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THE ROCK OF THE FORT.
Oh, love will enter in whare it darna well be seen!
On the twenty-sixth day of March, 1594, the city of Rouen presented a scene of very unusual bustle. The Marquis of Rosny, better known as the Duke of Sully, had arrived from Paris ; and it was expected that the brave and honest Admiral Villars, whose interest carried with it not only Rouen, but the whole of the country of Caux, would publicly declare for the king. The civil war had spent its fury; the conqueror had declared himself, since it was necessary, to be of the religion of the majority of the people, and thus both of the contending parties triumphed; the terrible League was fading away upon the horizon of France like some phantom of the night before the rising sun; and men threw away their dripping swords, and with voices still hoarse with the shouts of war, cried “Vive Henri Quatre !"
The grand square of Rouen, and the adjacent streets, on this occasion, were filled to overflowing, and still the population of the surrounding country continued to pour into the reservoir. The river which runs past the city glittered in the vernal sun ; and the happy faces which crowded its banks, and rushed tumultuously across its wooden bridges, seemed to have caught the reflection. Large parties of all ranks were continually . seen through the trees descending the rocks, where the broad and rapid stream first bursts upon the view of the spectator ; while the joyful shouts of the men, and the playful screams of the village lasses, clad in the picturesque costume of the country, as they chased one another down the steep, at once gladdened and confused the ear.
The gallant admiral of France, as yet holding for the League, and the ostensible enemy of his king, with the Baron de Médavy, and the President de Bognemare, surrounded by the authorities and troops of the town, were posted
in the grand square; and as Rosny appeared with a guard of honour, so great was the crowd, that he had much difficulty in obtaining entrance. When at length, however, he was sufficiently near, he pronounced an address to the admiral, reminding him that the king was now a Catholic; and as there was no longer any pretext for disaffection, that it was his duty, as a good subject, to show his zeal and loyalty.
Villars, in his reply, declared that he was already in his heart the faithful servant of his majesty ; and that be was anxious to prove it by receiving, at the hands of the envoy, the wbite scarf, which ought to be the badge no longer of a party, but of the country. He was accordingly girded with the royal emblem, and the bystanders bent eagerly forward to hear his speech on so important and interesting an occasion. The noise occasioned by the movement sunk into profound silence.
“ Allons morbieu !" cried the brave admiral, with an eloquence more home and pithy' than that of Demosthenes, “allons morbieu! the league is nothing more than that we all cry, God save the King !" A shout burst sirrultaneously from the multitude ; and mingling with the deep tones of the men, the yoices of the women and children rose shrilly into the air, as they all cried “God save the King !" In an instant, the sound was joined by the pealing of the great bell of the city, followed by all the others, and this by the thunder of artillery from the fort and batteries ; the whole forming a noise, says Sully, fit to inspire terror, if the general sentiment of joy had allowed any one to observe that there was not a house in the city which did not shake to its foundation.*
" These bells," said he to the governor, "remind us that we ought to go and return thanks to God in the church of Notre Dame;" and the motion being received with becoming applause, the church was soon crowded, and its venerable roof rang to the solemn hymn of Te Deum, which was followed by the splendid idolatry of the mass.
Among the spectators of the ceremony in the square there had been a horseman, who apparently had ridden a considerable distance to witness it ; but who, after all, could scarcely be said to be in time, as, in the outskirts of the crowd, he was unable to obtain more than a very imperfect view of the principal personages. He was a young-indeed a very young man, although this could scarcely have been discovered on casual observation: his figure, although fully the middle height,
* Mémoires de Sully.
being singularly athletic and trimly formed, and his face flushed with the dark ruddy colour which the action of foreign climates, or rough weather, imparts to fair complexions. His horse was a good serviceable roadster, such as a gentleman would by no means disdain to travel on : and, through the dust which covered the dress of the rider, it might have been discovered, that although far from likely to be a rich man, he yet laid claim to a certain rank and consideration in society. Not many, indeed, on observing his air and manner, would have been unwilling to allow him a due share of polite respect : and the few, whose moral perceptions were lost in their devotion to fine clothes, found a certain something in the stranger's eye which extorted the deference from their prudence which was grudged by their vanity.
The young man certainly seemed to be an interested, but not altogether a pleased spectator. His less amiable feelings, however, were occasionally subdued in the course of the ceremony, and at its conclusion, he joined, as if involuntarily, in the shout of “God save the King !” with an honesty of enthusiasm and a loudness of lungs not excelled by those of any
of his neighbours : when it was over, however, he seemed half to repent his condescension.
“Pshaw.!” said he, in a grumbling voice of soliloquy, " what a noise we are making here!--and yet, I dare say, if one knew all, there are few except Villars himself who are paid for the piping. What would this day have been but for me? Who broke off the negotiations between these two parties ? and who again, by a single word of his mouth, enabled the king to talk in a voice to wbich even the admiral could not affect deafness? Why I, simple Sieur de Boisrosé; and here I stand, shouting till I am hoarse, for Henri of Navarre, who thus profits by my prowess, without acknowledging the service even by a bow-and in honour of the Admiral Villars, who is now reaping the fruits of my labour-and of the vagabond Rosny, by whose councils I am set aside and forgotten! Ay, shout, shout, ye ragamuffins, out with it—huzza ! I
Heaven ye be all as well rewarded as myself!” The Sieur de Boisrosé then turned his horse in high dudgeon, and putting him up at a hostelry near the river side, sought to wreak his vengeance on the good things at the table d'hôte, which was supplied with an abundance worthy of the patronage it that day received.
Having slept indifferently well for a disappointed man, he set out betimes the next inorning for Louviers, leaving his enemy