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dined there were on our way back when we overtook the carriage of the cardinal; and seeing that he had the Duke of Orleans with him, we reined back and followed him, deeming that it would not appear respectful were we to gallop past the carriage. Please bear this story in mind. Recall also that we dined at the Lion d'Or there, that our dinner was a good one and that it was a sort of celebration on my part of our two companies having the honour to be chosen for duty in Paris. This is a matter upon which much depends; it is, in fact, a matter of state; and you may well imagine that I should not be recalling these events to your mind were it not that a good deal depends upon it, and that I have received strict orders that this little comedy shall be carried out. I know that I can rely implicitly upon your discretion, and I have indeed answered for you all. The story will be true in every respect. Instead of the excursion having come off today it shall come off on the first day I can arrange that we can be all off duty."
That evening at the palace Hector was, as the cardinal predicted, accosted by one of Beaufort's officers, to whom he had been previously introduced. After talking on other subjects for a few minutes, he said:
"I saw you today, monsieur, riding with a party of your officers along the Rue St. Honore. You did not notice me?"
"I assure you that I did not, sir, or I should not have been so rude as to pass without saluting you." Then he added with a laugh, "We were riding slowly, too, for the cardinal's coach was in front of us, and it would not have been good manners to have galloped past him, especially as he had the Duke of Orleans with him."
"Had you been far?" the other asked carelessly.
"No great distance; a little party of pleasure with my officers to eat a dinner together, to celebrate the honour we had received in being brought into Paris. My officers have worked very hard, and the matter served as a good excuse for giving them a little dinner."
For the next day or two everything passed off quietly, but four of the officers reported that when dining at a cabaret two or three of the duke's officers had come in and entered into conversation with them, and had brought up the subject of their riding in after the cardinal.
"You almost looked as if you were serving as a bodyguard to him," one of them laughed.
"I daresay we did," was the answer. "It was rather a nuisance; but it would not have been courteous to have ridden past the carriage." And he then repeated the story as had been arranged.
Although the Duke of Beaufort had been told by some of his friends that there were rumours abroad of a plot against Mazarin's life, and that it would be best for him to leave Paris for a time, he refused to do so, saying that even if it was discovered the cardinal would not dare to lay hands on him. Moreover, the replies which had been obtained from Hector and his officers convinced him that their riding behind Mazarin's carriage was an accident.
On the 2nd of September the duke presented himself at the Louvre as usual. After speaking with him for a few minutes, the queen left the room with Mazarin, and Guibaut, captain of the Guards, at once came forward and arrested him. He was kept at the Louvre that night, and next day was taken to the castle of Vincennes. Two companies of Swiss guards marched first, followed by a royal carriage containing the duke and Guibaut. The carriage was surrounded by the royal musketeers. A body of light cavalry followed, and the two companies of the Poitou regiment brought up the rear. Thus the people of Paris were shown that the queen had both the will and the power to punish, and the fickle population, who would the day before have shouted in honour of Beaufort, were delighted at seeing that the royal authority was once again paramount in Paris. The other members of the party of Importants either fled or were arrested. The Campions, Beaupuis, and others, succeeded in making their escape from France. The Marquis of Chateauneuf, governor of Touraine, was ordered back to his province. La Chatres, colonel general, was dismissed from his post; the Duc de Vendome was forced to leave France; and the ambitious Bishop of Beauvais and several other prelates were commanded to return to their dioceses. All the members of the Vendome family were exiled to the chateau of Annette. Madame de Chevreuse, de Hautefort, and a large number of other members of the party were ordered to leave Paris. Thus the party of the Importants ceased to exist.
The people of Paris seemed greatly pleased at what appeared to them the end of the troubles, and they exclaimed that Richelieu was not dead, but that he had simply changed his appearance, and had become twenty years younger. Mazarin chose a number of soldiers belonging to his own regiment, and several officers who belonged to Richelieu's own guard. These were at all times to follow him wherever he went. He selected a number of noblemen, all of distinguished merit and influence, and created five of them dukes, and thus secured to himself a party that would to some extent balance the power of his adversaries.
He also made an effort to bring about a union between the Duke of Orleans and the Condes, but failed, owing to the enormous demands that each put forward. Conde demanded the government of Languedoc for himself, of Burgundy for Enghien, and Normandy for the Duc de Longueville, and the entire domains of his late brother-in-law, Henry of Montmorency. Orleans on his part demanded the province of Champagne, the three bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and the town and castle of Sedan. As these demands, if granted, would have rendered the two families all powerful, Mazarin gave up the attempt, and decided that the best plan to prevent troubles was to let these dangerous families continue to be hostile to each other.
As soon as he had finished his work of crushing the Importants, Mazarin sent for Hector.
"Now, Monsieur Campbell," he said, "I have breathing time. The conspiracy among the nobles is for the time crushed, and now that they see that the queen is determined to protect me, and that I am not afraid of using the power committed to me, I hope that it will be some time before they venture to conspire again. I have further strengthened my position by granting honours to many distinguished gentlemen who were well inclined towards me, and on whose support in the future I shall be able to rely. Now it is time that I should turn to the man who has probably saved my life, and to whose evidence given before the queen I in no small degree owe it that she resolved to suppress these insolent nobles. I have not hurried in this matter, since, by your answer to the queen, it was evident that you desired no change in your position, and that the matter could wait.
"Still, monsieur, her offer was to grant honours for services rendered to the state. The matter of the service that you have rendered to Cardinal Mazarin is still untouched. It is something so new to me that anyone in France should be so perfectly contented with his lot as to refuse such an offer as that made to you by the queen, that I feel somewhat at a loss what to do. I can understand that, young and ardent, increased rank would have no charm for you. Were it otherwise I could bestow the highest rank upon you. I am aware that your habits are simple, for I have made inquiries, and that money in itself goes for little in your eyes; still, sir, one who has the honour of being first minister of France, and who is also a very rich man, cannot remain with a debt of gratitude wholly uncancelled. I hear from my agent in Poitou that you have voluntarily remitted the fine that your vassals would pay on the occasion of a new lord taking possession, on account of the heavy taxation that presses so sorely upon them.
"I honour you, sir, for such a step, and have even mentioned it to the queen as a proof of the goodness of your disposition, and I feel sure that there is nothing that would please you better than that I should grant the tenants of your estate an immunity from all taxation; but this I cannot do. All private interests must give way to the necessities of the state. I deplore the sufferings of the cultivators of France, sufferings that have of late driven many to take up arms. It is my duty to repress such risings; but I have ordered the utmost leniency to be shown to these unfortunate men, that the troops should not be quartered upon their inhabitants, and that the officers shall see that there is no destruction of houses and no damage to property; that would increase still further their difficulty in paying the imposts, which I regret to say press so sorely and unduly upon them. Tell me frankly what is the greatest object of your ambition?"
"I thank your excellency most heartily for your kind intentions towards me, but any ambition that I may have had is already much more than gratified. I have never for a moment thought of, or even wished that I might some day become lord of a fair estate and a noble of France. I had not ventured to hope that I might become colonel of a regiment for another fifteen years. Both these things have, thanks to the kind appreciation of her majesty and yourself for a very simple act of duty, fallen to me. If I might ask a boon, it would be that my regiment may be sent to join the force of Marshal Turenne. So long as there was danger here I should not have wished to be removed from a position where I might be of some assistance, however slight, to the queen and yourself, but now that all danger is at an end I should be glad to return to active duty. I have endeavoured humbly to make Marshal Turenne my model. He has but one thought and one desire -- namely, to do his duty and to make the soldiers under his command contented and happy, but I have no hope of ever emulating his great merits as a commander."
"That request is easily granted," Mazarin said, and drawing a sheet of paper towards him, he wrote:
The regiment of Poitou will at once proceed to the Rhine, where it will place itself under the orders of Marshal Turenne.
He added his signature, and handed the paper to Hector.
"That counts for nothing," he said. "You must remember that life is short and, especially in the case of a minister of France, uncertain. In your own case you might be disabled in the field and unable to serve further. The advent of a party hostile to me in power would doubtless be signalized by acts of vengeance against those who have been friends, and estates change hands so frequently in France that la Villar might well be confiscated. No man is above the chances of fortune. I have agents in England, and have this morning given an order to my intendant to place in the hands of Monsieur Wilson, a well known citizen of London, a goldsmith, the sum of fifty thousand crowns to stand in your name, and to be payable to your order. Here is his address. It is but a small sum for the saving of my life, but it will place you above the risk of the contingencies of fortune in this country. I wish for no thanks," he said, with a wave of his hand as Hector was about to speak. "I have given more for the most trifling favours. I now bid you adieu,
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