Anjou.

The bloody defeat, sustained by the royalists at the assault of the Bastion of the Evangelium, was the presage of the raising of the siege of La Rochelle. After two other stubbornly contested encounters, at which the royalist forces were again repulsed, the Duke of Anjou commissioned several seigneurs as parliamentarians to the Rochelois with propositions of peace. The majority of the City Council took the stand that the Huguenots refused to lay down arms until a new royal edict consecrated their rights and their liberty. The minority of the City Council, aware of the worthlessness of all royal edicts, favored breaking with royalty for all time. The view of the majority prevailed. Commissioners were appointed by both sides, to agree upon the bases of a new edict. The Catholic commissioners were the Seigneur of La Vauguyon, René of Villequier, Francis of La Baume, the Count of Suze, the Seigneur of Malicorne, Marshal Montluc, Armand of Gontaut-Biron, and the Count of Retz. The Rochelois commissioners were two bourgeois, Morrisson the Mayor, and Captain Gargouillaud. The reformers stoutly maintained their position, and stipulated for the same, not in the name of their own city only, but in the name of all the reformers of the Protestant Republican Union. These stipulations were subsequently rejected by the Union, so soon as they became known, upon the just ground of the rest of the Union's not having been consulted, and of its declining to recognize the royal authority. Thus, thanks to their bold insurrection and their heroic resistance the Rochelois imposed upon Charles IX the new edict of July 15, 1573. This edict consecrated and extended all the rights previously conquered by the reformers. A clause in this edict, which was a crushing document to the Catholic party, provided: "That all armed insurrections which took place after the night of August 23, 1572, are amnestied." Thus Charles IX was made to admit that the reformers had justly drawn the sword to avenge the crime of St. Bartholomew's night!

Thus the siege of La Rochelle was disgracefully raised by the Catholic army. This expedition cost the King immense sums of money, and he lost in the course of the several assaults upon the city, and also from sickness, about twenty-two thousand men. Among the seigneurs and captains killed during the siege were the Duke of Aumale, Clermont, Tallard, Cosseins, Du Guast, etc., besides over three hundred subaltern officers.

Thus you see, Oh, sons of Joel! the glorious issue to the Rochelois of the siege of their city once more consecrates this truth, so often inscribed in the annals of our plebeian family: "Never falter! Let us struggle, let us battle without flagging. It is fatedly decreed that, only and ever through force, arms in hand, through INSURRECTION, we can conquer our freedom and our rights, which are ever denied to us, ignored and violated by our eternal foes—Royalty and the Church of Rome."


On this day, the 29th of September, 1609, I, Antonicq Lebrenn, now in my sixty-first year, close, on our farm of Karnak, this legend of our family, which is the continuation of the narrative written and bequeathed to us by my grandfather Christian the printer and friend of Robert Estienne.

Immediately upon the raising of the siege of La Rochelle I married Cornelia Mirant. Shortly after I put into execution a project that I had long been fondly nursing—that of moving to Brittany and establishing myself in the neighborhood of the cradle of my family. Before leaving La Rochelle, Colonel Plouernel, who recovered from his wounds sustained in the siege, renewed his offer of leasing out to me a farm belonging to the seigniorial estate of Mezlean, a patrimony of his wife's father, and known as the Karnak farm by reason of its being in the close neighborhood of the druid stones that bear that name. These stones are still extant, ranged in wide avenues, as they stood in the days of Julius Caesar, when our ancestress Hena, the Virgin of the Isle of Sen, offered herself to the gods as a holocaust, in the hope of causing them to render the arms of the Gauls victorious in their impending struggle for independence. I accepted Colonel Plouernel's offer, an offer that also pleased Cornelia and her father, who, as he continued almost constantly to travel by water between La Rochelle and Vannes, a port located near Karnak, foresaw, as happened in fact, that he would spend near us all the time that he did not spend aboard ship. I sold my armorer's shop. Leaving my sister Theresa and her husband Louis Rennepont at La Rochelle, where the latter practiced the profession of law, and taking with us my uncle the Franc-Taupin, who promised to himself the pleasure of rocking our children on his knees and singing to them his Franc-Taupin songs, as he had done to my father Odelin, my ill-starred aunt Hena, and my uncle Hervé of sad memory, we departed from La Rochelle and settled down on our farm of Karnak on October 20 of the year 1573.

My sister Theresa and her husband Louis Rennepont still reside in the old Protestant city. Every year they come to see us. Thanks to the numerous trips that his profession compelled him to make to Paris, my brother-in-law came in contact with several Huguenots who were well informed on current events. His conversations with them, together with extracts from several books that were published concerning leading public men and important occurrences, furnished him with copious materials which he left with me. These materials enable me here to make a summary sketch of the leading events since the siege of La Rochelle was raised:

The edict of pacification of La Rochelle was not wholly satisfactory to the Huguenots of the other provinces. The example of the Low Countries, then in successful revolt against the monarchic-clerical power of Spain, and organized upon the republican pattern, inspired their brothers in France to renewed efforts. The "Politicals" gained new recruits every day. The Prince of Condé, ashamed of his act of desertion, fled the court and issued a manifesto from Strasburg repudiating his abjuration. Measures were in train to renew the war, and to overthrow Charles IX, when his death gave a new turn to affairs.

The monster expired in 1574, barely twenty-four years of age and haunted by his bloody deeds. "Oh! nurse, nurse!" he would cry in agonies of terror; "Oh! nurse, how much blood—it is St. Bartholomew's blood! Oh! how many murders—how many victims struggling to escape under the sword. I see them—Oh! what wicked councillors I had! Oh, God! Oh, God! have mercy upon me!"[85]

Charles IX was followed by his brother the Duke of Anjou, who, in the meantime, had been elected King of Poland. Apprized by his mother of his brother's decease, he fled his Polish kingdom, and mounted the French throne under the name of Henry III. True to his family traditions, Henry III sought at first to violate the Edict of La Rochelle. Finding this act of treachery unfeasible, he vacillated between extreme reaction and progress. This course earned for him the suspicion of the Catholic clergy and he was assassinated by a Dominican monk, James Clement, in 1589.

War again broke out, with Henry of Bearn now at the head of the Huguenots, to whom he returned during the reign of Henry III. Henry of Bearn now claimed the crown by inheritance as Henry IV, besieged Paris, and was finally crowned, but not until he once more abjured Protestantism. His reign was benign and favorable to the Reformation. In 1598 the Edict of Nantes was signed, granting the Huguenots absolute freedom of conscience. The policy of Henry IV enraged the priesthood, and he also fell a victim to the assassin's knife. The assassin's name was Francis Ravaillac. "Nine days after the death of Henry IV, on Tuesday, May 23, 1610, an altercation took place between Monsieur Leomenie and Father Cotton in full council. Leomenie said to the Jesuit that it was he and his Society of Jesus that murdered the King. On that same day, Ravaillac, being interrogated by the commission, answered in accordance with the maxims of the Jesuits Mariana, Becanus and others, whose writings recommend the killing of a tyrant."

The death of Henry IV conjured away the danger that Rome, the Empire and Spain saw themselves threatened with—the Christian Republic and the perpetual peace of Europe. The fresh murder, also committed at the instigation of the disciples of Loyola, had fatal consequences. But sooner or later Right triumphs over Wrong, Justice over Iniquity. Therefore, Oh, sons of Joel! no faltering. Some day the Universal Republic will unfurl the red banner of freedom, and will break the yoke both of the Roman Church and of this royalty that has oppressed Gaul for so many centuries.

As to our own family, Cornelia Mirant with whom I have now been married thirty-seven years, gave me after twenty years of our wedded life, a son whom I have named Stephan. We have lived on our farm near the sacred stones of Karnak, and not far from Craigh, the high hill upon which, according to our family traditions, stood the house of our ancestor Joel in the days of Julius Caesar. My uncle the Franc-Taupin remained with us to the end of his long and eventful life. He died on the 12th of November, 1589.

My brother-in-law Louis Rennepont continues to exercise his profession at La Rochelle. The youngest of his sons, Marius Rennepont, embraced the career of merchant mariner and sailed away, when still very young, on board a merchant vessel commanded by one of Captain Mirant's friends. Captain Mirant died in 1593. That same year we lost our old friend Master Barbot, the boilermaker of the isle of Rhe.

I preserved amicable relations to the end with Colonel Plouernel, since the battle of Roche-la-Belle the head of his house. Shortly before his death we visited upon his invitation the old Castle of Plouernel, where our ancestor Den-Brao the mason was buried alive together with other serfs in the donjon constructed by themselves, and out of which Fergan the Quarryman, Den-Brao's son, rescued his own child, a poor boy whose blood was to assist the incantations of Azenor the Pale, the mistress of Neroweg VI. Nothing is left to-day of that feudal edifice but imposing ruins. Its place is now taken by a magnificent castle built in the style of the Renaissance, and raised at the foot of the mountain. Colonel Plouernel's son remained faithful to the Reformed religion, but, after his death, his son abjured Protestantism and took up his residence at the court of Louis XIII, the successor of Henry IV, with whom he became a favorite. The new head of the family never returned to his own castle, which, together with the vast domains attached to it, is ruled by the bailiffs of the seigniories of Plouernel and Mezlean.

Once, on the occasion of a trip to the port of Vannes, I met a traveler just arrived from Germany, who informed me of the death of Prince Charles of Gerolstein, a descendant of one of the branches of our plebeian family whose ancestor was Gaëlo, one of the companions of old Rolf, the chief of the Northman pirates. Prince Charles left a son behind, heir of his principality, who remains faithful to the Reformed religion.

Our life has run peaceful and happy at this place. We cultivate our fields, and they satisfy our wants. My son Stephan, now sixteen years of age, helps me in my field labors. He is of a kind, timid and diffident disposition, although born of so intrepid a mother as Cornelia. He will, I hope, live peacefully here, unless the civil discords, which already begin to threaten the minority of Louis XIII, should extend into Brittany.

I shall here close this narrative which my grandfather Christian the printer began under the reign of Francis I. I shall join it to the archives and relics of our family together with the pocket Bible printed by my grandfather, and which his daughter Hena, baptized in religion Sister St. Frances-in-the-Tomb, held in her hands before she was plunged twenty-five times into the flames on the 21st of January, 1535, under the eyes of King Francis I, to the greater glory of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.



[1] Tire-Laines means literally Wool-Pluckers.

[2] Tire-Soies: literally Silk-Pluckers.

[3] Mauvais-Garçons; literally Bad Boys.


From the bowels of the earth I have cried up to thee, O, Lord;
O, Lord, give ear unto my voice.
May thy ears be ready to listen
To the voice of my supplications.

[5] This whole sermon la a reproduction from the records of the time. See Merle d'Aubigné, History of the Reformation in the XVI Century, vol. 1. p. 332. (Pp. 86, 87, edition H. W. Hagemann Publishing Co., New York, 1894.)

[6] We consider it our duty to cite literally the monstrous fact against which the heart rises in revolt, and reason feels indignant:

"Sub commissariis insuper ac praedicatoribus veniarum imponere ut si quis, per impossibile. Dei genetricem, semper virginem violasset, quod eundem indulgentiarum vigore absolvere posset luce clarius est...."—(l'ositiones fratris J. Tezelil, quibus defendit indulgentias contra Lutherum. Theses 99, 100 and 101). Cited by Merle d'Aubigné, History of the Reformation in the XVI Century, p. 86, edition H. W. Hagemann Publishing Co., New York, 1894.

[7] Merle d'Aubigné. History of the Reformation in the XVI Century, vol. I, pp. 328, 329. (P. 88, edition H. W. Hagemann Publishing Co., New York, 1894.)

[8] The seat of the University of Paris.

[9] For these horrible calumnies spread by the clergy against the Reformation, see De Thou, vol. I, book II, p. 97.

[10] In Spanish, as well as French, "woman" and "wife" are the same word. Loyola punned upon the word.

[11] For a thrilling account of one of these invasions, see "The Iron Arrow Head," the tenth of this series.

[12] "Executio ad alios pertinet."—Bellarmin, vol. I, chap. VII, p. 147.

[13] Mariana, De Rege, vol. I, chap. VI, p. 60.

[14] "'Alas', the monk explained, ' ... men have arrived at such a pitch of corruption now-a-days, that unable to make them come to us, we must e'en go to them, otherwise they would cast us off altogether; ... our casuists have taken under consideration the vices to which people of various conditions are most addicted, with a view of laying down maxims which ... are so gentle that he must be a very impracticable subject indeed who is not pleased with them.'"—Blaise Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VI, pp. 219, 220, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[15] Practice According to the School of the Society of Jesus (Praxis ex Societatis Jesu Schola). The passage reads: "Si habitum dimmittat ut furetur occulte, vel fornicetur."—Treatise 6, example 7, number 103. Also in Diana: "Ut eat incognitus ad lupanar."—Cited by Blaise Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VI, p. 215, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[16] Father Gaspar Hurtado, On the Subject of Sins (De Sub. Pecc.), diff. 9; Diana, p. 5; treatise 14, r. 99.—Cited by Blaise Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VII, p. 234, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[17] Father Anthony Escobar of Mendoza, Exposition of Uncontroverted Opinions in Moral Theology, treatise 7, example 4, no. 223.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VI, p. 226, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[18] Father Etienne Bauny, Summary of Sins (1633), sixth edition, pp. 213, 214.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VI, p. 226, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[19] "Non ut malum pro malo reddat, sed ut conservet honorem." are the words of Reginaldus, in Practice According to the School of the Society of Jesus, book 21, no. 62, p. 260. Also Lessius, Concerning Justice (De Justitia), book 2, chap. 9, division 12, no. 79.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VII, pp. 233, 234, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[20] Sanchez, Moral Theology, book 2, chap. 39, no. 7.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VII, p. 237, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[21] Molina, vol. 1, treatise 2, division 88, no. 6. Also Escobar, Moral Theology, treatise 6, example 6, no. 48.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VIII, pp. 249, 250, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[22] Father Bauny, Summary of Sins, chap. 14.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VIII, p. 252, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[23] "Media benevolentia."—Escobar, Moral Theology, treatise 3, example 5, no. 4.33,34.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VIII, p. 253, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[24] Lessius, confirmed by Escobar, treatise 3, example 2, no. 163.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VIII, pp. 254, 255, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[25] Lessius, book 2, chap. 14, division 8; approved and endorsed by Escobar: "Quamvis mulier illicite acquirat, licite tamen retinet acquisita." treatise 1, example 8, no. 59.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VIII, pp. 257, 258, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[26] Lessius, book 2, chap. 14, division 8. Also Escobar, treatise 1, example 9, no. 9.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VIII, p. 256, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[27] Vasquez, Treatise upon Alms, chap. 4. So, also, Diana.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VI, p. 214, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[28] Escobar, treatise 3, example 1, no. 23; treatise 5, example 5, no. 53.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter VIII, p. 258, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[29] Sanchez, part 2, book 3, chap. 6, no. 13; Filiutius, treatise 25, chap. 11, nos. 331, 328.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter IX, pp. 276, 277, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[30] Father Bauny, Summary of Sins, p. 148.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter IX, p. 279, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[31] Escobar, chapter on thieving, treatise 1, example 9, no. 13.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter IX, p. 281, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[32] "Ob naturalem fastus inclinationem"—Escobar, treatise 1, example 8, no. 5.—Cited by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter IX, pp. 279, 280, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[33] Father Bauny, Summary of Sins, p. 165.—Alluded to by Pascal, Letters to a Provincial, Letter IX, p. 279, edition Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1880.

[34] To the greater glory of God.

[35] Confession of Faith of the English Reformers.—Theodore de Beze, Ecclesiastical Annals, vol. 1, pp. 109-118.

[36] This charming passage is to be found in The Book of Master Bernard Palissy; quoted in the Protestant Review, vol. I, p. 23.

[37] Form adopted by the Consistory

[38] Protestant marriage service, according to the Psalms of David; translated into French by Clement Marot, Geneva.

[39] History of the Town of Paris, by Dom Felibien, of the congregation of St. Maur; Paris, 1725, vol. V, p. 343. Also given in the Registers of the Town Hall of Paris, and the Registers of the Parliaments, folios 507-686.

[40] Dom Felibien, History of the Town of Paris, vol. V, pp. 343-347; French Ceremonial, pp. 940 and following; Registers of the Town Hall of Paris, etc.

[41] De Thou, History of France, book I, p. 271.

[42] These monstrosities seem to exceed the boundaries of the possible. Let us quote literally the text of the historians:

"On the evening of the same day (January 21, 1535) the six culprits were taken to the parvise of Notre Dame, where the f