Charlotte Mary Yonge.

The chaplet of pearls; or, The white and black Ribaumont (Volume 1) online

. (page 1 of 23)
Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeThe chaplet of pearls; or, The white and black Ribaumont (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 23)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


^. I.



THE

CHAPLET OF PEAKLS;

OR,

THE WHITE AND BLACK RIBAUMONT.



THE



CHAPLET OF PEAELS:



THE WHITE AND BLACK RIBAUMONT.



<C - '



2ST raz
AUTHOR OF THE HEIR t»F RED* LYFFE.



IS TWO niLrM£,<.
TOL L



MAt'MILLAX AXD CO.
ISCS.



[TV JKfA/ ^jf Ti m ml m fim mmd Mi f r mUm iiim £t lej g iwL ']



LONDON ;

R. HAY, SONS, A\'D TAYLOR, PKIXTEKS,

BRRAD KTRRET HILL.



PKEFACE.

It is the fashion to call every story controversial that deals
with times when controversy or a war of religion was raging ;
but it should be remembered that there are some which only
attempt to portray human feelings as affected by the events
that such warfare occasioned. " Old Mortality" and " Wood-
stock" are not controversial tales, and the " Chaplet of Pearls"
is so quite as little. It only aims at drawing certain scenes
and certain characters as the convulsions of the sixteenth
century may have affected them, and is, in fact, like all
historical romance, the shaping of the conceptions that the
imagination must necessarily form when dwelling upon the
records of history. That faculty wliich might be called the
passive fancy, and might almost be described in Portia's



song,-



" It is engendered in the eyes,
By reading fed^^ — and there it dies," —

that faculty, I say, has learnt to feed upon character and
incident, and to require that the latter should be effective
and exciting. Is it not reasonable to seek for this in the
days when such things were not infrequent, and did not



VI PREFACE.

imply exceptional wickedness or misfortune in those engaged
in them? This seems to me one plea for historical novel,
to which I would add the opportunity that it gives for study
of the times and delineation of characters. Shakespeare's
Henry IV. andHenryV., Scott's Louis XI., Manzoni's Federigo
Borromeo, Bulwer's Harold, James's Philip Augustus, are all
real contributions to our comprehension of the men them-
selves, by calling the chronicles and memoirs into action.
True, the picture cannot be exact, and is sometimes distorted
— nay, sometimes praiseworthy efforts at correctness in the
detail take away whatever might have been lifelike in the
outline. Yet, acknowledging all this, I must still plead for
the tales that presumptuously deal with days gone by, as
enabling the young to realize history vividly — and, what is
still more desirable, requiring an effort of the mind which
to read of modern days does not. The details of Millais'
Inquisition or of his Huguenot may be in error in spite of all
his study and diligence, but they have brought before us for
ever the horrors of the auto-da-fe, and the patient, steadfast
heroism of the man who can smile aside his wife's endeavour
to make him tacitly betray his faith to save his life. Surely
it is well, by pen as by picture, to go back to the past for
figiu-es that will stir the heart like these, even though the
details be as incorrect as those of the revolt of Liege or of La
Ferrette in Quentin Durward and Anne of Geierstein.

Scott, however, wiKully carved history to suit the pur-
poses of his story ; and in these days we have come to feel
that a story must earn a certain amount of credibility by
being in keeping with established facts, even if striking
events have to be sacrificed, and that the order of time must



PREFACE. Vll

be preserved. In Shakespeare's days, or even in Scott's,
it might have been possible to bring Henry III. and his
mignons to due punishment within the limits of a tale
beginning with the Massacre of St. Bartholomew ; but in
1868 the broad outlines of tragedy must be given up to keep
within the bounds of historical verity.

How far this has been done, critics better read than myself
must decide. I have endeavoured to speak fairly, to the best
of my ability, of sucli classes of persons as fell in with the
course of the narrative, according to such lights as the
memoirs of the time afford. The Convent is scarcely a class
portrait, but the condition of it seems to be justified by hints ■
in the Port Eoyal memoirs, respecting Maubuisson and others
which Mere Angelique reformed. The intolerance of the
ladies at Montauban is described in Madame Duplessis-
Mornay's life ; and if Berenger's education and op>inions are
looked on as not sufficiently alien from Eoman Catholicism,
a reference to Fronde's " History of Queen Elizabeth" will
show both that the customs of the elder English Church
were stiU kept up by many of the country clergy, and like-
wise that a broad distinction was made by the better informed
among the French between Calvinism and Protestantism or
Lutheranism, in which they included Anghcanism. The
minister Gardon I do not consider as representing his class.
He is a possibility modified to serve the purposes of the
story.

Into historical matters, however, I have only entered so
far as my story became involved with them. And here I
have to apologize for a few blunders, detected too late for
alteration even in the volumes. Sir Francis Walsingham



vni PREFACE.

was a young rising statesman in 1572, instead of the elderly-
sage he is represented; his daughter Frances was a mere
infant, and Sir Philip Sidney was not knighted till much
later. For the rest, I have tried to show the scenes that
shaped themselves hefore me as carefully as I could ; though
of course they must be not a presentiment of the times
themselves, but of my notion of them.

C. M. YON^GE.

November lith, 1868.



EREATUM.
Vol. i. p. 185, line 11, for " Amen " read " Anan."



CONTENTS OF VOL. I.



CHAPTER I.

PAGE
THE BllIDAL OF THE WHITE AND BLACK . : 1



CHAPTER II.

THE SEPABATIOX 7

CHAPTER III.

THE FAMILY COUNCIL . . . . ; c ... 18



CHAPTER IV.
o

TITHONUS 30



CHAPTER V.

THE CONVENT BIRD 52

CHAPTER VI.

FOULLY COZENEF 62

CHAPTER VII.

THE queen's tastoeal 76

VOL. I. h



X CONTENTS.

- CHAPTER VIII.

PAGE

"lE BEOtriLLON' 94

CHAPTER IX.

THE WEDDIXG WITH CRIMSON FAVOURS 105

CHAPTER X.
monsieur's ballet ' 118

CHAPTER XI.
the king's tragedy , . 130

CHAPTER XII.

THE PALACE OF SLAUGHTER 139

CHAPTER XIII.

THE bridegroom's ARRIVAL 160

CHAPTER XIV.

.SWEET HEART . 171

CHAPTER XV.

NOTRE-DAME DE BELLAISE 193

CHAPTER XVL

THE HEARTHS AND THICKETS OF THE SOCAGE 208

CHAPTER XVI].

THE GHOSTS OF THE TEMPLARS 224



CONTENTS. Xi

CHAPTER XVII I.

rAOE

THE MOONBEAM 236

' CHAPTER XIX.

LA HUE DES TROIS FEES 253

CHAPTER XX.

TJIE ABBE 260

CHAPTER XXI.

UKDER THE WALNUT-TKEE 270

CHAPTER XXII.

DEPARTURE 284

CHAPTER XXIII.

THE EMPTY CRADLE 293

t

CHAPTER XXIV.'

THE GOOD PRIEST OF NISSARD 304



THE CHAPLET OF PEARLS;

OR,

THE WHITE AND BLACK RIBAUMONT.



CHAPTER I.

THE BRIDAL OF THE WHITE AXD BLACK.

." Small was the ring, and small in truth the finger :
What then? the faith was large that dropped it down."

Aubrey de Verb, Infant Bridal.

Setting aside the consideration of the risk, the hahy-wed-
dings of the Middle Ages must have been very pretty sights.

So the Court of France thought the bridal of Henri
Beranger Eustache de Eibaumont and of Marie Eustacie
Eosalie de Ribaumont du Md-de-Merle, when, amid the
festivals that accompanied the signature of the treaty of
Cateau-Cambresis, good-natured King Henri II. presided
merrily at the union of the little pair, whose united ages
did not reach ten years.

There they stood under the portal of Notre-Dame, tl:e
little bridegroom in a white velvet coat, with puffed sleeve?,
slashed with scarlet satin, as were the sLort, also puffed

VOL. I. B



2 THE CHAPLET OF PEAELS ; OK,

"breeches meeting his long white knitted silk stockings some
way above the knee ; large scarlet rosettes were in his white
shoes, a scarlet knot adorned his little sword, and his velvet
cap of the same colour bore a long white plume, and was
encircled by a row of pearls of priceless value. They are no
other than that garland of pearls which, after a night of
personal combat before the walls of Calais, Edward III. of
England took from his helmet and presented to Sir Eustache
de Eibaumont, a knight of Picardy, biddirg him say every-
where that it was a gift from the King of England to the
bravest of knights.

The precious heirlooms were scarcely held with the respect
due to an ornament so acquired. The manly garb for the
first time assumed by his sturdy legs, and the possession of
the little sword, were evidently the most interesting parts of
the affair to the youthful husband, who seemed to find in
them his only solace for the weary length of the ceremony.
He was a fine, handsome little fellow, fair and rosy, with
bright blue eyes, and hair like shining flax, unusually tall
and strong-limbed for his age ; and as he gave his hand to
his little bride, and walked with her under a canopy up to
kneel at the High Altar, for the marriage blessing and the
mass, they looked like a full-grown couple seen through a
diminishing-glass.

The little bride was perhaps a less beautiful child, but she
had a splendid pair of black eyes, and a sweet little mouth,
both set into the uncomprehending solemnity of baby gravity
and contentment in fine clothes. In accordance with the
vow indicated by her name of Marie, her dress was white
and blue, turquoise forget-me-nots bound the little lace veil
on her dark chestnut hair, the bosom of her white satin dress
was sprinkled with the same azure jewel, and turquoises bor-
dered every seam of the sweeping skirt with a train befitting



THE WHITE AND BLACK RIBAUMONT. 3

a count's daugliter, and naeandered in gorgeous constellations
lound the hem. The little thing lisped her own vows forth
without much notion of their sense, and indeed was some-
times prompted by her bridesmaid cousin, a pretty little girl
a year older, who thrust in her assistance so glibly that the
King, as well as others of the spectators, laughed, and ob-
served that she would get herself married to the boy instead
of her cousin.

There was, however, to be no doubt nor mistake about
Beranger and Eustacie de Eibaumont being man and wife.
Every ceremony, religious or domestic, that could render
a marriage valid, was gone through with real earnestness,
although with infinite gaiety, on the part of the court.
Much depended on their union, and the reconcilement of the
two branches of the family had long been a favourite scheme
of King Henri II.

Both alike were descended from Anselme de Eibaumont,
renowned in the fii-st Crusade, and' from the brave Picard
who had received the pearls ; but, in the miserable anarchy
of Charles VI. 's reign, the elder brother had been on the
Burgundian side — like most of the other nobles of Picardy —
and had thus been brought into the English camp, where,
regarding Henry V. as lawfully appointed to the succession,
and much admiring him and his brother Bedford, he had
become an ardent supporter of the English claim. He had
married an English lady, and had received the grant of the
castle of Leurre in Kormandy by way of compensation for
his ancestral one of Eibaumont in Picardy, which had been
declared to be forfeited by his treason, and seized by his
brother.

This brother had always been an Armagnac, and had
risen and thriven with his party, — before the final peace
between France and England obliged the elder line to submit

b2



4 THE CHAPLET OF PEAELS ; OE,

to Charles YII. Since that time there had been a per-
petual contention as to the restitution of Chateau Eibauniont,
a strife which under Louis XL had become an endless
lawsuit ; and in the days of duelling had occasioned a good
many insults and private encounters. The younger branch,
or Black Eibaumonts, had received a grant from Louis XL
of the lands of Nid-de-Merle, belonging to an unfortunate
Angevin noble, who had fallen under the royal displeasure,
and they had enjoyed court favour up to the present
generation, when Henri IL, either from opposition to his
father, instinct for honesty, or both, had become a warm
friend to the gay and brilliant young Baron de Eibaumont,
head of the white or elder branch of the family.

The family contention seemed likely to wear out of its
own accord, for the Count de Eibaumont was an elderly
and childless man, and his brother, the Chevalier de Eibau-
mont, was, according to the usual lot of French juniors, a
bachelor, so that it was expected that the whole inheritance
would centre upon the elder family. However, to the
general surprise, the Chevalier late in life married, and
became the father of a son and daughter ; but soon after
calculations were still more thrown out by the birth of a
little daughter in the old age of the Count.

Almost from the hour in which her sex was announced,
the King had promised the Baron de Eibaumont that she
should be the wife of his young son, and that all the pos-
sessions of the house should be settled upon the little couple,
engaging to provide for the Chevalier's disappointed heir in
some commandery of a religious order of knighthood.

The Baron's wife was English. He had, when on a visit
to his English kindred, entirely turned the head of the
lovely Annora Walwyn, and finding that her father, one of the
gravest of Tudor state smer, would not hear of her breaking



THE WHITE AND BLACK ItlBAUMOXT. 5

her engagement to tlie lionest Dorset si^uire Marmaduke
Thistlewood, lie had carried her off by a stolen marriage and
cou2> de viain, which, as her beauty, rank, and inheritance
were all considerable, had won him great reputation at the
gay court of Henri II,

Infants as the boy and girl were, the King had hurried on.
their marriage to secure its taking j^lace in the lifetime of the
Count, The Countess had died soon after the birth of the
little girl, and if the arrangement were to take effect at
all, it must be before she should fall under the guardianship
of her uncle, the Chevalier. Therefore the King had
caused her to be brought up from the cottage in Anjou,
Avhere she had been nursed, and in person superintended the
brilliant wedding. He himself led off the dance with the
tiny bride, conducting her through its mazes with fatherly
kindliness and condescension; but Queen Catherine, Avho
was strongly in the interests of the Angevin branch, and had
always detested the Baron as her husband's intimate, excused
herself from dancing with the bridegroom. He therefore fell
to the share of the Dauphiness Queen of Scots, a lovely,
bright-eyed, laughing girl, who so completely fascinated the
little fellow, that he convulsed the court by observing that he
should not have objected to be married to some one like her,
instead of a little baby like Eustacie.

Amid all the mirth, it was not only the Chevalier and the
Queen who bore displeased looks. In truth, both were too
oreat adepts in court life to let their dissatisfaction appear.
The gloomiest face was that of him wdiose triumph it was —
the bridegroom's father, the Baron de Eibaumont. He had
suffered severely from the sickness that prevailed in St. Quen-
tin, when in the last August the Admiral de Coligny had been
besieged there by the Spaniards, and all agreed that he had
never been the same man since, either in health or in



6 THE CIIAPLET OF PEAELS.

demeanour. When lie came back from his captivity and found
the King bent on crowning his return by tlie marriage of the
children, he had hung back, sj3oken of scruples about such
unconscious vows, and had finally only consented under
stress of the personal friendship of the King, and on condi-
tion that he and his wife should at once have the sole custody
of the little bride. Even then he moved about the gay
scene with so distressed and morose an air that he was evi-
dently either under the influence of a scruple of conscience
or of a foreboding of evil.

'No one doubted that it had been the latter, when, three
days later, Henri II., in the prime of his strength and height
of his spirits, encountered young Des Lorges in the lists, re-
ceived the splinter of a lance in his eye, and died two days
afterwards.

No sooner were his obsequies over than the Baron de
Eibaumont set off with his wife and the little bridal pair for
his castle of Leurre, in K'ormandy, nor was he ever seen at
court again.



CHAPTER II.

THE SEPARATIOX,

" Parted witliout the least ivgret,
Except that they had ever met.

* * * *

Misses, the tale that I relate,
This lesson seems to carry :
Choose not alone a proper mate,
But proper time to marry ! "

CowPER, Pairing Time anticipated.

"I WILL have it !"

" Thou shalt not have it !"

" Diane says it is mine."

"Diane knows nothing ahout it."

" Gentlemen always yield to ladies."

" Wives ought to mind their husbands."

" Then I will not be thy wife."

" Thou canst not help it."

" I will. I will tell my father what M. le Baron reads
and sings, and then I know he will." ^

"And welcome."

Eustacie put out her lip, and began to cry.

The " husband and wife," now eight and seven years old,
were in a large room hung with tapestry, representing the
history of Tobit. A great state bed, curtained with piled
velvet, stood on a sort of dais at the further end ; there was
a toilet-table adorned with curiously shaped boxes, and



8 THE CHAPLET OF PEARLS; OR,

coloured Venetian glasses, and filagree pouncet-boxes, and
with a small mirror whose frame was inlaid with gold and
ivory. A large coffer, likewise inlaid, stood against the
wall, and near it a cabinet, of Dutch workmanship, a com-
bination of ebony, ivory, wood, and looking-glass, the centre
retreating, and. so arranged that by the help of most ingenious
attention to perspective and reflection, it apj^eared like the
entrance to a magnificent miniature cinque-cento palace, with
steps up to a vestibule paved in black and white lozenges,
and with three endless corridors diverging from it. So much
for show ; for use, this palace was a bewildering complication
of secret drawers and pigeon-holes, all depending indeed upon
(jne tiny gold key ; but unless the use of that key were well
understood, all it led to was certain outer receptacles of
fragrant Spanish gloves, knots of ribbon, and kerchiefs
strewn over with rose leaves and lavender. However, Eus-
tacie had secured the key, and was now far beyond these
mere superficial matters. Her youthful lord had just dis-
covered her mounted on a chair, her small person decked out
with a profusion of necklaces, jewels, bracelets, chains, and
rings ; and her fingers, as well as they could under their
stiffening load, were opening the very penetralia of the
cabinet, the inner chamber of the hall, where lay a case
adorned with the Eibaumont arms, and containing the far-
famed chaplet of pearls. It was almost beyond her reach,
but she had risen on tip-toe, and was stretching out her hand
for it, when he, springing behind her on the chair, availed
himself of his superior height and strength to shut the door
of this arcanum and turn the key. His mortifying permis-
sion to his wife to absent herself arose from pure love of
teasing, but the next moment he added, still holding his hand
on the key — " As to teUing what my father reads, that would
be treason. How shouldst thou know what it is 1 "



THE WHITE AND BLACK PJBAUMONT. V

" Dost thou think everyone is an infant but thyself?"

" But who told thee that to talk of my father's books
would get him into trouble 1" continued the boy, as they still
stood together on the high heavy wooden chair.

She tossed her pretty head, and pretended to pout.

"Was it Diane? I Avill know. Didst thou tell
Diane ? "

Instead of answering, now that his attention to the key
was relaxed, Eustacie made a sudden dart, like a little wild
cat, at the back of the chair and at the key. The chair over-
balanced; Beranger caught at the front drawer of the cabinet,
which, unlocked by Eustacie, came out in his hand, and
chair, chddren, drawer, and curiosities all went rolling over
together on the floor with a hubbub that brought all the
household together, exclaiming and scolding. Madame de
Ribaumont's disj^leasure at the rifluig of her hoards knew no
bounds ; Eustacie, by Avay of defence, shrieked " like twenty
demons ; " Beranger, too honourable to accuse her, underwent
the same tempest ; and at last both were soundly rapped
over the knuckles with the long handle of Madame's fan,
and consigned to two separate closets, to be dealt with on
the return of M. le Baron, while Madame returned to her
embroidery, lamenting the absence of that dear little Diane,
whose late visit at the chateau had been marked by such
unusual tranquillity between the children.

Beranger, in his dark closet, comforted himself with the
shrewd suspicion that his father was so employed as not to
be expected at home till supper time, and that his mother's
wrath was by no means likely to be so enduring as to lead
her to make complaints of the prisoners ; and when he heard
a trampling of horses in the court, he anticipated a speedy
release and summons to show himself to the visitors. He
waited long, however, before he heard the pattering of little



10 THE CHAPLET OF PEARLS ; Of!,

feet ; then a stool scraped along the floor, the button of his
door was undone, the stool pushed back, and as he emerged,
Eustacie stood before him with her finger to her lip, " Chut,
Beranger ! It is my father and uncle, and ISTarcisse, and, oh !
so many gens d'armes. They are come to summon M. le
Baron to go with them to disperse the preche by the Bac de
rOie. And oh, Beranger, is he not there ?"

" I do not know. He went out with his hawk, and I do
not think he could have gone anywhere else. Did they say
so to my mother ? "

'• Yes ; but she never knows. And oh, Beranger, Narcisse
told me — ah, was it to tease me 1 — that Diane has told them
all they wanted to know, for that they sent her here on
purpose to see if we Avere not all Huguenots."

" Very likely, tlie little viper ! Let me pass, Eustacie. I
must go and tell my father."

" Thou canst not get out that way ; the court is full of
men-at-arms. Hark, there's Narcisse calling me. He will
come after me."

There was not a moment to lose. Beranger flew alone; a
corridor, and down a narrow winding stair, and across the
kitchen ; then snatching at the arm of a boy of his own age
whom he met at the door, he gasped out, " Come and help
me catch Eollet, Landry !" and still running across an
orchard, he pulled down a couple of apples from the trees,
and bounded into a paddock where a small rough Breton
pony was feeding among the little tawny I^orman cows. The
animal knew his little master, and trotted towards him at
his call of " FoUet, Eollet. JSTow be a wise Eollet, and play
me no tricks. Thou and I, Eollet, shall do good service, if
thou wilt be steady."

Eollet made his advances, but with a coquettish eye and
look, as if ready to start away at any moment.



THE WHITE AND P.LACK lilDAUMOXT, 11

" Soh, Follet. I have no bread for thee, only two apples ;
but, Follet, listen. There's my heau-pere the Count, and
the Chevalier, all spite, and their whole troop of savage gens
d'armes, come out to fall upon the 2:)Oor Huguenots, who are
doing no harm at all, only listening to a long dull sermon.
And I am mu.cli afraid my father is there, for he went out
with his hawk on his wrist, and he never does take Ysonde
for any real sport, as thou and I would do, Follet. He says
it is all vanity of vanities. But thou know'st, if they caught
him at the preche they would call it heresy and treason, and
all sorts of horrors, and any way they would fall like demons
on the poor Huguenots, Jacques and all — thine own Jacques,
Follet. Come, be a loyal pony, Follet. Le at least as good
as Eustacie."

Follet was evidently attentive to this peroration, turning
round his ear in a sensible attitude, and advancing his nose
to the apples. As Eeranger held them out to him, the other
boy clutched his shaggy forelock so effectually that the start
back did not shake him off, and the next moment Eeranger
was on his back.

"And I, Monsieur, what shall I do?"

" Thou, Landry 1 I know. Speed like a hare, lock the
avenue gate, and hide the key. That will delay them a long
time. Off now, Follet."

Eeranger and Follet understood one another far too Avell
to care about such trifles as saddle and bridle, and off they
went through green grassy baulks dividing the fields, or
across the stubble, till, about three miles from the castle, they
came to a narrow valley, dipping so suddenly between the
hills that it could hardly have been suspected by one un-
aware of its locality, and the sides were dotted with copse


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeThe chaplet of pearls; or, The white and black Ribaumont (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 23)