’Because so few in this unfortunate country can distinguish between persons and causes,’ he said. ’Hatred to Mazarin and to the Queen as his supporter is the only motive that sways them. If he can only be kept out they are willing to throw themselves under the feet of the Prince that he may trample them to dust. Once, as you know, we hoped that there was public spirit enough in the noblesse and clergy, led by the Coadjutor, to join with us in procuring the assembling of the States-General, and thus constitutionally have taken the old safeguards of the people. They deceived us, and only made use of us for their own ends. The Duke of Orleans, who might have stood by us, is a broken reed, and now, in the furious clash of parties, we stand by, waiting till the conqueror shall complete our destruction and oppression, and in the meantime holding to the only duty that is clear to us—of loyalty to the King, let that involve what it may.’
‘And because it involves the Cardinal you are vituperated,’ I said. ‘The Court ought to reward your faithfulness.’
’So I thought once, but it is more likely to reward our resistance in its own fashion if its triumph be once secured,’ he answered. ’Ah, Madame, are visions of hope for one’s country mere madness?’
And certainly I felt that even when peace was made between him and my sister, as it certainly soon would be, the future looked very black before them, unless he were too obscure for the royal thunderbolts to reach.
However, the mob had passed by, to shriek round the Hotel de Ville.
Food and wine were dealt out to them by those who used them as their tools, and they were in a frightful state of demoralization, but the way was clear for the present, and Clement Darpent would not be denied walking by my chair, though he could hardly have guarded me, but he took me through some by-streets, which avoided the haunts of the mob; and though he came no further than our door, the few words I ventured to bring home reassured Eustace, and made Annora look like another being.
PORTE ST. ANTOINE
When I try to look back on the time that followed, all is confusion. I cannot unravel the threat of events clearly in my own mind, and can only describe a few scenes that detach themselves, as it were, from a back-ground of reports, true and false, of alarms, of messages to and fro, and a horrible mob surging backwards and forwards, so that when Mademoiselle returned to Paris and recalled me, I could only pass backwards and forwards between the Louvre and the Hotel de Nidemerle after the servants had carefully reconnoitred to see that the streets were safe, and this although I belonged to the Orleans’ establishment, which was in favour with the mob. Their white scarves were as much respected as the tawny colours of Conde, which every one else wore who wished to be secured from insult.