Her influence over her son resembled the fascination of a snake: once within her reach he was unable to resist her; and when in their tete-a-tete she reproached him with ill-faith towards her, prophesied the overthrow of the Church, the desertion of his allies, the ruin of his throne, and finally announced her intention of hiding her head in her own hereditary estates in Auvergne, begging, as a last favour, that he would give his brother time to quit France instead of involving him in his own ruin, the poor young man’s whole soul was in commotion. His mother knew her strength, left the poison to work, and withdrew in displeasure to Monceaux, sure that, as in effect happened, he would not be long in following her, imploring her not to abandon him, and making an unconditional surrender of himself, his conscience, and his friends into her hands. Duplicity was so entirely the element of the court, that, even while thus yielding himself, it was as one checked, but continuing the game; he still continued his connection with the Huguenots, hoping to succeed in his aims by some future counter-intrigue; and his real hatred of the court policy, and the genuine desire to make common cause with them, served his mother’s purpose completely, since his cajolery thus became sincere. Her purpose was, probably, not yet formed. It was power that she loved, and hoped to secure by the intrigues she had played off all her life; but she herself was in the hands of an infinitely more bloodthirsty and zealous faction, who could easily accomplish their ends by working on the womanly terrors of an unscrupulous mind.
CHAPTER IX. THE WEDDING WITH CRIMSON FAVOURS
And trust me not at all or all in all.—TENNYSON
So extensive was the Louvre, so widely separated the different suites of apartments, that Diane and Eustacie had not met after the pall-mall party till they sat opposite to their several queens in the coach driving through the woods, the elder cousin curiously watching the eyes of the younger, so wistfully gazing at the window, and now and then rapidly winking as though to force back a rebellious tear.
The cousins had been bred up together in the convent at Bellaise, and had only been separated by Diane’s having been brought to court two years sooner than Eustacie. They had always been on very kindly, affectionate terms; Diane treating her little cousin with the patronage of an elder sister, and greatly contributing to shield her from the temptations of the court. The elder cousin was so much the more handsome, brilliant, and admired, that no notion of rivalry had crossed her mind; and Eustacie’s inheritance was regarded by her as reserved for her brother, and the means of aggradizement an prosperity for herself and her father. She looked upon the child as a sort of piece of property of the family, to be guarded and watched over for her brother; and