Yet there was enough to make us grave. In a fight with the Frondeurs for Charenton, M. de Chatillon, one of the handsomest and gayest of our cavaliers, was killed. He was the grandson of the Admiral de Coligny, and was said to have been converted to the Church by the miracle of the ducks returning regularly to the pond where the saint had bound them to come. I think he must have made up his mind beforehand. But it was a great shock to have that fine young man thus cut down the day after he had been laughing and dancing in our gallery. Yet all people seemed to think of, when everybody went to condole with his young widow in her bed, was that she had set herself off to the best advantage to captivate M. de Nemours!
And then came the great thunderbolt—the tidings of the death of the King of England! I knew it would almost kill Eustace; I thought of my poor godmother, Queen Henrietta, and there I was among people who did not really care in the least! It was to them merely a great piece of news, that enabled them to say, ’Yield an inch to the Parliament and see what it will come to.’
That kind, dignified, melancholy countenance as I last saw it was constantly before me. The babble of the people around seemed to me detestable. I answered at haphazard, and begged permission of Mademoiselle to keep my room for a day, as I thought I should be distracted if I could not get out of reach of M. de Lamont.
She gave permission, but she said it was an affectation of mine, for how could I care for a somber old prince whom I had not seen for ten years?
My sister has asked me to fill up the account of the days of the Fronde with what I saw within the city. She must permit me to do so in English, for I have taken care to forget my French; and if I write perilous stuff for French folk to read she need not translate it.
I will begin with that Twelfth-day morning when we were wakened by more noise and racket than even Paris could generally produce. There had been a little tumult about once a week for the last six months, so we could endure a great deal, but this was plainly a much larger one. Some of the servants who went out brought word that the Queen had carried off the King in order to be revenged on Paris, and that the people, in a rage, were breaking the carriages of her suite to pieces, plundering the wagons, and beating, if not killing, every one in them. We were of course mightily troubled for my sister, and being only two women we could not go out in quest of her, while each rumour we heard was more terrible than the last. Some even said that the Louvre had been asked and plundered; but old Sir Andrew Macniven, who had made his way through the mob like a brave old Scottish knight, brought us word that he could assure us that our own Queen was safe in her own apartments, and that there had been no attack on the palace.