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I K v:'f r\







H.C.CHATFIELD-TAYLOR




In a. moment of devilry



FAME'S PATHWAY



A ROMANCE OF A GENIUS



BY



H. C. jCHATFIELD -TAYLOR



ILLUSTRATIONS BY "JoB"




NEW YORK

DUFFIELD & COMPANY

1909



COPYRIGHT, 1009, BY
DUFFIELD & COMPANY



AU Eights, Including those of Dramatisation
and Translation, Strictly f served.



THE PKEMIEK PRBS3
NEW YORK



C39Zf



CONTENTS

BOOK THE FIRST

CHAPTER PAGE

I. AGAINST A PAINTED SCENE ... 3

II. A RAY OF SUNLIGHT . . . . 12

III. AT THE SERVICE-TREE TAVERN . . 20

IV. A SALON OF VAGABONDIA ... 30

V. AN HOUR OF PARADISE .... 41

VI. A BEING DIFFERENT FROM THE REST . 51

VII. A DAY FOR JOYOUSNESS .... 58

VIII. THE MAGIC ISLE 69

IX. A FOOL'S PARADISE 76

X. TEMPERED BLISS . ... 87

BOOK THE SECOND

I. THE KING'S HIGHWAY .... 99

II. FOREST ADVENTURES . . . .109

III. HONEST LAUGHTER 118

IV. TRINETTE DRAWS A WEAPON . .129

V. A NEW DOMAIN 138

VI. FOND DREAMS REALISED . . .148

VII. THE SALLOW LAWYER . . . .160

VIII. PARIS DEBONAIR 170

IX. KING PETAUD'S COURT . . . .177



CONTENTS

CHAFTEB PAGE

X. GRIEFS AND CONSOLATIONS . . .188

XI. WITH DRUM AND TRUMPET . . .199

XII. THE DEBUT 207

XIII. EXIT TRINETTE 21 6

BOOK THE THIRD

I. THE TOILS OF USURY .... 227

II. THE ANONYMOUS NOTE .... 237

III. TRINETTE RE-ENTERS .... 244

IV. MADELEINE LIES GLIBLY .... 254

V. RENARD'S GARDEN 263

VI. THE SACRISTY OF ST. EUSTACHE . . 271

VII. CATHERINE BOURGEOIS SPEAKS HER MIND 282

VIII. IN THE LAND OF THE BLIND , . . 293

IX. THE DEVIL'S OWN 301

X. IN THE KING'S NAME . . . .311

XI. THE AWAKENING 320

XII. THE SIN OF YOUTH 328

XIII. THE WAY Is LONG . 337



ILLUSTRATIONS

IN A MOMENT OP DEVILRY . . . Frontispiece

FACING PAGE

" You ARE NOT CAST TO PLAY THE FOOL " . 10
A WILD ROUT BURST INTO THE ROOM . . 26

A FAINT BURST OF APPLAUSE CAME FROM THE

LIPS OF THE ACTRESSES 46

A PLACE FOR IDLE THOUGHTS AND DREAMING . 66
THE UPSETTING OF ONE MORE GENIUS . .100
"A SCALDED CAT FEARS COLD WATER" . .134
MOLIERE'S HEART THRILLED WITH AWE . .164
" BY SAINT GENEST, I'LL NOT FLEE LIKE A

COWARD/' HE SHOUTED . . . .214

HER HEART WAS OPPRESSED, HER SPIRIT ALMOST

GONE 262

His EYES REFUSED THEIR OFFICE . . . 278
MOLIERE, STEPPING FROM BEHIND THE CURTAIN,

SEIZED HER .... 304



BOOK THE FIRST

" A fellow named Moliere left the benches of the
Sorbonne to follow Madeleine Bejart"

TALLEMANT DES REAUX.



" On n'execute pas tout ce qui se propose ;
Et le chemin est long du projet a la chose."
Le Tartu ffe, III-l.



FAME'S PATHWAY

CHAPTER I

AGAINST A PAINTED SCENE

IT was a fateful moment when their glances met
Madeleine Bejart standing up to her full height, bare-
armed, gracefully formed, radiant, and tall; Jean-Bap-
tiste Poquelin, student of the laws, a-tremble and
blushing. She saw a thick-lipped youth, and she would
not have looked again but for the godlike eyes; in the
glare of the candles, he saw a face white and beautiful
against the red-gold hair, and love leaped to his heart
the ardent love of youth. The crown upon her splendid
head was tinsel; the jewels on her breast were glass;
but the candid blue eyes were real, he knew, and so were
the curving lips.

The theatre was but a tennis-court; the stage, rough
planks athwart rude trestles; the scenery, a strip of
painted cloth. Dull louts stood gaping in the pit; bour
geois housewives munched oranges within the tawdry
boxes; but, had she played to king and cardinal, she
could not have been one whit more a girl to be adored.
There may have been some in that city of Paris whose
charms were equal to hers, but Jean-Baptiste made cer
tain there were none.

" One would think you had never seen a pretty ac
tress," said the friend who stood beside him Claude
Chapelle, young lover of the joys of life and poesy.
" I have never seen such an one," he answered with
a sigh.

" One would think you were in love."



4 FAME'S PATHWAY

" I am."

Chapelle shrugged. To him, the painted lips were
as false as the jewels.

Jean-Baptiste was silent also. To tread the stage,
and by a gesture or the modulation of a word be knave
or king, had been his dream; to hold her in his arms
and speak the lines that ranting lover mouthed so
badly were unrepented happiness, he thought. Her
eyes burned through him, her breast was like white
marble in the sunlight; small wonder he did not quell
the fire within his heart, since he made no effort.

Seated beside the sad-eyed poet with the prompt
book, he saw a cavalier, curled and bewigged, with
laces and starched linen, and ribbons where his boot-
hose met his small-clothes a cavalier, with plumed hat,
cloak, and rapier gazing at her from his seat upon the
stage. He saw possession in his sneer, a look of surfeit
in his cruel eyes ; and then the curtain closed them both
from view, while cadaverous fiddlers bowed their wheezy
violins and the crowd applauded.

" Oranges ! Tisane ! " shrilled a girl with baskets
on her dimpled arms. " Oranges ! Tisane ! " rang her
cries above the squeaking of the fiddles.

The thin, bent, shambling candle-snuffer trimmed the
smudging wicks; swains in the pit ogled ruddy beauties
in the boxes; matrons yawned; opulent burghers
stretched their legs; and meantime, Claude Chapelle
bought tisane of the Hebe and pinched her pretty
cheeks.

" Morbleu ! " he said, when he and Poquelin had
drained their glasses and the girl had courtesied thanks.,
" you may fancy these fat bourgeoises, but I prefer the
perfumed ladies of the Hotel de Bourgogne. "



AGAINST A PAINTED SCENE 5

His companion's eyes flashed. " The Hotel de Bour-
gogne," he answered with asperity, " where fashion
flocks and Montfleury rants."

"Which means," said Chapelle, curling his incipient
moustache, " that a red-haired divinity with her light
hidden under a suburban bushel is the greatest actress
in France! Alas, you have a rival; else why that fine
noble with a seat upon the stage ? "

Jean-Baptiste had sparks of fire in his dark eyes,
but he beat back the angry torrent rising in his heart.

" Since the day when the crowds flocking to see ' The
Cid ' were so great that the actors of the Marais were
forced to place seats upon the stage, every jackanapes
feels it is his right to sit there and comb his wig, while
art languishes and the pit groans."

" Jealousy, my dear fellow, j ealousy ! Now if you
were a fine noble upon a rush-seat chair "

" Instead of the humble son of an upholsterer upon
his legs," sighed the other wearily, " my toes might ache
less, perhaps, but my heart no more." His eyes were
fixed upon the curtain and yearned to see beyond; but
his friend laughed outright.

" Why, you have not even met La Bej art ! "

" I hope I never shall," Jean-Baptiste sighed.

The crowd in the pit tradesmen, artisans, cut-
purses, and valets bumped shoulders with the two
young friends: the crowd of gesturing, laughing citi
zens in the days when Louis, destined to be called the
grand monarch, was only a child, and Richelieu was
dying: the golden days before the turbulent Fronde.

"Woman is the vice of all mankind," said Chapelle,
after a moment's thought. " On the subject we'll agree,
if not upon the object."



6 FAME'S PATHWAY

For a moment the young student of the laws looked
at him searchingly, wondering if the cynicism were
sincere or merely banter. " We never agreed upon phil
osophy," he said finally; "why should we about
women ? "

"Philosophy!" scoffed Chapelle; "that takes me
back to Gassendi's dull lectures."

" Ah, remember ! " cried his friend in protest, " he
told us the lot of a man of letters is the best in the
world; he told us that beautful poems, learned and re
cited daily, elevate the mind, ennoble the style of those
who write, and inspire noble sentiments. Dear old
Gassendi! His scholastic lectures may have been dull,
but he taught me to love Lucretius."

Chapelle shook his fine curls. " Pouf ! " he exclaimed.
" You live as much in the air as crazy, quarrelling
Cyrano de Bergerac."

The words recalled to Jean-Baptiste a spadassin with
tumid nose who rhymed and fenced with equal grace,
and the time when they had been students of Gassendi
Chapelle, Cyrano, and he. But three dull knocks upon
the stage set his young heart fluttering. The crooning
of the fiddles ceased; the shuffling feet grew still; the
curtain parted; and he saw her in the candle glare
again all white against the dark, till the light caught
her loosened hair and framed her face with gold. Her
eyes were soft as star-shine; she seemed to step like
pliant Artemis; the words she spoke as Dido to JEneas
seemed spoken to himself, so it pleased him to dream:

"To adore thee as my god, ah, dearest, let me swear;
To serve for ever as thy slave would be my chosen part.
Ah, never let me leave thy loving eyes, dear heart
Wilt thou not promise?"



AGAINST A PAINTED SCENE 7

But while he dreamed, his eyes fell on the sneering noble
with a seat upon the stage.

" If only hate could kill," he thought, gazing at the
cavalier from under his dark brows, until behind him he
heard a scuffle, shouts, and a deafening din. Turning,
he saw two swaggering ruffians tumble the porter from
the door.

" King's Musketeers do not pay ; way for the King's
Musketeers ! " And to bacchanalian cries and laughter,
two royal rogues with rapiers drawn swept tradesmen,
artisans, and valets to the wall. One beat a dissonant
tattoo upon a warming-pan; the other caught the plump
serving girl beneath his arm and carried her kicking,
screaming, in the air. "Musketeers! " the cry; conster
nation on the faces of the crowd; above the crash of
breaking bottles, and the pounding of the sword hilt on
the pan, shouts of drunken revelry and song. Singing,
staggering, the roisterers marched in triumph round
the pit; churls tumbled to the floor, actors trembled in
their buskins.

Alone in the centre of the stage stood Madeleine
Bejart. Jean-Baptiste saw her brave and unmoved,
her cheeks aglow, her lips half parted. In ecstasy he
watched her until she tried to speak above the din.

" Messieurs ! " she cried. " Messieurs ! " But the
drunken soldier beat upon his copper drum and drowned
her voice. Proud and erect, with eyes flashing and
head thrown back, she faced him. Above the tumult
her voice rang clear:

" Messieurs ! A farce, a tragedy, what you will, but
let the performance proceed."

The reeling musketeers saw her white breast in the
candle light, the glistening teeth between her lips.



8 FAME'S PATHWAY

" Not 11 I've had a kiss ! " cried one of them, with
thick-tongued ardour, and staggered toward the stage.

Jean-Bap tiste paled at his evil smile, the leer in his
bestial eyes.

" Stop ! " he cried, " stop ! " Frantic with rage, he
sprang toward him.

Chapelle caught his arm.

"You are unarmed; would you fight two swash
bucklers ? " words not even heard, much less listened
to.

" Let me go ! " he shouted, " let me go ! " and, with
young blood singing in his veins, he broke from
Chapelle's grasp. " Coward ! " he cried to the muske
teer, " you disgrace the king's livery. Shame !
Shame ! "

With frightened eyes, Madeleine Bejart saw the
soldier turn upon the frantic youth, both joy and fear
trembling in her breast. When a rapier pointed at her
unknown champion, her heart gave a wild throb of
terror; she covered her face with her hands.

A hot-headed youth ready for baiting sport for a
tipsy musketeer sport for the rabble to see. A foil
to prick Jean-Baptiste Poquelin until he danced a
farandole of pain; another to flash from its sheath, for
the courtier, seated on the stage, wigged and curled but
swordsman born, sprang into the pit: then the click of
sword to sword. When Madeleine Bejart had the
courage to look, she saw her headstrong champion
dragged away by his friend; and, in his place, a lithe,
skilled fencer with rapier at guard and arm upcurled.

The other musketeer rushed to help his comrade, the
crowd having courage now to form a ring and stare in
breathless wonder while two bravos faced a perfumed



AGAINST A PAINTED SCENE 9

darling of the court. Feint, parry, thrust, a turn of a
supple wrist a sword arm rapierless. Swish, clash,
and ring of steel and then a panting musketeer beaten
backward, step by step, while his comrade groped on
hands and knees to find his weapon. Rapiers swirled,
sparks flew from glinting steel; a wild-eyed bully
tripped upon another in his rage to reach a dexterous
fencer; a defence too puling, though, even to force a
quickened breath from beneath a curled moustache.
Two disarmed swashbucklers, blinded by the fumes of
drink, soon lay sprawling on the floor; and, since the
conqueror preferred finesse to surgery, not so much as
one sword prick to either.

The vanquished floundered to their feet, picked up
their weapons, and slunk away amid laughter and jeers.
The nobleman sheathed his sword. " Pardi, a rather
stupid bout ! " he said with condescension, for the
benefit of the common herd. " But where is my fiery
young friend ? "

Jean-Baptiste's blood had cooled somewhat. He knew
he owed a sound skin, if not his life, to splendid swords
manship, and, in payment of a debt, a generous heart
can turn its hate to gratitude; so he ran forward
blindly and, kneeling, seized the courtier's hand.

" Ah, seigneur," he cried, " how can I find words to
thank you? "

The noble drew his white gloved hand away, shaking
the frills and laces of his cuff as if he feared too much
ardour might rumple them. " Young hot-head," he said
with a supercilious drawl, " gratitude is but a courtier's
claim to a sovereign's grace ; in other words, a hope dis
guised. As I am not the king, and, judging by your
dress, you are but a bourgeois, we '11 dispense with it."



10 FAME'S PATHWAY

A blush crimsoned the student's face. A blow could
not have hurt him more. " Beneath a modest coat, a
lavish heart/' he answered, when he could find breath
to speak: " the reverse at court, I see."

The courtier shrugged; in his eyes a hue of steel.

" Don't quarrel, fellow, until you wear a sword ;
don't champion ladies until you possess their favour."
Having said this he turned upon his heel.

With hot cheeks and a surging heart, Jean-Baptiste
watched his proud enemy sweep a feathered hat upon his
curls and stride away watched until, above the heads of
the crowd, he saw but one white plume. " Caste,"
he sighed, " inexorable caste ! Ah, but there is a way to
reach the stars and then outshine a sputtering candle
in a golden stick ! " His face took on a look of deter
mined hardness then, and he turned away. Uncon
sciously he glanced to the stage. Slender and
beautiful, Madeleine Bejart stood there, a lonely shape
against a painted scene. " Humiliated ! " he thought,
" insulted ! My life tossed to me like a copper to a
beggar, and not one look, even of pity!" Thoughts of
vengeance filled his heart wild vengeance in a hundred
insufficient ways; when some one touched his shoulder,
and, turning, he saw a thin-faced actor in the toga and
feathered helmet which served to costume Greek and
Roman then, and even Gaul.

" P-p-pardon, monsieur," he said, being a stutterer
born, " I am J-J- Joseph Bejart, and my sister would
have w-w-word with you."

A quicker thrill than the actor's speech could incite
made him look toward the stage. He watched the sweet
curve of her face, until it must have been to his burn
ing glance she turned. Their eyes met then and




" You are not cast to play the tool



AGAINST A PAINTED SCENE 11

stayed together while the thin-faced actor led him,
tremulous, to the stage.

" You would have fought for me," she said, when he
stood before her.

What revelation of his love was in his gaze he knew
not, but the too inadequate words he tried to frame
refused to pass his lips, and he could only mumble in an
inarticulate way:

" I would have died for you."

" On with the tragedy ! " called a hoarse voice from
the wings.

" Come," said Chapelle at his elbow, " you are not
cast to play the fool."



CHAPTER II

A RAY OF SUNLIGHT

IN a corner littered with theatrical apparel, Madeleine
Bejart stood arranging her tumbled hair. Players of
both sexes shared this dingy spot; tiring room seems too
sumptuous a term, a quilt stretched upon a cord sufficing
to screen the over-modest. The soubrette, Marie
Courtin de la Dehors, a black-eyed comfit of pink flesh,
sat upon a bench swinging one shapely leg across the
other while putting on a stocking; Genevieve, a sprightly
younger sister of La Bejart, reached a plump arm from
behind the quilt to snatch a garment from a pile of time-
worn finery. With much ado of splashing, the young
ster who played lovers' parts, plunged his pretty face
in a cracked earthen bowl; the meanwhile, Jean-Baptiste
de 1'Hermite, husband of the soubrette, Beys, a bibulous
poet, and Joseph Bejart, the stutterer, squatting upon
the floor, arranged the day's receipts in little piles of
silver livres and copper sous.

Looking askance at the meagre lots, Joseph Bejart
shrugged his lean shoulders.

" Only t-t-twenty-four livres and f-f-fifteen sous,"
he stammered, with a whistle to accelerate the faltering.

Though great of name, moustache, and sword, Jean-
Baptiste de 1'Hermite gentleman born but vagabond
bred was scant of purse, so he gazed hungrily at the
money.

" Think of the Hotel de Bourgogne with a royal pen
sion," he sighed, while taking a final hole in his belt.

12



A RAY OF SUNLIGHT 13

" Think of a worthy troupe with its chandler unpaid
and the tennis master crying for his rent ! " exclaimed
Beys ; then, to accentuate the misery of the company, he
extemporised a quatrain, which he sang with a voice
somewhat strained for fine singing:

" While courtiers flock to hear Montfleury rant,

And comrades fatten on a pension,
We abler actors must turn mendicant,
Or dodge the gaol by circumvention."

Excepting Madeleine Bejart, the troupe laughed up
roariously at this, till Marie Courtin's voice canae, sud
denly shrill. " No need to fear creditors if our
Madeleine had only charmed some rich bourgeois
instead of a hot-headed fool an unarmed student who
dashes at a tipsy musketeer ! "

Something like a smile stole to Madeleine's lip while
she brushed the hair that fell about her shoulders. The
affront of a jealous woman she parried with a counter-
thrust.

" I can sympathise with the dying lion of the fable,
who, when kicked by an ass, exclaimed : ' To the assaults
of brave comrades I am resigned; but to be forced to
suffer thy cowardly attack, thou disgrace of all nature,
is verily to perish twice.' "

While the soubrette bit her lip in anger, Jean-Bap-
tiste de 1'Hermite, her husband, whispered softly:
" Bide your time, my dear. The Baron de Modene has
wearied of her, that I know, for I have been in his
confidence."

" Yet he sat upon the stage to-day," said Marie
Courtin, pouting.



14 FAME'S PATHWAY

" Ay ; to show his contempt of the dying cardinal,
who has set a price on his head, not his love for her."

Marie Courtin looked at her husband quizzically.

" You are a complaisant lord and master/' she said.

"A little cottage in the comte Venaissin, where are
my lord of Modene's estates, would pleas^ me well,"
whispered Jean-Baptiste de 1'Hermite with a grin. " I
thought by serving him in his intrigues to win this boon,
but though I have aided mightily in the plots His
Highness of Orleans and he have hatched, he
has ever pleaded poverty as an excuse for not
requiting me. Perchance your charms will loosen his
purse-strings."

Now the lady was not loath to enter into this base
conspiracy, for, in that age of licence, she was not the
least iniquitous. Moreover, she adored Monsieur de
Modene with a quean's frenzy and hated Madeleine
Bejart. When the laughter at her own expense had sub
sided, she renewed the attack on her rival.

" I have been cogitating whether or not the ass's shoe
fits my foot," she said. " If Monsieur de Modene, the
courtly gentleman-in-waiting to His Highness of
Orleans, approves of your coquetting with a scatter
brained youth whose ardour leads to a brawl he must
perforce quell with his own skill at fence, then am I
indeed like an ass in believing him devoted to you,
my lady."

" Perchance my lord seeks an easy way to freedom,"
suggested Jean-Baptiste de 1'Hermite slyly.

Be sure Marie Courtin missed nothing of this. She
was quick as a bird of prey, and saw Madeleine far too
calm to suit her pleasure; so her voice shrilled again:
" In which case, pardi, our Madeleine is in a fair way



A RAY OF SUNLIGHT 15

to lose her good fortune, and this straitened troupe all
hope of a royal pension."

Madeleine was pale and serious under this baiting,
but she had the good sense not to speak. Not so her
sister Genevieve, who came hot and flushed from behind
the quilt, buttoning some nether garment hurriedly.

" Spite ! " she piped in anger, " spite ! " then, turning
to the company, rattled on, " Did you see the glances
Marie Courtin cast at Monsieur de Modene while he
sat on the stage to-day? Of all the ogling hussies "

She had scant chance to dodge the soubrette's shoe as
it flew past her pretty head. It bellied the quilt and
might have been the undoing of her comeliness. The
nearest missile a helmet or a corselet would have
answered this onslaught had not Madeleine Bej art's
wave of the hand been superb in its effrontery.

"If Marie Courtin's charms can win the gentleman-
in-waiting," she said to her sister, " by all means let
them, since it is good riddance."

She looked at her rival quite fearlessly as a bold
hunter might look at some wild beast that came in his
way. Meanwhile her brother picked up the shoe and,
kneeling at the soubrette's feet, showed his yellow teeth
between his pale lips.

" Your slipper, m-m-mademoiselle," he said with
mock gallantry ; " may I have the honour ? " and while
the company laughed, he placed it on her tiny foot.

The girl glanced stealthily about from under her dark
lashes. Seeing the pretty jeune premier stop prinking
to laugh at her discomfiture, she bit her tongue and
bided a time more favourable.

Madeleine Bej art now brushed her hair undisturbed
before a piece of broken looking-glass. To one who



16 FAME'S PATHWAY

did not gaze with the fervour of a stage-struck youth,
her lips tightened in repose, and the lines that care had
drawn gave her the defiant aHj of one who had been
treated harshly by the world. God had created her
beautiful, she knew, but adversity had dimmed His
handiwork. As she looked at herself with half closed
eyes, her life passed before her, unconsciously, with its
struggles, its pitfalls her life of weary pilgrimage
from town to town with a band of strolling players.
Dimly she recalled to mind the jolting ox-carts; the
dreary miles of high road tramps; the nights gone
supperless to bed; the audience of gaping yokels she
had played to ; the gallants who had wooed her.

" Ah, . those years," she thought, " that should have
been the best of life ! Gone, gone, but what have they
brought ? " and she smiled bitterly.

Once she had listened to burning words whispered
when the air was sweet and fleecy clouds hung motion
less among the stars. She had dreamed away her
happiness then, in the sunny land of the south among
shadowy vines; for Esprit de Remond de Mormoiron,
Baron de Modene and gentleman-in-waiting to Monsieur,
the king's brother, was a name to thrill a young and
foolish girl. She had believed him, only to awake and
find love brutal; and so a noble with an ashen face and
cruel eyes now had a seat upon the stage, a noble who
could disarm musketeers and snub tempestuous youths
with the same sang-froid with which he ogled a
soubrette or twirled his moustache; and so, in a far off
province, there was the little grave of her child the
only tie that bound her to him.

She had some twenty-four years behind her, and was
sceptical of sentiment; yet emotion is not to be cal-



A RAY OF SUNLIGHT IT:

endared, nor could a youthful paladin spring from the
pit unregarded: hence, as she brushed her red-gold hair,
her thoughts kept returning to the adventure of the day.
Yet the reverie, howsoever pleasing, was short-lived;
since a face, suddenly reflected in the mirror before
her, and a gloved hand laid upon her bare shoulder,
caused a shudder in every fibre of her being.

" You ! " she exclaimed in no uncertain tone of dis
pleasure.

The thin lips of the Baron de Modene his being the
face parted malevolently. " Yes, I," he muttered,
" in lieu of a rattle-brained hero whom no doubt you
expected ! "


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