Stray Pearls eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 384 pages of information about Stray Pearls.

And while Eustace marveled if this were a passing tumult or the beginning of a civil war, my most immediate wonder was what my mother would say to this adventure.

CHAPTER XVI.

THE BARRICADES

My mother did not come home till the evening, when the streets had become tolerably quiet.  She had a strange account to give, for she had been at the palace all the time in attendance on Queen Henrietta, who tried in vain to impress her sister-in-law with a sense that the matter was serious.  Queen Anne of Austria was too proud to believe that a parliament and a mob could do any damage to the throne of France, whatever they might effect in England.

There she sat in her grand cabinet, and with her were the Cardinal, the Duke of Longueville, and many other gentlemen, especially Messieurs de Nogent and de Beautru, who were the wits, if not the buffoons of the Court, and who turned all the reports they heard into ridicule.  The Queen-Regent smiled in her haughty way, but the Queen of England laid her hand sadly on my mother’s arm and said, ’Alas, my dear friend, was it not thus that once we laughed?’

Presently in came Marshal de la Meilleraye and the Coadjutor, and their faces and gestures showed plainly that they were seriously alarmed; but M. de Beautru, nothing daunted, turned to the Regent, saying, ’How ill Her Majesty must be, since M. le Coadjutor is come to bring her extreme unction,’ whereupon there was another great burst of applause and laughter.

The Coadjutor pretended not to hear, and addressing the Queen told her that he had come to offer his services to her at a moment of pressing danger.  Anne of Austria only vouchsafed a little nod with her head, by way at once of thanks, and showing how officious and superfluous she thought him, while Nogent and Beautru continued to mimic the dismay of poor Broussel, seized in his dressing-gown and slippers, and the shrieks of his old housekeeper from the window.  ‘Did no one silence them for being so unmanly?’ cried Annora, as she heard this.

‘Child, thou art foolish!’ said my mother with dignity.  ’Why should the resistance of canaille like that be observed at all, save to make sport?’

For my poor mother, since she had been dipped again into the Court atmosphere, had learned to look on whatever was not noble, as not of the same nature with herself.  However, she said that Marshal de la Meilleraye, a thorough soldier, broke in by assuring the Queen that the populace were in arms, howling for Broussel, and the Coadjutor began to describe the fierce tumult through which he had made his way, but the Cardinal only gave his dainty provoking Italian smile, and the Queen-Regent proudly affirmed that there neither was nor could be a revolt.

‘We know,’ added Mazarin, in his blandest tone of irony, ’that M. le Coadjuteur is so devoted to the Court, and so solicitous for his flock, that a little over-anxiety must be pardoned to him!’

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Stray Pearls from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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