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was even worse.
fore, and made venerable by their being so, her! At another time this same lady, in became doubtful, and from thence hateful, to a fit of jealousy, proposed to revenge herhalf the people.
self by shutting him up in a vault in her Nothing was fixed, nothing was settled. garden. Various other anecdotes he reThe rights neither of individuals nor of lates of a description too recherché to be bodies were ascertained. In the streets repeated here. of the capital, and indeed throughout the
The morals of the Court were very little country, nobles, princes, ecclesiastics, better. There was not a ruffian who dwelt people of all functions, were daily disput- amongst the foul alleys of Paris whose ing, frequently with blows, about real or lips had not uttered filthy jests against, imaginary privileges. The same scenes and told vile stories of, the Queen herself, were enacted throughout the provinces. who was known by the contemptuous To complete the political picture, war epithet of “Mistress Anne.” raging on every frontier, and an empty There can be little doubt, I think, as to treasury.
the relations which subsisted between Socially, the condition of the country Queen and minister. This opinion is not
Society was corrupt to founded upon the scandals of the time, the core ; and most corrupt of all was the but simply from deductions drawn from party of “the Fronde," which was so its events. The hatred felt by all classes largely composed of immoral and in- for Mazarin was, at least ostensibly, the triguing 'women. At the head of these cause of the war of the Fronde. Had the was Madame de Chevreuse, of whom De Queen frankly and honestly dismissed him Retz says, "She loved without choice, from office and from the kingdom, the and purely because she was necessitated factions must have quickly dissolved, to love. . . She knew no other duty but since, their great grievance removed, all that of pleasing her lover. . . It was not classes would have fallen away from them. difficult even to put upon her any lover Had she been bound to this man only by one designed : " an elasticity of heart of the mere ties of his position, would she which the Coadjutor availed himself, as have endured through a series of years the he relates how he and her daughter some- vile opprobrium of the mob, the hourly times had conferences together to provide danger of losing her crown? would she the lady with a new lover, and how the have desolated France with blood and merits of different candidates for the hon- devastation, when his removal would ourable post were chatted over between have averted all these evils ? While them. This same daughter was, all but Mazarin lived in Eastern magnificence, openly, his mistress; and yet in spite of the young King was kept in a state of this well-known fact a treaty of marriage positive poverty. The sheets upon his was at one time pending between the bed, we are told, were often so worn young lady and De Conti, a prince of the that his feet passed through them; he blood.
grew out of his clothes, and his carThe naïve manner, as of one relating riages were old and battered. Nor was the most natural and ordinary circum- this the worst. “ As the King grew up." stances, in which De Retz details anec- says La Porte, in his “ Memoirs ” (and his dotes of his own and others' profligacy is statements upon this point are generally something marvellous to the readers of confirmed by all the writers of the age), the present day. In one place he tells, "spies were placed about his person; in his ingenuous way, how Madame de indeed out of fear that he should be Guimené (an old love), who had left Paris amused with evil things, but out of fear out of fright on the first day of the siege, that he should be inspired with good sencame back full of anger on hearing of his timents; for in those days the greatest visits to the Hôtel de Chevreuse ; how he crime of which a man could render himseized her by the throat for abandoning self culpable was to make the King him so basely, and how she threw a can- understand that in justice he was no furdlestick at his head for his infidelity to ther the master than inasmuch as he
rendered himself worthy of being so. Gondi wished for a military life, and abGood books were seen with as much sus- horred the idea of a priest's gown. picion in his cabinet as good people, and while yet in earliest youth, a chance of the beautiful • Royal Catechism' of Mon- escape from his predestined profession sieur Godeau was no sooner there than presented itself. it disappeared without any one knowing A marriage was arranged between his what had become of it.” This same La elder brother and Mademoiselle de MerPorte brings yet darker accusations cæur, which marriage was to be celebrated against the minister of attempts to cor- in Brittany. The lady had a sister worth rupt the boy's mind. He would have eighty thousand livres had the King grow up weak and vicious, thought occurred to the younger brother and delegate all power into his hands. of a double match. Aware, no doubt, of And the mother permitted all this. The the young gentleman's inflammable temdeduction is obvious.
perament, his father did not at first inSuch was the position of Court, no- tend taking him to the wedding. But bles, and people when “the war of the about this time François Paul pretended Fronde" broke out.*
to conceive a sudden liking for his proThe most picturesque, and on the fession, and to be deeply touched by whole the most authentic, history of this what had been said to him upon the subsingular rebellion is to be found in the ject. So François Paul was taken into memoirs of its extraordinary leader, De Brittany and introduced to the ladies. Retz, of whom it is now time to give He describes the sister as being very some account.
beautiful, but as having some defects of Jean François Paul de Gondi was born shape ; “but,” he adds, “scarcely obat Montmirail, in Brie, in the year 1614. servable, and, besides, much lessened by He was descended from an ancient and the view of her eighty thousand livres a distinguished family of Florence. His year, by the hopes of the Duchy of Beaugrandfather, Albert de Gondi, was the preau, and by a thousand chimeras which first Duke de Retz. His uncle being I formed on these foundations, which archbishop of Paris, the boy was from were real. . . . I played my game in the his cradle destined to be the successor beginning mighty well. All the journey to this family dignity. But young De long I had appeared a devout churchman
and so I continued to do in public during * The origin of this curious nickname cannot be bet- the wedding ; but with the lady I acted ter described than in the words of De Retz: "When the Parliament began to assemble about
another part ;
I sighed, and she perpublic affairs, the Duc d'Orleans and Prince Condé ceived it.” Nor was she insensible to pretty often came thither, and seldom failed to calm his sighs, as very few ladies, seemingly, people's minds. But the calm did not last long, and in two days' time they grew as hot as before. One day ever were, although he was known as one Bachamount, councillor of the grand chamber, hap- of the ugliest men in France. For a pened jestingly to compare the Parliament to school, time all went well ; he bribed her maidboys who used to sling stones in the ditches around Paris, run away the moment they spied any town offi- servant, and was admitted to secret intercers coming towards them, and return to the spot as views; he arranged a plot to carry her soon as those officers disappeared. The comparison off into Holland, and was on the eve of was used in lampoons, and so the party was nicknamed “the Fronde' (the sling), and the party were · Fron- putting it in force when a slight indisdeurs' (slingers). These words were revived, and cretion betrayed the lovers, and all chiefly applied, after the peace was made between the Gondi's air-built castles toppled to the King and the Parliament, to the private faction of those who came to no accommodation with the Court. We ground. took care to keep them in vogue, for we had observed Foiled in his matrimonial projects, that party names are of some help for inflaming people, the young gentleman indulged in the and we resolved all of us to wear hat-bands made in some sort like a sling. . . . You cannot imagine the most unpriestly pursuits -- licentious galeffect this trifle had. Everything was made à la mode lantries, duels, and all the vices of a solde la Fronde; bread, hats, gloves, handkerchiefs, fans, dier – hoping by that means to excite trimmings: and our party became even more in fashion by means of this trifle than by anything else of greater such scandal as to render his admission moment."
into the Church impossible. But the great position of his uncle sufficed to fallen under his uncle's administration. condone all such offences, and as many He set to work examining all the priests more as he chose to commit. Finding of the diocese, retaining only those who all his efforts to cast off the Nessus-like were fitted for their high duties, removshirt of the priesthood unavailing, Gondi ing the incapables to religious houses, applied himself to his studies; won great and appointing others in their places. fame at the Sorbonne, where he disputed The éclat attending these vigorous the first place with a protégé of Richelieu, measures aroused the jealousy of Mazaand won it. Imbued with the republican rin, who prevailed upon the imbecile uncle spirit of ancient Rome, he wrote, at eigh- to put a stop to them. teen, “A Vindication of the Conspiracy De Retz was piqued. And these leof John Lewis de Fiesque,”, upon read- gitimate efforts to obtain popularity being which the great Cardinal remarked, ing baulked, he resorted to others of a “ This is a dangerous genius.” He jour- more subtle and dangerous nature, Havneyed to Rome, where he appeared with ing received from De Soissons twelve great éclat; returned to Paris, preached thousand crowns, he took them to his his first sermon before the Court, and aunt, De Maignelai, and told her that it created a sensation ; was Richelieu's was a bequest left to him by a dying successful rival in an affair of gallantry, friend, to be distributed personally among and thereby made a powerful enemy: the poor who were not beggars; but be
With these lighter intrigues his rest- ing himself unacquainted with such peoless spirit mingled others of a darker and ple, he solicited her help. “You may more dangerous character - even to join- imagine,” he says, “ what effect this proing in a plot concocted by Orleans and duced upon the minds of persons who are De Soissons, for the assassination of the fittest of all others to make use of it Richelieu. The manner in which he in popular commotions ; for the rich are writes of this event, in his “ Memoirs," drawn into them but unwillingly, and the throws a wonderful light upon the moral known beggars do on that occasion more code of the age.
harm than good for the fear they create " I felt something within me,” he says, in people lest they should be pillaged by “that might be taken for fear, though I them. The fittest persons then in such took it only for a scruple. I am not posi- cases are those whose condition is bad tive which of the two it was, but it is enough to desire a change in the admincertain that my imagination brought into istration, but not so low as to be reduced my mind an unpleasant view of the to beg in public. It was to that sort of assassination of a priest and of a cardi- people I took care to make myself known, nal. La Rochepot laughed at me for it, and I spent three or four months to that saying, “When you are in the army you purpose with all the application possible.” will beat up no enemy's quarters for fear There is a marvellous subtlety of thought of killing people in their sleep.' This in this passage. shamed me out of my reflection. I em- Of course Dame Maignelai sang her braced the crime, which appeared to me nephew's praises wherever she distributconsecrated by great examples, and made ed the money, and won for him boundjustifiable and honourable by the dan- less popularity. ger.” (The italics are my own.)
Having thus secured a large body of Soon after the death of Louis the adherents, his next object was to perThirteenth he was appointed by the form some daring act that should fill Queen to the office of Coadjutor to his men's minds with awe and wonderment, uncle, a weak old man incapacitated by and render him the most talked-of man age. These functions were begun, to in Paris. Such an act was accomplished use his own words, “ with a firm resolu- in his refusal of the Cathedral of Nôtre tion to scrupulously fulfil all my outward Dame to the Bishop of Warmia for the duties, and to be as good a man as I was celebration of the marriage of Marie de able for the salvation of others, and to Gonzaga with the King of Poland. In be wicked only to please myself.” And this he stood upon his extreme prerogaso he still made love, fought duels, tive, which could be put aside only by sought popularity, and preached assidu- cardinals of royal blood. Mazarin wrote ously.
to the archbishop, who sent back a perArchbishop of Paris in all but name, emptory order for the use of the catheDe Retz now employed the whole force dral. Resolved to carry his point, De Retz of his powerful mind to raise this great worked upon the chapter to refuse to office out of the mire into which it had I give up the choir. Mazarin next ar
ranged that the marriage should be cele- Regent replies that she would rather brated in the chapel of the palace. De strangle the prisoner with her own Retz at once notified to Marie de Gon- hands; but presently the Chancellor zaga that as no other bishop had any Seguier and the lieutenant of the guards, power within the diocese he should, white with terror, appear upon the scene under such circumstances, declare her to confirm his account of the danger. marriage to be null and void. At last Fear seizes upon all; the Queen entreats the Court was compelled to yield, and him to go out among the people and tell the Polish bishop had to solicit the writ- them that all they ask shall be granted if ten permission of De Retz to officiate in they quietly disperse. He obeys with the Palais Royal. Neither Queen nor some reluctance, for he knows that she minister ever forgave this mortification. is only temporizing, cajoling. When he
Emboldened by this victory, De Retz gets into the streets the rioting has comcontested with Orleans a point of pre- menced ; he himself is badly hurt by a cedence in the cathedralThe Duke stone, and saves his life only by his asthreatened that he would have the coad- tonishing presence of mind. A man jutor carried off and compelled to sub- being about to brain him with a musket, mission. De Retz assembled a number he cries out, “ Unhappy wretch, if thy of gentlemen, kept them armed in his father saw thee !” The man suspends house, and prepared to oppose force by the blow, thinking the speaker to be force. After a time the affair was com- some friend of his family, recognizes him, promised; but De Retz maintained his and cries out “ The Coadjutor!” A pre-eminence within the walls of the ca- thousand voices take up the cry, “ Long thedral, although he promised to yield live the Coadjutor !” Gondi addresses precedence to the Duke elsewhere. the people, and succeeds in making These anecdotes fully display the bold, them lay down their arms. He returns determined spirit of the man.
to the palace, and again urges the necesIn the meanwhile, “ In the city,” he sity of releasing the councillor. This says, “my care was to keep fair with all time, believing the danger to be past, the my friends, and to omit nothing that I Queen answers him with sarcasm. thought necessary to win, or rather pre- That same night, tidings were brought serve, the love of the people. From the him to his house that Mazarin, believing, 28th of March to the 25th of April (1643) or pretending to believe, him to have I spent thirty-six thousand crowns in been the instigator of the riots, had decharities and liberalities.”
termined upon having him arrested and In the meantime the political crisis sent away to a prison in a remote part of was fast approaching. Obsolete statutes Brittany. “Your only chance of safety were dug out of the dust of centuries to lies in immediate Alight,” said the mesimpose new, heavy, and oppressive bur- senger. But such timid counsel suited dens upon the people. The Parliament not the bold spirit of De Retz. He rerefused to verify the edicts, the mob rose quested to be left alone for a quarter of in riot. Paris was like a mined city; an hour. At the end of that time he had the dropping of a single match set her in resolved upon a plan which should enable a blaze. That match was the arrest of him to defy the power of the Court. Broussel, a man immensely popular Well acquainted with the feelings of among the masses, the mouthpiece of every grade of society and with the inflthe democratic party in Parliament, and ential men of all parties, he at once proa man of strict integrity, whom the re- ceeded to warn some of the leading citifusal of a company of guards for his son zens that Mazarin was about to deal a had converted into à patriot. At the blow that should strike dismay into the news, smouldering fire leaps into scorch-hearts of every friend of liberty. All that ing flames. From house to house, from night he spent in passing from one part of workshop, to workshop, goes the cry, Paris to another, rousing up the people, “ Broussel, the father of the people, has and arranging plans for resistance. By been arrested.” Crowds of furious men dawn the next morning all was prepared ; and women pour into the streets, shout- four hundred of the most respectable ing “Liberty for Broussel !” An im- citizens and large bodies of the inferior mense number of them surround the people were ready to take up arms at a coadjutor's house, calling upon him to moment's notice, while materials for bardemand the councillor's release. He ricades were collected from all directions. hastens to the Palais Royal. He advises De Retz, disguised as a mason, was the the immediate release of Broussel. The ubiquitous spirit over all.
By-and-by a body of Swiss was at-play, who stopped the carriage, beat the tacked. The drums beat to arms, the postilion, and raised cries that the tocsin was sounded, and then from every people's friend was about to be delivered quarter poured in the people, burghers, into the hands of the enemy. A large artisans, and vagabonds, and with them, crowd quickly gathered upon the spot, disguised in rough dresses, many of the smashed the coach, and carried its occuhigher classes, who acted as officers. pant back to his house in triumph. After Every one, without exception, took up which he wrote a letter to the Queen, arms; children of five and six years old expressing his deep regret at being thus were seen with poniards in their hands forcibly withheld from obeying her sumgiven them by their mothers. Strange mons. old weapons, that had been rusting in Negotiations were opened with Spain, holes and corners since the days of the very reluctantly upon the coadjutor's part, English invasions and the wars of the who, with a feeling of patriotism seemLeague, were dragged out of their ingly unknown to the factions, dreaded hiding-places. Carriages were over- to admit a foreign army into France. turned, bales of merchandise, barrels, These negotiations were suddenly interheaps of earth and sand, logs of wood, rupted by the appearance upon the scene anything that came to hand, were thrown of a new actor the great Condé – fresh across the streets, and in less than two from victorious battle-fields. To detail hours two hundred barricad guarded all the events and intrigues of the Fronde the thoroughfares of Paris. The Maré- by no means comes within the scope of chal de Meilleraie and the Duchesse de this article. They present a strange Sully were pursued by the furious mob, phantasmagoria of shifting scenes and who would have massacred them had characters, in which the parties are so conthey not taken shelter in an hotel. The stantly changing sides that it is difficult Parisians were having a dress rehearsal at times to determine which is which. for the great drama which was to be en- Now there is an Orleans party, a Condé acted by their descendants some century party, a Parliamentary party ; now Orand a half later. Terrified at this new leans reconciles himself with the Court ; outbreak, which came just as they im- then suddenly joins De Retz's faction ; agined the storm had subsided, the Re- then Condé arrays himself upon the side gent and the minister sent once more for of the Regent, but a week afterwards is De Retz, and once more endeavoured to in open rebellion. cajole him by fair words and specious Had there been any cohesion in the promises ; but the subtle churchman parties the Fronde might have followed knew that their smiles were far more in the steps of the English Commons ; dangerous than their frowns, and when Mazarin and Anne of Austria might have he returned home redoubled his precau- been brought to the block, and the young tions against surprise.
king deposed and held as prisoner. But Broussel was released; but every day, the Fronde was not made up of one great every hour, the position of the Court be- party, or even of several compact parties came more critical. Reports were spread actuated by certain fixed objects ; but of abroad that another massacre like that of individual fragments, with no object St. Bartholomew was meditated. The beyond self-aggrandisement. Condé, Parliament daily grew more exorbitant Beaufort, Orleans, De Retz, each strugin their demands. At last the royal fam- gled only for himself. All human masses ily escaped out of Paris, and went to are composed of selfish atoms, but there Ruel. Great was the consternation of must be some point of contact, or they the Parisians. The Regent ordered the crumble into dust. The genius of one attendance of De Retz; he dared not man sometimes suffices for the adhesive obey the summons, neither did he wish principle; as in the case of Cromwell, to come to an open rupture with the whose great will bound together all those Court. By a crafty plan he contrived to discordant elements which composed the evade the order and yet keep up appear- Parliamentary party into one irresistible
He directed his coach to be got whole. But in the Fronde there was no ready, took leave of his friends, and great man leader. Beaufort was a roisshowed a wonderful firmness in rejecting tering bully, who had won popularity by all their entreaties against the journey. kissing fishwomen and bandying jests Proceeding towards the barrier he was witi them in their own patois; Condé met by a wood merchant, previously in- was a great soldier, and nothing more; structed in the part he was required to | Orleans, one of the weakest, most vacil