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Book 3 Chapter 12 Cinq Mars by Alfred de Vigny


CHAPTER XII

THE NIGHT-WATCH

        O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!
        The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight,
        Cold, fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
        What do I fear? Myself?
        I love myself!
             SHAKESPEARE.

Hardly was the Cardinal in his tent before he dropped, armed and
cuirassed, into a great armchair; and there, holding his handkerchief to
his mouth with a fixed gaze, he remained in this attitude, letting his
two dark confidants wonder whether contemplation or annihilation
maintained him in it. He was deadly pale, and a cold sweat streamed upon
his brow. In wiping it with a sudden movement, he threw behind him his
red cap, the only ecclesiastical sign which remained upon him, and again
rested with his mouth upon his hands. The Capuchin on one side, and the
sombre magistrate on the other, considered him in silence, and seemed,
with their brown and black costumes like the priest and the notary of a
dying man.

The friar, drawing from the depth of his chest a voice that seemed better
suited to repeat the service of the dead than to administer consolation,
spoke first:

"If Monseigneur will recall my counsels given at Narbonne, he will
confess that I had a just presentiment of the troubles which this young
man would one day cause him."

The magistrate continued:

"I have learned from the old deaf abbe who dined at the house of the
Marechale d'Effiat, and who heard all, that this young Cinq-Mars
exhibited more energy than one would have imagined, and that he attempted
to rescue the Marechal de Bassompierre. I have still by me the detailed
report of the deaf man, who played his part very well. His Eminence the
Cardinal must be sufficiently convinced by it."

"I have told Monseigneur," resumed Joseph--for these two ferocious Seyds
alternated their discourse like the shepherds of Virgil--"I have told him
that it would be well to get rid of this young D'Effiat, and that I would
charge myself with the business, if such were his good pleasure. It would
be easy to destroy him in the opinion of the King."

"It would be safer to make him die of his wound," answered Laubardemont;
"if his Eminence would have the goodness to command me, I know intimately
the assistant-physician, who cured me of a blow on the forehead, and is
now attending to him. He is a prudent man, entirely devoted to
Monseigneur the Cardinal-Duke, and whose affairs have been somewhat
embarrassed by gambling."

"I believe," replied Joseph, with an air of modesty, mingled with a touch
of bitterness, "that if his Excellency proposed to employ any one in this
useful project, it should be his accustomed negotiator, who has had some
success in the past."

"I fancy that I could enumerate some signal instances," answered
Laubardemont, "and very recent ones, of which the difficulty was great."

"Ah, no doubt," said the father, with a bow and an air of consideration
and politeness, "your most bold and skilfully executed commission was the
trial of Urbain Grandier, the magician. But, with Heaven's assistance,
one may be enabled to do things quite as worthy and bold. It is not
without merit, for instance," added he, dropping his eyes like a young
girl, "to have extirpated vigorously a royal Bourbon branch."

"It was not very difficult," answered the magistrate, with bitterness,
"to select a soldier from the guards to kill the Comte de Soissons; but
to preside, to judge--"

"And to execute one's self," interrupted the heated Capuchin, "is
certainly less difficult than to educate a man from infancy in the
thought of accomplishing great things with discretion, and to bear all
tortures, if necessary, for the love of heaven, rather than reveal the
name of those who have armed him with their justice, or to die
courageously upon the body of him that he has struck, as did one who was
commissioned by me. He uttered no cry at the blow of the sword of
Riquemont, the equerry of the Prince. He died like a saint; he was my
pupil."

"To give orders is somewhat different from running risk one's self."

"And did I risk nothing at the siege of Rochelle?"

"Of being drowned in a sewer, no doubt," said Laubardemont.

"And you," said Joseph, "has your danger been that of catching your
fingers in instruments of torture? And all this because the Abbess of the
Ursulines is your niece."

"It was a good thing for your brothers of Saint Francis, who held the
hammers; but I--I was struck in the forehead by this same Cinq-Mars, who
was leading an enraged multitude."

"Are you quite sure of that?" cried Joseph, delighted. "Did he dare to
act thus against the commands of the King?" The joy which this discovery
gave him made him forget his anger.

"Fools!" exclaimed the Cardinal, suddenly breaking his long silence, and
taking from his lips his handkerchief stained with blood. "I would punish
your angry dispute had it not taught me many secrets of infamy on your
part. You have exceeded my orders; I commanded no torture, Laubardemont.
That is your second fault. You cause me to be hated for nothing; that was
useless. But you, Joseph, do not neglect the details of this disturbance
in which Cinq-Mars was engaged; it may be of use in the end."

"I have all the names and descriptions," said the secret judge, eagerly,
bending his tall form and thin, olive-colored visage, wrinkled with a
servile smile, down to the armchair.

"It is well! it is well!" said the minister, pushing him back; "but that
is not the question yet. You, Joseph, be in Paris before this young
upstart, who will become a favorite, I am certain. Become his friend;
make him of my party or destroy him. Let him serve me or fall. But, above
all, send me every day safe persons to give me verbal accounts. I will
have no more writing for the future. I am much displeased with you,
Joseph. What a miserable courier you chose to send from Cologne! He could
not understand me. He saw the King too soon, and here we are still in
disgrace in consequence. You have just missed ruining me entirely. Go and
observe what is about to be done in Paris. A conspiracy will soon be
hatched against me; but it will be the last. I remain here in order to
let them all act more freely. Go, both of you, and send me my valet after
the lapse of two hours; I wish now to be alone."

The steps of the two men were still to be heard as Richelieu, with eyes
fixed upon the entrance to the tent, pursued them with his irritated
glance.

"Wretches!" he exclaimed, when he was alone, "go and accomplish some more
secret work, and afterward I will crush you, in pure instruments of my
power. The King will soon succumb beneath the slow malady which consumes
him. I shall then be regent; I shall be King of France myself; I shall no
longer have to dread the caprices of his weakness. I will destroy the
haughty races of this country. I will be alone above them all. Europe
shall tremble."

Here the blood, which again filled his mouth, obliged him to apply his
handkerchief to it once more.

"Ah, what do I say? Unhappy victim that I am! Here am I, death-stricken!
My dissolution is near; my blood flows, and my spirit desires to labor
still. Why? For whom? Is it for glory? That is an empty word. Is it for
men? I despise them. For whom, then, since I shall die, perhaps, in two
or three years? Is it for God? What a name! I have not walked with Him!
He has seen all--"

Here he let his head fall upon his breast, and his eyes met the great
cross of gold which was suspended from his neck. He could not help
throwing himself back in his chair; but it followed him. He took it; and
considering it with fixed and devouring looks, he said in a low voice:

"Terrible sign! thou followest me! Shall I find thee elsewhere--divinity
and suffering? What am I? What have I done?"

For the first time a singular and unknown terror penetrated him. He
trembled, at once frozen and scorched by an invincible shudder. He dared
not lift his eyes, fearing to meet some terrible vision. He dared not
call, fearing to hear the sound of his own voice. He remained profoundly
plunged in meditations on eternity, so terrible for him, and he murmured
the following kind of prayer:

"Great God, if Thou hearest me, judge me then, but do not isolate me in
judging me! Look upon me, surrounded by the men of my generation;
consider the immense work I had undertaken! Was not an enormous lever
wanted to bestir those masses; and if this lever in falling crushes some
useless wretches, am I very culpable? I seem wicked to men; but Thou,
Supreme judge, dost thou regard me thus?

"No; Thou knowest it is boundless power which makes creature culpable
against creature. It is not Armand de Richelieu who destroys; it is the
Prime-Minister. It is not for his personal injuries; it is to carry out a
system. But a system--what is this word? Is it permitted me to play thus
with men, to regard them as numbers for working out a thought, which
perhaps is false? I overturn the framework of the throne. What if,
without knowing it, I sap its foundations and hasten its fall! Yes, my
borrowed power has seduced me. O labyrinth! O weakness of human thought!
Simple faith, why did I quit thy path? Why am I not a simple priest? If I
dared to break with man and give myself to God, the ladder of Jacob would
again descend in my dreams."

At this moment his ear was struck by a great noise outside--laughter of
soldiers, ferocious shouts and oaths, mingled with words which were a
long time sustained by a weak yet clear voice; one would have said it was
the voice of an angel interrupted by the laughter of demons. He rose and
opened a sort of linen window, worked in the side of his square tent. A
singular spectacle presented itself to his view; he remained some
instants contemplating it, attentive to the conversation which was going
on.

"Listen, listen, La Valeur!" said one soldier to another. "See, she
begins again to speak and to sing!"

"Put her in the middle of the circle, between us and the fire."

"You do not know her! You do not know her!" said another. "But here is
Grand-Ferre, who says that he knows her."

"Yes, I tell you I know her; and, by Saint Peter of Loudun, I will swear
that I have seen her in my village, when I had leave of absence; and it
was upon an occasion at which one shuddered, but concerning which one
dares not talk, especially to a Cardinalist like you."

"Eh! and pray why dare not one speak of it, you great simpleton?" said an
old soldier, twisting up his moustache.

"It is not spoken of because it burns the tongue. Do you understand
that?"

"No, I don't understand it."

"Well, nor I neither; but certain citizens told it to me."

Here a general laugh interrupted him.

"Ha, ha, ha! is he a fool?" said one. "He listens to what the townsfolk
tell him."

"Ah, well! if you listen to their gabble, you have time to lose," said
another.

"You do not know, then, what my mother said, greenhorn?" said the eldest,
gravely dropping his eyes with a solemn air, to compel attention.

"Eh! how can you think that I know it, La Pipe? Your mother must have
died of old age before my grandfather came into the world."

"Well, greenhorn, I will tell you! You shall know, first of all, that my
mother was a respectable Bohemian, as much attached to the regiment of
carabineers of La Roque as my dog Canon there. She carried brandy round
her neck in a barrel, and drank better than the best of us. She had
fourteen husbands, all soldiers, who died upon the field of battle."

"Ha! that was a woman!" interrupted the soldiers, full of respect.

"And never once in her life did she speak to a townsman, unless it was to
say to him on coming to her lodging, 'Light my candle and warm my soup.'"

"Well, and what was it that your mother said to you?"

"If you are in such a hurry, you shall not know, greenhorn. She said
habitually in her talk, 'A soldier is better than a dog; but a dog is
better than a bourgeois.'"

"Bravo! bravo! that was well said!" cried the soldier, filled with
enthusiasm at these fine words.

"That," said Grand-Ferre, "does not prove that the citizens who made the
remark to me that it burned the tongue were in the right; besides, they
were not altogether citizens, for they had swords, and they were grieved
at a cure being burned, and so was I."

"Eh! what was it to you that they burned your cure, great simpleton?"
said a sergeant, leaning upon the fork of his arquebus; "after him
another would come. You might have taken one of our generals in his
stead, who are all cures at present; for me, I am a Royalist, and I say
it frankly."

"Hold your tongue!" cried La Pipe; "let the girl speak. It is these dogs
of Royalists who always disturb us in our amusements."

"What say you?" answered Grand-Ferre. "Do you even know what it is to be
a Royalist?"

"Yes," said La Pipe; "I know you all very well. Go, you are for the old
self-called princes of the peace, together with the wranglers against the
Cardinal and the gabelle. Am I right or not?"

"No, old red-stocking. A Royalist is one who is for the King; that's what
it is. And as my father was the King's valet, I am for the King, you see;
and I have no liking for the red-stockings, I can tell you."

"Ah, you call me red-stocking, eh?" answered the old soldier. "You shall
give me satisfaction to-morrow morning. If you had made war in the
Valteline, you would not talk like that; and if you had seen his Eminence
marching upon the dike at Rochelle, with the old Marquis de Spinola,
while volleys of cannonshot were sent after him, you would have nothing
to say about red-stockings."

"Come, let us amuse ourselves, instead of quarrelling," said the other
soldiers.

The men who conversed thus were standing round a great fire, which
illuminated them more than the moon, beautiful as it was; and in the
centre of the group was the object of their gathering and their cries.
The Cardinal perceived a young woman arrayed in black and covered with a
long, white veil. Her feet were bare; a thick cord clasped her elegant
figure; a long rosary fell from her neck almost to her feet, and her
hands, delicate and white as ivory, turned its beads and made them pass
rapidly beneath her fingers. The soldiers, with a barbarous joy, amused
themselves with laying little brands in her way to burn her naked feet.
The oldest took the smoking match of his arquebus, and, approaching it to
the edge of her robe, said in a hoarse voice:

"Come, madcap, tell me your history, or I will fill you with powder and
blow you up like a mine; take care, for I have already played that trick
to others besides you, in the old wars of the Huguenots. Come, sing."

The young woman, looking at him gravely, made no reply, but lowered her
veil.

"You don't manage her well," said Grand-Ferre, with a drunken laugh; "you
will make her cry. You don't know the fine language of the court; let me
speak to her." And, touching her on the chin, "My little heart," he said,
"if you will please, my sweet, to resume the little story you told just
now to these gentlemen, I will pray you to travel with me upon the river
Du Tendre, as the great ladies of Paris say, and to take a glass of
brandy with your faithful chevalier, who met you formerly at Loudun, when
you played a comedy in order to burn a poor devil."

The young woman crossed her arms, and, looking around her with an
imperious air, cried:

"Withdraw, in the name of the God of armies; withdraw, impious men! There
is nothing in common between us. I do not understand your tongue, nor you
mine. Go, sell your blood to the princes of the earth at so many oboles a
day, and leave me to accomplish my mission! Conduct me to the Cardinal."

A coarse laugh interrupted her.

"Do you think," said a carabineer of Maurevert, "that his Eminence the
Generalissimo will receive you with your feet naked? Go and wash them."

"The Lord has said, 'Jerusalem, lift thy robe, and pass the rivers of
water,'" she answered, her arms still crossed. "Let me be conducted to
the Cardinal."

Richelieu cried in a loud voice, "Bring the woman to me, and let her
alone!"

All were silent; they conducted her to the minister.

"Why," said she, beholding him--"why bring me before an armed man?"

They left her alone with him without answering.

The Cardinal looked at her with a suspicious air. "Madame," said he,
"what are you doing in the camp at this hour? And if your mind is not
disordered, why these naked feet?"

"It is a vow; it is a vow," answered the young woman, with an air of
impatience, seating herself beside him abruptly. "I have also made a vow
not to eat until I have found the man I seek."

"My sister," said the Cardinal, astonished and softened, looking closely
at her, "God does not exact such rigors from a weak body, and
particularly from one of your age, for you seem very young."

"Young! oh, yes, I was very young a few days ago; but I have since passed
two existences at least, so much have I thought and suffered. Look on my
countenance."

And she discovered a face of perfect beauty. Black and very regular eyes
gave life to it; but in their absence one might have thought her features
were those of a phantom, she was so pale. Her lips were blue and
quivering; and a strong shudder made her teeth chatter.

"You are ill, my sister," said the minister, touched, taking her hand,
which he felt to be burning hot. A sort of habit of inquiring concerning
his own health, and that of others, made him touch the pulse of her
emaciated arm; he felt that the arteries were swollen by the beatings of
a terrible fever.

"Alas!" he continued, with more of interest, "you have killed yourself
with rigors beyond human strength! I have always blamed them, and
especially at a tender age. What, then, has induced you to do this? Is it
to confide it to me that you are come? Speak calmly, and be sure of
succor."

"Confide in men!" answered the young woman; "oh, no, never! All have
deceived me. I will confide myself to no one, not even to Monsieur
Cinq-Mars, although he must soon die."

"What!" said Richelieu, contracting his brows, but with a bitter
laugh,--"what! do you know this young man? Has he been the cause of your
misfortune?"

"Oh, no! He is very good, and hates wickedness; that is what will ruin
him. Besides," said she, suddenly assuming a harsh and savage air, "men
are weak, and there are things which women must accomplish. When there
were no more valiant men in Israel, Deborah arose."

"Ah! how came you with all this fine learning?" continued the Cardinal,
still holding her hand.

"Oh, I can't explain that!" answered she, with a touching air of naivete
and a very gentle voice; "you would not understand me. It is the Devil
who has taught me all, and who has destroyed me."

"Ah, my child! it is always he who destroys us; but he instructs us ill,"
said Richelieu, with an air of paternal protection and an increasing
pity. "What have been your faults? Tell them to me; I am very powerful."

"Ah," said she, with a look of doubt, "you have much influence over
warriors, brave men and generals! Beneath your cuirass must beat a noble
heart; you are an old General who knows nothing of the tricks of crime."

Richelieu smiled; this mistake flattered him.

"I heard you ask for the Cardinal; do you desire to see him? Did you come
here to seek him?"

The girl drew back and placed a finger upon her forehead.

"I had forgotten it," said she; "you have talked to me too much. I had
overlooked this idea, and yet it is an important one; it is for that that
I have condemned myself to the hunger which is killing me. I must
accomplish it, or I shall die first. Ah," said she, putting her hand
beneath her robe in her bosom, whence she appeared to take something,
"behold it! this idea--"

She suddenly blushed, and her eyes widened extraordinarily. She
continued, bending to the ear of the Cardinal:

"I will tell you; listen! Urbain Grandier, my lover Urbain, told me this
night that it was Richelieu who had been the cause of his death. I took a
knife from an inn, and I come here to kill him; tell me where he is."

The Cardinal, surprised and terrified, recoiled with horror. He dared not
call his guards, fearing the cries of this woman and her accusations;
nevertheless, a transport of this madness might be fatal to him.

"This frightful history will pursue me everywhere!" cried he, looking
fixedly at her, and thinking within himself of the course he should take.

They remained in silence, face to face, in the same attitude, like two
wrestlers who contemplate before attacking each other, or like the
pointer and his victim petrified by the power of a look.

In the mean time, Laubardemont and Joseph had gone forth together; and
ere separating they talked for a moment before the tent of the Cardinal,
because they were eager mutually to deceive each other. Their hatred had
acquired new force by their recent quarrel; and each had resolved to ruin
his rival in the mind of his master. The judge then began the dialogue,
which each of them had prepared, taking the arm of the other as by one
and the same movement.

"Ah, reverend father! how you have afflicted me by seeming to take in ill
part the trifling pleasantries which I said to you just now."

"Heavens, no! my dear Monsieur, I am far from that. Charity, where would
be charity? I have sometimes a holy warmth in conversation, for the good
of the State and of Monseigneur, to whom I am entirely devoted."

"Ah, who knows it better than I, reverend father? But render me justice;
you also know how completely I am attached to his Eminence the Cardinal,
to whom I owe all. Alas! I have employed too much zeal in serving him,
since he reproaches me with it."

"Reassure yourself," said Joseph; "he bears no ill-will toward you. I
know him well; he can appreciate one's actions in favor of one's family.
He, too, is a very good relative."

"Yes, there it is," answered Laubardemont; "consider my condition. My
niece would have been totally ruined at her convent had Urbain triumphed;
you feel that as well as I do, particularly as she did not quite
comprehend us, and acted the child when she was compelled to appear."

"Is it possible? In full audience! What you tell me indeed makes me feel
for you. How painful it must have been!"

"More so than you can imagine. She forgot, in her madness, all that she
had been told, committed a thousand blunders in Latin, which we patched
up as well as we could; and she even caused an unpleasant scene on the
day of the trial, very unpleasant for me and the judges--there were
swoons and shrieks. Ah, I swear that I would have scolded her well had I
not been forced to quit precipitately that, little town of Loudun. But,
you see, it is natural enough that I am attached to her. She is my
nearest relative; for my son has turned out ill, and no one knows what
has become of him during the last four years. Poor little Jeanne de
Belfiel! I made her a nun, and then abbess, in order to preserve all for
that scamp. Had I foreseen his conduct, I should have retained her for
the world."

"She is said to have great beauty," answered Joseph; "that is a precious
gift for a family. She might have been presented at court, and the
King--Ah! ah! Mademoiselle de la Fayette--eh! eh!--Mademoiselle
d'Hautefort--you understand; it may be even possible to think of it yet."

"Ah, that is like you, Monseigneur! for we know that you have been
nominated to the cardinalate; how good you are to remember the most
devoted of your friends!"

Laubardemont was yet talking to Joseph when they found themselves at the
end of the line of the camp, which led to the quarter of the volunteers.

"May God and his Holy Mother protect you during my absence!" said Joseph,
stopping. "To-morrow I depart for Paris; and as I shall have frequent
business with this young Cinq-Mars, I shall first go to see him, and
learn news of his wound."

"Had I been listened to," said Laubardemont, "you would not now have had
this trouble."

"Alas, you are right!" answered Joseph, with a profound sigh, and raising
his eyes to heaven; "but the Cardinal is no longer the same man. He will
not take advantage of good ideas; he will ruin us if he goes on thus."

And, making a low bow to the judge, the Capuchin took the road which he
had indicated to him.

Laubardemont followed him for some time with his eyes, and, when he was
quite sure of the route which he had taken, he returned, or, rather, ran
back to the tent of the minister. "The Cardinal dismisses him, he tells
me; that shows that he is tired of him. I know secrets which will ruin
him. I will add that he is gone to pay court to the future favorite. I
will replace this monk in the favor of the minister. The moment is
propitious. It is midnight; he will be alone for an hour and a half yet.
Let me run."

He arrived at the tent of the guards, which was before the pavilion.

"Monseigneur gives audience to some one," said the captain, hesitating;
"you can not enter."

"Never mind; you saw me leave an hour ago, and things are passing of
which I must give an account."

"Come in, Laubardemont," cried the minister; "come in quickly, and
alone."

He entered. The Cardinal, still seated, held the two hands of the nun in
one of his, and with the other he imposed silence upon his stupefied
agent, who remained motionless, not yet seeing the face of this woman.
She spoke volubly, and the strange things she said contrasted horribly
with the sweetness of her voice. Richelieu seemed moved.

"Yes, I will stab him with a knife. It is the knife which the demon
Behirith gave me at the inn; but it is the nail of Sisera. It has a
handle of ivory, you see; and I have wept much over it. Is it not
singular, my good General? I will turn it in the throat of him who killed
my friend, as he himself told me to do; and afterward I will burn the
body. There is like for like, the punishment which God permitted to Adam.
You have an astonished air, my brave general; but you would be much more
so, were I to repeat to you his song--the song which he sang to me again
last night, at the hour of the funeral-pyre--you understand?--the hour
when it rains, the hour when my hand burns as now. He said to me: 'They
are much deceived, the magistrates, the red judges. I have eleven demons
at my command; and I shall come to see you when the clock strikes, under
a canopy of purple velvet, with torches--torches of resin to give us
light--' Ah, that is beautiful! Listen, listen to what he sings!"

And she sang to the air of De Profundis.

"Is it not singular, my good General?" said she, when she had finished;
"and I--I answer him every evening."

"Then he speaks as spirits and prophets speak. He says: 'Woe, woe to him
who has shed blood! Are the judges of the earth gods? No, they are men
who grow old and suffer, and yet they dare to say aloud, Let that man
die! The penalty of death, the pain of death--who has given to man the
right of imposing it on man? Is the number two? One would be an assassin,
look you! But count well, one, two, three. Behold, they are wise and
just, these grave and salaried criminals! O crime, the horror of Heaven!
If you looked upon them from above as I look upon them, you would be yet
paler than I am. Flesh destroys flesh! That which lives by blood sheds
blood coldly and without anger, like a God with power to create!'"

The cries which the unhappy girl uttered, as she rapidly spoke these
words, terrified Richelieu and Laubardemont so much that they still
remained motionless. The delirium and the fever continued to transport
her.

"'Did the judges tremble?' said Urbain Grandier to me. 'Did they tremble
at deceiving themselves?' They work the work of the just. The question!
They bind his limbs with ropes to make him speak. His skin cracks, tears
away, and rolls up like a parchment; his nerves are naked, red, and
glittering; his bones crack; the marrow spurts out. But the judges sleep!
they dream of flowers and spring. 'How hot the grand chamber is!' says
one, awaking; 'this man has not chosen to speak! Is the torture
finished?' And pitiful at last, he dooms him to death--death, the sole
fear of the living! death, the unknown world! He sends before him a
furious soul which will wait for him. Oh! has he never seen the vision of
vengeance? Has he never seen before falling asleep the flayed
prevaricator?"

Already weakened by fever, fatigue, and grief, the Cardinal, seized with
horror and pity, exclaimed:

"Ah, for the love of God, let this terrible scene have an end! Take away
this woman; she is mad!"

The frantic creature turned, and suddenly uttering loud cries, "Ah, the
judge! the judge! the judge!" she said, recognizing Laubardemont.

The latter, clasping his hands and trembling before the Cardinal, said
with terror:

"Alas, Monseigneur, pardon me! she is my niece, who has lost her reason.
I was not aware of this misfortune, or she would have been shut up long
ago. Jeanne! Jeanne! come, Madame, to your knees! ask forgiveness of
Monseigneur the Cardinal-duc."

"It is Richelieu!" she cried; and astonishment seemed wholly to paralyze
this young and unhappy beauty. The flush which had animated her at first
gave place to a deadly pallor, her cries to a motionless silence, her
wandering looks to a frightful fixedness of her large eyes, which
constantly followed the agitated minister.

"Take away this unfortunate child quickly," said he; "she is dying, and
so am I. So many horrors pursue me since that sentence that I believe all
hell is loosed upon me."

He rose as he spoke; Jeanne de Belfiel, still silent and stupefied, with
haggard eyes, open mouth, and head bent forward, yet remained beneath the
shock of her double surprise, which seemed to have extinguished the rest
of her reason and her strength. At the movement of the Cardinal, she
shuddered to find herself between him and Laubardemont, looked by turns
at one and the other, let the knife which she held fall from her hand,
and retired slowly toward the opening of the tent, covering herself
completely with her veil, and looking wildly and with terror behind her
upon her uncle who followed, like an affrighted lamb, which already feels
at its back the burning breath of the wolf about to seize it.

Thus they both went forth; and hardly had they reached the open air, when
the furious judge caught the hands of his victim, tied them with a
handkerchief, and easily led her, for she uttered no cry, not even a
sigh, but followed him with her head still drooping upon her bosom, and
as if plunged in profound somnambulism.