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Book 6 Chapter 25 Cinq Mars by Alfred de Vigny


CHAPTER XXV

THE PRISONERS

Amoung those old chateaux of which France is every year deprived
regretfully, as of flowers from her, crown, there was one of a grim and
savage appearance upon the left bank of the Saline. It looked like a
formidable sentinel placed at one of the gates of Lyons, and derived its
name from an enormous rock, known as Pierre-Encise, which terminates in a
peak--a sort of natural pyramid, the summit of which overhanging the
river in former times, they say, joined the rocks which may still be seen
on the opposite bank, forming the natural arch of a bridge; but time, the
waters, and the hand of man have left nothing standing but the ancient
mass of granite which formed the pedestal of the now destroyed fortress.

The archbishops of Lyons, as the temporal lords of the city, had built
and formerly resided in this castle. It afterward became a fortress, and
during the reign of Louis XIII a State prison. One colossal tower, where
the daylight could only penetrate through three long loopholes, commanded
the edifice, and some irregular buildings surrounded it with their
massive walls, whose lines and angles followed the form of the immense
and perpendicular rock.

It was here that the Cardinal, jealous of his prey, determined to
imprison his young enemies, and to conduct them himself.

Allowing Louis to precede him to Paris, he removed his captives from
Narbonne, dragging them in his train to ornament his last triumph, and
embarking on the Rhone at Tarascon, nearly, at the mouth of the river, as
if to prolong the pleasure of revenge which men have dared to call that
of the gods, displayed to the eyes of the spectators on both sides of the
river the luxury of his hatred; he slowly proceeded on his course up the
river in barges with gilded oars and emblazoned with his armorial
bearings, reclining in the first and followed by his two victims in the
second, which was fastened to his own by a long chain.

Often in the evening, when the heat of the day was passed, the awnings of
the two boats were removed, and in the one Richelieu might be seen, pale,
and seated in the stern; in that which followed, the two young prisoners,
calm and collected, supported each other, watching the passage of the
rapid stream. Formerly the soldiers of Caesar, who encamped on the same
shores, would have thought they beheld the inflexible boatman of the
infernal regions conducting the friendly shades of Castor and Pollux.
Christians dared not even reflect, or see a priest leading his two
enemies to the scaffold; it was the first minister who passed.

Thus he went on his way until he left his victims under guard at the
identical city in which the late conspirators had doomed him to perish.
Thus he loved to defy Fate herself, and to plant a trophy on the very
spot which had been selected for his tomb.

   "He was borne," says an ancient manuscript journal of this year,
   "along the river Rhone in a boat in which a wooden chamber had been
   constructed, lined with crimson fluted velvet, the flooring of which
   was of gold. The same boat contained an antechamber decorated in
   the same manner. The prow and stern of the boat were occupied by
   soldiers and guards, wearing scarlet coats embroidered with gold,
   silver, and silk; and many lords of note. His Eminence occupied a
   bed hung with purple taffetas. Monseigneur the Cardinal Bigni, and
   Messeigneurs the Bishops of Nantes and Chartres, were there, with
   many abbes and gentlemen in other boats. Preceding his vessel, a
   boat sounded the passages, and another boat followed, filled with
   arquebusiers and officers to command them. When they approached any
   isle, they sent soldiers to inspect it, to discover whether it was
   occupied by any suspicious persons; and, not meeting any, they
   guarded the shore until two boats which followed had passed. They
   were filled with the nobility and well-armed soldiers.

   "Afterward came the boat of his Eminence, to the stern of which was
   attached a little boat, which conveyed MM. de Thou and Cinq-Mars,
   guarded by an officer of the King's guard and twelve guards from the
   regiment of his Eminence. Three vessels, containing the clothes and
   plate of his Eminence, with several gentlemen and soldiers, followed
   the boats.

   "Two companies of light-horsemen followed the banks of the Rhone in
   Dauphin, and as many on the Languedoc and Vivarais side, and a noble
   regiment of foot, who preceded his Eminence in the towns which he
   was to enter, or in which he was to sleep. It was pleasant to
   listen to the trumpets, which, played in Dauphine, were answered by
   those in Vivarais, and repeated by the echoes of our rocks. It
   seemed as if all were trying which could play best."--[See Notes.]

In the middle of a night of the month of September, while everything
appeared to slumber in the impregnable tower which contained the
prisoners, the door of their outer chamber turned noiselessly on its
hinges, and a man appeared on the threshold, clad in a brown robe
confined round his waist by a cord. His feet were encased in sandals, and
his hand grasped a large bunch of keys; it was Joseph. He looked
cautiously round without advancing, and contemplated in silence the
apartment occupied by the master of the horse. Thick carpets covered the
floor, and large and splendid hangings concealed the walls of the prison;
a bed hung with red damask was prepared, but it was unoccupied. Seated
near a high chimney in a large armchair, attired in a long gray robe,
similar in form to that of a priest, his head bent down, and his eyes
fixed upon a little cross of gold by the flickering light of a lamp, he
was absorbed in so deep a meditation that the Capuchin had leisure to
approach him closely, and confront the prisoner before he perceived him.
Suddenly, however, Cinq-Mars raised his head and exclaimed, "Wretch, what
do you here?"

"Young man, you are violent," answered the mysterious intruder, in a low
voice. "Two months' imprisonment ought to have been enough to calm you. I
come to tell you things of great importance. Listen to me! I have thought
much of you; and I do not hate you so much as you imagine. The moments
are precious. I will tell you all in a few words: in two hours you will
be interrogated, tried, and condemned to death with your friend. It can
not be otherwise, for all will be finished the same day."

"I know it," answered Cinq-Mars; "and I am prepared."

"Well, then, I can still release you from this affair. I have reflected
deeply, as I told you; and I am here to make a proposal which can but
give you satisfaction. The Cardinal has but six months to live. Let us
not be mysterious; we must speak openly. You see where I have brought you
to serve him; and you can judge by that the point to which I would
conduct him to serve you. If you wish it, we can cut short the six months
of his life which still remain. The King loves you, and will recall you
with joy when he finds you still live. You may long live, and be powerful
and happy, if you will protect me, and make me cardinal."

Astonishment deprived the young prisoner of speech. He could not
understand such language, and seemed to be unable to descend to it from
his higher meditations. All that he could say was:

"Your benefactor, Richelieu?"

The Capuchin smiled, and, drawing nearer, continued in an undertone:

"Policy admits of no benefits; it contains nothing but interest. A man
employed by a minister is no more bound to be grateful than a horse whose
rider prefers him to others. My pace has been convenient to him; so much
the better. Now it is my interest to throw him from the saddle. Yes, this
man loves none but himself. I now see that he has deceived me by
continually retarding my elevation; but once again, I possess the sure
means for your escape in silence. I am the master here. I will remove the
men in whom he trusts, and replace them by others whom he has condemned
to die, and who are near at hand confined in the northern tower--the Tour
des Oubliettes, which overhangs the river. His creatures will occupy
their places. I will recommend a physician--an empyric who is devoted to
me--to the illustrious Cardinal, who has been given over by the most
scientific in Paris. If you will unite with me, he shall convey to him a
universal and eternal remedy."

"Away!" exclaimed Cinq-Mars. "Leave me, thou infernal monk! No, thou art
like no other man! Thou glidest with a noiseless and furtive step through
the darkness; thou traversest the walls to preside at secret crimes; thou
placest thyself between the hearts of lovers to separate them eternally.
Who art thou? Thou resemblest a tormented spirit of the damned!"

"Romantic boy!" answered Joseph; "you would have possessed high
attainments had it not been for your false notions. There is perhaps
neither damnation nor soul. If the dead returned to complain of their
fate, I should have a thousand around me; and I have never seen any, even
in my dreams."

"Monster!" muttered Cinq-Mars.

"Words again!" said Joseph; "there is neither monster nor virtuous man.
You and De Thou, who pride yourselves on what you call virtue--you have
failed in causing the death of perhaps a hundred thousand men--at once
and in the broad daylight--for no end, while Richelieu and I have caused
the death of far fewer, one by one, and by night, to found a great power.
Would you remain pure and virtuous, you must not interfere with other
men; or, rather, it is more reasonable to see that which is, and to say
with me, it is possible that there is no such thing as a soul. We are the
sons of chance; but relative to other men, we have passions which we must
satisfy."

"I breathe again!" exclaimed Cinq-Mars; "he believes not in God!"

Joseph continued:

"Richelieu, you, and I were born ambitious; it followed, then, that
everything must be sacrificed to this idea."

"Wretched man, do not compare me to thyself!"

"It is the plain truth, nevertheless," replied the Capuchin'; "only you
now see that our system was better than yours."

"Miserable wretch, it was for love--"

"No, no! it was not that; here are mere words again. You have perhaps
imagined it was so; but it was for your own advancement. I have heard you
speak to the young girl. You thought but of yourselves; you do not love
each other. She thought but of her rank, and you of your ambition. One
loves in order to hear one's self called perfect, and to be adored; it is
still the same egoism."

"Cruel serpent!" cried Cinq-Mars; "is it not enough that thou hast caused
our deaths? Why dost thou come here to cast thy venom upon the life thou
hast taken from us? What demon has suggested to thee thy horrible
analysis of hearts?"

"Hatred of everything which is superior to myself," replied Joseph, with
a low and hollow laugh, "and the desire to crush those I hate under my
feet, have made me ambitious and ingenious in finding the weakness of
your dreams."

"Just Heaven, dost thou hear him?" exclaimed Cinq-Mars, rising and
extending his arms upward.

The solitude of his prison; the pious conversations of his friend; and,
above all, the presence of death, which, like the light of an unknown
star, paints in other colors the objects we are accustomed to see;
meditations on eternity; and (shall we say it?) the great efforts he had
made to change his heartrending regrets into immortal hopes, and to
direct to God all that power of love which had led him astray upon
earth-all this combined had worked a strange revolution in him; and like
those ears of corn which ripen suddenly on receiving one ray from the
sun, his soul had acquired light, exalted by the mysterious influence of
death.

"Just Heaven!" he repeated, "if this wretch and his master are human, can
I also be a man? Behold, O God, behold two distinct ambitions--the one
egoistical and bloody, the other devoted and unstained; theirs roused by
hatred, and ours inspired by love. Look down, O Lord, judge, and pardon!
Pardon, for we have greatly erred in walking but for a single day in the
same paths which, on earth, possess but one name to whatever end it may
tend!"

Joseph interrupted him harshly, stamping his foot on the ground:

"When you have finished your prayer," said he, "you will perhaps inform
me whether you will assist me; and I will instantly--"

"Never, impure wretch, never!" said Henri d'Effiat. "I will never unite
with you in an assassination. I refused to do so when powerful, and upon
yourself."

"You were wrong; you would have been master now."

"And what happiness should I find in my power when shared as it must be
by a woman who does not understand me; who loved me feebly, and prefers a
crown?"

"Inconceivable folly!" said the Capuchin, laughing.

"All with her; nothing without her--that was my desire."

"It is from obstinacy and vanity that you persist; it is impossible,"
replied Joseph. "It is not in nature."

"Thou who wouldst deny the spirit of self-sacrifice," answered Cinq-Mars;
"dost thou understand that of my friend?"

"It does not exist; he follows you because--"

Here the Capuchin, slightly embarrassed, reflected an instant.

"Because--because--he has formed you; you are his work; he is attached to
you by the self-love of an author. He was accustomed to lecture you; and
he felt that he should not find another pupil so docile to listen to and
applaud him. Constant habit has persuaded him that his life was bound to
yours; it is something of that kind. He will accompany you mechanically.
Besides, all is not yet finished; we shall see the end and the
examination. He will certainly deny all knowledge of the conspiracy."

"He will not deny it!" exclaimed Cinq-Mars, impetuously.

"He knew it, then? You confess it," said Joseph, triumphantly; "you have
not said as much before."

"O Heaven, what have I done!" gasped Cinq-Mars, hiding his face.

"Calm yourself; he is saved, notwithstanding this avowal, if you accept
my offer."

D'Effiat remained silent for a short time.

The Capuchin continued:

"Save your friend. The King's favor awaits you, and perhaps the love
which has erred for a moment."

"Man, or whatever else thou art, if thou hast in thee anything resembling
a heart," answered the prisoner, "save him! He is the purest of created
beings; but convey him far away while yet he sleeps, for should he awake,
thy endeavors would be vain."

"What good will that do me?" said the Capuchin, laughing. "It is you and
your favor that I want."

The impetuous Cinq-Mars rose, and, seizing Joseph by the arm, eying him
with a terrible look, said:

"I degraded him in interceding with thee for him." He continued, raising
the tapestry which separated his apartment from that of his friend,
"Come, and doubt, if thou canst, devotion and the immortality of the
soul. Compare the uneasiness and misery of thy triumph with the calmness
of our defeat, the meanness of thy reign with the grandeur of our
captivity, thy sanguinary vigils to the slumbers of the just."

A solitary lamp threw its light on De Thou. The young man was kneeling on
a cushion, surmounted by a large ebony crucifix. He seemed to have fallen
asleep while praying. His head, inclining backward, was still raised
toward the cross. His pale lips wore a calm and divine smile.

"Holy Father, how he sleeps!" exclaimed the astonished Capuchin,
thoughtlessly uniting to his frightful discourse the sacred name he every
day pronounced. He suddenly retired some paces, as if dazzled by a
heavenly vision.

"Nonsense, nonsense!" he said, shaking his head, and passing his hand
rapidly over his face. "All this is childishness. It would overcome me if
I reflected on it. These ideas may serve as opium to produce a calm. But
that is not the question; say yes or no."

"No," said Cinq-Mars, pushing him to the door by the shoulder. "I will
not accept life; and I do not regret having compromised De Thou, for he
would not have bought his life at the price of an assassination. And when
he yielded at Narbonne, it was not that he might escape at Lyons."

"Then wake him, for here come the judges," said the furious Capuchin, in
a sharp, piercing voice.

Lighted by flambeaux, and preceded by a detachment of the Scotch guards,
fourteen judges entered, wrapped in long robes, and whose features were
not easily distinguished. They seated themselves in silence on the right
and left of the huge chamber. They were the judges delegated by the
Cardinal to judge this sad and solemn affair--all true men to the
Cardinal Richelieu, and in his confidence, who from Tarascon had chosen
and instructed them. He had the Chancellor Seguier brought to Lyons, to
avoid, as he stated in the instructions he sent by Chavigny to the King
Louis XIII--"to avoid all the delays which would take place if he were
not present. M. de Mayillac," he adds, "was at Nantes for the trial of
Chulais, M. de Chateau-Neuf at Toulouse, superintending the death of M.
de Montmorency, and M. de Bellievre at Paris, conducting the trial of M.
de Biron. The authority and intelligence of these gentlemen in forms of
justice are indispensable."

The Chancellor arrived with all speed. But at this moment he was informed
that he was not to appear, for fear that he might be influenced by the
memory of his ancient friendship for the prisoner, whom he only saw
tete-a-tete. The commissioners and himself had previously and rapidly
received the cowardly depositions of the Duc d'Orleans, at Villefranche,
in Beaujolais, and then at Vivey,--[House which belonged to an Abbe
d'Esnay, brother of M. de Villeroy, called Montresor.] two miles from
Lyons, where this wretched prince had received orders to go, begging
forgiveness, and trembling, although surrounded by his followers, whom
from very pity he had been allowed to retain, carefully watched, however,
by the French and Swiss guards. The Cardinal had dictated to him his part
and answers word for word; and in consideration of this docility, they
had exempted him in form from the painful task of confronting MM. de
Cinq-Mars and De Thou. The chancellor and commissioners had also prepared
M. de Bouillon, and, strong with their preliminary work, they visited in
all their strength the two young criminals whom they had determined not
to save.

History has only handed down to us the names of the State counsellors who
accompanied Pierre Seguier, but not those of the other commissioners, of
whom it is only mentioned that there were six from the parliament of
Grenoble, and two presidents. The counsellor, or reporter of the State,
Laubardemont, who had directed them in all, was at their head. Joseph
often whispered to them with the most studied politeness, glancing at
Laubardemont with a ferocious sneer.

It was arranged that an armchair should serve as a bar; and all were
silent in expectation of the prisoner's answer.

He spoke in a soft and clear voice:

"Say to Monsieur le Chancelier that I have the right of appeal to the
parliament of Paris, and to object to my judges, because two of them are
my declared enemies, and at their head one of my friends, Monsieur de
Seguier himself, whom I maintained in his charge.

"But I will spare you much trouble, gentlemen, by pleading guilty to the
whole charge of conspiracy, arranged and conducted by myself alone. It is
my wish to die. I have nothing to add for myself; but if you would be
just, you will not harm the life of him whom the King has pronounced to
be the most honest man in France, and who dies for my sake alone."

"Summon him," said Laubardemont.

Two guards entered the apartment of De Thou, and led him forth. He
advanced, and bowed gravely, while an angelical smile played upon his
lips. Embracing Cinq-Mars, "Here at last is our day of glory," said he.
"We are about to gain heaven and eternal happiness."

"We understand," said Laubardemont, "we have been given to understand by
Monsieur de Cinq-Mars himself, that you were acquainted with this
conspiracy?"

De Thou answered instantly, and without hesitation. A half-smile was
still on his lips, and his eyes cast down.

"Gentlemen, I have passed my life in studying human laws, and I know that
the testimony of one accused person can not condemn another. I can also
repeat what I said before, that I should not have been believed had I
denounced the King's brother without proof. You perceive, then, that my
life and death entirely rest with myself. I have, however, well weighed
the one and the other. I have clearly foreseen that whatever life I may
hereafter lead, it could not but be most unhappy after the loss of
Monsieur de Cinq-Mars. I therefore acknowledge and confess that I was
aware of his conspiracy. I did my utmost to prevent it, to deter him from
it. He believed me to be his only and faithful friend, and I would not
betray him. Therefore, I condemn myself by the very laws which were set
forth by my father, who, I hope, forgives me."

At these words, the two friends precipitated themselves into each other's
arms.

Cinq-Mars exclaimed:

"My friend, my friend, how bitterly I regret that I have caused your
death! Twice I have betrayed you; but you shall know in what manner."

But De Thou, embracing and consoling his friend, answered, raising his
eyes from the ground:

"Ah, happy are we to end our days in this manner! Humanly speaking, I
might complain of you; but God knows how much I love you. What have we
done to merit the grace of martyrdom, and the happiness of dying
together?"

The judges were not prepared for this mildness, and looked at each other
with surprise.

"If they would only give me a good partisan," muttered a hoarse voice (it
was Grandchamp, who had crept into the room, and whose eyes were red with
fury), "I would soon rid Monseigneur of all these black-looking fellows."
Two men with halberds immediately placed themselves silently at his side.
He said no more, and to compose himself retired to a window which
overlooked the river, whose tranquil waters the sun had not yet lighted
with its beams, and appeared to pay no attention to what was passing in
the room.

However, Laubardemont, fearing that the judges might be touched with
compassion, said in a loud voice:

"In pursuance of the order of Monseigneur the Cardinal, these two men
will be put to the rack; that is to say, to the ordinary and
extraordinary question."

Indignation forced Cinq-Mars again to assume his natural character;
crossing his arms, he made two steps toward Laubardemont and Joseph,
which alarmed them. The former involuntarily placed his hand to his
forehead.

"Are we at Loudun?" exclaimed the prisoner; but De Thou, advancing, took
his hand and held it. Cinq-Mars was silent, then continued in a calm
voice, looking steadfastly at the judges:

"Messieurs, this measure appears to me rather harsh; a man of my age and
rank ought not to be subjected to these formalities. I have confessed
all, and I will confess it all again. I willingly and gladly accept
death; it is not from souls like ours that secrets can be wrung by bodily
suffering. We are prisoners by our own free will, and at the time chosen
by us. We have confessed enough for you to condemn us to death; you shall
know nothing more. We have obtained what we wanted."

"What are you doing, my friend?" interrupted De Thou. "He is mistaken,
gentlemen, we do not refuse this martyrdom which God offers us; we demand
it."

"But," said Cinq-Mars, "do you need such infamous tortures to obtain
salvation--you who are already a martyr, a voluntary martyr to
friendship? Gentlemen, it is I alone who possess important secrets; it is
the chief of a conspiracy who knows all. Put me alone to the torture if
we must be treated like the worst of malefactors."

"For the sake of charity," added De Thou, "deprive me not of equal
suffering with my friend; I have not followed him so far, to abandon him
at this dreadful moment, and not to use every effort to accompany him to
heaven."

During this debate, another was going forward between Laubardemont and
Joseph. The latter, fearing that torments would induce him to disclose
the secret of his recent proposition, advised that they should not be
resorted to; the other, not thinking his triumph complete by death alone,
absolutely insisted on their being applied. The judges surrounded and
listened to these secret agents of the Prime-Minister; however, many
circumstances having caused them to suspect that the influence of the
Capuchin was more powerful than that of the judge, they took part with
him, and decided for mercy, when he finished by these words uttered in a
low voice:

"I know their secrets. There is no necessity to force them from their
lips, because they are useless, and relate to too high circumstances.
Monsieur le Grand has no one to denounce but the King, and the other the
Queen. It is better that we should remain ignorant. Besides, they will
not confess. I know them; they will be silent--the one from pride, the
other through piety. Let them alone. The torture will wound them; they
will be disfigured and unable to walk. That will spoil the whole
ceremony; they must be kept to appear."

This last observation prevailed. The judges retired to deliberate with
the chancellor. While departing, Joseph whispered to Laubardemont:

"I have provided you with enough pleasure here; you will still have that
of deliberating, and then you shall go and examine three men who are
confined in the northern tower."

These were the three judges who had condemned Urbain Grandier.

As he spoke, he laughed heartily, and was the last to leave the room,
pushing the astonished master of requests before him.

The sombre tribunal had scarcely disappeared when Grandchamp, relieved
from his two guards, hastened toward his master, and, seizing his hand,
said:

"In the name of Heaven, come to the terrace, Monseigneur! I have
something to show you; in the name of your mother, come!"

But at that moment the chamber door was opened, and the old Abbe Quillet
appeared.

"My children! my dear children!" exclaimed the old man, weeping bitterly.
"Alas! why was I only permitted to enter to-day? Dear Henri, your mother,
your brother, your sister, are concealed here."

"Be quiet, Monsieur l'Abbe!" said Grandchamp; "do come to the terrace,
Monseigneur."

But the old priest still detained and embraced his pupil.

"We hope," said he; "we hope for mercy."

"I shall refuse it," said Cinq-Mars.

"We hope for nothing but the mercy of God," added De Thou.

"Silence!" said Grandchamp, "the judges are returning."

And the door opened again to admit the dismal procession, from which
Joseph and Laubardemont were missing.

"Gentlemen," exclaimed the good Abbe, addressing the commissioners, "I am
happy to tell you that I have just arrived from Paris, and that no one
doubts but that all the conspirators will be pardoned. I have had an
interview at her Majesty's apartments with Monsieur himself; and as to
the Duc de Bouillon, his examination is not unfav--"

"Silence!" cried M. de Seyton, the lieutenant of the Scotch guards; and
the commissioners entered and again arranged themselves in the apartment.

M. de Thou, hearing them summon the criminal recorder of the presidial of
Lyons to pronounce the sentence, involuntarily launched out in one of
those transports of religious joy which are never displayed but by the
martyrs and saints at the approach of death; and, advancing toward this
man, he exclaimed:

"Quam speciosi pedes evangelizantium pacem, evangelizantium bona!"

Then, taking the hand of Cinq-Mars, he knelt down bareheaded to receive
the sentence, as was the custom. D'Effiat remained standing; and they
dared not compel him to kneel. The sentence was pronounced in these
words:

   "The Attorney-General, prosecutor on the part of the State, on a
   charge of high treason; and Messire Henri d'Effiat de Cinq-Mars,
   master of the horse, aged twenty-two, and Francois Auguste de Thou,
   aged thirty-five, of the King's privy council, prisoners in the
   chateau of Pierre-Encise, at Lyons, accused and defendants on the
   other part:

   "Considered, the special trial commenced by the aforesaid attorney-
   general against the said D'Efiiat and De Thou; informations,
   interrogations, confessions, denegations, and confrontations, and
   authenticated copies of the treaty with Spain, it is considered in
   the delegated chamber:

   "That he who conspires against the person of the ministers of
   princes is considered by the ancient laws and constitutions of the
   emperors to be guilty of high treason; (2) that the third ordinance
   of the King Louis XI renders any one liable to the punishment of
   death who does not reveal a conspiracy against the State.

   "The commissioners deputed by his Majesty have declared the said
   D'Effiat and De Thou guilty and convicted of the crime of high
   treason:

   "The said D'Effiat, for the conspiracies and enterprises, league,
   and treaties, formed by him with the foreigner against the State;

   "And the said De Thou, for having a thorough knowledge of this
   conspiracy.

   "In reparation of which crimes they have deprived them of all honors
   and dignities, and condemned them to be deprived of their heads on a
   scaffold, which is for this purpose erected in the Place des
   Terreaux, in this city.

   "It is further declared that all and each of their possessions, real
   and personal, be confiscated to the King, and that those which they
   hold from the crown do pass immediately to it again of the aforesaid
   goods, sixty thousand livres being devoted to pious uses."

After the sentence was pronounced, M. de Thou exclaimed in a loud voice:

"God be blessed! God be praised!"

"I have never feared death," said Cinq-Mars, coldly.

Then, according to the forms prescribed, M. Seyton, the lieutenant of the
Scotch guards, an old man upward of sixty years of age, declared with
emotion that he placed the prisoners in the hands of the Sieur Thome,
provost of the merchants of Lyons; he then took leave of them, followed
by the whole of the body-guard, silently, and in tears.

"Weep not," said Cinq-Mars; "tears are useless. Rather pray for us; and
be assured that I do not fear death."

He shook them by the hand, and De Thou embraced them; after which they
left the apartment, their eyes filled with tears, and hiding their faces
in their cloaks.

"Barbarians!" exclaimed the Abbe Quillet; "to find arms against them, one
must search the whole arsenal of tyrants. Why did they admit me at this
moment?"

"As a confessor, Monsieur," whispered one of the commissioners; "for no
stranger has entered this place these two months."

As soon as the huge gates of the prison were closed, and the outside
gratings lowered, "To the terrace, in the name of Heaven!" again
exclaimed Grandchamp. And he drew his master and De Thou thither.

The old preceptor followed them, weeping.

"What do you want with us in a moment like this?" said Cinq-Mars, with
indulgent gravity.

"Look at the chains of the town," said the faithful servant.

The rising sun had hardly tinged the sky. In the horizon a line of vivid
yellow was visible, upon which the mountain's rough blue outlines were
boldly traced; the waves of the Saline, and the chains of the town
hanging from one bank to the other, were still veiled by a light vapor,
which also rose from Lyons and concealed the roofs of the houses from the
eye of the spectator. The first tints of the morning light had as yet
colored only the most elevated points of the magnificent landscape. In
the city the steeples of the Hotel de Ville and St. Nizier, and on the
surrounding hills the monasteries of the Carmelites and Ste.-Marie, and
the entire fortress of Pierre-Encise were gilded with the fires of the
coming day. The joyful peals from the churches were heard, the peaceful
matins from the convent and village bells. The walls of the prison were
alone silent.

"Well," said Cinq-Mars, "what are we to see the beauty of the plains, the
richness of the city, or the calm peacefulness of these villages? Ah, my
friend, in every place there are to be found passions and griefs, like
those which have brought us here."

The old Abbe and Grandchamp leaned over the parapet, watching the bank of
the river.

"The fog is so thick, we can see nothing yet," said the Abbe.

"How slowly our last sun appears!" said De Thou.

"Do you not see low down there, at the foot of the rocks, on the opposite
bank, a small white house, between the Halincourt gate and the Boulevard
Saint Jean?" asked the Abbe.

"I see nothing," answered Cinq-Mars, "but a mass of dreary wall."

"Hark!" said the Abbe; "some one speaks near us!"

In fact, a confused, low, and inexplicable murmur was heard in a little
turret, the back of which rested upon the platform of the terrace. As it
was scarcely larger than a pigeon-house, the prisoners had not until now
observed it.

"Are they already coming to fetch us?" said Cinq-Mars.

"Bah! bah!" answered Grandchamp, "do not make yourself uneasy; it is the
Tour des Oubliettes. I have prowled round the fort for two months, and I
have seen men fall from there into the water at least once a week. Let us
think of our affair. I see a light down there."

An invincible curiosity, however, led the two prisoners to look at the
turret, in spite of the horror of their own situation. It advanced to the
extremity of the rock, over a gulf of foaming green water of great depth.
A wheel of a mill long deserted was seen turning with great rapidity.
Three distinct sounds were now heard, like those of a drawbridge suddenly
lowered and raised to its former position by a recoil or spring striking
against the stone walls; and three times a black substance was seen to
fall into the water with a splash.

"Mercy! can these be men?" exclaimed the Abbe, crossing himself.

"I thought I saw brown robes turning in the air," said Grandchamp; "they
are the Cardinal's friends."

A horrible cry was heard from the tower, accompanied by an impious oath.
The heavy trap groaned for the fourth time. The green water received with
a loud noise a burden which cracked the enormous wheel of the mill; one
of its large spokes was torn away, and a man entangled in its beams
appeared above the foam, which he colored with his blood. He rose twice,
and sank beneath the waters, shrieking violently; it was Laubardemont.

Cinq-Mars drew back in horror.

"There is a Providence," said Grandchamp; "Urbain Grandier summoned him
in three years. But come, come! the time is precious! Do not remain
motionless. Be it he, I am not surprised, for those wretches devour each
other. But let us endeavor to deprive them of their choicest morsel. Vive
Dieu! I see the signal! We are saved! All is ready; run to this side,
Monsieur l'Abbe! See the white handkerchief at the window! our friends
are prepared."

The Abbe seized the hands of both his friends, and drew them to that side
of the terrace toward which they had at first looked. "Listen to me, both
of you," said he. "You must know that none of the conspirators has
profited by the retreat you secured for them. They have all hastened to
Lyons, disguised, and in great number; they have distributed sufficient
gold in the city to secure them from being betrayed; they are resolved to
make an attempt to deliver you. The time chosen is that when they are
conducting you to the scaffold; the signal is your hat, which you will
place on your head when they are to commence."

The worthy Abbe, half weeping, half smiling hopefully, related that upon
the arrest of his pupil he had hastened to Paris; that such secrecy
enveloped all the Cardinal's actions that none there knew the place in
which the master of the horse was detained. Many said that he was
banished; and when the reconciliation between Monsieur and the Duc de
Bouillon and the King was known, men no longer doubted that the life of
the other was assured, and ceased to speak of this affair, which, not
having been executed, compromised few persons. They had even in some
measure rejoiced in Paris to see the town of Sedan and its territory
added to the kingdom in exchange for the letters of abolition granted to
the Duke, acknowledged innocent in common with Monsieur; so that the
result of all the arrangements had been to excite admiration of the
Cardinal's ability, and of his clemency toward the conspirators, who, it
was said, had contemplated his death. They even spread the report that he
had facilitated the escape of Cinq-Mars and De Thou, occupying himself
generously with their retreat to a foreign land, after having bravely
caused them to be arrested in the midst of the camp of Perpignan.

At this part of the narrative, Cinq-Mars could not avoid forgetting his
resignation, and clasping his friend's hand, "Arrested!" he exclaimed.
"Must we renounce even the honor of having voluntarily surrendered
ourselves? Must we sacrifice all, even the opinion of posterity?"

"There is vanity again," replied De Thou, placing his fingers on his
lips. "But hush! let us hear the Abbe to the end."

The tutor, not doubting that the calmness which these two young men
exhibited arose from the joy they felt in finding their escape assured,
and seeing that the sun had hardly yet dispersed the morning mists,
yielded himself without restraint to the involuntary pleasure which old
men always feel in recounting new events, even though they afflict the
hearers. He related all his fruitless endeavors to discover his pupil's
retreat, unknown to the court and the town, where none, indeed, dared to
pronounce the name of Cinq-Mars in the most secret asylums. He had only
heard of the imprisonment at Pierre-Encise from the Queen herself, who
had deigned to send for him, and charge him to inform the Marechale
d'Effiat and all the conspirators that they might make a desperate effort
to deliver their young chief. Anne of Austria had even ventured to send
many of the gentlemen of Auvergne and Touraine to Lyons to assist in
their last attempt.

"The good Queen!" said he; "she wept greatly when I saw her, and said
that she would give all she possessed to save you. She reproached herself
deeply for some letter, I know not what. She spoke of the welfare of
France, but did not explain herself. She said that she admired you, and
conjured you to save yourself, if it were only through pity for her, whom
you would otherwise consign to everlasting remorse."

"Said she nothing else?" interrupted De Thou, supporting Cinq-Mars, who
grew visibly paler.

"Nothing more," said the old man.

"And no one else spoke of me?" inquired the master of the horse.

"No one," said the Abbe.

"If she had but written to me!" murmured Henri.

"Remember, my father, that you were sent here as a confessor," said De
Thou.

Here old Grandchamp, who had been kneeling before Cinq-Mars, and dragging
him by his clothes to the other side of the terrace, exclaimed in a
broken voice:

"Monseigneur--my master--my good master--do you see them? Look
there--'tis they! 'tis they--all of them!"

"Who, my old friend?" asked his master.

"Who? Great Heaven! look at that window! Do you not recognize them? Your
mother, your sisters, and your brother."

And the day, now fairly broken, showed him in the distance several women
waving their handkerchiefs; and there, dressed all in black, stretching
out her arms toward the prison, sustained by those about her, Cinq-Mars
recognized his mother, with his family, and his strength failed him for a
moment. He leaned his head upon his friend's breast and wept.

"How many times must I, then, die?" he murmured; then, with a gesture,
returning from the top of the tower the salutations of his family, "Let
us descend quickly, my father!" he said to the old Abbe. "You will tell
me at the tribunal of penitence, and before God, whether the remainder of
my life is worth my shedding more blood to preserve it."

It was there that Cinq-Mars confessed to God what he alone and Marie de
Mantua knew of their secret and unfortunate love. "He gave to his
confessor," says Father Daniel, "a portrait of a noble lady, set in
diamonds, which were to be sold, and the money employed in pious works."

M. de Thou, after having confessed, wrote a letter;--[See the copy of
this letter to Madame la Princesse de Guemenee, in the notes at the end
of the volume.]--after which (according to the account given by his
confessor) he said, "This is the last thought I will bestow upon this
world; let us depart for heaven!" and walking up and down the room with
long strides, he recited aloud the psalm, 'Miserere mei, Deus', with an
incredible ardor of spirit, his whole frame trembling so violently it
seemed as if he did not touch the earth, and that the soul was about to
make its exit from his body. The guards were mute at this spectacle,
which made them all shudder with respect and horror.

Meanwhile, all was calm in the city of Lyons, when to the great
astonishment of its inhabitants, they beheld the entrance through all its
gates of troops of infantry and cavalry, which they knew were encamped at
a great distance. The French and the Swiss guards, the regiment of
Pompadours, the men-at-arms of Maurevert, and the carabineers of La
Roque, all defiled in silence. The cavalry, with their muskets on the
pommel of the saddle, silently drew up round the chateau of
Pierre-Encise; the infantry formed a line upon the banks of the Saone
from the gate of the fortress to the Place des Terreaux. It was the usual
spot for execution.

   "Four companies of the bourgeois of Lyons, called 'pennonage', of
   which about eleven or twelve hundred men, were ranged [says the
   journal of Montresor] in the midst of the Place des Terreaux, so as
   to enclose a space of about eighty paces each way, into which they
   admitted no one but those who were absolutely necessary.

   "In the centre of this space was raised a scaffold about seven feet
   high and nine feet square, in the midst of which, somewhat forward,
   was placed a stake three feet in height, in front of which was a
   block half a foot high, so that the principal face of the scaffold
   looked toward the shambles of the Terreaux, by the side of the
   Saone. Against the scaffold was placed a short ladder of eight
   rounds, in the direction of the Dames de St. Pierre."

Nothing had transpired in the town as to the name of the prisoners. The
inaccessible walls of the fortress let none enter or leave but at night,
and the deep dungeons had sometimes confined father and son for years
together, four feet apart from each other, without their even being aware
of the vicinity. The surprise was extreme at these striking preparations,
and the crowd collected, not knowing whether for a fete or for an
execution.

This same secrecy which the agents of the minister had strictly preserved
was also carefully adhered to by the conspirators, for their heads
depended on it.

Montresor, Fontrailles, the Baron de Beauvau, Olivier d'Entraigues,
Gondi, the Comte du Lude, and the Advocate Fournier, disguised as
soldiers, workmen, and morris-dancers, armed with poniards under their
clothes, had dispersed amid the crowd more than five hundred gentlemen
and domestics, disguised like themselves. Horses were ready on the road
to Italy, and boats upon the Rhone had been previously engaged. The young
Marquis d'Effiat, elder brother of Cinq-Mars, dressed as a Carthusian,
traversed the crowd, without ceasing, between the Place des Terreaux and
the little house in which his mother and sister were concealed with the
Presidente de Pontac, the sister of the unfortunate De Thou. He reassured
them, gave them from time to time a ray of hope, and returned to the
conspirators to satisfy himself that each was prepared for action.

Each soldier forming the line had at his side a man ready to poniard him.

The vast crowd, heaped together behind the line of guards, pushed them
forward, passed their lines, and made them lose ground. Ambrosio, the
Spanish servant whom Cinq-Mars had saved, had taken charge of the captain
of the pikemen, and, disguised as a Catalonian musician, had commenced a
dispute with him, pretending to be determined not to cease playing the
hurdy-gurdy.

Every one was at his post.

The Abbe de Gondi, Olivier d'Entraigues, and the Marquis d'Effiat were in
the midst of a group of fish-women and oyster-wenches, who were disputing
and bawling, abusing one of their number younger and more timid than her
masculine companions. The brother of Cinq-Mars approached to listen to
their quarrel.

"And why," said she to the others, "would you have Jean le Roux, who is
an honest man, cut off the heads of two Christians, because he is a
butcher by trade? So long as I am his wife, I'll not allow it. I'd
rather--"

"Well, you are wrong!" replied her companions. "What is't to thee whether
the meat he cuts is eaten or not eaten? Why, thou'lt have a hundred
crowns to dress thy three children all in new clothes. Thou'rt lucky to
be the wife of a butcher. Profit, then, 'ma mignonne', by what God sends
thee by the favor of his Eminence."

"Let me alone!" answered the first speaker. "I'll not accept it. I've
seen these fine young gentlemen at the windows. They look as mild as
lambs."

"Well! and are not thy lambs and calves killed?" said Femme le Bon. "What
fortune falls to this little woman! What a pity! especially when it is
from the reverend Capuchin!"

"How horrible is the gayety of the people!" said Olivier d'Entraigues,
unguardedly. All the women heard him, and began to murmur against him.

"Of the people!" said they; "and whence comes this little bricklayer with
his plastered clothes?"

"Ah!" interrupted another, "dost not see that 'tis some gentleman in
disguise? Look at his white hands! He never worked a square; 'tis some
little dandy conspirator. I've a great mind to go and fetch the captain
of the watch to arrest him."

The Abbe de Gondi felt all the danger of this situation, and throwing
himself with an air of anger upon Olivier, and assuming the manners of a
joiner, whose costume and apron he had adopted, he exclaimed, seizing him
by the collar:

"You're just right. 'Tis a little rascal that never works! These two
years that my father's apprenticed him, he has done nothing but comb his
hair to please the girls. Come, get home with you!"

And, striking him with his rule, he drove him through the crowd, and
returned to place himself on another part of the line. After having well
reprimanded the thoughtless page, he asked him for the letter which he
said he had to give to M. de Cinq-Mars when he should have escaped.
Olivier had carried it in his pocket for two months. He gave it him. "It
is from one prisoner to another," said he, "for the Chevalier de jars, on
leaving the Bastille, sent it me from one of his companions in
captivity."

"Ma foi!" said Gondi, "there may be some important secret in it for our
friends. I'll open it. You ought to have thought of it before. Ah, bah!
it is from old Bassompierre. Let us read it.

   MY DEAR CHILD: I learn from the depths of the Bastille, where I
   still remain, that you are conspiring against the tyrant Richelieu,
   who does not cease to humiliate our good old nobility and the
   parliaments, and to sap the foundations of the edifice upon which
   the State reposes. I hear that the nobles are taxed and condemned
   by petty judges, contrary to the privileges of their condition,
   forced to the arriere-ban, despite the ancient customs."

"Ah! the old dotard!" interrupted the page, laughing immoderately.

"Not so foolish as you imagine, only he is a little behindhand for our
affair."

   "I can not but approve this generous project, and I pray you give me
   to wot all your proceedings--"

"Ah! the old language of the last reign!" said Olivier. "He can't say
'Make me acquainted with your proceedings,' as we now say."

"Let me read, for Heaven's sake!" said the Abbe; "a hundred years hence
they'll laugh at our phrases." He continued:

   "I can counsel you, notwithstanding my great age, in relating to you
   what happened to me in 1560."

"Ah, faith! I've not time to waste in reading it all. Let us see the end.

   "When I remember my dining at the house of Madame la Marechale
   d'Effiat, your mother, and ask myself what has become of all the
   guests, I am really afflicted. My poor Puy-Laurens has died at
   Vincennes, of grief at being forgotten by Monsieur in his prison;
   De Launay killed in a duel, and I am grieved at it, for although I
   was little satisfied with my arrest, he did it with courtesy, and I
   have always thought him a gentleman. As for me, I am under lock and
   key until the death of M. le Cardinal. Ah, my child! we were
   thirteen at table. We must not laugh at old superstitions. Thank
   God that you are the only one to whom evil has not arrived!"

"There again!" said Olivier, laughing heartily; and this time the Abbe de
Gondi could not maintain his gravity, despite all his efforts.

They tore the useless letter to pieces, that it might not prolong the
detention of the old marechal, should it be found, and drew near the
Place des Terreaux and the line of guards, whom they were to attack when
the signal of the hat should be given by the young prisoner.

They beheld with satisfaction all their friends at their posts, and ready
"to play with their knives," to use their own expression. The people,
pressing around them, favored them without being aware of it. There came
near the Abbe a troop of young ladies dressed in white and veiled. They
were going to church to communicate; and the nuns who conducted them,
thinking, like most of the people, that the preparations were intended to
do honor to some great personage, allowed them to mount upon some large
hewn stones, collected behind the soldiers. There they grouped themselves
with the grace natural to their age, like twenty beautiful statues upon a
single pedestal. One would have taken them for those vestals whom
antiquity invited to the sanguinary shows of the gladiators. They
whispered to each other, looking around them, laughing and blushing
together like children.

The Abbe de Gondi saw with impatience that Olivier was again forgetting
his character of conspirator and his costume of a bricklayer in ogling
these girls, and assuming a mien too elegant, an attitude too refined,
for the position in life he was supposed to occupy. He already began to
approach them, turning his hair with his fingers, when Fontrailles and
Montresor fortunately arrived in the dress of Swiss soldiers. A group of
gentlemen, disguised as sailors, followed them with iron-shod staves in
their hands. There was a paleness on their faces which announced no good.

"Stop here!" said one of them to his suite; "this is the place."

The sombre air and the silence of these spectators contrasted with the
gay and anxious looks of the girls, and their childish exclamations.

"Ah, the fine procession!" they cried; "there are at least five hundred
men with cuirasses and red uniforms, upon fine horses. They've got yellow
feathers in their large hats."

"They are strangers--Catalonians," said a French guard.

"Whom are they conducting here? Ah, here is a fine gilt coach! but
there's no one in it."

"Ah! I see three men on foot; where are they going?"

"To death!" said Fontrailles, in a deep, stern voice which silenced all
around. Nothing was heard but the slow tramp of the horses, which
suddenly stopped, from one of those delays that happen in all
processions. They then beheld a painful and singular spectacle. An old
man with a tonsured head walked with difficulty, sobbing violently,
supported by two young men of interesting and engaging appearance, who
held one of each other's hands behind his bent shoulders, while with the
other each held one of his arms. The one on the left was dressed in
black; he was grave, and his eyes were cast down. The other, much
younger, was attired in a striking dress. A pourpoint of Holland cloth,
adorned with broad gold lace, and with large embroidered sleeves, covered
him from the neck to the waist, somewhat in the fashion of a woman's
corset; the rest of his vestments were in black velvet, embroidered with
silver palms. Gray boots with red heels, to which were attached golden
spurs; a scarlet cloak with gold buttons--all set off to advantage his
elegant and graceful figure. He bowed right and left with a melancholy
smile.

An old servant, with white moustache, and beard, followed with his head
bent down, leading two chargers, richly comparisoned. The young ladies
were silent; but they could not restrain their sobs.

"It is, then, that poor old man whom they are leading to the scaffold,"
they exclaimed; "and his children are supporting him."

"Upon your knees, ladies," said a man, "and pray for him!"

"On your knees," cried Gondi, "and let us pray that God will deliver
him!"

All the conspirators repeated, "On your knees! on your knees!" and set
the example to the people, who imitated them in silence.

"We can see his movements better now," said Gondi, in a whisper to
Montresor. "Stand up; what is he doing?"

"He has stopped, and is speaking on our side, saluting us; I think he has
recognized us."

Every house, window, wall, roof, and raised platform that looked upon the
place was filled with persons of every age and condition.

The most profound silence prevailed throughout the immense multitude. One
might have heard the wings of a gnat, the breath of the slightest wind,
the passage of the grains of dust which it raised; yet the air was calm,
the sun brilliant, the sky blue. The people listened attentively. They
were close to the Place des Terreaux; they heard the blows of the hammer
upon the planks, then the voice of Cinq-Mars.

A young Carthusian thrust his pale face between two guards. All the
conspirators rose above the kneeling people. Every one put his hand to
his belt or in his bosom, approaching close to the soldier whom he was to
poniard.

"What is he doing?" asked the Carthusian. "Has he his hat upon his head?"

"He throws his hat upon the ground far from him," calmly answered the
arquebusier.