Still La Riviere excused himself, until perceiving that it would be dangerous to persevere in his pertinacity, he at length reluctantly replied: “Sire, your son will live to manhood, and will reign longer than yourself; but he will resemble you in no one particular. He will indulge his own opinions and caprices, and sometimes those of others. During his rule it will be safer to think than to speak. Ruin threatens your ancient institutions; all your measures will be overthrown. He will accomplish great deeds; will be fortunate in his undertakings; and will become the theme of all Christendom. He will have issue; and after his death more heavy troubles will ensue. This is all that you shall know from me, and even this is more than I had proposed to tell you.”
The King remained for a time silent and thoughtful, after which he said coldly: “You allude to the Huguenots, I see that well; but you only talk thus because you have their interests at heart.”
“Explain my meaning as you please,” was the abrupt retort; “but you shall learn nothing more from me.” And so saying, the uncompromising astrologer made a hurried salutation to the monarch and withdrew.
A fortnight after this extraordinary scene another event took place at the Louvre sufficiently interesting to Henry to wean his thoughts for a time even from the foreshadowed future of his successor. In an apartment immediately contiguous to that of the still convalescent Queen, Madame de Verneuil became in her turn the mother of a son, who was baptized with great ceremony, and received the names of Gaston Henri; and this birth, which should have covered the King with shame, and roused the nation to indignation, when the circumstances already detailed are considered, was but the pretext for new rejoicings.
On the 27th of October the Dauphin made his public entry into Paris. The infant Prince occupied a sumptuous cradle presented to him by the Grand Duchess of Florence; and beside him, in an open litter, sat Madame de Montglat, his gouvernante, and the royal nurse. The provost of the merchants and the metropolitan sheriffs met him at some distance from the gates, and harangued him at considerable length; and Madame de Montglat having replied in his name to the oration, the cortege proceeded to the house of Zamet. Two days subsequently he was conveyed in the same state to St. Germain-en-Laye, where, in order that the people might see him with greater facility, the nurse carried him in her arms. The enthusiasm of the crowd, by which his litter was constantly surrounded, knew no bounds; and the heart of that exulting mother, which was fated afterwards to be broken by his unnatural abandonment, beat high with gratitude to Heaven as her ear drank in the enthusiastic shouts of the multitude, and as she remembered that it was herself who had bestowed this well-appreciated blessing upon France.