Agrippa d’Aubigne, still young, but grave and serious-looking greeted M. de Ribaumont as men meet in hours when common interests make rapid friendships; and from him Berenger learnt, in a few words, that the King of Navarre’s eyes had been opened at last to the treachery of the court, and his own dishonourable bondage. During a feverish attack, one night when D’Aubigne and D’Armagnac were sitting up with him, his resolution was taken; and on the first hunting day after his recovery, he, with these two, the Baron de Rosny and about thirty more of his suite, had galloped away, and had joined the Monsieur and the Prince of Conde at Alencon. He had abjured the Catholic faith, declared that nothing except ropes should bring him back to Paris, and that he left there the mass and his wife—the first he could dispense with, the last he meant to have; and he was now on his way to Parthenay to meet his sister, whom he had sent Rosny to demand. By the time Berenger had heard this, he had succeeded in finding honest Rotrou, who was in a state of great triumph, and readily undertook to give Osbert shelter, and as soon as he should have recovered to send him to head-quarters with some young men who he knew would take the field as soon as they learnt that the King of Navarre had set up his standard. Even the inroads made into the good farmer’s stores did not abate his satisfaction in entertaining the prime hope of the Huguenot cause; but Berenger advanced as large a sum as he durst out of his purse, under pretext of the maintenance of Osbert during his stay at the Grange. He examined Rotrou upon his subsequent knowledge of Isaac Gardon and Eutacie, but nothing had been heard of them since their departure, now nearly three years back, except a dim rumour that they had been seen at the Synod of Montauban.
‘Well, my friend,’ said Philip, when about to remount, ’this will do rather better than a headlong gallop to Rochelle with Nid-de-Merle at our heels.’
‘If M. le Baron is safe, it is well,’ said Aime shortly.
‘Is Selinville there?’ said Berenger, coming up. ’Here, let me take you to the King of Navarre: he knew your family in Lauguedoc.’
‘No, no,’ petulantly returned the boy. ’What am I that he should notice me? It is M. de Ribaumont whom I follow, not him or his cause.’
‘Boy,’ said Berenger, dismayed, ’remember, I have answered for you.’
‘I am no traitor,’ proudly answered the strange boy, and Berenger was forced to be thus satisfied, though intending to watch him closely.
CHAPTER XL. THE SANDS OF OLONNE
Is it the dew of night
That on her glowing cheek
Shines in the moonbeam?—Oh, she weeps, she weeps,
And the good angel that abandoned her
At her hell baptism, by her tears drawn down
Resumes his charge...and the hope
Of pardon and salvation rose
As now she understood
Thy lying prophecy of truth.—SOUTHEY