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HOME > Short Stories > Won by the Sword > CHAPTER VII: THE DUC D'ENGHIEN
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 From time to time news came up of what was passing in the world. The Spaniards had afforded no assistance in men to the duke, for Richelieu had sent a powerful army into the heart of Flanders, and so kept them fully occupied. An Austrian force, however, joined that of the duke, and a battle was fought with the royal army which, under Marshal Chatillon, lay encamped a league from Sedan. The Austrian general commanded the main body, the Duc de Bouillon the cavalry, while the Count de Soissons was with the reserve. At first Chatillon's army had the advantage, but Bouillon charged with such vehemence that he drove the cavalry of the royalists down upon their infantry, which fell into confusion, most of the French officers being killed or made prisoners, and the rest put to rout. The duke, after the victory, rode to congratulate Soissons, whose force had not been engaged. He found the count dead, having accidentally shot himself while pushing up the visor of his helmet with the muzzle of his pistol. Bouillon soon learned the hollowness of the promises of his allies. The Spaniards sent neither money nor men, while the Austrians received orders to march away from Sedan and to join the Spaniards, who were marching to the relief of Arras.
The duke, deserted by his allies, prepared to defend Sedan till the last. Fortunately for him, however, the position of the French at Arras was critical. The place was strong, two armies were marching to its relief, and it would therefore have been rash to have attempted at the same time the siege of Sedan. The king himself had joined the army advancing against Bouillon, while the cardinal remained in Paris. Many of those round the person of the king, foremost among whom was the Marquis of Cinq-Mars, his master of horse, spoke very strongly in favour of the duke, and represented that he had been driven to take up arms by the persecution of the cardinal. The king was moved by their representations, and gave a complete pardon to Bouillon, who was restored to the full possession of all his estates in France, while on his part he released the prisoners, baggage, and standards taken in the late battle.
This was welcome news to Hector, who at once prepared to cross into Italy; but when they reached Chambery he heard that Turenne had been ordered to join the army that was collected near the Spanish frontier, in order to conquer Roussillon, which lay between Languedoc and Catalonia. The latter province had been for three years in a state of insurrection against Spain, and had besought aid from France. This, however, could not easily be afforded them so long as the fortress of Perpignan guarded the way, and with other strongholds prevented all communication between the south of France and Catalonia. As it was uncertain whether Turenne would follow the coast route or cross the passes, Hector and his companion rode forward at once, and arrived at Turin before he left.
“I am glad to see you back again,” the general said as Hector entered his room, “and trust that you are now strong again. Your letter, giving me your reasons for leaving Sedan, was forwarded to me by a messenger, with others from my brother and his wife. He speaks in high terms of you, and regretted your leaving them; but the reason you gave for so doing in your letter to me more than justified the course you took, and showed that you were thoughtful in other than military matters. You served me better by leaving Sedan than you could have done in any other way. In these unhappy disputes with my brother, the cardinal has never permitted my relationship to Bouillon to shake his confidence in me. But after being engaged for many years in combating plots against him, he cannot but be suspicious of all, and that an officer of my staff should be staying at Sedan when the dispute was going to end in open warfare might well have excited a doubt of me while, had you traveled direct here at that moment, it might, as you said, have been considered that you were the bearer of important communications between my brother and myself.
“Now, I hope that you are completely restored to health; you are looking well, and have grown a good deal, the consequence, no doubt, of your being so long in bed. You have heard that I am ordered to Roussillon, of which I am glad, for the war languishes here. The king, I hear, will take up his headquarters at Narbonne, and Richelieu is coming down to look after matters as he did at Rochelle. So I expect that things will move quickly there. They say the king is not in good health, and that the cardinal himself is failing. Should he die it will be a grievous loss for France, for there is no one who could in any way fill his place. It has been evident for some time that the king has been in weak health. The dauphin is but a child. A regency with the queen as its nominal head, and Richelieu as its staff and ruler, would be possible; but without Richelieu the prospect would be a very dark one, and I cannot think of it without apprehension. However, I must continue to do as I have been doing ever since Bouillon fell out with the court; I must think only that I am a soldier, prepared to strike where ordered, whether against a foreign foe or a rebellious subject.
“Happily my family troubles are over. I hear that there is a probability that, now Bouillon has been restored to favour, he will obtain the command of the army in Italy, which will just suit his active spirit.”
Three days later Turenne with his staff crossed the Alps, and journeying across the south of France reached Perpignan. The Marquis of Mielleraye was in supreme command, and Turenne was to act as his lieutenant; the latter at once took charge of the operations of the siege of Perpignan, which had already been beleaguered for some months by the French. The fortress was a very strong one, but as the efforts of the Spanish to reinforce the garrison by a landing effected on the coast failed altogether, and as the operations of Mielleraye in the field were successful, and there was no chance of any relief being afforded to the besieged town by a Spanish army advancing through Catalonia, it was certain that the fortress must in time surrender by hunger. As it could not be captured by assault unless with a very heavy loss indeed, Turenne contented himself with keeping up so vigilant a watch round it that its communications were altogether cut off, and the garrison knew nothing whatever of what was passing around them.
The Duc de Bouillon had received the command of the army in Italy, and Turenne hoped that henceforth his mind would be free from the family trouble that had for the past four years caused him great pain and anxiety. Unfortunately, however, Cinq-Mars, the king's master of horse and personal favourite, had become embroiled with the cardinal. Rash, impetuous, and haughty, the young favourite at once began to intrigue. The Duke of Orleans, the king's only brother, one of the most treacherous and unstable of men, joined him heart and soul, and Bouillon was induced to ally himself with them, not from any political feeling, but because Cinq-Mars had been mainly instrumental in obtaining terms for him before, and appealed to his sense of gratitude to aid him now. He insisted, however, that this time there should be no negotiating with Spain and Austria, but that the movement should be entirely a French one.
Unknown to him, however, the others entered into an alliance with Spain, who engaged to find money and an army. The conspirators had gained the ear of the king, Cinq-Mars representing to him that their hostility was directed solely against the cardinal, and the latter was in great disfavour until he obtained a copy of the treaty with Spain. The disclosure opened the king's eyes. The Duke of Orleans, Cinq-Mars, Monsieur de Thou, his intimate friend, and de Bouillon were at once arrested. Orleans immediately turned traitor to his fellow conspirators, revealed every incident of the plot, and was sentenced to exile. Cinq-Mars and de Thou were tried and executed. De Bouillon saved his life by relinquishing his principality to France, any hesitation there may have been in sparing him on those terms being removed by the receipt of a message from the duchess, that if her husband were put to death she would at once deliver Sedan into the hands of the Spaniards. De Bouillon was therefore pardoned, and in exchange for the surrender of his principality, his estates in France were to be enlarged, and a considerable pension granted to him.
All this was a terrible trial to Turenne, who was deeply attached to his brother, and who mourned not only the danger he had incurred, but that he should have broken his engagements, and while commanding a royal army should have plotted against the royal authority.
At the end of November the cardinal's illness, from which he had long suffered, took an unfavourable turn, and the king, who had returned to Paris, went to see him. Richelieu advised him to place his confidence in the two secretaries of state, Chavigny and de Noyers, recommended Cardinal Mazarin strongly as first minister of the crown, and handed the king a document he had prepared barring the Duke of Orleans from any share in the regency in case of the king's death, the preamble calling to mind that the king had five times pardoned his brother, who had yet recently engaged in a fresh plot against him. On the 2nd of December, 1642, Richelieu died, and the king, on the following day, carried out his last advice, and appointed Mazarin to a place in his council.
The year had passed quietly with Hector Campbell. His duties had been but slight during the siege, and as during his stay at Sedan and in Switzerland he had continued to work hard at Italian, at the former place under a teacher, who instructed him in more courtly dialect than that which he acquired from Paolo, so during the six months before Perpignan he had, after taking the advice of Turenne, set himself to acquire a knowledge of German. Working at this for eight hours a day under the tuition of a German gentleman, who had been compelled to leave the country when his native town was captured by the Imperialists, he was soon able to converse as fluently in it as in Italian.
“It is in Germany that the next great campaign is likely to take place,” Turenne said to him, “and your knowledge of German will be of infinite utility to you. Fortunately for myself, Sedan standing on the border between the two countries, I acquired German as well as French without labour, and while in Holland spoke it rather than French; the knowledge of languages is of great importance to one who would rise high in the army or at the court, and I am very glad that you have acquired German, as it may be of great use to you if we are called upon to invade that country again, that is, if the new council of the king are as kindly disposed towards me as Richelieu always showed himself to be; but I fear that ere long there may be changes. The king's health is very poor. He may not live long, and then we have a regency before us, and the regencies of France have always been times of grievous trouble.
“Even had Richelieu lived he might not have been able to avert such disasters. He and the queen have never been friends, and he would not have had the support from her that he has had from the king, who, although he no doubt fretted at times under Richelieu's dictation, yet recognized his splendid genius, and knew that he worked heart and soul for the good of France. However, his death is a sore misfortune. A regency needs a strong head, but where is it to come from? The Duke of Orleans is a schemer without principle, weak, easily led, ambitious, and unscrupulous. The Prince of Conde is equally ambitious, even more grasping, and much more talented. There is no one else, save men like Chavigny, the father of our friend here, de Noyers, and some others of good family, honest and capable business men, but who would speedily become mere ciphers; and Cardinal Mazarin, who has just been appointed to the council.”
“Do you know him, sir?” Hector asked.
“I have seen him more than once. He is said to be very clever, and it is no secret that he is nominated to the council on Richelieu's recommendation, which speaks volumes in his favour, for Richelieu was a judge of men, and must have believed, when recommending him, that Mazarin would render good service to France. But however clever he is he cannot replace the great cardinal. On him was stamped by nature the making of a ruler of men. He was tall, handsome, and an accomplished cavalier. Seeing him dressed as a noble among noblemen, one would have picked him out as born to be the greatest of them. No doubt this noble appearance, aided by his haughty manner and by his ruthlessness in punishing those who conspired against him, had not a little to do with his mastery over men.
“Mazarin is a man of very different appearance. He is dark in complexion, handsome in a way, supple, and, I should say, crafty; an Italian rather than a Frenchman. Such a man will meet with difficulties far greater than those which assailed Richelieu. The latter, personally fearless, went straight to his end, crushing his enemies if they stood in his way, possessed of an indomitable will and unflinching determination. Mazarin, if I mistake not, will try to gain his end by other means—by intrigues, by setting those who oppose him against each other, by yielding rather than by striking. He is said to stand high in the queen's favour, and this will be a great aid to him; for those who might rebel against the authority of a cardinal will hesitate to do so when he has at his back the protection and authority of a queen. However, we must hope for the best. It is probable that Richelieu acquainted him with all his plans and projects, and urged him to carry them into effect. I sincerely trust that he will do so; and in that case, if he comes to the head of affairs, I should assuredly serve him as willingly and faithfully as I served Richelieu, knowing that it will be for the good of France.”
It was, indeed, but a short time after the loss of his great adviser that the king followed him to the tomb. He had for long suffered from bad health, and now that the statesman who had borne the whole burden of public affairs had left him, he felt the weight overpowering. He had always been devoted to religious exercises, and saw his end approaching without regret, and died calmly and peacefully on May 14, 1643. By his will he left the queen regent. He had never been on good terms with her, and now endeavoured to prevent her from having any real power. The Duke of Orleans was appointed lieutenant general, but as the king had rightly no confidence in him, he nominated a council which, he intended, should override both. It was composed of the Prince of Conde, Cardinal Mazarin, the chancellor, Seguerin, the secretary of state, Chavigny, and superintendent Bouthillier. The king's will prohibited any change whatever being made in the council, but this proviso was not observed. The queen speedily made terms with the ministers; and when the little king was conducted in great state to the parliament of Paris, the Duke of Orleans addressed the queen, saying that he desired to take no other part in affairs than that which it might please her to give him. The Prince of Conde said the same; and that evening, to their astonishment, the queen having become by their resignation the sole head of the administration, announced that she should retain Cardinal Mazarin as her minister, and shortly afterwards nominated Turenne to the command of the army in Italy. Prince Thomas had now broken altogether with the Spaniards, finding that their protection was not available, for the King of Spain had been obliged to recall a considerable proportion of his troops from Italy to suppress an insurrection in Catalonia. Hector did not accompany Turenne to Italy, for early in April Turenne had said to him:
“There seems no chance of employment here at present, Campbell, while there is likely t............
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