Alexandre Dumas.

The works of Alexandre Dumas : the page of the duke of savoy (Volume 21) online

. (page 1 of 24)
Online LibraryAlexandre DumasThe works of Alexandre Dumas : the page of the duke of savoy (Volume 21) → online text (page 1 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


WSI



•SiiVv?'*^" -






r^H^



PW>



Digitized by tine Internet Archive
in 2010



http://www.archive.org/details/worksofalexandre21duma






CAPTAIN PLANCHET

Pumas. Vol. Twenty-one



THE WORKS OF

ALEXANDRE DUMAS

IN THIRTY VOLUMES

THE PAGE OF THE
DUKE OF SAVOY

VOLUME TWO



ILLUSTRATED WITH A FRONTISPIECE
IN PHOTOGRAVURE




NEW YORK
P. F. COLLIER & SON



CONTENTS



THIRD PART

PAOB

I. Double Advantage of speaking the Picard

Dialect .3

II. The Battle of Saint-Laurent . . .26

III. How THE Admiral had News of the Battle 42

IV. The Assault 62

y. A Fugitive 64

VI. Two Fugitives . 72

VII. Adventurer and Captain . . . .79

VIII. Waiting 89

IX. The Parisians 96

X. In the Spanish Camp 106

XI. In which Yvonnet gathers all the Infor-
mation HE WANTS 116

XII. God PROTECTS France 125



FOURTH PART

I. A Recollection and a Promise ... . 130
II. The Envoy of the Kings of Spain and

France 140

III. In the Apartments of the Queen . . 148

IV. In the Apartments of the Favorite . . 156

(1)— Vol. 21



2 CONTENTS

V. In which after the Yanquished has been

TREATED LIKE THE ViCTOR, THE YlCTOR IS
TREATED LIKE THE VANQUISHED . . 166

VI. The Pedler 174

VII. Wedding Gowns and Jewels . . . 183
VIII. What passed at the Chateau of Les
Tournelles and in the Streets of Paris
DURING the First Days of June, 1559 . 193

IX. News from Scotland 200

X. The Jousts of the Rue Saint-Antoine . 208

XL The Cartel 218

XII. The Combat with Naked Weapons . . 227

XIII. The Prediction 285

XIV. The Bed of Death 248

XV. Florentine Policy 259

XVI. A King has only his Word . . . 269

XVII. Where the Treaty is executed . . 278

XVIII. The 17th of November .... 288

XIX. The Dead know Everything . . . 297

XX. The Route from San Remo to Albenga . 305



Epilogue • 314



THE
PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY



THIRD PART



DOUBLE ADVANTAGE OF SPEAKING THE PICARD DIALECT

UNTIL now we have been entirely occupied with the
besieged ; it is time we spent a while under the tents
of the besiegers, were it only to pay them a visit.

At the moment Coligny and that group of officers at pres-
ent called the staff was making the tour of the walls in order
to see what means of defence the city had, another group,
not less important, was riding round it on the outside, in
order to discover the best method of attack.

This group was composed of Emmanuel Philibert, Count
Egmont, Count Horn, Count Schwartzburg, Count Mansfeld,
and Dukes Eric and Ernest of Bininswick.

Among the other officers that formed a group behind the
first, was our old friend Scianca-Ferro, troubling himself, as
usual, about nothing except the life and honor of his beloved
Emmanuel.

By the express order of Emmanuel, Leona had remained
at Cambrai with the rest of the household of the duke.

The conclusion drawn from the examination was that the
city, protected by miserable walls, and without either suffi-
cient artillery or a sufficient garrison, could not hold out
more than five or six days; such was the announcement
made to Philip 11. , who had also remained at Cambrai, not
by superior orders, but in obedience to the supreme dictates
of prudence.

Six or seven leagues, for that matter, were all that sep-

(3)



4 THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY

arated tlie two cities; and if Emmanuel cliose tlie abode of
royalty for Leona, it was because, as be was obliged to com-
municate personally from time to time witb Pbilip II. at
Cambrai, tbe generalissimo of tbe Spanish army calculated
tbat each of bis journeys would give bim an opportunity of
seeing Leona.

Leona, on ber side, bad consented to tbis separation, first
and above all, because in tbe life of devotion, love, and self-
denial sbe bad adopted, a wisb of Emmanuel became for ber
a command; and next, because a distance of six or seven
leagues, tbougb it created a real absence, bad no effect at all
in parting ber from ber lover, since tbe young girl, when-
ever she bad tbe slightest grounds for anxiety, could in an
hour and a half be at tbe camp of Emmanuel Philibert,
thanks to the freedom of action the ignorance of every one,
except Scianca-Ferro, as to her sex gave ber.

Moreover, whatever might be Emmanuel's joy at the re-
newal of hostilities — a renewal to which he bad at least as
much contributed by his attempts on Metz and Bordeaux
as tbe admiral had by bis attempt on Blois — he seemed to
have grown ten years older. A young captain of hardly
thirty- one years, he found himself at the bead of an army
charged witb the invasion of France, commanding all those
old leaders of Charles V. and staking bis own fortune behind
the fortune of Spain.

In fact, on the result of the campaign now undertaken
would depend his future, not only as a great general, but as
a sovereign prince ; it was Piedmont which be was coming
to conquer anew in France. Emmanuel Philibert, tbougb
be was commander-in-chief of the Spanish armies, was al-
ways, in truth, only a species of royal condottiere; now a
man is really something in tbe balance of destiny only when
he has the right of having men killed on bis own account.

Nevertheless, be had not to complain; Philip II., obe-
dient, at least in tbis, to the advice given him by bis father
Charles V. on descending from the throne, with regard to
matters of peace and war, had bestowed full power on the



THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY

Duke of Savoj, and placed under his orders all tliat long
list of princes and captains named by us when describing
topograpliically the places occupied by each of them around
the city.

All these thoughts, among which that of the responsibil-
ity weighing ujjon him was not the least, rendered Emmanuel
Philibert as grave and as full of care as an old man.

He saw clearly that on the success of the siege of Saint-
Quentin depended the success of the campaign. Saint- Qu en-
tin taken, there were only thirty leagues between that city
and Paris, and Ham, La F^re and Soissons to be captured
on the way; only it was necessary to carry Saint-Quentin
speedily, in order not to give France time to collect one of
those armies that almost always spring up from the earth for
her, in virtue of a kind of enchantment, and which, as by a
miracle, make of their breast a wall of flesh, to take the place
of the walls of stone destroyed by the enemy.

And so we have seen with what persistent rapidity Em-
manuel Philibert pressed forward the siege, and what a strict
surveillance he had established around the city.

His first idea was that the weak side of Saint-Quentin was
the Porte d'Isle, and that it would be there where, on the
least opportunity offered by the imprudence of the besieged,
he would carry the place.

Consequently, leaving all the other chiefs to pitch their
tents in front of the Remicourt wall, which, in case of a
'regular siege, offered the most favorable chance for a suc-
cessful attack, as we have said already, he had his erected
between a mill standing on the top of a little hill and the
Somme.

From there he watched the river, over which he threw a
bridge, and all that vast space extending from the Somme to
the old causeway of Vermand — a space afterward to be filled
by the camp of the English army, as soon as it joined the
Spanish and Flemish army.

We have seen how the attempt to carry the faubourg by
a surprise failed.



M THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF 5-4^0^

Emmanuel Philibert then decided to risk an escalade.

This escalade was to take place on the 7tli or 8tli of Au-
gust during the night.

What motive had Emmanuel Philibert in selecting the
night of the 7th or 8th of August for this enterprise rather
than any other night? This is a question we intend to
answer.

On the morning of the 6th, at the moment when he was
listening to the reports made to him by the difEerent officers
of patrol, a peasant of the village of Savy was brought to
him, who, moreover, expressed a wish to speak to him of
his own accord.

Emmanuel, knowing that a military commander ought to
disdain no information, had ordered that any one desiring
to see him, no matter who, should be immediately intro-
duced into his presence.

The peasant had only to wait, therefore, until the re-
ports were finished.

He brought to the general of the Spanish army a letter
which he had found in a military doublet.

As to the military doublet, he had found it under the
bed of his wife.

This letter was a duplicate of the one written by the ad-
miral to the constable.

This doublet was Maldent's.

Now, how came it that the doublet of Maldent was found
under the bed of the village peasant's wife ?

This is a circumstance which we feel bound to enter into
fully, as the destinies of nations sometimes depend on these
sorts of threads, lighter than the gossamers that fall from the
distaff of the Virgin.

After Maldent had separated from Yvonnet, he pursued
his journey.

On reaching Savy, he found himself at a corner of a street
in presence of a night parol.

To fly was impossible; he had been seen. To fly would
have at once created suspicion ; besides, two or three horse-



THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY 7

men, by spurring tlieir horses to a gallop, would easily have
overtaken him.

He slipped into the doorway of a house.

"Who goes there?" cried a voice.

Maldent knew the customs of Picardy ; he knew that the
peasants very seldom bolted the doors of their houses. He
pressed the latch ; the latch gave way ; the door opened.

"Is that you, my poor man?" asked a woman's voice.

"Yes; of course it is I," replied Maldent, who spoke the
Picard^aiois in its purity, being a native of Noyon, one of
the capitals of Picardy.

"Oh!" said the woman, "I thought you were dead!"

"Well," said Maldent, "you see I am not."

And, bolting the door, he approached the bed.

Quickly as Maldent had vanished into the house, a trooper
had seen him, but without being able to tell exactly through
what door he had disappeared.

Now as this man might be some spy following the patrol,
the trooper, with three or four of his comrades, was already
knocking at the neighboring door ; and this diligence proved
to Maldent that he had no time to lose.

But Maldent was badly acquainted with his surroundings.
In his ignorance and flurry he fell violently against a table
covered with pots and glasses.

"What's the matter?" asked the frightened wife.

"The matter is that I stumbled," said Maldent.

"You must be very old to be so stupid!" murmured the
woman.

In spite of the little politeness of the observation, the
adventurer contented himself with muttering a few words
of tenderness between his teeth, and, while undressing,
approached the bed.

He had no doubt they would soon knock at the door which
had just opened for him, as they had done at the neighboring
door, and he was determined that, if possible, they should not
recognize him as a stranger in the house.

Now, the best way not to be recognized as a stranger in



8 THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY

tlie house was to occupy tlie place of the master of the
house.

Maldent's experience in stripping others made it an easy
thing for him to strip himself; in the turn of a hand, his
garments were on the ground; he kicked them under the
bed, raised the coverlet, and lay down.

But it was not enough for Maldent to be taken by strang-
ers for the master of the house ; it was further necessary that
the shrewish female who had just rebuked him so sharply for
his awkwardness should be convinced.

Maldent recommended his soul to God, and proceeded
to convince his hostess that he was not dead, as she had
believed, or rather pretended to believe.

It was a way of exhibiting his proofs, as M. d' Hosier
would have said, which was very pleasing to the good
dame; consequently, she was the first to complain of the
annoyance Avhen, after searching the neighboring house, oc-
cupied only by an old woman of sixty and a little girl of
nine, the troopers, who were determined to find out the man
of whom they had just got a glimpse, and who had been so
prompt in disappearing, at last knocked at the house where
Maldent had really entered.

"My God, Gosseu!" said the woman, "what's that?"

' ' Well, ' ' said Maldent to himself, ' ' it seems my name is
Gosseu. It is always good to learn. ' '

Then to his hostess —

"What's that ? Go and see for yourself. "

' ' But, zernidiu! they will break in the door. ' '

"Good! let them," replied Maldent.

And, without letting the soldiers trouble him, the adven-
turer continued the interrupted conversation; so that when
the door gave way under the blows of the soldiers, nobody
— and, for the time, the hostess less than any one — had the
right of contesting with him the title of master of the house.

The soldiers entered swearing and cursing; but as they
swore and cursed in Spanish and Maldent answered in Pi-
card, the dialogue soon became so confused that the soldiers



THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY 9

judged it convenient to light a candle, in order that if they
did not understand they might at least see one another.

It was the critical moment; so while the soldier was
striking a light, Maldent judged it prudent to explain to
his hostess in as few words as possible how matters stood.

It must be said to the honor of the latter that her first
impulse was not to enter into the conspiracy.

"Ah," she cried, "you are not my poor Grosseu! Get
out from here quickly, you big blackguard!"

"Good!" said Maldent; "I am Gosseu, since I am in
his bed."

It seems the argument apj)eared conclusive to the hostess
of Maldent, for she did not insist further; and, after having,
by the glare of the candle which had just been lighted, cast
a glance upon her improvised husband, she murmured —

"For every sin there is mercy! I must not wish the
death of a sinner, as says the gospel of Our Lord!"

And she turned her nose toward the wall.

Maldent also took advantage of the light to cast a look
around him.

He was in the house of a well-to-do peasant — oak table,
walnut chest of drawers, serge curtains. On a chair was
disj^layed a complete suit of Sunday clothes, all prepared,
which the true Gosseu was to find on his return.

The soldiers, on their side, were looking on with eyes
not less observant and quick ; and as there was nothing to
awaken their suspicions with respect to Maldent, they began
to speak together in Spanish, but no longer threateningly —
a fact which Maldent would have easily become cognizant
of, even if he had not understood Spanish almost as well
as he understood Picard.

The question discussed was the propriety of taking him
for guide, the soldiers being afraid of going astray on the
road between Savy and Dallon.

Seeing that he ran no other danger than this, and that
this danger would even give him a splendid chance of es-
caping, Maldent took his share in the conversation.



10 THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY

"Come now, master soldiers," said lie, "no need of let-
ting your tongue sleep in your mouth. Tell me quickly
what you want. ' '

Then the leader, who spoke a little more French than
the others, guessing Maldent's meaning, approached the
bed and made him understand that what they wanted was
for him to get up at once.

But Maldent shook his head.

"I cannot," he said.

"Whatl you cannot?" said the leader.

"No."

"And why no?"

"Because, while going to Bourbatrie, I fell on the way
and injured my leg."

And Maldent imitated with his elbows and the upper
part of his body the action of a man who limps.

"Good!" said the sergeant, "in that case you shall have
a horse."

"Oh," said Maldent, "thanks I but I don't know how to
ride a horse; now if it was a donkey — "

"Then you'll learn," said the sergeant.

"No, no, no!" said Maldent, shaking his head more and
more energetically; "I will not mount a horse."

"Ah, you will not mount a horse!" said the Spaniard,
approaching Maldent and raising his whip; "we'll see."

"I will mount a horse I I will mount a horse!" said
Maldent, tumbling out of bed and jumping about on one
foot, as if he could not put the other on the floor.

"Well and good!" said the Spaniard, "and now dress
quickly. ' '

"All right," said Maldent; "but don't shout so loud, or
you'll waken my poor Catherine, who is in a fever from a
terrible ache in her big tooth. Sleep, my poor Catherine,
sleep."

And Maldent, all the time jumping on one foot, pulled
the coverlet over the head of his Catherine, who had noth-
ing better to do than pretend to sleep.



X



THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY 11

As to Maldent, he liad his own idea in covering the head
of Catherine; he had caught a glimpse of the glossy new
clothes of Master Gosseu, and had formed the rather un-
charitable design of appropriating them, instead of the
extremely ragged regimentals which he had as a matter
of precaution placed under the bed.

He found a double advantage in this substitution: he
"Would have a new doublet and a new pair of breeches in-
stead of an old doublet and an old pair of breeches, and
YTOuld be dressed as a peasant, and not as a soldier, which
would render the rest of his journey much safer.

lie began then to put on the Sunday clothes of poor
Gosseu with as much tranquillity as if their measure had
been taken for himself, and as if he had paid for them out
of his own purse.

It may easily be understood, for that matter, that Cath-
erine paid little attention to what was passing; she now
only wished for one thing, and that was that her false hus-
band should get away as speedily as possible.

Maldent, on his side, who feared the appearance of the
true Gosseu on the threshold at any moment, made the best
speed he could.

Even the soldiers, who were in a hurry to reach Dallon,
assisted Maldent in enduing himself with the vestments of
Gosseu.

At the end of ten minutes the job was done. There was
something miraculous in the perfect way in which the gar-
ments of Gosseu fitted Maldent. Once dressed, Maldent
took the candle, under pretence of searching for his hat;
but Maldent, stumbling against a seat, let the candle fall,
and it was extinguished.

"Ah," he said, abusing himself, "there's nothing in the
world more stupid than a peasant who has no sense I"

And as if for his own satisfaction, he added in 8
whisper —

"Except a soldier who thinks iie has too much."

After which, in a tearful voice—



12 THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY

"Good-by, my poor Catlierine," said he; "good-niglit.
I'm off."

And, leaning on the arm of a soldier, the false Gosseu
left limping.

At the door he found a horse ready. It was a terrible
task to put Maldent on horseback; he cried aloud for a
donkey — only a donkey. It took the united efforts of three
soldiers to set him astride.

Once in the saddle, it was much worse. As soon as the
horse threatened to trot, Maldent uttered lamentable cries,
and hooked on piteously to the saddle-bows, pulling the
reins back so strongly that the poor astounded horse did
all he could, on his part, to get rid of so unpleasant a
cavalier.

The result of all this was that the horse at the corner of
a street took advantage of the fact that the sergeant had just
dealt him a vigorous lash on the buttocks, and also of the
fact that Maldent, at the same time, slackened the reins and
dug the spurs into his sides, to set out at a headlong gallop.

Maldent called for help with all his might; but before
help could reach him, horse and rider had completely
vanished.

The comedy had been so well played that it was only
when the noise even of the steps had died away that the
Spaniards began to understand they had been duped by
their guide, who, as we see, did not guide them long.

It was in this fashion Maldent arrived at La Fdre, with
a cavalry horse and a peasant's costume, and had narrowly
escaped being imprisoned, hanged, broken on the wheel, in
consequence of the anomaly existing between his mount and
his garments.

Now it remains for ns to explain how the letter of Co-
ligny had fallen into the hands of Emmanuel Philibert; this
explanation will neither be so scabrous nor take so long to
narrate.

Two hours after the departure of the false Gosseu, the
true Gosseu returned home; he found the vUiage ia levo-



TEE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY 13

lution and his wife in tears. Poor Catherine had related to
everybody how a brigand had entered her house — all owing
to her imprudence in not bolting the door because she was
expecting her husband — and with pistol in hand had forced
her to give up the clothes of Gosseu, of which, no doubt,
the wretch had need, in order to escape the eye of justice ;
for the man capable of offering such violence to a poor
woman could be nothing else but a great criminal. There-
upon, great as was the wrath of the true Gosseu at seeing
himself so impudently deprived of his new clothes, he could
not help consoling his wife when he saw her utter despair;
then the happy thought came to him of searching the rags
left in place of his brand-new Sunday clothes, as he might
thereby perhaps find something which would aid him in his
search for the infamous robber. And, in fact, he did find
the letter addressed by the admiral to his uncle, M. de Mont-
morency, left by the adventurer, through forgetfulness, in
his doublet; but for this forgetfulness the latter cared little,
as he knew by heart and was ready to relate to the constable
what it contained.

"We have seen, however, that the absence of this letter
was near being fatal to him.

The first idea of the true Gosseu, an honest man at bot-
tom, had been to carry this letter to its address; but he re-
flected that, instead of punishing his robber, he would thus
render him a service, since he would be doing the commis-
sions the latter neglected to do, and hatred, that bad coun-
sellor, whispered to him the inspiration to bring the letter
to Emmanuel Philibert — that is to say, to the enemy of the
constable.

In this fashion the messenger would not have the sa^
isf action of seeing his commission fulfilled; but, on the
contraiy, he would perhaps be whipped, imprisoned, put
to death, as the constable would naturally suppose tum to
be a traitor.

We must do Gosseu the iustice to say that he hesitated
«ome time between the first impulse and the seoond* but,



14 THE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVOY

as if Tie already knew tlie axiom wliicli M. de Talleyrand
was to formulate three centuries later, lie struggled victo-
riously against his first impulse, wHcli was good, and had
the glory of yielding to his second, which was bad.

Consequently, as soon as it was daylight, despite the
prayers of his wife, who was kind enough to implore mercy
for the infamous rascal, the husband set out, saying —

"Come, come, Catherine, don't bother me any more
about that knave. No, no, the thing is settled. It's in
my head to see him hanged, and hanged he must be.
Saint- Quentin, tete de hien!^^

And, having made up his mind, the obstinate Picard
kept to it, and brought the letter to Emmanuel Philibert,
who, it is unnecessary to say, had no scruple in opening
it, and saw there the itinerary traced by Coligny for the
reinforcement which he begged the constable to send him.

Emmanuel Philibert liberally rewarded Grosseu, and dis-
missed him with a promise that he would be well avenged.

Nevertheless, as long as daylight lasted, the Duke of
Savoy did not make any demonstration which would lead
to the supposition that he suspected the project of the con-
stable; but, rightly thinking that the admiral had not been
content with despatching a single messenger to his uncle,
and that the latter must have received at least two or three,
he ordered fifty pioneers to start at nightfall, and cut wide
ditches flanked by barricades on the Savy and Ham high-
ways in the valleys of Raucourt and Saint- Phal.

Then he placed his best Spanish arquebusiers in ambush.

The night passed without anything unusual.

Emmanuel Philibert expected as much, for he supposed
correctly that the constable would need time to make his
dispositions, and that the comedy, as the admiral said, would
be for the morrow.

Consequently, on the evening of the morrow, the Spanish
arquebusiers were at their post. But it was not enough to
prevent succors from reaching the city.

Emmanuel Philibert believed that, in order to favor the



TEE PAGE OF THE DUKE OF SAVO^ 15

entrance of the Frencli into Saint- Quentin, all the garrison
would be assembled at the Faubourg de Pontlioille, and
that the other points would therefore be stripped; that the
rampart of the Yieux-March^ particularly, not having been



Online LibraryAlexandre DumasThe works of Alexandre Dumas : the page of the duke of savoy (Volume 21) → online text (page 1 of 24)